Monday, October 12, 2015

Geeky TV commentary - Gotham 2.4, Minority Report 1.4, Blindspot 1.4

Gotham airs at 8pm on Fox Monday nights.

This whole episode is a pile of Penguin-feels. He's trying to get all the 80s hair metal and girl-goth gangs to get along, and Theo has the nerve to just send a car to summon him like some underling. Then he tells Pengs that he's going to level block after block of housing to build big sleek towers, and to do that, he has to be in control of a lot of city planning, stuff, so he's going to let the people demand that he run for mayor. To ensure that he wins, he needs to have everyone else killed, but he can't be linked to that while running on a Clean Up Gotham platform, so Penguin has to do it.

Robin Lord Taylor was amazing. His barely-suppressed rage, while maintaining perfect civility and politeness is amazing.

And then Theo shows him that they have his mother in a little room somewhere, crazy and scared and super-threatened. Penguin has no choice. So he goes and kills some people, and he's so upset about it that it's more heartbreaking because of him than it is because of his victims. But when it really gets ya is when Butch asks what's wrong without challenging his authority, and he tells him, and you can just see that he's barely holding it together.

And then the news is bad anyway. and that's gonna be terrible, and if our perfect civil Penguin is ruined by this, it's gonna be really upsetting.

Meanwhile, Nygma is still battling with his douchey side, but he manages to ask Miss Kringle out all confidently, and she goes, and he cooks a super-fancy molecular gastronomy dinner for her, and it actually goes really well. He almost tells her that he killed her boyfriend, and almost loses his chance, but then they're making out. Hopefully he can win her over enough that he can still be loved even when he goes totally off the edge.

Also meanwhile, Captain Barnes (The Commish, not Bucky), swoops into the precinct and fires, like six people who were crooked cops, making Jim look really ineffective since he couldn't do that in the whole of last season. He's a hardass, and he's not taking any excuses, and he doesn't care why someone's crooked, he's just getting rid of all of them. And he likes Jim, so he's gonna be really pissed when he finds out how close Harvey and he are to Penguin and co.

Off to the side, Baby Bats is embarassed to be picked up by his butler, Alfred tells Cat off and slaps her for killing Reggie, even though Reggie tried to kill him and almost succeeded, and Bats meets Silver, Theo's ward. Which can't possibly be a bad idea, what with Theo's whole family being awful all the time always. Cat's not pleased, and is still skulking around.

But all of that is blah blah blah, because the one who stole the show is really Penguin, beginning to end. It's all significant, and it was well-told and mostly less trashy than the show usually is, but Penguin being used, again, by someone leveraging his good points against him. All the wants to do is be a benevolent (and murderous) king, and all the other money-grabbers and land-grabbers all around him are so much worse. It's gonna be so tragic to see him living in a sewer or whatever he does in the Age of Batman.

It's funny. They set up this show that is the backstory behind Batman, with the beloved Commissioner Gordon as the lead, and he's really the one that is...not least interesting, but least fun, maybe. It's a show full of what I can only call sin-namon* rolls, and the ordinary ones just sort of can't compete. They could make the show just about Cat and Ivy living in Barbara's old loft, Baby Bats and Alfred haunting that mansion, Nygma, and Penguin, and it would be fine.

Minority Report airs at 9pm on Fox Monday nights.

This week ep is just as tight as fast-moving as always, but there's so many more feels than usual! Dash, as of last week's ep, works for the police so that he and Vega and use their resources and not get in trouble for working off the books. His latest vision brings them to a rich guy's party, and they meet Franki--who Dash is totally taken by, like, immediately. And she likes him back! And it seems genuine.

So Dash has an in on the case, and he gets some of those nifty contacts that Vega uses all the time, and through them, she can give him cues about what to ask while he's talking to the pretty girl. They hang out, they talk a lot, he gets some info, Vega is distinctly uncomfortable with it. It might be too soon to call it jealousy, but she's definitely not pleased by how he's getting all involved. While she's monitoring his feed, she catches his post-romp emotional bonding** and she learns a lot about her partner's tragic back story that she never heart before, that he's never talked about, and she looks really affected by it.

Anyway, they know that Franki is the victim from the vision, and the rich guy is the killer, and they find out that her sister was one of his friends and he left her to die of an overdose during a party. She says she wants justice, but as the episode goes on, it becomes obvious that she really wants revenge, and Dash barely manages to keep her from killing the dude (after getting past his security with a cloned eyeball that she just casually carries around in her purse). He doesn't help her get away, but he doesn't stop her, either. Hopefully, his star-crossed love with a price on her head is going to come back and make things difficult and morally ambiguous later, because she was really good for the emotional depth of this episode.

Outside of that, all sorts of things are going on, too.

Vega told Akeela about the whole thing last week so that she could help make sure that Dash actually got the job at the precinct, so now she's on the team. She and Wally immediately didn't hit it off, and it was the exact perfect sort of geek-territorial bickering. If this show lasts a few seasons, they're totally going to get married. He could read her on sight, and she read him pretty well, too. Wally called out some neat backstory details*** that should be really interesting when they come back!

Arthur was still trying to lean on Dash about Agatha's vision of Vega and the milkbaths, and keeps insisting that they're back there because of Vega, rather than assuming that she's there to help them, like was my first thought. Dash won't hear it, and goes to work with her...but he also doesn't tell Vega about the vision even though he tells Arthur that he's going to.

And Agatha very coldly and chillingly manipulates her ex-con-in-hiding neighbor (by blackmailing him AND holding all the money she stole from him last episode hostage), into stealing the blueprints for the milkbaths, and basically leaves him to die afterward. She's so shifty and cold about the whole thing, so smug about her foreknowledge. It's really hard to trust her, and more and more often, I feel like if they wind up back in the bath, it's going to be because of her trying to stop it from happening by letting people know it exists.

This show isn't super complicated yet--it's mostly still adventure and crime-solving--but there's so many threads being woven together and introduced and backstories being hinted at, that it's getting really hook-y. It's addictive, and it's fun, and it hits you right in the heartstrings. Everyone is still fighting caring about each other, but they're gonna have to care about each other when all that stuff all starts coming together.

I, for one, can't wait!

Blindspot airs at 10pm on NBC Monday nights.

This episode was bonkers-full of all sorts of stuff! Patterson accidentally leaves her super-top-secret folder full of pictures of Jane's tats where her boyfriend can see them at home, where she isn't supposed to have them. Which should be a problem, but he helps her solve one of the tattoos that leads them to the CDC, where the decontamination UV lights show up some MORE tattoos they didn't know Jane had. These ones are all viral sample numbers, all ultra-deadly, all missing.

While they're looking at the samples and finding that every one of the numbers isn't there, there's an emergency lockdown that gives just enough time for the only person who could have been responsible for the missing vials to disappear. They track her to a car on the run, and tell the cops, and before she can be pulled over, she says she's saving the world and kills her husband and herself.

But they manage to figure out that everywhere she's gone on official business lately, viruses have broken out, and that leaves one super-ebola behind. They then track her to the port terminal, and find a bag that they have to "MacGuyver a hazard containment" on. 

And that's at barely half the episode!

The thing goes off, but their hasty duct-tape-and-plastic-tarp containment holds, and they get the CDC there. But Patterson is smart, and she cross-referenced the places everyone else has been from that office, and finds out that the guy they sent has just bought a plane ticket with lots of short layovers, and she figures he must be trying to get infected--which means they can't let him open their duct-tape seal. 

Weller fights him, but the guy somehow gets the upper hand on him, and Jane comes flying out of nowhere, without a hazmat suit, and beats him to a pulp to save Weller from also getting infected. Turns out the guy thinks that they shouldn't be trying to cure these diseases, that they're the things that are meant to control populations and that we need a plague to lessen the number of people and save the world.****

There wasn't a whole lot for Jane to do this episode. She's part of the team now, so she doesn't have to worry about being sidelined, but since this was a real team effort and didn't involve anything much to do with her past, she was just a member of the team, not the focus of it. All her story came in the B-plot. 

Last week, DNA confirmed that she is, in fact, Taylor Shaw, the girl that went missing from Weller's care and because of that, his dad went to jail for murder for 25 years. All of which means nothing to her, of course. She wants to talk about it, but Weller has to focus on the case, but when they're back and safe afterward, he starts telling her about their lives together, the place they lived, what he knows about her mom and her. 

So, of course, that's when Patterson tells him that she had the isotopes tested from that tooth that Jane got knocked out last week, and the trace minerals and their ages all say that this woman was not born in Pennsylvania, despite the fact that Weller was there and remembers when they brought Taylor home. The elements say she was born in sub-Saharan Africa, and that means that they again have no idea who she is, and he's lost her all over again.

My theory is that they switched the records for her DNA, so that the paperwork that say "Taylor" would match her, regardless of who They are, or she is.

And meanwhile, their boss is still being cagey about the file whose number was in one of the tattoos, and her CIA "buddy" wants something done about Jane, but Mayfair says she's not a threat. Next week, though, it looks like they decide she is a threat, and that's only the fifth episode!

Also this week: Dude admits to her that he's not against her being on the team because of her, she's proven she does good work and is reliable; he's against her because when she's there, the stable, reliable Weller is not there--he's rash and unpredictable, and that puts the whole team at risk.***** And Lady-Z get threatened by a skeeze about a 40k gambling debt that she needs to pay back.

This show continues to be super-involving. It's packed with story, which can get a bit disorienting if you manage to miss something, but with so many dumb shows around, it's refreshing to think about it, and to be trusted to keep up. It's addictive and affecting, and sort of over the top, but in a really great movie-thriller sort of way, like The Bourne Identity or something.

What did you guys think of today's shows?

*You know, like a pure cinnamon roll, but evil? Like Loki or Spike, where they're awful, but you love them anyway?
**Did she listen in when they wound up in bed? From that station right out in the open that anyone could see??
***She was a "sprawl punk" who tattooed her face to fool ID cameras?
****And since NBC and Syfy are both owned by the same company, that totally means he's a member of the Markeridge Group, and that one of those samples is The Plague, and even though they stopped him, Jennifer is still going to go out and cause the 12 Monkeys future. I kept expecting Cassie and Cole to show up!^
^Which, by the way, would make a killer crossover.
*****We can say, she's his blindspot.
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