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Sunday, February 7, 2016

What We Watched: February 1, 2016

Okay so another of my hobbies is watching television shows. I don't do this as often because I really can't stand reality shows and that's all there is now. However, there are a few shows that have snagged my attention and while these weekly posts aren't reviews per say, I thought it might be fun to share my thoughts on each week's episodes.

My tv partner is always Mr. Pud and he ALWAYS has something to say either in a look, gesture or in simply taking some of my snacks for himself.

I hope you'll share with me YOUR thoughts on not just these shows but your own favorites too!

*** Just a warning though. Given that these are not reviews but commentaries on each show, expect SPOILERS.

My thoughts for the week of: February 1, 2016

© 2015 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc
 All rights reserved.
Show: The Muppets
Episode Title: Swine Song
Cast: Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, The Great Gonzo, Pepe the King Prawn,
Channel and Time: Tuesdays at 8/7c on ABC (Before Fresh off the Boat)
Episode Summary: The whole crew just returned from hiatus, and everyone is rested, recharged and ready to get back to work. But when a new branding guru (Utkarsh Ambudkar) comes in to revamp “Up Late,” the gang rallies together and realizes that they don’t need gimmicks and hijinks; they just need each other and a couple of familiar tunes to get them back on track.

My Thoughts: The Muppets are back and apparently in desperate need of “updating.” This led to confusion, panic, an old school throwback to THE Muppets theme song and a rather disturbing scene with Miss Piggy dressed as Miley Cyrus from her MTV performance right before that Robin Thicke debacle, complete with her *shudders* twerking. I’m gonna need to poke out my mind’s eye now.

Anyway, Kermit attempted to put up boundaries between work and his personal life but it all went to pot when he forgot about the 5k run he was supposed to do with his girlfriend Denise and then when he and Piggy sang a song on Piggy’s show as part of the new “updated” formula, Denise told Kermit she needed time to think about whether their relationship was going to be worth pursuing. Pretty heavy stuff for The Muppets but hey, it works with this formula.

I am going to admit that the shine of this new way of filming the show is starting to wear thin. I don’t think the writers have truly grasped the personalities of these characters very well. Or maybe I’m just remembering the Saturday Night Live type style the old show had and some of the big stars they had. I’m not recognizing some of these people and if I do I’m perplexed as to why they’d be on the show.

I miss the skits (Pigs in Space anyone?) and the sarcastic banter I clearly remember between Piggy and just about everyone else.

Show: Agent Carter
Episode Title: Smoke and Mirrors
Cast: Hayley Atwell (Peggy Carter), James D’Arcy (Edwin Jarvis), Chad Michael Murray (Jack Thompson), Enver Gjokaj (Daniel Sousa), Lotte Verbeek (Ana Jarvis), Bridget Regan (Dottie Underwood), Reggie Austin (Jason Wilkes), Dominic Cooper (Howard Stark)
Channel and Time: Tuesdays at 9/8c on ABC
Episode Summary: In the 1920s in Broxton, Oklahoma, Agnes Cully (Frost) is shown to have a brilliant mind, fixing a broken radio, inventing devices, and applying to a science program at Oklahoma University (unsuccessfully due to her gender). In 1934, Cully travels to Hollywood, where she is approached by a talent agent, promising to make her a star. In 1940 in England, Carter, who is engaged, receives an offer to join the Special Operations Executive due to her work at Bletchley Park as a code breaker; she eventually accepts the offer and leaves her fiancé after her brother's death in the war. In 1947, Carter and Jarvis kidnap Hunt in an attempt to learn more about the Council. After getting names of members of the Council and locations of transcripts of their meetings, Carter and Sousa prepare the SSR to infiltrate the Arena Club, but are stopped by Masters. They let a bugged Hunt escape, and he attempts to blackmail Chadwick in exchange for protection. Displeased with the mess he was causing, Frost absorbs Hunt, revealling her abilities to Chadwick.
My Thoughts: Can you say Emotion Overload? Wow, what an episode, we got a glimpse of Peggy’s life before the SSR. I’m going to latch onto that for a bit because those few flashbacks were empowering for females young and old.

In them we see a young Peggy playing at slaying dragons instead of being the damsel in distress. She’s different from the usual little girls and her mom, while well meaning doesn’t appreciate that, scolding her for what she saw as “boyish” games. Yet her older brother Michael doesn’t care, it seems he relishes Peggy’s personality. Another flashback shows a grown Peggy after she’s gotten engaged and her employer calls her into his office to show her that she’s gotten an offer to work with the SOE and to train as a field agent. She declines citing that she is unfit for the position.

The next flashback is her engagement party where her brother and fiancée meet. Peggy mentions the SOE job and her fiancée laughs it off saying that he can’t imagine Peggy doing something so ludicrous. Michael clearly disagrees and is upset. When Peggy’s fiancées leaves the table Peggy and Michael have it out. Michael tells Peggy that a life as an ordinary housewife isn’t for her and she’ll never be happy because she was meant for a life of adventure and that that’s what she wanted growing up. Peggy counters that she’s grown out of that phase and that she wants to marry and be a wife. Michael insists that she’s just doing it to please their mother and everyone else that expects her to do as they’ve always done instead of what makes her happy. Michael then reveals that he was the one who recommended her for the SEO job.

The final and I think the most heartbreaking flashback is of Peggy at home trying on her wedding dress with her mother in the room gushing over her and proud of her choice to marry. They hear a car arrive and Peggy’s mother goes to see who their unexpected guests are. Its two soldiers come to tell the Carters that Michael has been killed in battle. Peggy looks out the window in time to see her mother collapse in tears and Peggy then breaks down herself. The final scene of the flashback shows Peggy dressed in her everyday clothes, her wedding dress hanging as she places her engagement ring on the dresser and instead picks up the letter from the SOE. She walks out of her parents’ house with a single suitcase packed.

All those flashbacks served to show Peggy at her lowest moment, her weakest and lastly her strength to overcome and say “No!” to anyone who tried to force her to deny who she was, no matter if it was against society, her parents and even the times. THIS is what makes Peggy Carter such an important character. In a sea of shallow, vapid girls who sell themselves to be popular or who hide their true selves because the people around them don’t approve, Peggy shows that it is okay to be yourself and to embrace your power and worth. And she does it without using sex. I cried in that last scene when she realized her brother wasn’t coming home. Such a strong woman and yet all the men in her life have been taken from her.

On the flip side, Whitney Frost aka Agnes Cully’s life is also shown in this episode and while the woman is the villain of the season, my heart broke for the super intelligent girl who had to watch her mom sell her body in order to put a roof over their head. A few years later Agnes’ mother tells a teenaged Agnes that it doesn’t matter how smart she is, the only thing people will care about is her beauty, thus creating a woman with two identities.

Two strong women with two very different upbringings and two very different turning points in their lives that shaped them differently. Peggy stepped out of the shadows to be a hero and Agnes hid her intelligence inside of her Whitney Frost persona.

But this week’s episode didn’t forget to bring the humor with Jarvis. I’d love to see him with that menagerie Howard has. I mean, he needs a tranquillizer gun for a koala, if Howard has say, a bear, what would Jarvis need then? A bazooka? Poor Jarvis.

A far cry from last week’s episode, Smoke and Mirrors brought emotion to the show that I hadn’t felt since the pilot of season 1 and they replayed the last few minutes of The First Avenger *sniff*

Show: DC’s Legends of Tomorrow
Episode Title: Blood Ties
Cast: Victor Garber (Professor Martin Stein / Firestorm), Brandon Routh (Ray Palmer/The Atom), Caity Lotz (Sara Lance/White Canary), Arthur Darvill (Rip Hunter), Dominic Purcell (Mick Rory/Heat Wave), Wentworth Miller (Leonard Snart/Captain Cold), Ciara Renee (Kendra Saunders/Chay-Ara/Hawkgirl), Falk Hentschel (Carter Hall/Khufu/Hawkman), Franz Drameh (Jefferson “Jax” Jackson/Firestorm), Casper Crump (Vandal Savage)
Channel and Time: Thursdays at 8/7 c on the CW
Episode Summary: Sara convinces Rip that another way to stop Vandal Savage would be to take away his resources. Rip locates the bank where Savage keeps his money, and he and Sara go there to steal the funds. They realize that Savage's men are guarding the bank, so they take one captive to gain information on Savage. They learn that Savage is using Carter's blood to give his own men longer lives. Rip and his team engage Savage and reclaim Carter's body, but Rip inadvertently gives Savage the information he will eventually use to kill Rip's wife and son. Meanwhile, Kendra's condition worsens, requiring Ray to shrink down and enter her bloodstream to stop pieces of the dagger that stabbed Kendra from reaching her heart. Snart attempts to change his own family's fate by preventing his father from entering prison, but his efforts ultimately change nothing. Rip charts a course for 1986 to intercept Savage again.
My Thoughts: The team still hasn’t learned NOT to mess with the timeline. Now it’s Leonard Snart who learns that when something is meant to happen, it WILL happen regardless of what you try and do to change it.

The team splinters off in three directions with three separate goals in mind: Leonard and Mick drag poor Jefferson into a jewel heist, Professor Stein and Dr. Palmer are trying to save Kendra’s life and Rip Hunter is off with Sara Lance to steal Savage’s fortune, thinking it’s the source of his power.

We saw a darker side to Rip Hunter, the side who desperately wants to avenge his wife and son. NOW he seems more interesting than in the first part of the pilot episode AND we saw Sara’s bloodlust on full display. After the two get into a fight with assassins and come out unharmed, they have a heart to heart about what makes a monster and what doesn’t (Rip believes he is the monster for having a chance to end Savage before he could cause harm but hesitated too long. Sara believes her resurrection and subsequent lust for blood makes her the monster.)

Kendra hovers close to death from the wound inflicted by Savage and it’s up to the Professor Stein, Dr. Palmer and the Atom suit to save her. Fragments of the knife have entered Kendra’s bloodstream and are headed towards her heart. The two super geniuses quarrel and eventually learn that there’s room enough for TWO geniuses on the team and that ego cannot play a part in the mission. With Stein giving the pep talk and Palmer doing the heavy lifting inside of Kendra’s bloodstream, they manage to save the only one who can kill Savage. Good luck with that because the girl can’t fight WITH a partner, let alone on her own.

Meanwhile Leonard and Mick manage to steal a priceless emerald so Leonard can then give it to his dad so that the latter won’t go to jail for trying to steal it, thus becoming an abusive drunk and sealing Leonard’s fate as a thief. Unfortunately, while the plan goes well and the emerald is delivered to his father, fate is fate and he is still arrested, this time for trying to sell the emerald to an undercover police officer. This whole sub story shows that Leonard isn’t as cold hearted as previously thought. He wanted to protect his younger self but mostly he wanted to protect his younger sister who hadn’t been born yet. My favorite scene of his was when he tells his father that he could kill him but then his sister won’t be born. It’s obvious he has a deep affection for his sister.

By the end of the episode it seems like these guys just might be able to function as a team now. Hopefully that’s it for the shenanigans because sh*t got real with Savage trying to use Carter’s body/blood to give extra life to his demented followers.

And after last week’s epic disappointment in Kendra’s lack of fighting, I am hopeful after Rip tells her that they’ll get her ready to battle Savage since she is the only one who can kill him. I want Sara to train her. Sara is a badass and I LOVE her fighting style.

© 2015 Fox Broadcasting Co
Show: Sleepy Hollow
Episode Title: One Life
Cast: Tom Mison (Ichabod Crane), Nicole Beharie (Abbie Mills), Lyndie Greenwood (Jenny Mills), Zach Appelman (Joe Corbin), Shannyn Sossamon (Pandora), Lance Gross (Daniel Reynolds), Nikki Reed (Betsy Ross), Jessica Camacho (Sofie Foster)
Channel and Time: FRIDAYS at 8/7c on Fox
Episode Summary: Following Abbie's huge sacrifice, Crane and Jennie find themselves at a loss. In an effort to save Abbie, Crane forms and unlikely partnership and Jenny confronts a former foe.
My Thoughts: Once again they’ve moved this show to another night. A bad sign in my opinion which is a shame because when the show goes well, it REALLY goes well but on the flip side, when it goes bad it bursts into flames.

The winter hiatus is officially over and now we get to see what happened to Abbie right?

Well no because Abbie didn’t appear in this episode until the last two minutes. Instead, Ichabod paired off with none other than Agent Foster in an attempt to find the missing Abbie.

I could work with that because Tom Mison seems to have great chemistry with every cast member and now that actress Jessica Camacho is going to be a series regular there’s a chance she’ll join up with Team Witness. I like Camacho’s portrayal of Sofie Foster who seems to have had her own brushes with the paranormal. She doesn’t know that Ichabod is actually a time traveling warrior but she did get to see a demon up close and personal and handled it like a pro. So let’s see how she handles Ichabod’s identity.

But we’re still with the split story lines. Jenny and Joe are off on their own trying to find something that will help find Abbie and along the way have some personal revelations (As in they’re in love with each other but Jenny has commitment issues). It was nice to see Jenny, who is usually so isolated, lean on someone as good and solid as Joe Corbin. They make a good team too.

We saw Betsy Ross in this episode and while I enjoy the flashbacks I do hope there’s a reason Nikki Reed’s Ross is involved with this season’s storyline because so far all she’s done is provide background information via flashbacks. Does Ross have a specific role to play other than stating the obvious during the flashback scenes? I hope so because she would be a waste of a character to go unused to her full potential.

I felt this episode was more of a warm up/catch up because aside from the main goal of finding Abbie, not much happened in the way of progress. Pandora and her love, The Hidden One are briefly seen licking their wounds in a quiet building while Pandora summons demons from all over the world to Sleepy Hollow. She claims it will help restore her lover’s powers to full strength but he is skeptical and pissed off at her for failing the first time and says they need to find Abbie since she has that dang shard or whatever that he needed.

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