Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Interview with Abe: Chanshi

While I was at Sundance, it was a pleasure to get to speak with Aleeza Chanowitz, the creator and star of “Chanshi,” for Awards Radar. Watch the conversation in full below!

Sundance Review: Chanshi

While at Sundance, I had the chance to review four episodes of the Israeli show “Chanshi” for Awards Radar - head over there to read my take on the show!

Monday, January 30, 2023

Round Two: Shrinking

Shrinking: Season 1, Episode 2 “Fortress of Solitude” (B+)

I wasn’t entirely enthralled with this show’s pilot, and I’m pleased to report that the second episode represents a solid improvement. I particularly enjoy the dynamic that exists at the practice that in this installment found Paul and Gaby teaming up against - and trying to help - Jimmy, even if Paul still maintains a certain degree of privacy from both of his colleagues that means they’ve never once been to his house. Now, all of this is considerably more complicated when Alice felt more than comfortable just stopping by his home and noticing a photo of his daughter, prompting questions that Paul shut down right away. I also liked that Gaby went to go confront Liz because she didn’t trust that Jimmy was going to talk to her to declare his status as the mama, which resulted in Liz lashing back out at her for inserting herself into the situation. These people really need to communicate, since two thoughtful meals went to waste or at least weren’t enjoyed by the intended parties because those preparing them weren’t honest about what they wanted. As if this cast wasn’t already great, I’m so happy to see Michael Urie from “Ugly Betty” as Brian, who did an incredible job ensuring that everything went his way and then burst in to Jimmy’s session to yell at him for ghosting him for a year. The explanation for that made a lot of sense, and I too hope that they won’t once again go a year without talking.

Pilot Review: Shrinking

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.

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Pilot Review: Wolf Pack

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: Poker Face

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, January 28, 2023

Round Two: Accused

Accused: Season 1, Episode 2 “Ava’s Story” (B+)

I was surprised to see at the start of this episode that this show was tackling another very intense, hot-button subject, though I did think that Ava had actually killed a baby rather than just taken her before deciding eventually to bring her back. This was a poignant and layered story, one which was directed by Marlee Matlin, the recent star of “CODA” and a longtime advocate for proper storytelling involving Deaf actors and characters. The notion of not wanting to put Ava on the stand to speak for herself was obviously the wrong choice, and only a lawyer who understood what it was like to be deaf could have realized that and allowed her to communicate her perspective. I think this episode did a good job of including many reductive ways in which people interact with those with different abilities and needs, presuming that they are doing the right thing when in fact they are looking down upon others who don’t have the same capabilities. That Shawn Ashmore’s new father was a musician and wanted his child to be able to hear music added an additional layer to all of it, but Ava fought hard to show him that he shouldn’t presume what would be best for his child in an attempt to make her more normal. While I think the first episode could be too polarizing since it dealt with school shootings, which may be too painful for many to discuss, I think this episode, which is also sure to hit some in a profound and difficult way, can spark plenty of inspiration and conversation.

What I’m Watching: How I Met Your Father (Season Premiere)

How I Met Your Mother: Season 2, Episode 1 “Cool and Chill” (B)

This show returns just over a year after it first premiered, which is pretty good these days when you never know how long it will be between seasons or if renewed shows will even be back at all. This show’s second season premiere definitely makes it feel like a replacement for “Emily in Paris,” which serves as great, consistent entertainment that isn’t necessarily spectacular TV. There does appear to be a major connection with “How I Met Your Mother” coming this season thanks to the appearance of Neil Patrick Harris at the end of the episode when Sophie said that she might be “dating her dad,” though no one expressly identified him as Barney Stinson. I’m not sure if this show needs to lean on such callbacks, but I guess it could be fun. I appreciated the love quadrangle that Sophie got herself into in this episode with Drew showing up to the impromptu wedding party that Jesse was already at and Ian enthusiastically invited himself to, and it looks like Jesse may be the winner in all of this, for now at least. Ellen’s sequin phone case was quite entertaining, and those facial expressions were very impressive. I’m not quite sure how Sid accidentally ordered gefilte fish instead of red velvet cake, but it was good for a fun Drew moment when he showed up and was attracted by the smell. It’s hardly a surprise that Charlie and Valentina aren’t able to keep their hands off each other, and it should be enjoyable to watch them try to navigate where being “bros” leads them.

Friday, January 27, 2023

What I’m Watching: The L Word: Generation Q (Season Finale)

The L Word: Generation Q: Season 3, Episode 10 “Looking Ahead” (B+)

When a show ends a season without already being renewed, it’s always best to consider it like a series finale just in case there’s no more. In many ways, this would be fitting, since Bette and Tina successfully got married even after getting locked in a freezer and Alice apologized to Tasha, which hardly foretells a happily ever after but shows some signs of growth. Sophie and Pippa may be embarking on a new relationship, though they’re just about the only ones with good news. Tess drove away with a drug dealer and now might be dead, Shane is back to her old ways, and Dani started making out with Roxy only to see Dre show up and wonder what was going on. Micah and Maribel’s future as parents also looking uncertain, and the hapless Hendricks didn’t think it was worth mentioning to his girlfriend that he was moving to New York before showing up to her mothers’ wedding. Gigi got a passing mention as now being engaged to Nat, though I have a feeling we won’t see either of them again, and Carrie and Misty were nowhere to be found for obvious reasons since Carrie is far too recent an ex, even for this show. This season has been entertaining and a real rollercoaster, and I do think there’s plenty more territory to explore which I hope will be covered in a fourth season and beyond. There are more than enough characters and surely more couple combinations that have yet to be tried.

Season grade: B+
Season MVP: Jordan Hull as Angie

What I’m Watching: Your Honor

Your Honor: Season 2, Episode 2 “Part Twelve” (B)

I do firmly believe that Hope Davis is one of this show’s standout players, and it’s fascinating to watch how she’s responding to everything in contrast to the more measured approach by her husband. She was the worst kind of impolite at the support group meetings, and she came around to a conclusion that worked for her, one that wasn’t about acceptance of her loss but instead about living in anger, which is sure to cause plenty of casualties. She didn’t have kind words for her daughter, who finally managed to get Michael to give her a minute so that she could show him why the two of them having a relationship would make him feel closer to Adam. The fact that the baby is named for both Adam and Rocco makes things incredibly complicated, but that’s why Fia has always been a strong character with a worthwhile expanded focus in season two. Little Mo is doing her best to keep on top of a messy situation, and protecting Eugene, if he ends up coming back, is going to be tricky, provided he doesn’t get himself into enough trouble where he currently is. Olivia banning Michael from even speaking to Charlie was a smart tactic, but it didn’t take him long for them to be in close contact. Michael managed to warn Charlie but he dismissed its severity entirely, which suggests that he’s going to be his own undoing, too confident in his own invincibility and not ready for what’s coming.

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Round Two: The Last of Us

The Last of Us: Season 1, Episode 2 “Infected” (B+)

This second episode opened in an ominous, quietly terrifying way with Ibu Ratna being brought in under uncertain circumstances and then realizing the gravity of the situation. Recommending the immediate bombing of the city was a harsh decree, but one that recognizes the severity and irreversibility of what was happening. I was excited to recognize the actor who played the general, Yaya A.W. Unru, who I saw in a breakout Sundance role in the film “Jamojaya” the night this episode aired. The rest of this episode played out at a similarly slow place, with every scene highlighted by Ellie’s combative retorts. Expressing that one clue was that she didn’t turn into a monster and pretending to switch show just how miserable she is with others questioning her mental and physical state, and she was also frustrated that she couldn’t get a gun and would apparently have to throw a sandwich instead. Responding “you’re a weird kid” to Joel was just argumentative, though he doesn’t have much patience for her either. I had a feeling that Tess wouldn’t be sticking around for long since Pedro Pescal and Bella Ramsey were the only two marketed as the series’ stars, though I’m not sure we needed that uncomfortable kiss which I heard about on social media before watching the episode. Maybe it suggests there is a way to reach these undead people, but I think the more immediate concern is going to be keeping Ellie alive so they can figure out how to save everyone.

Pilot Review: Accused

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.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Pilot Review: That 90s Show

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: Big Sky (Season Finale)

Big Sky: Season 3, Episode 13 “That Old Feeling” (B-)

This show wraps its third season a few episodes shy of its first two seasons’ counts, though I’m honestly not sure how much story there was left and how many more people Buck could have kidnapped. It’s hard to believe that someone who managed to remain undiscovered and uncaught for so many years would just leave his two latest captives in the back of his truck for anyone to find while he wandered around the parking lot, even if he was losing blood for his Paige-inflicted flesh wound. Stealing someone else’s car isn’t terribly effective if the police know who did it and which car he’s now driving, and they brought him in right away to try to use Sunny to their advantage. Beau and Jenny could learn something about the art of negotiation since they instantly gave up their leverage, and then that leverage opted to shoot and kill Buck before he could tell them where Emily and Denise were. Luckily, there was another Barnes family member who was happy to cooperate and had an inkling of just where his father may have put them. So, somehow, everyone gets a happy ending, including Paige, who escaped with no consequences, and Walter, who survived and is now going to have a relationship with the brother he never knew. Donno even made it out alive because apparently it’s nearly impossible to kill someone on this show - except when such a thing is inconvenient - and Tonya managed to get the money. I’m not sure whether a fourth season is in the cards, and while this one was a slight improvement, I don’t think this show really needs to continue, even if I’d probably watch if it did.

Season grade: B-
Season MVP: Jensen Ackles as Beau

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

What I’m Watching: Home Economics (Season Finale)

Home Economics: Season 3, Episode 13 “Emergency Preparedness Kit, $129.99” (B+)

I hadn’t realized that this was the season finale, especially since season two got a full twenty-two episodes and its lead-out series, “Abbott Elementary,” still has more episodes to go. But I can appreciate that three seasons is longer than I would have expected for this show, and if it does end up getting canceled after this, at least it’s been a great run and this was a worthwhile finale that could serve as a decent series-ender. Connor did get way into his head when he hit the gong and then ended up potentially causing (not really) an earthquake, and he was bothering everyone else in a new way by obsessing over his newfound lack of purpose. Charging through the gate at the exact moment that the power came back on and he wouldn’t have needed to do it felt quite fitting, and deciding to run for mayor is both a terrible idea and completely on-brand. Lupe was very eager not to get involved in Sarah and Denise not sharing their IVF hesitations with each other, but she couldn’t take the fact that they both insisted in confiding in her but weren’t willing to talk to each other. Marina just charged right in there with her emergency go bag and her hard hat after the earthquake, and Tom predictably felt like he needed to have a role in all this since she had explicitly taken the class because she didn’t have faith in him to help out in the case of an emergency. Him being the storyteller to calm the kids who couldn’t bear a few hours without technology was a good way to give him a function. I’ve enjoyed this season and hope to see more of this show in the fall!

Season grade: B+
Season MVP: Sasheer Zamata as Denise

What I’m Watching: Abbott Elementary

Abbott Elementary: Season 2, Episode 13 “Fundraiser” (B+)

We tend to see a lot of Ava going to war with Janine, which usually ends in somewhat of a draw since Janine ekes out a small victory that makes her feel good while Ava doesn’t actually manage to become a better person. It was fun, therefore, to see Barbara reluctantly accept Ava’s help and then get very angry with her for encouraging the kids to overcharge, resulting in Barbara’s church rival giving her a stern lecture about what she thought of her. To her credit, Ava fought back and expressed how things aren’t easier for everyone and it’s important to get creative. Lines like “Look at me, now I own a school” don’t help her case much, but she still does manage to try every once in a while. Jacob and Mr. Johnson got way too involved with that cat, which predictably ended up going back to its rightful owner, leaving Mr. Johnson quite devastated. I’m impressed with Jacob for actually being what he said was - observant and able to notice social cues - and therefore being the first to pick up on the fact that Gregory likes Janine. He overcompensated in a big way when he suddenly wanted to buy a lot of candy, and I appreciated that Janine didn’t stand for his “warnings” because he wouldn’t be friends with someone like that. Eating ribs on the date may not have been the best choice, but at least she’s forming a connection. Melissa being bad at impressions is not something I would have predicted, and Jacob was the unfortunate one to bring that up to her and lose his prized ddon’t in the process.

Monday, January 23, 2023

Pilot Review: Night Court

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: Your Honor (Season Premiere)

Your Honor: Season 2, Episode 1 “Part Eleven” (B)

This show’s return is a true surprise given that it was always intended to be a limited series, and it also ended on a note that didn’t exactly invite a follow-up. The opening reveal with a haggard, very bearded Michael in prison and being force-fed was quite dramatic, and I’m glad that, by episode’s end, he was released and hopefully headed straight for a barber. The fact that the circumstances of his incarceration were not entirely clear paved the way for an important piece of this season’s plot, which is that Olivia Delmont, played by the always superb Rosie Perez, hopefully on loan from “The Flight Attendant” ahead of a not-yet-ordered season three, is already pursuing her own case against the Baxter family which Michael’s confession would have stepped on. I like the idea that he might have to work with the Baxters as her undercover informant, though that’s sure to get very messy. Charlie might also be a target because of his very willing participation in what Michael needed of him, and he’s also in league with Big Mo, who did seem ready to dispose of Eugene before he was let go and then she figured out a way to make it seem like he was dead without having to actually track him down again. I’m not sure what to say about the prison rodeo which felt like a vivid nightmare, but Michael being visited by Fia got an important asterisk at the very end, which is that he has a grandchild he doesn’t know about that links him forever to the Baxter family, even if he does ultimately help take them down. That should make this season at least somewhat interesting!

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Pilot Review: The Last of Us

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: The L Word: Generation Q

The L Word: Season 3, Episode 9 “Quiet Before the Storm” (B+)

I’m glad to see that Carrie is fine, and I appreciated the fake-out where she was watching “Grey’s Anatomy” rather than suffering through her own cardiac incident. Finley trying to monitor her physical activity and get her to eat healthily was a good distraction, though I appreciated how Misty was also offering up sex as an option, assuring Carrie that she’s excellent at it. It was nice to see Bette and Tina again, especially since I thought they were just going to disappear from the show like Gigi did, which didn’t feel right. Shane recognizing Hendrix and identifying him as Angie’s ex made for the worst possible situation of Tina calling him out from the audience, but somehow, everyone involved with that got a happy ending. Tina casually proposing to Bette as she was already holding out a ring was very sweet, and Angie closing the door once she found out that Hendrix was no longer her teacher also suggests a productive future for that couple. Shane, on the other hand, doesn’t seem willing to keep trying with Tess if she won’t meet her anywhere in the middle, and there really isn’t anywhere else for that relationship to go, which is upsetting and will surely prove complicated considering their joint business ventures. Dre saying I love you to Dani was fast, and hopefully it won’t cause her to have a Shane-like panic reaction. While Sophie was excited to take charge and execute her vision, Alice leaned in way too hard to defending her own questionable behavior, and I love that her search for her cat led her right back to an ex who was just as unhappy to see her: Tasha, played by the terrific Rose Rollins. I hope they won’t just be filling out paperwork together since their bickering is absolutely fantastic.

Saturday, January 21, 2023

What I’m Watching: Hunters (Series Finale)

Hunters: Season 2, Episode 8 “The Trial of Adolf Hitler”

After the penultimate episode diverged considerably from this show’s central characters and storyline, I was pleased to see an installment that felt as satisfying as possible given this show’s truncated conclusion and the scope of what it was trying to do. Seeing protesters outside Hitler’s trial with white power signs was very disturbing, as well as the indication that the chief justice might be biased and allow for very strict readings of the law that might allow him to actually not be held accountable for all he did. Hearing from Mindy and other survivors was very powerful, and having a Jewish defense attorney, played by Josh Zuckerman, added a whole lot to the importance of what was happening. Nyasha Hatendi was very memorable as Oliver Frankel, the prosecutor, who was standing for nothing and continued pushing, and, as is often the case in real life, self-righteousness and a desire not to be thought of as weak was ultimately Hitler’s undoing on the stand. Using a direct Mel Gibson quote and ideas that Donald Trump expressed caught me by surprise, demonstrating just how cyclical things can be, and I found that to be a very emotional and worthwhile creative choice. After the guilty verdict was rendered, this show kicked back into full gear for one last extended sequence, which fortunately did fell the still-alive Travis, have Eva die in the process, and put Hitler in prison as an anonymous number, the worst fate for someone with such an ego. The confirmation that Meyer was Ruth’s killer was an interesting wedding gift from Harriet to Jonah, especially since the show ended with him still trying to track down the Nazis who were still out there. That was a fitting way to close out the show, with most of the characters getting happy endings but the resounding knowledge that evil still exists in this world. I might have been open to more of this show but I’m glad that this second season was very strong, better even than the first, and I’ll remember it fondly to recommend to those okay with seeing more than a bit of brutality on screen.

Series finale: B+
Series grade: B+
Season MVP: Jennifer Jason Leigh as Chava
Season grade: B+
Series MVP: Al Pacino as Meyer
Best Season: Season 2
Best Episode: “Only the Dead

What I’m Watching: Hunters (Penultimate Episode)

Hunters: Season 2, Episode 7 “The Home” (B)

After the powerful finish to the previous episode and with so little time left in this show, I didn’t love that this episode was entirely unrelated to the characters we’ve come to know and felt like it was told in a much more satirical tone. It’s also interesting to me that the man featured was supposed to be the chief Nazi architect given that the real-life parallel, according to some quick research, appears to have been a true believer who was allegedly much more than just a cog in the machine. Taking out the three Nazis who were there happened in a suspenseful but playful way, and the arrival of the missing persons unit who also kill Jews felt much more like “Jojo Rabbit” than the unhinged violence we’ve become accustomed to seeing. The inhumanity of the Nazi who shot the residents because he liked their house and they couldn’t come back empty-handed was disturbing, and the ability of the hidden Jews to fight back and take over the house still ended in a degree of tragedy since they weren’t willing to take an innocent child’s life. That the boat captain Jonah handed off Hitler to was the kid from the story had some resonance, but I do hope that we’ll get a finale which features this show’s regular characters and delivers some sort of cinematic justice. Having seen the title of that episode, I’m optimistic, and I also hope that the marketing of this season as the final one means the ending will be appropriately satisfying.

Friday, January 20, 2023

What I’m Watching: Hunters

Hunters: Season 2, Episode 6 “Only the Dead” (B+)

I have to say, I have no desire to go hunt down Nazis or exact any sort of revenge, but there was something very powerful about two moments in this episode. The first was when Chava kept emphasizing the responsibility to the six million, and the second was when Jonah was walking down the tunnel hallway with the ghosts of so many people murdered in the Holocaust cheering him on. On another show, I might have expected something to happen because actually apprehending Hitler with two episodes to go feels almost too easy. But it hasn’t been that way, and there’s still a long way to go to ensure that he’s held accountable for his crimes. Jonah stopped him from shooting himself in the head, which in this show’s reality he was apparently going to do anyway back in 1945 before Eva convinced him not to do it. Chava also sacrificed her life, and we got to see her in the flashbacks with Meyer where he was able to continue his ruse by expressing genuine surprise to see her even though she knew the real Meyer. Roxy being the one to stop them all from killing Joe was an interesting development, and he more than proved himself by taking out the other guards moments after warning them and blasting away to ensure that he could kill as many of the people he had recently been helping. I’m very ready to keep watching and to see what happens, presuming that there’s going to be a major bureaucratic fight and a potentially much less violent end to this series than I would have imagined.

What I’m Watching: Hunters

Hunters: Season 2, Episode 5 “Blutsbande” (B+)

This episode started out from such a devastating point, with Jonah distraught at Clara having been taken by Travis, and fortunately, somehow, things were looking up by the very end. That penultimate scene with Travis and crew down below was all too reminiscent of two Tarantino films - “Inglourious Basterds” and “The Hateful Eight” - and fortunately this crew was able to react carefully and cleverly in order to avoid being completely blown to bits by their precarious situation. It was interesting to hear Harriet step in to advocate for going after Clara when Chava was ready to abandon her entirely because she knew it was a trap, insisting instead that their responsibility was to the six million. Harriet and Millie have apparently also started a relationship, one that’s particularly intriguing because of how different their approaches to this whole business are. Travis tried to scare Clara by laughing at the idea of her being frightened by him when Jonah has killed many people, and appealing to Joe seemed like a bad idea given the shaken condition he’s in. Fortunately, when the moment called for it, he chose to shoot Travis, who I’m worried is like a cockroach and won’t die, and decided to cooperate to identify Hitler’s location. Even Eva may be willing to give up her dear husband based on the demeaning treatment she’s receiving from him. Roxy is not in good shape, but her nearly dying may have been what was needed to snap Lonnie back into action. Meyer saw his true identity far too easily exposed in this episode’s flashback, which makes me think his scenes don’t actually have much to do with what’s happening in the present.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

What I’m Watching: Hunters

Hunters: Season 2, Episode 4 “The Fare” (B+)

Clara showing up definitely changed things, and it was fascinating to see how Chava initially reacted and then how she insisted she was going to make chicken. She wasn’t shy about chasisting Jonah in front of her for marrying a non-Jew and throwing away all their family heritage, and Clara responded impressively by pointing out the many Jewish rituals she had become quite familiar with over the course of their time together. But then she had to go ahead and snoop around, leading Chava to explain to her exactly what it was they were really doing, a helpful piece of information since now what Chava had warned Jonah about is very much happening. While Joe emotionlessly shooting Roxy was frightening enough, Travis is still the most terrifying villain given that he seems to enjoy the chaos, and tricking Clara into thinking he was the police then led to his very brazen act of just carrying her out in full view of everyone else there. Let’s hope that Harriet isn’t too distracted by the gift Chava got her and that this team can rally to save Roxy and get Clara back, since things are looking worse than ever for the entire group. I’m curious also if the flashbacks to Meyer sponsoring “Fiddler on the Roof” performances and having a synagogue theater named after him will lead to anything relevant to the present, or if he is just a specter of the past whose influence hangs over all these hunters and what they still do.

What I’m Watching: Hunters

Hunters: Season 2, Episode 3 “Duck. Quail. Goose. Crow.” (B+)

It’s good to know that, even if it took them some time to get on the same page, the people who knocked out all the hunters are actually on the same side. Jonah agreed that they would work together before immediately turning on their new friends with all of his colleagues as soon as they were free, but Chava was able to convince him to at least listen to him when she revealed that she was Ruth’s sister. He didn’t let go of the fact that she hadn’t ever reached out to tell her she was still alive, but they were both testing each other, playing a dangerous game that is likely to result in some Nazi escaping if they’re not eventually on the same page. Millie had more luck with her new partners, even if she chewed Harriet out for betraying her after she had been completely open and honest about everything. The maid mission in the hotel was a close one and they nearly all got killed, but this group has never been about keeping a particularly cool low profile. That final scene featuring Hitler prepared us for Joe to go hunt the hunters, an interesting development which may well end in him ultimately allying with them rather than betraying them, but I’m sure there will be plenty of bloodshed before we get to that point. In the meantime, Lonnie should really try focusing and stop worrying about how famous he is and instead about how he can help get his head in the game. Jonah’s fiancée showing up is also definitely going to create some issues.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

What I’m Watching: Hunters

Hunters: Season 2, Episode 2 “Buenos Aires” (B+)

That opening scene was quite traumatic for the young children who witnessed the murder of their father by their beloved governess, but Harriet has never been too concerned about softening her kills. It appears that she’s also involved in some questionable behavior, given that she seems to be in league with the masked men who subdued each of the hunters during their big operation to get Klaus. While that revelation will have to be unspooled in the next episode, it was fun to see the team reunited again, with Millie doing the talking since Jonah has apparently angered everyone enough so that they don’t want to speak to him again. He also left behind a clue to his real identity that may put his cover in jeopardy if his fiancée is eager to find him. I love that Lonnie was starring in a movie called “Eight Ways to Shabbat” where he played a hitman who has to kill eight people before sundown. I’m never fond of seeing Travis, and at least he’s now made it away from poor innocent people in civilization down to Argentina, where he laughed at Joe being the one to welcome him in to the compound and then fulfilled whatever fantasy Eva was acting out with him. I’m seeing more of a purpose of having Meyer around this season, and I’m curious if each episode will feature his recruitment of a different member of the team to provide some helpful backstory before the show signs off.

What I’m Watching: Hunters (Season Premiere)

Hunters: Season 2, Episode 1 “Van Glooten's Day 1972 Butter Sculptor of the Year” (B+)

I honestly didn’t think this show was coming back. I remember watching all of season one while I was quarantining at the very beginning of COVID more than two and a half years ago now, and it was way back in August 2020 that the show got renewed, with no news of anything happening after that until last month, when season two was confirmed as the last. I think that’s fine given that two seasons will probably be enough, and there’s enough depraved violence that can fill just the remaining seven episodes. I couldn’t figure out where I knew the woman introduced in Germany in the opening scene, and I realized when I saw her name in the credits that it was due to Jennifer Jason Leigh’s accent. She was chilling in her new role, and cutting out the shopowner’s eyes was quite a brutal act. It’s interesting to see that Al Pacino is sticking around as Meyer given that we know that’s not who he is and he’s dead, and it seems like it’s just going to be to explain more about how he maintained his cover identity for so long. I like that Millie called Jonah for help when she found herself in trouble, and that he’s now armed with the knowledge that Hitler is still alive. That final shot of a much older Hitler was intense, and I think Udo Kier is a superb choice to play it, even if seeing him always makes me think of a funny moment from a virtual press junket where he used his signature booming voice to encourage a reporter to unmute himself.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

What I’m Watching: Ghosts

Ghosts: Season 2, Episode 12 “Family Business” (B+)

Sam and Jay are not doing a terrific job of retaining their terrific new employee, and they’re lucky that he’s such a nice guy that he continues to come back because he genuinely likes the work. Hetty emphasizing that it’s important not to express interest in the help had an unfortunate influence on Sam, who really did get quite mean when Freddie was opening up and later confided in Hetty that it felt very good. I enjoy when there are moments like that which aren’t neatly resolved but instead indicate tendencies that might not have changed as much as they should over the centuries, and it also allowed Hetty to bond with her only descendant over whom she was able to have any sort of resounding impact. Hetty is quickly becoming my favorite character, with the way in which she spoke to Trevor about how she feels about their dalliance absolutely hilarious. I like that Flower got a good zinger in at Sasappis’ expense when she reminded him that he marked a tree when a girl said hi to him and that he might now write a rock opera. Fortunately, they got to a good point after he was far too jealous, and, provided Freddie sticks around for another few episodes, they’ll have a chance to get closer with sappy lines like how she’s his favorite smell. Pete also got a nice win when he gave Sasappis romantic advice that actually turned out to be pretty helpful. One dynamic I’m loving is the one that Alberta and Thorfinn have, with her expressing exasperation at Thorfinn’s refusal to call a car anything but “land ship” even though everyone else was literally saying it over and over.

What I’m Watching: Big Sky

Big Sky: Season 3, Episode 12 “Are You Mad?” (B-)

It’s quite the coincidence that Tony would go ahead and show up to see Emily in an ominous way and then for her to get taken, along with Denise, by someone else entirely. The Bleeding Heart Killer didn’t have anything to do with the missing money and Paige, but Buck holding her hostage and nearly killing her was enough to show that he’s violent and has apparently – somehow – been harboring this murderous secret for decades, which doesn’t quite add up. Walter, on the other hand, is a nice guy who stopped by to see how she was doing while his mother’s husband is driving out of town with two women tied up in the back of his truck. This episode had a few casualties, starting with Tony, whose death doesn’t mean much since Avery is also apparently out of the picture, while one of the show’s best rehabilitated characters, Donno, has also gone down, leaving Tonya with a decision to make about which path she’s going to take now that she has repeatedly helped law enforcement with issues that didn’t directly conflict with her criminal enterprises. Tex walking out before things got messy shouldn’t be consequential, since he expressed how he wouldn’t cross a line that his boss didn’t actually cross anyway, and this whole deal should be done, with the focus entirely on catching Buck. Maybe a tormented Cormac can be helpful as an asset for Cassie given that he knows plenty about his father, even if he may have missed the most important thing.

Monday, January 16, 2023

What I’m Watching: Home Economics

Home Economics: Season 3, Episode 12 “Limited Edition Boom Boom Dojo JollyBot, $45.99” (B+)

It seemed obvious that Marina was walking right into another sex dream when she got herself together to talk to Santiago, but I like that it all then led to Santiago stopping by and turning out to be just as into some of Tom’s hobbies as he was. Tom asking Marina if Santiago could stay for pizza was an especially entertaining highlight, and I enjoyed how Marina telling him about her dream led to his confession about the barista who flirted with him a lot. Unfortunately, her jealously led to her going into the coffee shop and getting thrown out after making a scene, though at least it puts them on a somewhat level playing field. Tom having his own sex dream about Santiago was a fun coda which likely won’t go too far but should keep him running in circles for a while. Denise walked into a predictable trap when she had to go wait for the hot toy on her own since Connor’s line guy was busy and she trusted that the guy behind her would not just watch her stuff but let her back into the line after she peed. Her little video game segment was amusing and very unlike this show, and it’s always nice to see the competitive dark side of Denise. Connor going to a “large place” plate when Nikki rejected small plates was an endearing start to a saga that involved her potentially living in a parking lot and them eating something that couldn’t legally be called a sandwich, and the twist that her eighteen-year-old son lives with her is sure to lead to some worthwhile hijinks as Connor encounters a brand-new challenge.

What I’m Watching: Abbott Elementary

Abbott Elementary: Season 2, Episode 12 “Fight” (B+)

It was fun to get to see Orlando Jones show up as Gregory’s father and to hear Gregory reluctantly acknowledge that he was actually happy for once. Jacob and Barbara couldn’t contain their shock and horror at the fact that Gregory was secretly gardening behind their backs, but it impressed Martin enough that he suggested the idea of officially going into business with his son rather than the actor he had hired to play his son for the flyer. Gregory’s realization that working at Abbott was what made him happy was an important one, even if that, for now at least, has nothing whatsoever to do with Janine, with their potential romance not a subject of conversation in this episode. Melissa teaming up with Ava to defeat Mr. Johnson in fantasy football might have worked if not for the unexpected involvement of Jacob, who got so much joy from that handshake that he was willing to do something that didn’t track with his usual interests. Janine was typically overconfident about the solutions she thought would work for her warring students, and things got especially bad when their older sisters started fighting too. But then things did end up resolving themselves, and it was sweet to see Barbara help Janine process her own relationship with conflict and the way it manifests itself with her mother and her sister. That’s exactly the kind of mentor moment that doesn’t have anything to do with teaching but which means that Barbara should be much less strict about her office hours with Janine.

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Pilot Review: Alert: Missing Persons Unit

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.

Round Two: Will Trent

Will Trent: Season 1, Episode 2 “I'm a Pretty Observant Guy” (B)

I wasn’t sure where this show was going to go and whether Paul and Abigail were going to continue to be regular players, but it feels like that plotline has now been resolved and he’ll be moving on to other cases. I did appreciate the chance to see Paul and Angie interact, and Paul showing up at the end of the episode to give Will a hug while accidentally calling him by the demeaning nickname he had for him was sweet in its own way. I don’t feel like it would have been realistic for Paul and Angie to be there when the police were racing to unlock the trunk, but I suppose dramatic liberties have to be taken to ensure that this is nail-biting television. Will having his difficulty with reading noticed by his imprisoned suspect was reminiscent, to a degree, of the “Dragonchasers” episode of “The Shield” in which Michael Kelly’s suspect analyzes his interrogator Dutch and tears him apart, though the latter scene was far more intense and compelling. Will is a charismatic individual whose quirks ultimately help him, though he’s gone ahead and blown whatever chance he had at a long-lasting relationship with Angie by, well, being himself. Michael and Angie apparently have their own complicated history, but she expressed a clear desire to move on from that when he tried to address it by returning the conversation to the murder weapon she had just found. I’m not sure whether I need to stick with it, but this show could be fun.

Saturday, January 14, 2023

What I’m Watching: The L Word: Generation Q

The L Word: Generation Q: Season 3, Episode 8 “Quality Family Time” (B+)

Finley was all smiles while she was texting Sophie, and it does seem like they’re back in a pretty good place even if Sophie is very set on just being friends. The visit from Finley’s mom, played by Mary McCormack from “In Plain Sight,” threatened to throw everything into chaos, and Tess dropping the turkey in her lap was a great way to end a generally destructive visit. That’s not good news for Tess, of course, who started drinking again while Shane was out helping Angie steal back her notebook from her professor ex-boyfriend who knew full well who had broken into his car. Hopefully she can return and be there for Tess in the way she needs to be, while all thoughts are sure to be with Carrie, who seems to have pushed herself too hard on the turkey trot while trying to help Misty desperately find a bathroom. Dani and Dre are getting close, and not making it back to her family’s home for Thanksgiving may not have been a terrible thing since it gave them the chance to spend so much time together. There have been many shaky moments in Maribel and Micah’s relationship, and it was nice to see that the latest escapades were relatively light-hearted, with Micah eating too many gummies and Maribel’s grandmother beating up the mashed potatoes to look for the missing ring. They deserve some happiness, and having matched with a donor the same night as they got engaged is something that should hopefully help them coast to the next crisis.

Pilot Review: Anne Rice's Mayfair Witches

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, January 13, 2023

What I’m Watching: Tulsa King (Season Finale)

Tulsa King: Season 1, Episode 9 “Happy Trails” (B+)

One thing I would recommend which I’ve failed to do on a number of occasions now is to be aware of how many episodes are in a show’s season. I knew that this series had already been picked up for a second season, but I was under the impression that there was a tenth and final episode following this one. Apparently that was not the case, which makes the end of this hour make a lot more sense as a cliffhanger. To see Tina down in Tulsa and affectionately calling her formerly estranged father Dad showed just how well things had worked out, even after the double threat of Chickie and Caolan had made happiness seem unattainable. But it was Stacy, after everything, who realized what was on the line and how she wasn’t doing what she was supposed to as an officer of the law, which made her show up just ahead of the arresting party. Dwight didn’t seem too shaken, but Tina was not about to lose her father like this again just as he had come back into her life. That’s likely not to leave things starting off on a good note in season two, but I feel like this won’t just be a show about him in prison and operating with friends on the outside. There are plenty of supporting characters whose backstories have yet to be fully explored, and I’ll be eager to see that once this show returns for its second season sometime in the future.

Season grade: B+
Season MVP: Andrea Savage as Stacy

Pilot Review: The Rig

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, January 12, 2023

What I’m Watching: The Mosquito Coast (Season Finale)

The Mosquito Coast: Season 2, Episode 10 “Eulogy” (B+)

Whereas last season’s finale felt very much like the introduction to something else which I never thought was coming, this one feels a lot more like goodbye. I was shocked that season two got commissioned, so maybe season three is on the way, but I’m still not sure this show knows exactly what it wants to be. It’s good that Dina was quickly located and that even Charlie, who did something reckless by tailing Richard and then confronting him, also didn’t end up dead. There didn’t seem like any good outcome from the hostage situation that involved Carter, Andrea, and her father reading prepared confessions at gunpoint, and having Guillermo, Richard, and Bill involved only made things more volatile. JJ picked a particularly unhelpful time to decide that Margot’s intelligence was useless when he really should have answered her call and assisted in some way, but the Fox family members are resilient. It seems to me that Allie survived this and is still alive, knowing that his family believing he’s dead is the safest and best thing for them. Either way, they’re going to have to leave and stay on the run, something that Dina has adjusted to her as her reality and which Charlie doesn’t mind as long as his parents don’t treat him like pieces of luggage. Having a family but not having a home isn’t great but, as Allie pointed out to his indignant daughter, there’s not necessarily an easy solution. I guess I would return for a third season if this show somehow did since this season was moderately more engaging, but I’m happy to bid farewell to it and check in instead on whatever its cast members’ next projects are.

Season grade: B
Season MVP: Justin Theroux

What I’m Watching: Ghosts

Ghosts: Season 2, Episode 11 “The Perfect Assistant” (B+)

I like that ghost rules aren’t necessarily all-encompassing, and that there’s room for creativity as we meet new dead people. Bjorn having to shout out the window to his father is an entertaining recurring plotline, and now we have Jessica, who died in a car and is therefore bound to it and a few steps away from it forever. I wasn’t sure where I knew Nichole Sakura from, but I now remember her role as Amanda on “Shameless.” I like that Sasappis is very into her and is eager to start up a relationship, and it’s a good thing that she came clean after being caught in a lie about why she had the keys so that Freddie could be rehired. I love that Sam and Jay ordered so many burritos so they could try to get him to come back since he wouldn’t answer their calls, and that they were offloading them onto guests because they had so many extra. He does seem to be making their lives a lot easier, and so we’ll see how that works with the couple able to focus both on the very needy ghosts and also on turning their budding business into something truly sustainable. It was a treat to get to see Pete step in and give advice to Bjorn which directly contradicted what Thor had advocated for his son, and it was especially fun when Thor thought Pete was trying to replace him as his son’s father. But it’s nice that it all worked out and that Bjorn now has a potential romantic interest.

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

SAG Nominations Announced

Screen Actors Guild Award nominations have been announced. Check out my breakdown of the nominations over at FilmFactual!

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

SAG Predictions

Screen Actors Guild Award nominations come tomorrow. Check out my predictions over at FilmFactual!

Golden Globe Winner Predictions

The Golden Globes are tonight! Check out my winner predictions over at FilmFactual!

Sunday, January 8, 2023

What I’m Watching: Doom Patrol

Doom Patrol: Season 4, Episode 6 “Hope Patrol” (B+)

Well, I’m not sure I could ever have predicted what was going to happen on this show, but I still don’t think I expected this. Rita and Rouge are friends again, and Larry and Mr. 104 are getting along and potentially having romantic tension, but it’s Wally who’s been revealed to be the big bad in the pursuit of Immortus. The scissor henchmen were certainly something, and Derek and Vic were helpful in trying to take them out with their drawing of Mr. Invincible brought to life. I’m glad to see the different partnerships in operation, even if Jane was freaking out about the Underground and her longevity being gone and Cliff was talking to his oven mitt. Rita playing the mop bucket while Rouge posed as the janitor was a fun caper, though going back to your own past is never a productive idea, but at least they’ve buried the hatchet and Rouge was able to butter Rita up by expressing her preference in playing a supporting role to Rita’s leader. Seeing that butt emerge from the freezer at the end of the episode spells likely trouble for the future, though being held at scissor-point in a pocket dimension with Immortus’ rise impending feels like enough of an issue that they’ve have to deal with in the near future, presuming time still matters there. I’m excited and absolutely perplexed about what happens next, as always, and hoping that we don’t have to wait too long for the back half of this season to drop. In the meantime, check out my great interviews with Diane Guerrero and April Bowlby!

What I’m Watching: Big Sky

Big Sky: Season 3, Episode 11 “Super Foxes” (B-)

Cassie and Jenny both managed to get themselves out of their tricky situations, but it didn’t seem like that was going to happen for a good portion of this episode. Buck’s desire to keep Sunny out of trouble isn’t helping anyone, and everyone would be much happier if he wasn’t holding her hostage and now breaking his sobriety to deal with her. Cassie got called away because Jenny needed her, and they somehow managed to survive a very quickly-progressing twisted game that revealed a violent sect living very close to everything in this great state of Montana, whose geography is always baffling to me on this show given my memories of driving through a state whose east-west distance is just as far as Chicago and New York are from each other. Dean had little trouble tracking down Avery and was quite confident in his trigger-draw abilities when he suggested that his would-be abductor just go ahead and take Avery before shooting him dead. Avery’s fortunes didn’t get much better after he was arrested and then released, though his newfound captors were more than happy to work with the police when the right cause presented itself. Emily seemed to understand that her coffee shop run-in was creepy and threatening, and of course Avery has now put his family in danger even after he’s pretty much abandoned them. Hopefully Dean will put the same protective instincts into action once he realizes how close his family is to being used as pawns to push a criminal to act.

Saturday, January 7, 2023

What I’m Watching: Home Economics

Home Economics: Season 3, Episode 11 “Gallon of Milk, $4.35” (B+)

I’m very much enjoying seeing what kind of person Connor is now as a person who has dropped to the bottom of the one percent, eager to use coupons but still completely out of touch with how normal people live their lives. Expressing his surprise that a gallon of milk cost twenty dollars garnered a very funny reaction from Tom, and I love that he instantly bonded with someone at the supermarket only to have to then lie about having to “call a bus” because she showed that she was not fond of rich people. I knew I recognized Nikki from somewhere, and that’s because Daniella Pineda played Vanessa on “The Detour,” and I hope we’ll get to see more of her if this relationship goes anywhere. Denise enjoyed pretending to be the boss, and it wasn’t her fault that Connor had no clue whatsoever how to start making a grilled cheese. Lupe also had a fantasy cover story all ready to go and seemed to love engaging in that. Marina went in hot to tell Santiago that he needed to start listening to her, and he said all the right things to make her realize that he was actually a sweet, sensitive guy who doesn’t always know how to communicate so well. Speaking Spanish with Marina after Tom burnt the steaks was an unfortunate trigger for Tom to violently open a beer with his teeth, and Marina is going to drive herself crazy now trying to suppress the physical attraction she has towards Santiago that she’ll surely be able to suppress herself from acting on even if she’s worried she won’t have the capability to do that.

What I’m Watching: Abbott Elementary

Abbott Elementary: Season 2, Episode 11 “Read-A-Thon” (B+)

I’m glad to see that the awkward out-of-school interaction between Janine and Gregory is still very much being discussed, but rather than it being addressed in a straightforward and productive way, it’s coming up at every juncture without them wanting to talk about it. Ava calling it a “Disney Channel grindfest” wasn’t nearly as great as the two podcasting students asking questions that neither Janine nor a horrified Gregory wanted to answer. Jacob’s enthusiasm for the podcast club was a recipe for failure, and I most enjoyed how Gregory got into the sound effects even as he grumbled about how he was only there because being involved in an extracurricular activity meant he got paid more. Janine was quite motivated to win the read-a-thon, and going up against Melissa, someone who regularly brags about cheating, was a tough challenge. But she did manage to do it, and of course the gloating did her in since Melissa was thrilled to have re-read the rules and realized that, by the parameters of the competition and based on her having two classrooms, she was the rightful winner. At least Janine didn’t have to go streaking, which felt like an aggressive punishment for losing. I very much enjoyed Barbara’s sideline contributions in this episode, like her lack of affinity for Ms. Frizzle and her appreciation for Colin Powell’s memorable performance in “The King’s Speech.” Ava having her own podcasts and having been forced to take down her ASMR content was not at all surprising, since she devotes so much time and attention to everything but her job.

Friday, January 6, 2023

Pilot Review: Will Trent

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: The L Word: Generation Q

The L Word: Generation Q: Season 3, Episode 7 “Little Boxes” (B+)

I’d say that, in the grand scheme of things, everyone was up by the end of this episode. Things didn’t look great for Finley at the start and for Sophie in the middle, but ultimately, everyone is looking relatively happy at the moment. I was happy to see Carrie again, who is a great sponsor for Finley, though her unwanted intrusion in Carrie’s romantic process threatened to drive them apart. But it was sweet that Misty did show up and they had a nice dinner together which Finley knew well enough to leave. Getting a heart on her text to Sophie was a win, but ignoring a call from her mother means that she’s going to retreat into loneliness, which won’t be good for her. The new Sophie was quite something, and she managed to upstage everyone at the party before apparently getting serious and turning in an application while trying to block out the sounds of Maribel and Micah loudly having sex. Micah finding someone just like him to be a sperm donor was entertaining, but not as much as Sophie making out with the guy’s wife on the dance floor. Dani could easily have killed Sophie, but fortunately she chose a different route and instead put herself out there and made a well-received move on Dre. I thought something was going to happen with Fletcher, but this made more sense since Dre can stick around for a while. Tom may not be the “one” for Alice, but they can still be good for each other in different ways, even if it’s just professionally and for animal-related reasons.

Thursday, January 5, 2023

Pilot Review: Paul T. Goldman

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: Kaleidoscope

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.

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

What I’m Watching: Tulsa King

Tulsa King: Season 1, Episode 8 “Adobe Walls” (B+)

Things are heating up in a big way, and the aftermath of Chickie killing his father means that he’s set his targets firmly on Dwight. What he suggested about coming to Tulsa to break bread could actually have worked for getting them to move past all this, but that’s not what he’s interested in, deciding instead to get rid of an undesirable element. Unfortunately for them, they’re going to do it on Dwight’s turf, and while he’s arming himself against a different threat, it’s absolutely the right time to have an army of eager soldiers trained for battle. Dwight was bold and effective when he and Tyson got pulled over, and that act was enough to infuriate Kielan, who doesn’t seem like the kind of person who acts rationally when he’s angry. Stacy was ready to scorch earth following Roxy’s murder, and stopping by to warn Dwight to move on put her right in the line of fire. I do hope she doesn’t die since Andrea Savage is such a terrific part of this show, and that law-criminal dynamic is very worthwhile. Dwight just keeps making friends wherever he goes, and while Margaret is becoming very fond of him, her ex-husband was not. It’s quite surprising that Tina is now considering moving to Tulsa, something that may actually put them in more danger at the moment. Armand is pretty set on not going anywhere, an idea that got his wife scared and angry enough that she’s ready to leave him.

What I’m Watching: The Crown (Season Finale)

The Crown: Season 5, Episode 10 “Decommissioned” (B)

I found this finale a bit underwhelming, only because things seemed to slow a bit and didn’t end in a truly emphatic way. But there is one more season, and while it was entertaining to see Diana repeatedly dial and vote against the monarchy in the TV poll, her tragic ending evidently won’t come until sometime in the middle of next season. Retiring the yacht and debating what was going to happen to it was an appropriate conversation for these changing times, which were highlighted by Charles having to fly business while the politicians were in first and him getting to meet with Tony Blair as brothers. Making a case for remarriage rather than the yacht’s continued existence was interesting, and hearing Tony’s reaction was very informative, setting up his role for season six. It was good to see Dodi and Mohamed again, though Kelly was not fond of the way that the two men spoke Arabic around them even though they didn’t understand it, which Heini explained wasn’t a problem because you didn’t have to speak Arabic to know what they were saying. Elizabeth summoning Charles at the end of the episode was a crucial moment in their relationship, something I hope will be explored more in the show’s final season. This year has been interesting and very good as always, but I’d like to see the show go a bit deeper with all of the characters in the same way previous seasons have with the time that’s left.

Season grade: B+
Season MVP: Elizabeth Debicki as Diana

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

What I’m Watching: The Crown

The Crown: Season 5, Episode 9 “Couple 31” (B+)

I have to imagine that the scenes involving direct conversation between the royal couples are entirely fabricated since none of the parties would want to cooperate with the making of this series, were they even consulted. In other cases, like “Impeachment: American Crime Story,” I’ve found such inventions to be insincere and unconvincing, but there was something that really resonated about the dialogue between Charles and Diana when they were able to just be each other without all the pretense that took up the entirety of their marriage. They started out humorously, with Charles eating stale nuts and not being able to find the kitchen, and when Diana made him an omelet, they were able to relax. But speaking Camilla’s name and Charles being reminded that she said he wasn’t suited to be king turned things sour again. Charles insisting that his parents knew he was in love with someone else and Diana saying Charles was never young, even when he was young were both hurtful in unintended ways. The focus on Camilla in this episode and her meeting with the spin doctor was very interesting, and it’s fair that she would want to be preparing for her own future in which she wasn’t just the other woman. It was also very intriguing to see Major be asked to serve as a mediator between the divorcing parties and have him express some reservations publicly before indicating privately at home that he’s always seen himself as particularly well suited to this role, which he did play quite well.

What I’m Watching: The Mosquito Coast

The Mosquito Coast: Season 2, Episode 9 “The Counterfeiters” (B+)

Dina’s journey in this episode was definitely not what I would have predicted, though I guess it does make sense that she would have inherited the resilience and creativity passed down to her by her parents and especially her father. It felt like she went a short distance and ended up in an episode of “The White Lotus,” but one where she was much cleverer than any character on that show, able to very easily get a keycard and room number from the front desk. Aside from that feast of all the food she could see, she did a decent job of keeping a low profile and not attracting too much attention, but unfortunately she’s in exactly the wrong place. That was the big, miserable surprise that this episode had coming, something that Margot wasn’t even watching for as she inched her way closer to Richard so that she could deliver him to JJ. Getting a signed deal and agents in place to arrest him as the operation was in motion with just a day’s notice was impressive, but Richard was aware that Margot might betray him, and not only did he smoke her out by only telling her that particular plan, he also had the real mission in place at the same time so that she and JJ won’t be able to do anything to prevent it. Allie, who was able to negotiate his plot of land after causing apparently fatal injury to an innocent person while he was stalling for time, did his best to encourage Dina to return home, but he’s never going to be able to forgive himself if the latest act of violence that he abhors results in her death.

What I’m Watching: Doom Patrol

Doom Patrol: Season 4, Episode 5 “Youth Patrol” (B+)

This team can’t get through a single episode of normalcy without having something truly crazy happen to complicate it all. Rita waking up to find aging spots prompted her to a de-aging spell, but of course she didn’t know just how powerful it was and that it would keep going until they were young enough that they never existed at all. Leave it to Cliff to bump into her so that they all ended up being affected, even Rouge, who lied about holding her breath so that it wouldn’t affect her and instead just used her abilities to change back. Willoughby wasn’t having any of it, but it was fun to watch as he too fell victim to its effects and tried to find a way to stop it before it was too late. I enjoyed Jane and Cliff bonding with the high school stoners before Jane got younger and Cliff acted as a human keg, and now it looks like baby Jane has had whatever essence is needed for Immortus sucked out of her by the subtitled bunny as Willoughby was restored to his true form. While this was all happening, it was typically dizzying to learn more about Mr. 104 as he and Larry kept swapping memories of being interrogated and then forced to use their abilities to kill the other soldiers around them. I’m glad to see that they were able to find common ground and that Mr. 104 is apparently intent on being an ally, willing to jump in and follow Larry into that green portal he got pulled into to whatever fate awaits him there.