RAY DONOVAN Recap: “Snowflake”

by     Posted 15 days ago

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Though Ray Donovan‘s “Snowflake” was largely focused on the fallout from “Sunny’s” brutal murders, it was also still about the show’s central theme of how Ray, and what he does, affects his family.  As Detective Halloran tells him (after Ray threatens him to stay away from his kids): “you’re the one who turned your daughter into a liar.”  By the end of “Snowflake,” Ray’s cracks about decisions like those were starting to show.  Is he really ready to confront things?  Hit the jump for Shorty’s 9/11 Truther theories.

THE KNICK: “Where’s The Dignity?”

by     Posted 17 days ago

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At some point I’m going to stop pointing out that what makes The Knick such an engrossing watch is Steven Soderbergh‘s direction, but we’re not at that point yet.  Consider everything that Soderbergh’s unique filmic sensibilities do to make The Knick different from other period or medical dramas, and you’ll see that without that visual distinction, The Knick would still be good, but it might not be special.  The cast and the narrative are all great, but what brings it all together — what makes it shine, and really stand apart — is the direction.  Hit the jump for why “If he dies because of your horseshit, I will stab you in the throat with my father’s Union Army sword.”

THE STRAIN Recap: “Creatures of the Night”

by     Posted 22 days ago

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Something is going on with current TV shows where (this week in particular) a capsule, single-focus episode sneaks in around mid-season.  It’s a good thing.  It’s also a great way for character development, instead of having the plot jump all over town, whipping from story to story.  The device also makes the show feel more novelistic, and acts as a great stand-alone (one of those episodes, too, that you can point to to get new viewers interested).  “Creatures of the Night” was all of that, and it continued The Strain‘s track record of improving every single week.  Hit the jump to put it to a vote: “who wants to stay and die?”

MASTERS OF SEX Recap: “Mirror, Mirror”

by     Posted 22 days ago

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The hope for Masters of Sex was that it would have a second season renaissance that would collate the best parts of its first season, and leave the rest in the dust.  Masters had a good first season, but none of it came together as beautifully as it did in just its second season premiere.  Since then, only “Fight” has really been exceptional, and instead of taking flight, Masters‘ second season has gotten stalled out in some tedium (like the fact that an episode that spanned three years only covered, essentially, one conversation, then ended up back where things started).  “Mirror, Mirror” had some great moments (mostly thanks to Flo), but still felt like more of the same.  Hit the jump if you’ve been a very naughty orthopedist.

RAY DONOVAN Recap: “Sunny”

by     Posted 22 days ago

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The best laid plans of Ray and kin often go astray.  The overarching irony of Ray Donovan is that for a fixer, Ray isn’t very good when it comes to his own family.  The truth about him laundering money through the gym to help support Terry (as well as clean Ray’s money) ends up alienating Terry completely.  The house in Trusdale meant nothing to Abby without Ray’s emotional support behind it, and she finally challenges his years of cheating on her.  Ray was willing to allow Cookie Brown to take hold of Marvin’s life, so long as he moved him to South Beach to keep him away from Bridget.  But that, too, turned sour quickly.  Hit the jump for Ray’s other misdeeds, and how it all might get put back together again.

THE LEFTOVERS Recap: “The Garveys At Their Best”

by     Posted 28 days ago

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In the penultimate episode of its inaugural season, The Leftovers finally gave viewers a reason to care about the Garveys.  It took nine hours to get here — was it worth it?  Like so much about The Leftovers, the placement of “The Garveys At Their Best” is a question of pacing.  It would have been a harrowing season opener, or another early episode.  Was Damon Lindelof afraid that a flashback episode would feel too much like Lost?  (That the present only matters because of the revelations of the past?)  Or was there a feeling that waiting this long would make the character reveals more interesting?  In any case, it arrived — hit the jump for why “I smoked.  And I don’t want a dog.”

TRUE BLOOD Series Finale Recap: “Thank You”

by     Posted 29 days ago

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True Blood‘s final season was a long goodbye, and its finale was an opportunity to craft its legacy regarding what, exactly, we were ultimately saying goodbye to.  To judge True Blood on “Thank You” is, like I mentioned last week, to parallel the fan experience with the relationship between Sookie and Bill.  True Blood had to end for us to live with ourselves.  As Sookie said, “You’re choosing to die because I have no self respect?”  And we couldn’t be more grateful.  Hit the jump for the end.

THE STRAIN Recap: “For Services Rendered”

by     Posted 29 days ago

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In “For Services Rendered,” The Strain slowed down the monster onslaught (somewhat) in order to reveal some backstories and world-building.  What it really proved, though, was that all of this is about Abraham versus Eichorst, and younguns need to be seated and learn a thing or two.  (Abraham learned about these vampires, and how to kill them, from his Bubbie, heard?  An Armenian-Romanian Bubbie, no less).  The episode also introduced us to a brand new friend (or possibly foe …).  Hit the jump, if your sword-cane is ready.

MASTERS OF SEX Recap: “Asterion”

by     Posted 29 days ago

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In my recap of “Blackbird,” I mentioned that despite an emotionally compelling episode (in part), Masters of Sex seemed to really just be treading water.  That fact was also a disappointment primarily because of the Buell Green storyline, which flatlined before it had an opportunity to really be anything interesting.  “Asterion” had two major time jumps, but ultimately, they showed that the more things change, the more things stay the same.  Hit the jump for why “some things cannot be undone.”

RAY DONOVAN Recap: “Walk This Way”

by     Posted 29 days ago

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The Donovan clan, who have been living very separate lives this season, were all forced under one roof in “Walk This Way.”  The results were, predictably, a disaster.  But, “Conor wanted the family; Conor got the family.”  In many ways, “Walk This Way” was a perfect capsule episode of Ray Donovan that focused on the Donovans being as messed up as they could possibly be.  As far as what it means for their futures, though, things are not as clear.  Hit the jump for the difference between acne and a priest.

THE KNICK Recap: “The Busy Flea”

by     Posted 31 days ago

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In “The Busy Flea,” The Knick continued its hypnotic look at the early days of surgical practice, weaving together personal stories with history.  One of the show’s biggest achievements (aside from its gorgeous and distinctive look — more on that later), has been the story of Algernon, and his desire to do things on his own terms.  But like most things at the Knick, that is easier said than done.  Hit the jump, because “you promised me a dead man!”

THE STRAIN Recap: “Occultation”

by     Posted 36 days ago

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It has been as much of a surprise to me as anybody that The Strain has gotten consistently better week by week.  Now the show’s story is at a point where the monsters can speak for themselves (or at least, their forked python-esque tongues can), because we certainly don’t need much of that dialogue spoken by anyone else (save for Abraham).  “Occultation” showed that everyone is starting to have a vampire problem, and watching that spread is good, terrifying fun.  Hit the jump for what lies beneath.

MASTERS OF SEX Recap: “Blackbird”

by     Posted 36 days ago

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Things have been moving very fast on Masters of Sex, but there’s very little sense of where they are headed (in the short term).  Halfway through the season, there have already been many truths revealed, and their consequences already made clear.  “Blackbird” was an intimate and emotionally difficult hour that mostly showed everything going wrong.  The positive progress the show has been making in fits and starts has once again stalled out.  “It feels like dying.  Let’s see if you have the strength to be reborn.”  Hit the jump to find out.

RAY DONOVAN Recap: “Viagra”

by     Posted 36 days ago

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Ray Donovan is rarely cryptic with its episode titles, and “Viagra” was no exception.  It was an hour devoted to sex, and about the complications of sex, for everyone.  As Ray and Abby continue to struggle through their relationship, Terry and Bunchy take drastic steps to move forward with their respective ladies.  Sex is used in a number of ways to help Ray try and ensnare Cochran, and even Mickey and his friend get a moment with a prostitute (sort of).  Hit the jump for why Ray is determined to send someone to the Maldives.

TRUE BLOOD Recap: “Love Is To Die”

by     Posted 36 days ago

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Bill and Sookie’s story in this final season of True Blood has, in many ways, mirrored that of the show and its fans.  It started out sweet and fun, and a little sexy, but then became a mess of Billith proportions.  “I have almost killed her and almost raped her … yet she still keeps running back for more,” Bill confides in Eric about the reasons behind his big decision.  Doesn’t that sound familiar, Trubies?  The show has done unspeakable things to its characters and its narrative, but every summer we just keep coming back for more, hoping it will be different.  Well finally, it is.  Hit the jump for why “if your crying ruins my jacket, you’re paying for it.”

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