NCIS, 14x20, "A Bowl of Cherries": I elected to skip episode 19 because it sounded so boring and potentially gross, a feeling which did not improve after reading a review, so I proceeded straight to this one, whereupon my eyes immediately popped open very wide and stayed that way for the entire hour. Team bonding on the outdoor shooting range! Wild ransomware! Wild ransomware on the whole team's phones! Gibbs having a field day gloating about his team being stymied and mystified (albeit beyond credibility) by the fine flip phone technology he loves and uses every day! RANDOM STORAGE UNIT WITH DIY CRYOGENICS.
This episode has everything and it's 100% beautiful, except a depressing subplot about Quinn's Alzheimery mother, which I would like returned to sender. Its sole usefulness seemed to be Gibbs taking her aside for quiet check-ins, a refreshing change of pace in which he treats her like the experienced equal and older-adult-than-most-of-the-team she is. That's a thing I realize has been bugging me without being able to put my finger on it -- she spends so much time hanging out with immature idiots Torres and Bishop* and acting the same way, and I just don't understand why she would do that.
**why have you forced me to downgrade Bishop from "the best damn thing that your eyes have ever seen" to "immature idiot / same plane as Torres."
Survivor: So last week, in the one of the only predictable moves that also happened to be one of the most devastating, JT got voted out. I don't understand why the one tribe I love has to keep losing. Like, they were literally the only tribe where I didn't want to lose ANYONE, whereas every other team, I liked less than half the members. But I do have to admit that Michaela sitting down and plotting out her decision to literally make her own "sipping tea" meme/gif reaction was glorious. I need people more appropriate than me to start using them now.
But then the most recent episode happened and everything was amazing; I genuinely do love all of the twists this season:
- Third tribe switch-up in 5 weeks
- But nobody expects...SUDDEN EXILE ISLAND!!
- Lol j/k Exile is a luxury vacation ship full of food and comfy places to rest
- AND ALSO MEET COCHRAN TO HANG OUT AND DISCUSS YOUR STRATEGY WITH
* Debbie's meltdown and vehement belief in demonstrably untrue things was so bizarre that I kept feeling like there had to be some kind of editing involved, but then I couldn't figure out what they would be distorting to make her seem so crazy. Like...she really just seems that out of touch with reality. I still don't like Hali, but her reaction to all of this was kind of the best. Very "I need help reacting to something."
* The one intriguing thing Debbie says is mention how "when she was a youth, she used to go off on her own all the time, with a pony." That sounds pretty magical and maybe like the plot of a YA novel I would like to read. Or write, because how could a YA novel about a teenage girl doing anything without meeting or bringing a boy exist in this day and age. #latent bitterness pops up at random times.
[edit: here are some ideas for that][edit: y'all, I am running with this plot in a way I don't usually run with novel plots. Concept: some Tumultuous Event causes girl who lives out somewhere in the middle of nowhere to pack it off into the woods, either a national forest or possibly just her own / a relative's land, and spends a month or so just finding her inner peace, working through what happened; maybe she does something interesting like save or befriend a stray dog, or maybe some orphaned baby animal(s), and/or just generally work on her survival skills; the point is it's mostly all about communing with nature and enjoying the company of the pony; probably for a climax there is a tumultuous weather situation she has to get through (which will definitely not involve her saving some hapless city boy experiencing Camping Fail...unless it has to, and gdi why am I am undermining my own protest novel), IDK, this feels a lot like too much work all of a sudden, but I. On a related note, I think this really means I wanna read A Rumour of Otters again. It's only missing a horse.]
* I was so intrigued by who the "returning Survivor" could be that I failed to come up with any theories, but I was bowled over by delight to see it was Cochran. I may have reacted to him the way you react to a basket of puppies. WHAT A DELIGHT. Too bad the talk was wasted on Debbie. I'm pretty sure you could see some dread on his face before he steeled himself into "this is fine" mode. It was all kinds of excruciating to have to watch Debbie flail around him and also to have to watch him try to be nice to her weirdness -- basically the most accurate imitation of a private celebrity/fan meet-and-greet I have EVER SEEN.
* I would have loved it if Aubry had wound up getting that -- those two have an established history of being delightful together, and I think them talking strategy would have been nothing short of amazing. Just based off my comments from last year's live reunion show: "OK new goal for my FBI AU: Imma pretend Joe retired and now I need Aubry & Cochran to be office colleagues and like, pull nerd pranks and generally be awesome inseparable geek-dorks." Honestly I think the ony worse choices than Debbie would have been Zeke or Troyzan. Or possibly Tai, who would have had no concept of the benefit of having this specific person here.
* Hollywood Reporter quote that is my fave this week: Cochran is one of my favorite Survivor winners ever, and having him here made sense because his obsession with the game and game strategy was the backbone of his narrative, but it's only one step from here to somebody ending up on Exile Island and being visited by Brandon Hanz as a punishment.
* Chuckling at the self proclaimed "3 gay guys" trio
* I have never understood how Sandra gets so far, and then there were at Tribal Council and I was sitting there, jaw hanging open, thinking, "OMG. They literally can't do it. They literally cannot vote her out no matter how badly they want and need to; they literally cannot risk having Tai around any longer and they're gonna have to get rid of him. Sorcery!!" But then they did and it was actually incredibly impressive, not least because I don't know what more Sandra could have done, even though I am also sad Sandra's unapologetic and grumpy queendom is over when there are so many boring people left.
* Hollywood Reporter is on fire this week actually, so here is quote #2: Life over at new Mana was Troyzan and Culpepper forming a penis alliance against Troyzan's flashback nightmare of a solid female majority.
* For funsies, I thought I would also officially reshuffle my deck of favorites:
Current Pecking Order:
(I would like it noted, for the record, that Malcolm & JT were in slots 2 and 3 when they went. Malcolm may also have been #1.)
3. Jeff Varner
4. Michaela (could switch with above)
6. Sierra (could switch with above)
Second Rate Tier
7. Brad Culpepper
8. Troyzan (listen I am as surprised as you are, but he is OK from the neck down)
11. Hali (though honestly all 3 women are interchangeable. Andrea's super boring, Sarah is kinda whiny and also become oddly skinny for her frame, and I can't look at Hali without remembering what she did to the chicken)
14. Frickin' Zeke (this is a real struggle for the bottom though)