BIindspot s4 ep 1

*SPOILERS*

We start, I hope, as we mean to go on: a thrilling, fantastically-choreographed action sequence, with a keen sense of humour and Rich Dotcom right in the middle of it. (Those last two things being very obviously connected to each other.) It’s wildly exciting and completely mad (in a thoroughly awesome way), and there’s no way the rest of the episode can live up to it, but that doesn’t stop everyone from giving it a good go.

Patdotcom are not even close to being romantic (sadly) but they’re a delightful double act, nonetheless. Kurt is a giant wounded puppy, nuzzling at Jane and making big sad eyes at her, increasingly bewildered as to why neither of those tactics seem to work any more. Jane herself isn’t Jane at all, nor is she Jane alone, since she and we are saddled with Imaginary Dead Roman, a character less annoying in death than he was in life, but who, nonetheless, has delighted us more than enough. (FFS, writers. Let. Him. Go.) By contrast, guest star Nyambi Nyambi doesn’t get to delight us for very long at all; no sooner has Jane managed to track him down, than she pretty much gets him killed, but he does get the line of the night in first with “What happened? You get hit in the head with a second coconut?” Hee. The insipid Blake doesn’t get to hang around either – bye, Blake! Please don’t appear in anybody’s flashbacks or hallucinations! – so Tasha’s new boss/mark is Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, who will always remind me of Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves, and is therefore entirely welcome. New boss Weitz, I’m not so keen on, mind you, but Rich seems to enjoy him, so we’ll see. As for the plot, well, let’s be honest, it’s absolutely crazy, it doesn’t make a lot of sense and it doesn’t matter in the slightest. All that does matter is that this was really, really good fun. Let’s hope they can keep it up.

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Berlin Station s1 ep 4

*SPOILERS*

If there’s a tv trope almost as ubiquitous as the Secret Pain these days, it’s the flashback explaining the Secret Pain. This week, Berlin Station joins the host of shows trotting it out, filling us in on Daniel Miller’s Secret Professional Pain, in addition to the Secret Personal one we already knew about. Is this necessary? We already know he and Hector are old friends with history. I would have said that was all we needed, but instead we now have the standard side dishes of the terrible mistake, the not-that-clever cover-up, the guilt eating away at us, and the very good chance we’re going to mess up again as a result. Sigh. Richard Armitage is more than capable of selling it, but if the next spy/ secret agent-type drama I watch could sidestep this particular cluster of cliches, I’d be much obliged.

I’d be even more obliged if every one of these shows didn’t insist on painting Muslims as either terrorists (side-eyes Bodyguard) or accidental bomb /bullet fodder in the hunt for terrorists, but that appears to be too much to hope for these days. Unless you’re watching Blindspot, that is: it’s acquired a pleasingly diverse range of wrong’uns, but Bindspot’s a topic for another day and another post.

Anyway, no doubt the makers of Belin Station would say there are plenty of non-Muslim villains in their story, and there are. Michelle Forbes may be uncovering an ISIL mail-order bride business, but Richard Armitage’s eyes are on the Shaw and Creepy Cheekbones prize, even if he has to see a lot more of Joker’s boss than he would like in the process. The “Magic Date” sequence is wildly uncomfortable and has me fretting about consent and violation and all sorts of things I think the show wants me to ignore in favour of the easy smirk, but the other aspects of that story are better: the rooftop / server room op, Daniel letting Joker go in the hope she’ll come back, and Daniel realising that there’s something suspicious about Hector being the particular highlights. Hector hitting on Daniel’s cousin, though – no, thanks.

Back at the office, meanwhile, Dr Dubenko may genuinely be trying to get Frost promoted, or he may not. Either way, they end up at a conference on Iranian/ German relations, and Frost gets into some sort of love/ revenge quadrangle business with his wife, his mistress and his arch-rival. It’s not my favourite storyline and I’m not that keen on Dr Dubenko potentially turning traitor either, but it gives Richard Jenkins plenty to do and Caroline Goodall’s Kelly shows us there’s a canny head under that perfect coiffure, so we’re good. This episode, however, while well-made and exquisitely-acted, was a bit more like homework than entertainment. If it weren’t for Herr Armitage, I’m not sure I’d be back.

The Good Doctor s2 ep 4

The two Cases of the Week are about… weight? Body image? I don’t want to go too much further than that. Louisa, a woman with anorexia, needs heart surgery but is too fragile, and resists attempts to increase her weight. Melendez nonetheless wants to go ahead with surgery. Claire, instead, suggests an experimental brain treatment which has had some success in treating anorexia; and when Melendez disagrees she takes her case to the hospital’s review board anyway.

Meantime Wade, in hospital with a sore knee, has fizzy urine and requires cystoscopy to find out the cause. Cystoscopy, he asks? “It’s like a knee scope. Except the camera goes up your penis”, replies Shaun brightly. The diagnosis means that Wade needs to have his gastric bypass reversed, which is news that Wade wants to hide from his somewhat fussy husband Spencer (the always-welcome Dan Bucatinsky); Spencer, you see, doesn’t know that Wade used to be obese.

As it happens, although both cases will lead to the patients being successfully treated, there are consequences. Louisa was told in advance that the brain procedure might affect her ability to feel maternal love for her son, and it seems to have dome just that. Also, Melendez tells Claire that she’s no longer part of his team, because she didn’t accept his decision as final. Harsh. And Spencer privately concedes to Alex that he doesn’t know if he’d be able to accept Wade were he to put on weight again.

It’s sobering and thought-provoking, but entertaining, and I enjoyed it so much that I might have cut the personal stuff a bit of slack: Lea makes it clear to Shaun that she has no romantic feelings for him, but they agree to share an apartment anyway; and Glassman is being stubborn about getting out of bed until visited by Debbie, who persuades him that he needs to start walking again. This show is on top form just now.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend s4 ep 4

Rebecca’s half-brother Tucker turns up at her new pretzel stand, claiming – very obviously falsely – that his mother knows he’s there. He charms Rebecca by seeming to have all of the behavioural quirks which she had as a child; actually, it’s astonishingly creepy, but Rebecca is so desperate to establish a relationship with him that she doesn’t pick up on that. As it happens, Tucker has found Rebecca’s childhood diary and is using that as a sort of guide to how to impersonate her; and his main reason for being in West Covina is so that he can go with Rebecca to Los Angeles and just-by-coincidence come across an audition for Peter Pan. It’s not clear to me why he couldn’t just have said that to Rebecca, rather than contriving this elaborate deception, but I may be missing something.

Rebecca is entirely forgiving of him when she finds out what’s been going on. Less so of Nathaniel, who is undoubtedly in love with her, but who makes the apparently relationship-ending error of spending some money to try and make her happy. There’s a fair amount of dishonesty involved here as well, mind you, and he’s an adult, but still. And Paula bonds with her sons at an escape room, in the least consequential part of an episode which succeeded in doing little more than annoying me. But the rapey 90s ad for ‘Take Me’ cologne was good, as was Tucker’s song “I Want To Be A Child Star”.

Public Service Announcement 43 of 2018: Blindspot

The fourth and possibly final – who knows, at this point – season of Blindspot hits UK screens tomorrow (Monday) night at 10pm on Sky Witness, with a number of potentially encouraging signs. For one thing, REDACTED is dead. Woo! Unfortunately, though, it looks like that alone doesn’t mean we’ll be rid of him and his whining – I’m guessing he’ll crop up in plenty of flashbacks, nonetheless. Boo! Let’s try another, then: OTHER REDACTED has switched back to evil! Well. As we said at the end of last season, the show really needs a shake-up and this is certainly that. But I really don’t like stories where people “secretly” act like pantomime villains for the audience while the good guys act oblivious, so l hope OTHER REDACTED switches back to good in two or three eps, rather than twenty-three of them. Third time’s the charm, then: Rich Dotcom is now a series regular! We adore Ennis Esmer round here, and his partnership with Ashley Johnson’s Patterson – the (remote, maybe, but I ship, therefore I am) possibility of PATDOTCOM! – is the greatest gift the show could possibly give us this year. I’d keep watching and reviewing just for them, but if the Chair of Truth could make another appearance and Weller could hang out with Bill Nye the Science Guy again, that would be more than welcome too.

Berlin Station s1 ep 3

*SPOILERS*

Either the levels of concentration I’ve had to invest in this show so far have paid off and everything’s suddenly clicked into place in my brain, or this week’s episode of Berlin Station was much more straightforward.

Even the previouslies seem to hint at a change: they go on for ages, presumably with a view to making sure no viewer is left behind as we head into this brave new dawn. The opening scene being a dream sequence doesn’t detract from that either – Steven Frost, with an eye on Provence, sitting waiting as the drip drip drip coming down on him and his office became a flood. You don’t need to be Freud to understand that one.

Or indeed to understand the rest of the story. One, Frost and Dr Dubenko have a terrible secret. I barely have five seconds to wonder what it could be before this new clear version of the show (and Dr Dubenko) just tells me: “This is us going to jail for running fake agents and bilking Uncle Sam, for God’s sake.” Righto, thanks Dr D! Two, The Office of Security (Office of Jerks, I’ve written in my notes – they are EXCEPTIONALLY rude) from Langley descend upon Berlin Station, thanks to another leak from Herr Shaw, so Daniel’s patron Jemma Moore is unceremoniously out, the long-suffering Sandra takes the fall for Frost, and he might have a shot at Deputy Director. Okay-doke. Three, Michelle Forbes’s asset throws his lot in with losova, without realising Michelle’s watching him do it – smile, you’re on Candid Camera, dude. Got it! Four, Hector’s cracking up over Faisal, but still several steps ahead of Richard Armitage’s Daniel, who looks awesome when he pulls a snazzy spy move with a steak sandwich and throws away his Jemma-phone, only to spoil it all later by taking no care of his regular phone whatsoever. Dude. And five, in other Daniel-related news, New Asset in Witch’s Hat and German Ally McBeal are both defiantly, and kind of obnoxiously, fighting the Armitage charm (so far); Herr Miller’s cousin is rather too obviously succumbing to it (Girl. “With you, it’s like having a dad around again”? Coming on waaaay too strong there); and Frost wants to step right into Moore’s shoes.

See? Straightforward. Busy, but straightforward. And the final scene suggests that’s by design, as storm clouds gather, thunder rolls, and the rain begins to fall, drip drip drip, onto Frost’s head. Now when did we see that before? It’s not a particularly subtle callback to the first scene, and it’s an even less subtle metaphor for trouble ahead, but after a dense, sometimes opaque couple of opening episodes which asked a lot of the audience, I’m not complaining about this one doing the work for us. I enjoyed it.

The Good Doctor s2 ep 4

It’s a bumper week of parents, children, and Secret Pain at St Bonaventure, and it kind of annoyed me. Patient of the Week #1 is Kitty, an 18-year-old free solo climber, who after her latest free solo climbing accident has a few fractured limbs. Two choices are before her: low-risk surgery which will restrict her movement, and high-risk surgery which might – might – allow her to keep climbing. Kitty opts for the latter, of course, which makes her the latest in a very, very long line of characters in medical dramas who want incredibly dangerous surgery in order to keep open the possibility of continuing to participate in a hobby. I mean, it might just be that I’ve never really been that invested in anything, but I’ll take the safe option and stay alive, thanks. At this point absurdity piles on absurdity, when Kitty’s parents have her declared medically incompetent – which she plainly isn’t, she’s just stupid – in order to override her wishes.

Patient #2, Mac, gets the best storyline of the week: he’s a young boy with a learning disability (fragile X syndrome), he’s in hospital having injured himself, and his single mother, Nicole, doesn’t want to admit that she can’t cope with him any more. It’s an incredibly difficult situation, and one in which a couple of doctors have a personal interest: Shaun has a degree of insight, of course, and a flashback or two to a foster mother of his own; Melendez’s sister lives in an assisted care facility. Eventually she makes the only choice she can, but it’s harrowing.

Meantime Glassman is still having hallucinatory visions of his dead daughter, Maddie, who seems pretty insufferable if I’m being honest. But we do, at least, discover the source of Glassman’s SP: he locked her out of the house when she was high, and she died. And Shaun is trying to work out how to apologise to Lea, who is still pissed at his behaviour towards her. Eventually they make up, but Shaun has a surprise: he’s rented an apartment for the two of them to live in. Well.