Season Two Episode One

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Photo Courtesy Of FOX

Photo Courtesy Of FOX

Warning: Spoiler Alert

The FOX Network series “Gotham,” opened its second season with an episode that should eliminate any doubts the series is going to suffer from the sophomore blues. The show-runners made every moment count in this fast-paced and gripping chapter. The powers that be have labeled season two as “The Rise Of The Villains,” but it could be subtitled “Doing The Right Thing Isn’t Always Pretty.” Alliances were formed that blurred the line between good and bad, in order to achieve the desired endgame. This results in show that no longer pits the white hats against the black hats, now all the characters are varying shades of gray.

Season two opens seconds after the first season finale on another rainy day at Wayne Manor as Bruce and Alfred head down the staircase they discovered hidden behind the fireplace. When they reach the bottom of the staircase, there’s a door in front of them with the carving of a creature that appears to be a cross between a man and a lion. The door’s locked and the only way to enter it is through a keypad. Bruce furiously punches in a number of codes, but the digital display reads access denied with every entry.

We watch a montage of the rest of the characters set to a the Lou Reed classic “Perfect Day,” a perfect counter-balance to what we watch unfold on the screen. Lee helps Jim with his tie as he prepares to direct traffic, now that he’s been demoted to patrolman. His former partner Harvey Bullock quit the department rather than accept the demotion, he’s now a bartender and picks a drunk’s head off the counter to clean it. Penguin now the King Of Crime in Gotham City, kisses a bald man on top of his head before he has Victor Zsasz shoot him to death. We see Barbara Kean arrive at Arkham Asylum and we see a familiar face among the inmates, Jerome Valeska who many fans believe will evolve into the Joker.

We then get our first glimpse of the character that appears destined to become the “Big Bad” of season two, as Theo Galavan gives a hefty man wearing what looks like a superhero costume including a helmet a liquid and tells him to drink it. The man responds yes master and consumes it all.

Gordon’s directing traffic in Gotham City when the dude in the suit comes down the stairs of the elevated-train system and announces that he’s Zaardon Slayer Of Souls. He then pulls out two pistols and fires overhead into the metal bridge, then throws the pistols down and unsheathes a sword and grabs a young woman. Gordon tells Zaardon he doesn’t want to shoot him as there’s too much paperwork involved. Zaardon pushes the woman away and Gordon’s able to deflect the sword, overpower the dude and cuff him.

Just then the uniform that’s supposed to relieve Gordon arrives, another hefty guy munching on a burger as he arrives. Gordon barks at him that he’s late and the uniform smirks and asks Jim what’s his problem and Gordon just pushes him away due to his frustration. He whips around and pulls his weapon, pointing it at some would-be looters and growls bad idea. The guys put down the stuff and take off.

Gordon brings Zaardon back to the station and tells him he’s heading for Arkham Asylum. Zaardon responds that Gordon won the battle but his master will win the war. He tells the patrolman dark days are coming and Jim thanks him for the heads up.

Gordon goes into the men’s room and sees Ed Nygma standing in front of a sink staring into the mirror, without his glasses on. Jim asks him if he’s okay and Ed responds he’s fine and Gordon leaves. We then realize that Jim interrupted a conversation between Nygma and his reflection. His reflection starts talking about pursuing Kristin Kringle in a romantic relationship, but Ed says they have to leave Miss Kringle alone.

We’re now in Captain Sarah Essen’s office along with Essen, Gordon, Commissioner Loeb and the uniform that Jim pushed Officer Frank. Loeb asks Gordon if he put his hands on Frank and he replies that he did and Frank leaves the office. Loeb tells Gordon that the infraction calls for him to be dismissed from the force and tells Essen to take Jim’s gun and badge. The Captain starts to protest but Jim tells her to stop. He then shakes hands with Loeb and says that he told the Commissioner he’d break him and he intends to fulfill that promise.

Jim tells Lee and she tells him that she’s glad he got fired, as he was far too good to be directing traffic. She says she knew he’d never quit so she’s thankful that the decision was taken out of his hands. We can see by Gordon’s expression he doesn’t share her opinion.

Barbara’s reading a magazine in the communal cell at Arkham Asylum when Jerome comes over and introduces himself. He tells her that one of their fellow inmates Richard Sionis wants to be her friend, Kean responds that she’s not interested. Jerome tells her that a girl needs a friend at Arkham as the guards refuse to intercede. She then gets the attention of Aaron Helzinger, a gigantic bald man that looks like a wall with a face. She asks Aaron if he’d become her friend and protect her if someone tried to hurt her. He said of course and Barbara cooed and called him a cutie and thanked him. Jerome says she got a gorilla but Sionis runs Arkham and can get her what ever she wants, Barbara replies she wants a phone.

Gordon goes to see Penguin and says they need to talk, Cobblepot kicks out all his staff except for Selina Kyle, who apparently joined up with Penguin after Fish Mooney’s apparent demise. Jim says Penguin owes him a favor for saving him from Sal Maroni’s guys. Oswald says he thinks they’re even but he tells Gordon he’ll grant his favor. When Jim says Penguin doesn’t know what he wants, he responds that Gordon wants to be reinstated as a detective and Loeb to resign as Police Commissioner. Gordon tells him that’s indeed his wish and Penguin responds that he wants Jim to do him a favor in return and collect a debt. Jim refuses and wishes Penguin luck as he says goodbye.

Jim heads down to Harvey’s bar and soon he’s stinking drunk. He says screw the Penguin, Loeb and the GCPD and asks his former partner if he’s going to join him in a drink? Bullock says he’s been sober for 32-days, without the stress of the department he doesn’t need the booze. He tells Jim that he’s got a woman that doesn’t dislike him, a home and he sleeps well every night. Jim hugs him and tells him that’s great.

Gordon decides he needs to sober up and he decides to walk to Wayne Manor to accomplish that. By the time he reaches Bruce’s home he’s sober as a judge and asks Bruce and Alfred why they’re so dirty? He then tells Bruce that he got fired from the GCPD and so he can’t fulfill his promise to find the killer of Bruce’s parents. Alfred asks if there’s any way he can get reinstated and Jim says he could but it would mean becoming a collector for Penguin, an act he believes is morally wrong.

Bruce says that Gordon can fulfill his promise to Wayne and bring reform to the GCPD, but he refuses to take it as he’d be working for Penguin and that’s demeaning. Then he asks if Jim’s sure it’s not his pride standing in the way of the greater good? Alfred tries to stop Bruce, but Wayne says Gordon wouldn’t have walked there if he wanted Bruce to keep his thoughts to himself. Wayne says doing the right thing isn’t always pretty, but it’s necessary. The two shake hands and Alfred shows Gordon out.

Gordon heads to a night club that’s also the headquarters for the guy that owes Penguin money, Ogden Barker. Gordon enters Barker’s office and says he’s there to collect the debt owed to Penguin and Barker laughs in his face. Gordon says he’s not leaving without the money and Barker pulls out a gun and sticks it in Jim’s face, Gordon says he’s going to count to three and Barker and his henchmen start laughing. Jim grabs the gun then knocks out Barker and two of his goons telling the third guy to fill the bag he gives him with money. He runs out just as Barker recovers and he growls get him.

Gordon starts running on the street with the two goons in pursuit when they see some uniforms ahead of them and one of the guys yells stop thief, so the patrolman start chasing Gordon. However he gives them all the slip as he ducks into a parking garage. His troubles aren’t over as Barker steps out of the shadows and starts shooting at Jim, he misses but Gordon kills Barker with return fire. We see the anguish on his face but Gordon runs off.

Bruce’s frustration not getting the right password on the keypad, causes him to destroy it with a hammer. He then enters the library with a bag of fertilizer and some other objects. He tells Alfred he’s taking his own advice that doing the right thing isn’t always pretty and he’s going to build a bomb to blow the door off his father’s room. He says he’s building it with or without Alfred’s help, his guardian and butler tells Bruce that he’ll need another ten bags of fertilizer to do the job.

Gordon delivers the money to Penguin, who apologizes that things got messy and pledges that Gordon’s name will never be connected with Barker. Jim asks if Penguin knew Barker would react that way and Cobblepot responds that he had no idea things would go down the way they did. He then tells Gordon that his favor will soon get granted.

Jim heads back to his apartment with Lee and she sees something’s bothering him and asks if he’s alright and he responds he’s fine. His cellphone rings and he picks it up and Barbara’s on the other end. He asks her how she got use of a phone and she says the only thing that matters is they’re talking. She then tells Gordon there’s been a terrible mistake, she didn’t attack Lee, Lee attacked her and she’s insane. Jim growls don’t ever call me again and hangs up. Lee asks who it was and he says a salesman, which of course Lee realizes is a lie.

Then her landline rings and Jim tells her not to answer it because it’s Barbara, it goes to her answering machine and we hear Kean say hey girlfriend, sorry I missed you. I just want to wish you a painful death with you going out screaming. Jim says that she’s locked up in Arkham where she can’t cause them harm. Lee suggests they move away and start fresh in a new city and Jim replies he can’t, because he did a bad thing.

Loeb’s in bed asleep that night when he’s woken by noises downstairs. He enters his kitchen and he sees Victor Zsasz standing there, then suddenly we hear Penguin asks Loeb if he’s got any peanut-butter. Loeb asks what Cobblepot said and Penguin puts on the kitchen lights and again requests peanut-butter. The Commissioner shouts for his guards and Zsasz produces a disembodied head that he proceeds to use like a ventriloquist’s dummy. Zsasz moves the heads lips and says in a high squeaky voice Hi Boss, how about a bottle of beer. Penguin and Victor laugh as Zsasz throws the head into the kitchen sink.

Penguin tells the Commissioner as he makes him a peanut-butter sandwich, that usually he threatens his victims with unearthing scandals about them, but Loeb lacks any dirty-laundry. Penguin says that he knows that any threats of force would get ignored by Loeb so he’s just going to have Victor kill him. He says he needs some requests granted, but it will be far easier dealing with Loeb’s successor as Commissioner. Loeb asks Penguin what he wants and Penguin says he wants Gordon reinstated as a detective and Loeb says he’ll do it.

However Penguin says even if Loeb does reinstate Gordon, his hatred of the former detective would cause him to eventually fire him, so he’ll still have to kill him. Zsasz pulls out his gun and Penguin says, unless you’d resign as Commissioner.

Zaardon arrives at Arkham Asylum and he’s put into the same communal cell as Barbara, Jerome and company. He proclaims that he’s Zaardon Slayer Of Souls, but Sionis tells him to shut-up he’s telling a story. After a couple of minutes Zaardon interrupts the story and threatens the other inmates. He then collapses but as he hits the floor, a blue gas comes out of his mouth and knocks out the other inmates. Seconds later an explosion takes place at the other end of the hall and a young woman and a bunch of mercenaries, knock out the guards and grab the inmates.

They come to in another facility and they’re all strapped to large cement poles. One of the inmates asks where they are and Jerome says they’re out of Arkham so things are improving. Theo Galavan and the woman who broke them out of Arkham enter the room, he introduces himself and the woman as his sister Tabitha. He says he broke them out to form a super-band of criminal geniuses. Kean says she just has issues and Galavan says she has ferocity, beauty and desire, that’s all she needs.

Sionis tells Galavan that he wants no part of his plan and wants to be released, he says he’ll get Galavan a million dollars as soon as he hits the street. Galavan says he’s disappointed and the money means nothing to him. Galavan demands that he and Barbara get released and Galavan says oh you’re trouble we need to get rid of you. Tabitha releases the binds then produces a whip and strangles Sionis with it, then when she has him on the ground she slices him to pieces. Galavan asks if anyone else wants to leave.

The next scene’s at the retirement ceremony for Loeb and a men’s choir sing a song from The Sound Of Music. The spokesman takes the podium and says the Mayor couldn’t attend the ceremony but sent a friend in his place. He introduces businessman, scientist Theo Galavan. Galavan says that he’s an adopted son of the city, having recently moved there but he already feels Gotham City’s magic. He thanks the outgoing Commissioner and his replacement Commissioner Sarah Essen.

Essen goes up to Gordon and congratulates him for whatever he did to pull off his amazing feat. Lee congratulates them both then tells Essen that Gordon’s a determined man. Essen excuses herself to take a call and Lee says to Jim I hope this was worth it, Jim replies he does as well. Essen returns with some distressing news six inmates escaped from Arkham including Barbara Kean.

Alfred runs the fuse to the bomb out to the library, then fastens it to an ignition switch and asks Bruce if he’s certain this is what he wants. Bruce says he is and pushes the switch, the bomb knocks the door off it’s hinges and the two enter the room. We see a couple of computer monitors and keyboards covered in cobwebs, on one of the keyboards is a letter for Bruce from his father, that Thomas wrote shortly before he and his wife were shot to death.

He tells Bruce that if he’s reading this message that Thomas has died and Bruce figured out the code for the keypad was Bruce. He then says that his son’s responsible for the room, as Thomas became a better man after he became a father, Then he started to ask the tough questions.

He says he’ll dispense with fatherly advice, except to tell his son he can’t have happiness and the truth. That he’ll have to choose what path to take and he begs his son to choose happiness, unless Bruce feels a deep calling to pursue the truth. We then see Jim Gordon straightening his tie in the men’s room of the GCPD, ready to resume that calling within him.

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

Photo Courtesy Of FX Network

Photo Courtesy Of FX Network

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Last summer on the FX Network Original Series “Tyrant,” we met the Al Fayeed brothers, the oldest Jamal, next in line to succeed his father as President of the mythical Middle-Eastern nation Abbudin and his younger brother Bassam. The younger brother fled the land of his birth and his family 20-year-earlier, changed his name to Barry and became a Californian pediatrician. Now married to an American doctor and the father of a teenage son and daughter, he and his family traveled back to his homeland last year, to attend the wedding of Jamal’s son.

Barry had only planned to spend a long weekend in Abbudin before flying back home to California, when his father died on the day of the wedding, elevating Jamal to the Presidency. The new leader asked his brother to remain in Abbudin as his chief-advisor as he was finding his way and to his wife and children’s amazement, Barry agreed to help him.

After being back in Abbudin for just weeks, Barry deduced that his brother wasn’t fit for the Presidency and for the good of the nation, he planned a bloodless coup. Along with an assist by the United States Ambassador to Abbudin, Barry planned to oust Jamal from the Presidency, allowing Jamal and his wife Leila to retain their assets and move to one of their other homes outside of the country.

Jamal however found out about the overthrow attempt in last season’s finale and sentenced his brother to a death sentence. We return to the Middle-Eastern nation four months later and we encounter a teenage couple spray-painting graffiti over placards of Jamal’s picture. A graphic tells us they sprayed “Free Bassam, Free Abbudin,” on the posters before sneaking into the night.

We get our first look at Barry in his cell, he appears gaunt and has grown a long unkempt beard and he’s reading, when Jamal comes into talk to him. There’s a chess-table set-up outside the cell, the brothers have played an ongoing game during the President’s visits, but Barry doesn’t feel like playing this time.

Jamal tells his brother that he looks thin and Barry responds his appetite hasn’t been strong, then asks to be allowed to see his wife Molly. The President ignores the request, saying he’ll get Barry some of those cookies he likes, from a nearby bakery, the younger brother asks if that’s a peace-offering? Jamal snorts then says he’s waiting for Barry to apologize to him.

Bassam says he’s sorry, then he says he’s sorry that he got them into this position. Jamal says that’s not the apology he wanted and Barry says he did what he had to do and now asks his brother to do the same. The older brother chuckles, saying he’ll decide when to make his move, he might keep Bassam locked up for life then leaves the prison.

The brothers’ uncle General Tariq Al Fayeed, leader of the nation’s military shows Jamal’s wife Leila, pictures of the graffiti and asks when her husband will execute Bassam? Leila says that Jamal won’t discuss it and Tariq says while Bassam lives the people have hope, once he’s executed the masses will forget him and his message.

The failed coup-attempt, ended relations between Abbudin and the United States and the nation now has aligned itself with China and they’ve started building the Shunshin oil-refinery in the desert. Jamal and his son Ahmed watch as workmen build the facility. The President tells his son he’s naming him the new Minister for Energy Development. Ahmed says he knows nothing about the oil-industry and Jamal says they’ll learn about it together.

The son doesn’t appear pleased with the prospects and tells his father he’s involved with some investors in Dubai and they’re trying to build a boutique hotel in London. Jamal tells his son to let the investors know they’ll have to get themselves another partner, he’s staying in Abbudin.

Ihab Rashid the leader of the rebels, was supposed to be taking on Jamal in an open election, however that got cancelled after the coup-attempt. The rebel factions are still fighting and they take out a soldier and send one of their own men in his uniform in a truck behind the barricades. The driver leaves the truck, then detonates the bombs attached, killing seven soldiers in the strike.

Jamal meets with his advisers and Colonel Mahmoud informs the President that the rebels took out seven-soldiers. The President asks his advisers how they should retaliate and Tariq says that the rebels are located in Al Jaffa and he recommends a limited chemical-weapons strike. Tariq authorized the use of chemical weapons against his own countrymen, 20-years earlier killing thousands. Jamal asks to speak to the General outside the conference room.

Jamal tells his Uncle he won’t become a pariah and the use of chemical weapons is out. He tells Tariq to talk with Mahmoud and find where the rebels weapons are stashed and to bomb the weapons depot. He then says to his uncle that Tariq would never have dared brought up chemical weapons to Bassam, he says his brother’s in a cell, but Jamal keeps Bassam’s voice in his head.

It’s renovation day at the former American Embassy, as the Chinese are soon going to take over the facility. Plaques are being removed from walls and furniture’s being carried out, while Molly’s on Skype with her son Sammy in California. He and Emma are both back in the States and have gone back to school, while Molly awaits word on her husband’s fate. She cuts the call short when CIA Agent Lea Exley, the only American official in Abbudin enters the office.

Molly tells Exley about all the efforts she’s made trying to secure Barry’s release and the CIA operative tells her she’s doing a great job. Molly asks if she should stop her efforts, but Exley implores her to keep pushing and to keep hope alive, although both women get little comfort from that statement.

Barry’s childhood friend Fauzi Nadal now an anti-government journalist, goes to the rebel camp to talk with his daughter Samira. He’s gotten them each documentation to emigrate to Denmark, where Fauzi says they can fight the battle from a distance. Samira says she can’t go and that he should follow the example of his friend Bassam and stay and fight. The expression on Nadal’s face tells us that the message resonated with him.

Ahmed’s drunk and attempting to shoot a whiskey bottle from 20 feet away but misses his three shots by a wide margin. His wife Nusrat chides him for not telling her that his father appointed him the new Energy Development Minister, but Ahmed says he wants the two of them to leave Abbudin. Nusrat tells her husband that Jamal would disinherit them as well as the child they have on the way. She clutches her belly and says that their child’s an Al Fayeed and she wants that child to have all the benefits that go with that name.

The weapon depot gets destroyed and Ihab Rashid’s taken to a man that others claim gave up the location. The man starts crying, as he says that he did not give up any information, but he believes their cause is hopeless. He says all they’re doing is killing each other and that Jamal’s too powerful to overthrow.

Rashid tells the man he realizes he’s not the informant, as he lacks the guts to be a traitor, he pushes him away and tells him to take his wife and move to Beirut. He then tells the rest of his followers that any of them can leave with them. He says they’ll get more weapons and keep striking Al Fayeed until he falls.

Jamal’s mother comes to speak with him and Leila on Molly’s behalf, asking her son to let Bassam see his wife. Jamal tells her he won’t do that and asks her to leave. Leila says that until Jamal executes Bassam he looks weak, that pundits are saying he can’t make up his mind. He says the Chinese are coming the following evening, she says that Bassam should get executed in the morning.

Molly and Lea are talking in Molly’s office, when a group of soldiers enter the room and escort Molly out. The good news is she’s getting to see Barry, the bad news is their executing him in the morning. They have five minutes together, he asks about the kids and tells her where all the documents are. She says she has a million things to say to him and she doesn’t know where to start.

He asks her to tell him she forgives him and what he did was worth his life, but she bites her lip. He says everybody lies here, except for you. She grabs his face with her hands and says that Jamal called off the elections and curtailed free speech, just as Barry predicted. However she says he’s inspired the people and tells him about the “Free Bassam, Free Abbudin” movement. She says he made a difference.  A soldier comes in to take her away, Barry says he’s ready and he’s at peace. They kiss and she’s escorted out.

The next morning, Bassam’s hosed off and then given some ragged garments to wear. We see them slip a black-hood over his head, then we head to the scaffold where the President, his family and advisers are seated in a box. A man’s taken out to the scaffold, as the noose is put around his neck, Jamal rises from his seat. He nods his head, the trap door’s released and the man’s hung and his body stops moving. Jamal leaves the podium, shortly followed by Leila, who rushes into a bathroom and vomits. She then composes herself, Jamal’s in the shower letting the water soak over him, she joins him in there and she hugs him. However something seems off.

That night just before the Chinese delegation arrives, Jamal’s mother finds out that Bassam’s dead. She screams at her son and calls him a monster, he has some aides take her upstairs. Moments later Jamal, Leila and Ahmed greet the Chinese delegation.

The final scene takes place in the desert, as a chopper sits on the ground while Jamal and a soldier carrying a body walk through the sand. When they lay the man down, we see it’s Bassam, the soldier injects him with a hypodermic-needle and Bassam wakes up. The President hung another man in his place and gave Bassam a sedative to knock him out. Jamal says he could have forgiven Bassam for killing him, but he couldn’t forgive Bassam for forcing Jamal to have Bassam’s blood on his hands. So he says you can depend on this land you claim to love so much for your survival. Jamal and the soldier, climb into the chopper leaving Barry to fend for himself in the middle of nowhere.

The Story Continues Next Wednesday Night at 10:00 pm on FX.

Photo Courtesy Of AMC

Photo Courtesy Of AMC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Welcome back to the “Silicon Prairie” in the mid-eighties, as the second season of the AMC Original Series “Halt And Catch Fire,” kicked off on Sunday night. The first season revolved around a fast talking salesman with a vision, who had no problems betraying all those around him, to get what he wanted. That salesman Joe MacMillan, walked into a moderately successful company called Cardiff Electric and turned it on its ear, convincing the owner and his Vice President of Sales, to begin manufacturing portable personal-computers.

As the season concluded, Cardiff Electric started shipping its new PC called the Giant, however the creative team that put the machine together had split up, mainly due to MacMillan’s demons. He left the company with an act of destruction, stealing the truck that contained the first shipment of the computers, then set the truck on fire in the desert.

When we last saw the characters, the chief engineer on the project Gordon Clark, was the only one of the creative team still with the company, pondering what would Cardiff’s next move would be. His wife Donna, had gone into business with former Cardiff engineer Cameron Howe, building a gaming network using phone lines to connect users to the game and each other. MacMillan decided to go on a quest to the Fisk Observatory, to further his knowledge of astronomy and to leave society behind.

The episode begins with a flashback to the first season, as we watch Joe getting dressed for work, as we hear a radio report talking about the damage that Hurricane Alicia did to Houston and Galveston. The reporter states that 1983 has become the costliest year in state history, for hurricane damage. Joe walks out of the bedroom and we see Cameron sitting on the couch playing videogames and she asks Joe to play with her.

MacMillan plays one quick game, which he wins by cheating then gets up to head to work. Cameron chastises him for not being able to take five minutes to play with her, he laughs and leaves the house. A graphic appears on the screen that it’s now 20-months later, as we’ve arrived in March, 1985. The house is now the headquarters for the Mutiny Network, the company that Cameron, Donna and the worker-drones have built during those 20-months.

Donna walks into the house, which looks far more like a frat-house, than a center of business. There are multiple violations of the electric code, as multi-socketed extension-cords, are plugged into every outlet. Donna realizes that they’re about to have a circuit overload and finds Cameron talking on the phone to a subscriber. Two of the programmers, Yo-Yo and Lev get into a wrestling match, as Lev says that the other programmer’s Backgammon app’s causing the network to shut down. Seconds later the power goes down, they took down an entire city block.

Coming back from a commercial break, we see an advertisement for the Giant and Cardiff Electric’s newest computer the Giant Pro. When the spot ends, we see that Gordon Clark, now President of Cardiff is a guest on a local financial program, DFW Moneyline. The host starts talking about the turnaround of Cardiff in the last two-years, as they started focusing on building computers. Then he asks about the upcoming sale of Cardiff Electric and Clark responds a foreign corporation’s bought the company and the office will close and he’s leaving the company.

A graphic tells us we’re now in Austin, Texas and we see Joe finishing a ten-mile run on a path in the woods, as he enters his home panting and sweating. The phone rings and he answers it, then he says that’s good news and thanks the caller, before hanging up. We see a woman’s arm’s hug him from behind, our introduction to Joe’s new girlfriend Sara Wheeler. She asks who called, he says the sale went through and he’s getting his share, but he has to go there the following day to pick the check up.

Sara tells him he earned and deserves the money, but MacMillan says he dreads going back there and seeing those people. She asks him if he wants her to cancel their guests for that night and he says no, that the distraction will be good for him.

Gordon clears out his desk as movers take out all the furniture. He’s got four boxes of stuff that he’ll take with him. Other than the check that he’ll receive the following day, that’s what he’s walking away from Cardiff with, along with the knowledge and the memories, that they helped change the world.

That evening Sara and Joe entertain a few couples, who are her friends and it appears it’s their first time meeting MacMillan. She explains that they met at the planetarium in the Fisk Observatory, she had gone there to write a piece on the Observatory’s SETI Program (the search for extraterrestrial intelligence) and instead of meeting creatures from outer-space she met Joe. MacMillan basically says he’s trying to find himself, but Sara says he’s just being modest.

She tells her friends that MacMillan turned a regional company into a national rival of IBM’s and he’ll soon receive compensation for what he did. Someone asks him what he wants to do next and he says he wants to start his own company in Silicon Valley. Sara says nothing’s set in stone, but they’re really excited about the future.

Power finally returns to Mutiny headquarters, Lev tells Donna that Cameron ran extension-cords from the next door neighbors to keep things from blowing again. Donna goes to find Cameron and she tells her she can’t do that and Howe says, so they’ll send a bill and we’ll pay it. Then the Power Company calls and Donna takes the call, while all the programmers start to leave to go party.

Cameron starts to leave as well, when Donna explodes. She says she came her to do work she has great interest in, not to be the mommy, a job she already handles at home. She says that Cameron’s made Mutiny a company without a boss, but all the stuff that falls through the cracks, Clark has to handle. Howe says just leave it alone and walks out of the house.

The next morning Gordon shows up at the Cardiff office to sign for his check, then mutters under his breath when Joe enters the waiting room. A lawyer comes in and says they will summons people starting with those who will receive the most compensation. He calls two men, leaving Joe and Gordon alone on the bench, they engage in a mostly polite conversation.

Clark’s called in to sign for his check and he sees Nathan Cardiff at the other end of the conference table, giving him the stink-eye. Why he’d have any reason to be upset with Clark eludes me, but Gordon signs for his check than a man slides an envelope over to him. It’s for $838,121 and Clark asks if he can take this to the bank immediately, the lawyer responds that’s what is usually done with checks. Nathan says thanks for the memories and Gordon leaves.

Joe’s summoned into the office and he signs for his check. The man’s about to push the envelope to him, when Cardiff bangs on the table for the man to give him the check. Nathan gets up and walks over to Joe and pulls the check out of the envelope. He shows it to Joe and says this is MacMillan’s share after taking out the cost of the truck and computers he destroyed. The check’s still over 600 thousand dollars, but Cardiff rips it into pieces, telling Joe to sue him if he likes, he’d love to tell a jury what MacMillan did at Cardiff.

He then says that Joe cost people their jobs and put Nathan’s former Vice President of Sales and longtime friend John Bosworth in prison. (Conveniently forgetting, that if Nathan hadn’t pressed charges for Bosworth transferring funds to the computer division, John would be a free man.) He says that MacMillan did all that for a doorstop of a computer, without a legacy. Joe wishes Cardiff good health and leaves the room.

That evening Cameron’s sitting in her van in a parking lot, waiting for a fence to sell her two stolen IBM computers when Donna shows up, shocking Cameron. She tells Howe she asked Yo-Yo where she was and so she thought she’d join her. The guy shows up with the computers, tries upping the price from the agreed upon 500 bucks to three thousand, Cameron laughs him off and he settles for the agreed upon price, then gives them the computers and drives away.

Donna’s brought a power converter with her and they plug the machines into it in the parking lot. Donna tells Cameron unless they have someone on staff that can code in Chinese, the sleaze-ball ripped them off. The pair head to the bar that Howe knows he hangs out at.

She calls Gordon and tells him she has to work late and can’t make their celebration dinner. However Gordon keeps his daughters happy, by suggesting they go to their favorite ice-cream shop and the girls can have ice-cream for dinner.

As Cameron and Donna sit and drink while they wait for the fence, Howe admits she was really intimidated when she met her. Clark tells Cameron that she’s very intimidating in her own right, that when they tried to get the network up and running for four days straight, Howe was the only one who believed it would work. Just then they see the sleaze-ball enter the bar and they go to confront him.

Cameron says they want their money back and the crook grabs her and pushes her up against a wall, then tells them to leave. What he didn’t realize was Howe stole his keys and they head to his truck to get back the money. However Donna sees two brand new IBM computers in their boxes and they take those instead. The crook comes out to the parking lot to see them leaving.

Donna heads home a little tipsy and Gordon asks if she’s drunk, she never really gives him an answer. She says she’s exhausted and heading for bed. He tells her he got her a piece of her favorite pecan pie, she thanks him and smiles and says she’ll have it the next day.

Joe heads back to his house and tells Sara, he’s not getting the money. She hugs him and says that’s fine they don’t need it. He tells her he loves her and asks her to marry him, she immediately says yes and they kiss.

The final scene takes place as Cameron’s driving in the middle of nowhere, trying to follow a map. Suddenly we see barbed wire and institutional buildings, it’s a correctional facility. We hear John Fogerty singing his classic, “The Old Man Down The Road.”

He take the thunder from the mountain, he take the lightning from the sky,
He bring the strong man to his begging knee, he make the young girl’s mama cry.

You got to hidey-hide, you got to jump and run;
You got to hidey-hidey-hide, the Old Man is down the road.

He got the voices speak in riddles, he got the eye as black as coal,
He got a suitcase covered with rattlesnake hide, and he stands right in the road.

You got to hidey-hide, you got to jump up run away;
You got to hidey-hidey-hide, the Old Man is down the road.

She pulls into the prison-yard just as John Bosworth’s getting released, he’s pleasantly surprised to see her. She runs over to him and hugs him, he hugs her back and he laughs loudly. Mutiny might finally have someone who can be the boss.

The Story Continues Next Sunday Night at 10:00 pm on AMC.

Photo Courtesy Of BBC

Photo Courtesy Of BBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Although The BBCA premiered the first season of “The Musketeers,”  last June, the network broadcast the premiere of season two on Saturday night, a welcome addition to the Television schedule, as we bide our time waiting for shows to return from their Fall or Winter Hiatus. The British version of the Alexander Dumas classic, showed us multi-faceted versions of characters, well-known by the public.

The series took great care in showing the contrasts in Paris back in 1630, as Royalty and Land Barons, surrounded themselves with opulence, while the poor lived in some of the most rancid dwellings in the history of humanity. We see both extremes, through the eyes of the Musketeers, Athos, Porthos, Aramis and the newest member of the King’s Musketeers, D’Artagnan.

For those of us wondering how Peter Capaldi could handle being the latest incarnation of Doctor Who, on the BBC classic, as well as play the part of Cardinal Richelieu, as he did in the first season of the series, the answer appeared in the opening seconds of the episode, he won’t. We are sitting in a church at the funeral of the main adviser to French King Louis XIII, as we see the Monarch looks desolate and very much alone with the Cardinal gone from being by his side.

The next scene brings us to rolling fields, as the Musketeers appear on horseback, they’ve been sent by Captain Treville to meet with an unidentified agent, at the local village inn, who will make himself known to the soldiers. Suddenly the men become aware of a party of other men, who have a prisoner that they’re about to hang, the Musketeers ride to the party to find out what’s going on and see that the prisoner has a hood over his head and his hands are bound.

Athos asks the leader what’s going on and he’s told that they’re hanging the man as he killed was the local innkeeper, a man beloved by the village. Aramis says, they’re not going to lynch him, instead he’ll get a trial before the local magistrate, then tells the villagers to untie their prisoner and take off his hood. Any sympathy that the three veteran soldiers have for the prisoner evaporates as his hood’s removed. Athos spits out the man’s name Rochefort and he responds, that it’s the Musketeers, as if his day wasn’t already going bad enough.

D’Artagnan asks his mates who the man is and he’s told he’s one of Richelieu’s Lieutenants and imprisoned in Spain. Rochefort explains that he escaped while they attempted to transfer him to another prison. Athos looks at the villagers and tells them to kill him and he starts to get back to his horse, Rochefort says they can’t just leave him and Porthos responds they’re late for a meeting with an agent at the inn. Rochefort tells them, he’s the agent and he has urgent news for the King.

Athos apologizes to the villagers and says they’re going to have to take him with them, but the leader refuses, saying Rochefort must pay for his crime. Porthos steps up and asks to please not make things more difficult, when a man about two-thirds his size attempts to throw a punch at the Musketeer, Porthos swats him away like a mosquito. Although the villagers clearly outnumber the soldiers, the Musketeers are taking them out easily without even using weapons. Rochefort climbs one of the Musketeer’s horses and tries to sneak away, when the leader said enough take him with you and Rochefort shot the man straight through the heart, then galloped away. They catch him quickly and bind him to all four horses, forcing him to walk while they all ride.

Back at the palace, we see a maid running as fast as she can with a bowl of apples and we hear a woman screaming. We then hear a doctor telling Queen Anne to bear down, her baby’s almost out, one more push and we see the future King of France being handed to his mother. After all’s gotten cleaned up, the Queen’s Ladies In Waiting are surrounding the foot of the bed, when Louis comes in to get his first look at his son and he falls hopelessly in love.

The following scene, takes place in the main room of the palace as Queen Anne dressed in full attire and her son join her husband. Louis asks her if the activity’s too much and she replies her place is by her husband’s side. The King walks over to Captain Treville and tells him that things haven’t been the same since the Cardinal’s death, he relied so heavily on his counsel. He tells the head of the Musketeers, he needs a man he can rely on and he believes Treville’s the man.

Knowing full well what the Monarch’s alluding to, the Captain says he doesn’t understand. Louis says he wants him to become his special counsel and a member of his court and he believes he foresees a time when Treville will get named First Minister and take the place of Richelieu. The Captain stammers and stutters, then says he’s overwhelmed at the honor, but he believes he can best serve the King leading his Musketeers.

He says he lacks political and diplomatic skills, but the Queen interrupts him, telling Treville both are skills he can learn and he’s being far too modest. Queen Anne saw right through Richelieu and knew he manipulated her husband, Treville, incredibly loyal to the King is a good man, who would point Louis in the right direction on matters of major importance.

Capaldi moving on and the death of the Cardinal, gives the show-runners some room to play with as the characters are no longer the same as in the Dumas novel. However, putting Treville as the voice whispering in the French Monarch’s ear, would deviate too far from the original story and change the entire story-arc of the series. So the scenario that seemed too good to be true, proved that it was exactly that. Louis now feels betrayed by the Captain of his Musketeers, saying that Treville refused to step up to serve his country and he had cut the King to the quick.

The Musketeers return to the palace and hand Rochefort over to their Captain. He tells Treville that French General De Foix’s, imprisoned by the Spanish in the same prison he was held at. The French military and the Royal Court, thought De Foix died in a battle assisting Sweden, but Rochefort says that’s why his body was never found. He tells the Captain he believes that the General can be rescued and Treville tells Rochefort that De Foix’s like a brother to him.

We watch Constance and D’Artagnan in bed together kissing each other passionately, she tells him she loves him and he tells her the same, when suddenly we hear another man’s voice. It’s Constance’s husband Bonacieux, and she suddenly realizes she’s standing outdoors between clotheslines, on which sheets are hanging. He asks if she’s okay and she tells him she was just dreaming. He tells her to try to avoid talking to any of the Royal Family, as she’ll show her inferior breeding. He then preens as he says to her that the King summoned him to the palace and Constance smiles at his joy. They enter the carriage sent by the palace.

Rochefort’s presented to the Royal Couple and it turns out that Queen Anne and Rochefort are old friends, as he tutored her about France when she first came from Spain to marry Louis and she’s pleased to see him. Suddenly a man with a Spanish accent enters the Royal court and demands to talk to the King and one of the King’s men announce the arrival of the Ambassador from Spain.

He demands that Louis relinquish him to the Ambassador at once and says the Cardinal never would have allowed it, which was the wrong thing to say, at the wrong time, to the wrong person. The King gets up from his throne and stands toe to toe with the Spanish Ambassador, screaming at him for invoking Richelieu’s name with his body barely in the ground.

He tells the Ambassador that he won’t turn over Rochefort  and the Spaniard tells Louis to realize what he’s doing, with that comment Rochefort slugs the Ambassador in the jaw and says he’ll address the King with respect in his presence. The Ambassador asks if Louis’ going to allow Rochefort to get away with his actions and the King tells him, he wished he’d done it himself. As he leaves he asks to talk to Rochefort alone and the rest of the Royal Court exit quickly and quietly.

Queen Anne meets with Bonacieux and Constance, completely ignoring him, calling Constance by name and says that D’Artagnan speaks about her in glowing terms. Bonacieux asks the Queen if she’s referring to the Musketeer D’Artagnan, then asks if they’re to speak to the King. Anne tells Bonacieux she summoned them and it’s to offer Constance a position as her confidante and messenger. She asks the husband if he’d be alright with that, as Constance would now live in the palace and he says that would be fine.

We move to the office of the Spanish Ambassador to Spain and we find out that Rochefort’s secretly spying for Spain, that’s how he got out of prison. He tells the Ambassador to call his Governor at the prison and arrange for He and General De Foix to escape, but for the four Musketeers to get killed. That way Louis will think he’s a hero and win the King’s confidence.

As the rescue party prepares to take off they realize that their mission will have one of two outcomes, as General De Foix knows all the military strategy France would utilize in a war against Spain. The General must get rescued or killed so that the Spanish can’t torture the information out of him. When they reach an area near the prison Athos sends D’Artagnan to scout out the prison to find out what the others will face. As soon as he rides off, Porthos gets hinky, saying he smells a recently doused fire and they’re ambushed by Spanish soldiers.

The four split up into two pairs and quickly overpower the Spanish soldiers, but as Rochefort and Athos move forward, Rochefort makes eye contact with a Spanish soldier and tells Athos it’s all clear. Athos moves forward and has his pistol shot out of his hand by the Spanish soldier. He tells Rochefort to shoot him, which he’s forced to do when Aramis and Porthos arrive. They take the opponents uniforms and ride to the prison pretending to return the escaped Rochefort.

D’Artagnan dives into a reservoir and realizes it leads to the prison grounds, but there’s a wooden fence, blocking him from swimming through. He removes one of the posts allowing him to swim through and as he comes up for air, he realizes he’s in the bottom of a well. He climbs the sides and just as he nears the top, an opposing soldier sends the bucket down to get himself a drink. D’Artagnan hugs the sides of the well as the bucket goes down, but just as the bucket nears the top, he pulls on the rope, stopping the bucket. The soldier looks inside the well and the Musketeer knocks him out with a punch to his face.

He grabs the soldier’s uniform and runs into the prison changing clothes as he runs. He suddenly meets an attractive young blonde woman and he tells her he’s with the Musketeers and he’s there to rescues General De Foix, the woman’s the General’s sister Lucie De Foix and takes D’Artagnan to the room he’s held in.

The General’s playing chess with the Spanish Governor when D’Artagnan and Lucie break in and overpower the Governor. But they’ve no choice but to wait for the other three Musketeers and Rochefort to show up to help them escape. De Foix tells him that a guard comes by once an hour, the Musketeer says if his comrades survived they should arrive by then.

They hear the guard rattling his keys trying to open the door and D’Artagnan aims his pistol at the General and apologizes. However Porthos over powers the guard and they rescue the others. Lucie slaps D’Artagnan across the face and the General tells her the Musketeer was doing what he had to.

They escape the prison but their only way out is a rope and pulley system that runs across a giant ravine. They send the General over first, then Porthos, followed by Lucie, then D’Artagnan, followed by Aramis and the tied-up Governor. The Spanish soldiers start shooting and Athos and Rochefort use belts to propel themselves across the ravine. As soon as all reach the opposite side, Porthos cuts the rope, sending a Spanish soldier falling to his death. A bullet hits De Foix, but goes through his side, without hitting any organs. Aramis staunches the bleeding and they ride off with the Governor as their prisoner. Just before they head off, General De Foix stops Porthos and asks him his name and the General grows a bit pale when he hears it. Porthos asks if they’d met before and De Foix responded I don’t believe so.

After riding for hours, the party finally dismount and take a break from their travel. Athos helping the General off his horse congratulates him for being back home in France and being a free man once again. The Governor starts shouting that this is an act of naked aggression and demands to be released immediately. Athos tells him all in good time, he’ll be turned over to the Spanish Ambassador once they reach Paris, a situation Rochefort doesn’t want to take place. He tells the Governor to hit him then steal his horse, he’ll distract the others, the Spaniard knocks him to the ground with a blow to the chin and runs to the horse. Rochefort pulls out his pistol and kills the Governor with one shot. He tells the others the prisoner tried to escape and left him no choice.

Upon returning to the palace, Louis’ delighted with the rescue and gives Rochefort all the credit. He says that the Red Army’s still without a commander since Richelieu passed and asks Rochefort if he’d like the post. Rochefort lays the flattery on thickly as he quickly accepts, Louis says he’s glad some of his staff are willing to stand up when needed and stares at Treville.

Treville and De Foix talk privately and the General asks if Porthos is the General’s son. The Captain said he searched for the boy and his mother for years, but Porthos finally found him. De Foix says he needs to tell Porthos that he’s nearing the end of his life and doesn’t want to die with a guilty soul.

Rochefort now looks like a man of power with his new haircut and black outfit as he meets again with the Spanish Ambassador. Although things didn’t work out as planned the Ambassador’s still pleased with what Rochefort accomplished. He then tells the Spaniard that the Queen loves him and the King trusts him and he’ll soon drive a wedge between them that will destroy France.

The Story Continues Next Saturday Night at 9:00 pm on BBCA.

Photo Courtesy Of Showtime Network

Photo Courtesy Of Showtime Network

WARNING: SPOILER ALERT

The first season finale of the Showtime Original Series “Ray Donovan,” was wall-to wall non-stop action and intertwining plots and the season opener for season two followed suit. Donovan (Liev Schreiber), the former boy from South Boston, who became the ultimate “Fixer For The Stars,” in Hollywood finds himself putting out lots of brush fires, while trying to keep what could become a raging inferno, contained. Some issues emanate from last season, although new flare-ups spring up throughout the first hour.

Our first image of the new season finds Donovan sleeping on a plush cabana lounge-chair in a suit with a blood stained white shirt on a beautiful beach, when woken by a shovel full of dirt gets dumped on his torso. We realize it’s a dream as he finds himself looking up at the sky from the bottom of a grave. He wakes up out of breath and shaken, then takes his wife Abby (Paula Malcomson) sexually even though she’s sound asleep as he begins. He completes the act and then rolls away from her on the bed, the anguish visible in Abby’s eyes.

We shift to the Donovan’s kitchen and Abby tells her teenage children Connor (Devon Bagby) and Bridget (Kerris Dorsey) that she and Ray have some private business they have to attend to, however Ray tells his wife that he wants to drive the kids to school first and will meet up with her. He gives his daughter the keys to the car although she has yet to get her license and explains to his kids that he and Abby are going to see a counselor. The kids ask questions about their parent’s marriage, but Ray assures them everything is fine.

Ray and Abby are in the counselor’s office and start discussing their difficulties. Abby starts off by taking responsibility for the events of the past year, by inviting Ray’s estranged father Micky (Jon Voight) to their home when he got released from a Boston area prison, without telling her husband and letting him develop relationships with their children. The counselor thanks Abby for her honesty and then goes to town on Ray, lambasting him for his problems with violence. He brings up incidents that his children witnessed and asks Donovan if they can negotiate a contract stating Ray will not show violence to his daughter and son. Donovan agrees to the counselor’s request, but his cell-phone rings and he has to leave the session.

Abby remains and the conversation gets more intimate, as they discuss her sex-life with her husband and she immediately becomes defensive. The counselor then brings up that Ray recently revealed to her that a priest molested him as a child  and tells her that until he husband comes to peace with that, their marriage will be in danger. She tells the counselor she regrets sharing that with him and leaves the office.

Ray’s call is from a client, an NFL player who tells Donovan he’s in deep trouble and the fixer has to get to his home immediately. Ray drives up to see the player’s tiny children huddled together outside the house and we hear two women in conversation, one extremely angry and the other terribly scared. The player appears and tells Donovan that his wife came home early from his weekend trip and caught him in bed with another woman. Just as he tells Ray that there are no guns in his bedroom, we hear a shot and Donovan bursts open the door to find the woman in the bed with a shoulder wound and the player’s wife shaking with anger. She tells him that she can’t deal with her husband’s antics any longer and Donovan tells her that the player’s rotten and she should shoot him. The reverse psychology works and she sits down and gives Ray the weapon.

The other woman is a contestant on an American Idol type of show and scheduled to perform that evening. Donovan stops his car in front of a park and tells her she can compete and possibly win, or live in infamy as the other-woman shot by the player’s wife and grabs a pistol out of the car and tells the woman to get out. He then fires the gun at a tree right behind her and tells her to tell the police she got mugged in the park and drives away, leaving the woman alone and crying. Seconds later, Donovan’s aide Lena shows up, comforts the woman and calls 911, she then tells the woman she’s a fan, but if she doesn’t stick to the story she got mugged, Lena will shoot her again.

Connor is at school and showing a girl a video of Marvin Gaye Washington (Octavius J. Johnson) who’s blowing up YouTube with his latest rap video. Connor tells the girl Marvin’s his sister’s boyfriend and he’s been over their house a lot when some other kid calls him out as a liar and knocks the phone out of Connor’s hand and breaks on the ground. Connor retaliates by pushing the other kid who falls down a flight of cement stairs fracturing his collar-bone.

Ray and Abby meet with the principal and told their son will serve a five-day suspension and he fears the other boy’s parents might sue the school and press for a criminal investigation. As the three get to the parking-lot, Abby screams at her son while Ray reassures him that they will both apologize to the boy and his family that night and rectify the situation. Donovan gets back in his car and the phone rings with a devastating call from Ray’s lackey on the FBI Frank Barnes (Michael McGrady). Turns out the office director’s (Hank Azaria) back at the bureau and found inconsistencies from the ballistic tests on former Public Enemy Number One Patrick “Sully” Sullivan, killed by Micky in last season’s finale. Their tale has unraveled and the director wants to question Ray.

Donovan drives to the bureau office and Frank tells him that the director knows that Sully was working for Ray and wants to question Donovan about his murder. Ray, shows Barnes total disdain and barges into the director’s office and introduces himself. The director informs him he knows exactly who Ray is and describes in a very uncomplimentary fashion. He starts questioning Donovan who responds that the director really doesn’t want to know the answers. Frustrated the director grabs his phone telling Donovan he would soon be behind bars when Ray tells him that he paid Sully $2 million to kill Micky and the director puts down the phone and kicks Barnes out of his office. Ray then tells him that Micky killed Sully and the director responds he wants to talk to the elder Donovan. Ray replies his father has left town but that doesn’t satisfy the director.

Ray drives to his brother Terry’s (Eddie Marsan) gym and asks his older sibling where their father is, Terry replies he’s in Mexico but doesn’t know anymore. As he starts to leave the gym he sees his younger brother Bunchy, (Dash Mihok) molested by the same priest and became traumatized, trapped as an adolescent in a man’s body. Bunchy is wearing a dress shirt and tie although he’s wearing shorts as he doesn’t own any long pants, after his session with other victims of molestation he has an interview for a job in a bicycle shop. Ray get’s back in the car and calls his half-brother Daryl, (Pooch Hall) the product of Mickey and his Black former girlfriend. When he asks Daryl where Mickey is, he swears at Ray and tells him he has no clue.

Daryl was lying to his half-brother as he is heading to Rosalito, Mexico to fight in a match Micky had arranged. Micky’s shacked up with a Mexican hooker, drinking tequila from the bottle and smoking a joint in a beach-side shack. He tells the woman he is going for a swim and she tells him not too as he’s far too intoxicated. When the old man starts swimming, he hallucinates seeing a talking dolphin who implores Micky to swim with her. When Micky says he’s tired the dolphin responds that he’s not a sailor, he’s a captain. The mammal disappears and Linda (Rosanna Arquette) his companion that got murdered by Sully takes her place. Linda blames Micky for leaving her in a very dark place but he blames Sully for her fate. She vanishes and Mickey swims to shore.

Ezra Goldman the Hollywood agent that’s Ray’s employer gets a visit from the local FBI director and calls Donovan in a panic telling him to get there immediately. The director asks questions about Ray, but Ezra tells him that Donovan’s also a client so he can’t divulge any information. Ray shows up then and the director tells Ray he’s got 24-hours to bring him Micky, Donovan responds that the director should forget about the real incident and award his two agents citations for taking out Public Enemy Number One.

Daryl arrives in Rosalito and Micky gets his son to pick up his outstanding balance with his landlord, and Daryl gives the man 500 dollars. He then asks his father about his opponent and Micky tells him he hasn’t seen him but how big could a Mexican boxer be? Daryl finds out soon after that his opponent is basically a wall with a face, a gigantic man, bald and glaring. Daryl gets one good punch in, but his opponent pulverizes him leaving him bloody and hazy on the canvas, but he sees Micky collecting money as he bet against his son.

Bridget is getting driven home from school by a female friend when a cruiser pulls the girls over. They tell the driver she made a right-turn without signaling, but it becomes quickly apparent that their real interest is in Bridget. The cops ask her name and whether her backpack was on the car’s rear seat and when she responds it is, they tell her to leave the vehicle. Ray’s phone rings and he sees the calls from his daughter, she’s crying on her end and then one of the cops takes the phone. He tells Ray they caught his daughter with an ounce of weed, but because she seems like a good kid they’ll let her off with a warning. Donovan responds that the cop should tell the director he got the message.

Ray tracks down Terry and once again asks his brother where Micky is but he refuses to tell him. Ray then tells his brother that he’s in deep trouble and his world will come crashing down if he can’t find their father. Micky is the King of the Cantina, flush with money from betting against his son and buying drinks for the house. Daryl is angrily sitting by himself eating and watching Micky party, until he confronts his father about how he could set up his own son. Micky offers Daryl half of the winnings, which he refuses at first, but then grabs it and goes out to the parking lot and calls Ray giving his half-brother Micky’s location.

Micky and the hooker are dancing to La Bamba when she says that she’s not a sailor but a captain, shocking the elder Donovan by saying what the dolphin had said to him earlier. Ray enters and tells Micky they are heading home but his father wants to stay and the men in the Cantina show that they are ready to take on Ray to keep Micky there. Ray then changes the song on the jukebox, walks out to his car, opens his trunk and takes off his shirt and grabs a bat. The screen goes dark as we hear broken glass and the woman’s screams.

The story will pick up again next Sunday night on Showtime.

Photo Courtesy Of USA Network

Photo Courtesy Of USA Network

(WARNING: SPOILER ALERT!)

The “USA Network” will most likely not have a lot of their network’s series on the pages of “Not Just Another TV Site” as the words vacuous and mediocre are reflective of most of the shows that they televise. However, just as the “CW Network” has a diamond among the cubic zirconium shows of their lineup in “Supernatural,” USA added their own gem last summer “Graceland,” a series that intrigued quite a few members of our staff including Samantha Jones. Earlier this week Samantha did an outstanding job summarizing last season’s story-arc.

Mike Warren (Aaron Tveidt) completed his assignment last year at Graceland and assigned to FBI Headquarters, the location he always desired in a very prestigious position as the Executive Assistant to the Deputy Director of the FBI. When we saw him in the final scenes of last season’s finale he was behind a desk in Virginia, and climbing towards what had been his goal of someday becoming Director of the Bureau. But the final scene of that episode his former housemate Paul Briggs (Daniel Sunjata) called Mike with some information he wanted to share with him.

This season opens with agent Mike Warren tied to a chair, being tortured by two Latinos who are covering his head and face with a clear plastic bag, cutting off his oxygen supply until he almost passes out then remove the bag. Both laughing, one spits out La Niña Gringo, while the other asks Warren did you find the line. Mike asks them why they are doing this and they put the bag back over his head.

We shift to a highway two weeks earlier according to the title card, on a ride with Paul  Briggs in a Jeep. It’s a sting Briggs setting up a guy named Leon on a houseboat selling him some weapons. Johnny (Manny Montana) and a swat team are ready to invade when Briggs sees a picture of a guy. Leon asks Briggs if he knows the guy in the picture according to word on the street the Caza cartel want the dude and have a bounty on his head. The man in the picture is Mike, who killed former Caza kingpin Jangles in the first season finale.

Where is the guy with the price on his dome? Mike and another agent are interviewing two Middle-Eastern brothers in Laredo, Texas four miles north of the Mexican border about smuggling Mexicans into the States. Warren has been on a mission that he pitched to his boss, investigating bus-lines near the Mexican border, with the hopes of busting up a system that he believes is bringing massive quantities of heroin and possibly illegal aliens into the USA. Turns out  the brothers are smugglers, but all they were smuggling was Cuban cigars, turning their investigation into another wasted trip.

The next scene takes place back in the office of the Deputy Director, joined by a male and female advisor to the official, who in spite of Mike’s protests terminates the mission. He tells his Executive Assistant that his time in the field is over and he is back to desk duty. This does not sit well with Warren, who believes he is incredibly close to finding the bus-line that transports the contraband cargo.

We soon find out that the female advisor Jess, and Mike are more than just co-workers as the next scene finds the couple in bed together. Jess tells Warren that she is glad that he is back in the office, but he does not share her happiness of the decision. He was hoping that another high visibility bust would help accelerate his rise in the Bureau, however Jess tells him that his accomplishments on the West Coast got him his plum assignment, but he would just have to work within the system to get any higher in the pecking order. Mike responds to her that even if his career path ends up moving at a slower pace than he’d prefer he takes comfort in their relationship. Jess seems disconcerted by the statement and replies she thought they were both just having fun.

Back in the office the next day Mike gets the phone call from Briggs that ended last season’s finale. After making their social-niceties, Paul tells Warren about the bounty that the Caza cartel has on him. Mike tells Briggs to hang up and call him right back, while Warren kicks two Bureau employees out of an office so he can take the call in privacy.

Briggs tells his former team-member that he believes that Caza is actually looking for Warren’s under-cover alter-ego, Mikey the Marine, former right-hand man to imprisoned drug dealer Jeremiah Bello. He asks Mike to come back to Graceland for a long weekend so that they can use Warren as bait and take down Caza, earning them both some major points with the Bureau. Mike expresses surprise that Paul is looking for recognition from the home-office, but Briggs reminds Mike that his reputation with their employers is in need of major reconstruction.

A very different dynamic is in play when we get our first look at the house this season, as we see one of Graceland’s strongest commandments, no guns downstairs being wantonly disregarded. Johnny, Jakes (Brandon Jay McLaren) and Paige (Serinda Swan) sitting at the kitchen table with Johnny and Jakes both blindfolded and service revolvers on the table in front of them. We soon realize that they are in the midst some sort of booze-fueled competition, being officiated by a person we have yet to meet and Charlie (Vanessa Fertilo) is there to witness the hi-jinx. After a false start Johnny and Jakes take apart the revolvers blind-folded, then run to the living room where they pick up shotguns off of the floor, put the weapons’ bases on the floor and put their foreheads on the barrel of the weapons and start spinning in place. Mike breaks up the game when he walks into the living room and yells that the rule is no guns downstairs.

Charlie and Johnny greet Mike like a returning member of the family and we meet the other guy who is the new house-mate nicknamed Bates (don’t ask.) Johnny and Charlie notice how awkwardly Mike and Paige interact (they shared a kiss in the finale of the first season) however Warren is completely off-guard by a demonstrative warm and cuddly version of Jakes who picks Mike up off the floor in a bear-hug. Johnny explains that the former taciturn room-mate has been in a non-stop good mood for months. Mike’s next surprise is when told that Briggs is upstairs and has stopped partying.

Mike brings two beers upstairs to a very subdued Paul Briggs, who refuses the bottle and wants to get right down to the assignment. He informs Mike that he has a sting operation in place, the two will meet with Leon the next day with Mike in his guise of the former Marine and Briggs. Mike will supposedly be there to sell weapons to Leon, who after identifying Warren as the guy in the picture will call the Caza cartel to arrange for the hit and Leon and Paul will split the bounty. What Leon is unaware of is that Johnny and a SWAT team will be there to take Leon and the Caza people down.

Although the Bureau cleared Briggs of shooting FBI Agent Juan Badillo, when Paul planted the dead agent’s house key on Jangles collection of keys, he is still haunted by the act. He has nightmares of burying the agent who died in a scuffle last season, when Badillo disguised as Jangles confronted a drunken Briggs last season in trying to get Briggs to confess that he and Jangles were working together. Badillo pulled his revolver, the two of them tried to get control of the weapon and it went off killing the Fed. Paul buried the agent’s remains and was able to get off the hook by planting the evidence on the dead bad guy. When he wakes up we find out that he and Charlie are sleeping together as she tries to comfort him after screaming in his sleep.

The mission goes awry the next day, when Leon attempts to double-cross Paul so he can keep all the bounty for himself. After trying to salvage the mission, Briggs tells Johnny to shoot Leon in the hand from his sniper position. Leon proving that he is dumber than he looks asks Briggs how he did that, before he tells the MENSA candidate that he is a Fed. Still trying to salvage the mission Paul grabs Leon’s cellphone to contact the cartel, who Leon has programmed into his phone as Kill-Boys. The man who answers the phone asks what is taking so long and Paul replies that since Leon tried to cut him out, he returned the favor and now he is the middle-man. The man says he will call back to re-schedule and Briggs decides to abort the mission to the dismay of Warren, who calls Johnny and Briggs burnouts and not the same agents he had worked with.

When they return to the house Mike pulls rank on Briggs and announces the mission is back on and will progress whether Briggs joins him or not, although Warren hopes he’s there.  Briggs sarcastically tells Mike that he acknowledges his wishes and he will think on the matter.

Paige finds Mike on the beach in front of a bonfire and tells her former housemate that word is working at Bureau headquarters has turned Warren into a less than desirable person and berates him for calling the Graceland crew burnouts. After telling her that he was not including her in that assessment, he lets down his guard and tells Paige about his internal conflict. Although his dream had always been working in the Bureau’s headquarters he feels unsatisfied and misses his time at the house. Paige empathizes stating that after being part of the crew at Graceland, everything else feels like ”real-life.” Mike then tells her that he came into Bureau headquarters as a rock-star, but he blew all his cache on the bus-line mission that had recently been shut-down. He was hoping that by taking out the Caza cartel he would gain back his golden-boy status.

Mike and Charlie finally get some alone-time and they sit down for a heart-to-heart discussion. Warren asks her how Briggs really is doing and reminds her that they both suspected him of being Crime-Lord Odin. Charlie, tells Mike not to go there, that Paul is in a good place now and wants to leave the past behind. Mike then sees her panties on the floor of Briggs’ room where the conversation is taking place and expresses surprise that she and Briggs are sleeping together. She tries to imply that he and Paige had done the same thing, but just as Warren tries to correct her, Briggs comes into the room and tells Mike he will be part of the mission. He had heard from the contact and the setup will occur the following day.

That evening Charlie takes a drive and she ends up in front of a home watching a mother and a daughter head inside. The name on the mailbox is Badillo and Charlie is holding a copy of the woman’s driver’s license, she is Kelly Badillo apparently the widow of agent Juan. She comes back to the house and meets Briggs in their room and tells him she was out walking to clear her head. Could Briggs be yelling Badillo’s name in his sleep?

Things seem hinky when the crew arrive at the designated location for the setup. No sign of the Caza cartel and there is loud barking from dogs nearby that seems to increase in volume the longer they are there. Just as Mike and Paul are ready to walk away, a cruiser pulls up, the officers tell the pair to stay where they are and proceed to cave in the door of the building behind them in which a largely attended dogfight is taking place. As the officers enter the building chaos erupts as all the attendees start rushing out and running away. Leon who is in the control room with Johnny to identify the contacts, sees the pair in the crowd, unfortunately not quickly enough to apprehend them as they abduct Mike and take him to their hideout.

Briggs and Johnny determine that the bad guys took Mike out of the garage in a vehicle parked there. Twenty dollars later they find out that the pair took Warren in an old red car, which they can identify by the parking lot cam. The pair hope to get to Mike before he is badly hurt.

The following scene is the one that opened the episode, as the pair keep asking Warren if he found the line and Mike is clueless about what they are referring to. Finally one of the Latinos asks if he found the bus-line and then everything makes sense to him. He head butts one of the pair and they put the bag over his head again. With things looking dark, Briggs and Johnny burst into the room and blow the pair away.

Mike then calls Jess and tells her that the hit was not setup by the Caza cartel and they were not looking for his alter-ego. He realizes that they have come too close for somebody’s comfort and asks Jess to request that the mission be put back into effect and that he be provided with a team. The Bureau grants both wishes and in the final scene of the episode Warren tells the Graceland crew that they are the members of his new team. Mike will be back at Graceland for at least the next eight weeks.

Graceland can be seen Wednesday nights on the USA Network.