Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Geeky TV commentary - Supergirl 1.2, Minority Report 1.7, Blindspot 1.7

Supergirl airs at 8pm on CBS Monday nights.

This week, we got Kara not being very good at being a super hero, but also not giving up, and it was kind of the best. That plane she rescued last week? She left it in the river, and authorities still hadn't gotten it out yet. There was a boat this week, carrying crude oil and too close to a fire on the docks, so she dragged to to safety...and tore the bow off, causing an oil spill that she didn't clean up. She's not doing these things on purpose, but it's something I hope she deals with soon, because the show is already dealing with it--there was a report in the episode about how much trouble Superman has caused and how high rebuilding costs are, and how she looks worse right now. Maybe next week she'll figure out how to get that plane up and get rid of all the oil, because it makes her look less clumsy and more, like, crazy negligent.

But the episode is also trying to deal with that. She knows she's not doing a very good job, and she wants to do better, so she has her sister train her. Alex points out that there are ways to make her weak as a normal person--or worse--and so she can't just count on strength and invulnerability. She's got to have skills in there, too. She also isn't very good at taking direction, but she listens and works through it, and between her, Jimmy and Win, they find a bunch of smaller crimes* she can handle to hone her skills.

There's a dude with a hinge-out jaw who looks like the vampire from Blade II, but he's just a distraction to lure Kara out for the Big Bad--her aunt Astra, freed from the prison and totally not hanging back and working behind the scenes like I would have expected. She's Kara's mom's twin, and she says they used to like confusing their parents, which, if the writers know their theory, should come back to haunt everyone at some point, because it was just a pointed one-off this episode.

Astra is hard and mean and borderline vicious, and she has plans, but she also seems to think she's saving the world, so that should be interesting. At the very least, their show down, with dueling superpowers, was cool, and it was stopped by a kryptonite knife--a kryptoknife.

Meanwhile, Kara and Jimmy have some really sweet heart to hearts, Win is more enthused and a little less desperate than ever, and Supergirl agrees to do an interview with Cat Grant to save her image, because it helps both of their careers. Alex shows Kara a hologram of her mother that they've created (retroengineered?) for her in her own little Baby's First Fortress of Solitude on base. And their boss apparently is a super hard boss because of a tragic past barely hinted at--and has glowing eyes with absolutely no context. Is he an alien too? Being controlled by one? Some other sort of superpower?

Hopefully we'll know soon!

The theme of this episode seemed to have been Family and Reasons. Alex is Kara's family more than her actual aunt. Jimmy and Win help her do her job because she doesn't want the extreme isolation her cousin works with. Cat is hard because she has to be as a woman in a man's world, but she does want Kara to do her best. Bossman has a tragic past that's apparently still haunting him. Even Astra is driven by some vague combo of family and togetherness and a reason to her extremism. It'll be interesting to see how it all pans out and complicates up as the season continues.

Minority Report airs at 9pm on Fox Monday nights.

This week shook up the alliances some, and we got flashbacks to early-release Precogs! According to the flashback, they were woken up, given some physical therapy, and then dumped at the edge of town and told to never come back and make their own way. But they have almost no idea of how to live normal lives, not a lot of social skills, and definitely no idea what to do with these powers they still have. Back then, Dash was the cautious one who didn't want to get involved, and Arthur was sweet and unsure and liked a girl who got killed. I hope we get more flashbacks, because Arthur not being a jerk was a revelation, and it would be cool to see the two of them slowly switching sides as the years pass.

In the now, they miss a murder and Vega tells Dash to let it go, but that's not one of his current skills. Following it gets him captured because no one was supposed to know about the crime. He spends most of the episode tied up, waiting to be rescued, but somehow still not being a damsel in distress; he uses what he knows to get the kidnappers to fracture, to win over one of them based on what he knows of her story from his visions--which she finds and identifies in his notebook--and to keep himself alive. They do cut off one of his fingers, though, because they know he's Arthur's brother.

And Arthur was the one who stole the money they're looking for.

That means that he's the one that Vega can team up with. He wants Dash back, but he also wants to save his own skin; Vega just wants Dash to be safe. They work pretty well together, despite Arthur not wanting to and Vega being annoyed by his less than legal ways (and it's great when she punches him over them). And they manage to not only get Dash back, but also to bring down one of the biggest crime lords in the city by getting another syndicate to do it for them. Shifty, but very well played.

This was an Arthur episode, for sure. Breaking up the Dash-Vega duo showed how much Vega values Dash, and also showed how much Arthur will do for his brother, something that's always been there but also always been a lot vaguer, since he keeps not helping them when they ask him. And it was so nice seeing Arthur with a purpose. He's formidable when he's not just lining his own pockets!

But there's storms brewing on the horizon. Reed Diamond has taken an interest in Vega's career, and that will never be good since he knows who the Precogs are.

This is where we insert the constant complaint that Fox can't be trusted with good shows, since it was announced recently that they cut the episode order, which is as good as calling it canceled most of the time. This is also where we hope Syfy or something** will pick it up and give it the space and support it needs, because it's getting really good and that looming cancellation is making it really hard for people to care. I still care, though, and I'll keep watching and talking about it!

Blindspot airs at 10pm on NBC Monday nights.

And Blindspot! Still the best show of the season. 

This week, they get sent into the woods to see what's up with a treasure map, that leads them to another map and a cache of weapons just enough for the team to each have one, and leads to the capture of an informant who is also known for killing a whole bunch of people and is the second most wanted man in the US. They drag him along as they follow the clues, and he takes every opportunity to poke holes in their functional reality. He points out how crazy it is to be chasing tattoos. He sees how Jane and Weller are acting together. He makes them all doubt everything. And it's great, because they really do live in a crazy idea of a world right now.

But Weller is still working on that idea that he needs to be objective, and when they have to split up in the woods, the takes Zapata instead of Jane, which does two things. It gives Zapata a chance to talk to her boss alone that she hasn't had since Jane showed up, and point out that there's a difference between knowing you're protecting someone, and not knowing that's what you're doing. And it gives Jane and Reade a chance to work together, which makes him have to invest a little faith in her, since they never know what she's going to be able to do in each situation. That one was the best part of this episode: Reade being snarky and flippant, but also competent and believing in Jane when he wouldn't have only a few episodes before. Including when they found a helicopter, it was their only way out, and he had to trust all of their lives in the idea that if wouldn't be there if she didn't know how to use it.

Meanwhile, Jane discovered that she's really bad at flying in planes--the turbulence about gave her a rolling heart attack--but she's fine with being in control of a chopper leaving a gun battle. It's about control, she says. And Weller held her hands and looked at her like she was the cutest thing he'd ever seen. Didn't even hide it from the team that time. She says while they were separated, all she thought about was him (and herself and Taylor Shaw), and she decided that they're all in this together.

I've been wanting the two of them to decide that the advice to stay objective is bad advice and to just run with this personal connection, and maybe that was it--a quiet and unspoken version of "no thanks, we've got this". Because the team, and especially Weller, are literally all Jane has in the world, and keeping separate from her like that is hurtful to her and upsetting to the rest of them. They're stronger when they all care about each other and act like it. 

Meanwhile, Weller confronts Mayfair about Daylight and why she's not telling them things they need to know for their cases, and she starts to make him the fourth person in the world who knows about it before it cuts to black. The teaser for next week makes it seem like it's not going to go well, but it's great that she's letting him in, because it really has been getting in the way. And it means she's choosing her team.

Also meanwhile, Patterson and her boyfriend*** chase down a new lead that takes them to a gorgeous old library in one of the old parts of town, and a book that's being used as a message-passing cipher. Before they can figure out what the messages passed back and forth mean, Mayfair tracks them down. Patterson is very nearly fired. David is very nearly arrested. And to answer the question about whether they'll move in together or not--Patterson chooses her job that she loves over a boyfriend she has commitment issues with. If he turns out to be shifty, she'll be glad of that choice.

Finally, the guy with the tree tattoo, who Jane dreamed about sleeping with last week and who was spying on her at her house, is shown digging in the foundation of a building somewhere, but not why.

The whole main plot was super-convenient, and now they're all thinking that whoever did this to Jane is trying to help them--but if so, why be so circuitous about it? Why not just go snitch and turn in all the info they have normally? Not to mention that the early tatts were apparently uncovering corruption, and at least one of them was not specifically for them, and it's a lot of questions. And why, now, would they switch from uncovering stuff to setting up a scavenger hunt? Plots on plots on plots!

What did you guys think of this week's episodes?

Minority Report



*On their lunch break, it seems, since it's the middle of the day and they all have jobs.
**USA could make it a little grittier and more realistic and really delve into the world, too, I think, with their new focus on awesomely well-done shows. Syfy is in a shakeup, but if they caught it when they settled, they could let it get really into it's scifi roots and awesome. They saved SG1 back in the day; I never understood why they aren't saving these other shows that keep popping up and fizzling out on channels that don't undetstand the needs of speculative fiction shows.
***Who is suspicious because of how into these tattoos he's not supposed to know about.
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