Friday, March 31, 2023

What I’m Watching: Hello Tomorrow!

Hello Tomorrow! Season 1, Episode 8 “The Gargon Mothership” (B+)

Somehow, it all worked out! Jack was able to go up there and play a part to save Buck’s life, and in turn he made it so that the crowd gathered to watch the launch had essentially irrefutable proof that the rocket had in fact come from the moon with the man they expected to see on it. Mildred seemed as genuinely wowed as everyone else, even if she’s still worried it may not be real, but she’s done with all of Lester’s exciting violations and other things that she can use to attack the company. That Herb, through his mouthpiece Betty, was able to actually sell upgrades to these people who don’t realize that the ship they watched was just delivering trash. Herb and Betty are in much better shape now even though Eddie tried to wield Betty’s lies about the babies as a weapon. Shirley was understandably unforgiving of Jack when he confessed that it was all him, and she wasn’t buying any of his empty uplifting sayings, like “What is life without a dream to make it go down easy?” She ultimately got the best revenge possible by telling Joey that Jack was his father, and just as Jack was coming down from the high of saving the day, he got the most brutal rebuff of all from the person whose opinion matters most. This season still has two episodes left, and I’m honestly not sure what’s next for anyone since this moon living thing is still just a fantasy.

Pilot Review: The Night Agent

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: Star Trek: Picard

Star Trek: Picard: Season 3, Episode 6 “Part Six: Bounty” (B+)

The reunions just keep coming, and all three of them happened in a great way in this hour. I grew up with “Reading Rainbow,” so I’m very familiar with LeVar Burton, and it was fun to have Geordi return, angry at Picard that he was having to chase him down. He also had another daughter who was more by-the-book, and both of them ended up working together to harness the cloaking technology from the ship that in turn was going to get them much more unwanted attention. I appreciated Seven’s conversation with Jack about seeing Voyager and how Jack had a similar “knack for poetic drive-by observations” to his father. Picard seems more than happy to add everything to “his tab,” aware that he needs to do whatever he can with the time he has left to protect the most important people in his life. Getting Data back was an exciting development, even if Brent Spiner is one actor we’ve seen much more frequently on this show given his previous role as Dr. Soong. Riker is in quite the predicament in Vadic’s clutches, and he may be forced to cooperate now that she has Deanna as a bargaining chip. Riker being endlessly frustrated by Worf’s newfound pacifism and Worf commenting on going to battle with lovers when Seven and Raffi saw each other again were other highlights of a relatively packed episode in this already overstuffed season. We’re more than halfway through at this point, and I’m sure things are only going to get more intense.

Thursday, March 30, 2023

What I’m Watching: Bel-Air

Bel-Air: Season 2, Episode 5 “Excellence is Everywhere” (B+)

Will hasn’t caught wind of how Jackie manipulated him on behalf of her uncle, but he’s also hardly the most self-aware person. He had no clue that Lisa was still into him and that she might have mistaken his swim lesson flirtation for something that would make it quite surprising to learn that he was dating someone else. It didn’t help that she met and really liked Jackie before realizing who she was, and now she’s going to try to take some time away from Will since she’s not in an emotional place to be just his best friend. Will is also about to alienate another person who is close to him, egged on by Doc’s encouragement not to dismiss the scholarship to turn it into a real thing. That’s sure to devastate Carlton, who’s already hanging on by a thread and is just waiting for something else to disappoint him. Getting those drugs as a supposed peace offering is going to send him down a dangerous road. I’m curious why it is that Phil and Viv are so set on making sure that Geoffrey doesn’t find his son, but Phil is also hiding something from Viv which he should have told her about right away following his hijacked client meeting. Things are looking up for Hilary at the moment work-wise, but it did get quite awkward when her big get turned out to be her ex, another troublesome development in her relationship with Jazz. While Daphne Maxwell Reid was back as the overbearing Helen, it looks like this might be the last we’ll see of another original cast member, Tatyana Ali, since Ms. Hughes has apparently found a great job in Chicago.

What I’m Watching: True Lies

True Lies: Season 1, Episode 4 “Rival Companions” (B)

As this show continues, I’m realizing that I can probably let it go. It’s decent and entertaining enough, but still adheres to a procedural format that makes it far from essential viewing. I did appreciate the guest appearance of Matthew Lillard, who was put to much better use than this irritating and idiotic character on “Good Girls.” Harry was horrified by everything about the Wolf while all of his colleagues were enamored with him, and the fact that he ended up becoming Helen’s new best friend only made things more awkward. She definitely misinterpreted much of what he said since she didn’t know he was an assassin, but she may also have saved her husband’s life because he only appeared to be half-joking when he said he was going to shoot Harry in the back of the head until Helen reminded him that he has a heart. She also made a good point: do dead people care if you shoot them in the back or front of the head? That said, it’s easier to prevent getting shot if you can see it coming. There was plenty of confusion to be had about who was really behind what attacks, and I’m sure the plot of this episode could be used as fodder for conspiracy theorists to argue about the prominence of false flag operations. On the note of operations, it’s good to see that Helen’s hard work has paid off and she doesn’t need to be a lonely trainee anymore, now promoted to full-fledged agent, which is sure to lead to complications of its own. I’d be happy to check back in with this show at some point in the future and don’t mind bidding it farewell for now.

What I’m Watching: The Mandalorian

The Mandalorian: Season 3, Episode 4 “Chapter 20: The Foundling” (B+)

I was pleased to see that this episode ran only thirty-two minutes, which I think is totally fine given that it’s not always necessary to go for close to an hour when there just isn’t that much material there. The abduction by that flying creature of the foundling provided a helpful opportunity for Bo-Katan to show just how resourceful she can be. She also learned the answer to a question I’m sure fans of the series have had since its inception: how do Mandalorians eat without taking off their helmets? Bo-Katan seemed especially lonely when she was told that she got the honor of staying by the fire as the leader of the war party while everyone else had to spread out and find their own space to eat, and she may now be coming around to the original version of “The Way” after receiving a hero’s welcome upon their successful return to the camp. Asking the armorer for a particular request shows that she does believe, just in a slightly different creed, though she also is sure that what she saw wasn’t just a vision but a literal manifestation of something most believe just to be mythical. Grogu got his own piece of armor, whose creation came with an unexpected flashback that featured something we don’t typically get to see on this show: Jedis. I wasn’t familiar with the character of Kelleran Beq, and also didn’t realize he was played by Ahmed Best, the same actor who portrayed Jar Jar Binks in the prequel trilogy.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

What I’m Watching: Ted Lasso

Ted Lasso: Season 3, Episode 2 “(I Don’t Want to Go to) Chelsea” (B+)

The introduction of this new Zava character is interesting because he quickly went from being completely unknown in this show’s universe to now coming to play for Richmond, which is likely to be a bad decision given his terrible personality. Having a star player only works if they’re able to play with a team, and that hardly seems to be the case for someone who told Rebecca how fortunate she was to meet him. She certainly showed her resolve and her ability to get in his head, shouting at him while he was at the urinal and commenting on how he eats too much asparagus. Pissing Rupert off was an inadvertent win, though he’s likely to go to war now that Richmond won’t be considered nearly as much of an underdog as it recently was. Roy’s breakup news got out fast and it wasn’t good that everyone knew that he was the one who broke up with her, and his simultaneous return to Chelsea when Trent Crimm was hanging around asking questions was a lot to deal with which he somehow got through with some helpful prodding from Ted. Keeley navigated a steely relationship with her CFO and her old friend, and showing that she’s able to be creative and positive seems to have improved that dynamic a bit. Other highlights of the episode were Dani’s excitement at scoring a goal with his face and no one getting Ted’s perfectly calibrated Hallmark movie reference. Rebecca getting mad at Higgins for jinxing things repeatedly was fun too.

What I’m Watching: Superman and Lois

Superman and Lois: Season 3, Episode 2 “Uncontrollable Forces” (B+)

Things have certainly changed from an optimistic excitement about Lois potentially being pregnant to her being diagnosed with a very advanced form of cancer. It’s unlikely that she would actually die given this show’s name and its potential continuation for another season or two, but that doesn’t mean things might not get bad first. And after a conversation with someone who didn’t perceive him to be the hero most people do, Clark is sure to be struggling with the fact that there’s nothing he can do to help Lois despite his many superhuman abilities. Lana also faced her own brush with death when she was on the phone with George Dean while he was killed. It was nice to see Lana and Henry get to spend some time together and enjoy the vegan tortellini he made for Natalie before she bolted for Metropolis, and there’s nothing like nearly being killed to make going to a high school party seem entirely insignificant. Sarah and Natalie becoming good friends is a helpful development, though it’s also good to see Sarah and Jordan be on good terms since that would have been a very uncomfortable dynamic to deal with for the foreseeable future. Jonathan wasn’t so lucky when he assumed he was in the same situation, but it’s probably best that this group not go back to Metropolis to antagonize the locals again anytime soon. I like that Chrissy thinks paperweights can prevent Superman’s gush of wind from blowing over all her papers, but it would probably just be helpful if he waited to whisk her off until he went outside.

What I’m Watching: How I Met Your Father

How I Met Your Father: Season 2, Episode 9 “The Welcome Protocol” (B)

This group really does have their specific traditions, and apparently meeting a new significant other is a very big deal. The guy who confesses his true love for just about every girl he meets wanting to invoke the welcome protocol for someone new shouldn’t have come as a surprise, but the bigger twist was that everyone actually loved her. Jesse, on the other hand, was not so enamored, and so they had to do the fake emergency protocol, which he thought she was doing too when her grandmother had a medical emergency but that’s what it actually was. I enjoyed seeing Jessy Hodges, from “Indebted” and “Barry,” as Dana, who I’d like to hope we could see again but doesn’t seem likely to return based on how things ended. Jesse will also apparently be pursuing Sophie now, something that I’m all for but which is poorly timed given her newfound romance with Robert, played by John Corbett, well known for “Sex and the City” but who I liked best in “Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll.” It was also fun to see Wendie Malick in a role that’s radically different from the one she’s currently playing on “Shrinking,” and which has now given Valentina a new function that will endear her to one of the meanest people in the business. Sophie repeatedly spilling sauce on people’s dresses so that they would change felt somewhat formulaic, but it was crucial for the barely clothed closet run-in between Sophie and Robert.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

What I’m Watching: Perry Mason

Perry Mason: Season 2, Episode 3 “Chapter 11” (B+)

I had neglected to recognize the actor playing Brooks’ rather menacing father Lydell, and I now see that it’s Paul Reci, the Oscar nominee from “Sound of Metal” who is rather terrifying here. That he opted to speak directly to Perry and threaten him without much subtlety only makes him a more intense villain, and he knows far too much about the private investigator who’s now working to defend the men accused of killing his son. Continuing to convict the brothers because of the severity of the crime and not any proof that they did it, the prosecutor tried to speed up the trial only for Perry to once again not endear himself to the judge, who really isn’t having any of Perry trying to one-up him in the legal department. Being told that it’s best to kill a nobody wasn’t a very kind sentiment, and this is going to be an even more uphill battle than it initially seemed. Perry is always pushing buttons he shouldn’t be, mentioning Sandhaven and getting himself in trouble, and he’s far too entangled with Holcomb, someone he knows is crooked but whose involvement he just can’t prove. Della was not pleased to learn that Emily took her own life after sending Perry letters telling him she was going to do it, and that he had known about this for months without telling her. Their other top ally, Paul, made a startling realization of his own, and things continue to get darker on this show that’s always interesting and manages to find the seediness in situations that might appear far cleaner and more savory on the surface.

Pilot Review: Marie Antoinette

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 Company You Keep

The Company You Keep: Season 1, Episode 4 “All In” (B+)

Well, one major piece of information just came out in a blunt and irreversible way. Charlie had the perfect reaction to being asked if he knew that Emma was a CIA officer - “I do now” - and he handled it pretty well. The revelation that he was in prison in Nicaragua hardly compares, even if Emma did acknowledge it was a big part of his life that he hadn’t yet shared with her. Charlie still showing up to the campaign event was a sign that he’s very much into Emma and, as he’s expressed to his family, interested in going straight for someone else for the first time in his life. She definitely looked straight at him when he drove past her in the ski mask and appeared to recognize him, but it’s unlikely that she realized it was him and is just playing him right now. Connor and Daphne’s feud is affecting the Nicoletti family in an unproductive way that may force them to con more people and put themselves in danger repeatedly even if they should be done with them by this point. Charlie played it very cool when Daniel Sunjata’s Robert Renway bumped into him looking quite different from his cover alias, and that major theft worked out well since he didn’t implicate himself, even though his father did slip during the job. I was also pleased to recognize Marin Hinkle from “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” as Claire Fox, whose support David now has even though there are already strings attached to it.

Monday, March 27, 2023

What I’m Watching: Your Honor (Series Finale)

Your Honor: Season 2, Episode 10 “Part Twenty” (B-)

Now we’re at the very end, and I’m not convinced that this season was necessary. It’s not that it was bad, since it’s certainly more compelling than a good portion of what airs on television these days, but it just didn’t feel impactful or interesting enough at any point. Just as in the first episode when Adam hit and killed Rocco, it was about people caught in a destructive spiral who were affecting each other negatively without any intention to do so, and the actual villains taking advantage of the situation. Eugene telling Michael that he was sorry about Adam should have been enough to end this whole charade, but the truth is that innocent people got hurt as a result of Michael’s actions even more than Adam’s, since the cover-up then caused the Baxter family to retaliate against the alleged offender, who in truth had nothing to do with any of this. Charlie was mostly absent from this finale and got away without any consequences, while Eugene was offered witness protection, something he deserves because he could actually start over and make a good life for himself. Michael confessing Adam’s guilt didn’t really help anyone, nor did it have much of an impact on anyone. It’s not surprising that Gina would wield her father as a weapon against her husband, taking them both out of her life but apparently not killing Jimmy off just yet, and allowing Big Mo to operate as long as she didn’t have to see her. I can’t imagine a third season is in the works given the very purposeful announcement of this season as the show’s last, and even though I watched this whole run, I could probably resist tuning back in for more of the same.

Season grade: B-
Season MVP: Hope Davis as Gina

Pilot Review: Lucky Hank

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: Party Down

Party Down: Season 3, Episode 4 “KSGY-95 Prizewinner's Luau” (B+)

This show is certainly dialing up the creativity of its party hosts, going from Nazis to a sting operation where everyone there was actually going to be headed to jail rather than to see a performance by Sting. There were great guest stars as usual, particularly Judy Reyes as Sacker and Bobby Moynihan as Mattea. That everyone took mushrooms during the party only made things crazier, and I like that Sackson freaked out the most after deciding to live-stream his trip. Evie and Henry made the episode, discussing the Douglas Fir spinoff “Manputer,” worrying that Sackson was drowning, and Henry confusing John Krasinski with Ted Kaczynski when he was trying to list off people who were worse than Evie. Roman’s paranoia turned out to be very real, and his involvement in the Jeff Daniels was reluctant and unsurprisingly unhelpful. I loved the back-and-forth between Lucy and Ron when she presented her latest item that was most definitely not food and in fact just paper. It’s a wonder that this company is still in business for many reasons, but among the most prominent at the moment is that their chef is actively working to deliver something other than food at every party. The best pre-mushrooms sentiment was how actors don’t need people’s approval when in fact that’s expressly what auditions are. I would have thought this crew would try taking drugs to get through a boring party sooner - and it’s very possible they did and I just don’t remember - but it fit very neatly in this show’s ridiculous world.

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Pilot Review: Swarm

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: Shrinking

Shrinking: Season 1, Episode 9 “Moving Forward” (B+)

He didn’t get to do much aside from help Paul start to process his career achievement award, but it was great to see “Scrubs” alumnus Neil Flynn at the start of the episode. Paul really didn’t want to be put out to pasture, but thanks to the unwelcome advice of everyone around him, he made two terrific decisions: to invite his doctor Julie to come away with him for the weekend and to decide not to go accept the award in Las Vegas but instead fly in for his grandson’s play, which astounded and delighted his daughter. The best scene of the episode was definitely Gaby holding her mouth open in shock and celebrating that she would now be able to have sex forever. Not getting back together with Nico was the right decision, but opting to sleep with Jimmy again was somewhat more questionable. People do seem to be headed in the right direction overall, with Sean now launching his catering business with the help of reluctantly silent investor Liz and his friend Alice, who used the rock that Liz gave her (and won’t give Gaby yet) to convince her to do this for her. Liz does need something to do given that she’s ready to kill Derek every time he asks her to walk to the mailbox or just wants to look at a tree, and it would be good to get to see that big retirement party with people who actually like Derek and don’t just use him as a punching bag. Jimmy being reinstated as Brian’s officiant is a positive development, but it did reveal that, though he’ll be attending his son’s wedding, his father, played by Brian Howe from “Kevin Can F**k Himself,” would rather not be seen up there with him. Alice and Jimmy having another listening party was very sweet, even if Alice wasn’t quick to forgive herself for forgetting her mother’s birthday.

What I’m Watching: Hello Tomorrow!

Hello Tomorrow: Season 1, Episode 7 “Another Day, Another Apocalypse” (B+)

Buck’s escape from his facility was bad news for everyone, and even if Jack managed to locate him by episode’s end, he’s also essentially confirmed to Shirley something she would never have even thought to suspect: that he’s in on all of it. That he’s the only one behind any of it is sure to make her very angry, but she also recognizes that she’s complicit in a deception that has affected many people, even if she didn’t know she was lying to them. Mildred breaking in to steal the register of every customer made for a vicious gathering of wronged people who demanded answers, and Herb was certainly not equipped to handle that all by himself. In a show of loyalty to the man she still wants to be with, Betty came up with a solution that ultimately didn’t help anyone, stealing the money from Eddie and then presenting it to the mob as if they were just going to split it evenly and be happy. If that group is still there when Jack and Shirley do return, it’s not going to be good, and she’s going to have to decide quickly which side of this she wants to be on before they turn on her too. Elle could still be an interesting lifeline for Jack, but the public nature of the customer base protest isn’t likely to be entirely contained even by the vast class differences between them and her, suggestive conversations about magicians with no hats and no rabbits notwithstanding.

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Pilot Review: Extrapolations

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: Star Trek: Picard

Star Trek: Picard: Season 3, Episode 5 “Part Five: Imposters” (B+)

This is the final season of a show that seems largely intent on wrapping up this part of Star Trek history, so I assumed that any and all characters were fair game. While we have now officially lost Ro Laren, reports of Worf’s demise were premature, thanks to his expert managing of his blood loss and his heart rate. I don’t think I ever saw Michelle Forbes as Ro in the original series but I’m familiar with her character, and I’ve watched the actress in other series like “True Blood” and “The Killing.” I also know that Maquis were intricately involved in the opening episodes of “Star Trek: Voyager.” Even without the full context, the fact that Picard and Ro were able to tell without a doubt that they were who they said they would because of the anger they felt towards each other meant something, and it also allowed Ro to share her fears about what was really going on. While she didn’t make it, we did learn that her contact was Worf, so things are now finally starting to unite and will bring all our characters back together. Beverly’s discovery about the nature of the changelings and them not being able to be identified is not good news for anyone, and Jack is also in real trouble as he’s going around shooting people without any knowledge of whether they’re really changelings or not. Hopefully getting Raffi and Worf on the team will help tilt the balance of power in favor of our heroes.

What I’m Watching: Bel-Air

Bel-Air: Season 2, Episode 4 “Don’t Kill My Vibe” (B+)

It’s good to see that Carlton was able to get the truth out there about his panic attack and start a movement at school for people to talk about mental health, but unfortunately he seems to think that Yazmin not knowing any of that means that she doesn’t actually support him. We’ve seen from the look on her face when he was yelling at Drew that she does, but the choice to delete her number is one that will serve to isolate him when he could most use someone in his life. I did enjoy that he had his own bowling ball, something that bothered Will when it turned out that he wasn’t nearly as skilled. Getting suspended and kicked off the team was a poor start, and Phil was not at all happy when Viv went in to ask Doc to call. Phil was able to change the contract to Will’s advantage and make it so that they could start working together, but unfortunately we also found out that Will’s new girlfriend Jackie was playing Will at the behest of her uncle, which is sure to eventually come out and crush him. Hilary did her best to impress Jazz’s parents by learning everything she could about Islam, but she would have been better to work on her rollout of that information rather than trying way too hard and making them question her Wikipedia regurgitation in the process. Fortunately, that’s one relationship that seems like it might be able to last even if it’s an unlikely coupling.

Friday, March 24, 2023

Take Three: True Lies

True Lies: Season 1, Episode 3 “Separate Pairs” (B)

Not being able to afford fixing your home sink certainly does feel all the more ridiculous when you’re outfitted in absurdly expensive clothing on an international mission just to maintain a cover. Helen’s adjustment to spy life is a major one, and her obsessive reading of the training manual has also prepared her well for field work, even if things don’t always work out so neatly in the heart of the moment. Telling Harry that he shouldn’t drive and shoot at the same time was a humorous lead-up to him doing something that most definitely was not in the training manual but was what he thought would be most useful given the circumstances. Helen also pivoted impressively to a new cover identity when she realized that the woman they were working with wouldn’t respond to their original plan, and fortunately Harry was able to switch along with her so that they could pull this whole thing off. Professing to be more involved in house stuff was a nice gesture, though I’m not sure why it was that they needed to take a bath with all the money since it really just felt like a way of avoiding their real problems and a silly use of time. The supporting characters have yet to really pop and stand out, but it’s clear that Luther and Maria have a lot to work through, and it would best if they tried to do it when they both awake and not on comms that everyone else could hear right in the middle of an operation.

What I’m Watching: Not Dead Yet

Not Dead Yet: Season 1, Episode 7 “Not Out of the Game Yet” (B+)

This episode featured two great guest stars, both from other ABC series that I’ve enjoyed. Tony Plana, who played announcer Carlos Garza, big fan of the baseball metaphors, was an endearing fixture on “Ugly Betty” before turning to more villainous roles in recent years, and Carlos G√≥mez appeared on a much shorter-lived recent series that I would have enjoyed watching for much longer, “The Baker and the Beauty.” It’s no surprise that Nell’s father is someone who appears to have high expectations but actually is entirely impressed by everything his daughter is doing, which he was clued in to by the always helpful Edward. She has been quite distracted lately, but it’s admittedly hard to drive and watch the road when people keep turning up in your backseat without any warning. Lexi has her own issues with her father that she’s not very good at hiding, and those came out in another vulnerable way with Nell around when she was the one to speak up about the detrimental nature of these performance reviews. They’re doing enough together that Lexi and Nell might have to start becoming friends soon, though for now Lexi is going to depend on her actual bestie Sam to keep that secret about how she fired her father and she doesn’t expect him to find out about it for a few weeks. That’s what he gets for telling one of his underlings to stay on the phone and cough every once in a while to make it seem like he’s there and listening.

What I’m Watching: Abbott Elementary

Abbott Elementary: Season 2, Episode 19 “Festival” (B+)

This episode had a fun trajectory with the fight to prevent Abbott from going charter, and I like that it was ultimately the overenthusiasm of the man trying hardest to push the charter change that ended up undoing it all. Janine expressing that she was very good at canvassing because people always open the door for her thinking she’s a lost child didn’t lead to much success, though everyone’s favorite parent Krystal was happy to take up the cause. Ava got very into AVAFEST even though she didn’t bother telling anyone else that she was listening to their idea about lying to the parents with a fake celebrity guest. It was surprising that Barbara was the one who suggested tricking the community into signing, something Janine objected to, and Gregory ended up saving the day by booking someone he really didn’t like to come as the entertainment. Tariq isn’t bright but he knows his audience, and he did a great job of challenging Draemond when he tried to upstage him. The scoreboard falling was not a great sign, but theoretically this crisis has been temporarily averted. I can’t imagine that Ava will con someone else into giving her a job she doesn’t deserve, but interviewing with Legendary to be their new Chief Marketing Officer shows that she is not at all tethered to her current position. Melissa stapling letters to her kids’ jackets and Mr. Morton hugging Jacob only to apparently still hate him were other dependable highlights of the episode.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

What I’m Watching: The Flash

The Flash: Season 9, Episode 6 “The Good, the Bad, and the Lucky” (B)

I realized at one point how interesting it was that none of these characters were around at the start of this show, since technically speaking Khione is someone different from Caitlin, especially since she’s not human. That this series has evolved that much from its start is both a good and a bad thing, partially since it’s gone on past it should have in terms of much of its storyline. I also take issue with the fact that Cecile was obsessing over missing the last train when she could easily just have asked Barry to come back from his neverending babymoon to spirit her back home. That was a technical issue that I didn’t find relatable, though at least she managed to get a lot accomplished while she was late for Jenna’s birthday. She and Allegra make a good team, and this was a fun opportunity to see a former villain turn into someone good because she’s in love. It’s hard to keep track of which characters we’ve seen before and which are new, but this is definitely the theme of this show’s final season: redemption for old characters who are now, willingly or unwillingly, on the other side of the law. Becky experiencing only bad luck because of the stone embedded in her engagement ring was a decent twist, though the rules of who it affects were bent a little much to be inconvenient at the start and then helpful towards the end. Let’s bring back Barry and Iris and get this show on the road for the last half of the season.

What I’m Watching: The Mandalorian

The Mandalorian: Season 3, Episode 3 “Chapter 19: The Convert” (B)

I’m still not entirely feeling the pacing of this show, which I know people have loved since it started this whole obsessive Star Wars TV universe, but I am happy to see that Katee Sackhoff is now a firmly enmeshed part of a second sci-fi series (see “Battlestar Galactica” now if you haven’t). Bo-Katan seeing her home bombed and having to follow Mando back to the jump coordinates he sent means that she may be looking for purpose, though her being redeemed without wanting to be doesn’t necessarily put her in a good place. Mando suggesting that she keep her helmet on so that they wouldn’t get into trouble was a humorous moment, but also one that stands in the face of her interpretation of “The Way.” At least the two of them weren’t the only focus of the episode as we got to check back in with Dr. Pershing and Elia Kane after the events of the second season. It’s strange to think of Empire officials being mainstreamed in a New Republic program that offers them housing and a chance to restart, known only by numbers and not by their own identities. After Elia convinced him to touch the monument so that the droid would pop up to yell at him, it seemed like they were in a good place, but the whole time, she was just setting him up so that she could watch him be tortured and contribute a bit herself. This is the reason the galaxy needs heroes to do the right thing. It’s hard to find people who aren’t eager to indulge in bad impulses when the opportunity presents itself.

What I’m Watching: Ted Lasso (Season Premiere)

Ted Lasso: Season 3, Episode 1 “Smells Like Mean Spirit” (B+)

It’s great to have this show back, even if that happy fact comes with the knowledge that this is the last season premiere it will ever offer. Three seasons is not a long run, but it’s also a purposeful arc that the creators have always been upfront about, and which it’s highly unlikely they’ll decide to change. Ted sitting sad in the airport with his son next to him did keep his mind preoccupied for a good portion of the episode, but fortunately he hasn’t lost much of his sense of positivity. I laughed out loud for a few seconds when he responded to Rebecca’s angry analysis of her main rival’s prospects by asking if Rupert was going to play this year, and taking the team into the sewer systems may have been exactly the motivation they needed. It wasn’t great fo repress, however, and Nate, who has now had the car Rupert almost towed replaced with a fancy gift, was eager to take advantage of his onetime boss and mentor’s misfortune to appease his new bad role model, Rupert. Ted handled things very well by refusing to give in and dish it back, instead endearing himself to the entire room by joking with himself as the target. Keeley is definitely in over her head at her new company, with no idea what a CFO was until Rebecca came and told her, and the more interesting development is that she and Roy are apparently separating. I loved Phoebe’s reaction in the car and the look on Roy’s face, two things that suggest Richmond AFC isn’t the only underdog to root for this season.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Pilot Review: Gotham Knights

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: Superman and Lois (Season Premiere)

Superman and Lois: Season 3, Episode 1 “Closer” (B)

It’s strange to have this show continuing and officially not part of the Arrowverse when the CW is essentially shutting down and all those other shows are done. The introduction immediately handled the recasting of Jonathan Kent by having Clark clarify who he was at the fortress, and that change doesn’t feel as distracting as I thought it might. We’re getting to watch him learn to drive from Lois, who purports that Clark is a bad driver, while Clark gets to work with Jordan on flying straight home and not going to foreign countries to try to save people’s lives when he’s not fully ready to do so on his own. As usual, the specific nature of the threat that Superman and company are facing isn’t clear, but there’s more than enough drama to go around even without superpowers and interdimensional villains. Lana is hard at work as the new mayor and finding out that messing with the wrong people may have consequences, even if she’s still determined to do so. Sam’s effort to take an interest in Natalie didn’t go well since he wanted to bolster her academic prospects and not have a familial relationship, but that wrong may still be able to be righted. Chrissy sleeping with Kyle is an unexpected development, one with the potential to create awkwardness and add a bit of levity to a show that’s typically best when it doesn’t take itself all that seriously. We’ll see how enticing this season ends up being.

What I’m Watching: How I Met Your Father

How I Met Your Father: Season 2, Episode 8 “Rewardishment” (B-)

This episode felt the most sitcom-esque of any installment I’ve seen yet, which I’m not sure is a great thing. Jesse and Sid are friends who stand by their traditions (as did the characters on the original series), but it hardly seemed necessary for them to require each other to overcome a major fear by the end of the night and to punish themselves with a truly disgusting - and clearly unhealthy - consequence of drinking the drippings. Sid’s commitment to the clock felt like a rule no one else should have respected, even if they did all motivate themselves to change long-standing behaviors just because of peer pressure. That Sophie and Valentina didn’t drive felt unrealistic, even if they were city people who had just never bothered to learn, and it was unsurprising that Sophie found herself in a critical situation where she had to do so and couldn’t quite deliver. Charlie’s inability to shave properly was the most absurd reason they had to go to the hospital, underlining just how much this is a “situation” comedy where everyone somehow gets themselves into absurd scenarios that would surely never happen in real life. The universal appeal of mega-bed also felt like something that they could just have done anyway, but, alas, that’s not how things work in the world of this show. I would at least rather spend time back in the present with this crowd rather than in the future where Sophie has turned into someone much more confident about her own obnoxious habits and tendencies.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

What I’m Watching: Perry Mason

Perry Mason: Season 2, Episode 2 “Chapter Ten” (B+)

It’s interesting to see Perry drawn in to a case that he wasn’t trying to be a part of, but he’s also exactly the right man to defend Rafael and Mateo Gallardo, who are most certainly not guilty but are being portrayed that way in the press and the courtroom. Perry nearly got himself into trouble by telling the judge what was prejudicial, and now these brothers have essentially been convicted by the severity of the crime they’re accused of, rather than proven to actually have committed it. This show’s cast keeps getting better and better, with Hope Davis chewing plenty of scenery in a very different way than she’s been doing throughout season two of “Your Honor,” and Katherine Waterston showing up as the teacher who was more than ready to answer all of Perry’s condescending accusations with confirmation that she really does care about her students. I was impressed with Perry for figuring out how to save his own life when he ran into Detective Holcomb on the boat and then he told his boys to “give him a tour.” Raising a toast to him so that everyone knew his name was smart, and now Perry has firmly established himself as someone who can’t be killed. Charlie Goldstein, on the other hand, wasn’t so lucky, and this case is likely to only get more sinister. Paul and Pete need to work on their open communication so that they can work together and ensure each other’s safety, and as always, Hamilton got the best line of the episode when he questioned whether Della telling him that he sounded like a DA was a compliment or an insult.

Pilot Review: A Spy Among Friends

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 (Penultimate Episode)

Your Honor: Season 2, Episode 9 “Part Nineteen” (B)

It’s certainly interesting to hear Lee explain the chain of events that has transpired on this show, with Eugene being declared dead and Adam’s murder solved, only to then have him reappear and now be on trial for that same murder. She’s leaving out a crucial detail, which is that Adam was the one who started this entire cycle of violence by crashing into Rocco and then covering up, something that Lee is now holding Michael personally responsible for even though he now wants to tell the truth. Paul Schulze from “24” and “The Punisher” was a great choice to play the irritable judge who reminded the two lawyers that the most annoying part of his job was having to deal with them before chastising them both about the potential risks of compelling Michael to testify. Olivia approaching Fia had the opposite effect from what she wanted, and now Jimmy is pulling out of his deal with Charlie while still theoretically preparing to confide in his unlikely new right-hand advisor. Talking about his legitimate business reminded me of “The Good Wife,” and, as Carlo tried to detail about his naive smuggling concept, there’s still going to be plenty of illegality inherently involved in all of it. Lil Mo made an important decision to stand by Big Mo when he got asked to choose a side in the brewing coup, and that revolt has now been quelled with a pointed execution, one that leaves Big Mo in charge but has cost her an important part of her personal life.

Monday, March 20, 2023

What I’m Watching: The Last of Us (Season Finale)

The Last of Us: Season 1, Episode 9 “Look for the Light” (B+)

I’m always perplexed by seasons with nine episodes since it feels like an even number, or something like thirteen, but that doesn’t tend to impact the quality of the final hour. I know some were also disappointed with the shorter runtime of this particular installment, but I appreciate the fact that storytelling takes exactly as long as it needs to, and there’s no reason that a season ender wouldn’t happen to run closer to forty-three minutes than an hour. I’m continually impressed by this show’s ability to make each episode mean so much with just two main characters, and the introduction of one and the demise of another only make it more about only the two of them. Ashley Johnson from “Blindspot” was a great choice to play Anna, whose birthing situation explains the root of her immunity, and Marlene was the link between her and Joel, promising her friend that she would take care of her daughter only to later plan to use what she had inside her to help the greater population. Joel did not hold back and killed a lot of innocent people when he rescued Ellie from likely braindeath, and though all those people are dead and can’t tell Ellie that he lied to her, his protective nature is sure to come back to haunt him eventually. This has been a formidable first season with some truly terrific guest stars and I’m eagerly awaiting more of this show along with a large percentage of the TV-watching populace.

Season grade: A-
Season MVP: Bella Ramsey as Ellie

What I’m Watching: Party Down

Party Down: Season 3, Episode 3 “First Annual PI2A Symposium” (B+)

It took me a while to realize who it was playing Stuart, the relatively nice leader of the Nazi-adjacent group putting on the conference, and I now realize that it was Calum Worthy, who was a great part of Hulu’s sadly short-lived “Reboot.” It’s not great that there were so few objections to working with Nazis from the catering team, but Lucy was the one who got most upset and hatched a plan to poison the protesters. While Kyle opted to go out and deliver that food and could have screwed everything up, it was helpful that they weren’t actually protesters at all but instead people hired to drum up press for the event by Stuart himself. It was great to see Nick Offerman, husband of Megan Mullally and former “Parks and Recreation” costar of Adam Scott, as Dermott, the speaker who was very much into naming and praising Hitler and was able to get that permitted by Stuart when he ended up having to foot the bill since Stuart didn’t have any money to pay the caterers. After showing up with that questionable check engine light mention, Henry seemed like he wasn’t in great shape, being pulled in multiple directions by his students and by Evie, who showed up at precisely the wrong moment. But then he did exactly what he needed to in order to get them paid and show his students that he’s worth taking seriously, since acting can be very convenient and persuasive at times.

Pilot Review: UnPrisoned

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, March 19, 2023

What I’m Watching: Shrinking

Shrinking: Season 1, Episode 8 “Boop” (B+)

We don’t often get to see Jimmy really get angry since he’s typically the one apologizing to other people, and therefore that was a welcome thing when Brian chose to deliver the bad news that he didn’t want Jimmy to officiate his wedding as planned while he was behind the wheel and they were looking for Alice. He also, at Paul’s urging, opted to be the hardass, serious parent he never is with Alice when she expected not to have any consequences for sneaking out to go to meet some college guy. Responding to her declaring her hatred for him by shouting his love for her was sweet, and it was good to see him feel some sense of fulfillment. While Paul isn’t doing a great job of keeping up his own family relationships, it was fun to see him delight in the opportunity to just stand there and terrify the college guy who believed that Alice was old enough and needed to be sufficiently scared. Jimmy telling him that she was twelve was pretty hilarious, as was Brian protesting when Paul made a comment that seemed to imply that they were the same age. Liz and Sean were great companions for Gaby as she made the questionable decision to go to Nico’s art show, and things went okay for a portion of the night. She really went all in when the gallery owner that she had liked earlier turned out to be Nico’s new girlfriend and apparent muse, and this was a superb showcase for actress Jessica Williams should she get a very well-deserved Emmy nomination for this terrific performance.

What I’m Watching: Hello Tomorrow!

Hello Tomorrow! Season 1, Episode 6 “The Numbers Behind the Numbers” (B+)

I appreciated this opportunity for an expository flashback, one that showed how Jack was fired from his previous job and hatched his scheme after looking out his window and seeing the promise of the sky. Trying to feed his tie into the automatic sink so that it would end up sucking him in too was a dark development that didn’t feel like the Jack we know, but there’s also a clear detachment from reality that Joey was able to see when he confronted Jack about everything and his only response was an overly optimistic “it’s getting realer every day.” Shirley is the one who might be able to save all of them by figuring out a way to sell enough units to pay the old customers back, though she’s likely to change her tune if she learns that Jack is the one who has been lying to her all along. It’s also distinctly possible that their new mark Elle will either not be interested or pull her money when she finds out it’s a scam, and there’s also the emotional impact on people who have become so invested in the idea of going to the moon that, like Mildred, they don’t want a refund. Joel Marsh Garland’s Hank was one such example, and we also saw how Jack has some serious issues from his past to deal with that Michael Paul Chan’s Walt was working on with him regarding the loss of his father. Mildred and Lester are an intense team, and her sincere laughter after being electrocuted suggests that she is extremely intent on taking them down, no matter how much pain the process might cause her.

What I’m Watching: Ghosts

Ghosts: Season 2, Episode 17 “Weekend from Hell” (B+)

It was fun to see Matt Walsh, who was at SXSW for his dad less flamboyant role in the upcoming Hulu film “Flamin’ Hot,” back again as Elias, who really is just about the worst possible person. I’m convinced that the document he got Pete to sign was made up all along, but that he really could have dragged him back to hell with him as he tried to do at the end there. Making him think that Little Pete was in an accident was particularly cruel, and Pete gets picked up far too much as it is and doesn’t deserve that kind of stress in his (after)life. It doesn’t help that Hetty is probably the most stubborn ghost and didn’t want to do anything to risk having Elias back in her life. Getting Thor to threaten to lock him in the vault again was an effective scare tactic, though I have a feeling we may see him again sometime down the road. I like that Jay so wants to be a part of things that he read Pete’s family newsletter out loud, unaware that everyone was moving on to other things, and it would be helpful if the ghosts actually tried to helped him out by paying attention to what he was doing when he thought he was alone. Accidentally walking through Flower and making a delicious meal he could never hope to recreate was a humorous setup, and I love that Sam was able to show her support by getting her specific Star Wars references right and telling him to kiss her like “I’m your sister.”

Thursday, March 16, 2023

What I’m Watching: Star Trek: Picard

Star Trek: Picard: Season 3, Episode 4 “No Win Scenario” (B+)

There’s something appealing about the repetitive nature of things on this show and the general Star Trek universe, which made Jack’s appearance in the crowd of eager students cornering Picard in the bar five years feel all the more emphatic. That Riker had heard the story about the daring escape pulled off by Picard and Jake’s namesake only added to that, and he once again managed to pull off a near-impossible feat with the help of a carefully-calibrated Beverly and a creative Jack. Earlier on, Jack wasn’t taking things seriously and just wanted to know when Picard went bald (I believe that such things are inherited from a mother’s father, but no matter), but then he turned out to be much more attuned to what was really happening in the moment. It does appear, however, that he shares some less physical bond with whatever it is that’s pursuing him, which gave me flashbacks to the Red Forest from “12 Monkeys,” another show that featured the great Todd Stashwick. Shaw expressed a great deal of resentment about Picard’s past actions as Locutus but then seemed to appreciate Picard giving him a hard time and sprung into action to work with Seven on something only someone of his rank and age actually knew. Seven was smart to spot an Ensign La Forge impersonator who didn’t know to call her Commander Seven out of respect, and it seems that, the Jack mental flash aside, this crew is safe for the time being.

What I’m Watching: Bel-Air

Bel-Air: Season 2, Episode 3 “Compromised” (B+)

I feel most bad for Carlton in all of this because he’s legitimately trying to push himself outside his comfort zone and experiencing the unfortunately-timed resurgence of crippling anxiety while his meds are being recalibrated. Negotiating with the administration to have a walkout that was only symbolic and not intended to actually procure action was never going to be effective, and Yasmin, Drew, and Will all seemed to know that. Will hanging that “Black Teachers Matter” banner was very emphatic and will be sure to both get him into trouble and ensure that this won’t be swept under the rug. Phil and Viv seemed shocked and a bit perturbed when Mrs. Hughes showed up at the house to advocate for her own reinstatement, and I think everyone is trying to follow the rules just enough to be able to reshape them. It’s a good thing also that Will was able to pivot from being the showy one-man star of his team to someone who brought them together enough to protest with him for a cause that mattered to him. This may inadvertently jeopardize Will’s basketball prospects, but hopefully knowing that he’s doing the right thing and making a difference will help him see the big picture. While Hilary is having some serious trouble with Ivy that will likely soon lead to an uncrossable bridge in their relationship, she did help Viv come to a much better decision than partnering with Hilary, which was to hire a very willing and competent Lisa to be her assistant.

What I’m Watching: History of the World, Part II (Series Finale)

History of the World, Part II: Season 1, Episode 8 “Part VIII” (B+)

I’m considering this the series finale even if I do hope that a second installment comes through, especially given the trailers we saw at the end which were similar to the same teaser at the close of the 1981 film so many decades ago. I think that “Jews in Space” was one of the strongest and funniest segments of the whole series, with Sarah Silverman not being able to fly when it might always be sundown and Ike Barinholtz putting the lox on the controls. Nick Kroll asking Wanda Sykes if she was allowed to be there was also another highlight, and we got a great send-up of the way Jews are portrayed in history with Jillian Bell’s marketing meeting for the Jesus movie, which saw them recast him as more “fair-skinned and relatable” and make it clearer that the Jews and not the Romans were the bad guys. Christianity really has been an effective target of this show. Barinholtz’s Teddy Roosevelt workout routine was sort of fun, and we got one more Shirley segment to bring it all home. I appreciated the opening bit with Lennon Parham trying to hit through the Berlin Wall and it ending up being just Kroll’s bathroom. Those short bits are really the best, and I’d love to see more of those in a theoretical season that should go into production right away while the energy is still hot and this series is hopefully attracting new fans who definitely weren’t even born (myself included) when part one was released.

Series grade: B+
Series MVP: Nick Kroll

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

What I’m Watching: History of the World: Part II (Penultimate Episode)

History of the World, Part II: Season 1, Episode 7 “Part VII” (B)

This show is billed as a limited series, and even though that doesn’t mean much these days since so many successful programs intended for just one outing end up getting renewed, I think this likely will be it since it’s dependent on Mel Brooks’ participation. I appreciated the first sketch much more than anything else in this episode, a humorous take on the Oslo Accords and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, which is no small feat. The Oscar-winning short film “West Bank Story” did accomplish it, and it’s perhaps no surprise that food is also at the center of this effective parody. The closing joke about who invented hummus ended up being a true sticking point, and I enjoyed the contributions of everyone around the table, including Michaela Watkins as the Israeli representative. We’ve gotten past more of our recurring bits at this point, but Shirley still got to experience more as she was pulled between two equally resistant potential endorsements and a weekend getaway where she wasn’t supposed to be working. The Jesus recording sessions are not my favorite, but I did enjoy the suggestion of dropping accents (we also got to see that angry Red Sox fan who didn’t believe this was a Mel Brooks show again). The Typhoid Mary cooking channel was moderately entertaining, and I think that the Sister Wives of Kublain Khan is a lot more fun if you’re familiar with reality television, which I am not. I’m hopeful for a satisfying finale that highlights the best of what this show has offered.

Round Two: True Lies

True Lies: Season 1, Episode 2 “Public Secrets” (B)

It didn’t take very long for personal relationships to come up with a married couple together on a mission, but that’s why this show is so fun. Helen tapping out during training ended up being a helpful experience for what she needed to do when her life was really in danger and she went for her assailant’s ear. It was definitely awkward that Jimena was the cartographer that they needed to work with on their first mission together, but things ended in a sweet way after she didn’t kill Helen and instead revealed that Harry had apparently left her for someone else: Helen. Harry’s reaction to meeting Harold was very funny, upset that he essentially had the same name as him and that Helen thought he was smarter than him. That both exes were ultimately relieved that they were dumped for a spy was an entertaining ending to all of it. Getting intel reports from their neighbor about what their kids were up to was certainly distracting, and that’s likely going to become a regular thing since they’ll undoubtedly be going on many missions together. My prediction is that the drive with the video that they wouldn’t want to watch is going to be found by the kids, who will then discover that their parents are spies, if that’s even what their first suspicion is. This show is somewhat light and unserious, but I’m willing to give it a few more episodes to see how enjoyable it ultimately proves to be.

What I’m Watching: Not Dead Yet

Not Dead Yet: Season 1, Episode 6 “Not Ready to Share Yet” (B)

I’m still very much not sold on Lexi as a believable character, and while this is a sitcom and not everything is supposed to be taken literally or as if it could really exist, it’s still quite distracting. This episode sought to humanize her a bit as she went into panic mode when she found out that her father was coming into town and tried to change everything to suit his needs, only for him not to show up and her to alienate her best friend Sam in the process. When Nell got pushed by her puppet lady obituary friend to go comfort her, Lexi was still mean to her while explaining the pain of being mean to Sam, and I suppose that’s just a relationship we’ll have to accept, with Nell eternally bearing the brunt of Lexi’s nonsensical absurdity while watching her best friend spend time with someone else, often at the expense of their own time. Nell could have pushed Sam much harder when things fell apart, and it’s a credit to her that she didn’t. Sam also seemed perfectly capable of spiraling out on her own, and it’s fun to see Hannah Simone play that part. I like the newfound bond between Edward and Cricket and that Edward is capable of being truly empathetic towards other people when they’re nice to him, something that he doesn’t try to do often with his tenant whose bathroom time is apparently limited to ten minutes, which is especially unrealistic with three dead people in there to distract her from brushing her teeth.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

What I’m Watching: Abbott Elementary

Abbott Elementary: Season 2, Episode 18 “Teacher Appreciation” (B+)

We don’t often get a chance to see all of the teachers together united in a cause, and this was a fun opportunity to see they both on the same page and at each other’s throats. It’s not much of a surprise that Teacher Appreciation Week is a scam, since it encourages parents to send their children with small gifts but doesn’t include anything substantial from the district. If anyone was going to change that, it would be Ava, but leave it to her to only do a tiny bit, getting two courtside seats so that the rest of the teachers went unrewarded and had to deal with the disappointment of not being able to use them. Things getting heated between Barbara and Melissa was a tense highlight, and I also enjoyed how Jacob knew that Mr. Morton was manipulating him but was into his logic anyway. Mr. Johnson ending up with the tickets because apparently everyone voted for him was a humorous result, especially since he managed to get an extra $1000 - plus Barbara’s much-desired $50 gift card - after being asked to name ten cleaning products. We didn’t get any more developments on the Janine-Gregory front aside from her jumping in on the insult train when he tried to pull off a new hat, but there was plenty of drama with Janine and her sister. It’s good to see Ayo Edibiri from “The Bear” as Ayesha, who was not very appreciative of her host and seemed interested in doing anything but hanging out with her. Things got intense and uncomfortable during game night, when apparently only Jacob knew the rules of the game they were playing, but it was a helpful setup for Janine and Ayesha to air their grievances by comparing them to the game. They do seem to be on better terms now, even if Janine continues to be the eternal butt of everyone else’s jokes.

What I’m Watching: The Flash

The Flash: Season 9, Episode 5 “The Mask of the Red Death, Part 2” (B)

I had assumed that the Red Death was going to be a season-long villain, but apparently that’s not the case. Instead, Team Flash and their new band of reformed criminal friends encountered a few setbacks, Barry got to see Grodd again, and the Batwoman we know made a triumphant entrance. The Red Death really did seem to be quite the foe, but I’m sure there are others who will be back to try to take over National City before this show ends. I’d probably rather spend time with the characters Ryan mentioned when she referenced that brunch, some of whom well hopefully get to see over the course of the remaining episodes. Allegra and Chester finally talked about that kiss and apparently agreed that it was great, forgetting that everyone was watching them, and somehow Khione knew definitely that Iris was pregnant before she did. This obsession with sticking to a particular timeline or set course of events is no fun, so this team could do with a bit of unpredictability. Joe’s been thinking about leaving for a while and it feels somewhat strange for Jesse L. Martin to exit at this point since he’s been around for nearly half the season already. The notion of Cecile sticking around while he’s living elsewhere with Jenna doesn’t exactly track since she’ll still be in harm’s way, and it’s not as if villains only operate on weekdays so her weekends will end up being free. Let’s see how things shape up once the next threat emerges.

What I’m Watching: The Mandalorian

The Mandalorian: Season 3, Episode 2 “Chapter 18: The Mines of Mandalore” (B)

It’s good to see familiar faces, especially those who are incredibly excited to see Mando and Grogu. Peli is among the most energetic and entertaining personalities on this show, and just moments after conning someone else with the help of the Jawa, she was thrilled to have her old friends back in town. Mando was pretty specific about what he wanted to get from her and instead she offered up her R5-D4 who was visibly scared and not at all up for the job that Mando had in mind. Fortunately, he was able to go after him with his pressurized helmet after landing on Mandalore, though he didn’t have much luck when he got trapped and had to send Grogu back to get Bo-Katan. It’s a good thing that Grogu is a sympathetic and cute baby Yoda, enough to compel Bo-Katan to change her attitude from wanting to “get rid of him once and for all” and spring into action to go save him. I like that she’s becoming such a major part of the storyline now and that she asked Grogu if he thought his dad was the only Mandalorian. Now, the two Mandalorians are headed to the same place with Grogu and R5-D4 in tow, remembering a very different Mandalore of stories than the one they’re currently seeing. We’ll see what they’re able to find, and I have a feeling it may include other Mandalorians who similarly thought that their kind were pretty much extinct, which is evidently not the case.

Monday, March 13, 2023

What I’m Watching: History of the World Part II

History of the World Part II: Season 1, Episode 6 “Part VI” (B)

I didn’t enjoy the Jesus recording sessions as much as the previous skits with Quinta Brunson, J.B. Smoove, Zazie Beetz, and Jay Ellis, but I did appreciate the obvious reference to Mary as Yoko and Judas pointing out that the shofar was broken. We also got the conclusion to the Civil War, which ended with the three dim-witted soldiers venturing left to California only to encounter terrible traffic on a Tuesday afternoon as they were on their way to a Mel Brooks TV show audition. I was pleased to recognize Jack McBrayer as General Lee by his voice since it was hard to tell who he was with the beard, and Jason Alexander was a fun choice to play the late-arriving notary who accidentally brought his mohel kit. I saw Hannah Einbinder’s name in the credits and couldn’t figure out who she was but realized that she played Amelia Earhart in the Bermuda Triangle sketch where “pilot” was evidently code for lesbian. I appreciated the tie-in with Khan from a few episodes ago with and the drive to be “the spawn of Khan,” and it was fun to see it end up as a thread in the Steven Santelmo Statue Removal and Supply ads. The “topping tools you need” and a thought that “maybe you love statues” were fun excerpts from a running segment that did a great job poking fun at the symbolic nature of removing a problematic figure and the aftermath no one asks about which could certainly lead to the repurposing of something in a completely new way for an entirely different audience.