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Into the Wild
I can't be the only one who thinks that was kind of a giant mess.
Conceptually, the idea for the episode works: Get everyone on Silas' magical island in search of the cure, explain a heap of necessary back-story, and put all the pieces in place to carry out the plan. This is classic The Vampire Diaries stuff, the kind of plot the show should be able to do in its sleep by now. But it's the execution of the idea that's lacking, almost as if some alien life form watched a ton of past episodes and attempted to recreate the show based on what they've seen. Thursday on The CW, it's The Bizarro Diaries! (AVClub)
The Affair: Episode #5.8 (2019)
This was the best episode in a while, and definitely more like The Affair of the previous seasons. It felt like a return to form, using different perspectives of the same day in a more prominent way and delving into the psyches of each character in a way it hasn't for a while. I was also impressed to see Adeline get some development as well, seeing as how her first appearance was a tad one-dimensional in character; what they did with her this episode was exceptional.
As for Noah's part, it blew me away. He has always been so naive and trusting of everyone, and this was the perfect way to showcase that in the most potentially destructive way possible. When the accusations were swirling around him as the Vanity Fair editor was telling him about them, I felt as if they were swirling around me too; because the acting, directing and entire structure of that scene was so brilliant.
Moreover, the entire storyline of what Noah is going through with the accusations is possibly one of the best ways to end the series. After all, for a series that began as about how two people can view an event very differently, what event can be more divisive than that of what a man sees as a harmless fling, and a woman might see as something more sinister? If you ask me, that's the ultimate two-point perspective.
Insatiable: Pig (2019)
Picking up on the events of last season's finale, "Pig" explored a lot of what makes this show so great and doubled down on the twisted craziness and insanity. I love the idea of a Pageant Killer, the Roses in Roxy's mouth was definitely a signature, and I loved seeing how Patty and Bob handled the aftermath of what she did to Christian and Stella Rose. I'm looking forward to where this all goes!
Insatiable: Eat and Run (2019)
Eat and Run (#2.06)
This was a fantastic episode. I loved seeing Patty and Henry's relationship flourish as well as how her addiction to food can be substituted for relationships, which was a very interesting delve into Patty's psyche. Additionally, I think Patty's meeting with the pageant coach legend was a big turning point for her, as she's starting to realize the power she holds being infamous. I wasn't a huge fan of Brick and Magnolia's "influencer" storyline, it feels a bit unnecessary, but let's see where that goes. Overall, I love where this is going.
Insatiable: Full Brazilian (2019)
Full Brazilian (#2.07)
What's the body count at now? It seems killing is starting to come rather easily to Patty, and things are definitely developing. This was a great episode, especially thanks to the final scene with Patty and Angie. I love the direction that this season is going, and look forward to seeing where Patty ends up.
Insatiable: Pretty in Prison (2019)
Pretty in Prison (#2.08)
This episode was a bit too far-fetched to be believable, and not quite as good as the ones before it. It felt quite "filler" at times, and I felt as if a lot of what happened could have been done in half the time. However, it still had its redeeming qualities, such as the scenes with Bob and Coralee. It got better in the final few minutes with a lot of drama thrown in at the end.
Insatiable: Ladybomb (2019)
This was a better episode than the one before it, as pieces started to fall into place to form a bigger picture. The Bobs debate was a hilariously wonderful scene, and so was Coralee using the "Ladybomb" to escape from her abductor. It was also nice to see Nonnie get some flirting time in away from Dee, and Patty continue to struggle with keeping suspicion off of her with regards to Christian.
The Most You You Can Be (#2.10)
Now, that's how you do a season finale. In a way, it also felt like a series finale, because all of the events starting from the Pilot came full-circle in a twisted, unexpected way. Every minute of this finale was intense and quickened the heart, but nothing could compare to the devastating, fantastic Lost-style twist in the final five minutes of the episode. I had my doubts about the direction of this season at first, but it wasn't until this episode that I realized that everything that had happened was leading up to that shocking final moment.
I give "The Most You You Can Be" a 10/10.
The Affair: Episode #5.7 (2019)
Why Did You Go? (#5.07)
This was a superb episode. Noah's part was thoroughly excellent, and I loved seeing his father-daughter dynamic with Whitney finally explored to a further extent. It was also great to see Margaret and Bruce again, which was especially fascinating seeing as how Bruce's condition has completely changed him; as well seeing Luisa when Noah returns to the very different Lobster Roll with Whitney, which also results in us getting a new perspective on the events of the Pilot. Joanie's part was equally excellent, and my heart was seriously pounding the entire time. I knew Ben was recording the moment he opened the drawer in the way he did, and I could tell from the actor's great performance that he was not being sincere during their first conversation, and something was off. This caused a lot of agonizing suspense as I waited for the other shoe to drop, and when it did, and the twist of Ben telling the cops a very different story was horrifying. I hope Ben gets exactly what's coming to him by the finale.
The Affair: Episode #5.6 (2019)
Generational Trauma (#5.06)
"You are so broken, Joanie."
This episode was fantastic. I loved (finally) seeing Joanie's character have much more screen-time and get fleshed out, as we were finally able to get a sense of the kind of person she's become since Alison's death. As it turns out, she's battling a lot of demons. The scene where Joanie explained to E.J. how she's terrified of being alone because of what she might do to herself was absolutely heartbreaking -- and one of Anna Paquin's best performances.
There was a lot to love here, including finally getting closure on Cole and Luisa (who made a surprise appearance in old age makeup). We found out a lot about Cole's life after Alison's passing and what his relationship with Joanie was like; and also what Joanie's relationship with Luisa was like, and how she became a "mom" to her. Joanie's relationship with Paul in present-day was an interesting one too, and the scene where she lashed out at him just in order to get him to be angry at her (a self-destructive behavior we've seen all too often in Alison before) was quite powerful and well-done. Joanie's character is certainly a complex one and quite well-written. I also adored the supermoon scene with those high-tech weather glasses, and thought it was the first actual 'sci-fi/futuristic' piece in Joanie's segment that worked well; especially because it led to the revelation for Joanie that her mother couldn't have killed herself that night. An honorable mention for E.J. too, who was a bit of a "character of convenience" put there just to move the story forward, but he did have some funny lines and a weird but memorable personality.
However, as much as this episode was complex and fascinating most of the time, there were also a few flaws in logic. For example, there were so many coincidences in this episode that it was almost hard to take it seriously. The fact that Joanie would stumble upon E.J. who just happens to be studying generational trauma *and* obsessed with her family was more than convenient, and then the fact that he knew exactly where to find Alison's (not destroyed by water damage) death report files in the abandoned police station, and then the fact that he just happened to have met Cole before and knew about his obsession with Ben Cruz. This, of course led to Joanie remembering Ben in a dream, which is actually plausible as she was not too young at the time, and her realization that Ben may have killed Alison.
Overall, this was still one of my favorite episodes of the season, and the complexity of how Joanie became so broken after Alison's death, even going as far as trying to build her life completely opposite to Alison's, was quite fascinating. I am really liking what the writers are doing with the idea of how trauma can be passed on from one generation to another, but I feel as though they could have gone about it a better way than to have E.J., a literal expert on Joanie's entire lineage just show up and guide the way for her. So, flaws in logic aside, this was a powerful, fascinating episode.
Mary Kills People (2017)
Seasons 1&2- YES! Season 3 - NO!
I have to admit, I wasn't super into Mary Kills People during its first season. It was good, but it always felt like it was missing something. That all changed with Season 2, which got everything right by introducing the fantastically villainous character of Olivia Bloom played by the wonderful Rachelle Lefevre. I loved every episode of it. I had high hopes for Season 3 as a result, but I couldn't have been more disappointed by it. It turned into a very weak, plotless mess that went nowhere in six episodes and did nothing for the characters. A disappointing to have ended an otherwise good show.
The Affair: Episode #5.5 (2019)
Sierra Madre (#5.05)
Sierra's perspective was wonderfully written and really quite engaging. It was not at all filler as I expected it would be. Instead, we were given quite an interesting insight into Sierra's personal life and character while struggling to raise baby Eddie, plus the interesting addition of Sierra's famous mother into the mix. I also loved seeing Sierra getting a big movie role for a character going through something which was ironically quite close to her own life, and I think it was a perfect addition to The Affair's season five Hollywood vibe.
Helen's perspective also did not disappoint, and was quite layered and nuanced. I'm loving Helen in this new role as the fabulous Sasha Mann's girlfriend and all of the confidence that comes with it, but I'm starting to sense that things will only unravel from here. Sasha's true colors began to show in this episode, and Helen definitely took notice that he's not the 'prince' he seemed to be. We also got the brief return of Eden, Noah's book publicist in season two, which I'm sure will have some sort of long-term playout. Helen was also struggling immensely with Priya in this episode, who was getting more and more hostile towards Helen as she learned that she's moved on rather quickly from Vik. Do we think Priya is going to make some bold and perhaps consequential moves as a result? I wouldn't be surprised.
It was also nice to take a break from Noah here. We did see him briefly as he tried to "win back" Helen, continuing to be a man-child, and it was just enough of an appearance to make an impression without having to go fully into his perspective. I loved this episode and I can't wait for what's next!
The Affair: Episode #5.1 (2019)
A Birth, a Death and a Funeral (#5.01)
Although it felt more like an epilogue to last season's storylines rather than the start of something new, it was still fantastically done. The episode was interesting from start to finish and did not lose my interest once.
I especially liked Noah's conversation with Sasha in first of many steps to have Descent made into a film, Margaret's hilarious line to Noah and Janelle during the funeral, and Sierra's "natural birth", which quickly went from farcically funny to sad and heartfelt when Vik passed away at the moment of first holding his child, and the doctor pronounced "he knew".
And now - my favorite part was... the introduction to Joanie! I'm not sure why everyone was so confused by it, I found it rather straightforward and quite brilliant. Joanie is in a future timeline and now at the same age as Alison, and is beginning to ponder her mother's death. I believe that this will be the way for her to get justice for her mother and reveal that it wasn't a suicide, but rather murder by Ben.
What I'm looking forward to going forward is how the Descent movie will be handled, what's on the videotape that Vik left for Helen, seeing the role that Helen will play in baby Eddie's life, what will become of Bruce's sickness, and of course... what Joanie's next move will be.
Overall, this was a fantastic premiere!
The Affair: Episode #4.4 (2018)
This episode was a big step up from the last. It was nice to see Alison again after meeting Ben the last time we were with her, and watch their relationship develop. I wish they had done more with the EMDR bit, perhaps by showing us Alison's memories rather than just having her speak them, but it was alright. Ben and Alison's scene on the boat was a highlight.
Luisa continues to anger and frustrate with the insane things she wants, and her complete lack of empathy towards Alison. I found it interesting how that alone was enough to drive Cole away on a "walkabout", but a little bit strange that both Cole and Luisa were absolutely fine just not seeing each other for a while. What about Luisa's inability to drive or sign checks without Cole? And what about Joanie just being left with Alison?
I liked Cole's bit with the drug addict, pushing him into therapy and then coming across Ben, both there and later on when he learned of his relationship with Alison. I think it's building up to something and they should be interesting.
The confidence in the writing is back! Season 2 was a mixed bag, starting off very poorly and only really finding its footing towards the end of the season. Season 3, however, is showing a very different, more promising story. Rather than jumping into a thousand tangled plots that are more a re-shuffling of the previous seasons' cards, "Fear" creates a time gap between the events of seasons two and three, and introduces new mysteries, new drama, and sets in motion entirely new plots which are whole-heartedly brilliant.
The flash-forward of Emily being shot at the beginning was a nice touch too, and definitely signals one very good thing - the writers aren't making it up as they go along this time, and actually have a plan for the season's beginning, middle and end. I can't wait for what's next!
The Hand that Rocks the Rogu (#14.20)
The Hand that Rocks the Rogu started off promisingly, and had a few key moments, such as when Rogu multiplied and grew from the candy and screen-time, forcing Steve to try and find a way to catch him and calm him down, but ultimately fizzled out from that point on. This episode could have been something more like "Adventures in Hayleysitting", where Steve would have to be able to catch Rogu before he either unleashed havoc on the town or Roger found out, but instead it tried to cram as many references, minor characters, and bad jokes as it could into the last ten minutes; plus a really dumb subplot involving Stan's "exotic food club" -- something that made absolutely no sense and wasn't funny.
The Hand that Rocks the Rogu could have been so much better, but unfortunately it seems as though the second half was extremely rushed, and with a poor and unnecessary subplot. Overall, not an absolute throwaway, but Persona Assistant is definitely the better of the two Rogu arc episodes.
American Dad!: Eight Fires (2019)
Eight Fires (#14.19)
How do the writers come up with this stuff? Eight Fires had me laughing the whole way through. These past four episodes have not only been a vast improvement in its comedic dialogue and landing of jokes, but the storytelling technique and writing have been much more indicative of a stronger, more well-planned American Dad!. I loved every moment of this episode, and both the plot and subplot were superbly strong in every respect.
I have also noticed that the "point" of American Dad!, so to speak, has returned in these past few episodes. Instead of just doing an episode on something completely inane just for the sake of being "out there", each of these episodes covers a certain topic in a satirical way (i.e. Hayley's reliance on the family, Stan's insecurities, Francine's inability to cook) much like the older episodes used to.
Eight Fires is definitely one to rewatch in the years ahead!
No Weddings and a Funeral (#14.18)
No Weddings in a Funeral was another home-run episode, and completely up there on the insanity scale. It's most obvious brother episode would likely be "The Unincludeds" from Season 11, as it was quite similar both tonally and in the way that it gave us quite a darkly comedic view of the "future" in the American Dad! universe. I loved seeing the family in a completely different light than before, and like last week, all of the jokes really scored with me. The writing was solid, well-planned, and told an excellent story with perfect execution.
No Weddings and a Funeral is also one of the darkest episodes of the season, so I understand that it's not for everyone, but if you're into "that" side of American Dad like I am, you'll love this.
American Dad!: Enter Stanman (2019)
Enter Stanman (#14.17)
Enter Stanman is the best episode of Season 14, and one of my favorite American Dad! episodes of all time. I think we can all agree that this season has been a mix of both good and bad, but this was American Dad! at its best. Every single joke scored with me and the storytelling was stellar on every level. I will definitely be rewatching this episode again and again in the future.
Pride Before the Fail (#14.16)
This was an excellent episode, and definitely one that was worth re-watching. It had many laugh-out-loud jokes and the storytelling was much more solid than it's been for the last six episodes. I especially loved Roger's oral presentation after the party, the "suicide" scene, and Hayley's almost-graduation. The subplot with Klaus repairing Francine's car was really solid too. Pride Before the Fail is definitely one of the better episodes of the season.
American Dad!: Demolition Daddy (2019)
Who writes this?
American Dad has really gone downhill this season, we all see it and we all know it. Up until now, it's been a mix of good and bad- but this was just by far the worst episode yet. It was not at all funny and so poorly written that it was painful to keep watching.
Everyone was out of character, the storyline made no sense... it's like they've suddenly decided to employ immature 12-year olds in the writers room this season and thrown away their witty, satirical writers that used to make American Dad great.
An excellent episode from start to finish that gave us a lot to think about. We had an unsympathetic victim, we had political bias, and we had many, many assumptions. I do understand why it's controversial, since it was quite political, but it was superbly written.
It just wasn't a very memorable episode and it didn't have very good writing either... certainly a low-light in an otherwise fantastic season.
SVU has matured.
"Sometimes the law isn't good enough..."
Wow. Now that was a season finale. Truly one of the most breathtaking, incredible episodes of any TV series I have ever seen; and undoubtedly the best finale of SVU.
I didn't expect the Rob Miller arc to end that way at all, but I'm so glad it did. SVU has always had a history of playing it safe and doing the ethical thing within the law... but that's not always the way life works.
In order to take down one of the worst and most dangerous criminals, sometimes you have to play by your own, albeit less than legal, rules to win.
SVU has truly matured. From a series where every character always did the ethical thing, which simply isn't realistic, to instead sometimes doing the moral thing which may not be playing within the rules of the law, we have seen brilliant development in one of the best series on television.
I give "End Game" a well-deserved 10/10.
This was a fantastic episode, not only because of its unique, twisty case with celebrity guest stars, but also because of the excellent and much-needed character development for Fin, giving us backstory on his childhood and life before the SVU. While many were complaining that Snoop Dogg did not play a big part, I believe that his role was just adequate enough and helped move the case along nicely. The standout star was obviously Orlando Bloom.
Overall, an excellent episode that put the spotlight on Fin in the best way possible.