Second, upfront news. I could go into a lot of detail, or I could simply breathe a sigh of relief that officially, all my shows are coming back...or I could just throw myself on the floor, howling and sobbing and beating my fists that Moonlight got canceled. With all my CBS procedurals greenlit months in advance, it didn't even occur to me to worry about that one. NOOO! Haven't seen enough! There were more stories to be told! What about Coraline? And I demand Mick/Beth resolution! Demand it! I realize a single strike-shortened season will make it easier for me to catch up when I finally do officially watch it, but...this is depressing. :(
Also I'm a touch annoyed with the cancellation of 1 vs. 100, because it made for pretty decent Friday night entertainment.
Third, we finally get to the reviews. Clearly I am powerless to stop myself from writing short ones.
My lil' Tiva heart is quite happy after this episode, between jealous!Tony and trying oh-so-hard to get her to come out for a drink, but nothing was so great as "I was just gonna tussle your hair...sometimes that makes you smile." Awww. Although I was rather fond of Ziva yelling at him, too, between the spitting in Hebrew and "SHUT YOUR TRAP, DINOZZO!" (she didn't even make a mistake on that phrase; she *must* be pissed)
I could have done without reckless!Ziva tumbling into bed with Michael, and I definitely could have gone without seeing it, even if it was tamer than the Tony/Jeanne mess last year. I understand why she did it - in her state of mind, I actually found it more understandable than whatever reason she was IN that state of mind to begin with - but it was quite uncomfortable overall.
I did like the makeup job on Ziva (or did they just leave the makeup off and show what a haggard actor looks like without it? Hmmm...;) ); she looked very convincingly exhausted. I just got rather bored by her storyline because it seemed to come out of nowhere, and I really couldn't see a reason for it. Do your job better, writers. The only thing you get points for this week is blindsiding me on the killer, as - following the rule of Bad Guy Once, Bad Guy Everywhere - I was convinced that the blustering precinct cop was going to be the accomplice/copycat/etc. (I believed in Michael's innocence! I did! He was too much of a red herring.)
OK, and you get points for Abby on roller skates, too. And for Gibbs' scenes with Ziva, because I always forget what an amazing dynamic they have. But that's it!
Not a fan of the episode overall, but I actually don't know if that's the episode's fault or the fact that I'm getting really impatient for the finale and frustrated that Jenny has been absent. It's one thing to kill her (I'm convinced she's the one leaving), but it's quite another to kill her after an absentee stretch!
Ziva: (kicking copier) DIE, stupid machine!
McGee: She seems unfazed.
5x17, About Face
OK, seriously? That's enough Jenny absence. Bring her back now. Please do not bring her back for the express purpose of killing her. Please whack McGee. My heart's already broken that you've decided to go the way of brutal murder in writing off this mystery character, seeing as you've ALREADY DONE THAT ONCE, but it would be less broken if you took a character I was less emotionally invested in. Like Jimmy! I would have been perfectly happy to see that bullet go through his head this week.
I have nothing against Jimmy, other than his secret tryst with Michelle (which got weirdly dropped into the pit of forgotten storylines), but he's bumbling and foolish and frequently embarrasses himself, which I can't stand. Centering an episode around him is not the way to win my approval. Bored, bored, bored.
Points for Gibbs kissing Abby's cheek, the Scrabble game, and referencing McGee's fear of heights. Points which are negated by Vance's presence, and the continued lack of Jenny's. GIVE HER BACK TO ME, DAMN IT. A.D. Vance irritates me at least as much as A.D. Kersh did on X-Files. Their characters don't seem too different.
At this point, my finale impatience is definitely influencing my opinion of episodes, but...NCIS has been pretty hit-or-miss with me this season. When it's good, it's very very good, but when it's bad, it's AWFUL. This was an example of the latter - better than the American Idol alternative this week, but not by much. Is the finale really next week? Because usually the Country Music Awards bump it back a week, but Spoilerfix & other sources are insisting next week is the airdate for both parts of the 2-hour finale, so...
Eh, it was an hour of good entertainment, as cult episodes usually are - and I definitely did not see the twist about a long con worked in there - but nothing really specific to pull out. Larry served no useful purpose, Charlie and Amita (separately or together) were even less interesting, and I remembered why I get so tired of Alan the Wise every week. At least nobody uttered the word "green" this week.
All other points in this episode come from Don/Robin, because as...sadly bland as I find Robin on her own (I'm sorry! I don't know! Diverging from Spy makes me sad, but I can't help it!), Don is wonderfully charming when he's smiling and flirty, and it's a beautiful thing to watch. The last scene, though...oh, the last scene sent me tumbling head over heels. Too cute! With the cuddling and awkwardly positioned upside-down kisses and the *cuddling* and hair-ruffling/wrestling...gah! Fine, you have my heart. Please be gentle with it.
Okay, promo monkeys, you get massive fail for hinging the entire promo on the idea of Lindsay stepping into the killer cab, which was A BIG FAT LIE about a scene that didn't even happen until the final minute anyway. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
No I'm not; this is coming first. OMGWTFPOLARBEAR, REED! You can't kill Reed! You especially can't kill Reed without giving him a chance at redemption after spending 3 episodes turning him into a sulky little smartass! (oh yes, I'm still quite bitter about that) Actually, even though I'm much more worried about his life than I would be about Lindsay's, I also kind of feel like he'll be safe just because the last thing Mac did was yell at him, and as much as they like their Mac Angst (*pause* Oh dear, and they do like it...), that would make him come across as less than the hero, and they couldn't have that.
Argh! I don't know what to think. Now I'm kind of invested in the idea of Mac adding this to his guilt burden. I can't see how they'd have any time to rescue him, anyway, doesn't the poisoning act pretty fast? And isn't he getting into the cab at approximately the same time Mac's talking to Stella about working around the clock, and Lindsay's wandering in the rain? IT NEEDS TO BE WEDNESDAY RIGHT NOW. I'm kind of glad I only have to wait a couple days. They're not stretching this out another week, are they? OK. Backing up now.
On basketball case: GUY TIME! FLACK/DANNY BONDING! After the slash shippers ruin it for me, as they do, I forget that these two really have the greatest dynamic out of anyone. Loved everything about that opening scene.
Per the theory of friendsholic , am still waiting for the team to decide that the neck carvings refer to a Biblical passage. I guess I shouldn't be surprised after how long they spent trying to track down the "roommate." 1, fail for having a cliche attitude about cheerleaders' intelligence. 2, it was a FAT GIRL on the FRIDGE. The *empty* fridge. I thought it was fairly obvious that the picture was there as an appetite surpressant, and didn't necessarily have any meaning at all. But then as soon as they showed a closeup on the photo, I realized it was a picture of HER from the past.
I thought it was interesting that they had a completely different actress for the "fat" flashbacks, though, instead of just going with makeup or a suit. No complaints, because I love that actress; I just thought it was strange.
I also want to know how, even with the aid of computer imaging magic, they were able to pick up a perfectly flat ticket from the gym floor and rotate it enough to read the seat number. That seemed especially inventive.
Sidebar: I just loved her saying rain walks were "a Montana thing." It's been a while since I heard any cute references to her home state. And it's good to know that I am not the only person who enjoys a nice soothing walk through a downpour once in a while!
On D/L: So, Danny *almost* got me to forgive him, first with his endearing attempts to win Lindsay over at the beginning, and again with the phone call. Oh, phone call. Danny is horribly, horribly good at wheedling and cajoling until you give in and think it's your idea to do so. Damn him and his "I miss you more than I can say" (it's like 'I love you,' but not! Because that would be a lie! Clever man). But Lindsay was spot-on with her "you have any idea how hard you are to love?" It's true. And her tone of voice, a little bit exasperated but mostly just affectionate, perfectly illustrated how both of us are falling for him all over again even when we shouldn't. Stay strong, Lindsay/Self!
Then Rikki showed up at his door, and even though he finally wised up and did the right thing (although, here was me: "You're STARTING to think this is a bad idea?! JUST NOW STARTING?"), the sight of her was enough to bring back all my loathing and contempt and "WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT WRITERS WHY WHY" feelings. I still cannot see why it was in any way necessary for them to write that storyline in, and do not see how it can possibly be fixed, ever. I think it's possible that D/L could be patched up without even addressing the cheating, but then that would make the plotline just a giant gaping hole of UNNECESSARY. I AM FRUSTRATED BY THIS. FRUSTRATED TO EXCESSIVE CAPSLOCK. *gives up again*
P.S. Tying back to the beginning, I'm ending with a truly excellent quote from stellaluna_ :
"I know it's for reasons of plot, but Reed is seriously stupid to get in a cab immediately after he's been out chasing a story about, oh, what was that again? A serial killer who drives a taxi cab? The devil you say!"
But overall: fantastic episode.
Episode 13: I don't like blindsides anymore! Dammit!
Reward challenge: FINALLY, some point and purpose to being long-time fans! I knew Erik would smoke the competition. Personally, I would have gotten everything except the fire question wrong, although in my defense I haven't even seen half those seasons. And I knew the first split into four groups happened with age, not race, but I couldn't remember what the season was called.
"I make so many mistakes," says Erik, and see, that's why I can't fault him. He's not deliberately backstabbing people here. He just gets easily swayed by the shiny object in front of him. "IT'S SURVIVOR OMG YAY I'M ON SURVIVOR!" blocks out most of the rational gameplay in his head, I think.
And that was just...oh, that sucked. I was perched on the edge of my seat, eagerly awaiting his immunity challenge win, and he made it! It was all sewn up! Natalie was as good as gone, and from there it was a huge chance for Erik to jump to the finals! And then...all of a sudden Natalie's bitchy voodoo turned everything on its head, and he fell for their lies, and the season stopped being fun right there.
It wasn't even just that he got voted out, it's the way they were *reveling* in it, just cackling their heads off, like hens. At which point I could not stop saying the word "bitches," hated all of them equally, and didn't even care who won anymore. And James is staying Dumbest Survivor Ever in my book, SO THERE.
Final Episode: Well, at least Natalie didn't make it past fourth place. Beyond that? The finale was just one long, slow slide downhill, to the point where I have almost nothing to say about it. I've been wanting them to go back to final 2 forever, and now the ONE time I'm actually pretty happy with having a final 3, they change it up on me? Damn you, season of injuries!
It sucked that Cirie lost the final challenge. I had a feeling Amanda would win; it's all an an act of concentration and balance and that's exactly how Amanda got to the final 3 in China. I felt so bad for Cirie when she lost and knew she was going home - SO CLOSE, for the second time! That sucks! I teared up a little at her exit interview, when she was apologizing to her family and talking about how it "just wasn't in the cards." I didn't enjoy her too much as a player this time around, but as a person, she's great.
Quote from me, that I feel should be noted for posterity, or at least the finale: "Oh my GOD, how is Parvati in the final 2! How! If she wins a million bucks, I'm going to kill myself." Anyway, I hate the normal tribal councils, but I always look forward to the final one every year for sheer entertainment purposes. For some reason, I thought this one would be slightly more intelligent than usual. Silly me! God, it's like all they do is drink bitter juice at Loser's Lodge.
You start off with Eliza, who looks like she wants to spit tacks at them for existing - despite several episodes of looking perfectly delighted with the orchestration of their various blindsides at previous tribal councils. I liked Eliza the whole way through until she told Amanda that listening to her made her want to kill herself, and that was it. "Superficial"?! THE HELL. And with the power of retroactive knowledge, I *really* want to know how the hell she deemed Parvati being a straight-up bitch less reprehensible than whatever it was about Amanda that bugged her.
And Erik! Even goofy lil' Erik, who seemed to be getting along perfectly fine with Amanda right before he got sent home, was full of past grudges! Even JAMES - as politely and calmly as possible - noticeably laid into Parvati. Is there like, an extra monetary incentive if they act nasty, presumably to produce good TV? Because that's all I can come up with. I expected the stream of anti-Parvati bitterness from Ozzy, but why did everyone else decide to get their hate on?
I did enjoy Parvati's obvious attempts to bat her eyelashes and win Ozzy over in her opening statement, while he just gave her a dead-eyed stare. Yeah, you ain't getting his vote, hon. I'm sure "Parv" also started wondering exactly when she lost two syllables off her name. I started wondering when Amanda got a reputation as an "actress," or being "fake." What the hell! Someone mentioned her "zombie" look, and I just don't get it. What is this problem everyone has with her "doe eyes"? One, why are doe eyes something to hate? Because deer bring to mind words like "quiet" and "sweet" and other good qualities. Two, that's...just how her eyes look. She has big eyes and a fairly open expression. She doesn't do squinty and calculating all the time like Natalie. Frankly, her expression doesn't look all that damn different from Parvati's.
But that could just be my residual bitterness over the fact that some people respect her gameplay over what they might think about her personality. People, could we get some perspective? I realize you are picking the winner of game. But you are also picking someone TO GIVE A MILLION DOLLARS TO, and I prefer to think of the game more as a medium for awarding deserving people money. If you can make it to the end, that's an amazing accomplishment no matter how you got there. Please to be rewarding the better person.
That last statement is my bitterness regarding Alexis' decision to vote for Parvati (you know, that woman who voted out in order to stick by her *better* buddy Amanda) on some mistaken belief that Parvati is somehow a better role model for young girls. Between that and saying she "couldn't help laughing" at Amanda for crying about sending Cirie home*, my Alexis love is officially DEAD.
* = ...I'm sorry, what was laughable about that? She and Cirie got to know each other pretty well. They all thought they were going to have an equal shot at the million. Of *course* she fought to win immunity, because she didn't want to risk being the one to get voted out that night, but that doesn't mean she enjoyed having to be the one doing the voting. Of course she was crying! It was up to her to decide flat-out who wasn't going to get the million. It's different from the other votes, not only because it's solely her decision, but because it's the cruelest vote - you're taking it away from someone who could not possibly be closer, who BUT FOR YOUR VOTE would have had a direct shot at the million. Someone who, again, you have developed a fairly close bond with. It is not a flippant "whatever, just a game" decision. Especially not for someone who's been playing the damn game for 78 days. Wow, the more I write, the more I hate her. Uncool! Alexis was my fave Fan from the start! And now it's all gone.
Who else...OH! NATALIE! What the HELL. Forget "Erik, are you still a virgin?" This is the creepiest question that has ever been asked on Survivor, ever. "Parvati! I know all about how your flirting works; please enlighten me about your bedroom antics!" is pretty much what it amounted to. That was too creepy for words. Even Jeff looked like "Uh, do we have an award for 'Dumbest Jury Question Ever'?"
Cirie had a good line of questioning, actually. Pity Amanda botched it. Mostly I was distracted by how absolutely gorgeous Cirie looked, between the choker necklace and the curve-hugging jeans and the perfectly fitted top that could not have made her figure look better. WOW.
And finally...Ozzy. Oh, man. I think I liked him even more this time than in his original season, and that never changed, but even I had to go laugh/weep at his ridiculously exaggerated, over-the-top phrasing. "I am truly hurt, from the bottom of my heart." *snort* "A price on our friendship"! HAHAHA! "You took away 14 days I could have spent with Amanda." Oh my God, seriously.
And then he had to turn to Amanda, and go on with the "I feel like I started to fall in love with you," and I completely melted. Awwww! You're not supposed to be this cute! I can't even find it in me to mock the extremely short amount of time they knew each other, because he is just so endearing. I think she's kind of won already.
Loved his voting words, too. Words to live by, really: "I hope to God that you win. You deserve it a MILLION times more than Parvati. And uh - love you." I would have been happy with the first two, but that last bit sent me squeeing. Yeah. Completely and totally adore them. Real-life couples are much nicer than made-up RP shipping.
(in a related note, I wanted to kick Eliza several times later. MOVE YOUR SLOW ASS AND VOTE ALREADY.)
Live in NYC: OH MY GOD I AM KILLING MYSELF RIGHT NOW. WHAT THE FUCK.
Two days later, it still hasn't sunk in. HOW THE EFFING HELL DID PARVATI WIN? PARVATI! I have never seen Survivor end so horribly! (except for the time I watched the All-Stars finale without having seen the preceding season; I *still* hate Rob & Amber) HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE HOW HOW?! Gross. GROSS. I am unbelievably pissed that such a great season ended so badly.
Some things of note: The women always look ridiculously over-primped on the reunion shows, but Amanda & Parvati both look exceptionally like street hookers. Like they have the same pimp, maybe. I am not even slightly kidding.
Surprisingly, most of the women looked pretty good this time around. I'm not a fan of Cirie's bob, just because her hair was pulled back so prettily at the last TC, but overall she looked good - probably the best woman in the group, although Tracy looked really pretty too. And see! I knew if Jason just cut his hair, he'd be kind of cute! Could even go a little shorter still, but his looks have already improved about a thousand percent.
Joel also looks a lot less scary without caveman hair, although he still seemed to have a worrisome amount of anger stored up in him. Not someone I'd ever want to meet. Glad he got booted early.
Erik, of course, still remains really, really, really cute. Forget last season's Erik. This one has got to be one of the cutest guys ever cast on the show. And come on, how do you not love his complete and total enthusiasm? He reminds me of another guy I know who's been watching the show since the beginning, and would love nothing more than to be on it. Another one for the "We've been watching since we were 14" club! (I love being part of that club.) And I'm really, really pleased with the way he explained his rationale behind the move; unlike with James or Jason, you couldn't really fault him after the way he laid it out. He's too nice.
I love that Jeff didn't even want to talk to Fairplay. Hehehe.
And finally, James winning the Most Popular Player prize again...I'm torn. On the one hand, the way he talks about just wanting to make people happy makes me completely adore him, and I just start giggling when he acts dumbfounded that people know his name. On the other, I really wanted Cirie or at least Amanda to win. Sigh.
P.S. Despite my newly-found hatred for the latter, show, it was cruel of you to tease about a secret, unknown romance and not have it turn out to be Erik/Alexis. At least Ozzy/Amanda are still together. Honestly, I don't care if they fall apart in the near future or stay together forever; I'm sure I'll forget about them shortly. I just wanted to hear it once. Mostly so I could scrub out the memory of Ozzy mocking Denise, which had a precedent but was still unnecessarily mean-spirited.
Honestly, I don't even know what to say about it. I was exhausted from packing all day, and almost falling asleep while I watched it, so I'll just talk about the end. I don't like Lake, but even I didn't want him to go out in handcuffs. And Casey! Dragged before the board and suspended*! JUDGE DONNELLY, what's going on here? You're my favorite judge, why'd it have to be you that threw her to the wolves?
* = I was going to verify that on Wikipedia, since I wasn't quite sure I understood what went on in the last few crucial minutes, but someone has decided to be funny and make the "Casey Novak" article automatically redirect to "manatee." -.-
OK! Plans for tonight - CSI: NY, then depending on how tired I am, either something from the stockpile (see! all organized now!) or bed. Survive one day of work, and my reward is the damn-well-better-be *AMAZING* Office finale...which is an ironic parallel to the last time I worked custodial, when my reward for surviving the first day of work was the amazing CSI: Miami episode "Rampage."