Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Geeky TV commentary - Flash 2.2, SHIELD 3.3, Limitless 1.4

The Flash airs at 8pm on CW Tuesday nights.*

This week was packed with fan service, and thank goodness for Twitter because half of it would have gone right over this viewer's head.

Last week, Jay Garrett, one of the many other Flashes in the comics, showed up, and this week he tells them that there's a whole lot of holes in reality because of that singularity (that they really should just call a wormhole already, because that's what it is). and he came through one from an alternate earth. Worse, there's a dude named Zoom who wants to be the only speedster in any reality. Why? Who knows. No one knows who he is or whether he knows anything about the speedforce that everyone else doesn't know.

Barry is acting like a tool half the episode, and locks Jay up in the cells that totally didn't do any good last year, and still don't make sense as somewhere to put actual living people indefinitely, but what evs. It's understandable that he'd not trust people who come from other times / dimensions offering to teach him things after Welles, but he's being a jerk about it and Iris totally calls him out on it, and eventually, after Zoom's latest henchman Totally Not Sandman Because This Is DC proves hard to catch. Jay knows who he is and how to stop him--channel the speedforce into lightning you can throw, turning all his sand to glass--but Jay can't do it himself because he's lost most of his power inexplicably during the transfer between dimensions, even though Zoom and Sand Demon didn't.

Barry is better after he admits that he is upset that he trusted Welles so much and then was betrayed so badly, and at the end, he was more himself...though he did totally shatter that guy to death, and he wouldn't have killed people before, if he could help it, and would have felt bad about it if he did. It's alarming for the character, and it's souring for the tone of the show, because the main difference between Flash and Arrow was that Barry was always so sunny and optimistic, so his stories came out more positive and uplifting. Killing all the bad guys is not uplifting.

Meanwhile, Cisco is figuring out how to use these visions he's having now, but he's totally flipping out about them, and tells Stein (who is great) when he asks, but then says not to say anything. He's surrounded by literally the only and best people in the world to help him about it, but he's convinced that because Welles took credit for it, it'll definitely turn out to be evil. Which is dumb, because Cisco is a perfect puppy and Welles is not the boss of him.

Joe was wonderful, as always, and there's a new young cop named Patty who really wants to join his team and the fact that the team doesn't exist anymore doesn't stop her because their very first metahuman threat killed her dad and she wants to stop them...and then she gets captured, tied up, doesn't even try to get herself free and kick ass (and then there's a bomb and she can't), and has to be rescued. So disappointing, writers. On the other hand, she's snappy and cheerful and can nerd out with Barry about nerdy things, and comes straight from the comics.

Speaking of nerding, Caitlyn was thrilled to death to find out that this pretty new speedster is also a scientist as well as a hero, and she and him totally made googly eyes at each other all episode. And Cisco and Stein are probably the cutest science bros in ages.

And then Stein passes out! Dun dun DUN!

Overall, the Jay Garrett storyline was sort of meh, since he doesn't really get to do all that much other than explain what the plot is doing, but it was a fun episode, and if we're lucky, he'll come back and we can see him again. There's 52** rifts in spacetime because of that not-a-singularity-it's-a-wormhole, and that means we could, conciveably, have up to 52 speedsters crossing through the story, and that would be some kind of wonderful. They went from one earth to potentially 52 earths in one computer scan, and it pushed the world of the show into a whole other level that could be so cool--and should really help big time with Legends of Tomorrow having at least one dead person in the cast.

Now if they can just make Patty as strong in the field as she is in conversations, everything will be golden.

SHIELD airs at 9pm on ABC Monday nights.

The main story is that Lincoln is on the run from that alphabet soup that's now being sent after "alien threats" even though they're not alien so much as they're actually humans who were altered by aliens against their will, and he's doing a really bad job of proving he's not a killer and a public danger. He's throwing lightning around, he's scaring people, he's refusing help when Daisy offers it. Eventually, he gives his only friend a heart attack, which should have been more moving than it was, but we literally didn't know anything about the guy, and he turned on him really quickly, so how good a friend could be be? After that, he calls Daisy, and accepts her help.

Which leads to a sweet scene where she reminds him that he's good as he's beating himself up over his friend's death, and then they kiss, and the fact that he's not Ward makes that okay. Mac heard it all, and decides to be a good partner and doesn't blab. Anyway, she gets him to agree to go to SHIELD for protection, but not to join them, and he's about to go with when the alphabet soupers who all look the same and none of which have names or personalities show up.

See, Coulson has been meeting with their leadress to talk about whether or not they're going to keep being antagonists. He tries to convince him they're going about it all wrong, and that they're only causing people on both sides of the equation to panic. She says they need to see that someone is doing something about all these new powers, and that no one even knows that SHIELD exists. She wants proof of his good will, and shows that she knows about Daisy, so basically it's Linc or it's Daisy, and of course Coulson decides to save her. None of that matters, though, because Lincoln isn't going for that and escapes, so she says she'll take Daisy.

Coulson trades himself for her instead. Sort of. He and SHIELD are now their consultants about how to deal with the terragen problem, and hopefully, for once, that won't go off the deep end and bite him in the tush like every other sudden choice he's made to save Daisy since the beginning. I really hope she winds up being, like, the queen of the Inhumans or something, to justify all the weird plot choices built around her, because I love her and I love Coulson, but damned if the story doesn't love to convolute between them.

And while this is happening, Hunter and May are slumming it in the underworld fight clubs trying to get into Hydra so they can take it down before it becomes a thing again. It was all very nice and brutal watching Hunter prove he can "take a punch" and all, and probably the bloodiest thing ever on this show, but it doesn't make much sense. Ward was going on and on last week and the week before about how he wants to build a better Hydra of the best of the best, and then he recruits the son of the old leader like it's a flipping monarchy he wasn't already in charge of, and now he's getting the thuggiest of the thugs? How is that going to build anything but another brute force army to mess everything up AGAIN, this time by not being subtle enough while somehow still being too convoluted? Ward really needed to be either a hero or a villain, since selling him in the space in between was handled poorly and he was not nearly roguish enough to make up for all the terrible things he did and lied about, but making him a villain that makes no sense is not going to fix the problem of what's been done with him.

But on the other hand, we have Fitz and Simmons being perfect. She's back, but she's barely holding it together. Everything startles her, noises are too loud, lights are too bright, she can't handle too many things happening around her at once. Fitz holds her hand and leads her from room to room, and she sleeps a lot. He's so gentle about her! He's not treating her like she's breakable, but he's not pushing her or asking anything of her. He's terribly worried about how the things that defined her before barely register now, but he's willing to do whatever he can to help her find her way back. But she's sick and she's unbalanced, and it's so sad.

He finally takes her out for that date he's had the restaurant hold for months, and he's rented out the whole place so that there's not too much noise or light or movement, and for a minute it seems like it'll work--until trying to decide what to get off the menu overwhems her and she finally cries about it all.

But when she gets back to the lab, Bobbi finds her messing with the portal-gravel, and all she says is "I have to go back"--with no context like "because I can't handle it here" or "because I left something important there" or "because there's something there that we need" or anything like that.

I really hope it's not the first one.

Limitless airs at 10pm on CBS Tuesday nights.

Another fun tangle of stories that Brian unravels in unusual ways!

Since he broke up with his lady, Brian's been turning hooking up into a science with NZT, and finds it bores him and makes him feel worse, which is good, because that's gross and it's against his usual sweetness. In a better attempt to distract himself, he's been taking online to several scientists and thinkers, and helping their research with his NZT-brain. One of them is a kooky old dude named Arthur, who he helps breed a rat that seems to be functionally immortal.

Arthur turns out to be the old partner of the guy who founded the biggest medical science firm around, and when that ex partner billionaire shows up dead and the mouse goes missing, it looks like Arthur did it, and Brian has to prove that it wasn't him. There's all sorts of capers with breaking into the research facility (and not finding the mouse), and hacking secret emails, and figuring out that the billionaire's will was never filed with his "I'm giving it all to charity" changes, and the guy who should have done that was making side deals with the guy's unsavory kids. So Arthur is off the hook, and he can continue his research with the unaging mouse--that will hopefully have something to do with how Brian gets out from under the threats people keep layering on him.

Because, see, Mr Sands, his new boss, wants him to steal every bit of NZT research his boss has, just when they've decided to trust him enough to give him his first classified case--someone who is stealing secret government tech and sending the stats out by marking up milk cartons in a code that people on the other end can decipher. Most of that case is off to the side, with Rebecca and Boyle handling that while Brian is supposed to be researching and is actually saving his friend and committing treason.

Because he tries to not steal anything. He fakes a bunch of files and gives them that--and then his dad suddenly gets a deadly virus that can make his body reject his new organs. And if he doesn't get the real files, he'll not get his anti-side-effects shot, and he'll die. So he steals them. And then he decides to read them and get to know everything he can about the NZT before he's forced to disappear or get arrested. 

In the file, he finds that Rebecca's dad was identified as a dealer, not a user, which neither he nor she knew. She's going to a posthumous art show of her dad's paintings, and finds a huge portrait of her that she didn't know he'd painted. They both found revelations about this guy tonight.

Despite the cases being separate for most of the episode, there was still the stuff that makes the episodes really fun to watch--the diagrams and overlays as he figures things out, the literal talking-to-yourself scenes, and the great lighting and filming differences between on and off the drug, and Mike and Ike. Brian is starting to crack under the strain, which is upsetting, because it makes him just the slightest bit meaner in his snark and his humor, and that's sad to see. He's still a goof, but he's not able to have as much fun being and doing and existing as this genius, and it's forcing him to compromise his morals and taking away his agency. Hopefully that'll go away soon, though, because the preview of "this season on Limitless" that does not say "next week"*** shows him getting the order to kill Rebecca, and he can't do that.

This episode, she placed herself firmly on his side. She said "as long as you're here when I need you and you don't hurt anyone, I've got your back", and she followed through by actually backing him up when he gets trapped in the research lab and has to get out quickly. She also talks him through his issues, which is great, because it makes it so that even though he can learn quickly and make cognitive leaps, there's still a purpose for the other people on the team--because he kind of lacks common sense, even when he's all souped up. And he was right last week, she's really the only one he can talk to. 

One more reason why he can't kill her to get his anti-drug drug later. And why she'll probably be able to talk him down and find a solution, because he'll necessarily be off the drug by then, and he'll need her more than ever. In general, it's great that the show doesn't sideline the others or make them look dumb--they don't have to be idiots for him to be smart, and they can still function as a team and as a group of human beings even when he has to trick them to do his thing, and especially when he's the smartest person in the room, but the least experienced.

And this show is starting to really make me worry about poor manipulated Brian, who only wants to help people, to save his dad, and to have a purpose where people like him and he can make a difference.

*And is followed by iZombie, which I still haven't managed to get watched! I miss it so much!
**Like the New 52, I'm assuming.
***Are we really going to rerun already, ABC? Really?
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