SCANDAL Recap: “The Key”

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In Scandal‘s “The Key,” Olivia is ready to get her expensive pants dirty, and find out what’s really going on with Jake, who has seemingly disappeared.  Yet at first, despite being Olivia Pope, no one will return her phone calls or take her demands seriously (this is all to their peril).  In her search for Jake and for the truth, she’s also inadvertently drawing together everyone she knows into a complex web that will hopefully save him.  Sooner would be better than later, though, since Fitz is on the warpath.  Hit the jump for why “respectfully, sir, she’s probably drunk and in a food coma from too much fried chicken.”

GRACEPOINT Recap: “Episode Four”

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In its fourth episode, Gracepoint is finally starting to address the cracks that are forming in the community in the wake of Danny Solano’s death.  Though there are still plenty of new clues and twists (and many red herrings), “Episode Four” also brought up the question of how well we can ever really know another person.  The Solanos (and the police) are starting to find out that Danny had his secrets, while Beth becomes distraught to find that everyone else in her family does, too.  Hit the jump for why you should “follow the evidence, inform the family, and don’t get emotionally involved.”

SONS OF ANARCHY Recap: “Greensleeves”

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Sons of Anarchy continued its bloody final ride in “Greensleeves,” creating some excellent tension along the way.  While it seemed like Juice could be the lynchpin regarding the revelation of Gemma’s sins and potential demise, “Greensleeves” made it clear that Gemma has now fully become a Lady MacBeth, or even a Raskolnikov figure (though given Sutter’s Shakespearean partiality, I would presume the former).  What was once considered a righteous act begins devolving into paranoia and madness on her part.  Hit the jump to find out “who puts the ‘oh’ in ho.”

BOARDWALK EMPIRE Recap: “Friendless Child”

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In many ways, Boardwalk Empire‘s penultimate episode, “Friendless Child,” was a capsule of the most essential elements of Nucky’s full story over the course of the series.  The waning hours of Nucky’s gangland battle with Lucky and Meyer mirror the show’s twilight as well.  The gangsters are tired.  Many of them are dead.  There’s a new world order, and all Nucky wants now is to make amends as best he can.  The flashbacks in “Friendless Child” also tied together his relationship with Gillian, and how she may be his only hope for some kind of redemption.  Hit the jump for why “all I have — all I’ve ever had — is Atlantic City.”

THE AFFAIR Recap: “2″

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After a lot of critical fanfare for its pilot (and despite some awful trailers on Showtime), The Affair needed to prove that it had staying power.  Until this week, (and somewhat unusually), only that first episode had been available in advance for review, so the glowing remarks were all based on that powerhouse.  “2″ wasn’t quite as mesmerizing as “1,” (a.k.a. “Pilot,”) but it did fill out some more details of the world Noah and Alison are living in, and how each of them uniquely experiences it.  Hit the jump for “I was never fun. You got more fun, which is the problem.”

HOMELAND Recap: “Iron in the Fire”

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In “Iron in the Fire,” Homeland expanded on the conspiracy surrounding Sandy Bachman’s death, and brought it all back to Homeland‘s central theme of trust.  As Carrie builds her team in Islamabad, she also wrestles with the CIA operatives already in place there; though as she quickly discovers, she needs their help, too. (Although it isn’t, of course, that simple).  Homeland also snuffed out some of its own fire by revealing the identity of the confidential informant, but did so in a way that shows that arc is far from over.  Hit the jump, because “what I need is your help, not your goddamn foot on the break.”

THE KNICK Season One Finale Recap: “Crutchfield”

by     Posted 6 days ago


The Knick‘s excellent first season ended in a way befitting the series as a whole.  There wasn’t much about “Crutchfield” that was narratively shocking, but The Knick‘s story has never been about that — it’s the way the show tells its story that makes it special.  The events in “Crutchfield” made for a natural culmination of the various plots we’ve been following this season, and had the series ended here, in fact, it would have been satisfying in a lot of ways.  But there’s still plenty for The Knick to explore (and as it was renewed for a second season before it even started its first, we will thankfully get that opportunity).  Hit the jump if you believe “nothing breaks a man like a good cock punch.”

SCANDAL Recap: “Like Father, Like Daughter”

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Important question for Scandal watchers: is there anyone who still wants Fitz and Olivia together, besides Fitz?  We know it’s all he has left, as he has failed “as a father, as a husband, and as a man” (in his words — but don’t forget “as a President,” too).  But is Fitz still defensible, or even likable, in any way?  When the two of them were alone together for the first time this season in the Oval Office, and “The Light” started to play, was anyone desperate for a rekindling?  Or instead, were we desperate to get to any other part of “Like Father, Like Daughter”?  Hit the jump if “we can do this later, I’m really wasted.”

GRACEPOINT Recap: “Episode Three”

by     Posted 8 days ago


Though the way Gracepoint is set up to tell its murder mystery (through the course of one season instead of a new crime each week) is a refreshingly different turn for network dramas, there’s something about it that just doesn’t feel like essential viewing.  For one, the town of Gracepoint, for all of its supposed charm, is actually more like how Emmett sees it (which is … not good).  The portrayal of the town doesn’t commit fully to being a sinister place (like say, Twin Peaks), nor is it quirky enough to draw in our interest to it as something unique (like Stars Hollow on Gilmore Girls).  That disappointing lack of development is tempered by Beth (thanks to the excellent Virginia Kull), who keeps Gracepoint compelling, even when the show starts to slip.  Hit the jump if you’re really pretty on the outside, but a wreck on the inside.

SONS OF ANARCHY Recap: “Smoke ‘em If You Got ‘em”

by     Posted 10 days ago


While SAMCRO cleans up one murder scene, then stages another one, and plot threads become more twisted than Tig’s sexual fantasies, the thing that is distinguishing this final season of Sons of Anarchy is the suspense over what exactly is going to happen with Juice and with Gemma.  Though there can be assumptions made about how each of their stories may end, there’s absolutely no sense of timeline, or how the truth will out.  “Smoke ‘em If You Got ‘em” had a continued sense of dread throughout its hour that escalated until its final moments.  It’s also the most interesting and compelling storytelling the show has done in a long time.  Hit the jump if you knew that Kiki offered a mint-flavored blowjob.

BOARDWALK EMPIRE Recap: “Devil You Know”

by     Posted 12 days ago


The past is catching up with everyone on Boardwalk Empire, under dire circumstances.  Of course, these outcomes shouldn’t come as a surprise — this is a show about gangsters.  And as Justified‘s Boyd Crowder once said, that kind of chosen way of life “only ends one way.”  In “Devil You Know,” Nucky had a choice: to lay down and let the sins of his past overtake him, or get up and fight.  Nucky being Nucky, he chose the latter.  Because otherwise, what was it all for?  Hit the jump, even though “it’s all a dream to begin with.  Ain’t nobody ever been free.”

THE AFFAIR Series Premiere Recap: “Pilot”

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Showtime is known for having great ideas for series.  Dexter, Weeds, Nurse Jackie, The Borgias; all of these started off as quirky, creative offerings that helped distinguish Showtime from its premium rivals.  But the network also can have a problem with holding on for too long.  It also can limit its shows to just one dynamic character, surrounded by a lot of boring, static ones (see Dexter and Weeds, on both accounts).  While Ray Donovan still struggles to become a great show (though remains a very watchable one), and Masters of Sex took a regrettable nosedive in its second season, Showtime’s creation of Penny Dreadful and its newest series The Affair (created by Hagai Levi and Sarah Treem) have introduced a new class of series that, if handled properly, could be ones that redefine the network’s programming, and galvanize it again as a place of daring and interesting storytelling.  Hit the jump if you think everyone has one book in them, but almost nobody has two.

HOMELAND Recap: “Shalwar Kameez”

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In “Shalwar Kameez,” Homeland made a decision that I predict will be divisive within the fandom.  There are always going to be messy personal relationships on Homeland — it’s part of what makes the show compelling — but the direction “Shalwar Kameez” started to take some of them is potentially worrisome, because it harkens back to one of the weakest aspects of the series from the past two years.  Hit the jump for why “once a scalp hunter, always a scalp hunter.”

THE KNICK Recap: “The Golden Lotus”

by     Posted 13 days ago

the knick recap golden lotus

In the last few episodes of its first season, The Knick has focused almost exclusively on Dr. Thackery’s cocaine addiction and withdrawal, no thanks to that pesky war in the Philippines. (Don’t they know the junkies are in need?)  “The Golden Lotus” became a game to see who could provide Thack his drugs in a city where no one seems to have any, while Thack’s addiction (and a burgeoning understanding of what addiction looks like and means) is also discussed and revealed in the light of day.  Hit the jump for “you’re the most resourceful, most wonderful, beautiful girl I have ever known” … though maybe that’s just the cocaine talking.

SCANDAL Recap: “Inside the Bubble”

by     Posted 15 days ago


With “Inside the Bubble,” Scandal began laying the groundwork for the season’s biggest arcs, including another round of battles between Rowan and Jake, as well as an attempt to take down Cyrus from the inside (of his throat, apparently).  The love triangle between Olivia, Fitz and Jake won’t really heat up until next week, but meanwhile, there was some filler about Quinn and the remnants of her love triangle.  The most promising thing Scandal has going for it this season, though, are the journeys of two women: Mellie and Abby.  Both are finding their footing, and in a best case scenario, they may even become allies.  Hit the jump if you’re thirsty.

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