Season One Episode Three

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Photo Courtesy Of History Channel

Photo Courtesy Of History Channel

Warning: Spoiler Alert

No matter what your political convictions, Progressive, or Conservative, Republican, Democrat or Independent, I’d challenge any American to walk away from a well-made movie or TV program, about the fight for Independence from the British Empire and walk away without feeling pride for our nation. Although the History Channel Original Event “Sons Of Liberty,” started out slowly, the network presented a series that wouldn’t have been out of place in one of the Premium Cable Channel’s lineup. The miniseries presented its last chapter Tuesday night, with an episode jammed with action, triumph and in some cases heartbreak.

One of the aspects of the six-hour showcase that I enjoyed, is the series evoked the period perfectly, as it looked like realistic cities and towns in the New World, in the latter stages of the 18th century, however the characters have a modern sensibility about them. The characters, responded as we do under the same circumstances in the early portion of the 21st century. The BBCA series “The Musketeers,” projects that same kind of balance, letting the viewers of today know how folks lived 400-500 years ago, experiencing it through relatable characters.

Two actors, that I’d had little to no knowledge of, before this series, stood out; Ben Barnes, portraying the protagonist Samuel Adams, appears to have the skillset to make it as a leading man in films or television. The other man, who impressed me was Rafe Spall, in the role of John Hancock. He played the part perfectly, but he’s got a face that’s expressive enough for comedy, he reminded me of a younger Peter Scolari or Rick Moranis.

The third episode opened, right when the previous chapter ended, as we’re in a field in Lexington, Massachusetts, on April 19, 1775, watching the red-coats squaring off against the Colonial militia. The start of the scene’s in super slo-mo, so we watch the flintlock getting struck, the heat of the bullet leaving the barrel, followed by the smoke and bullet Then we return back to real-time and we start seeing the casualties, on both sides. Tim Kelly’s leading the way for the colonists while the red-coats fight under the command of General Gage’s military-aide, Major John Pitcairn. The red-coats quickly overpower the colonists, Tim Kelly taking one in the shoulder and another in the leg and falls to the field, his compatriots beat a hasty retreat.

Paul Revere’s heading for Concord riding through the woods, when he confronts two red-coats on horseback, he throws a knife at one killing him, then shoots the other one off his horse. A new soldier arrives and he shoots Revere’s steed, causing both the horse and the Patriot to fall to the ground, Revere rolling a few yards after falling. The soldier turned him over to see how badly hurt his opponent was, but Revere was playing possum and struggled with the Brit for his rifle.

Revere initially gets the advantage, but the red-coat regains the upper hand and hits Paul in the head with the butt of his rifle. He’s about to beat him to death, when Samuel shows up and takes him out. Another guard sneaks up on Adams his gun pointed, but someone kills him first, when the smoke clears we realize it’s John Hancock. He’s struggling with the moment, ten-years prior, the thought of killing another human would have caused him to convulse in laughter, the idea so ludicrous. Within this makeshift band of brothers that these men built through the years, Hancock has evolved the most, a subject we’ll return to. Revere comes to, thanks John and tells them to get to a safe spot, he’s riding on to Concord.

We return to the field of battle and a soldier rides up to inform Pitcairn, that Adams and Hancock escaped. The Major continues walking past the bodies of dead or wounded colonists, when he passes Tim Kelly, he tells two of his soldiers to raise him up. The big man’s badly wounded and Pitcairn asks him where Adams and Hancock are hiding. He stays silent, so the Brit took Kelly’s own hunting knife and stuck it into the wound in his shoulder, twisting and turning the blade. Tim spit blood but he remained silent, Pitcairn removed the knife and gently tapped Kelly on the head, then told a soldier to kill him. A bullet to the head took Tim Kelly’s life.

We’ve moved onto Barrett’s Farm in Concord, Massachusetts according to the graphic and we watch a man riding there rapidly on his horse. As he ties his animal to the post, we see a gun peeking out from the corner of the building, then realize, the area’s filled with snipers. A man in the front doorway asks the man who he is and what’s he doing on his land. The man tells him his name’s William Dawes, he’s Paul Revere’s friend (which causes Barrett to wave off the guns) and the whole state of Massachusetts, knows what in his barn. Is there anyway to hide it. Barrett opens the barn and it contains scores of rifles and barrel after barrel of gunpowder. He tells Dawes he’ll get some guys and they’ll bury it.

The men work like finely tuned machines and within hours they’ve got everything hidden, meanwhile each member of the militia, receives a rifle and pistol. They hide in the woods as Pitcairn and his regiment march towards the farm, the Major and another officer ride ahead and Pitcairn greets him as Captain James Barrett, to which Barrett replies he’s not been called Captain in years.

Pitcairn tries making social niceties, but it only lasts so long, he tells Barrett that the Brits are aware he’s a close ally of Paul Revere and he stores the munitions for him. Barrett tells him to look around as much as he wants and the red-coats look everywhere and all they find is one tiny musket ball about the size of a pea. Pitcairn shows it to Barrett and he laughs and says it’s a memento from the glories of war, nostalgia doesn’t connect to treason. The Major has the other soldier rough up Barrett and he’s on the ground, Pitcairn stands over him with a pistol pointed at him and says nostalgia’s going to get you killed.

Right then Revere gives the command to fire and the Brits go down one after another, suffering major injuries. Pitcairn gets shot in the thigh, then gives the order to fall back to the bridge. This time it’s the red-coats on the run as the Colonial Army gains their first victory, over the planet’s strongest military. Barrett grabs a flag the red-coats left behind and Paul tells him that’s his prize, now let’s get going and take back our city.

The red-coats limp back into Boston, with cart after cart of injured men, they pass the State House and General Thomas Gage tells Pitcairn to dismount while addressing his commanding officer. Gage then asks how did this happen, the Major responds his men fought viciously, but the rebels are savages. He tells Gage that the colonists are on the march and could be outside the city’s walls. They couldn’t find Adams, Hancock or the munitions, somebody tipped them off. Gage blames his soldiers and tells Pitcairn to thoroughly investigate which of his men’s the traitor.

That evening Gage stands in contemplation in front of his fireplace then heads to Margaret’s bedroom, he startles her and he asks if her friend Dr. Joseph Warren’s mentioned John Hancock or Samuel Adams? She says she’s never heard the names and barely knows Dr. Warren. Gage looks at her and says I know it was you, their blood is on your hands, you traitor, then walks out of the room locking her inside.

The graphic tells us we’re now at a Colonial Encampment, four miles west of Boston. The entire field’s filled with tents and Warren offers Sam an apple for breakfast which he refuses, Joseph asks him when he last ate? Adams looks at his old friend and asks if the rumors about Joseph and Gage’s wife are true and Warren stays poker faced. Sam says you’ve watched out for me over the years, but now I’m telling you to be careful. John Adams rides up ending the conversation.

John tells his cousin that they want to convene a second Continental Congress and they want Samuel to explain his actions. Adams says we’re a bit busy right now and all they’ll do is write another lovely letter to the Crown, then says he won’t go. John says then they’ll align with the British and wipe Boston off the map, Hancock quickly agrees with John. He says he’s been around money-men all his life and they’ll do anything to preserve their fortune. The English will bribe the other colonies wealthiest citizens and they’ll accept the deal. Revere says he and Warren will command the lines, they should head to Philadelphia.

Gage’s melting-down in front of his officers, he tells an aide to get a letter off to Lord North telling him they need another 20,000 soldiers. He tells one of his officers to take charge of locking down Boston, nobody leaves the city, anyone attempting to will be shot on sight. He says we’re in a war now start acting like it and dismisses his officers.

We’re back in Philadelphia at the State House for the second Continental Congress and it’s like a bad rerun, as the delegate from Pennsylvania, that was against Boston the first time’s back on his soapbox. He says there aren’t troops in Pennsylvania, or New York, just in Boston and because of this man Samuel Adams. He then says that he and his thuggish friends have made life tougher for the rest of the colonies.

Samuel stands up and gets right in the other delegates face and says he wasn’t there, or the rest of them. They have no idea what conditions they live under, good, patriotic men have lost their lives and possessions for this cause. I’m willing to work with you, any of you to solve this problem. The other delegate responds that he created and Adams walks out. Hancock says we need another way to win these men over and John Adams smiles and says he has an idea.

The three men go to visit a man in Philadelphia, acting like schoolboys waiting to see Santa. John says this is the place of greatness, while Hancock says he can’t believe he’s still alive. Suddenly the door opens and their stands Ben Franklin in a bathrobe, paying a lady of the evening for her company. As she leaves he asks the trio why there in his house? John replies they have an appointment with him, then introduces himself and the others, Franklin says as long as you don’t tear down the place come on in.

Back at the Colonial Encampment, now located one mile north of Boston, Amos tells the others that Gage and the British still hold Boston, but they’re surrounded on all sides. They can’t hold out much longer, then they’ll attack the colonists. Warren asks about the militia, Amos responds it’s growing every day, but the man aren’t trained. Revere asks if they can handle a full-out attack  and Amos responds, perhaps two or three rounds, but they’d fall.

Franklin sits down with the three men and outlines what their desires are for their colony and all three men agree they’re on the same page. Franklin says he’s lived in London for the last ten-years and Parliament won’t give them a sliver of what they want. He tells them they aren’t talking about defending their rights, they want to become another country, with all 13-colonies banded together as a new nation. Is that what they really want? Samuel immediately responds with a yes and Franklin smiles and says the idea’s completely nuts, but that’s what he wants as well. Now they just have to sell it to the others.

With Franklin in tow (in lieu of the Cowardly Lion,) the four head to the State House and immediately get the support of Virginia delegate Thomas Jefferson. John congratulates him on the convert and Franklin says he was already on their side, he opens the door to the chambers and says here’s where the fun starts. Franklin, John Adams and Hancock, sidle up to all the delegates, Adams even asking the Pennsylvania delegate, how he can address his concerns. When they return to Franklin’s, Samuel asked what all that talk’s going to accomplish. Franklin says politics is like playing chess, you always plan five steps ahead, in five steps the colonists take their King.

Back in Boston, General Thomas Gage’s barely holding it together. He says the British Empire has the most powerful in the world, yet this band of colonists has them at a standoff. One officer says that they’re just colonists, but they far outnumber the red-coats. Gage says no excuses, then an officer suggests a plan that will cost them hundreds of soldiers, they cross the harbor and march through Charlestown to capture Bunker Hill. Pitcairn says the losses they’d suffer would end up as a horrific number, the officer counters they can lose lives, they can’t lose Boston. Gage silences his Major and the plan goes into effect.

On June 16, 1775, Gage sends the orders to start the battle for Bunker Hill at daybreak. As the soldiers line up the next morning, Gage addresses his troops, tells them what they march to do today, we do for King and country and the troops respond back, for King and country. Many of us will die today and we will die with honor, The troops respond back, for King and country, HOOSAH, HOOSAH.

The colonists look to the water and see five British ships heading their way, they then start fortifying Bunker Hill so they can save it from being won back by the English. Revere pulls out a flag with a snake cut in pieces, with each colony representing a different piece of the reptile, above it read the banner, Join Or Die. They put it atop the hill and wait for their opponents arrival. Paul tells his soldiers he knows they’re scared and there’s no shame in it, anyone who has something’s afraid of dying. But he tells his men to hold the high ground and don’t let the red-coats take the hill.

The battle went through three stages, the first one the Brits pounded the colonists into the ground with rapid-fire cannons. The colonists fell back and the British advanced and this time the rebels kicked the English tails, killing line after line of red-coats as they marched in procession to their deaths. An officer called for the red-coats to fall back and seeing they had the English on the run, got the colonists giddy as they killed more and more men. Gage ordered that the retreat be halted, then tells his troops to prepare for a second advancement and he tells Pitcairn, that he’ll lead the charge. Pitcairn realized it was a suicide mission and that’s why Gage held back, but he rallied the troops by yelling for the glory of the Marines.

The Colonists had the advantage early and Pitcairn got shot on his horse fell to the ground and bled out, while his soldiers marched past him. There’s always that one scene in war films, where one of the good guys realizes his chance of survival are slim but he’s going to take out as many opponents, as he can before he falls. It’s used for dramatic effect and of course it was Dr. Joseph Warren and when Gage saw him on the battle field, charged into the fray. Warren took out a lot of soldiers, then got shot in the leg, he fell to the ground but rose when Gage rode up. Gage passed him on his horse, then stopped and shot him in the head, telling his men to mutilate the body. He first though dips his hands in Warren’s blood.

He heads straight home marches into Margaret’s bedroom and tells him he killed Warren with his own hands and shows her the blood, she starts crying and hitting him. He tells her to pack her things she’s sailing for England on the next ship.

At the Continental Congress, John Adams receives a message and tells the delegates the war’s started, as Gage killed hundreds of colonists including their good friend Dr. Joseph Warren. The delegate from Pennsylvania asks for a moment of silence. George Washington slams his hand on the table and says no, we’ve been silent too long. General Gage, is a vicious, brutal tyrant that will stop at nothing. I’ll ride to Boston and take care of him myself, any objections? The room stayed silent, Washington leaves and seconds later Samuel leaves.

John Hancock goes out to the stable to talk to Samuel, he tells him that without him, this thing falls apart. Adams says everybody in there has an agenda and Hancock agrees, everyone but Samuel. John says I finally got what you’ve fought for all this time, you just want folks to have a good life and existence. He then tells Adams that he changed Hancock, he says I’m broke and I’m okay with that, this is all I’ve got and he throws Adams the signal coin. He begs Sam not to leave, but Adams gets on his horse and says good luck. He rides a mile or so, then stops reflecting on his options. Hancock, John Adams and Franklin are at Franklin’s trying to figure out if they got all the delegates they need. Samuel walks in and says enough games, this time we do things his way. Franklin says glad you’re back.

Paul Revere’s pleasantly surprised as George Washington and six thousand soldiers arrive to help battle Gage. When the British General finds out that Washington’s arrived he tells an aide to set-up a meeting for the two of them. Gage rides out to the Colonial Encampment at night with one soldier to meet Washington, whose got Revere by his side.

Gannon attempts to rile up George’s temper by bringing up unpleasant circumstances from the past. Finally Gage tells Washington that he wants safe passage for he and his officers, or he’ll burn Boston to the ground. Washington agrees to the terms and Gage rides away.

In Philadelphia, Franklin pulls John Hancock aside and tells him he wants him to be President of the Continental Congress. John’s shocked that Ben’s picked him over Samuel, but Franklin asks if John knows he grew up in Boston and Hancock says he does. He said that he knew Hancock’s uncle very well and he could do impressive things in some areas for some people and John smiles and agrees. Ben looks him in the eye and says I know where you come from and I know where you ended up. You’re the man for the job.

Graphic tells us we’re back in Boston for Evacuation Day March 17, 1776. The red-coats are leaving Boston in droves, the colonists are elated, shooting off fireworks, dancing and drinking. Washington and Revere walk through the crowd smiling and George says to Paul, they think it’s over.

Samuel Adams addresses the Continental Congress and says to the delegates he knows what they think of him and he agrees he’s all the things they don’t like. However he says I’m meaningless to the Crown and so are all of you, they behave as if we don’t exist. We need a fair and equal chance, that’s our God-given right and I’ll fight for that and die for it. South Carolina’s the wild card for a unanimous passage and they vote yes.

As the delegates sign the Declaration Of Independence, Washington reads it aloud to his troops, we see the document getting signed, flashbacks along the journey and the British returning to the colonies to fight. But Washington yells charge and we leave these founders of our nation, to win Independence.

Photo Courtesy Of Fox

Photo Courtesy Of Fox

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Although Emmett Carver could prove that he’s a brilliant detective, there’s no room for doubt that he’s a sorry excuse for a human being. The detective heading up the murder investigation of young Danny Solano, in the new Fox series “Gracepoint,” lacks any compassion or social-skills. At one point in the third episode of the Network’s ten-part mini-series, his partner Detective Ellie Miller gives him a cup of hot coffee from her thermos, while on a stakeout, and Carver never thinks to thank her. She asks him if he’s got kids, and totally thrown off by the question, Emmett asks her why, and she responds because they must got lousy manners.

Before delving into this episode, some observations about the first three episodes of what Fox labeled a “Premiere-Event,” starting with suggesting a title change to “Creepy Town,” as the residents are some of the bizarrest characters to grace the small screen since “Twin Peaks” aired in the early nineties. Although our heart breaks for Danny’s mother Beth Solano, isn’t someone you’d describe as a “likeable character,” after going through the tragedy of losing her son. I can make a serious argument, that Ellie Miller’s the only truly good person in the seaside village, although her husband seems like a good guy, let’s see what episode four reveals.

Although the show’s held my interest through the three episodes, one thing that’s off-putting to me, telegraphing punches before they’re thrown, there were a few incidents of scenes that’d make viewers sit up and take notice, but the effect got blunted, because of tipping their pitch before it got thrown. I find it patronizing; as if the show-runners believe the viewers will get lost without obvious road signs.

A perfect example of that, played a prominent part in the third episode, that centered around where Danny’s father, Mark Solano was the night his son got murdered. Was there any doubt, that Solano stepped out on his wife that night and that’s why he didn’t cooperate with Carver and Miller? The only question that sprang up, how long would they keep that a secret and identify whose company he kept?

At the previous episode’s conclusion, we found out that Solano’s fingerprints got discovered at the hut where forensics believe Danny met his untimely fate, while he talked with Carver. The detective sent him home, and be at the station the next morning. When Mark gets home, he leaves a message for his apprentice Vince Novik, to tell the cops they got together on the night Danny got killed. He told Carver he couldn’t remember who he hung out with, at the time of Danny’s death.

When he arrives the next morning, he claims he got flustered and blanked, but he and Novik went out for food and drinks, but Carver knows he’s lying through his teeth. Miller and Carver head to Novik’s house and while he attempts to cover for his boss, while talking to Carver, Ellie finds out from Vince’s mom that they’d been home together that night, until she sent him to the drug store at 10:00 pm. One alibi flushed down the drain by a plumber’s apprentice.

Beth feels like she’s suffocating in her home and needs to go for a walk, her mother wants to join her but Beth says she wants a private walk to clear her head. As she leaves the house we see a man in a white jacket follow her, when she gets to the park, he asks if he can join her on the bench and we see yet another familiar and creepy face, “Mr. Telephone Man,” the psychic phone repairman, Raymond Connelly. He tells her he knows she’s Beth Solano and tells her he doesn’t know how she gets out of bed each morning, she smiles and replies her problem’s what to do once she leaves the bed. He then says he’s not trying to upset her but he’s got a message from Danny for her, she freaks out and runs away, but later slips a note under her front door with his contact info.

San Francisco Globe reporter Renee Clemons’ not winning any friends in Gracepoint, except for local reporter Owen Burke, whom she’s trying to arrange a you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours deal. She knows Carver from his time in Rosemont and neither like each other and he wants zero contact with her. When Vince Novik and Jack Reinhold, realize she’s a reporter they tell her to get lost, simply and plainly.

Ellie and Emmett head to Susan Wright’s, trailer at the local trailer park, a woman who resembles Fred Mertz in drag in the looks and personality departments. She’s got even less social skills than Carver and when she opens the door berates the detectives, for waking her dog. Mark Solano told Ellie and Emmett he’d fixed a busted pipe at the hut three weeks earlier and he got the keys and the work order from Wright, but she denies it. They ask her if she’ll submit to a voluntary fingerprint test to help catch Danny’s killer, she acknowledges she will by asking if they’re through talking.

Who else could be the spiritual adviser for “Creepy Town,” than a creepy preacher, otherwise known as the Reverend Paul Coates? He’s got a huge crush on Beth, although it’s tough to determine if she realizes it. He comes over for coffee and to offer her solace, when she shows him the note from Connelly and reveals what he told her. Coates strongly advises pursuing this thread, but there’s no doubt she’ll contact Connelly, she also gets a bit uneasy when Paul holds her hand a bit too long.

Carver and Miller arrive back at the station and tell Mark that Wright claims that no pipe burst or did she authorize a work-order, but Solano says she’s lying. Emmett, basically says he doesn’t care if Wright’s lying, unless Solano tells the truth where he’d been the night Danny died, he’s going to arrest him for obstruction. Solano asks Ellie if he can do that and Miller pleads not to make them take that step, but Mark remains silent.

Sure enough Connelly arrives at the Solano house in the next scene and he and Beth take a walk. He tells her Danny says he’s fine, he’s no longer in pain, then he tells her son says he died in a boat. The third message, Danny told his mother not to pursue his killer, it’s someone they know well and he doesn’t want her more upset.

Carver interviews Ellie’s son Tommy, whose best friend’s Danny. He didn’t offer up much information, but after Emmett tried his best at being comforting and telling the boy anything he says stays in that room, Tommy says that Danny told him his father beat him at least twice. After they leave, he digs into Solano’s record and finds he got arrested ten-years earlier in a bar brawl, but charges weren’t filed. This convinces Carver to place Mark under arrest.

Soon after Beth arrives home, Pete the officer that’s watching the house tells her and her daughter Chloe that Mark’s under arrest and held at the station and Chloe goes ballistic. She starts ripping Pete a new one, about the way the police is treating her family until Beth pulls her out of the room and into another room and locks the door. She says that she’s got to act older than her years, Pete’s not their friend he’s a police officer who constantly observes them. When Beth leaves the room, Chloe pulls out her cellphone and sends a text-message stating that if the recipient knows where Mark was on the night Danny got killed, they need to tell the police and nobody else needs to know. Once again, they tipped their hand as Gemma Fisher obviously was the recipient and was with Solano that night.

Gemma walks into the station and says she got instructed to talk to Carver and Ellie, then admits she and Solano got it on the night Danny got killed. She chastises herself for the lousy decision and Miller told her she had a far higher opinion of her before her admission. She then says she parted company with Mark at 1:00 am, but if that’s true where was he for the remaining 2.5 hours to reach the time he claimed to arrive back home.

Carver heads to the beach and meets with a man who seems like Emmett’s doctor, who tells the detective he needs to take a medical leave and avoid stress, or he’d soon drop dead. Carver tells him that he can’t quit until this case’s wrapped up and the doctor asks why he loves it enough to risk his life. Jeremy responds he despises everything about Gracepoint, the architecture, the weather and especially the people. When the doctor asks why he continues, Carver tells him he’s serving penance.

Solano arrives home a bit later, with charges dropped although Ellie and Carver still got suspicions. He hugs Beth and Chloe and when his daughter asks why he got arrested blamed it on a police mess up. That night Beth asks if he killed Danny and instead of saying, no he responds with questions; is that what you believe, do you think I’d do that. However he never denies it, gets up from the bed, gets dressed and leaves the house. Beth watches him leave through the bedroom and once again it’s obvious where he’s heading.

Solano told the detectives this was his first betrayal of his marital vows and he got punished by Danny dying. He heads to see Gemma, tells her the one-night stand lost him his son and asks her what to do, they start kissing passionately, but Fisher pushes him off and tells him to go home. What neither realize, is Beth watched them from above and saw everything.

Emmett’s heading home when the head of the CSI tells him they recovered a phone number minutes before in Danny’s vest, and though grousing about it, Carver goes back inside the station to attempt to trace the number.

The Story Continues Next Thursday at 9:00 pm on Fox.

Photo Courtesy Of Fox

Photo Courtesy Of Fox

Warning: Spoiler Alert

This was the show I expected coming out of the gates, someone removed the training wheels off of the new Fox series “Gotham,” in its third episode and the result was a fun and exciting ride. The pace quickened, the writing seemed shaper, we met some new interesting characters and the main storyline could have emanated from a comic book. Hopefully, this episode’s where the series finds its footing and fulfills the hopes of Fanboys, Fangirls, and comic book readers as well.

The episode began at the station house as a youth services employee was giving custody of Selina Kyle to Detective Jim Gordon, as she told the young officer she had information on the murders of Martha and Thomas Wayne. She took Gordon to the alley they got shot in and schooled him not to trust juvenile delinquents, even if they’re as cute as young Miss Kyle. Selina tells the detective that she can prove she witnessed the murder as she threw the man’s wallet she stole that night down the sewer drain. Gordon handcuffs the girl to the railing of the fire escape while he raises the man-hole cover and goes into the sewer in search of the wallet.

What he didn’t bother to do was search the girl for any implements that could help her pick the lock on the cuffs. As soon as Gordon goes underground, she produces a pen and quickly picks the lock. Gordon’s naturally disgusted standing in sewage, but he quickly sees a wallet and it’s owned by the man who reported the robbery that evening. Just then Selina peers over the edge of the sewer hole, and throws the cuffs to Gordon, saying he’ll likely need them.

Gotham’s buzzing over the charges filed against a Bernie Madoff type of investment councilor named Arnold Danzer who fleeced people throughout the city. Our first view of him takes place while he’s on the phone with his lawyer, telling him to pay off who ever needs to get paid off to ensure Danzer never spends a minute in jail. He then tells his attorney, that he’s the lawyer and it’s his job to figure out how. He leaves the building and heads out into the street where a throng of reporters try to question him and he blows him off.

Suddenly a man wearing a children’s Halloween mask of a pig rolls a push-cart down the street shouting to all “Balloons, Balloons.” He rolls the cart over to Danzer and asks him if he’d like a balloon, but the investment banker ignores him. The masked man asks “Arnold Danzer?” and when he stops the masked man attached a handcuff to his hand, the other part of the cuff’s attached to a weather balloon and Danzer’s pulled into the sky by the helium balloon until he vanishes from site.

Back at the station Gordon’s appalled at the act by the vigilante, while Bullock’s amused. He tells his partner that Danzer’s a scumbag that got what he deserved, but Jim counters that citizens can’t take the law into their own hands. Harvey tells Gordon it’s a present and he should enjoy it, however Gordon does just the opposite.

Officers Allen and Montoya from the Major Crimes Unit pay Fish Mooney a visit to inquire on the whereabouts of Oswald Cobblepot and when they ask Mooney if he’s dead she admits he is, but tells them she’s not to blame. She then tells the cops that she’s heard that one of their own, Detective Jim Gordon sprayed Cobblepot’s brains all over the Gotham River. Allen asks why Gordon would do that, but Mooney tells him he’s asking the wrong question. She says what he should ask is whose powerful enough to get a young detective to kill someone for him and Montoya replies Carmine Falcone. Mooney tells the officer her deductive powers are amazing.

Of course Cobblepot’s not dead and we find out he’s back in Gotham. Unfortunately for him, so does one of Mooney’s thugs, whose ready to turn him over to her. But Oswald strikes first stabbing his assailant in the calf with his knife, then slashes him until he dies. He steals money from the corpse and asks the local food truck vendor for a tuna fish sandwich. He then heads to an Italian restaurant with a reputation for serving those who are “Connected.” He applies for a job in the kitchen, but the manager says Oswald doesn’t even have the right shoes. He then looks over at one of the kitchen staff and looks at his shoes. When the guy from the kitchen starts to head home Cobblepot approaches him at the bus stop and asks what size shoes does the man wear. The guy looks at him funny and tells him he wears size nine and Oswald smiles and says what a coincidence.

We head to Wayne Manor and witness a very peculiar site, the Wayne’s butler Alfred Pennyworth’s trying to engage young Bruce in a sword fight using a pair of canes. Bruce tells him he doesn’t want to play, but Alfred starts parrying and thrusting and Wayne reactively blocks his shots with his cane. This goes on for a bit, then Bruce yells he doesn’t want to play and his anger puts him on the offensive and backs Alfred into a corner. They both smile when they realize what happened.

That’s a twist of the legacy as Alfred never encouraged young Bruce to learn to defend himself or send him down the path that lead to him becoming Batman. Was this an isolated incident, or will this Alfred play a different role in Wayne’s upbringing in this new telling of the tale? Although his past hasn’t been revealed, he’s portrayed as someone who looks like they can defend themselves and though he gets cross with Bruce, we know he loves him dearly.

Although nobody cared when “The Balloon Man,” sent Arnold Danzer into space, the reactions far different after he disposes of his second victim. This time it’s a dirty cop Lieutenant Cranston who’s stopped by the man with the cart. Cranston perceives him as a threat and disables him, emptying the contents of “The Balloon Man’s,” pockets, but he’s able to slip the handcuff on Cranston’s ankle and he sails off into space kicking and screaming.

Allen and Montoya, confront Gordon on what Mooney told them and asks if he killed Cobblepot for money or as deference to Falcone. Gordon just tells them they’re wrong and says if they find any evidence, come find him. Montoya won’t let it lie there however, as she heads over to Jim’s fiancée, Barbara Kean’s apartment.

When Renee and Barbara talked in the first episode, the body language between the two of them suggested they had a past together and we confirm that in this conversation. Montoya and Kean were a couple, apparently a dysfunctional one as there were lies and possibly both of them were abusing alcohol and or drugs. But Montoya says that she’s telling her former lover the truth, Gordon’s a dirty cop, just ask him where he was the night Oswald Cobblepot got killed.

The distributor of the weather balloons calls the police and then comes in and meets with Harvey and Jim. the guy’s named Gerrick and he says a former employee stole four of them from him, that means two more remain. They track the former employee down and bring him into custody, he admits he stole the balloons, but says he sold them to a man who concealed his identity. Bullock then says to the kid, it’s the perfect crime, no body no evidence. The kid laughs and says that Harvey doesn’t know anything about weather balloons, they reach a certain height then the air gets cold enough to make the balloon brittle and it pops, the bodies will return.

In a nice piece of black humor, we’re outside in downtown Gotham watching an elderly woman walking her little dog, when she suddenly looks up and all she says is “Oy!” The next scene has a tarp covering both bodies, we can see the woman’s feet sticking out and Cranston’s arm. Uniforms searched Cranston’s body and he had a form on him with Gordon’s name on it. Jim knows whose responsible, it’s the child services employee Davis Lamond, that handed over Selina Kyle at the beginning of the episode.

He’s not at work and officers search his home and find no trace of him or the remaining balloon. (The third balloon got cuffed to a Catholic Church official who molested children.) The two cops try to figure out where Lamond’s storing the balloons, when Gordon figures it out, since there’s a new child services center the old one’s no longer used.

They head to the building and find the last weather balloon and start searching for Lamond, Bullock instead gets found by him and holds a gun to Harvey’s head as he goes to talk to Gordon. Davis says that Jim should work with him not against him, they’re both trying to shut down corruption in Gotham. Gordon explains that’s why we have the criminal justice system and he pledges to Lamond to make it work, but  “The Balloon Man,” says the police’s time’s past and then attempts to shoot Gordon but misses badly. Bullock subdues Lamond then hooks his arm to the weather balloon and the vigilante starts to rise. Gordon jumps up and grabs his feet, but the balloon keeps rising, he tells Bullock to shoot the balloon and he does, they both drop from the sky and land on the roof of a panel truck.

Jim heads to Barbara’s apartment and he’s physically and mentally spent. He tells his fiancée, that more vigilantes will follow, that corruptions leaked into every corner of Gotham’s infrastructure and branch of government. He says there are dirty cops out there, that will gladly shoot a suspect to death rather than try them. Keane looks him in the eyes and asks him, if he’s like that and he asks her if she thinks he’s capable of that mentality. She smiles kisses him, responds he’s not and that’s why she loves him. Just then the doorbell rings and Barbara answers it, she then turns to her fiancée with a confused look on her face and calls his name. Standing in the doorway, Oswald Cobblepot who greets Gordon by saying “Hello  James, old friend.”

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

Photo Courtesy Of ABC

Photo Courtesy Of ABC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

If you’re going to create a show with a “Gimmick,” than you have to utilize that plot device to make your story and characters, bigger, grander and fuller. The new ABC series “Forever,” qualifies as a show with a “Gimmick,” its hero’s Doctor Henry Morgan, medical examiner for the NYPD, however he’s over 200-years-old, as he just can’t stay dead. Although he’s gotten killed countless times in his existence, he comes back every time no worse for the wear. However if the only reason for viewers to tune in’s to see how Morgan bites it this week, the story would grow old quickly and viewer interest would wane.

What the show was able to do in the pilot and once again in the third episode of the series and what could be the show’s hook, is exploring Henry Morgan’s time on this planet via flashbacks, comparing and contrasting situations he’s going through with events he lived through before. The medical situation Morgan confronted in this episode, took him back in time to the turn of the previous century, as he watched a friend grow sick and eventually die in front of Henry despite his best efforts.

Having a gruff old man with a gooey-center’s an added bonus on this show, as Judd Hirsch plays Morgan’s “companion,” Abe perfectly, in perhaps his best performance on TV since his glory days in “Taxi.” Although old in years, Abe still relishes his days as a protestor at Berkley and constantly pesters Morgan to get out and enjoy life more often. Abe opens the episode wistfully watching a youngster doing tricks on a skateboard, wishing he could be that boy just for a moment.

The episode starts in New York City’s Chinatown, as a well dressed elderly business man gets his briefcase stolen by an Asian teenager. Although the man appears close to 70-years-old, he chases down the kid, tackles him and starts pummeling the teenager in the face. Suddenly his body seizes and he starts hemorrhaging from his nose, then collapses. The teenager grabs the briefcase and runs off, as the man dies on the sidewalk.

When Morgan and his assistant Lucas examine the body the following morning and they’re amazed that the victim’s body resembled a guy in his early thirties, who works out every day. Morgan quickly ascertains that he wasn’t even injured in the mugging, in fact according to his knuckles the assailant took the brunt of the beating. However by the time Detective Jo Martinez shows up at the lab, Henry’s determined that the contents of the man’s stomach were what killed him. He can’t identify the liquid, but believes it’s some sort of energy compound. He then produces the victims brain filled with holes, ravaged by Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s Disease and dementia according to the medical examiner.

Martinez and Morgan meet with the victim’s son, who’s also amazed at his father’s torso, saying he’d never been that fit as a young man. He told the pair that his father changed two-years earlier, when his mother succumbed to cancer. Ever since his wife died, he started partying with people half his age and lost contact with the family. Martinez asks the son if they have permission to open his father’s briefcase and the young man consents, inside’s about seven grand in cash and a business card that’s logo’s a snake eating its own tail, a sign of eternity according to Henry.

Martinez and Morgan head to where the mugging took place and they follow a well dressed-attractive woman who looks out-of-place in the neighborhood. They follow her to a building with the same symbol on their door as the one on the card and step inside, finding a health clinic that promotes reversing the aging process. As they wait to meet the doctor in charge, Henry goes back in his mind to the year 1906.

Morgan and a friend and colleague are watching a con-artist trying to sell his magic-elixir to the crowd in the busy city square and both doctors are laughing derisively at the fools that believe in miracle cures. They jokingly describe all the cures that the great unwashed masses gladly hand over their hard-earned money for.

Henry returns to the present, when the head of the facility Dr. Gardner introduces himself to the pair. They tell him about the victim and he’s shocked, saying it’s the first report of adverse effects from their drug called Aterna, which gained approval of the FDA. Morgan asks Gardner to explain how the drug works and Gardner compares it to steroids and HGH for athletes, he says the reason that pro sports banned them was because they worked. His clients get a formulation that turns back the clock physically, giving them the physique and energy of somebody half their age. Martinez asks for a sample, but Gardner tells her they’re out of stock with a long customer backlog. She asks for a business card instead and she escorts him to his office.

Morgan sees the woman they followed into the building and says he’s interested in the product but asks her if it really works. She says it’s miraculous and changed her life. Henry then accidentally on purpose bumps into the woman and she drops her packets of Aterna, so Morgan collects them and hands them to her keeping one for himself. Martinez secured Gardner’s fingerprints on the business card and they head to their respective work-places to start digging.

Lucas’ starts to freak out in the morgue, asking another attendant if he knows where a corpse is, the last person documented working on the body was Lucas and it’s the second body that’s come up missing that week. The other attendant, shows little sympathy and walks away.

Henry starts breaking down the compound in his lab and once again flashes back to the start of the 20th century, this time he encounters his friend receiving shock-therapy by holding a live wire in each hand. Morgan, berates his friend for his foolishness, reminding him they’re men of science, when his friend goes into a coughing jag, spitting blood into his handkerchief. Henry quickly realizes and his friend confirms, he’s contracted tuberculosis, telling Morgan that they’re men of science until science no longer works.

Henry bursts into Martinez’s office yelling tuberculosis, then explains what he means when he sees the confused look on her face. He tells the detective that just like TB eats holes in victims lungs, Aterna does the same to its victim’s brains. He’s determined that brain tissue’s used in the compound, that produces the miraculous results but causes the horrific damage. Martinez also discovered that Gardner’s not a doctor and he’s using an alias, he ran a health clinic in Florida where two patients died before it got closed down by the state.

They head to Gardner’s home in the Hampton’s where a party’s going on poolside filled with young beautiful people. They finally track down Gardner and his girlfriend and Martinez says they need to head to her station, when Gardner questions why she starts revealing information. He says he’ll gladly go with him he just wants to get out of his bathing suit and into more formal clothes. As the pair wait for him, they hear a crash upstairs and when they get to Gardner’s bedroom they find him dead, slit in the chest with a temporary scalpel.

Morgan and Martinez head back to the medical examiner’s office and Henry tells Lucas it’s time to fess up about the two missing corpses. (How could Lucas even think Morgan wouldn’t realize what’s going on?) It turns out that a dozen corpses have come up missing throughout the five boroughs in the last year. Henry then tells Lucas to tell him step by step the details of the day the first body turned up missing and soon determines that the ambulance driver Anton’s the guy stealing the bodies and murdered Gardner.

Martinez arrests Anton then questions him on his involvement and he tells her that he’s the creator of Aterna and he and Gardner acted alone. Jo hears a knock on the one-way mirror and Henry tells her to ask him if he used a certain technique, and the former Eastern-European responds he did. Of course Morgan made up the technique proving Anton, didn’t create the compound. Right then a uniformed officer gives Jo a copy of the client list, Morgan looks at it, turns pale and runs out of the office.

Abe’s showing a painting to a couple who look interested in buying, but Morgan bursts in and chases them out. He then asks Abe if he took Aterna as his name appeared on the client list. Abe told him he just went in for a consult and didn’t buy or take anything. Morgan asks him why he would even entertain the idea and Abe responds, that sometimes he worries who’ll look after Henry after he’s gone.

He then tells Morgan that he asked so many questions they brought out the chemist to explain things to him, a very pretty young lady. Henry asks if he can identify her and Abe just responds with a look that says are you truly stupid? They head down to Jo’s station and with the computer programmed suspect sketch application identifies her. She’s the girlfriend of Gardner they met at the party and Anton’s sister.

Abe heads to the subway and sees the woman on the platform, then follows her into the car she gets into. He manages to call the station and speak to Henry, but they get cut off. The woman gets off at Grand Central Station and Henry and Jo find Abe and he points them in the direction the woman went. Henry finds her on the subway platform and she says she got blackmailed into making the compound, or threatened with being deported, she cries she’s sorry and she says she’s responsible for all the deaths. She attempts to step into the pathway of the oncoming subway car, but Morgan rescues her, telling her she’s too young to die.

We head back once again to the early 1900’s and now Henry’s friend’s near death. Morgan’s trying blood transfusions and tells his friend about techniques used in Europe, when his friend tells Henry enough. He’s not giving up, he’s giving in and he wants Henry to take him outdoors. Morgan wheels his friend outside in a wheelchair and his friend looks joyous, telling Henry to look how beautiful everything is.

Henry and Abe walk back to the shop and Morgan says he’s got work to do in the lab, but Abe tells him he needs him to come with him to help him. The last scene shows Abe wearing a helmet, knee and elbow pads on a skateboard, going to attempt his first half-pipe, we see him start and then see Morgan applaud.

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

Photo Courtesy Of Paul Schiraldi/HBO

Photo Courtesy Of Paul Schiraldi/HBO

Warning: Spoiler Alert

The third time was the charm for the new HBO Original Series “The Leftovers,” as episode three departed from the first two installments, by concentrating on one character, instead of going through the labyrinth of plotlines. We viewed the entire episode through the eyes of Reverend Matt Jamison, an outcast and divisive figure in the town of Mapleton. We see the Reverend giving a sermon to his congregation, that consists of about 20-people scattered through the pews. He first talks of a boy who overcame leukemia and then about a little girl named Emily who’s been in a coma for the last nine-days.

As the group bows their heads to pray, the front door of the church swings open and a large, hefty man stomps down the main aisle glaring at the Reverend. When he reaches the pulpit he attacks Jamison, first landing a blow to his nose, knocking Matt to the floor and then starts kicking him in the chest and ribs. He then pulls out a sheet of paper, that contains the picture of a young woman that vanished on October 14, and states she was a drug-dealer. The man crumples up the leaflet and sticks it into the Reverend’s mouth then storms out of the building.

The leaflet and others like them were creations by Jamison, trying to convince the departed were not taken from the planet as part of the Rapture, the Reverend searches for people with unsavory pasts to prove they were unworthy of being saved by God. This is far from the first angry member of the community, as many have reacted the same way since Matt started passing out the leaflets. His once high standing in Mapleton has vanished, as most residents consider him evil or possibly insane.

Jamison is in the emergency room getting his nose stitched and other injuries attended to, while a plain-clothes detective asks the Reverend about his beating in a derisive tone. Just then police chief Kevin Garvey walks in, asks Matt if he’s pressing charges against his attacker and when the Reverend replies he won’t, Garvey dismisses the detective. There’s a connection between them as Matt was a close friend of Kevin Garvey Sr. and the Chief expresses concern about the Reverend’s campaign. Matt tells Garvey that his father understood what truly happened three-years earlier and the Chief reminds him that Garvey Sr. is in a mental institution.

Matt’s received a flurry of voice-mails from a loan officer at the FDR Bank and the Reverend is doing his best to avoid speaking to the bank employee. He soon realizes that he’s become a target of the “Remnants,” as two chain-smoking women dressed in white follow him where ever he goes. Finally tiring of the game of cat and mouse, Jamison offers the pair a box of donated clothes, apologizing that none of them are white. He also asks them to relate to their leader Patti, that they are wasting their time as he will not join their cult.

When the Reverend gets back to the church, there’s a knock on the door and a young father carrying his infant son asks if the church’s open, and Matt welcomes them both inside. The young man explains that his wife and he were faithful parishioners until the departure, but his wife would have nothing to do with religion since that day. He tells Jamison that she’s having a manicure and pedicure while he watches his son and asks how long a Baptism would take and Matt responds with a broad smile. Matt puts on his robes and performs the ceremony and when the man asks what the fee was, he’s told it’s on the house. The Reverend does suggest that he, his wife and newly Baptized son attend the following Sunday’s service, but the man responds that wouldn’t happen.

Matt accidentally picks up the phone as FDR Bank calls again, he explains he’s experienced phone trouble and tells the loan officer he would head straight for the bank. When he arrives he’s hit with some catastrophic news, the bank has a buyer for the church, as it became bank property when the loan for the building went into default. The bank representative tells that the group that made the offer would pay $135 thousand and if Matt could top that by a dollar, the bank will give him the church. Matt asks the deadline and the loan officer tells him by the end of business the following day.

We find out in the following scene that Matt’s sister is our old friend Nora Durst, the woman who lost her entire family in the departure. She asks Matt if his wife Mary’s okay and when he responds she’s fine Nora asks him what’s troubling him. He tells her that he needs to borrow $135 thousand to save the church. Nora’s not happy with the request and her brother reminds her that their parents used to run the parish. When she asks him how he thinks she has the money to lend him, he brings up the departure benefits she received for her husband and two children.

Nora tells her brother she will give him the money if he stops his newsletter campaign. Matt tells her he can’t, the exposing of bad people among the departed was his mission. He then destroys any chance of getting the money from his sister, when he tells her that her husband Doug was having an affair with their kids pre-school teacher and he had documented proof. Nora started hysterically laughing as she attempts to process what her brother just told her and why he would sink so low.

Matt arrives home and in his living room a Latina woman is sitting on his couch, who’s the caretaker for Jamison’s wife Mary. She’s another not pleased with the Reverend as he’s three weeks behind on her salary. He gives her the little money in his wallet and promise to pay her in full as soon as possible. She’s not impressed by the money he gives her and tells him that unless she gets paid she will have to quit and tells him that Mary needs her bath. We see photographs of Matt and Mary, she comes across as a very pretty and vibrant woman, but she’s no longer that woman as she lies in bed gaunt and unresponsive with her eyes wide open. Matt bathes her and puts her to bed, then unfolds a cot for himself next to the bed.

As the Reverend climbs into his cot, the emotion he’s repressed comes pouring out as he cries and sobs so hard that he starts shaking. He then sees a painting of heaven and he realizes what he must do. He gets out of bed, gets dressed and calls his wife’s caretaker to watch over Mary while he goes on a mission. He tells the caretaker that she’ll be paid in full when he returns home in the morning.

Armed with a shovel, Jamison drives over to the Garvey house and walks into the backyard, when he’s startled by one of the “Remnants,” Laurie Garvey. He tells Laurie that her father-in-law had stashed something for Matt and he was there to retrieve it, Laurie writes him a note pleading that Matt not mention she was at her former home. The Reverend responds that if she says nothing about him being there, that he will respond in kind.

He enters the garage, moves a Webber grill and starts digging at the dirt where the grill had been. Quickly he finds a plate covering a hole and he pulls out a Jif Peanut Butter jar stuffed with cash. He pulls out two huge rolls of money and then puts everything else back where it belonged. Jamison heads to a casino and gives the teller the cash so he can get chips to bet with, she gives him $20 thousand in chips back.

Matt walks directly to a roulette table and puts all his chips on red, a floor supervisor walks over and informs the Reverend that no-limit tables are in the back, but he refuses to move from that table. The supervisor gets clearance from his superiors and wishes Jamison good luck. Lady Luck’s on his side as his money is soon doubled. He sticks with the same bet and seconds later his nest egg’s grown to 80 K. A young couple come over to watch and when Matt says he’s going again, the woman bets against him. The wheel turns round in slow-motion and we watch Matt’s impassive face light up with unadulterated joy. He now has $160,000, enough to replenish the peanut butter jar, buy the church with plenty left over to pay the caretaker.

He get’s into his car and the guy who was at the table approaches and congratulates him. He then asks Matt for one hundred to get he and his girlfriend gas to travel back home and Jamison peels off two hundred to give him. The guy then tells Matt to keep the two bills and grabs the envelope with the rest of the money and knocks the Reverend down. Matt however, summons the strength to rise chase down the thief, knocking him to the ground and then slamming his opponent’s head repeatedly against the black-top, grabs the money gets back in his car and releases a primal-scream.

It’s morning when Jamison enters the Mapleton town limits and “Love Will Keep Us Together” plays on the car radio, he looks at the envelope blood stained but filled with cash when he sees two male “Remnants,” attacked by a guy in a passing truck who hits one of the men with a rock in the head. Matt pulls over to help and calls 911 just as the truck returns and this time he’s struck by a rock and the screen goes black.

The Reverend finds himself outside his church with his face completely healed and sees groups of people heading into the building. One of his stalkers dressed in bright colors and greets him at the door, when Matt asks if he’s too late the woman responds all are welcome. He walks in and sees his church packed to the rafters, but he suddenly wakes up finding himself in a hospital bed. Finding out it’s 4:30 pm, he gets dressed and drives as quickly as he can to the bank with the money.

The bank’s closed, but he bangs on the door until a security guard comes out to tell him they’re closed, however the loan officer seeing it’s Matt tells the guard to let him in. Matt hands the man the money, but the bank official tells him that he’s three days late. Apparently the injury kept him unconscious for over 72-hours and the bank took the other group’s offer when they couldn’t contact Jamison. He tells Matt the group started work on the property the day before.

The Reverend drives to his former church and quickly realizes that the “Remnants,” have bought the church and are in the process of painting everything white. Matt locks eyes with Patti as the episode comes to the conclusion.

This was by far the most enjoyable episode of the series as we saw things through one character’s perspective, there were no perplexing unexplained developments as the story came across clearly and plainly. Matt Jamison is a flawed man battling inner-demons, but we understood his motivation whether we agreed with it or not. Creator Damon Lindelof, excelled at these type of stories in his classic series “Lost,”  as we learned about all the castaways through flashback episodes. This episode gives me hope that “The Leftovers,” can live up to the standards I expected before the series debuted. This is a start and hopefully the show will start to follow this template more often, if not in every episode.

The story will pick up again next Sunday night on HBO

Photo Courtesy Of FX Network

Photo Courtesy Of FX Network

Warning: Spoiler Alert

It is the first day of the Presidency for Jamal Al Fayeed at the beginning of the third episode of the FX Network summer series “Tyrant,” and the new leader of his Middle-Eastern nation declares it an amazing morning. He had woken hours earlier as his brother Barry/Bassam told him that he would stay in their homeland for a while to help his brother set up his administration.

Upon rising for the day, he realizes that his wife Leila spent the night in his bed for the first time in years. When Jamal questions her unusual actions, his wife responds that she thought someone should sleep with him, his first night back from the hospital, recovering from an attack on his life. Leila tells her husband that she wants them to resume life as a normal married couple, after years of estrangement. Jamal questions her motives, but she tells him she just wants to help him succeed in his new role.

While the elder Al Fayeed brother starts getting closer with his wife, his brother is preparing for life without wife Molly and his teenage son and daughter as the couple decided that it would be best for Molly’s medical practice and their kids, for the three of them to head home to Pasadena. Molly asks to talk to her husband alone and then questions whether Barry staying alone is the best decision. Allowing logic to override his emotions he tells his wife that the best decision is for the three of them to head home.

Bassam is at the table with the country’s top officials when Jamal enters the room for the first time as President. He talks about his late father and declares that he soaked up all the knowledge the former President possessed  He says that he’s prepared to handle the duties ahead of him and tells the group that his brother will become a permanent member of his top staff and will hold the title of Special Advisor to the President. Bassam tries to graciously decline the title, but Jamal insists.

The first order of business comes from Yussef, the former President’s chief advisor. He tells Jamal that he had recently spoke with Walid Rashid, who they pay to keep the dissidents in line and he gave Yussef a petition calling for the crackdowns on searching each vehicle and the imposed curfew will hurt their business the following week during the pilgrimage. Jamal responds that Rashid could have the restrictions lifted if he tells them where Rashid’s radical nephew Ihab’s hiding.  The advisor replies that Rashid says his nephew’s location is a mystery to him and says that his nephew was not involved in the attack of Jamal.

General Tariq Al Fayeed, the former President’s brother says that they have proof that Ihab set up the attempt and says that the syringe that stabbed him contained the deadly poison Ricin and that they have a witness. A closed-door opens and the husband of the woman who tried to kill Jamal is in chains. Ahmed tells the leaders that his wife was in love with Jamal and that Ihab found out about their relationship and threatened to murder the couple’s two sons if she didn’t cooperate.

Yussef and Walid Rashid are in a car in front of the hideout of Ihab and his followers, after Rashid told the advisor the location. Rashid  is torn that he has given up his brother’s son to the authorities, but Yussef tells him he did the right thing and all would be captured without harm. Seconds later a series of explosions go off and the soldiers capture the rebels.

The top official’s meeting the next morning includes the Ambassador from the U.S. John Tucker as Jamal explains that he has news that may interest the American. Tariq announces that they captured Ihab and his followers the night before and the restrictions will end as soon as Ihab is hung in the public square. Bassam is incredulous that hanging’s still sanctioned by the Government and that Ihab will not have a trial. He tells his brother that it’s barbaric, but his Uncle Tariq responds that it’s effective in quelling a rebellion.

After the meeting Bassam gets a call from his childhood friend Fauzi Nadal, now a journalist critical of the Al Fayeed regime. He sarcastically congratulates his friend about his new title, then tells Bassam that they are about to execute an innocent man. Nadal tells him he’ll reveal the name if Bassam can spring his daughter from prison as the authorizes captured her in the raid on Ihab’s camp.

Bassam and Nadal’s daughter are in the back of a limousine in the next scene as he has gotten her release. He tells her the alibi that he told authorities and tells her it’s important that she sticks to it. Samira expresses her appreciation by spitting in her benefactor’s face.

They arrive at Fauzi’s apartment and Nadal chastises his daughter then asks if she thanked his friend. She replies that Bassam is an Al Fayeed and she owes him nothing, in fact he owes her. Fauzi apologizes for Samira’s lack of gratitude and then tells his friend that the case against Ihab’s fabricated and Ahmed is truly the guilty party. He gives him a report he had worked on which also revealed that the syringe contained sink cleanser, not Ricin.

Bassam heads to the prison and meets with Ahmed and asks him if Tariq coerced him into implicating Ihab and the prisoner denies it. Bassam then tells Ahmed that if Ihab had planned the attack the syringe would be filled with Ricin instead of cleanser. He also tells him that the regime won’t release him despite their lies, but if he confesses Bassam assures him that his boys will have financial security for life. Ahmed then tells him the truth, that his wife despised Jamal and he raped her in front of her family. She told Ahmed that the next time he arrived she would kill herself, but instead the two planned to murder Jamal. Bassam’s disgusted by his brother’s actions, but tells Ahmed he’ll keep his promise.

He heads back to the palace and wakes Molly, begging her and the kids to stay with him rather than catch the plane to Pasadena the next day. He tells her he has to stay but he won’t survive without her. Molly readily agrees but can’t understand why her husband’s compelled to talk to Jamal in the middle of the night.

A member of Jamal’s staff wakes him telling the President that his brother insists on speaking with him immediately. When he steps into the hallway Bassam grabs him by the neck and starts choking him. Leila hears the commotion and comes out to stop the fight. Bassam calls Jamal insane and Leila asks her husband what his brother means. Jamal says it’s a private matter then asks Bassam to join him in the steam room to discuss things.

When they are alone Jamal tells Bassam that he’s done terrible things but he’s now reformed. Bassam tells him that if they hang Ihab, people will eventually realize his innocence and overthrow the Government. He convinces his brother to release Ihab and his followers and consoles him by telling him the country will soon have a hanging as Ahmed will receive his proper punishment. Jamal asks what he receives in return and Barry/Bassam tells his brother that he gets he and his family to stay in their homeland.

The story will pick up again next Tuesday on FX.

Photo Credit: Blake Tyers/AMC

Photo Credit: Blake Tyers/AMC


If there were any doubts that Cardiff Electric’s Senior Product Manager Joe MacMillan would do anything to see his vision of his company building a revolutionary personal computer on his terms, they were laid to rest in episode three of “Halt And Catch Fire.” The former IBM employee, first attempted to arrange for a revenue infusion through his own connections, then proceeded to sabotage a deal that he disapproved of. Fans of the series, that have hoped that beneath his slick exterior exists a good and righteous man heading into this episode witnessed that MacMillan will cross any barriers to attain what he wants.

The episode began in front of the home of Donna and Gordon Clark as their daughters departure to school hit a snag when the family found a badly hurt bird in their front bushes. Our first image is a close-up of Gordon’s concerned face as he examines the bird, he wants to take the creature to a veterinarian, but Donna reminds her husband that they have just one car at their disposal, as the mechanics have his car in the shop for repair. With their daughters running late for school, Gordon’s neighbor and fellow engineer at Cardiff, Brian offers to give him a ride to work.

Clark’s empathy for the wounded bird may have something to do with the mission he faces when he arrives at work. Gordon’s promotion and new office, also comes with responsibility that he is not particularly suited for. His job is to pare down the company’s staff of software engineers, from the current roster of 48 employees down to 12, meaning he has to break the news to 36 of his fellow engineers they are no longer employed.

We move on to find Cameron Howe asleep on the couch of her basement office, until woken by a janitor vacuuming. After getting dressed she goes upstairs to the main offices and starts collecting possessions of the still exiting former employees. One guy who did not take the news that well, looked at Cameron as if she were a grave-robber indignant that she had already started collecting her new stash before they had cleared the building. Howe with her omnipresent headphones affixed atop her head was rather oblivious to what the guy even said to her.

MacMillan and Sales Manager John Bosworth have a meeting with the 12 remaining engineers, however every concept that Joe comes up with, the engineers quickly plug it full of holes.  Joe asks Gordon to step out into the hallway with him and expresses shock that these were the 12 men that Clark had picked to save from all the former employees. Gordon counters that their skill-sets make them by far the best they could have retained and Joe is going to have to show some patience if he wants the crew to see things his way.

We next see MacMillan talk with a well dressed man in the company’s lobby lounge. Bosworth sees the pair and Joe, goes over to him before John can reach them. MacMillan explains to Bosworth that the man is an old associate of his and a Venture Capitalist, looking to make a mark in the “Silicon Prairie” and they believe that Cardiff can be the avenue with which they get what they are looking for.

Bosworth tells Joe, that no decisions can be made unless he clears it with Cardiff’s owner Nathan, but MacMillan tells John, that he informed him early in the week. Bosworth brings Joe’s connection into his office and soon shows his disdain when he realizes this company would be heavily involved in Cardiff’s day-to-day operations. When the executive proposes that his company put an employee at Cardiff to oversee things, Bosworth reached his breaking point. He puts on his “Good Old Boy” persona and makes Cardiff sound like a Mom and Pop operation. Seeing his vision rebuffed, the Venture Capitalist shakes Bosworth’s and MacMillan’s hands and ends the negotiation.

The pair join Cardiff Electric’s owner at a steakhouse and Nathan makes it clear to Joe, that Bosworth is in charge of all financial decisions and he will not tolerate MacMillan trying to attempt a deal without John’s knowledge and approval. Joe plays the good soldier and readily agrees to play things Nathan’s way. The company owner then tells the pair that he has contacted an old friend named Lulu, who has the resources and might have the desire to bankroll the project. John and Joe will meet her the next evening at a dinner party at her house.

Later that evening Cameron goes back upstairs to the office floor to confiscate more items for her working quarters. She enters Bosworth’s office and  gets startled when she finds him still there. John tells Cameron that if not for her friend Joe, he would be home by now. He then tells Cameron she can work as late as she wants at Cardiff’s headquarters, but she can not use the offices as her home.

We finally get a chance to see Donna Clark at work, as she discusses a business proposal with a fellow employee at Texas Instruments. We learn from the conversation that Donna and the man were friends in high school and judging by the uneasiness that Donna projects, they may have been more than just friends. The man asks Donna if she could have a report that she projected would take a few days to finish, by the next day and she tells him she will get it done.

Things are not running as smoothly for the software engineers over at Cardiff, as the remaining staff take over a conference room to work together as a team. Gordon and Brian are trying to come up with a design for the 15 pound portable personal computer that MacMillan has envisioned. Every time Clark comes up with a plan, Brian is the voice of doom, pointing out the difficulties they would encounter. Brian tells Gordon, that he has to talk to Joe the next day and tell him that his vision is unrealistic. Gordon begrudgingly agrees to talk with the Senior Product Manager the next day. They do accomplish one thing however, christening their new work area as the “KILL-ROOM.”

Cameron is back down in her basement dwelling and starts going through some mail on her desk.  Her mood brightens drastically when she opens a check made out to her for over $382.00, she quickly leaves her office and goes out grocery shopping. Leaving the store with her arms loaded with bags filled of groceries, she comes across two guys and a woman about her age hanging out in an alley. Her momentary fear that the trio will accost her and take her stuff, vanishes when she starts talking with them. They tell her they have plans for later that day, but presently they are just hanging around in hopes of being able to get some vodka. When Cameron asks the threesome if that is the best plan they can come up with, the woman asks Howe if she has a better idea. After a pause, she smiles and says she does.

We shift to the Clark’s home and we encounter both Donna and Gordon working on their respective assignments. Gordon’s stuck and asks Donna for some advice, but she tells him she has to finish her own project. Curiosity gets the better of her seconds later and she theorizes that if the computer’s design has the circuits “piggy-backing” each other, it could solve the design problems that her husband is encountering. Gordon thinks the idea is brilliant and presents the proposal the next day at the office.

Clark shows Donna’s design to a couple of his fellow engineers the next morning, who become very excited about the prospects of the configuration. As they start to brain-storm, Brian walks into the office and immediately shoots the idea down, because it would be far too costly to build the new configuration. One can almost see the black cloud forming over Clark’s head, as he allows his neighbor’s words to convince him the plan is not practical.

Bosworth and MacMillan arrive at Lulu’s estate for dinner and Lulu greets them at the door (guest star Jean Smart) with her escort, a much younger man whose function apparently is to provide her with accompaniment for social functions. Lulu is a still attractive woman, although the years are catching up with her and the red dye she colors her hair with is not flattering. She is a rather loud and abrasive woman, a person used to calling the shots and getting her way, and she wastes little time with social niceties, as she informs MacMillan that her offer is to acquire 80% of the personal computer venture for by investing ten million dollars. Revolted by the offer, Joe turns it down without hesitation. Lulu praises his bravado, but she realizes it is false, as at this point Cardiff has nowhere else to turn. Bosworth stepped into the middle of the fray, smoothing out the ruffled feathers and suggesting they go sit down to dinner.

Turns out Cameron’s plan was to rent a hotel room, where she, the trio and some other young people are dancing and imbibing. Howe refuses an offer for some vodka, choosing to dance instead. Apparently the music and dancing are not enough to get Cameron out of her funk, so she starts chugging the vodka. A few minutes later she awakes from her drunken haze to find one of the original trio trying to tattoo her upper arm with what look like circuits. Howe throws him off her and storms into the bathroom, attempting to clean herself. As she stares at her arm we realize she has an idea for her computer. After trying to write a couple of equations on the bathroom mirror with lipstick, only to cross them out immediately, she leaves the hotel room without anyone noticing.

Back at Lulu’s party, there is polite banter going on, until she presses Joe on the subject of her offer. MacMillan proceeds to turn down the offer and tear Lulu apart verbally. After his tirade she turns to Bosworth and asks whether the deal is good enough for him, to which he replies that he will have the paper work completed the next morning. Lulu then turns to Joe and tells him, that he just needs to realize on which side of the saddle he belongs on. Lulu then asks her escort to fetch the guests some brandy for a celebration. Moments after the escort exits the room, MacMillan does the same. He finds the escort amidst a decanter collection and the man admits he does not know what brandy looks like. Joe silently puts the moves on the guy and the two of them kiss, the other man being receptive to the overture before the camera fades to black.

By the time the two men make it back to the dining room, all the other guests have left and it is just Bosworth and Lulu waiting for them. She then asks her escort what took him so long and states that it is now too late for brandy. The man replies that he and Joe chose another wine and by his newly assertive manner realizes that he and MacMillan had relations and the revelation is immediately telegraphed by the expression on her face. She’s crushed by the realization that MacMillan now has the upper hand in the situation.

Outside the home, a clueless Bosworth can’t comprehend why Lulu suddenly withdrew her offer, when they had a deal in principle, until he realizes that Joe’s poker face probably means that he was somehow responsible for the action. As MacMillan gets into his car and drives away, John asks and then screams what Joe said to Lulu.

We shift to Brian’s car as he is giving Gordon a ride home from the office. Brian is rambling on about some game of bridge he recently played in and the expression on Clark’s face tells us, he wishes Brian would just shut-up. Eventually Brian realizes that Gordon is in a funk and asks him what’s wrong. A second later Brian’s car is T-boned by another vehicle  and Clark cuts his head on the dashboard. Brian, tries to put the blame for the accident on the hedges being too high, until he sees Gordon is bleeding. When he asks his neighbor if he is alright, Gordon replies that Brian’s fired. Unsure he really heard what he did, Brian asks him what he said and Clark repeats that he’s  fired, gets out of the car and starts to walk home.

When Gordon gets to his front door, he hears the chirps from the injured bird and that knowledge seems to make Clark believe that there is hope to build the personal computer that Joe has envisioned. He walks in through his front door in a haze and when Donna sees him, her first concern is that her husband has a head gash. However, that is not important to Clark right then, he wanted Donna to hear the bird still chirping. His wife not realizing the symbolism that the bird still being alive has for Gordon, tells him that Animal Control told her earlier in the day that the most humane thing they could do is to kill the bird, to stop its suffering. Clark refuses to do it, telling his wife that he will not go back outside after going through the day he had. Donna goes out to the garage and grabs a shovel to help her do the deed. She looks at the bird lying there chirping with his eyes open, but his feathers are infested with flies. She looks inside the window and sees Gordon drinking a beer, she has the shovel raised when the camera fades to black.

Joe back in his office late that night gets a visit by Cameron, who tells her she’s stuck and proceeds to disrobe, ending the episode with MacMillan apparently having his second sexual encounter of the evening. Lets keep one thing in mind, the time-period that “Halt And Catch Fire” takes place in, was right at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic. Could MacMillan’s ruthlessness lead to both he and Cameron contracting the deadly disease? One more question that we will find the answers to in the coming weeks.

The story will pick up again next Sunday night on “AMC