The Good Doctor s2 ep 5

Jas, a young violinist, has an infected finger, which she thinks was as a result of a manicure. Or, offers Shaun, “it might be flesh-eating bacteria and we may have to cut off your finger”. Morgan advocates for a more conservative approach to diagnosis and treatment: as a former archer herself, she knows that even removing a small piece of tissues for biopsy purposes will have consequences for Jas’s playing. The problem is that Shaun is right about the diagnosis, and by the time it’s discovered it isn’t just Jas’s finger which is forfeit. Morgan blames herself.

Meantime Riley, a teenage girl with divorced parents, has a severe nosebleed. This is the latest in a long line of minor ailments, which she’s obviously faking to get her parents back together. This time it’s Claire – and I’m roughly a year and a half too late in realising that Antonia Thomas was also Alisha in Misfits – who sticks to her diagnostic guns as Riley’s condition worsens, insisting on risky surgery to explore what looks like a tumour on one of Riley’s lungs. It isn’t quite, but it is nonetheless the cause of Riley’s multiple symptoms. This enables Claire to look good in front of new boss Lim and former boss Melendez.

In personal backstory news, I’m not as taken with the flatsharing fights between Lea and Shaun as the writers clearly want me to be: Lea must have known what living with Shaun would be like, so although it’s entirely understandable when she starts shouting at him because of his behaviour it isn’t quite fair. It does, however, lead to a charming scene between Lea and Glassman – who I think she gets away with addressing as “Glassy”  – in which he tells her that if she can’t tolerate life with Shaun she should leave him now. She stays. Not as good as some of the episodes this season, but perfectly enjoyable.

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Crazy Ex-Girlfriend s4 ep 5

Everything is going well for Rebecca… right up to the point at which Valencia announces that she’s going to New York, and Heather announces that she’s moving out. Not only is Rebecca’s squad breaking up, but everyone else seems to be further on in life than she is. “I see life as a contest”, she confesses to Dr Akopian. “And I am now losing”. I hear you, sister.

But she’s not the only one reluctant to cope with unwelcome changes: Paula has been on good terms with her son Brendan for about five minutes, and he’s successfully applied to the Peace Corps. Darryl and WhiteJosh, meantime, are no longer a couple, but still hanging out together wayyyy too much. Unless you’re the rest of the cast, of course, who are still shipping them hard, as they illustrate in a delightful Oklahoma!-esque song-and-dance number, ‘The Group Mind Has Decided You’re In Love’. Darryl eventually has to throw water over WhiJo to bring him to his senses and get him to put himself out there again. 

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend isn’t the sort of show in which people don’t get to move on, so by the end Rebecca and Paula have both had to accept that as others change it might hurt them. The pain is both real and recognisable – most viewers, I imagine, will have experienced something similar – so the episode hits home. However, my pain will be amplified if this is the last of Gabrielle Ruiz (Valencia) and, particularly, Vella Lovell (Heather), who has been the show’s wry under-the-radar star turn for quite a while now. There’s also a nice running meta-gag about the way in which people consume TV these days, which helps to keep this episode in the comfortably-above-average category.

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.

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.