Lethal Weapon s2 ep 22

It’s the season finale and also, perhaps, the finale for Lethal Weapon as we’ve come to know it. Murtaugh is being promoted permanently to Captain, and keen to remind everyone of that. Trish is just pleased that he’s getting out of the front line. However, he’s immediately in danger when Riggs’s trailer is riddled with gunfire while he’s visiting. 

The understandable working assumption, for what looks like being Riggs and Murtaugh’s last case as partners, is that someone wants Riggs dead. A little brainstorming reveals that the list of people who might be pissed at Riggs isn’t a short one, and the LAPD’s belief is reinforced when the investigation leads them to Grant Davenport (Martin Donovan), a baddie from earlier in the season, whose security is now being provided by Nathan, Riggs’s father.

In fact, though, Murtaugh is the target; it’s connected to Trish’s legal firm, where someone has been laundering money for Nathan’s gang of white supremacists. The stakes get high when Nathan kidnaps Trish and, in response, Riggs abducts Garrett, his half-brother, for the purposes of an exchange. 

Unsurprisingly, it all gets very violent. I’m not even sure whether Nathan ends up alive or dead. In general, though, one suspects that the plot for this episode was sketched out in the knowledge that Clayne Crawford might not be returning for a third season, because the writers gave themselves at least two options for a Riggs-free future: he and Molly are planning to move back to Texas; and he’s shot and, apparently, seriously wounded by his half-brother Garrett. 

Of course, we now know for sure that Crawford has been cut loose, and that the resulting need for a freewheeling maverick in the show will be addressed by the casting of Seann William Scott. A review of Scott’s recent filmography suggests that his was a career which was going nowhere, so being cast as the lead in an established network drama is a remarkable opportunity for him, even if for many of us it seems improbable that the loss of Crawford’s volatile mix of swagger, vulnerability and charm will be adequately compensated for by the appearance of Stifler out of American Pie. (Once again, I should make clear that I have no view on whether Crawford should have been sacked; I’m interested in what happens onscreen as a result.) I may be doing Scott a disservice, in which case I’ll be back with season 3 reviews. But if my fears turn out to be justified, it’s worth recording that the first two seasons of Lethal Weapon stand proud as an example of what you can do with a network procedural when you do it right.

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Private Eyes s2 ep 14

“Leroy’s missing!” “Leroy….your colleague?……Boyfriend?” “No! Leroy’s an octopus!”

Of course he is. But more to the point, he’s an exceptionally rare and special octopus, his possible future wife Sally (an octopus celebrity in her own right) is on her way from Oz to join him, and frantic top marine biologist Dr Sila Mazhari desperately needs Shade and Angie to bring him back safe and save the world! Well, OK, not the world. But the species!

To add some extra-personal stakes to all of this, Sila is Maz’s not-so-little-sister and isn’t currently talking to him/ vice versa, Shade keeps accidentally bidding on Bengal tiger puppies and Jules has taken to keeping the Shade house mouse (ew) in a food container which she should now burn (after setting the mouse free somewhere very far from the house, I’m not a monster) while she frets about Italy and Liam some more. None of this will make any sense if you haven’t watched this episode, so you absolutely should. It’s completely delightful, and it’s full of warmth and love. Much like octopuses and their three hearts, as Shade might say. Bless.

Nashville s6 ep 10

This week in ‘Dude, Learn To Read A Room’: it’s day 1 of Brad’s stupid reality TV songwriter thing. Daphne plainly doesn’t want Deacon to take her to the studio. Deacon seems, God love him, to be genuinely baffled, and out of elementary tact Daphne doesn’t spell out her reasons: the fight with Brad, the pre-existing animosity, the previous convictions, the custody dispute… DUDE. Learn to READ a ROOM.

Meantime, The Lost Highways endure an excruciatingly awkward rehearsal, at which Alannah and Avery won’t even make eye contact, presumably because if they did they would immediately make lip contact. Gunnar then visits Alannah, uninvited, and is all puppyish enthusiasm, whereas it couldn’t be any clearer that Alannah is very much over Gunnar and onto Avery. DUDE. Learn to… etc. Full-on Fleetwood Mac-style dysfunction then ensues when Alannah and Avery make out; and, during a subsequent gig, Gunnar spanks the drums as if they were Avery’s head, then storms off stage. It’s worth noting, in passing, that Alannah’s dissection of how women, unlike men, always need to worry about the consequences of their actions is impressively written and delivered. I am LOVING THIS.

And Scarlett drags her wounded bird, Sean, to an open mic night at which he performs. He’s very good. Afterwards, he kisses Scarlett, who doesn’t respond. DUDE… etc. She’s all, don’t worry about it, but thus far I can’t detect any romantic interest on her part. I hope it remains that way.

It’s Brad’s week, though, which I’d be worried about except that it isn’t that long until the end of the show, and Nashville isn’t gonna let him walk away as a winner. He pushes Daphne into writing a song about her dead mom for the TV show, which presumably is yet another piece of Deacon-provocation. Jessie decides that the only way of dealing with his legal action is to split up with Deacon. And Alannah, presumably reckoning the future of The Lost Highways in minutes rather than years, turns up in his office to hear what he has to say about signing to his label. Whatever else you say about Brad, he at least can read a room. And this episode was very much better than last week’s.

Poldark s4 ep 4

*SPOILERS*

This week’s episode opens with some charming family funtime as the Enyses and the Nampara Poldarks lark around on a lovely Cornish beach. It’s obvious from poor Dr Dwight’s haunted face that the laughs aren’t going to last very long, though. You know it’s a grim week when a mining disaster qualifies as light relief: a flood means terrible danger for everyone in the mine including our hero and all his pals, but it does also mean some very impressive Poldark heroics, excellent supporting work from Sam and a nigh-on miraculous save from Dr Dwight who is determined to save somebody’s life, since a tragic congenital heart defect means he can’t save his baby daughter’s.

It’s a desperately sad story, played out in a series of heartbreaking scenes where Caroline insists on “taking it in her stride with all the dignity and stoicism of a lady of breeding, Ross tries to comfort the distraught Dwight, and Demelza’s own wounds from the loss of her child are re-opened. The funeral scenes are traumatic and Caroline separating from Dwight because she blames herself for their loss and can’t bear to be reminded of it is incredibly sad, even if he and Demelza can try and console each other while their spouses head for the big smoke.

As far as the rest of the episode goes, it’s more of the usual – precious little cheer to be found anywhere. Geoffrey Charles, bless him, is a change and a ray of light, but he can’t make up for yet more of the odious George who continues to plot and scheme and consolidate power. I’m sick of him and the enthusiastically complicit Elizabeth, who seems to have lost all finer feeling and will now happily let Cornwall burn as long as her weasel husband keeps her in frocks and jewellery. The unspeakable Osborne continues to torture poor Morwenna, meanwhile, and this week – oh God – tries to get her committed to an institution because she won’t have sex with him. Despite his own troubles, Dr Dwight is magnificent at giving this short shrift – only just stopping short of pointing out that a person not having sex with Osborne is a sign not of madness but of one hundred percent sanity – and even Dr Choake is pretty decent about the whole business. Morwenna’s still in real peril from her appalling spouse and his brutal mother though; I really hope Rowella’s husband sorts him sooner rather than later, or the rest of the season is going to be a difficult watch. If Drake could just wait a little bit longer…. I have a horrible feeling, given the Carne brothers romantic haplessness, that Osborne will not be killed till after Drake marries Rosina so everybody will still be almost as miserable than they are now. (But, on the upside, at least Osborne will be dead.)

Lethal Weapon s2 ep 21

Avery is away exploring a run for office, so Murtaugh is promoted to acting captain, with full access to the executive floor – which has a breakfast bar! – and the authority to order things like an LAPD Ferrari. (Which, it should be said, is deeply cool.) But he also has a high-profile case to worry about, when Lisa Conlon, the wife of a wealthy Big Pharma guy, is kidnapped. At first it looks as if it’s been motivated by money, but it isn’t.

Riggs, meantime, has managed to get his father moved to a prison closer to home. Which turns out to be handy when there’s evidence to suggest that the kidnappers are members of a white supremacist gang to which Riggs senior has ties, and there’s a deal on the table: if Riggs’s father helps to secure the hostage’s return, he’ll be released. Riggs’s ambivalence about this is clear, but he nonetheless visits his father and obtains information which moves the investigation forward. Leo Getz wanders in and out of the plot as well.

It’s not the best of the season, but it’s good enough: the emotional heft is amplified by Riggs’s discovery that he has a REDACTED; and there’s a delightfully nasty twist in the final scene.

Public Service Announcement 24 of 2018: This Is Us, Good Girls, Shades of Blue

Some heavyweight shows heading to our screens over the next couple of days. Top of the list is family drama This Is Us, a proper, old-fashioned, equal-opportunity tear-jerker for both men and women, with huge American audiences, critical credibility, and the Emmy-winning Sterling K. Brown producing yet another powerhouse performance. To paraphrase Brian Clough, he might not be the best actor on TV at the moment, but he’s definitely in the top one. Maybe the top two, with Elisabeth Moss as his competition.

Anyway, our CJ reviewed the first season until she could take no more of the weekly tragedy overload. (I’m more of a cold fish.) So we’ll definitely be watching, but reviews might be beyond us, at least to start with. Significantly, in the UK it’s been moved from Channel 4’s main outlet to a more niche channel, suggesting that once again a big American show hasn’t managed to make much of an impact on audiences here. Which, folks, is precisely why these shows don’t get put on at prime time on BBC1 or ITV. Just be grateful we can get them at all (Wednesday 4 July, 9pm, More4).

I’m also very interested in Good Girls, NBC’s dramedy about three suburban Detroit moms who decide to rob a supermarket. With a cast to die for – Christina Hendricks, Retta, and Mae Whitman, all wonderful in previous roles – it’s a bit of a shame that American ratings and critics were lukewarm. However, it’s been reviewed for a second season, and there are only ten episodes in this first run, which makes it a very tempting proposition (Netflix, from today).

And it’s your last chance to see Jennifer Lopez in the third and final season of Detective J-Lo, or Shades of Blue as the spoilsports at NBC insisted on calling it. Unpopcult watched to the end of the first season, which was both better and more ambitious than I’d been expecting, but for various reasons – choice on my part, technofail on CJ’s – we didn’t hang around for season 2, which makes it highly unlikely we’ll have much more to say at all. On the evidence of what I saw, though, Lopez deserves another vehicle; she’s both a star and a talent (tonight, 9pm, Sky Living).

The Bridge (Bron/Broen) s4 ep 8

It becomes clear fairly quickly that this final episode isn’t going to pull the wool over our eyes too much. Ida and Julie leave a message for Henrik identifying Susanne as the killer, and offering to wait for him at “the octopus”, which turns out to be a completely demented piece of Copenhagen street art. But the message doesn’t reach Henrik in time; and Susanne, who knows that she’s been rumbled, goes full-on dead-eyed psycho, catching up with the girls outside Henrik’s house, Tasering one, then throwing the two of them into her car boot.

But Saga is close behind. Susanne shoots her twice, but both bullets thud into her protective vest – probably as well neither hit her head, I suppose – and once Saga has recovered she takes Susanne down and rescues the girls. Susanne then confesses: she was Tommy’s sidepiece and was intent on taking revenge for way in which he was, as she saw it, effectively executed by all concerned with the decision to cut him loose.

Job done, then. Thing is, there are still 40 minutes or so to go, and seasoned TV watchers know that this means we need to wait for the other shoe to drop. Before then, though, there’s a welcome drop in pace, as a few character-related loose ends are tied up: Henrik and Astrid slowly start to bond (with Astrid, rather touchingly, calling Henrik her father in Danish rather than Swedish, suggesting that she’s starting to revert to seeing him rather than Frank as a paternal figure); Jonas… kind of escaping criticism for the leaks and the homophobia? Well, he was in charge when the case was solved, I suppose; Saga finding proof that her mother did indeed have Munchausen syndrome by proxy.

And, fittingly, it’s Saga who wraps the whole thing up. She visits her prison assailant Elsa, and finds out that the attempt to murder her had been directed by Susanne, who was working with at least one accomplice. Meantime, Henrik is being visited by his NA buddy, Kevin, who turns out to be not so wheelchair-bound after all: as Tommy’s son, he too has reasons to be looking for revenge. He ties up both Henrik and poor Astrid – hell of a week for her – and tells Henrik that he’s going to kill Astrid while Henrik watches. It’s actually a fairly gruelling scene, in part because we know that, at this stage in the game, the writers could very easily start killing people off. But Saga saves the day: Kevin is shot and killed, and Henrik and Astrid both spared.

I have no reason to doubt all concerned when they say that they’re done with The Bridge, but – somewhat to my relief – the ending wasn’t quite as unequivocal as we were promised. (If they really, really wanted to bring it back…) There are three moments of titanic symbolism: Saga kisses Henrik on the lips; she throws her police ID off the Øresund Bridge; she then drives off, and answers a phone call as “Saga Noren” without the usual “Malmo CID”.  After wondering how she could identify as anything other than a police officer she has become someone else; someone different. For now, anyway; who’s to say what she will want in the future? Which is where we, in all probability, leave her: it’s as satisfactory, and as hopeful, an ending as we could really hope for. What a show this has been.