Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Round Two: The Patient

The Patient; Season 1, Episode 2 “Alan Learns to Meditate” (B)

I was surprised to learn that this show’s episodes are only about twenty minutes long, and even though we got two episodes right off the bat, it still means there’s not a lot of content each week. The focus is also very sharply on just the two protagonists, even though some others are seen and referenced. I’m particularly intrigued by how Alan relates to his religious son Ezra, played by Andrew Leeds from “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist,” and I’d like to see more of that relationship. We also know that he exists in Alan’s present, and that their dynamic is fractured in the wake of Beth’s death. Sam being a food inspector is such an interesting part of his personality, and he doesn’t seem happy that Alan can’t appreciate the cuisine he brings home for him. Alan has been making astute observations about the efforts Sam made to control himself which led to him initiating contact so that he could try to get treatment to curb his urges. While Alan is imagining stabbing his captor, he seems more set on an intellectual victory over him, asking for a pen and paper that Sam could guarantee wouldn’t be usable as a weapon. Shouting out when he heard footsteps will likely be seen as a breach of Sam’s trust - not that Alan is a willing participant in this arrangement - but I’m just curious to see who it is that is aware that Sam is using the basement and maybe doesn’t mind that he has someone trapped down there.

Pilot Review: The Patient

Check out my one-minute take on every new pilot, which is embedded below and you can also watch by subscribing to movieswithabe on YouTube.

What I’m Watching: Industry

Industry: Season 2, Episode 5 “Kitchen Season” (B+)

This was a real family episode, looking at how the relationships the young bankers have with their parents and siblings are very different from how they interact with each other. Robert’s may have been the most jarring, since he showed up demanding a bottle of champagne and then was far more forceful than he tends to be with his colleagues, while also putting on an act to ensure a hot new prospect decided to join Pierpoint. That voicemail from Nicole that he got after ignoring her calls may be a harsh wake-up call, since she expressed that she didn’t miss him but she did expect him to call her back because of their business relationship. Harper was hoping to find her brother and then surprised to do so, and he obviously carries a lot of baggage from the divergent paths their lives have taken. Yasmin was horrified to find out about a relationship her father apparently had and the child that might have come from it, but there’s obviously a lot she doesn’t know about how he operates, even if she suspects it. Gus going with his new boss to a new political place is an exciting opportunity, and it seems to suit him much better than his last job. It was also nice to see Harper and Yasmin getting along great outside of the office and the country, finally able to connect with each other on a natural and comfortable level. Danny, on the other hand, revealed himself to be way too attached and possessive, and Harper didn’t mince words when he accused her of sleeping with someone else, and that shot of her and Eric in the elevator shows where her allegiances lie.

What I’m Watching: Kevin Can F**k Himself

Kevin Can F**k Himself: Season 2, Episode 2 “The Way We Were” (B+)

While there’s much more content outside of the sitcom laugh track setting, this season is doing a very good job of painting Kevin as a much meaner person than he seems, particularly in relation to his treatment of Neil. That his first reaction to Neil’s new haircut was to insult it rather than to notice his scar was just the beginning, and he continuously insulted him and failed to acknowledge any of the effort he put in to get him the specific hat he requested and all other volunteer assistant jobs. He wouldn’t even hear the important information Neil tried to tell him about Allison trying to kill him since he’s never actually listening. Neil and Allison simultaneously saying “leave her alone” when he mocked Patty was a sign that he’s much likelier to come around to Allison’s way of thinking than to get her in her way. Allison was busy hatching her own plans by using her aunt to try to pawn Kevin’s (stolen) card, but she also got to relive a bit of her would-be future when the reporter interviewing Kevin recognized her and asked her why she didn’t get out when she had the chance. I’d be more concerned about Neil’s traumatic flashbacks and about how he isn’t willing to accept Patty’s help, which is understandable given her part in it. Patty is playing with fire by continuing to maintain her romantic relationship with Tammy, something her cop girlfriend can tell she’s not invested in even if she did try to make out with her at a funeral for a hated colleague.

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Round Two: House of the Dragon

House of the Dragon: Season 1, Episode 2 “The Rogue Prince” (B+)

If there was any question about how tethered to the original show this one was supposed to be, the opening credits with the same music confirms that it’s not meant to be taken as something different. There’s still plenty of infighting within the Targaryen family alone, and unions between houses constantly threaten to shift allegiances and lead to tremendous bloodshed. It’s understandable that Viserys would have trouble focusing on what’s important after the devastating loss of his wife and child, and his choice to marry Alicent rather than the other options presented, namely the one put forward by Corlys, is sure to anger just about everyone. I’m intrigued by that development specifically because it puts her into a position of power, and I’m excited to see Olivia Cooke take on that role once the show presumably advances forward a few years. That move has, however, upset Corlys to the point of considering aligning with Daemon, which is significant and threatens to undo the delicate balance of things. Though she’s not respected because she’s a woman, Rhaenyra took a bold step by flying in on her dragon to diffuse things between Otto and Daemon, and she also had a pretty intense confrontation with Rhaenys, who has a different perspective on her established place in society. Criston’s role is becoming more prominent, but I imagine that him being recognized in heated situations means that he’s not long for this world since he’ll soon become the target of those looking to make the reigning Targaryens hurt.

Emmy Catch-Up: Abbott Elementary (Season Finale)

Abbott Elementary: Season 1, Episode 13 “Zoo Balloon” (B+)

This was a fun finale, one that showed everyone coming together to execute a field trip. I like that Ava, bad as she may be at her job, was able to spot forged parent signatures for the field trips and as a result leave them behind with Mr. Johnson, who first had them vacuum and then had them write essays about how their teachers were the real heroes that he promptly threw in the trash. Ava did wear leopard print to the zoo in order to attract hot dads, and I enjoyed the tour that she tried to give instead of letting the kids listen to the actual employees. I’m very glad that Janine finally spoke up to Tariq when he just announced that they were moving to New York City, and his question about whether he could “smash” other people when she said they needed space indicated just how seriously he took their relationship. It’s a shame that Janine is now single and Gregory appears to be involved with Taylor, though I’m not sure that relationship is too serious or that it’s going to last. Barbara got hung up on the retirement of her favorite zoo animal, and I think she felt a real sense of pride when Janine was the one to get up on the bus and yell at the kids to be quiet. This show has been very entertaining and I’m glad I had the chance to catch up, and it’s even better to know that season two is just a couple weeks away. Watching a bunch of episodes all at once has its appeal, but I think I’ll enjoy a weekly dose in season two and beyond.

Season grade: B+
Season MVP: Quinta Brunson as Janine

Emmy Catch-Up: Abbott Elementary

Abbott Elementary: Season 1, Episode 12 “Ava vs. Superintendent” (B+)

I knew that this episode was a big one for Janelle James, who recently took home the Hollywood Critics Association TV Award for her performance as Ava and marks her official Emmy submission. It’s a good choice, since it shows Ava at her most absurd, doing a choreographed routine with her multiple iPad robo-assistants after having Janine sign an NDA. It was hardly surprising to think that she would be spewing nonsense since she’s all about the flair and not at all about the substance, and that she would have trouble adjusting to the serious training she had to undergo from Janine and a reluctant Gregory to help them retain their funding. Ultimately, she did do an okay job presenting all by herself and then improvising and demanding more time when she was able to underline her unique approach to better the school and the hard work of her teachers. It was sad to find out that the superintendent was never going to approve funds because he’s still sour about being blackmailed, and that was the perfect time for Barbara to find out that she had in fact gotten her grant after so many years thanks to her own power move that Melissa was so proud of her for pulling off. It was good that Gregory didn’t go behind Ava’s back but instead opted to become a full-time teacher, ready to wield concepts unfamiliar to her like HR to ensure that he isn’t subject to continued sexual harassment. We still haven’t seen Janine understand Gregory’s feelings for her yet, but telling her that it was much easier to say yes when she’s the one asking should have been a pretty unsubtle hint.

Emmy Catch-Up: Abbott Elementary

Abbott Elementary: Season 1, Episode 11 “Desking” (B+)

It did seem odd that all the students were being nice to both Janine and Jacob, who are both great teachers but hardly the model of coolness or terrifying like, say, Gregory, Melissa, or Barbara. It was fun to have Jacob’s sneakerhead boyfriend Zach brought in, and I recognized actor Larry Owens from his stint as acolyte Ritchie in the final season of “Search Party.” His ability to stop Jacob’s stories was startling and impressive to the other teachers, until they realized that they were essentially the same and therefore managed to balance each other out when they weren’t overloading everyone else with their intensity and conversationality. Janine, who had earlier bragged about eating all of Zach’s crusts, tried to be a bad cap and failed miserably when she couldn’t even open a juice box, and her attempt to complete the most legendary desking venture ever was also short-lived when she fell right away. But Jacob managed to do it successfully, and that was enough to make desking uncool, one way of handling a problem that otherwise wasn’t going to go away on its own. The notion of Abbott Elementary being number one in the United States when it came to desking reminded me of a moment from a very different show with a similar sense of unexpected pride and allegiance, when Matt Servitto’s FBI agent expressed excitement that New Jersey was going to win the mob war with New York, forgetting for a moment that he wasn’t supposed to support the mob.

Monday, August 29, 2022

Emmy Catch-Up: Abbott Elementary

Abbott Elementary: Season 1, Episode 10 “Open House” (B+)

This show really does do pretty well with its dramatic moments, balancing one disappointing discovery with another uplifting note. Janine was way too present in the drama that ensued between Barbara and her daughter Taylor, who apparently only comes to visit when she’s in town for work, a profession that Barbara doesn’t respect at all. She did try too hard to insert herself into their relationship when she hadn’t been invited, but Taylor’s lack of interest in spending time with her mom ended up being to Janine’s benefit in a way that she didn’t expect. Barbara asking her to dinner was a very sweet moment, especially on the heels of the new and relaxed “Greg” turning down her dinner plans because he was going on a date to the place Janine had suggested with Taylor. Gregory went through his own little crisis when he found out that Ava had blackmailed her way into the job, which makes a lot of sense, but apparently that’s no longer the case. I’m curious to see whether Ava actually puts any effort into trying to keep a job she never wanted in the first place, since her mood changed when she told Janine she was going to miss being annoyed by her. Janine positing that maybe she was getting less annoying was endearing if definitely not the case according to Ava. Melissa was indeed impressed by Jacob hustling her in poker, but Jacob didn’t really win that one now that he’s going to be looking over his shoulder for the rest of his life.

Emmy Catch-Up: Abbott Elementary

Abbott Elementary: Season 1, Episode 9 “Step Class” (B+)

I liked that everyone had a different choice about which day of the week was sexiest, and of course Janine got booed for choosing Mondays since it’s when she got to come to work to see everyone. Teaming up with Ava for step didn’t seem like a smart plan, and she set her expectations high despite repeated warnings from all of her colleagues to prepare for disappointment. She did hijack everything and nearly cut Janine out of the entire process, only to bail during the actual event. Janine followed her outside, ready for the worst, but she ended up seeing a much more sophisticated side of Ava than she or anyone else has before, which was nice. Ending the episode with the two of them doing routines facing each other was great, and it’s good to see Janine at least partially respected for something by her usually terrible supervisor who eagerly admitted that she hated school. The debate over which pizza was best produced the first line on this show which made me burst out laughing for a few minutes straight. Gregory’s response that he liked his pizza crunchy and wet was absolutely absurd and hilarious, and leave it to Jacob to go to the place he didn’t think actually existed all the way in Baltimore to get him what he thought he would like. That Gregory was happy to go for pizza with Janine shows that he’s all for doing anything with her, no matter how much he doesn’t otherwise like it.

Emmy Catch-Up: Abbott Elementary

Abbott Elementary: Season 1, Episode 8 “Work Family” (B+)

We haven’t seen much of Tariq since near the start of this show, despite him coming up multiple times, mostly in conversation between Janine and Gregory. That he’s selfish and has no concept of what Janine wants or needs was obvious from the start, but things got more dramatic when Jacob casually revealed to Janine that he had been dating someone for two years, couching it as them being only work friends rather than what he later revealed to Janine, that he didn’t want to have to share what he really thought of her relationship. That scene where she heard that and then asked him for the truth was a poignant and well-done moment, a rare bit of drama in a show that’s full of smile-inducing developments but not usually something so dramatic. Janine’s efforts to get everyone to open up so that they could be a family were entertaining, and the resistance everyone displayed wasn’t nearly as intense as the cruelty spewed from Ava, who just enjoys punching down on Janine as often as she can. It’s no surprise that this is Tyler James Williams’ official Emmy submission, since we got to see Gregory, who is apparently applying to be a principal at other schools while his father pressures him to come back to the family landscaping business, come out of his shell for the first time. I like the mentee relationship he has with Barbara and how he got into the dancing during Tariq’s performance, an unexpected move that caught Janine’s eye.

Emmy Catch-Up: Abbott Elementary

Abbott Elementary: Season 1, Episode 7 “Art Teacher” (B+)

I wasn’t sure how this was all going to work out for Janine since bringing a friend in to school likely wouldn’t result in good things, and I was pleasantly surprised by how it all ended. Janine making a cake for a retiring volunteer art teacher whose name no one knew was exactly the kind of behavior that she’s famous for, especially since the woman didn’t have any idea what her name was. Everyone making fun of her, including the assessment from Barbara that the fruit she ate wasn’t cool, was not a boost to her self-confidence, and so it made sense that she would want a friend to be working with her who didn’t constantly tease her. But it turned out that Sahar butted heads with Melissa in a major way and wasn’t willing to listen to Janine’s warnings to tread lightly. Melissa was wowed by what she ended up doing but furious when she found out what she had done with the Peter Rabbit books, which was definitely an extreme and unnecessary rejection of traditional literature. I like that Janine was able to get creative and figure out how to get her the new books, and that Melissa was proud of her for standing up to Sahar. Jacob and Barbara bonding over gardening was a fun and unusual thing, though it was so brutal when Devin just dumped all the zucchini he had spent all night preparing (in cold brew) in the trash. Gregory not being able to help himself by stepping in to correct their terrible gardening approach was also pretty hilarious.

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Pilot Review: Partner Track

Check out my one-minute take on every new pilot, which is embedded below and you can also watch by subscribing to movieswithabe on YouTube.

Pilot Review: Everything I Know About Love

Check out my one-minute take on every new pilot, which is embedded below and you can also watch by subscribing to movieswithabe on YouTube.

Emmy Catch-Up: Abbott Elementary

Abbott Elementary: Season 1, Episode 6 “Gifted Program” (B+)

Here’s another idea of Janine’s that might have been good at the start but slowly spiraled out of control, even though she did have more support than in the past from her colleagues. Jacob in particular was excited to be able to be the teacher for the gifted program, though Gregory, who isn’t typically involved in anything, rightly pointed out that it would make the other students who weren’t part of the program feel like they were stupid or worthless, something he had experienced as a kid. Melissa also managed to have her fun by getting Janine eggs that she had unfortunately not specified shouldn’t hatch snakes. She was much more preoccupied with being encouraged to date the vending machine guy by Barbara, whose healthy marriage apparently only got to that place after an uncertain start many years earlier. The restaurants he was offering to take her to didn’t exude fanciness, but maybe that’s not what she needs. I did enjoy the new student Malcolm correcting Ava’s word usage and her declaring that he was much too smart as a result of the gifted program that shouldn’t continue as a result. Mr. Johnson also found a good way to put him to work, showing that he was just as skilled at cleaning as he was with test-related knowledge. Though they haven’t yet taken their friendship to a level outside of work, Gregory did get caught smiling by the camera after Janine was making fun of him on their way out, something that he wouldn’t like to admit but which is indicative of growing romantic feelings that have to come out soon.

Emmy Catch-Up: Abbott Elementary

Abbott Elementary: Season 1, Episode 5 “Student Transfer” (B)

In the previous episode, we got to see Melissa teaching Jacob a lesson when he said something she didn’t appreciate, and she was more than ready to do that with Janine when she got too hung up on a bad review of her as a teacher. Courtney turned out to be the ultimate nightmare of a student, very much aware of what would most irk Janine and how to use it to her advantage to drive her absolutely crazy in class. Using permanent marker to write a curse word on the dry-erase board and introducing herself as Janine to the class and mimicking her were particularly egregious, and of course there was information in her file about her skipping a grade that Ava should have read but didn’t. Janine was so elated that Barbara had bet on her to succeed that it almost made the whole ordeal worth it, not that she’d like to recreate it anytime soon even if it has taught her something about not gloating the way she tends to when she thinks she has the upper hand. Having Jacob confront the fact that the students all made fun of him was a productive subplot, one that Gregory approached with a typical distance and coolness that made Jacob’s friend crush on him only grow. Seeing him give a thumbs-up to someone else, however, made him angry and resentful, and that’s a dynamic that Gregory is only going to continue to ignore and resent, which won’t be too helpful.

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Emmy Catch-Up: Abbott Elementary

Abbott Elementary: Season 1, Episode 4 “New Tech” (B)

I enjoyed just how much Janine was looking forward to being able to help Barbara for once with the new technology that she knew it would be difficult for her. Her overenthusiasm, however, didn’t work out in her favor, as Barbara hid her inability to understand it and ended up over her head when her accidentally-submitted scores proved to be totally sensational. I did laugh a few times when Will guessed what word rhymed with his name as “Hilliam,” and Ava giving him a copy of Michelle Obama’s book rather than the much more basic text he had already memorized resulted in that unfortunate confession in front of everyone that he result weren’t real. Janine seemed legitimately disappointed in her mentor, but they got to a good place about the technology right before Ava showed up to tell them that it was actually being used in prisons and should be stopped immediately. Melissa teaching Jacob a lesson about appreciating his community was uncomfortable but entertaining, and it’s good to see the supporting characters getting their own separate storylines. Janine and Gregory planning to meet together after school could have been a good idea if not for Janine remembering that Tariq was coming to pick her up. Suggesting that Gregory come with them to shop for a bed was among the worst ideas she could have suggested, though Gregory’s comeback that he was being picked up by a “carful of women” wasn’t exactly a terrific or productively thought-out response to that unfortunate scenario.

Emmy Catch-Up: Abbott Elementary

Abbott Elementary: Season 1, Episode 3 “Wishlist” (B+)

It’s fun to explore the interpersonal dynamics among the teachers at the school, and how, though Barbara is seen as a mentor by most of them, she’s still going to act a certain way and choose to suffer rather than lower herself to some standard that feels beneath her. The wish list was the perfect opportunity for Janine to get typically too excited and go to Ava for help, something that ended up working well when she created her a legitimately strong viral video. Never one to stop at the right point, she then had to try to help both Gregory and Barbara spruce up their classrooms as well, and having Ava make a video for Barbara turned out to be an unfortunate mistake. The “oldest teacher at the poorest school” might have been great for publicity, but it absolutely was not the message Barbara wanted to broadcast about herself. It took Gregory some time to figure it out, but replacing blank walls and office posters with the drawings the kids made of him was a brilliant idea, and it was fun to have Ava decipher what he was doing in each of them since he definitely didn’t know. Jacob tried valiantly to turn the trash into something useful, but sometimes trash really just is trash. Mr. Johnson was not amused by the time he took to do it and then, when he did finally throw it out, it came with a lot of water from his last ditch-attempt to find a new function for it. Ava was right to laugh at Janine’s threat to quit, something that she’d never do because she just cares too much.

Emmy Catch-Up: Abbott Elementary

Abbott Elementary: Season 1, Episode 2 “Light Bulb” (B)

I enjoyed this pilot when it premiered last December, and now I’m realizing that part of the reason I didn’t keep watching was because episode two didn’t debut for a full month after that. Now that the show has been warmly greeted by Emmy voters with four acting nominations and a Best Comedy Series bid, I figured it was well past time to catch up. I was a big fan of Quinta Brunson’s work on “Miracle Workers: Oregon Trail,” and it’s great to know that she’s the major player behind the scenes here too. This episode was all about how Janine just wants to get things done and not feel like she has to wait forever for someone else to step in and fix it, and that’s what made Gregory’s quick action to take care of something right away all the more endearing. It’s especially jarring when compared with Tariq, who has absolutely no consideration for any of Janine’s needs, like her desire to eat before ten or her concern with taking care of the budget. I like that Barbara stepped in to help Gregory when he didn’t know how to confront the mother who was consistently bringing her child to school late, but of course then he ended up with two women driving him crazy and him having no idea how to react. Ava certainly has a presence, one that is hardly the ideal way of managing people and is certainly going to lead to frustration for all the teachers at the school.

Pilot Review: Mike

Check out my one-minute take on every new pilot, which is embedded below and you can also watch by subscribing to movieswithabe on YouTube.

Friday, August 26, 2022

What I’m Watching: Trying

Trying: Season 3, Episode 6 “Feelings are the Worst” (B+)

And there we have it, the truth coming out in the worst possible way, with Jason’s decision to invest the money with Scott leading to multiple terrible outcomes. He should have known that, friendly as she seemed, it was a bad idea to confide in Bev about his deepest secrets. They’re on unstable enough footing as it is, and now there are multiple legitimate reasons that they may not be able to be the best parents for Princess and Tyler. Getting an offer accepted on the flat and being told to vacate is very bad news, since now they’re totally out of options. Fixing a broken lamp won’t do much when they need to find somewhere new to live and have to contend with someone else who thinks she may be able to provide better for the children. Nikki did also finally express her frustration with Karen complaining about being pregnant, and it came at a perfect time since she had legitimately shoplifted a bunch of clothes from the store with same security guard she had insulted, and Karen was ready to feign pregnancy problems to get her out of trouble in the most fantastic way possible. Scott got a harsh reality check from his new editor, played by the always terrific Denis O’Hare, as he found out that everyone had interpreted his autobiographical book as a satire of the most ridiculous typical man, but he understands how important being stable for his forthcoming child is and is ready to put his ego aside to sell his product the way they want - as a Christmas toilet book.

What I’m Watching: The Resort

The Resort: Season 1, Episode 7 “La Pubertad Matrimonio” (B)

This show is leaving a lot to be tied up in the final episode of the season, presumably hoping for a renewal so that all this can be explored more. Or maybe they’ll just find Sam and Violet and realize that there is a place where time doesn’t pass the same way, but it’s hard to imagine it all wrapping up in a coherent and satisfying way. On the positive side, I was thrilled to see Nick Offerman return as Murray since I had almost forgotten all about him, and that slew of voicemails from Emma as she wandered through the jungle fortunately also included detailed directions on where to go to find them. Having the helicopter land in the jungle as Emma and Noah both ran towards it was an exciting scene, something that happens all too rarely on this intriguing but slow-paced show. Taking a picture by the helicopter felt like a momentous occasion, one that might help them mark the passage of time if things get crazy. Murray wasn’t happy that Emma was manifesting hope on his behalf, a rare bit of optimism from someone who doesn’t see the same merit in relationships that others, like her husband, do. Noah saying that he would want to travel a year into the future to see how they’re doing suggested that he is invested in making things better, while Emma couldn’t stand the idea of living until the age of 96. It took Sam and Violet a considerable amount of effort to figure out how to have sex in the jungle, so them still being alive isn’t promising, even if Murray did just find something important while he was popping a squat.

What I’m Watching: Resident Alien

Resident Alien: Season 2, Episode 11 “The Weight” (B+)

This episode gave us plenty of significant developments, including some that I hadn’t even thought were in contention. I’m a big fan of Michael Cassidy and would welcome the opportunity to see Ethan again, though I imagine being planted in Albuquerque with a needle in his arm will make him think that his entire imprisonment and being thrown off a cliff with an alien orb will convince him that he’s crazy. I do hope that’s not the case, since it would be fun for him to return to Patience and have to be let in on the secret since he, unlike General Wright, may be able to easily deduce who the real alien is. D’Arcy might start skinning again and Kate’s not pregnant, the latter of which both of them celebrated while Ben was less happy, even if he said he didn’t want any kids before remembering that they do still have Max. He’s a handful, however, ignoring his parents’ insistence that he couldn’t get a drum set and agreeing to help Harry with someone he knew he could fake and getting chore money out of it to buy the drum set himself. Harry was pleased with the arrangement until he caught Max in a lie, and Sahar was the angry one after that because Max had betrayed her trust. But it all led to something much more profound and sweet, which was Harry’s ultimate willingness to open up to Asta and tell her about the alien threat, but in a way that showed his vulnerability and fear, and his dependence, more than anything else, on her as a friend. A good friend is something Liv needs now since Mike and Lena only seem to have eyes for each other.

Pilot Review: Mo

Check out my one-minute take on every new pilot, which is embedded below and you can also watch by subscribing to movieswithabe on YouTube.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

What I’m Watching: What We Do in the Shadows

What We Do in the Shadows: Season 4, Episode 8 “Go Flip Yourself” (B+)

I thought at first that I was watching the wrong show when I turned this on because it was so committed to mimicking the format of housing-based reality shows, not that I’m actually all that familiar with those either. I did realize at a certain point that we had heard about this show before, and Laszlo managed to hesitate long enough to hear Bran out while Nadja took Toby out right away. Coming in to ambush any unsuspecting homeowner seems like a bad idea, but in this case, it was fatal for one of them, who turned out to be the only human involved. What they were promising seemed far too good to be true, and, before he revealed himself, Simon the Devious, played by an always welcome Nick Kroll, did in fact do a decent job of giving one or two rooms a serious upgrade. I like that Nadja got attached to a gold toilet she couldn’t use and Nandor was all about that “home is where the wine is,” provided that sentiment was actually accurate. Designing a soundproof mancave with an impenetrable lock seems like a bad idea for a number of reasons, and maybe Marwa will now be forever trapped in them. The narration of “finally, even grouchy Guillermo was grinning” was entertaining, though he really didn’t have as much sewage as he had hoped removed from his bedroom that doesn’t legally meet the qualifications of a room. Producing 150 episodes of this show just to get that cursed hat back was quite the accomplishment, and I enjoyed the introduction of his many henchmen, including Elvis and Count Rapula.

What I’m Watching: Only Murders in the Building (Season Finale)

Only Murders in the Building: Season 2, Episode 10 “I Know Who Did It” (B+)

This episode provided a perfectly theatrical finale for the case and managed to introduce a new one by zooming forward to a year later for a mystery that can populate the third season, which was ordered more than a month ago. It turns out there wasn’t all that much to Becky Butler’s story other than that she was unhappy with a chauvinistic boss and wanted to fake her own death. Cinda was perhaps too willing to accept that it was a good story and skip a few steps in declaring her murdered, but that wasn’t all of it. It was clever to have the other residents come together for some brief acting training but not fill in the entire plan so that audiences might still be surprised by Charles’ apparent death and Alice being identified as the killer. There was no better moment than Charles popping up from under the sheet and Howard pretending to faint again, and Cinda revealing that she had been in on it the whole time. Doubling as a podcast finale and a TV season finale was fantastic, and the only thing better than all this action is the idea of a newly back-in-the-spotlight Charles having to costar with an insufferable Paul Rudd, who then ended up dead on stage with his angry castmate likely the prime suspect. Ending with Mabel’s angry one-liner and the show’s theme remixed with some yodeling was fun, and I’m excited to see how this show can continue to be just as enjoyable and clever in season three.

Season grade: A-
Season MVP: Martin Short as Oliver

What I’m Watching: Industry

Industry: Season 2, Episode 4 “There Are Some Women…” (B+)

It was jarring to see Eric at home and wandering through his garden to find cigarettes, but even his daughters agree that having him there is just okay. Not being the one to give his employees their lower bonuses stung, but he also got to see that he’s not appreciated nearly as much because there’s no room for even a brief exit from the cutthroat floor in this world (unless you bring in a major client like Jesse Bloom during that stint). Finding out that he was being demoted to a role that wouldn’t allow him to be on the floor was a brutal blow, and now he’s making problematic life decisions that he previously had known were off-limits. With Eric absent, Harper is making sure to watch her back from another predatory mentor, calling Jesse from the bathroom in the middle of the night after she slept with Danny to make sure her territory was appropriately marked. I enjoyed Yasmin and Harper talking together very honestly and how Harper just wasn’t having it, and Yasmin is starting to worry about the stability of where she is both professionally and personally. Harper seems to have punctured Robert’s confidence with Nicole by asserting that her client-trader relationship is a pattern, and pissing her off is a mistake he’s not going to want to make. In his new job, Gus is having to deal with some unhappy constituents, but, in a very different type of move than the one his former job might have encouraged, he took the time to actually listen to the angry, dung-carrying man’s concerns and let him know that they were being addressed.

Emmy Catch-Up: Scenes from a Marriage (Series Finale)

Scenes from a Marriage: Season 1, Episode 5 “In the Middle of the Night, in a Dark House, Somewhere in the World” (B)

Once again, we tese two people coming back together to rehash many of their old problems, albeit in a very different context. Returning to the home they used to own which is now being rented on Airbnb was a jolting move, one that makes you consider whether or not that kind of thing happens in real life, with previous owners coming back to places they used to live and know where secret doors or vulnerabilities might be. The intentions of this once-and-future couple weren’t quite as nefarious, at least not towards the house, though their relationship continues to be toxic since they’re never on the same page about exactly what they want. Jonathan expressed a sentiment to his mother that she didn’t welcome after his father died, one that felt much more like Mira’s sense of relief at no longer having to be with Jonathan since they didn’t have the same expectations about what their partnership should be. Tovah Feldshuh’s Miryam wasn’t at all pleased with that question, yet Jonathan wasn’t startled enough by her negative response to do anything differently. The emphasis on Jewish traditions and interpreting them differently came up once again, with Mira reappropriating the mourning process of shiva as something to acknowledge the death of their marriage. This has been an interesting experiment, but having actors Oscar and Jessica walk back to their dressing rooms at the end of the episode as themselves made it feel a bit too staged. Perhaps a more expansive universe with other characters in it like the first episode might have made it slightly more impactful.

Series grade: B
Series MVPs: Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Emmy Catch-Up: Scenes from a Marriage (Penultimate Episode)

Scenes from a Marriage: Season 1, Episode 4 “The Illiterates” (B+)

I had heard of this episode since it received writing and directing nominations at the Hollywood Critics Association TV Awards, which I was fortunate enough to attend and where Oscar Isaac took home an award for his performance. It started from a place where things seemed like they were okay, and Jonathan was alright with moving somewhere else and preparing for the next stage of their relationship. But, as with any big move like this, there are bound to be last-minute jitters, or, in Mira’s case, the implosion of the reliable elements in her life that force her to reconsider what’s actually important. Jonathan wasn’t happy to discover that since he’s spent so long moving on from Mira and realizing what he needs to take care of himself. Mira, in turn, was very hurt that he was so interested in having another child but hadn’t even considered having one with her. That it was one of the reasons that her relationship with Poli imploded surely didn’t help, but there’s so much baggage that these two carry around and then wield to hurt each other. Jonathan talked about another Jewish concept, the gett, a divorce document that bears a great deal of significance and in some cases involves a long process of withholding from a husband not eager to let his wife go even if he has no interest in being with her. That feels in some way like what Mira is doing here, though she would certainly offer a different perspective about how Jonathan’s neuroses play into the agony of always having to come back to him. I don’t know whether to expect any resolution in the finale or just more underlining of misery.

Emmy Catch-Up: Scenes from a Marriage

Scenes from a Marriage: Season 1, Episode 3 “The Vale of Tears” (B)

This episode started from a very different point, with Jonathan seemingly much more at peace with what was going on, apparently reconnecting with some Jewish traditions that Mira wasn’t too fond of when they were together. They felt much more like good friends catching up, and I think the dynamics of a relationship can help guide a conversation since different people talk to each other in different ways. But this one took a similar path to the one featured in the previous episode when Mira dropped another bombshell, indicating that she had a work opportunity in London and thought it was reasonable, which maybe it was, to ask Jonathan to uproot his life and move there with Ava. The idea that her company would pay for his apartment somehow made it worse for him since he felt extraneous, but there was also the added dimension of her not staying with Poli but still not wanting to get back together with Jonathan. Pushing him to read his morning pages was a way to get close to him, and he quickly stopped himself from jumping into having sex with her since he knew it wasn’t going to be good for him. But playing Poli’s voicemail showed that he knew she might be there to rekindle things, and Ava waking up to ask for Poli to make her pancakes only further demonstrated just how complicated this situation has become. Presumably, it will be a while before we see the next scene and things won’t have gotten any simpler.

Emmy Catch-Up: Scenes from a Marriage

Scenes from a Marriage: Season 1, Episode 2 “Poli” (B)

I remember watching the first episode of this show back when it aired in September as the Toronto International Film Festival was in full swing, and I likely would have kept watching it if I had known that the whole thing was only five episodes long. The show did not earn a very warm Emmy reception, with Oscar Isaac earning the show’s only bid and last year’s Emmy winner Jessica Chastain snubbed. I do think they’re both very good, and this is certainly a formidable showcase given that it’s just the two of them talking to each other for the entire hour. Whereas the first episode, which I of course watched close to a year ago, also featured Nicole Beharie and Corey Stoll, this one was just a two-hander, with Jonathan sitting down to dinner with headphones in not expecting Mira to come home and tell him that she was leaving for three months. It’s interesting to get this window into their relationship from this extended scene, and it does feel like there’s some context missing which is always the case in any conversation. Given this show’s title, I imagine that the next episode, which marks the midpoint of this show, will take place a few months later when the two of them once again reunite, and things will surely be much different from they were on this transformative night. We’ll see how living in Tel Aviv with someone else changes Mira and whether it means she’s still happy in the life she thinks she wants.

What I’m Watching: Kevin Can F**k Himself (Season Premiere)

Kevin Can F**k Himself: Season 2, Episode 1 “Mrs. McRoberts Is Dead” (B+)

I definitely thought it had been longer than a year since this show ended its first season, and this one picked up right in the middle of the drama rather than spending a bit of time in its lighter sitcom side. There’s such a notable difference in how the things Neil says sound, since he’s coming off just as dim-witted but considerably cruel without the laugh track to make his sentiments forgivable. Patty best summarized what she thinks of him, which is that he does pretend to be stupider than he is so that, for instance, she’ll pay his rent for a few decades. Patty seems to think she has the situation under control and will find something to hold over his head so that he doesn’t tell Kevin and get Annie in trouble. He did not have kind words for Annie, suggesting that Kevin doesn’t care when Annie whines, which is hardly a realistic summary of the situation. But she did take note and made sure to curb that behavior so she couldn’t be accused of anything, and she did a spectacular job of bulldozing Pete’s carefully-crafted campaign message to make him look like a brute who couldn’t possibly get the endorsement needed to run. Like in today’s world, however, the less impressive the candidate, the more broad appeal they seem to have, and as she tried to make a new best friend, she saw the horror show that was him becoming popular because of how she had made him portray himself. Faking her own death is an interesting new direction, and I’m very intrigued - and nervous - to see how that plays out.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Pilot Review: House of the Dragon

I had the chance to review the first episode of “House of the Dragon” for - head over there to read my take!

Emmy Episodes: Saturday Night Live

Saturday Night Live: Season 47, Episode 21 “Natasha Lyonne / Japanese Breakfast” (B-)

This episode was not my favorite from the three installments I watched this year, which is the smallest sampling of this show I’ve gone through in many years given the show’s minimal showing in the acting categories. This episode, which features past Emmy nominee Natasha Lyonne as its host - who was not nominated this year for season two of “Russian Doll” - marks the ninth and final nomination for Kate McKinnon, who left the show after this finale. I’m sure she could return to host the series, but I feel like a bit of distance is important. Her best years were certainly when she was playing Hillary Clinton, though it was also fun to see her as Rudy Giuliani and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, among others. She dominated the opening sketch as the alien abductee with a very graphic history of what she endured, and having her leave to get on the ship felt like a symbolic goodbye. But she did return, for a dialogue-free appearance in the high school flashback bit and then in the Gray Adult Pigtails bit that closed out the episode. This is not her best showcase and I think she has plenty of competition in her Emmy category with much more to present this year, but she’ll always be an endearing and committed part of this show’s history. Lyonne was strongest in her inappropriate commentator bit, and I guess there’s something to be said for her ability to stay mostly still while being tickled and puppeted around as if her character was still alive. I’m not sure why, but Colin’s comment about the Pennsylvania governor whose face looks like it was photoshopped onto a hot dog had me laughing much more than I expected.

Emmy Episodes: Saturday Night Live

Saturday Night Live: Season 47, Episode 16 “Jerrod Carmichael / Gunna” (B)

I think I’ve only had two experiences with Jerrod Carmichael. The first was the pilot for “The Carmichael Show,” which I didn’t love, and the second was his directorial debut, “On the Count of Three,” which debuted at Sundance at the start of 2021 and was finally released this past May. That was a terrific film, and so I’m happy in that sense to see him honored as the one and only male SNL host nominated this year, the first solo representative in the Emmy comedy guest actor category for the show in a full decade. In terms of his actual hosting job, there wasn’t anything wrong with it, but I also didn’t find it too extraordinary. It was probably unfortunate for him to have to be burdened with all the comedy about the slap, which dominated the episode. Replaying the scene almost as it happened with Chris Redd felt a bit excessive but had some elements of humor, and I think what I preferred was the Trump “Hitch has arm” nonsense. Talking in his monologue about how he has to be the least famous host in SNL history and addressing his coming out in his special were nice touches that I think give him an endearing factor more than a funny one. He is certainly funny, but this episode didn’t give him all that much opportunity. Kate McKinnon was the best part of the “Is My Brain Okay” sketch, and the dumping-bodies-without-cremating them bit was more random than anything else. Though I know the show targets Trump endlessly, I did find myself surprisingly amused by him spewing contradictory comments like how he doesn’t like the “p” at the end of “coup” before repeatedly admitting everything.

Emmy Episodes: Saturday Night Live

Saturday Night Live: Season 47, Episode 3 “Rami Malek / Young Thug” (B)

I’m used to watching a number of episodes of this long-running variety series every year when it earns numerous supporting and guest Emmy acting nominations. But this year, only three performers are in the running, so it’s a much smaller sampling than I’m used to. This is the submission for Bowen Yang, back for his second consecutive nomination and the only cast member contending in the supporting actor race. He does have some fantastic material, including two sketches where he basically gets to own the entire bit. Playing Daddy Longlegs shows just how much he’s able to take control and earn all of the laughs from an otherwise unspectacular segment. Getting to play George Takei was also fun for him, and in his third scene, he was the straight man in a humorous bed-shopping bit with Aidy Bryant and host Rami Malek. I’d say that the Daddy Longlegs sketch is a clear standout, rivaling his iceberg-that-sunk-the-Titanic from last year, though it’s likely not enough for him to win. I will say that I enjoyed Malek’s hosting job since I think he managed to be funnier than I had expected, and it was also entertaining to see him and Pete Davidson playing each other. Daniel Craig popping by for a few cameo appearances was also a nice treat since it shows that they seem to have a good relationship fostered by their co-starring together in last year’s Bond hit, and Craig’s final outing as the secret agent, “No Time to Die.”

Monday, August 22, 2022

Emmy Catch-Up: Dopesick (Series Finale)

Dopesick: Season 1, Episode 8 “The People vs. Purdue Pharma” (B+)

I think any disappointment I found in this finale, which is Emmy-nominated for both its writing and directing, is that things never culminated in the way they should because that’s not how history went. Getting a few important people to take the fall and the company to pay out a huge settlements were the best wins they could have hoped for, and seeing the protests in 2019 with people declaring “Shame on Sackler” and demanding that the name be taken off buildings and other institutions was powerful. It was also upsetting to see Billy called into a room to be let go and pressured into signing an NDA so that he could get a severance package or forfeit any compensation or legal protection on the spot if he refused to do so. Fortunately, he made the right choice, but that was surely just one instance of a high-pressure technique that worked all too well to intimidate people into submission. Hearing all of the charges that John, Rick, and Randy were ready to file showed the scope of all this and how there were so many issues with what Purdue was doing regularly. This episode is Peter Sarsgaard’s Emmy submission, and while he does do fine work, I think he’s pretty consistent across the whole series and could have chosen any installment. I do think, in addition to supporting actress Kaitlyn Dever, who played Betsy, and lead actor Michael Keaton, who played Samuel, both of whom have been collecting prizes and are likely to win Emmy too, Will Poulter would be my choice from the supporting actor field for his portrayal of Billy. This show is both very well-done and highly informative, and it’s ultimately just a shame that it had to be made given the horrible history it recreates.

Series grade: A-
Series MVP: Kaitlyn Dever as Betsy

What I’m Watching: Dopesick (Penultimate Episode)

Dopesick: Season 1, Episode 7 “Black Box Warning” (B+)

As if the timeline of this show and just how long Purdue was allowed to push dangerously addictive medication wasn’t sickening enough, we got to see how, decades earlier, the Sackler family was making assurances that it was acting honorably and honestly in its practices. The black box warning fiasco is especially horrifying, since Purdue somehow came out ahead with more advantageous language that actually gave them the freedom to be more aggressive, even if they had to pull the 160mg pill off the market (which it’s not entirely clear they did). Bridget was understandably furious to learn that the study she had commissioned wasn’t enough to raise any alarms or change anything. That’s a stark difference from the attitude John expressed when he decided they were going to charge the executives, even when he didn’t get the approval he needed to do so. But something has to change, and hopefully calling enough attention to all this will finally begin the process of exposing the harm that has been done. Billy stealing the training tapes was a helpful first step that indicates he may be part of taking down Purdue after being one of its most successful salesmen. Samuel saw firsthand how difficult the road back to normalcy is as he struggled to get his medical license back while still being on methadone, and it was devastating for him to learn that Betsy died from her mother as he was waiting for her to come so that he could get her the help she so desperately needed.

Emmy Catch-Up: Dopesick

Dopesick: Season 1, Episode 6 “Hammer the Abusers” (B+)

The phrase “hammer the abusers” indicates a clear desire to suppress any sort of evidence that there might be anything wrong with the drug itself, and it’s clear that the truth doesn’t matter at all when it comes at the expense of making a profit. Billy is starting to lose his patience with those who only want to celebrate how little work they’re doing to sell the drug as widely as possible, but it was the FDA approver who was full of immediate rage and ready to go in front of a grand jury right away when he heard that Purdue was distributing a scientific chart that they had explicitly told them they weren’t allowed to use. The Maine U.S. attorney seemed like he might really be gunning for Purdue, but that story had a disappointing ending. As she saw the end of her marriage looming because of her obsession with taking down Purdue, Bridget managed to overcome a handful of obstacles to figure out a way to really get to Purdue, though the timelines of this show suggests that she’s not going to be terribly successful. Emails that automatically delete after they’re read isn’t promising. Samuel’s resistance to rehab was understandable given that oxy addiction is a different beast than alcoholism, and the only positive about him relapsing as soon as he got out is that he was honest with Leah about it. Betsy’s recovery doesn’t appear to be going any better, despite her attempts to accept religion and the support of her parents.

Emmy Catch-Up: Dopesick

Dopesick: Season 1, Episode 5 “The Whistleblower” (B+)

It’s crazy to think how long it took for anyone to do something about the fact that oxy is clearly addictive, but there are so many reasons why those who wanted to didn’t end up doing anything about it. Marianne was fiercely committed to getting someone to take action after her daughter died from oxy, but it still took Rick a full year to get back to her, and she wasn’t even the one who was able to provide actual intel since she never worked for Purdue. Maureen was, however, especially since she sent the email to members of the Sackler family about what she had learned before she got fired, but her stress-related relapse made her testifying impossible. Rick is still doing his best to intimidate Purdue by coming in every morning in the middle of the night to fax them between 4am and 5am so that they think there’s a whole team working on the case, but their support isn’t terrific. Randy was shocked by how many search results got pulled up under “crush and snort,” but getting someone to go on the record was much tougher, even with someone like Paula who was well aware of the situation. Samuel, who was up to a horrifying 400mg per day, finally got caught when his receptionist and nurse called in his pill usage following a botched surgery, and he was even in the middle of trying to procure an oxy prescription from the doctor who had saved the patient’s life. Billy coming to visit seemed like it might finally open his eyes, and hopefully it did when Samuel still just wanted more pills, the most surefire sign of out-of-control addiction. Betsy’s situation is also very sad to watch, particularly as her parents found themselves being asked to pay $3000 for their own belongings that she had stolen to buy oxy.

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Emmy Catch-Up: Dopesick

Dopesick: Season 1, Episode 4 “Pseudo-Addiction” (B+)

For every step of this process where it seems like something should have been properly addressed, there’s an absurd and horrifying development that makes it clear that the exact opposite was done. The concept of “pseudo-addiction” basically just negated the idea that addiction could be a thing, and encouraging doctors to prescribe more medication when people were already using it seems like the most irresponsible thing possible. Paula spoke up and got fired because of it, and Billy didn’t seem too shaken but is likely going to reconsider his position after getting assaulted by a very much addicted and dopesick Samuel when he went to stop by. After confiscating and taking all of his patients’ pills, Samuel now knows how to access the entire twelve-hour supply of the drug, which is only going to keep him more addicted. Betsy saw her ex-girlfriend and her parents team up to confront her about her drug problem, but unfortunately she got targeted by a predatory dealer who has infiltrated what should have been a recovery space. Bridget isn’t making much progress with the FDA despite clearly illustrating that opioids should be only permitted for severe pain, and the biggest breakthrough in all this was the disturbing discovery that a study suggesting opioids are not addictive was actually just a five-sentence letter from the editor to a scientific journal taken out of context. That alone is extremely unsettling, and it’s scary to think in today’s world how a social media excerpt can also be cited as definitive proof of something rather than just one person’s potentially irrelevant opinion.

Emmy Catch-Up: Dopesick

Dopesick: Season 1, Episode 3 “The 5th Vital Sign” (B+)

I understand that characters and elements of this story are invented and fictionalized for dramatic purposes, but there’s no denying the effectiveness of having some of the very people intricately involved with the excessive prescribing of oxycontin being offered the drug themselves. Randy having his own doctor interrogated by Rick after his cancer surgery was a rare example of when someone was actually able to stand up to the overwhelmingly strong push for opioids, and to help pinpoint the stronghold that Purdue has over the industry. While he initially wasn’t able to make his case, Rick had a much easier time convincing the judge when he had connected all the dots of Purdue bolstering itself with testimonials from supposedly independent review boards and groups it had started and funded itself. Bridget is similarly motivated to go after the “cartel” that she sees Purdue as, and she was only egged on more by the despicable interaction she had with Amber, who is unapologetically cruel and who was all about supporting the “whales” whose existence made Billy question what he was doing. As Richard tries to bring oxycontin into the global market, its effects on Betsy are worsening, with her mine mistake costing a huge price. Now, in his rush to get back to support her, Samuel has found himself in need of pain medication too, and though he knows that 20mg is not a good place to start, he’s likely to give in to the individualized dose the doctor at the hospital was very quick to recommend.

Emmy Catch-Up: Dopesick

Dopesick: Season 1, Episode 2 “Breakthrough Pain” (B+)

I only had time to watch one episode of this show way back in October while on the middle of a road trip so that I could speak to a few members of the cast and creator Danny Strong. I’ve heard only excellent things about it since then, and it received a number of Emmy nominations, so it’s good to dive back in. Like other limited series from this past season, including “The Dropout,” “Inventing Anna,” and “WeCrashed,” there are so many red flags where people just accepted information that was either completely fabricated or extremely manipulated. Samuel demonstrated a healthy skepticism about the effects of oxycontin at the start, but unfortunately that didn’t last long, and then he ended up becoming a paid speaker on a panel to recommend the benefits of a drug that it turned out was absolutely very addictive and highly dangerous. It’s interesting to see how Billy appears sincere and even cautious about overmarketing something that hasn’t been proven, but then he revealed to Amber that he made up a story about his dad getting sick, suggesting that he’s less trustworthy than he seems. Rick, Randy, and John are charging ahead with purpose, and the charge of criminal misbranding seems like the best avenue, one that may actually work now that their boss is aware that they’re not going after chicken farmers but pharmaceutical companies. Just as she’s starting to think about a life that could be fulfilling, Betsy is starting to truly suffer from the all-too-expected consequences of taking too much of a drug that doesn’t actually do what it’s been promised to do.

Pilot Review: Echoes

Check out my one-minute take on every new pilot, which is embedded below and you can also watch by subscribing to movieswithabe on YouTube.

Saturday, August 20, 2022

Pilot Review: Bad Sisters

I had the chance to review the first seven episodes of “Bad Sisters” for AwardsWatch - head over there to read my take.

Pilot Review: The Undeclared War

Check out my one-minute take on every new pilot, which is embedded below and you can also watch by subscribing to movieswithabe on YouTube.

Pilot Review: She-Hulk

I had the chance to review the first four episodes of “She-Hulk” for AwardsWatch - head over there to read my take.

Friday, August 19, 2022

What I’m Watching: The Resort

The Resort: Season 1, Episode 6 “Hunch Fo Club Seeth” (B-)

While this episode overall didn’t really retain my interest, I do love an unexpected guest appearance from an actor I really like. Luis Guzmán was an excellent part of a truly unusual and terribly underrated series, “Perpetual Grace, LTD,” that I wish had gotten more attention. Casting him as author Illán Iberra was a terrific choice, and I especially appreciated the moment where he realized who Baltasar was and then proceeded to have a heart attack after stabbing him for all the childhood criticisms he had given to the much more established author. Baltasar has learned plenty from Alex in terms of trying to understand the metaphysical and assign meaning to random happenings, like the idea of allowing yourself to live in memories and then being able to discover important clues. Luna isn’t having any of it anymore, unhappy that Baltasar invoked “emotional debt” as a concept somehow comparable to actual monetary debt, and eager to let Emma and Noah get back to their vacation. Baltasar is spot-on about one thing, however, which is that their vacation is this mystery, or at least that’s true for Emma, who’s still obsessed with finding Pasaje. Noah, on the other hand, is ready to stop playing this game, but he’s also opening up and reckoning with his trauma, something that doesn’t interest Emma because it’s much easier to get sucked up into someone else’s drama. I’ll admit I am curious about Sam and Violet’s fate, though I’m not sure I can count on this show to provide linear answers.

What I’m Watching: Resident Alien

Resident Alien: Season 2, Episode 10 “The Ghost Of Bobby Smallwood” (B+)

We’ve always known that, much as he might fight the impulse, pretending to be human has been making Harry more human all along. Freaking out about death was an expected course, and it was surprisingly endearing to see him stop by and help Gerard die, getting a piece of important advice in the process as his bedside manner didn’t freak out a patient for the first time. It’s fun to see that the baby alien has taken on the form of Bobby Smallwood, which will obviously present some issues given that he’s a very recognizable figure and he ran into his now-elderly sister almost immediately, but who better than Sahar to be able to teach him how to be good? Provided Max doesn’t screw it up, of course. As Ben pivots to letting Jessup take the heat the the murder so that Patience has a shot at getting the resort, his marriage is in much rockier territory. Fortunately, he found a way to be able to connect that was very sweet and acknowledged the difficulty in communicating normally. On the note of that murder investigation, it’s entertaining to see Mike and Lena bond so much, but how sad for Liv that she has to be the third wheel who didn’t even get to eat of the Chinese food. It took Asta very little time to figure out that Harry erased her memory, and while it’s going to be a process to earn back Jay’s trust, at least she now knows what she needs to do and what she needs to be sure to remember.