Friday, November 6, 2015

Geeky TV commentary - Bones 11.6, Sleepy Hollow 3.6, Elementary 4.1

Bones airs at 8pm on Fox Thursday nights.

So many guest stars this season! The latest was right here in the cold open, with Impractical Jokers Murr and Sal as street sweepers who find the body by street-sweeping over it and getting their whole truck all grossed up. And then Murr tastes it, thinking it's a prank. That's a nice meta-injoke, but it's also really gross.

The body turns out to be a senator. One that Hodgins actually liked enough to stop voting side parties for. He seemed to actually be, like, the only good guy in Senate, since the mysterious monthly pay outs turned out to be to help a daughter he'd just reconnected with, no an affair like they thought. It was the wife that was having an affair. A wife that would suddenly be a Senator because of some old law that widows of Senators take over when one dies because they're likely to be similar, politically. And it was his aid (or whoever that guy who used to be on Sleepy Hollow was) who killed him.

All very tidy. Because it's not the case that matters on this show anymore.

What matters is the people, as I probably say every week.

Bones got to turn her bluntness up to 11 to take on their political suspects so that she could be rude and ask personal questions and booth could get a read on her, and she took to it gleefully. It was kind of obnoxious, but it also showed exactly why they're such a good team: she antagonizes and cuts right to the truth, and Booth reads the social cues and emotional reactions, and together they can build a clear picture of what's going on.

And when he wasn't with Bones, Booth was with Aubrey, who was sort of their lovechild this ep--savvy and agent-y, but also not taking any guff from anyone involve and being less diplomatic than Booth. It was great. Aubrey was also checking out Squintern Jessica-from-the-commune's background, and found out about some questionable protests, and some drugs and rock'n'roll in her past. He was inclined to take it seriously, but she was arguing that pasts make us who we are and she's not who she was then anymore than he's who he was when his dad was arrested. It was very well done--talking on multiple layers, feeling out what could be a new 'ship*, all sorts of meaningful eyeballs.

Aubrey came in on a bad episode so that it was crazy-obvious that he was meant to fill a hole in the cast when Sweets died**, but he's done a good job of becoming an endearing, tough, honest, individual character! And he humanizes Jessica nicely. The two of them might even be good enough together to handle a spinoff or a continuation, if the main cast decides to leave at any point. An ER-style hand-off wouldn't have worked a few years ago, but now the Squinterns are all known characters and it would be nice to see them taking over the lab and carrying on the Jeffersonian's good name if the original cast gets tired of it. Bones: The Next Generation, all trained by Bones and Booth and Angela, Hodgins, and Cam.***

And we got Caroline this week! Any week with Caroline busting chops and calling Booth pretty is a good week, and she upped the ante by flirting with Aubrey, too, and it was wonderful.

Meanwhile, Bones and Booth were arguing over whether or not to get a TV for the bedroom, because Booth wanted to watch things snuggled up in bed, and Bones didn't want to give up sex--since statistics say that a TV in the bedroom makes for less sex for couples, and she loves statistics. They eventually do get one, after agreeing that it's an experiment to see whether they fit the odds or beat them, and it's adorable.

It still feels sometimes like Bones is coasting, but if they are, they're coasting at a good clip, on a good tone, and it's still fun and charming and full of quirk, just like we all love.

Sleepy Hollow airs at 9pm on Fox Thursday nights.

Pandora's plot is finally getting somewhere...but we have no idea where, and it sort of just highlighted how bad Abbie and Crane have been about following up with anything at all this season. She sent a wasp-woman from Trinidadian folklore to make people paranoid and dead, and then she harvested all those flowers to open a door in the tree and literally just walk out on them, and it was like ??????.

It was great to get a monster that came from something other than Revolutionary America (though it did, actually, tie back to that needlessly), even if she did look like a Power Rangers villain and didn't have much more story to herself than, say, a streetlamp. Maybe an evil streetlamp. But it was so easy to find where she was and to put the pieces together that it just made Team Witness look like selfish idiots for not ever wondering where Pandora was hiding out, or what she was doing, or what any of what she was doing meant. And even with the pieces together--six kinds of fear to open a door--we still have no idea what she's doing. Like, at all. Or why.


The hope that the beginning of the season brought that it would be better is starting to wear off as Jenny is still underused (though this week, she does get to do a little A-plot usefulness, and might be getting a story of her own now), as they announce that they're "not actively pursuing Ichabbie" and yet Abbie is also being denied actively pursing or being pursued by anyone else, and these flabby treatments of the plot lines they are actively pursuing. Combined with how Fox didn't even update the character shots for the bumps between commercials and didn't even mention that this show still existed until two weeks before it came back, feels like it's been abandoned. Which feels like this will be the last season. Which then, in light of all the lameness going on around the edges, feels like everyone has given up. If you're going out and you know it, make it good, and don't put off the storylines the fans have been wanting--especially when you were talking about them as a possibility before the season aired. If you're not giving up, act like it, and get your act together.


Jenny and Joe had to give up on tracking down Corbin's past, because of that case that the FBI has that we've seen literally nothing of, and Joe won't let it go. He trades the Shard of Anubis for info, and his dad's old criminal buddy says a bunch of bad-sounding things about money and crime and doesn't explain any of them. But Jenny had her boy's back, and they get the Shard back--except the guy had taken the real shard out of the big rock, and it sank into Jenny's hand, and she didn't think to mention that to anyone--like, say, her partner in this mission, or her sister, or the resident eidetic king of books. It gave her nightmares and made her glow, and that could be really interesting, but at this point, who knows.

Crane goes on a date with Zoe that proves they have no chemistry despite hitting up the same webpages, which really just makes it look like Zoe is stalking him or something. She's so not weirded out by his weirdness, never has anything to say against him, finds the same how-to-date webpages out of all the pages on the web...It's suspicious. And yet, Crane goes out with her again.

And Abbie has no joy left in her life. All she does is get annoyed, make sad faces when no one is looking, and not get to have a love interest of her own. Which might be fine if she got to talk about why, or explain herself to the boss who might still like her (though he doesn't treat her very well and also is not doing anything about it himself, so who cares if he's cute), or anything, but she's not doing any of that. She's a blank wall, not letting anyone in, not letting anything out, and it looks like she doesn't even want to be there--so why is she? The first episode had her choosing Witnessing over running away, but lately, she's just chasing down monsters but not following up, not trying to piece stuff together between cases, not even hanging out with her sister.

And if Abbie isn't happy, when do we get to get a plot for her about it?

Also, why wasn't Grace Dixon the new contact in the past? She's got the journal she passed down to Abbie, she was already there so she didn't need to be created new for this season that already has new characters, she proves that Abbie is equally as tied into whatever happens then that affects here, and she has actually met Abbie--literally almost the only person from the past who can say that. Oversight? Prejudice? More fumbling? It's an annoying choice.

And it's annoying being so annoyed by a show I like and used to love, that's so much better than it was, and still making dumb choices.

Elementary airs at 10pm on CBS Thursday nights.

Elementary is back! And there was only a small jump between the end of the season and the start of this one, story-wise. 

Sherlock fell off the wagon, but has gotten clean again since then, and doesn't intend to get back into a drugged out stupor. He feels appropriately bad about it. But more than that, he feels bad about how almost kicking that guy to death might have messed up Joan's life, since if he's gone from the NYPD consultancy, she is too. 

He tries to get her to take the credit for the case they're working, and she refuses--all that matters to her is the partnership, because she took the job to work with him, not the cops. So if she goes down with him, he wants to cushion that, too, and tries to get them both a job working for the feds instead of the cops****. Really, his concern for her is the heart of this episode, and it's moving enough that when he finds out he's not going to jail for the beating, she hugs him and he doesn't make her stop (though he also doesn't return it). Is this the season where they'll be allowed to drift toward something non-professional? Something where they admit that they care about each other more than once a season?

They're trying to prove that Bloom, who was horrible to them last season and killed himself right in front of Sherlock this episode, didn't kill his wife by proving that he's telling the truth about the two women he did kill and therefore telling the truth that he didn't kill the wife, too. Tracking the wife leads to another woman who disappeared, and a plot to get revenge for the death of her whole family during a failed attempt to smuggle themselves out of South America through Mexico. They find the guy responsible for that--who was also responsible for her death when she found him and confronted him about it. 

And that led to the option to work outside the city, though it was half joking, and who knows if that's what they'll do.

What made this a great episode was the caring between all the characters. Gregson brought them food and came to check on Joan, and separately on Sherlock. Bell helped Joan clean up their stuff from the precinct when they officially lost their job there, and it was very sweet when he said he'd miss her. Joan was trying to get through to Mr Holmes when he said he was finally going to come talk to them in person and never showed, because she cares about Sherlock and didn't want to be treated like that for it. Sherlock tried to shield Joan and Gregson from his fallout.

And Mr Holmes finally did show up, whether that's because he cares or not still remains to be seen.

All in all, a good start to the season, with lots of feels and somehow still some humor, and a good case.

What did you think of today's shows? Comment below, or come talk to me on Twitter!


Sleepy Hollow


*One of the few left, now that almost everyone is paired off.
**They should have introduced him a few episodes before, let him interact, been a separate person before Sweets died, but whatevs, too late now.
***This is one of my hobbyhorses. Shows don't have to end when the main characters want to leave, but so far, really, only ER has done it right--introducing people and letting viewers get used to them before the old people leave. SG1 almost did it, trading O'Niell for Cameron and Vala, who were both great but only had a few years. X-Files tried, and Doggett and Reyes were good, but they came in too late and the show was already closing shop.
****Which would be so great, because then I can pretend that he'd be able to meet other fancy assets, like Jane from Blindspot at Brian from Limitless, even though they're both on a different channel. Ooh, or they could guest star Jane and Lisbon! Or Team Scorpion! They're all government contractors on CBS!
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