Constantine: A Child At Play

Courtesy of NBC
Courtesy of NBC

This week we received massively disappointing news that NBC has halted production on Constantine after the 13th episode. What that means is exactly that. They have ‘halted’, with no real indication one way or the other if the show will continue, the show will get cancelled (a horrible idea), or the show will get picked up for a season 2. I would be remiss if I acted like there isn’t at least a reason for concern. Television networks need to understand that when you stick a show with a Friday Night time slot you are putting it in a position to fail. Against all odds. Despite the putrid start. Despite the suicidal time slot. Constantine is gain momentum and viewers. For all of the comic traditionalists or even fans of the movie, this show is quickly forcing itself into the conversation. Is it The Blacklist or Justified? No. However, there is no way on earth that this show should not get picked up for season 2. With that, we brush our selves off and get into “Rage of Caliban”.

Tonight we start off with a middle-aged man levitating inches away from the ceiling of a home. He has clearly been tortured and is begging for mercy. He asks to be let down. The spirit complies. The camera reveals the spirit in question is with a small female child. Seven-ten years old if I had to guess.

At the scene of the crime, John begins to investigate. He is startled exactly the same way I was startled when Manny appeared. They exchange their typical pleasantries. The important part of this scene is the explanation for why Manny is shall I say resistant. When God gave humans free will, the counter balance was that angels could no longer directly affect the decisions of humans. Thus, why Manny never answers any of Constantine’s questions. Manny goes a step further by saying, “would it help if I told you, you were getting warmer?”

Manny clearly knows more than he’s letting on. We all know there is a Darkness rising. But now, thanks to Manny, we know that it is “ancient beyond measure”. That’s an intriguing breadcrumb to hold onto for later.

If you didn’t gather from the opening scene or the promo aired last week, the child in the home has been possessed.

Side note: The possession of the next kid in the story was entirely too long. May seem like nothing but that was 3-5 minutes I’ll never get back.

Constantine meets a woman in a bar. A slightly older woman who is dressed in a manner that begs the question, “just how badly do you want John’s attention?” Apparently, this young girl who killed her parents by way of demonic possession is one of a now long line of similar killings. While John tries to discover the commonality of these kids, the woman provides a lead. One of the first has survived. He would be about 40 and in a mental hospital. It would appear that along with some extreme child abuse he suffered as a kid, this guy has become a vegetable.

Our second kid (the current possession) got up in the middle of the night, unscrewed all the light bulbs in the house and laid them out like mouse traps in a Tom and Jerry sketch. Waited for his Dad to get in position, then sparks flew from the chandelier startling dad enough to jump and land on multiple light bulbs. Shattering them and imbedding shards in his foot. Then the kid simply left. You should know something’s up when your kid goes from shell-shocked at everything to cool as the other side of the pillow overnight. Just saying.

This kid Henry, is meticulous. In almost any story like this involving possession, we are conditioned to see it as a quick thing. Normal->Possessed->Killed->Left. Henry is testing his limits. He has had an opportunity to kill both parents and thus far has refrained to do so. John and Chas track the energy to the appropriate house. The next day, Henry gets shoved by a bully. The bully winds up in the hospital and John saw the whole thing. At home, Henry’s mother is grilling him. He is not pleased.

John attempts to go face to face with the problem. Masquerading as a new school counselor, he enters the home. Plays his part then thrusts a mandrake root in the kid’s face. The kid’s reaction should be all you need to know something’s wrong. In the end the father acts like a disillusioned parent. Then knocks John out. Thus resulting in John dealing with a bloody nose in a holding cell.

The people at NBC need to wake up and realize what they’ve got here. In this jail scene, Manny appears while John believes he’s talking to a drunk who doesn’t hear him anyway. John wants no part of Manny’s presence. John wants the answers, immediate gratification. Something Manny cannot provide. However, Manny can provide guidance. Small course corrections. Take some of the heavy lifting out of it. Then John says something that normally might go left ignored.

John: I made it through my life without any help from you.
Manny: Are you sure about that? How do you know I wasn’t by your side when your father burned you with his cigarette? Or stayed you from suicide when your sister left you with him?
John: That’s enough of that you.
Manny: You didn’t have it easy John. If you want to save a child, just remember what it was like to be one.

Henry’s mother shows up at the jail. She bails him out and they have a conversation. She believes that something is most certainly not right and is willing to do anything to get her son back. The problem that is more clearly demonstrated in the visuals of this scene is that “kids present complications”. As Constantine attempts to convey the idea that this will not be easy, we see his thoughts. Giving a real possibility that this is what happened to Astra.

The last thing John says before the scene transition is, “you said you were a doctor, right?” While Henry draws a horrible picture with poor technique (holding the pencils with his fist, or like he’s dragging a knife) of a person being killed with an ax, his mother comes by to inject him with ‘vitamins’. Something she claims she does all the time. While I’ve paused the show, I can’t stop my brain from repeating, “wait for it…wait for it…). Henry asks then demands that she stop. And for long enough for her to notice his eyes turn and stay black, but just for a moment. There was that whole demonic echo effect added to his voice that should have also been a dead giveaway. Based on her reaction, yeah, she saw (and/or heard) it.

The plan is to perform the exorcism at the residence of the first victim. The catatonic ‘bloke’ from the mental hospital’s residence. I have a theory. Bear with me as I doubt this is dead on. The first victim was a tortured soul in his own home. He is currently catatonic. This demon possesses a child until they are no longer a child and kills the host. Constantine wants to perform a complicated exorcism on the current host in the home of the first victim. Is it even remotely possible that the first victim is not catatonic? He is without his soul. And maybe, just maybe, he isn’t a victim at all. This could present a slight problem. Remember, we are amidst the Darkness Rising. Weird things are bound to start happening. What if they expel the demon spirit and it somehow finds its way back to the original host? Just a thought.

There is way too much jumpy, startling, type of moments in this episode.

The Séance didn’t work. My theory is starting to sound more firm. Chas even suggested that maybe the first victim wasn’t a victim at all. If he just killed his parents and was a bad seed, the spirit would have no attachment to this house. John is trying everything to avoid an exorcism. Clearly the memory of what happened to Astra is clouding his confidence. Claire, the mother, has all but said to do it, damn the odds. And…he’s awake.

Ok, some stuff is pushing the limits of realism. And I have no hesitation in believing that this was NBC’s doing and not that of the show runners. This feels like one of those ‘edits’ that the creator, writer, etc are forced to accept because the network has all the power. A possessed child, a spirit on a 30 year killing spree, and an exorcism that all take place on Halloween night? Come on NBC. Not necessary and if anything it detracts from the desired effect.

Inside the house the father is immediately angered by John’s presence. This time no sugar-coating it. John says what he’s there to do right in the kid’s face. The spirit hates conflict. Conflict is the trigger. While Dad is yelling at Mom, Henry throws a wooden chair with his mind and knocks Dad out. John deflects the child with a cool mirror trick. Then the kid puts on his Halloween mask and runs out of the house. Making him impossible to find quickly. On his way out Chas tries to delay him. Then the kid pancakes him with two parked cars. John follows Henry into a haunted house attraction. This once phenomenal episode for its insight and subtle dropping of bread crumbs is quickly getting cheeky.

John finds Henry in a back room. Let’s call it the ‘skull room’. He attempts to appeal to the spirits once humanity. Not exactly effective. Course corrections, remember? John walks away from empathy and moves into the classic ‘Thrilla in Manilla’ style rope-a-dope. He begins to berate the spirit as if he was the spirit’s abusive father. “Pity Party” and “You’ll get no sympathy from me”. The spirit expels enough energy trying to chop John down with an ax, that he concedes the advantage. John now has him in a relative headlock.

The trick to restoring the realism (within the realm of fantasy) is to get back to the lore. Earlier in the episode, John rejected an idea because they did not know the identity of the spirit or the duration of its carnage. Now John knows exactly who the spirit is and where it belongs. As well as the duration issue. So now taking advantage of John’s new advantage, he begins to exorcise the demon. The key phrase being, “…I bind you to your rightful place”. Looks like I wasn’t too far off with my earlier theory.

John, as predicted, expelled the spirit back to its original host. Who conveniently, resides in a maximum security mental hospital. The voice-over close includes the admission that John Constantine doesn’t have the answers. He only knows that there is a “Darkness Rising”.

Supernatural: A Farewell To Hannah And Hello Rowena

Photo Courtesy Of The CW
Photo Courtesy Of The CW

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Perhaps the best way to describe this week’s installment of The CW series “Supernatural,” is as a transitional episode, scores got settled, a beloved character left and we got a look at the newest eccentric woman to join the show. The episode also brought back our favorite trench-coated Angel, Castiel and the always nattily dressed King Of Hell, Roderick Crowley, although neither interacted with each other or Sam and Dean during the hour. The episode ended with a revelation, that if proves true, could seriously change the dynamic of the series, but we’ll get back to that later on.

The episode opens with a “Working Girl,” trying to escape someone or something down a city block, running as fast as she can in high-heeled shoes. A wino, sitting on the sidewalk, enjoying his favorite beverage, barely pays attention to her as she runs past him. She stops momentarily and sees the giant shadow of a man projected on the building across the street. She starts running again, but she trips on her heels, falling to the ground. When she rises, she turns around to see the man she tried to allude, standing behind her. The man presumably her pimp, gives her a look that broadcasts she’s in for a hard time.

The woman pleads with the man not to hurt her and he responds, that would send a bad message to the other girls, if she got off without punishment. The woman grabs a pen and jams it into the man’s left eye, but he just stands there and laughs, as the meat-suit he’s wearing means nothing to the demon inside. He quickly snaps her neck and walks away.

Sam and Dean are sitting down in a restaurant enjoying a steak dinner, but the older brother’s cellphone keeps ringing throughout the meal. Sam tells his brother he’s blowing up, what’s with all the calls and Dean attempts to bluff, saying they’re all from other hunters, but Sam grabs the phone and sees that Dean’s on a dating site and he’s been carrying on a hot and heavy text conversation with a young woman named Shaylene. Sam tells his brother not to get his hopes up too high, the picture could be phony and Shaylene might be a false identity put up by some teenaged boy. Seconds later, Sam realizes he’s wrong when Shaylene shows up and waves to Dean.

They get a room and start making out passionately, when she stops and says it’s time to talk about her compensation and Dean looks at her as if she’s from Mars. He tells her he’s got a code, that he won’t pay for sex, but she tells him she doesn’t want any money, just his soul. Then she goes into the hard-sell, who even knows if we have a soul, it’s just a signature and then you get all this.

Castiel and his traveling companion Hannah, cross another name off their list as they convinced another Angel to return to heaven. Hannah disrobes in front of Cas and he asks her what she’s doing, she tells him she’s going to take a shower, then asks him if her being nude bothers him? Doing his best Porky Pig imitation, he finally spits out the words that he’s not bothered by it, Hannah smiles when she turns away.

Shaylene’s demon-pimp shows up with the paperwork, looking for a signature from the John, when Dean turns around with a blade in his hand and Sam steps out of his hiding spot also holding a blade. The demon groans, oh the Winchesters and then Dean starts grilling him of this new souls for sex racket. When Sam asks if there are other demons involved he says no just he and Shaylene, but she says he’s lying that there’s a brothel, as she’s heard him on the phone. The demon starts ragging on her, saying she’d be dead or on drugs if he didn’t grab her, she then grabs Dean’s blade and kills the demon. “THE BOYS,” aren’t pleased as he knew where the brothel’s at, she reaches inside his jacket pocket and pulls out business cards for a place called Raul’s Girls.

Hannah’s about to pay their bill at the hotel front desk and she puts down a credit card and a hand goes on top of hers and we hear a man say Caroline. The man’s Joe, whose married to Caroline, the vessel that Hannah inhabits. He tells her he’s had a missing person’s report out on her for over a year and the authorities contacted him when she used the credit card at the hotel earlier in the week. They go back to the hotel room and Joe says he won’t leave without an explanation. She says he wouldn’t understand, then Castiel walks in and asks if she’s ready to leave. Joe asks if they’re together and Hannah figures that’s the best explanation she can give him so she says yes, she loves Castiel, then kisses him passionately. They leave and we see Joe sitting there heart-broken.

We head to the brothel known as Raul’s Girls and we see a demon holding out some negligee to a woman reclining on a day bed, who tells since he likes it so much he should wear it. At that point the demon who killed the girl in the opening scene, now sporting an eye-patch comes in, it turns out that he’s Raul. When the other demon says the young woman won’t cooperate, Raul says don’t leave any marks. A woman walks into the brothel, a woman we saw briefly earlier this season. You may remember the scene in the third episode after Sam expelled the demon out of Dean, Castiel told his friend to take some time off, everything’s fine, but then we saw a red-headed woman eating in a hotel room with something dripping from the ceiling. Turned out to be the blood of the two men she impaled above her.

Turns out her name’s Rowena and she’s a witch, although she’s run afoul of too many of the Grand Coven’s rules to be a member. She walks in and the second demon says that she’s got the wrong place, she stops him and asks if this is Raul’s Girls and Raul steps forward tells her she’s right. He then tells her they’re not hiring currently and even if they were she’s a bit old. Then he asks her if she’s a customer and she goes ballistic. She tells him she’d never deal with such low-class rats, then throws a hex-bag at Raul which he reflexively catches. Suddenly a black tar type substance starts coming out his mouth and nose, the other demon, leaves his meat-suit by smoking out. Rowena then asks the two girls if they’d like to leave with her.

The demon that smoked out took over the first meat suit he could find so he could inform Crowley about what happened. The King Of Hell’s ticked-off that they did this without his permission. And he wants this witch found as soon as possible and he’s going to make her pay for messing with one of his soldiers.

Rowena and her two new young companions are at a five-star restaurant, something the girls never came close to experiencing. One of the women asks Rowena why they’re at this restaurant and the witch replies that she thought the girls would get hungry, considering how long they’d been with Raul. The same young woman says, yeah but we don’t belong here and right then the headwaiter approaches their table, telling Rowena her dining companions clothes don’t meet the dress code for the restaurant. The young women start to get up, but Rowena says they’re not leaving, she puts a hex-bag in the head-waiters hand, chants some words and seconds later, the entire wait-staff serves their table, filling it with food, wine and dessert. A while later Rowena looks up to see the headwaiter’s face turning red and she tells the girls, it’s time to go, seconds later the man’s dead as his brains got boiled.

At the same time a demon’s tied to a chair and getting splashed with holy water, he screams to his torturer that he’s a newbie and out of his league. The demon says he won’t talk, the camera pans back to show it’s Cole Trenton, the guy that’s father was a monster that Dean killed. He says to the demon that he’ll talk, Cole wants to know where his pal Dean Winchester’s at.

Cas and Hannah stop at a gas-station to fill up and Castiel tells Hannah, they need to discuss what took place before. She said that Joe wouldn’t believe her, so she thought if he saw her with another man, that would do it. But she feels terrible, because Caroline really wanted to talk to him, to have her life back. Castiel talks about his vessel Jimmy Novak, whom he took away from his family twice, when he turns around Hannah’s gone.

She’s a few blocks away standing on a wooden bridge watching the river flow and she tells Castiel she can’t do this any longer. She’s starting to experience emotions that frighten her and Caroline wants her life back. She kisses Castiel on the cheek and we watch her essence leave the body. When Caroline comes to the surface, she knows who Castiel is.

Sam’s done some digging and there’s a pattern of people whose brains got boiled, all across the country, but always in five-star hotels or restaurants. Rowena has taken the two women on as students whom she’ll teach witchcraft to and they’re in a very fancy hotel suite. There’s a knock on the door and the witch believes it’s a member of the hotel staff coming to kick them out for not paying. She tells one of the girls to use the spell she taught her, the door’s opened and the bell boy’s dead and propped up by two demons who’ve come for Rowena, but Dean and Sam kill them.

Dean tells the young women that they’re fine they just want Rowena, the blonde girl tells her to cast a spell and the witch does, turning the blonde into a woman with Hulk-like strength and Rowena and the other girl take off. The girls ticked-off that Rowena left her friend there, but the witch tells her she chose to sacrifice her friend because she sees that this woman’s tough and self-determined. The woman says that’s true, punches Rowena in the face and runs off.

Just then she hears Dean’s voice and his pistol on her back, but Dean needs to release her because Cole Trenton’s behind him and has a pistol aimed at Dean. Rowena takes off and Cole realizes, that Dean’s no longer a demon as the Holy Water is harmless. He tries to apologize for their last meeting, but Trenton just wants to fight. Dean wins and has Cole on the ground, with his pistol aimed at Trenton’s head, Cole tells him to kill him, but Dean says he’s going to explain what he did all those years ago.

Cole’s father got possessed by some monster he never experienced before or since, but he returned home that night to kill either Cole or his mother. Dean had tracked him for weeks and trying to get Dean’s sympathy he used the meat-suit’s regular voice, but his father was long gone at that point, so Dean did what he had to do. It takes a few minutes for Cole to process the information, but he realizes Dean’s telling the truth and he heads home to his family.

Castiel takes Caroline home to her husband Joe, they meet on the front-porch, hug each other and enter the house together to work on spending the rest of their lives together. Castiel’s on a laptop in the car, looking up Jimmy Novak on the Internet and seeing all the missing persons reports that pop up.

The last scene’s back with Crowley, as an aide informs him that they’ve captured the witch Rowena and have tortured her, would he like them to finish her off, or does he want the pleasure? Crowley enters the cell and his face registers with shock, as he sees Rowena strung up off the floor by the hand-cuffs around her wrists. She’s far from impressed with Crowley, calls him the King Of Lilliput and tells him to get on with it. The camera focuses on Crowley as the wall seems to push him closer to her as he asks “Mother?”

The Story Continues Next Tuesday Night at 9:00 pm on The CW.  


Person Of Interest: Battle For The Streets Of New York

Photo Courtesy Of CBS
Photo Courtesy Of CBS

Warning: Spoiler Alert

As the previous episode of the CBS series “Person Of Interest” concluded, we saw storm-clouds ahead on two fronts, one concerning Artificial Intelligence System Samaritan, the other with a rapidly growing New York street gang, known as The Brotherhood. Although the first situation needed a speedy solution, most of this episode revolved around the second, as the leader of The Brotherhood Dominic, challenged the Boss of the New York City underworld Carl Elias. Although both men get involved in criminal activities all over the spectrum, Harold Finch and John Reese prefer that Elias remain in power, as he’s cleared up the chaotic situation the city was, before he took over.

The open finds us watching Sameen Shaw and Samaritan operative Martine, staring down each other inside a high-end clothing store. Sameen’s boss picks the worst possible moment to criticize her countertop at the makeup center, as Martine pulls out her pistol and begins firing, Shaw getting her and the manager down below the counter before the bullets get close. Shaw reaches into a cabinet underneath her counter and pulls out an automatic weapon, that likely weighs more than she does and starts advancing and firing on her foe. She winds up behind a post, puts down the weapon and grabs her pistol engaging in a firefight, until she makes it to an exit that deposits her on the street.

Root rides up on a motorcycle, gives Shaw a helmet, tells her to jump on and off they go, while Samaritan loses their signal. Root rides the bike up a ramp and into a moving van, then covers the motorcycle with a furniture blanket, they hide behind some furniture and the movers close up the truck and take off to someone’s new home. Harold reaches them inside the truck and tells Shaw that her cover’s blown and she’s not safe on the streets, she needs to get back to headquarters. Shaw replies they’re in the back of a truck and have no idea where they are, but Finch tells her he’s got her GPS signal.

Reese’s following the number that “The Machine,” assigned them, Crime Boss Carl Elias, as Dominic stole every important document about Elias from the NYPD computer. Elias and his number one guy Anthony are walking the boardwalk when they meet up with another man, Bruce Moran, his childhood friend and the man who handles all of Carl’s money. Bruce tells him about a couple of crisis he averted and tells Elias he’s lucky to have him. Elias gives him a hug and he walks away.

The moving truck’s stopped and we hear the driver talking with a cop, who opens the back of the truck and it’s Fusco. He gets them out and then tells the truck-driver everything’s cool and he can take off. Using the shadow-map  that Finch designed they start following the trail that will take them back to headquarters, without being detected by cameras, and thereby Samaritan.

Reese approaches and Elias says it’s an unexpected pleasure to see him so soon and John responds it’s not a social call. Elias asks who he’s playing Guardian Angel for this time and Reese tells the Crime Boss it’s him, Dominic’s coming after him hard, and he stole all sorts of info from the Department’s computer. Carl thanks John but tells him he can handle this young lion on his own, when he and Anthony leave, one of Elias’ men tries to shoot them in the back, but John shoots him first.

Reese tries to talk Elias into leaving the city for a while and he flat-out refuses, but he appreciates John providing him extra protection. The trio head over to one of the gang leaders that work for Carl, a guy named Gino. Elias tells him about the attempted hit and Gino says he’s shocked, but looking at Carl’s face he realizes that Dominic turned him. He asks Gino if Dominic got to Bruce, and Gino responds he honestly doesn’t know but he’s on his way there right now, Reese tells the other two guys they need to leave and they get out in plenty of time.

Martine calls the head of Samaritan John Greer and tells him that she lost Shaw, that somehow Samaritan developed a blind spot, which puzzles Greer. He tells her to keep digging and he’ll investigate further into what happened with Samaritan.  She decides to talk to the cop that stopped the truck, to see if he knows anything.

As Shaw and Root walk they start talking and she asks when “The Machine,” will provide her with a new identity, and Root gives her a pitying look. Shaw’s truly ticked off, she says that Root goes through a dozen identities in a week sometimes, she only gets one and done? Root tells her she doesn’t make the rules but if she doesn’t go into seclusion she’ll put all their lives in danger.

Dominic heads to Gino’s who told the leader of the Brotherhood he tried to stall with Elias, but they took off and they realize Gino got turned. Dominic asks what else did they discuss and Gino mentions they discussed his accountant Bruce. After they leave Gino’s Dominic tells his second in command that this Bruce must run all of Elias’ businesses, when he was in jail and living off the grid.

Bruce’s office’s located in the penthouse of a dilapidated building that Carl owns and he’s only restored the penthouse. When they reach the floor it looks like a totally different building. Elias needs to get something from his safe and starts punching in the combination, when the Brotherhood start shooting through the door. Reese grabs Elias and they go out through a secret passageway, Anthony starts to join them, but gets shot, so he tells Reese to get Carl out. Elias tries to go back, but John stops him, then attempts it himself, but there’s too many guys. The two of them hide in a room that Carl says he never liked.

Harold contacts Root and Shaw and tells them he’s off to help Reese and Shaw can’t join them, for fear of Samaritan seeing her. She says she thought that the Artificial Intelligence System can’t see them and Root agrees but tells her their operatives can. Sameen asks Root if she knows where Reese is and she nods, but won’t tell her. Shaw says she won’t move unless Root takes her there and for once Root’s bested.

Back in the room Carl dislikes, Dominic calls Elias on his cell and tells him he’s got a chance to make one deal, if he turns himself in he’ll allow Anthony and Detective Reilly to go free, Elias says he needs a better deal than that and hangs up the phone. As soon as he does though, we see the regret on his face and he tells John that he’s been friends with Anthony forever, they met at a Juvenile Detention Center when they were kids, Anthony got sent there as his father beat his mother for years, until one day Anthony slit his father’s throat. He then asks John if he ever wonders how long he can keep things going, Carl’s quite melancholy and Reese realizes he may struggle to get saved.

Reese gives Carl a gun and then says as soon as he gets Elias safe he’ll go back for Anthony, the reach the street and Elias comes out second, then points the gun at Reese and tells him he’s sorry, but he can’t let John go back in that building, they’re too much even for him. He then slams the door behind him, and there’s no knob on the street side of the door. Finch calls Elias and tells him he shouldn’t do this, he’s the one that brought back order to the streets, Carl tells him he’s touched with John and his efforts but he must go and we see Dominic and two of his men directly in front of Carl.

Root takes Shaw into a building, but it’s not where John, Elias, The Brotherhood and Finch are at. Instead Root sticks Sameen in the neck with a syringe filled with elephant tranquilizer, Shaw tries choking Root, but passes out first.

Elias asks Dominic where’s Anthony and Dominic tells him the deals terms have changed he needs to give up the safe’s combination, before he releases Anthony. Elias now gets angry and says how do I even know he’s alive and the leader of The Brotherhood calls up to the penthouse and they put Anthony on the phone. Anthony says that Elias should give up the combination and Carl says he’s waiting for him to get released, but Anthony says he doesn’t think that’s happening. Elias gives the guys in the Penthouse the number, but he kind of smiles at the end, something’s up.

The guys upstairs get to the last digit and Dominic screams stop, but it’s too late, the safe’s wired as a bomb and detonated upon that code’s entry, the entire penthouse blows up, the only person to escape, Dominic’s right-hand man. Dominic said he still won and Elias asked him how come he’s not smiling, then Reese shows up and Dominic slips away. Elias tells John and Harold that he appreciates their support, but a day’s coming when Dominic will pay for Anthony and advises them to stay out of his way.

The Flash: You Don’t Know What You’ve Got ‘Til It’s Gone

Courtesy of The CW
Courtesy of The CW

Warning: Spoiler Alert

We begin tonight with a flashback to the night the particle accelerator exploded. Again. This time from the outskirts of town. A young man has scaled an electrical tower to get the best view. Then the explosion became a relative expanding cloud of bad news. Swallowing up the young man on the tower.

Dr. Wells wheels into his Braille room. Stands up and approaches the control panel (if we can call it that). A ‘Man of Steel’ like animation of a face emerges. He calls it Gideon. I don’t know why but that seems important. He is chronicling Barry’s movements, literally. Now Barry is using his speed to aid in everyday tasks. Like waking up late. Even getting robbed at gun point, he finds a great opportunity to not only get out of the situation but to do it with some flair.

Barry (to a mugger): If there was an Olympics for bad ideas, you haven’t just medal-ed. You Michael Phelps-ed it.

Wells is disappointed that the relationship has become all about how Star Labs can help Barry help people, and not Barry helping Star Labs make medical advancements. Before Wells can pursue further, Barry gets an alert of a homicide and he needs to report to the scene. At the scene, a man has been burnt beyond recognition. According to Barry, probably burned at 2400 degrees or so. Then he takes a photograph of the victim.

Thawne: His face is burned off, how is that going to help identify him?
Barry: I got mad skills.
Joe: Don’t ever say that again.

Joe is visibly on edge. Which is to be expected. At the conclusion of last week’s episode, the ‘reverse Flash’ came to Joe’s living room, stole the reports from the Allen case, put a kitchen knife through a picture of Iris and carved “Stop or Else” in the wall around Iris’ picture. So, his mind is elsewhere.
At Star Labs, Cisco is putting a name to a face. Once they have that identity and place of employment, Caitlin finds activity at said place of employment. The electrical substation. Before Wells can say be careful, Barry is gone. Once there, Barry finds the new meta-human attempting to get or feed off of the substation’s electricity. Then there is a period of the new guy trying to hit Barry with the electricity. Which is comical until he hits Barry. Somehow the electrocution of Barry is appetizing to this new villain. There is a real side effect to letting this guy feed off of Barry.

Wells: Barry, get out of there. RUN!
Barry: I can’t.

It’s kind of depressing to see Barry Allen running like a normal person. While Wells works on restoring Barry’s powers, Barry goes to warn Joe. Lovely little device giving the viewer more information than the characters. Joe needs Barry to get his powers back primarily so that he can better about Iris’ safety. And probably Joe’s for that matter. Then Iris walks in. Fast forward to the important part. If the police can’t protect the people, then the Flash will. Let’s call that Iris-ism #1. As Barry leaves and heads for the elevator, a creepy guy exits (wearing strange little glasses) escorted by to officers. He compliments Barry’s watch. There is something more than off about this guy. And for the first time, I sense a multiple villain episode.

Wells is back in the Braille room again. He asks Gideon to show him the future. No mention of the Flash. None.

Barry sulks while looking at his suit. Wondering if he’ll ever wear it again. I have to commend the show runners for The Flash. While they have taken some liberties with certain details. Up to and including inventing new characters like Harrison Wells and Joe West. You have to give them credit for working the comic book manual. We had the ‘I can’t do this, it’s not me’ episode. We had the ‘reveal yourself to your inner circle and establish your team’ episode. And now we are getting the ‘what if it’s over’ episode. This is uniquely fun because this affords Barry an opportunity to know what you have when it’s gone just to get it back later. Thus, creating a sense of focus to go along with purpose. All of these subtle but noticeable details will eventually contribute to a version of the Flash that is closer to what we envisioned when we heard there would be a Flash series. Comic Book traditionalist, take a deep breath, it’ll come.

The electricity hoarder is actually knocking on the door at Star Labs. Demanding to speak with Dr. Wells.

Meanwhile, the chief asks Joe to cover for him until the shift change. Only one task. Prisoner transfer for a “William Tockman”, which a quick little search tells us is the secret identity of The Clock King. While our electricity guy is busy trying to display his power by jacking Star Labs’ power it is also creating a power surge around the city. Including Joe’s precinct. When Mr. Tockman is attempting to pick his cuffs. Which is successful at. Tockman is surprisingly accurate with a gun, but now the precinct is a large hostage situation. One call to the Chief and now Barry knows that Joe and Iris are inside.

So the only feasible theory in the room is that if this electo-guy has absorbed enough electricity, and he is provoked, he could send enough power at Barry to mimic the particle accelerator that first gave Barry his powers. But first, Barry has the great idea to speak to him first. The idea is not without merit. It actually works for a while. Until the team realizes that this guy is here to take out his frustrations out on Dr. Wells.

The plan changes and now it’s about getting this guy to let out a charge strong enough that can be transmitted to Barry on the treadmill. Cisco refuses (momentarily) to leave Wells. Who then turns to him and gives a much more intense than the moment called for bit about Barry being his greatest invention. And Barry must have a future. Question is to what end?

Eddie Thawne trying to be the hero, trying to impress Iris or Daddy, whatever the reason, gets himself shot. Not fatally but bad enough that it’s an issue.

In a surprising turn of events, Harrison goes down to where last week’s meta-human is kept in a nice prison cell. Wells’ great plan involves letting this guy loose to take out the electo-guy. First thought is that Barry is not going to like that idea at all. The second is more scientific.

Electricity is less than predictable. In most cases electricity is directed by the use of a ‘conductor’ which is almost always a metal.

Meanwhile at the treadmill, which by the way is not something one exercises on, Barry has to give a short speech to Caitlin just to convince her to flip the switch so that maybe Barry’s powers can be restored. She flips the switch and Barry holds on as long as he can. He is then thrown from his position. He’s alive and his hand is doing that things where it vibrates at high speeds. But it didn’t work.

Tony (the meta-human from last week) is fighting valiantly, but losing. Bad. Barry and Caitlin find him flung from across the room. He tries to get up. Leans in and tells Barry to run, then passes out. Caitlin is able to get Barry to what looks like a boiler room where Cisco already is. Wells enters and takes credit for releasing Tony. Which spirals out of control into a conversation pinning Barry’s ideals against Wells’ determination.

Caitlin was able to test a blood sample. His cells are behaving the way they would if he had his powers. So now we have a mental issue. As Cisco puts it, he has the ‘yips’. He doesn’t have his speed because Barry is in his own head.

The helicopter arrived as requested for the Clock King. An incredible job portraying this character by the from Robert Knepper. As insurance, he decides to take Iris with him. Joe does his best to reason with Tockman. Even convinces him to let Iris say goodbye to her dying boyfriend. Then they depart. While she was saying goodbye, Thawne told her to grab his gun stashed above his ankle. She does and allows Tockman to take her. Then she stops and pulls out the gun. He swings at it, and Joe hears the gunshot. Not knowing whether or not that is a good thing.

The Star Labs team tries to make a getaway, but they are not fast enough. Barry gets out of the van and is instantly hit. Next, Wells does what anyone would expect him to do. Sacrifice himself for the good of the Barry and the team. Despite reciting a list of names of people who died the day of the accident, hoping to appeal to “Blackout’s” sense of right, he still send Wells flying.

This introduces one of my personal favorite elements to a ‘power’. The emotional (or mental) manifestation. In this case, if Barry emotes hard enough, he can kick-start his own power. Which is exactly what happens. The fight begins. Halfway through Blackout hits Barry, but this time Barry seemed to be ready for it. They both end up face to face on their knees absorbing electricity. In the end, Blackout wasn’t strong enough.

Barry returns in street clothes to the precinct. The whole place is roped off. Thawne is rolled by in a gurney. He can’t find Joe or Iris. The camera pans up and to the left slowly. Father and daughter sitting holding each other in the middle of the staircase to Barry’s lab.

“Blackout” has gone dark, permanently. Caitlin explains to Barry that he finally let go and connected with his powers instead of thinking about them. He is now generating cells faster than ever before. Which is exactly what Wells wanted him to. Step it up.

Barry does attempt to take back an earlier comment about Wells not caring about people. Wells actually confirmed that in general, he doesn’t care for people. Then he drops some easter eggs. He knows the future, Barry’s in that future, he’d like to see said future but that was anything but declarative.

Barry brings flowers to Thawne in the hospital. Thawne is down right loopy from the pain meds. Iris decides to go get some coffee. Barry walks slowly around to the side of Thawne’s hospital bed. At the foot of which sit the flowers in a vase he brought. The camera slides over to Joe who nonchalantly pushes the flowers off the edge of the table. Barry catches them with ease.

Joe (under his breath and relieved): awesome… Guess you’re feeling better.
Thawne: Did you guys see that?
Joe: y-y- you’re just, high…partner.
Thawne (chuckling): Right…

The Flash races to where Iris is and apologizes for not being there. Then with a twinkle in her eye, Iris says that she has a friend that says that, and he’s always late. He replies with, “you’re worth being on time for”. She heads back to Thawne’s room. She looks up to see Thawne, Joe and Barry there. She looks disappointed, sad even. She was already starting to piece together that maybe Barry is the Flash. Or at least really wanted to believe he was. Seeing him standing there in street clothes burst her bubble. For now.

In the Braille room, Wells gives Gideon a new entry. He has concluded that Barry’s attachment to people is not a distraction but will actually be the catalyst for getting him “up to speed”. Then Wells makes his way to the treadmill room where Barry is getting dressed. Ready to work. On the science side of things one would like to believe.

In the creepy Wells close, he ventures down to the prison. Blackout is in a body bad. Wells unzips it. Takes a blood sample and says, “You were able to steal the Flash’s powers. I’d like to know how you did that”.

Stay tuned boys and girls as next week is the highly promoted and highly anticipated Flash vs Arrow two night event starting Tuesday and carrying over to Wednesday of next week.

Courtesy of The CW
Courtesy of The CW

Gotham: Don’t Mistake Bravery For Good Sense

Photo Courtesy Of FOX
Photo Courtesy Of FOX

Warning: Spoiler Alert

The Fox freshman series “Gotham,” broadcast their Fall Finale Monday night, in an episode, action-packed from the start, concluding with Detective Jim Gordon and a young Bruce Wayne, lots of lessons along the way. The detective and the boy-billionaire share the same philosophy, right can defeat might and that goodness always triumphs in the end. As the series takes the rest of the calendar year off, at least one of them may question that philosophy as the episode ended.

We also saw that underneath the genteel exterior of the Wayne’s butler Alfred Pennyworth, lurks a man who seems to have gone through MI5 training with James Bond. Although the Batman Mythos, always hinted that Pennyworth came from a military background, but we’ve never witnessed a display such as this one in other versions of the tale. Although I thoroughly enjoyed Michael Caine in the Christopher Nolan films, Sean Pertwee makes the screen crackle whenever he’s on camera.

Selina Kyle, who prefers the name Cat’s a guest at Wayne Mansion, as Jim Gordon asked Alfred and Bruce to keep her hidden until ADA Harvey Dent could build a strong enough case against Industrialist Dick Lovecraft, to try him for the murder of Martha and Thomas Wayne. Cat witnessed the killing and says she could identify the triggerman.

This episode opens with a woman whose appearance screams Assassin on the grounds of Wayne Manor, when a groundskeeper sees her and asks if he can help her. She asks if it’s the Wayne Estate and he confirms it, then offers to guide her back to the main road, she smiles at him and tells him she’s where she’s supposed to be, then swiftly snaps the man’s neck. Two male accomplices, both wearing leather outfits arrive and she barks out open him, they slit his torso and she smears some of his blood on her forehead.

Bruce’s trying to conquer his fear of heights by walking the third floor bannister, Cat gives him some tips that help, then he climbs off. She says he should join her climbing the midtown bridge, then she asks if he wants to kiss her and he responds no thank you. She knows he’s fibbing so she says no, sarcastically and he explains that he’d like to, but feels she’s got ulterior motives. She tells him he thinks too much, she was just trying to act nice and he tells her she’s not a nice person. He says she’s a good person, but she really doesn’t want to help others, she responds by saying screw you orphan, climb the bridge yourself.

Front door rings, Alfred opens it and it’s the female assassin, with a blanket wrapped around her and saying she got in a car accident. Alfred invites her in and kids come down stairway, as soon as woman sees Cat, her eyes give her away and Alfred tells Bruce and Cat to run, then slugs the woman in the jaw. The two men enter and one goes with the woman to find Cat, while Alfred battles the other, with the criminal holding a pistol and Pennyworth staving him off with a wooden stick, knocks the gun out of his hand and the guy runs. Gunfire ensues, Alfred gets winged but he kills one of the men, but the kids and the other two assassins are gone.

Gordon arrives in the next scene and Alfred blames everything on him and bringing Kyle to the house, but Jim says that’s not certain. Seconds later proves Alfred correct as Harvey Bullock walks in and says Kyle’s mug-shot was the only thing found on him. Then Jim has to tell Harvey everything about his arrangement with Dent, trying to keep Selina safe so she can testify and of course Bullock blows up and for good measure Alfred calls Jim a plank, the two detectives split up to expand the search and Pennyworth joins Harvey.

Cat and Bruce out maneuver the pair after them and they’re right outside of Gotham City, Kyle tells Bruce that the assassins were after her not him, how could they know she’s hiding there. Bruce now panic-stricken says he needs to call Alfred, Cat tells him as soon as she gets him safely hidden she’ll find him a phone.

We travel to the estate of Carmine Falcone, as two of his goons bring in a guy with a black hood over his head and it’s Oswald Cobblepot, as the henchmen leave we can see that Falcone’s legitimately angry. He asks Penguin how did Maroni know where Falcone kept his money and Cobblepot swears that Maroni didn’t hit the armory, that it may have been someone in his own employ. The Crime-Boss says that Cobblepot’s hatred of Fish Mooney may cloud Penguin’s judgment and right then Mooney’s mole Liza walks in with a tray of tea, Carmine asks her to return later. Penguin says he’ll find the mole in Falcone’s organization, even though he’s well aware that Liza’s the guilty party.

Gordon heads to Harvey Dent’s office saying Lovecraft’s disappeared, Dent says he’s struck out trying to find him as well. Gordon didn’t tell Dent where he was hiding Kyle or her name, he asks the ADA if he mentioned Gordon’s name. Dent responds that he never said his name out loud, but he whispered it to some trustworthy sources. Gordon then tells Dent, if either kid gets a scratch it’s all on Dent and storms out of the office.

Bullock and Pennyworth have a teenaged guy in the interrogation room and the kid’s playing games so Alfred peels off a c-note and gives it to the kid. The guy says he knows Cat’s got a new fence but he doesn’t know where he hangs out, but he’s got the name of someone who would. Another hundred later, the guy tells them to talk to Fish, all the fences go through her.

We see Fish in the next scene as all Falcone’s gang leaders seated for dinner, waiting for the Don to arrive. We hear a gunshot, then see one man at the table’s now face down in his pasta. Carmine excuses them all for shocking them, but he wants to explain the context. He said that he loved Ben, (the man he shot)  they grew up together, but Ben’s job was to guard the Armory and he didn’t, he also might have looked the other way. He then says if  anyone at the table’s involved, they’ll wish they died like Ben did. Falcone then tells the gang leaders he’s raising their tariffs 25% and two of the leaders say that’s a big increase. Carmine asks Fish what her thoughts are and she says we’re a family, whatever helps the family. Falcone compliments her but we can see the tension between the two of them.

Bruce and Cat find a payphone, but Wayne doesn’t carry change and asks Cat if she’s got any, but she shakes her head then asks why Alfred’s so important, he’s just a butler, Bruce responds he’s my family and Cat gives him a coin. As he starts to make the call she tells him she’s leaving, that he’s safe and to head home. She only told him the bad guys were after him, so he’d hang around longer. Bruce tells her she has to come home with him so she can testify at the trial, she looks at him with pity and tells him that wouldn’t happen, then climbs a fire escape. He follows her up to the roof and she leaps from one rooftop to the next, he attempts to follow her but stops at the edge when he looks below. He gathers his courage and heads backwards to make a running leap, Cat tells him he’ll never make it, but he lands on the ledge, she grabs his hand and pulls him onto the roof. She says if they’re hanging it’s going to be by her rules.

She takes him to this subterranean culture known as “The Factory,” she explains it’s a mall for street kids, without the lousy music. She gets Wayne some street clothes and he looks like a normal 12-year-old heading to ride his skateboard. All of a sudden a little voice says hello to Cat and she turns around to find Ivy Pepper standing behind her, Kyle gives her a big hug and asks what’s she doing there. The daughter of the man who Gotham City officials pinned the Wayne’s murder on, says she got  adopted  by a nice couple upstate, but they wanted her to cut her hair and dress nice, so she ran back to Gotham.

Bruce suddenly  looks at her and says he knows her, she’s Mario Pepper’s daughter and Ivy asks him his name and he tells her, which gets Cat quite edgy. Cat tells Ivy to stay cool and we see a little psychotic interlude by the pre-teen asking Cat why she’s trying to give her orders. She says she’s fine, that Bruce didn’t kill her dad or force her mother to slit her wrists, did he? Bruce says of course not, she says good, then asks him how he’s doing, he responds he’s fine and asks how she’s doing. She says she’s doing great, how do I look? Bruce tells her she looks good and Cat makes an excuse to get away. She’s clearly terrified of the girl and when Bruce asks her why she says she’s scary.

At Mooney’s nightclub, Butch tells Fish that he’s nervous about Falcone figuring out they knocked off the armory, Fish tells him to have conversations with the two gang leaders who squawked about their tariffs being raised and she leaves the main bar and heads upstairs. Just then Bullock and Alfred show up and Harvey says they need to speak to Fish, Butch tells them she’s busy. Bullock pulls out the mug-shot of Kyle and asks if he knows her, asks if Fish might know her and Butch says Mooney knows everybody. Bullock once again asks to speak with Fish and Butch replies the same way.

Alfred interjects that he knew a fella named Butch, who was anything but, in fact his mates called him Butchie, as he wasn’t the least bit tough. Mooney’s right-hand man looks to Bullock and asks if this guy’s threatening him, but seconds later he’s on sprawled on his back on the floor, with Pennyworth crouched over him, holding a blade to his Adam’s Apple. Fish comes downstairs and asks what’s all the drama about.

Harvey show’s Mooney’s Kyle’s mug-shot and she says she looks familiar, then reveals she knows all about Selena witnessing the Wayne’s murder and the hit squad that’s after her. But she asks Bullock why she should care and Alfred says because Bruce Wayne’s with her, and Fish sounds intrigued when she says really. Alfred then tells her he’s Wayne’s legal guardian and properly introduces himself. She’s somewhat charmed but she asks why she should do something that could damage her own interests. Pennyworth responds that anyone can clearly see she has grace and class and surely she’s filled with compassion and empathy, Mooney’s swept off her feet and says she’ll make some calls.

Gordon locates Dick Lovecraft at his mistresses’ condo and Lovecraft says that he and Dent think he’s running things, but the same assassination team’s after him. He pulls a briefcase out from under the bed, then starts telling Jim that a few weeks before the Wayne’s murder he saw the stock price dropping so he bought a bunch of shares expecting it to bounce back, that’s how he got involved with the true ringleaders. Just then the assassins break into the condo, Gordon knocks down the guy, but the woman gets him in a sleeper-hold and knocks him out.

Gordon’s woken by the ringing of his cellphone, Bullock’s on the other end and Fish found out they’re at “The Factory,” they’re heading over there. Jim tells Harvey what happened, says he’ll get there as soon as he can. He walks into the bathroom and sees Lovecraft’s body in the tub with a bullet between the eyes, he then realizes the assassins used his service revolver to kill Lovecraft.

Cat and Bruce head to her fence a guy named Clyde, who seems happy to see her. She pulls out her booty and it’s stuff she stole from the mansion and Bruce gets outraged, but she told him to keep quiet. Clyde says this is far better than her usual junk and she asks for a grand, the fence laughs at her and says he’ll give her 50 bucks. Bruce gets ticked-off and says the pen’s solid-gold and costs $2000 and Clyde asks who the well-spoken dude is? Cat says it doesn’t matter $500 is her lowest offer and Clyde laughs again. She picks up the stuff but two of Clyde’s guys grab them and the fence says someone’s coming to visit her. They lock the pair up in an upstairs loft, with windows 20-feet off the floor.

The female assassin pays off Clyde, then her partner heads into the room see’s the open window above, but Kyle’s hiding right behind him and knocks him out with a blunt instrument, they climb towards the window but the female assassin spots them and she starts her chase. Staying behind, Wayne throws about a dozen metal pipes trying to hit the woman but misses each time, however it bought Cat the time to reach the window and start to climb out. The woman climbs the structure Bruce’s on, grabs his ankle and points her pistol at him. She asks where Selena is and Bruce says he doesn’t know. The woman says he’s not on the contract but she’ll hurt him if he refuses to cooperate. He tells her she’s gone, the woman puts down the pistol and says to Bruce that she’s got advice for him, don’t mistake bravery for good sense. Alfred and Bruce meet on the stairwell and tightly hug each other, Gordon sees the boy and says thank God.

The next scene takes place in Mayor Aubrey James’ office and he’s chewing out Dent and Gordon  for digging too deep. James tells Gordon that they’re going to rule it a suicide, Lovecraft got distraught and overpowered Jim, grabbing his weapon and shooting himself in the head. He then tells the two of them they’re on thin ice and one of them will pay for this incident, Dent says that’s rather unfair and James tells him it’s not going to be him, because he walks the line without falling over, Gordon keeps falling. Jim tells the Mayor to kiss him where the sun doesn’t shine and James blames Gordon for being overzealous in questioning Lovecraft. Gordon’s been reassigned as a guard at the Arkham Asylum.

Bruce’s in the library when we hear Cat’s voice telling him they’ve got a lousy security system. Bruce smiles and says he didn’t think, he’d see her again. She says they never said goodbye and she hands him all the stuff she stole back, but Bruce says she should keep it. She says she’s just being nice and shows him the one thing she’s keeping, as he looks at it she kisses him then leaves through the open window.

Scorpion: The Bosnian Extraction

Courtesy of CBS
Courtesy of CBS

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Walter’s sister Megan, who is battling MS, wound up in jail. Walter bails her out to discover there is a more logical game at play here. Megan’s prognosis has not improved in years. She can do the math. Soon she will lose the use of her legs and eventually worse. She just wanted to enjoy life outside the hospital while she still has the ability to.

The introduction of Megan into Scorpion, even if only for a day, is awkward for the team. They each know she exists, but she is never talked about. So naturally, this is extremely awkward. For everyone. Except Paige. During the pleasantries, Cabe calls.

The team meets up with Cabe on a military installation. Tempers and testosterone are high. Lt. Barlow does what military people do when told they will be working with civilians. Figuratively marked his territory and informed Scorpion how they will do exactly what he says. Yeah…not a good idea when the lead of this civilian group is Walter O’Brien. But hey, that’s what Paige is for. Smooth the rails.

The mission is to travel to Bosnia where a secret military jet with cloaking technology has gone down. With unrest in the region and a rogue group out to overthrow the government, retrieving the technology is critical. As well as the body of the dead pilot. In the meantime, Sylvester will need to watch over Megan for the next day and a half. One small detail. The wife of the pilot drives up and identifies herself. She wants Paige to retrieve a necklace that was supposed to be passed down to their son.

In Bosnia the truck blows a tire less than 10 miles from the crash site. Happy thinks she can patch the tire and clicks on a flashlight. Which triggers the rebel forces. A little strange that the rebels would not have noticed the big truck driving, stopping abruptly, the voices or the some 8-10 people who got out of the vehicle. But Happy’s pocket flashlight might as well have been an air horn.

Happy and Toby get separated from the group and during the fire fight, Paige falls into an immediate pit of despair. Two details complicate the next move. 1) Happy and Toby are somewhere else and there is no way (currently) to know where and 2) They need to move before the rebels regroup and pursue. Sylvester is able to find the relative location. More importantly, there is an intersection where the high ground most of them are on will converge with the ravine that Happy and Toby fell down. Cabe grabs the phone and tells them what they need to know to make it, including one little detail I’m sure Toby’s not thrilled with.

Cabe: …And Toby?
Toby: Yes?
Cabe: Happy’s in charge.

One of the Navy Seals got hit and will need some attention. Barlow jumps down Walter’s throat about this hiccup in the mission being completely Scorpion’s fault. Walter quickly and articulately explains why the only fault with any of this falls on them. Then Paige jumps in to cool tempers with a soccer mom like appeal to do what’s right.

Megan finds a box, a short and wide wooden box. She asks Sylvester about some of the items in the box. Each one seems to be a visual reminder of a pivotal point the relationships between Walter and each of the team plus one for his sister. That is until she holds up a motel key and Sylvester gets very statuesque and says, “I don’t want to talk about that”.

They arrive at the crash site. The plane is demolished and the pilot is nowhere to be seen. Paige tries frantically to find the necklace in the wreckage. It’s clear that she connects with the urgency of the other woman. Then Walter notices a piece of equipment that is way to old for this plane. Cabe finds blood 12 feet from the plane. The group deduces that the rebels saw the plane fall, stole the software and the pilot. Who is presumably still alive.

The rebels are torturing the pilot who is very much alive, for now.

Walter was able to tap into the black box and discover that the plane believed it was over Sarajevo. The plane was hacked. A few moments later, Walter thinks he has figured out what it would take to pull that off and in what direction it would have come from.

Barlow: Hey, you figuring all that out…The Seals call a professor.
Walter: Well I’ll take that as a compliment.
Barlow: It is.

Happy and Toby are making headway, but after seeing her wince one too many times, Toby insists on looking at her ankle. She resists but he wins. He jumps right in to medical doctor mode which on some level impresses Happy. She asks why he’s not a real doctor. He gives her a quick explanation about his mother and wanting to help. Then he makes a crack about the internet and paying good money to look at Happy’s feet.

Happy: Why do you do that? As soon as you become human, you switch to wise ass.
Toby: Textbook defense mechanism. To hide how I feel. Especially around you. So smart, and capable, and fun. And that personality happens to wrapped in a nice little package. So I say stupid things to hide feelings you already know I have. And we have no food or water. And have no idea where we are. So if we’re going to die, I might as well say some stuff. So there.

The Seals and most of Scorpion advance on a field. Which turns out to be a mine field. There is an explosion. A very loud explosion. Everyone is frozen in place, but that won’t last. Walter needs to figure this out or this mission could be over before it starts. Walter explains that there are random flower patches that are growing while everywhere else is dead grass. The flower patches are safe.

Happy and Toby find a house on a hill. Insert movie cliché here. There are signs that someone was there recently but it looks abandoned. They look around and find an A-Team poster, a Charles in Charge poster. They go to find food and water. Then “Igor” shows up with a sawed off shotgun. It’s hostile at first. Until Igor realizes they are American. “IGOR LOVE AMERICA”.

Walter gets the team almost to safety. Barlow is the last to step across. He stops short. He’s stepped on a ‘Bouncing Betty’. A pin triggered mine. Walter gets down and digs around the mine. He thinks he can deactivate the detonator. Everyone except Walter wants no part of this. The mechanism begins to speed up. With seconds to spare, Cabe runs and rolls Walter away. The mine detonates but with the lethality of a bottle rocket.

In the house on the hill, it seems Igor was forced to use the satellite he is charged with running for the government to take down the plane. Happy uses a SAT phone to call Walter. She informs him of the location of the Rebel base of operations. She wants him to avoid it. He tells her that’s exactly where they want to be. To retrieve the pilot and software. Then there is a nice moment between Walter and Jim Barlow. After saving each other a couple times, there is a shared mutual respect. Military and genius aren’t that far off when it comes to assessing a situation and removing emotion from it.

Back at HQ, Megan tries to reach Sylvester. He is clearly upset. Continuously upset but hiding it well. Or so he thinks. He reluctantly tells Megan the story of the motel key. The moral of which is that Walter was there for Sylvester and now Sylvester is not there for Walter. He lied about needing to work from Scorpion HQ and Walter knew it. But he still granted permission. What Sylvester is failing to realize is that Walter also chose Sylvester to watch his sister. The one person in the world that he is most guarded about.

The team has reached the perimeter of the compound. Barlow and Walter will go in. Cabe and the other functional Seal will secure transport. Paige and the out of commission Seal will head down to the service road where they will get picked up shortly thereafter. Paige taps Walter on the shoulder and Walter turns. The text is not very telling. But this reveals something hidden. Or at least not admitted to.

Walter: Hey.
Paige: I’d offer you a good luck charm, but I know you don’t believe in that, so…Just get back safe, ok?

Barlow and Walter enter the barn with literally no resistance. They go down below where screams can be heard. They can’t take out the rebel doing the torturing. Too risky that they could kill the pilot. Just then, the rebels leave long enough for Barlow and Walter to get the pilot free.

Completely unrelated side note. During the commercial break, Elyes Gabel (Walter O’Brien) does a quick 15 second PSA for MS. if you’re curious. Solid message. It’s also a great tie in allowing them to use a story line to raise awareness. Also, good grief is Elyes Gabel REALLY British.

Back in Bosnia, they have secured the pilot. As Walter gets up to secure the tech, the rebels return. With their guns. Now they are beating on Barlow. I like to think I’m a logical person. Not on the level of these geniuses, but still. Something always jumps out at me as ridiculous in scenes like this one. The rebel is beating on Barlow and saying, “So you think you can just come here and take what you want?”. Um, yes Boris. You stole the tech and pilot. That wasn’t yours. They are merely recovering their property. So yes, I’d think they could just take what they want, considering its theirs. Just saying.

Walter set up something to download. It looks legit. At about 9%, he asks to leave. The guy in charge says they can leave when the download is complete. While the encryption has been downloading, Walter has been unscrewing a large pipe behind him. In one of those rare moments in television where the height of the moment and the dedication to realism pays off. The rebel yells out, “you erased it?” Then Walter pulls the large pipe, but instantly tosses it to Barlow who completely cleans everyone’s clock with it, except the in charge guy. They get out of there, but without the software that Walter just erased.

Cabe is not at the rendezvous point. But they get there, just a few seconds late. Everyone in the van relieved to be going home. Except Walter. They are still missing Happy and Toby. Which they find huffing it. Toby walking with Happy on his back, presumably to rest the ankle.


Upon their arrival home, all Paige wants to do is get home to see Ralph. Although she does say it with just a slight naughty flirtation in her voice. Barlow gives Walter a pin of his unit as a gift for an “Exemplary job on the mission”. Walter then gives Barlow a code written on paper for free War movies for life. Back at HQ Sylvester almost jumps into Walter’s arms and vows to be on the next mission. Then Happy walks over to Toby and shares her appreciation. And her own sense of flirtation.

Happy: For the record, you took good care of me and I appreciate it.
Toby: Thank you. I could take better care of you…
Happy: You never give up. Good.

Walter opens the box Megan was looking through earlier and drops the coin Barlow gave him in it. He casually asks Megan how his box got there (downstairs. away from his room). She played dumb and it worked well enough. Megan walks over to Sylvester and sincerely thanks him for the last couple days and gives him a kiss on the cheek.

Outside, Megan politely asks Walter to explain her bracelet she found in his box. He initially plays dumb back at her. Then he explains. When she was 12, she had a fever and it looked like the end. He took it because he wanted something to remember her by when she died. It goes against everything he believes in. But she says, “it’s ok, it’s normal”. Then charges in with that “I’m going to leave you. Soon”. A premise that Walter rejects. She decides they need to build new memories. In Walter fashion, he takes her to a beach to watch the sun rise. New memory number one.

Sleepy Hollow: Know Thyself, Completely

Courtesy of FOX
Courtesy of FOX

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Abbey attempts to redirect their attention by engaging in a mental exercise. A guessing game. Ichabod is not entertained. This rejection of technology to uncover some detail they have not as of yet found, was interrupted by Katrina’s call. Katrina was able to use a spell to communicate with Ichabod and Abbey with the use of a mirror. Not much was said, but the damage was done. Shortly thereafter, Henry was able to reopen the connection and hear everything the witnesses plan to do.

With Henry listening in, Abbey and Ichabod discover text that seemed cryptic in general. Until Ichabod discovered that it is anagram. By rearranging the letters, he is able to decipher the code. The ‘Chosen Words’ is an anagram for the Enoch’s Sword. A sword, legend has it, can kill any earthly creature. Moloch being reborn on Earth’s plane, makes him an earthly creature.

At the same time Jenny is attempting to sneak Irving across the Canadian border. Abbey gets a text alert from Sheriff Reyes. They are waging a manhunt for Irving. Jenny relays this message to Irving. Whose only response is, “no texting while driving”. Irving’s temperament is lacking optimism. Using an odd drawing and the reflection from a glass, Ichabod finds the depiction of a snake used in an early American political cartoon. The same exact image forms a river near Sleepy Hollow. Another message in the text that may present complications if they are to find this sword’s resting place.

“Know thyself, completely or Perish when you attempt to see.”

Jenny sees a roadblock checkpoint up ahead. She insists that she can talk her way out of it with Irving hiding in the back. Irving will not accept that. She slows down but doesn’t stop. Irving jumps out of the moving vehicle.

Abraham shows up to get the sword, kill the witnesses, or get the sword then kill the witnesses. The Horseman is able to knock off a plaque off the stone wall. What follows is a game of cat and mouse in an effort to delay the Horseman. It works wonderfully, as Ichabod was able to stay out of harm’s way until sunrise. Like a vampire, Abraham began to smoke under the sunlight.

Next we follow Ichabod and Abraham on a flashback. And a subtle glimpse into the enthusiasm and fervor from Abraham regarding the new world and Ichabod’s eventual place in it. Then Ichabod has an epiphany. Everything that has led him to this point, confirms that he and Abraham have been connected from the start.

Abbey was able to see what was on the plaque the Horseman knocked off and took. It was a snake eating its own body. One of the many symbols of meaning to the Knights Templar. “Above as is below”. And thus, they find the same symbol on the ground. Which in the vein of Indiana Jones or National Treasure leads to a hidden stair case. Down the winding stair case is an open, dark room. This room is filled with statues. Or more aptly, the bodies of people who have previously entered this cavernous room and were turned to stone. We have a Medusa situation.

The line in the journal that reads “or Perish when you attempt to see” is a direct reference to a “Gorgon”. A mythical serpent-like creature we most normally associate with Medusa. Abbey’s “women in my family cut down in their prime” speech notwithstanding, they need to attack this creature without gazing upon it. Enter Abraham. Sure, let’s invite the Horseman of death to dance because the lack of a head may prove beneficial. What could possibly go wrong?

Jenny waits for Irving on a bridge nearby. She receives a voice mail from a restricted number. The burner phone she gave him. He is ditching her for her own safety. He’s going to fight instead of run.

Katrina strolls in on Henry who is unwrapping something that looks like a ram’s horn. It is the trumpet from Mount Sinai. The one that brought down the Walls of Jericho. This is the instrument that Moloch will sound when the beginning of the end is to commence. Henry also shares with Katrina that he found the poison she made with the intention of killing Moloch. Then he decides now would be a good time to put an end to the visual charade. The farm-house begins to shed and break. Peeling away the facade of a comfortable home and revealing that it is not what it seems.

At the Gorgon site, the witnesses wait for Abraham to arrive. They then get him to chase them down into the Gorgon’s lair. There, Abraham begins chopping the heads off of stone statues of former people. Eventually the Gorgon approaches. Ichabod uses his camera feature on his phone to watch. This gives them enough of a distraction to find the sword’s location. In a room we will call the ‘sword room’, they find many swords. This feels like an updated version of the ‘Knights of the Holy Grail’ scene from Last Crusade.

While Abbey attempts to ‘choose wisely’, Ichabod stands watch outside. Long enough as it were to see Abraham decapitate the Gorgon. Abraham’s ax almost does the same to Ichabod before he runs. The lair is enchanted. Everyone will be seen as their true self. Ichabod can see Abraham and Abraham can speak. And what happens now is Abraham demanding justice for Ichabod’s betrayal and Ichabod illustrating that Abraham’s predicament is completely of his own doing. At this moment, Abbey decides on a sword. When she lifts it, they all transform into snakes.

Abraham forces his way into the sword room. Where there is no sword. At the moment when Ichabod begins to play up the idea that they like so many before them have come for not, Abraham decides that this would be a great opportunity to kill Ichabod. Just then the ‘horn of Jericho’ (I’m being extremely loose with the history) sounds. Abraham stops immediately. What happens next might be the best moment of dialogue of the series thus far.

Abraham: Moloch calls me to his side.
Ichabod: Then go. Run to serve your master. No matter what the outcome of today, you’ll always know the truth. You’re jealousy made you thus. Not I.

Abraham departs. After delivering a great and strong line, Ichabod begins to fall apart. Abbey is able to bring him back. Abbey says part of the prophecy again, and this time it clicks in Ichabod’s head as he gazes upon the water in the large chalice that made up the sword display that earlier became snakes. He sees his reflection. He can only see himself through Abbey’s eyes.

One problem. It’s not water. It’s oil. Ichabod takes his torch and attempts to light the oil. It doesn’t work. But why? What do they have that the others that failed did not? Each other. They light the oil together and it works. Revealing the hilt of a sword at the bottom of the chalice. In this great Indiana Jones meets Excalibur, Abbey insists that Ichabod have the honors. He reaches in and pulls out the sword as if he himself had pried the sword from the stone.

Ichabod: We shall not witness the Apocalypse on this night. Moloch shall not rise.

The Walking Dead: The Trouble You Can’t Hide From

Photo Courtesy Of AMC
Photo Courtesy Of AMC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Tonight’s The Walking Dead marks the last episode before next week’s mid-season finale. It goes so fast. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with myself until February. But, really, I’m getting ahead of myself, because there’s plenty that The Walking Dead can do to me in two episodes.

So, now we know for sure that Noah was the one who emerged from the woods by the church with Daryl. They’ve explained the situation, and the group is readying to depart to Atlanta to retrieve Carol and Beth. The group has decided to split again; some will remain at the church with Judith and Gabriel (who is actually more useless than a baby), and the rest will go to Grady Memorial to rescue Beth and Carol. Part of this involves reinforcing the church’s perimeter. Sasha busts apart pews like the pews themselves killed Bob. Tyreese and Daryl dismantle the pipe organ and warily assess Sasha’s tenuous grip on her emotions.

As they ready to leave, Rick confides to Michonne that he doesn’t feel good about leaving. Michonne offers to go in his place, but he refuses. He owes Carol. Michonne reminds him that they all owe her. Rick reaffirms that his responsibility to her. Daryl, Rick, Tyreese, Sasha, and Noah load into the box truck that Daryl drove back from Atlanta. As Carl nails down the slabs of broken pews to reinforce the door, Judith begins to cry. Crying babies are never a good sign. Gabriel doesn’t react well to either Judith’s wailing or Carl’s hammering, and begins to make his way toward the front of the church. He’s drawn to the bloodstains left on the floor from the Termites’ slaughter. He begins to pick at the marks, trying to scrub them away with his fingernails and spit. The zombie apocalypse has not been good to this man’s psyche. It’s only a matter of time before he cracks completely.

Once in Atlanta, the group scouts Grady Memorial, and Rick puts together a plan. He wants to ambush Grady—take out the guards, extract Carol and Beth, kill everyone who needs to be killed in the meantime, get out, and go home. Everyone seems on board, but Tyreese objects. If Rick’s plan doesn’t work, a lot of people might die. Why not try to take a few of her people hostage instead, and make an exchange? Noah has told them all that Dawn is barely hanging on by a thread, so they should exploit her shaky confidence to get what they want instead of starting off with violence. Rick considers the plan, but counters that it’s not as surefire as the ambush. Daryl speaks up, siding with Tyreese.

Daryl. Dude. I understand that you’re feeling a little insecure about your ability to kick everyone’s ass, since you think that it’s your fault that Beth got kidnapped. You’re troubled by how the carnage, horror, and loss of this world has changed Carol. But it’s not your fault that Beth is gone. You can’t control Carol or her decisions. You need to let the self-pity go. The lives of the two people you love the most hang in the balance.

Hey, Walking Dead Ass-Kicking Survivor’s Club. You need to listen to Rick. Y’all should have listened to Rick when he wanted to make sure that Terminus allowed no survivors, and everyone talked him out of it, and what happened? Bob got his leg eaten, they threatened to kill and eat all of you, and you had to kill them anyway. The cops in charge of Grady are bad news. I’m certain that Noah has told you all in detail how badly Beth got abused. They aren’t the kind of people that you deal with. They’re the kind of people that you eliminate. Assuming that you can make a deal with them assumes that you live

in a society that is capable of handling even the simplest economy. That society is long gone. There’s no place for trading and balancing what you have and what you want when the survivors of the human race are squatting in burned out buildings, migrating from one spot to another, and trying to avoid the extremely mobile herds of walking corpses that are not only lethal but actively trying to eat everyone on the planet. Letting the bad guys walk away always burns you, Rick Grimes. It burned you with The Governor. It burned you with the Termites. Hell, it even burned you with Shane, because you gave him the benefit of the doubt long after you should have.

But, because Rick still wants the world to be a place where he doesn’t have to kill a bunch of people, he agrees to Tyreese’s plan. Noah draws  one of the patrol’s attention near the hospital, and leads them to a back lot. Rick, Sasha, Tyreese, and Daryl surround the cops, disarm them, and divulge their plan. Rick is always interested in doing things the right way. He’s reassuring and honest with his hostages, believing that communicating that way is his best chance for a good outcome in his situation. Cop habit dies hard.

One of the Grady cop hostages notices Rick’s demeanor and guesses that he was a cop before the world ended. Before they can have much of a discussion, though, a car with a white cross in the back windshield drives up on the group, shooting into the crowd. The two captured officers dive into the car as the groups exchange fire.

Rick and company give chase, finding the car in abandoned in a parking lot that had clearly been napalmed (this lines up with the fire-spewing aircraft Shane and Lori saw at the series’ beginning). Walkers fused to the tarry surface. A FEMA trailer exploded with most of its contents strewn around the area. They see the two cuffed Grady cops escaping towards the back of the parking lot. The group continues in their pursuit, Daryl agrees to stay behind and sweep the area.

There are no bodies in the car (aside from the walker that’s wrapped around the driver’s front tire) and, after a tense moment, it’s discovered that there isn’t anything alive or dead in the FEMA trailer, either. However, the big bald douche who was driving the car was lurking around the corner. He seizes upon Daryl’s half-second of relief, Oklahoma-drilling him and knocking the rifle to the ground.

The two engage in a perfectly The Walking Dead fight scene—the bald douche has Daryl pinned to the ground between two street-pizza walkers, trying to choke Daryl to death. Before Daryl’s throat’s crushed, he reaches for the face of one of the snarling undead, squishes its eyeballs out, grips it like a bowling ball, and rips the head off of the walker’s rotting body so that he can beat his assailant in the skull with it. Before Daryl can finish knocking the man into submission with a snapping walker head, Rick reappears with his gun drawn.

Rick appears to think long and hard about wasting the guy who was trying to kill his friend, but Daryl convinces him that three hostages are better than two. Rick relents, and they cuff the third hostage and begin to walk back to where they’d planned on holding their hostages.

The three Grady cops (a razor-shaved-bald man who gives his name as Bob, his partner Officer Shepherd, and the driver of the backup car, Officer Licari) explain to the group (minus Rick, who has

gone to reexamine the sketches he made of the hospital) that they’re not the best hostages. It’s getting to be a real cluster back at Grady, and Dawn is completely out of her depth. Everyone is unhappy, but the three of them are especially disliked by Dawn. A rumor has floated that Licari might be trying for a power grab. Licari refutes those intentions, but states that he doesn’t want Dawn to be in power any more and would jump at opportunity to lead the group and address the problems (like murder, blackmail, and rape) that have happened. Officer Shepherd bargains with Rick to be released. They’ll take down Dawn and get Beth and Carol out, she promises.

Then Bob speaks up. He claims that, given Dawn’s situation, she can be reasoned with if she’s talked to in the right way. Shepherd and Licari object, but Bob insists—he wants nothing except a peaceful resolution, and he wants to talk to Rick to give him the scoop on Dawn so that everything will go smoothly. Daryl and Sasha seem suspicious, but Bob continues to exert that his interest is only in what’s best for everyone. They call Rick over to discuss the development.

Bob sure sings like a canary. He gives Rick a lot of information about the kind of person Dawn is and where her vulnerabilities lie. Bob sure is in awe that Rick is still such a good cop after all this time. Rick seems to take the compliment in stride. Hopefully, his instincts for when someone is blowing a bunch of smoke up his ass have remained intact, as well.

Within Grady, Beth is trying to keep an eye on Carol. Her injuries seem pretty severe. Dawn and another officer discuss the situation, who insists that they pull Carol’s plug to conserve resources. Beth explodes, accusing the officer caring more about charging his DVD player than about saving someone who needs help. Dawn, incensed by Beth’s insubordination, orders her off life support.

The officer leaves to inform Dr. Elliott of Dawn’s decision. Beth is still reeling with outrage. Dawn explains that, after Beth’s outburst, she had no choice but to side against her. But, she gives her the key to the medication lockup. Carol may pull through without life support if she’s medicated correctly. Beth is suspicious, but the situation is too dire to argue.

She goes to Dr. Elliott to ask about the medication. Elliott’s guarded in his response. He asks Beth if Dawn gave her the key for the lockup, or if she stole it, because Dawn’s intentions are dubious at best. Beth ignores his questioning, pressing for a kind of medication that could keep Carol stable and alive enough to heal. Five millilitre of epinephrine should help, he admits. Another ward creates a diversion (and a really weak one, too—a coughing fit? Really? These people are DUMB!) while Beth sneaks the epinephrine out of the cabinet. She administers the dose to Carol’s IV, and waits. She waits for Carol to wake up, and I’m waiting to find out exactly what Dawn was up to.

Back at the church, Gabriel is trying to scrub at the bloodstains in the floor. Carl interrupts him by laying some weapons in front of him. Gabriel needs to learn how to fight, Carl explains. It’s the way the world is now. He’s not happy about it, but there’s nothing they can do about it. In this world, he explains, eventually you will run into trouble that you can’t hide from, and so you have to learn how to fight. Gabriel feebly tries to pick up a machete. Carl attempts to correct his grip, and Gabriel is so overwhelmed by holding a weapon that he needs to go lie down for a while.

Michonne has kept an eye on Gabriel, and she doesn’t like what she sees. After he’s been shut away in his office for a few hours, she insists on checking on him. She’s concerned because he said he’s not feeling well. Gabriel knows it’s a lie, Michonne knows that he knows, but she also knows that no good will come from calling her out. He meekly suggests that he’s just very upset and needs to be by himself until he feels better.

Yeah. Fat freakin’ chance of that. He needs to be by himself a while so he can pull up the floorboards in his office and escape from the church. Exactly why he’s escaping isn’t clear, but the nail that he takes in the sole of his foot the minute he walks away from the church would suggest that he’s in for a rough road. Once in the woods, he’s accosted by a walker. He manages to fight off enough that he can impale its midsection on a tree stump. He raises a rock to bash its head in, but the silver cross the walker is wearing around its neck stops him. Apparently being a Christian means that Gabriel cannot perform your coup-de-grace. Sorry, random walker. You’re going to be stuck on the forest floor with your innards spilling everywhere now.

The rest of our band of characters, hereby named Team GREATM by Tara (stands for Glenn, Rosita, Abraham, Eugene, Tara, and Maggie), is still stranded by the fire truck. Eugene isn’t dead, but he’s unconscious and can’t be moved. The water tank in the truck is empty. They need to investigate a nearby creek for more water. As they’re discussing who should go, Rosita tries to convince Abraham to drink. He won’t, though—he’s staring off into the distance instead. Frustrated, Rosita snaps that he’s being childish, and Abraham punches the water bottle from her hands, rising towards her quickly and aggressively. Rosita looks uncertain of Abraham’s intentions, but Maggie draws a gun on him and dares him to take another step before things go any further. She’ll stay with Abraham, it’s decided, while Glenn, Tara, and Rosita go for water.

Really, those three don’t encounter much plot. They figure out how to catch some fish, and Rosita gives the group a bit of back story about how she met Abraham (in Dallas, she was fighting off walkers when Abraham and Eugene stepped in. Eugene said he’d save the world, Abraham said he needed her help. Rosita became impressed.) as well as some of the interesting things that Eugene taught her (like how to make a water filter with dirt and a t-shirt). They try to discuss whether or not they can forgive Eugene. The women seem ready to, but Glenn remains unconvinced.

Abraham continues to refuse water while Eugene is unconscious. Maggie isn’t impressed with his self-denial, but he isn’t moved. Until, that is, Eugene starts to choke and snarl. He’s not a walker, though. He’s just coming to with what is assuredly a very broken nose. Abraham’s demons are kept at bay for a while longer; he takes a drink of water.

Back in Atlanta, Rick has gone to negotiate the hostage situation. Sasha’s standing guard closest to Bob, who’s still looking pretty sad about being kidnapped. He gives the most forlorn, attention-seeking sigh I’ve heard on television in a while. Sasha would normally point a gun at him and tell him to shut his cake-hole, but since she’s reeling with Bob’s death and Tyreese has been on her to reconcile her emotions, she decides to give connecting with another human a chance.

Bob explains that he recognized one of the street-pizza walkers they saw earlier, and it was someone who was doing a job he was originally going to do. Because of the switch, Bob is alive and the other person is miserable, writhing undead. Bob sure wishes he could have been able to put that person to peace.

It’s just the story that Sasha needs to hear. She won’t take Bob into the parking lot, but she’ll take out the walker if she can see it from their vantage point. They walk to the window, and Bob confirms that he can see his former friend. He explains the location. Sasha moves to the window and draws the rifle scope to her eye, lining up her shot.

She doesn’t get to take the shot, though, because Bob is a Lying McLiarPants who made the whole thing up. He rushes her from behind, slamming her head into the window and knocking her out before running for the hills.

I’m not sure if next week’s episode will make me feel any better, or just give me bigger cliffhangers, but I think I’m fine with both.

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

Homeland: CIA Gets Played Again

Photo:  David Bloomer/SHOWTIME
Photo: David Bloomer/SHOWTIME

Warning: Spoiler Alert!

The Showtime Original Series “Homeland,” takes a one week hiatus next Sunday, so the show-runners left their viewers with an episode busting at the seams, successfully fitting in lots of developments, in the 46-minute broadcast. The episode concluded with an ending I doubt any viewers saw coming, a two-pronged attack by the Taliban, staging the first event to pull off the second part of their plan. Meanwhile the American Embassy in Islamabad’s rather clueless to the entire situation, getting second-hand information on the initial attack and totally unaware what’s about to take place directly below them.

The show opens with the camera fixed on an older, gaunt-looking man, wearing an orange prison uniform, a voice off camera states the man’s name and the camera pans to the next man, all the way to the fifth, by then we realize these are the prisoner’s getting exchanged for the release of former CIA Director Saul Berenson. The man stating the names, hands off the prisoners to Peter Quinn, who signs for them, then transports them to the American Embassy.

Back at the Embassy, Carrie Mathison’s debating CIA Director Andrew Lockhart on whether Aasar Khan’s truly an ally of the United States. The Islamabad CIA Station Chief, says that Khan saved her life and gave up Dennis Boyd, but Lockhart grumbles that he’s yet to give her any names to watch out for on his side. Carrie tells the Director, that Khan’s not going to turn on his own people, but he’ll let her know if something’s amiss.

I wrote earlier in the season that Carrie’s assistant John Redmond’s the biggest asset the Islamabad bureau’s blessed with, at times seemingly the only agent that knows how to handle a situation properly. Though Redmond, attempts to come off as the embittered veteran, just putting in his time until retirement rolls around, he knows how to quickly get to the heart of the matter, demonstrated so well in this episode. He asks the Ambassador’s husband and American traitor Dennis Boyd into his office, to ask him a couple of questions and Boyd doesn’t have any idea what will take place in the next couple of minutes and how it’ll change his life forever.

Redmond starts off low-key talking about murdered Station Chief Sandy Bachman, and it’s come to light that Bachman traded US classified information to a Pakistani source, in return for getting locations of highly valued targets. He references Boyd and Bachman’s friendship and asks the professor if he knew anything about that. Dennis denies any knowledge and then John asks him if he’s certain as the stolen documents emanated from his wife Martha’s laptop. Boyd asks Redmond if he believes the Ambassador got involved and the veteran agent, shakes his head no. Dennis then asks if John believes he gave Sandy the documents, and Redmond say’s he doesn’t know, then asks him if he did. Boyd vehemently denies involvement and Redmond keeps it low-key, telling him that’s fine, if he thinks of anything further, to let John know, Dennis walks out with a false sense of security.

We get our first appearance of Saul in the next scene, as he’s sleeping on the dirt floor of his cell, when two guards wake him up and pull him over to a chair, once he’s seated a woman enters wearing a full veil. She takes off his glasses, and proceeds to wash all the dried blood off his face with a bowl of water and a wash-cloth. When she finishes, he’s taken and put into an old panel van and driven away.

Quinn drives up with the SUV filled with the five Pakistani prisoners and Carrie’s waiting on the loading dock when he arrives. Peter says to Carrie to please tell him they’re doing the right thing and Mathison responds that getting Saul back’s the right thing. Redmond brings Boyd into an interrogation room where Carrie’s waiting, we hear  him on the way in saying he already told John he has no knowledge. Carrie’s facial expressions tell us, she’s not going to utilize her diplomatic skills in this interchange.

She pulls out a bunch of different documents and lays them in front of them, then asks Boyd if he recognizes the documents, he first replies he doesn’t then asks if he should. She takes the gloves off and says these are the documents Redmond told him about earlier, the one’s he stole off his wife’s computer and of course he once again denies everything. Mathison at that point blows any restraints that held her back and tells Boyd that he poisoned her. She pulls out a prescription bottle and asks him if he knows what he gave her, the pills are hallucinogens, twice as powerful as LSD.

He tries to leave and finds the door’s locked, he says he wants to speak to his lawyer and Carrie laughs at him.  She tells him there’s no lawyer coming, she’s got complete authority to do whatever she pleases, she tells him if he refuses to cooperate he’ll be end up in a black-ops site. He says they’ve been repudiated and closed and Mathison, says officially, letting the word hang in the air. She then tells him she’s got the authority to shoot an American citizen on foreign soil. Suddenly the door opens and Ambassador Martha Boyd’s standing there looking incredibly angry. She asks Carrie what’s going on and the Station Chief says they’re questioning her husband. Boyd tells her she’s out of line talking to Dennis without clearing it through her. She tells Mathison she’s through, in Islamabad and the CIA, then tells her husband they’re leaving.

The Boyd’s head back to their living quarters and Martha asks Dennis what that was all about and he replies that Mathison accused him of stealing classified documents and giving them to Bachman, and she responds with saying You, as if that were outlandish. But then she says something must’ve triggered their investigation, could there be a colleague or student at the university that might have tarred him. He says of course not and she tells him she needs to leave to take care of the prisoner exchange. She tells him to stay in their quarters and if Carrie bothers him again to call her.

Martha leaves her quarter, going straight to a conference room with Carrie in attendance and we figure out quickly that Martha’s a co-conspirator trying to get Boyd to admit his guilt. She says she was unsuccessful, but she’ll keep prodding. Carrie starts to head out to where the prisoner exchange will take place and Peter attempts to join her, but she tells him she needs Quinn to stay in the War Room and to keep his eyes open for the least bit of suspicious activity.

Saul got moved the evening before to Islamabad where he receives a greeting from boy, no older than ten and the boy keeps staring at Saul and Berenson meets his gaze, but it soon ends. That night Saul and the boy sleep in the same room and the child starts trembling in his sleep, as a result of a nightmare, Berenson softly whispers something in Arabic, then made shushing sounds and the boy got comforted. The next morning the boy wakes Saul up with a glass of water, whether it’s a result of Saul’s actions the night before is unknown.

Boyd attempts to leave the Embassy and a Marine Sergeant stops him and seconds later Martha’s rushed to the parking lot in a car. She asks him what he’s doing and he says he wanted to get to the University to bring back term papers to grade. Boyd asks her husband what’s in his bag and he says papers, and she has the Marine take the bag from Dennis, she opens it to find it filled with clothes, his passport and cash. She tells the sergeant to put her husband in one of the cells in the Embassy.

Saul’s put into another panel van, but this time the boy joins him, which confuses Saul until the child straps on a suicide-vest. Berenson calls the guard a coward for sending a child, but the guard replies the boy wants to do it, as a drone killed his father and brother when Saul ran the Agency. Berenson’s handcuffed to a bar in the back as they head to the exchange.

Claire’s about to head to the exchange when her cellphone rings and it’s Mira Berenson, Saul’s wife, asking for assurances that her husband come out of the situation alive, she knows what the Agency’s like and they’re willing to sacrifice their own. Carrie says not to worry, as she’s handling the operation and Mira replies that’s what worries her. She says she’s turned into an exceptional agent that Saul’s so proud of but she loves her husband and she believes Mathison does as well, her voice sticking in her throat she says she does then promises that Saul will come out unscathed.

Carrie, Redmond and a soldier comprise the United States delegation, while the Pakistani Foreign Ambassador, Nasneem and Aasar Khan as usual represent their country. Nasneem tells them that after they’ve identified the prisoners, Haqqani’s men will bring Saul out and then the exchange can take place. Carrie picks up her cellphone and responds Yes Sir, then walks away from the group, she’s actually calling Khan to tell him this doesn’t feel right to her and he confesses to have gotten left out of the loop on the planning of this operation, a very unusual move. He hangs up and she waits a minute or so before she finishes her make-believe call.

The five Pakistani prisoners get taken to the meeting area, taken from the vehicle and lined up in a row as they’re chained to one another, the Pakistan representatives give Haqqani’s the green light and the panel van with Saul in it pulls up, the two guards get out of the front seats to take Berenson out of the van, but he fights his hardest to stay in there. They bash his head against a metal pole and he goes limp, so they pull him from the van. Then the boy comes out as well and all see that he’s wearing a suicide vest. Carrie calls Nasneem, who contacts Haqqani and says the boy’s insurance, as soon as the exchange takes place he’ll depart with the prisoners.

Both sides prepare to make the exchange, the Pakistani prisoners head towards Haqqani’s men but Saul takes a deep breath then sits down on the road, refusing to rise or move, halting the prisoners from Pakistan, from going further. The man who possesses the detonator for the vest threatens to blow them up and Berenson tells him to do it, egging him on to push the button. Carrie and Nasneem exchange messages, Mathison suggests they send some of the troops to carry Saul and the ISI agent says Haqqani would blow them up. She then suggests she go alone and Nasneem gets the okay from Haqqani.

She tells Saul to get up but at first he ignores her, then tells her she betrayed him. She admits she did but it was to keep him alive and he replies he can’t live with this, that our country gave up five terrorists for him. She tells him that Mira called and she promised to bring him home alive and she’s not leaving without him. He tells her then they’ll  both die, but she asks what about the  boy, Berenson responds they strapped it on him, it’s their responsibility not his. She then tells him he sounds just like the Taliban, that’s not the may she knows or the way he reacts, then  she smiles and says I want to go home, he smiles back and the exchange’s completed, Carrie picks Saul’s glasses up off the road.

A three-vehicle convoy, escorts Saul, Carrie and John Redmond back to the Embassy, Saul’s sitting in the back still attempting to come to grips with what’s happened. Redmond’s phone rings and he turns to Saul and tells him it’s Mira. Carrie hands him his glasses, he puts them on pulls the phone to his ear and says it’s me. Suddenly the lead car in the convoy explodes, causing the other two cars to pull over, a drone or missile destroys the second car.

Lockhart’s in the Embassy and hears the explosion, then asks what’s going on and the agents quickly determine the convoy got attacked. The CIA Director orders all the Marines from the Embassy to the scene. Martha Boyd heads into the cell Dennis’ held in and asks how did they wind up here. He tries blaming the CIA, but she stops him. A knock on the door and a guard assesses her of the situation, she tells her husband all the Marines went to respond and Boyd freaks out. He says that’s why Nasneem wanted to know and Martha asks about what? He told her about the tunnel that the CIA use to get in and out of the Embassy undetected.

We head to the tunnel just in time to watch Haqqani and his men enter the tunnel in droves, will he truly succeed in driving the United States out of Pakistan?

The Story Continues on Sunday December 7, at 9:00 pm on Showtime. 

The Newsroom: ACN Holds Their Ground…For Now

Courtesy of HBO
Courtesy of HBO

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Gary Cooper comes strolling into work singing a song from the musical “Anything Goes”. Oblivious to what has happened since our last episode. He turns the corner expecting to see a quiet newsroom. Instead he finds more FBI agents than employees.

Gary is met almost immediately by the lead agent. The exchange obscenities. The agent trying flex his authority and Gary flexing his grasp of legality. Eventually, Will jumps in to toe the line between we’re cooperating and don’t say anything.

The power struggle continues. The agents demanding that everyone do exactly as they say, while the staff tries to casually make their lives easier by suggesting the proceedings don’t have to go down this way. Will suggest that they are just doing their jobs. Then Charlie Skinner steps up and does his job. By calling the LA control room and informing them that ACN will be going live in 3 minutes.

Don and Jim head into the control room. Don claims that Charlie just called Domino’s and they need to make it look like they are about to go live even though they are not. Maggie jumps into the control room to get the ball rolling and question how they have never picked up on how to actually run a news broadcast. Meanwhile, Gary comes out strapped to a camera and Charlie asks the lead agent for his first name so they can put it in the banner.

With the fake special report about to not go live in the next 10 seconds, agent Molly tells them to stand down. And for a moment, ACN-1, FBI-0.

Rebecca (the lawyer) with every one of legal consequence on the phone negotiated a relative ‘cease fire’. The FBI and any agencies of authority will stand down until Friday. At such a time as all of the pertinent people will meet at Main Justice to tell the authorities everything they know minus the name of the source in the hopes that the Justice department can connect the dots without the name of the source.

Rebecca (to Charlie): That stunt with the cameras? That was not cool.
Charlie: Neither am I.

Maggie attempts to hand off her EPA report to Jim. Jim is difficult, but in a comedic way. The end of the world as we know according to the EPA in a report that is an inch thick is not exactly riveting television. Jim reluctantly agrees to try to move it up the pecking order. So this feels more like a Jim Harper segment and less like a Maggie Jordan segment. His words.

Meanwhile, Charlie’s assistant informs him that Leona and Reese Lansing are on their way down. Which is odd in that Charlie always goes to them. Leona does not have 4 billion to throw at the twins. And they have exhausted any conventional means to get it. The only way to get it is to ‘spin off ACN’. AWN is the parent company that owns ACN. If they sell ACN they could get enough in the sale to fight off the twins. There is a tech analyst who left Goldman Sachs to start-up his own company. He has the requisite money, but he also has ideas.

The last thing the iconic desk man of a successful news network wants to hear is that new ownership has ‘ideas’. Ideas mean change. Ideas mean lack of control. Considering that the alternative to this guy buying ACN and maybe making some changes is that the twins will dissolve all of AWN including ACN. A lesser of two evils situation. But now we are faced with Will and other being forced to attend the Correspondence Dinner. Normally a hard ticket to get. The problem here is that last year Will ripped the Correspondence Dinner and promised that ACN would never return.

Don has the new HR rep in his office. The scene is about Gary Cooper and the amount of romantic escapades with subordinate employees. The end of the scene is more critical. The HR rep is probing Don over his alleged relationship with Sloan Sabbath. Denying everything Don appears calm. The rep leaves headed for Sloan’s office. Don taking his time, wipes his mouth with a napkin, calmly stands up, then frantically races to Sloan’s office just to say, “we’re not dating”. Which Sloan replies with her monotone, “okay”.

Mack and Molly met in secret in a women’s sauna. This allows Molly to give Mack just enough information to help her make the right decision concerning her people. After work with the seized hard drives, the FBI is compelled to believe that they can tie Neal to an attempt at more documents. Molly strongly suggests that Mack do whatever she must to get Neal to come in. Mack then meets with Don and Jim. She asks them to get Neal a message to come in however they can.

Maggie’s EPA story and interview for Will. As Maggie predicted it was a story about the end of the world. More specifically, a child has already been born that will die at some point in its life due to the planet failing. This was literally a laugh out loud situation. As I’m watching this and hearing this dire end of the world narrative, the reactions around the room make it very funny. Almost as if the people not in the interview look around every few seconds and say, “did he really just say that?”

Will, Mack, Charlie and Rebecca sit in a conference room at Main Justice. The Assistant District Attorney for National Security enters the room. He is brash and forceful. He takes shots at everyone at the table to display the idea that he is in control. Anything short of giving up the source will not be good enough. Then he claims that Will is the one who orchestrated all of this. That is the point where Will has a moment that only Will can deliver. Transcribing it would be great, but it would lose its gravitas. Suffice it to say that Will said only what he needed to a that the ADA for National Security bungled this whole situation and now Will can’t help him anymore.

The entire staff is in the White House for the Correspondence Dinner. Up to and including the new HR rep who really believes he will catch Don and Sloan as an item. Charlie wants to meet with the staff before meeting their new ‘option’. Except he just walked through the door. Lucas Pruitt (played by B.J. Novak of the Office and Mindy Project fame) may put a halt to that idea. He is abrasive to say the least. He wants to turn ACN into a large family of networks that get their news from crowd sourcing. He’s a quirky rich guy who thinks he’s buying a new toy.

Outside a woman walks up and sits down next to Mack. She is the source. Not only that, but she also is applying her own pressure for Mack to run the story within the next 96 hours or she will post the story herself.

The staff has gathered in a room where Will McAvoy is graciously taking his picture with whomever happens to be at the party who wants to. It’s Will gladly radiating his own fame. Mack walks in like she’s seen a ghost. Charlie picks up on it. The kid at the front of the line finally gets Will’s attention by flashing a folded piece of paper. Will empties the room of ‘fans’. The kid has a subpoena for Will to appear before a grand jury.

Will (looks to Mack and Charlie): You think it’s possible I’m not as big a TV star as I thought?