An absorbing case-of-the-week takes center stage on ‘The Life Inside’
“We’re going to continue this conversation another time” - Raylan Givens
“There’s nothing to continue because you’ll never believe me.” - Boyd Crowder
It really feels like “Justified” has hit a good balance of ongoing character development and enjoyable standalone stories. The main plot of Raylan and Tim chasing down the pregnant fugitive before she gets killed by the psycho human trafficker contained good moments of Raylan’s cleverness (getting the bad guy to touch the handcuffs and leave a fingerprint) and a great climax for Tim the sharpshooter (taking the bad guy out by shooting him in the “apricot”). And it managed to tie back to Winona and Raylan’s tentative rapprochement in a tender scene as they talked quietly about his horrific day.
In fact, there was ample room for everyone in the regular cast to have a moment or two. Harlan’s friendly marijuana matriarch Mags Bennett has unofficially adopted little Loretta, which I guess is the least she could do after murdering her father. Margo Martindale manages to be even more sinister when she is trying to be nice, and it does seem that Loretta is not completely in the dark about how dangerous she can be. Lots of dread hanging over that relationship. Boyd Crowder is back in Harlan as well, working in the coal mine, wearing new spectacles and carrying a heavy air of brooding melancholy. Just like last season, his motivations remain mysterious, perhaps even to himself. When Ava (!!) asked him where he got his bloody face, he replies that he honestly has no idea, which seems to apply to his whole existence right now. Walton Goggins is a wonder; dolorous and quiet, so different from the confident and focused evangelical leader he was just a few months ago.
Oh yes, did I mention Boyd is living with Ava? Huh.
Arlo is under house arrest and as ornery as ever (exceeded in that department only by Aunt Helen). Raymond Barry brings so much cantankerous hillbilly ill-temper to his role and his super-Southern line readings (“I hope you git cansuh!”) never fail to amuse. And poor pathetic little Gary is still hanging around. Of course, it is very true that Winona did indeed leave Raylan for Gary back in the day, but the chemistry between Natalie Zea and Timothy Olyphant is so vibrant it leaps right off the screen – flirting in the elevator (“You’re the one who went for the victory lap.”), bantering about memories of baby names, or just staring at each other across the room. It is going to take some extremely fancy “selling” to break up that couple.
Laura Prepon, Anne Wershling and Rachel Bilson makes small screen comebacks this fall
‘Combinations’ shows the start to Lights’ difficult climb back into the ring
Ah, training montages. It really wasn’t possible for F/X to create this series without featuring at least one; it’s really only a surprise that it took six episodes to get there. And it didn’t lead to an inspiring run up the steps of a well-known landmark, but to a middle-aged man sinking into a bathtub full of ice in a grubby motel room.
Although “Lights Out” does deal in some clichés and narrative short cuts, it does not shy away from realistically showing the harrowing effects of boxing, particularly on an aging body. “Taking a thumb” causes Lights’ vision to be so impaired that he (along with his call-girl companion) gets into a nasty car accident, which is only covered up by efforts of Johnny (and most likely Barry and/or Brennan, although this is never explicitly spelled out). But, like his little brother predicted, he has the discipline to figure out a way around it – taping an “X” on the heavy bag and adjusting his stance to find a way to focus on the right place. Pretty fancy but we’ll see if it will indeed get better.
It’s interesting to get bits and pieces of the other Leary family members’ and friends’ back-stories, particularly Johnny, who apparently was not just a good fighter, but also a potential Olympic gold medalist. Pablo Schreiber brings so much squirrelly energy to his character; Johnny just will not acknowledge rejection even when it is staring him in the face. I mean, Lights fired him, right? But he scurries around, bribing EMT workers, hiring a couple of “Friday night girls” to help them “blow off steam”, inviting Patrick to come stay with him at his barren bachelor pad. That is one great non-manager. And Ben Shenkman as the defeated and downtrodden sports writer Mike Fomosa can say more with a raised eyebrow than an entire page of dialogue.
Unfortunately, Theresa continues to be a drag on the entire story. Catherine McCormack is playing her exactly as written, and she even manages to bring touches of ambiguity to Mrs. Leary’s seemingly implacable resistance to her husband’s destiny. But it becomes harder and harder to justify her decision to commit her life to a professional boxer, and then insist that he not only give up his career, but transform into an entirely different person. Lights Leary appears to be on a road back to his core, the heart of who he is as a person. Can his wife make that journey back with him? Stay tuned.
The pilot for 'Smash' lines up cast, including an 'American Idol' alum
It looks like the new NBC hour-long musical comedy "Smash" might just be the first "Glee" competitor to actually hit the air. (Not counting the BBC reality show "The Choir" or the NBC competition show "The Sing-Off," of course.)
The show centers on the behind-the-scenes lives of the cast and crew of a Broadway musical about Marilyn Monroe.
The hour-long pilot, the brainchild of one Steven Spielberg and to be produced by his DreamWorks TV shingle, has been firming up cast commitments, starting with Debra Messing as the show's lyricist Julia.
Now there's news that "American Idol" season five alumna Katharine McPhee -- who's acting experience is limited to guest stints on "Community" and "CSI: New York," along with a NBC pilot that didn't get picked up and a small role in the comedy "The House Bunny" -- will play a struggling actress who hopes to snag the coveted Marilyn Monroe role. Judging from the super-sultry blonde look she worked when releasing her latest record, "Unbroken," last year, she's the perfect fit.
Also recently cast in the pilot are Jack Davenport (from the short-lived ABC drama "FlashForward") and newcomer Megan Hilty, who's done one-episode stints on shows including "Ugly Betty," "CSI," "Eli Stone" and "Bones."
'Hog Butcher' takes us a little deeper into our heroes' motivations
It is a law enforcement maxim that you usually don’t have to look very far to find the perpetrator of a crime. If someone is murdered, and the victim has a violent and jealous boyfriend, nine times out of ten he’s the killer. Normally, this would make for pretty boring police procedural television, but in the second episode of “The Chicago Code”, stylishly directed by “The Wire” veteran Clark Johnson, it actually adds a couple of complicating layers.
Jarek and Caleb, using a combination of Twitter sleuthing and public misdirection, manage to make pretty short work of the investigation of the killing of Antonio Betz. Theresa Colvin has to face the fact that it was not an elaborate hit on her life, contracted out by the cold-blooded Alderman Gibbons, that killed her protégé, but the loyal and incensed friends of Don Worthen, the old-school sad-sack cop that she publicly humiliated and demoted in the pilot. As her old partner sternly lectures her when she tries to lean on Worthen too hard to give up the names of his cronies, “there is corruption and then there is just the way things get done, and you have to know the difference.” Although she does finally do a good job reaching out to the resentful man she previously alienated, the new superintendent has only been on the job six months, and it will be interesting to see her try to hang on to her idealistic attitude while winning the loyalty of rank-and-file officers under her command.
Of course, Gibbons is not entirely absent from the storyline, as he smoothly maneuvers Colvin into a position of obligation after he slyly lets Antonio’s mother know about his “heroic” gesture of giving Theresa his bullet proof vest (which negates his death benefits). This is a potentially intriguing way to keep Gibbons involved in the future arcs of the plot; it is so much more interesting if he can slowly insinuate himself into the (seemingly) good graces of the various police officers and city officials rather than have outright and ongoing hostility between him and our band of white hats. Besides dealing with the obvious limitations of stretching his pursuit over an entire television season, of course.
Jarek’s painful memories of his brother’s death are brought to the surface during the murder investigation, resulting in the best scene of episode when he has a meaningful communion with his old Catholic school teacher Sister Paul (played by the always welcome Betty Buckley). She trenchantly calls him out on his excuses for avoiding Mass – adultery, lying, etc. – (“If I can’t be perfect, why bother being good?”) and cajoles him into praying with her. And his truculent request? “Grant me the wisdom and the perseverance and the ability to find my brother’s killer. And Lord, when I find him, make my aim true that I may take his life.” Yikes.
Did you come back after the pilot? What did you think?
Jason Biggs and Sarah Chalke get cozy in the new CBS comedy about
Taking a ‘Blood Test’ brings out baby fever for almost everybody at ISIS.
Can there a little bit of humanity around the edges of “Archer”? When you are dealing with a cute baby (even an animated one) there is probably no choice but to give in to a little sentiment. Even a hooker’s baby conceived because both the potential fathers used a candy bar wrapper as a condom. So maybe the answer to that question is “yes, but as little as possible please”.
Tonight, Sterling is subject to the most highly coordinated and secure paternity test known to man. After pulling a complicated “Mission Impossible” style break-in to switch his blood sample with Cyril’s, Archer is the victim of an even more elaborate sting courtesy of Barry and ODIN. Once the baby is declared the spawn of Trinette and Sterling (although it really is Cyril’s), Malory ends her five minutes of acting like a potentially caring grandmother fast. And around the edges, Lana starts to crave motherhood, Cyril is drowning his sorrow in candy, and Pam eats an entire crock pot of food for lunch.
- “Babies are soft-skulled fat little germ-sacks and now we’ve all been exposed to that one’s bacteria!”
- “Turtlenecks. I invented the turtleneck.”
- “Because I told you to buy lemon curd, Woodhouse! Now what am I going to spread on my toast? Your tears?”
- “It was going to be a ham cozy but then I was like…eh.”
- “It’s some plastic dry cleaner bags. Oh, and a book about SIDS.”
- Every joke about Lana’s gigantic hands is pure gold. (“Looked like Tyson holding that dove.”)
- New discoveries: Pam is more than a little bit racist. Woodhouse is a heroin addict. And Krieger can produce breast milk.
- “And I can watch! The door. Like a lookout.”
- “Prancing around in their stirrup pants.”
- “You’re in a limousine!” “And if I wanted to sit around all day going nowhere, I’d be a teacher!”
‘Ron and Tammy II’ features everyone’s favorite maniacal couple.
Meanwhile, back in Normal Town, Leslie and Ben grow closer, despite his patently absurd ideas about what to feed the Pawnee police force. (“Calzones are like pizzas but they’re harder to eat. They’re dumb. And so was that idea.”) It’s refreshing to see a man become more attracted to a woman because of her innate decency and kindness. And April has to work for Chris for a little while, which brings out all of her fight or flight instincts (her panicky whimpering when he compliments her job performance was classic). But this storyline also showed again that Chris is no fool (“You’re young and trying isn’t cool, but I think you’re smart”) and continues to be a force for good in the community. But he’s only staying two more weeks! What can we do to keep him here? Stay tuned.
- “I don’t know what it is about big outdoor gatherings that makes everyone want to urinate all over everything. But it does. And they do.”
- “Now I’m imagining a cape!”
- “I know Tammy seems scary but really she’s just a manipulative, psychotic, library-book peddling, sex-crazed, she-demon.”
- The rapid-fire Joe Friday monologues from the police describing the first Ron/Tammy altercation were very funny – all ending with “a real piece of work”.
- “April, way to come in! Great initiative!”
- “So, you have two choices. One, get rid of Tammy. Two, lobotomy and castration. Choose wisely.”
- The return of Bert Macklin – FBI!
What did you like best?