1. CSI: Miami, 6x1, "Dangerous Son"
If you did not already read my spoiler speculation post back in July, you should go there now in order to fully understand my initial reaction to this newfound-son storyline. But the most important idea therein was "part of what is so remarkable about Horatio is that he *isn't* a father. He has this connection with kids; he clearly enjoys being around them, serves as a mentor/father figure for Ray Jr. whether the latter wants it or not... but part of his tragic-hero complex is that he is not and never will be a father in his own right."
Part of me does still stand by that. I think it enhances his rapport with children even more to know that he's childless and probably the past the point of having any in the future, and anyway, it smacks of ratings-grabbing to introduce a random kid out of the blue. It's nearly as bad as giving them a baby, and I say "nearly" only because it occurs less frequently, so at least it doesn't have the additional stigma of cliche attached to it. However, given that we're talking about Saint H here, the circumstances of said random kid's birth were perplexing at best. As such, one of the other important lines was "basically, there is no way they can impress me with this storyline. Mark my words. Just in case I have to eat them later."
*obediently chews words*
Now let's back up, kind of like the episode did, even though words cannot express my loathing for teasers that include the words "8 hours earlier" on my screen. Setting aside the fact that Valera's reaction was horrible and seemed completely fake - damn it, woman, this isn't even the first time you've run a kid's DNA against a Caine sample, and I don't care if you didn't know what you were doing that time - I HATE starting at a high point and then figuratively hitting rewind. It destroys all the high point's suspense, and frankly I think they should have kept their lips zipped on the son storyline a little more. Just a little. Like not blatantly including the word "son" as part of the TV promo.
Firstly, OMG FRANK IS TOTALLY BALD and in what looks like a field patrol uniform. Isn't that, um, a step down? I don't care if he has stripes and is supposed to be called Sgt. now, this outfit is just not as classy as a suit. Not even the weird orange-and-green plaid suit he sported for a while last year. *hates change* Also, Jake is back, which annoys me because if we have room for an extra detective, that detective needs to be Yelina. Immediately. Now I'm all for having hot male detectives, and as such have tried and tried to like Jake, but every time I see him, he is smirking cockily, and my first impulse is to sneer right back. As far as the love triangle is concerned, however, I am not particularly invested with the Hip Hugger faction, so Calleigh & Jake are welcome to go to Antigua and get tan together. Meanwhile, I would really like it if Eric would stop being grouchy and possessive about it.
In other character news: Ryan, Knave of All Trades, has switched careers once again. Is it wrong if I'm enjoying watching him get bounced all around Miami? We could call it Ryan Roulette. Hey, whatever cuts down on evidence-processing montages. I'm still deciding whether or not I like his scruffier look. I do like his current job on the firing range, but I am ILL APPRECIATIVE of the unholy pressure of the Natalia/Ryan hints. I'm not even angry on behalf of CarWash here, I'm just Anti-Squickdom. I cannot even accept them as friends, because the sight of them smiling at each other causes my skin to begin twitching violently. In the interest of not recieving hate mail from Natalia fans (they are few, but fiercely protective), here I will add my customary nod towards her fashion stylings. In particular, this week I noticed that her makeup was exceptionally well done, eyeshadow matching her top and making her look very tan
as opposed to orange.
Also, best quote ever, even if I quail in terror at the thought of Nat being in possession of a firearm.
R: ""1 hit, 14 misses."
N: "Don't tell anybody how bad I am."
R: "Don't tell anybody I work here."
The case was interesting. There were no rich people involved. There were good old shoot-em-up-over-drugs-and-parole-type crimes, and I even cared about most of the characters! I'd forgotten what that was like. Also, the daughter of the victim was named Stephanie, which meant she was the recipient of a good 30 seconds of the Voice of Compassion, which provided me with 30 seconds of unadulterated glee. Also, there's something ironic or possibly eerie about the fact that there would be a Stephanie character on the same week they introduce a Kyle character. (that'd be my brother)
What else...oh yes, Yelina makes an appearance! More importantly, she makes an appearance as a competent and professional woman, even moreso than she was in "Burned" - not only did she get a scene all to herself without Horatio looking over her shoulder (more of this, please), she got be sharp, investigative, and when the situation called for it, sarcastic. ("Kyle went to juvi, I don't collect on him no more." "Touching.")
What really makes the episode for me, though, is the fact that Horatio finally seems human again. He has expressions and emotions and appears to have shed, at least for the premiere, that horrible robotic shell that was Season 5. He's also shed the horrible striped blue shirt, and while an all-black ensemble is not my first choice for a wardrobe change, at least it's a change. We're not entirely back to pre-season-4 form here, but we're on the right path. Besides which, he's talking to Yelina. Still not frequently, given that she once again opened their conversation on how long it had been since they'd talked, but any and all talking is welcomed. Especially when it contains truth! And confessions! Good God, he's telling her things!
So, let's talk about that Kyle character. He does not look that much like Horatio, and so I am completely clueless as to what aroused Horatio's suspicions at all. No, the posing does not count. It wasn't nearly obnoxious enough; I daresay it wasn't obnoxious at all. My brain hurts from overthinking things I should just let go and ignore. Anyway, I'm pleasantly surprised by the casting choice; at first glance I feared he looked like he did in my imagination - older, tough-looking and surly. Instead he has a total babyface (with SUCH blue eyes - the one thing I do buy as an inherited trait) and actually does look like he's in over his head, having gotten backed into a corner and looking desperately for ways out because he doesn't have any other recourse.
As for the circumstances of his existence, I'm impressed because "undercover op with fake name" never crossed my mind. I didn't realize how close I was when I joked that the only way a woman wouldn't tell Horatio she was pregnant would be if she didn't know who he was. I was busy spinning theories throughout the episode, though; at Horatio's wistful and vague admission of "I [knew him]...once," I laid my money down the following scenario:
Mystery Woman and her husband are mutual friends of Horatio; maybe the guy's someone he worked with. Husband ends up becoming an unsupportive and/or abusive ass...oh God, I swear that despite what this sounds like, I did not intend to imply Mystery Woman was Yelina; if anything, I had The Office on the brain...and his usual noble and high-minded attempt to play the role of supportive and caring
savior friend/confidant turns into something more. Alas, it is short-lived, and when Mystery Woman finds out she's pregnant, she (neglecting to mention this fact to either man beforehand) goes back to her husband and disappears with him. Both end up dead a few years down the road [scenario(s) to be determined], thus bouncing the kid into eternal foster care.
Actual answer: Horatio's on undercover/Special Task Force assignment, when he is stupid enough to fall in love with some random woman, and doesn't actually get around to telling her his real name before she dumps him (apparently, without warning or explanation, and probably without realizing she's already pregnant). It sounds like all of this takes place within a couple of months, so you know, I think this just definitively answered any lingering questions I might have had about the timeline of his relationship with Marisol. Aaand, I just squicked myself out with that thought. Apologies.
Anyway, even though I realize he is a serial monogamist, that didn't stop me from a little *wibble* when he claimed "It was [serious] for me." Oh my God, what's happening? Is he...looking believably sad? Am I feeling a twinge of sympathy for him? I am! I've missed that feeling! And AT LONG LAST, I think I understand what the hell they were smoking when they came up with this storyline. It may not have been crack!
At least not the pure stuff. It actually adds another layer of angst that I can mentally work with instead of just pointing and laughing at, and I'm even buying into the line "You would have made a great father"...no, no I'm not, that line is still painfully awkward. But I'm buying into the idea. In all those lovely Kid Rapport moments, all the way back to season 1, if not for that one minor mishap of giving a false name, there could have been an actual biologically-related-more-closely-than-R
Part of me thinks I am generously interpreting this in much the same way I did with Marisol, since the fandom apparently hates it like they hated season 4, but you know what? It lets me enjoy my formerly-favorite show again. I've missed that. And so as long as I can find ways to love it and take it seriously, I am clinging to them like a life preserve. Please let season 6 be an upswing in quality. Please, please, please...
2. How I Met Your Mother: 3x1, "Wait for It"
Oh, I waited for it. And then I waited for it a whole extra week, because after skipping its live airing, I kept telling myself "It's only half an hour, I can watch it any time..." and generally kept putting it off. I should not have done this, since the premiere was of a quality absolutely identical to where we left off in season 2. I apologize for ever suggesting it might have been okay to cancel this show. Even to save "The Class."
Things I Did Not Love: Lily's new bangs; Enrique Iglesias
Things I Did Love: EVERYTHING ELSE. Including, but not necessarily limited to -
a) I don't think I've ever actually seen anything Mandy Moore's acted in, but I've never heard her sing either, so it's an even tradeof. I've never envisioned her as an innocent angel, so it wasn't all that hard to buy her as a drunken, wild slut.
b) Marshall + the phrase "That's my wife." It was just one little line slipped in, but it made me SO HAPPY because in all the craziness that was their wedding, I never actually stopped to let it sink in that for season 3 they'd be a married couple, and this makes me indescribably happy.
c) TED GOT A BUTTERFLY TATTOO. ON HIS LOWER BACK. Much like Lily/Marshall/Barney, I was about to explode from the effort of keeping my laughter silent as Ted wandered around cluelessly while Barney created an endless monologue of inside-jokey statements. I laughed so hard I had tears in my eyes.
d) Barney got mocked for wearing a "nerdy" suit. HEE.
e) Ted's grizzly man beard, and the variety of similarly awful styles (all duly mocked) as he slowly shaved it off
f) Ted's need to yell loudly and pointlessly in order to feel that the breakup truly happened
g) Marshall as Satan, calling to give Barney the link to the Slapdown Clock. You get an A+ for your premiere, and a catapult jump upwards on my list of favorite shows overall.
3. Bones: 3x1, The Widow's Son in the Windshield
So first the copy I downloaded was corrupt, and then when I found it in 5 parts on YouTube, I was missing an 8 or 9 minute chunk out of the middle. As such, my review will be brief and done in bullet points.
*Oh, Angela. Your theory about Booth, Brennan, and The Church Scene confuses me. I really didn't see anything odd, awkward, uncomfortable, or in fact noteworthy at all about that part of last year's finale. Perhaps that's because while I deeply enjoy them as friends, I cannot seem to really feel a lot of romantic chemistry in there. I mean, occasionally I feel like it might be there on Booth's end, but Bones is a robot. So, that pairing doesn't really work for me.
*Semi-Digression: Booth continues to be among my favorite fictional characters ever, because he's like this typical brawny guy, but on the other hand, he has a whole extra layer of sensitivity (difficult though it may be to unearth). Or maybe all that counseling just awoke a passionate love for psychology, whatever. What I'm trying to say is that I really loved it when he figured out that was upset not that Zack left, but that Booth didn't try to stop him. And I love Booth's rationale, too.
*On hairstyles: The good news is that Zack cannot get any uglier than he is right now. The bad news is HODGINS! HAIRCUT! + SCRAGGLY SHAVE JOB! WHY!
*I forgave both of these points as soon as Zack returned, because I loved Angela squealing and Hodgins whooping and the rest of the warm and joyous welcome shown to the Returning Squint. Shame, I'd almost gotten used to his replacement.
*Hodgins fretting over Angela's "titan" husband was adorably endearing. Poor man is so insecure. :P
*I felt like the case didn't get as much screen time as it should have, but it was really fascinating. I definitely cannot wait to hear more about this. Possibly because I'm overly obsessed with secret societies and creepy ritual behaviors, but still.
*Final B/B scene, flinging his hand out to stop her from drinking piping hot coffee too fast, was too cute for words. I love moments like this.
4. House: 4x1, Alone
Holy mother of God, this show is so much more amazing without the ducklings!! I don't know how many times I've said that House + Cuddy + Wilson = all this show needs, but I never expected to actually see that happy reality on my screen for an entire hour. And now that I have seen this hour of greatness, I must say that even though I listed NCIS as my #1 returning show and House somewhere around #14, in terms of what they actually delivered those numbers might as well have been switched.
Wilson the Guitar Kidnapper is AWESOME. He's scheming and diabolical and gleefully devious. I LOVE when he gets the upper hand on House. Not even TiVo deletion can knock him off his game! I heart Wilson so much this week. Especially his line about tightening a guitar string...until it makes a noise like a faint scream. House's silent, murderous stare was a sight to behold.
"Dr. Buffer" was not my favorite part of the episode. I did, however, really like the cool-as-a-cucumber ER doctor. She was just like Cameron, only with a spine. And quick wit. And humor. Oh wait, she was nothing like Cameron; that was probably why I loved her so much - she was much more like a junior Cuddy. MAKE HER A SERIES REGULAR THIS INSTANT! Of course, the fact that the original ducklings' names are still in the credits makes me considerably less optimistic that they're gone for good. Sigh.
I was completely unprepared for the mistaken identity explanation at the end, which causes me no end of shame given that they used this exact storyline less than a year ago on CSI: NY, and possibly even more recently on some other show. It also broke my heart, because I kinda fell in love with both characters from the first line of the teaser (which, incidentally, was the best teaser ever - at first I thoguht I'd downloaded the wrong show. I mean, the acting was good. It seemed real). Dammit! Why do I only get attached to the characters that die? 90% of his stupid patients make it out with miraculous recoveries, albeit it after hours of torture, and then one of the few times I actually *want* them to have a happy ending, it doesn't happen. That's the second Horrible Minor Character loss this week. Note to self: do not grow attached to the Very Cute Grey's patient.
Law & Order: SVU is not going to get a review this week because I cannot seem to find the season premiere anywhere. This makes me very sad.