Double-episode catchup on the following below.
Revolution: Confession time, I have not been quite as enamored of the new technology-inclusive episodes as I was before this show went on break. It might have been due to the rift that appeared between Miles & Charlie. But these two eps brought everything roaring back.
1x16, "The Love Boat"
Smuggling illicit and highly wanted passengers by fishing boat - love it, especially once people hide away in hidden chambers for cover. Favorite scenario.
But the main reason this episode is so great: Neville physically attacks or threatens Charlie, twice. Twice, Miles instantly materializes out of nowhere in a cloud of protective rage to throttle him. It's like, that's what you *wish* would happen when her well being is in danger, but you think that would be totally unrealistic...and yet it KEEPS HAPPENING. Which is great. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing someone get instantly punished for intimidating women, particularly if done by someone with strong personal concern for the woman involved.
(Which is not to say that I did not cackle endlessly every time Charlie, who really is an impressively irritable pain in the ass, trained her gun on Captain Neville. I love this dance of mutual hatred more than I love any other feud, and there are a lot of good feuds to choose from. I think it's the age difference that makes it interesting; she is basically a kid, and a girl at that, and it should be inappropriate for him to want to kill her as much as Miles...and yet not, because she can hold her own in a fair fight.)
Afterwards, the aforementioned rift seemed repaired, so that was nice. I particularly liked Miles being forced/guilted into freeing the scientist and his family, Charlie's subsequent warm You Have Earned My Respect Again eyes of admiration, and Miles being like, "Whatever, fine, shut up." (while secretly being very pleased)
Also, how Tom The Cockroch actually looked shocked that they (his son included) would dare to flee the scene in their escape boat without a backward glance as to whether he made it too. THAT WAS THE BEST. I love Jason's increasingly open contempt of his father. In other news, I would really love to see Kim Raver again; I find the position she's in of equally loving two people who currently despise each other - at least on one side - a fascinating one.
Also the best: post-escape Tom stomping in full of continued rage to confront Miles about it. I love that he's got murder in his eyes but Miles has his Untouchable Teen Guard Dogs ready to spring to his defense while he just sits there all, "Hey, Tom. You look upset. So you managed to get away and now you think you've got the upper hand on me, huh? That's cute. Too bad I'm smarter than you, don't need you, and will probably still kill you in the end. Ta!"
I still don't really care about Jason - my opinion of him is basically, "If he can help fight, cool, you can keep your pretty boy toy. Just don't let him bother me or get in the way." I'm incredibly grateful we haven't been required to spend a lot of time on stupid teen romance, shifting focus instead to the adults.
ALSO: Rachel and Aaron's storyline hardly goes any further than it did last week, yet in terms of interest it skyrockets. I think I love the Plains Nation and its hard-ass pioneer way of life. "The punishment for all crimes (including pety theft) is death"? I love how we were forced into brief emotional investment with the guy whose only concern was for his children's hunger, to the point where we were (or at least I was) sad now that his stubborn insistence on vigilante justice has left his children without a father (which presumably will make them even hungrier, whoops).
And that's just the beginning. Then Rachel suffers a wonderfully grisly injury running away, a scenario that has already exploded all over my brain with its applications to other characters, other scenarios, ones without magic technology (spoiler alert: they end badly barring the miraculous discovery of a skilled doctor, but still). AND we get to watch them take out bad guys despite her grievous injuries. She's become quite the instrument of death lately; I can hardly remember being shocked by such a seemingly meek character stabbing people at the end of last season.
The only thing I am not sure this episode needed was an uncomfortable half-naked lap grinding from Nora. It brushed right up against the boundaries of how much I am willing to allow something I'm watching to show that part of the story. Then again, I kind of love the friends-with-benefits vibe here in that there's an emotional connection but not one that strikes me as particularly, I guess, lovey and romantic? except in the context of past feelings, and it seemed very much like a physical feel-good thing, which is easier shown than told. But I would love to hold it up as an example to more explicit cable networks of how you don't need total fade-to-black but also have no non-gratuitous reasons for showing boobs*, ever.
(*A while back Tumblr rudely and without warning shoved Homeland images of a half naked Melissa Benoist in my face. I AM FOREVER TRAUMATIZED AND ANGRY.)
P.S. The opening scene of the next episode immediately follows the above, so I'm just going to throw in here that I really enjoyed him being almost too groggy to process her unprovoked hissy fit at dawn, and her possibly-astute assessment that eventually, one of them is going to watch the other die.
1x17, "The Longest Day"
a/k/a The One Where Everyone Is Or Gets Horribly Injured And RS Thinks It's Her Birthday
Wait, wait, wait. I get TWO EPISODES IN A ROW of Protective!Miles? Because yes, good, I am very much on board with a) a drone strike that decimates their forces and knocks everyone about with various injuries, and b) Miles hell-bent on rescuing Charlie no matter how hopeless the circumstances, including the possibility she's already dead, because she is evidently more important to him than anyone and anything in the world. (oh look! it's one of those rare times where I agree with parent/stand-in parents putting their kids before significant others. That's how I'm choosing to read it, and not merely as "I owe it to Rachel to protect her kid at all costs" guilt)
And oh hey, someone has thoughtfully giffed all the clingy post-rescue hugging for me. Let us look fondly upon it.
The continuing father/son contention in the Neville department is turning into another one of my favorite things, so I loved Tom shoving a gun into his hands - don't tempt him, sir! (also, hee: "No matter how hard you try, you are never going to get rid of me. I think I'll stick around. How 'bout your boyfriend Matheson?")
This all helps makes Tom's stubborn sense of love that much more entertaining. "Stupid kid." + "Ahh, his mother'll never forgive me if I let him die out there alone." What a cute and see-through cover story. Honestly, as much as I love the Miles/Neville hate feud, when they reluctantly work together it's great. If they happen to be working together to save their respective stupid kids, that is even better. That's the first times Miles has looked like he genuinely respected Neville. Also great: "Everyone draws a line somewhere. Leaving my only son to die alone, I guess that's my line."
I'm on such a high right now I will even put up with the show's boring Jason/Charlie reunion with hospital bed kissing. The mathematical formula that writes all of my fondest tropes into this show doesn't understand how boring I find the former's face, and was merely doing its best to shoot the moon for me. Respect. Substitute characters I ship and I'd be spazzing, since this particular trope works especially well with giddy-on-hormones young people as opposed to tough and battle-worn adults.
Meanwhile: last week's Injured Rachel storyline continues to be awesome. She gets sicker as infection sets in, magic nano technology happens - I LOVED watching this - AND we get to watch them escape from less evil but still dangerous people. I love all the shades of good and evil in this situation, that Rachel can put on a sweet face - that was genuine, I think, not all an act - but then ruthlessly leave them behind in the name of personal survival, as she must.
Very happy with continuing Miles/Rachel backstory (she's so calmly badass even 7 years ago). Wondering if everyone's speculation about him being Charlie's biological father is going to end up being true. For the record, as cliche as that is, I would not hate it. (though I also would not be disappointed if that didn't come to pass, because Protective Uncle is just as genuine)
Reeeeally looking forward to seeing exactly what he meant by "leaving Rachel for dead" once upon a time, which seems a tad more specific than merely "didn't try to free her when I mutinied & deserted."
And last but not least, very much enjoyed Paranoid Monroe ordering the assassination of the last friend he has left. The crazier he gets, the less contemptible he grows. Or maybe that's just because Randall's infuriatingly calm and smug enigma quality is even more annoying than David Lyons' face, and the Omega Rule has kicked in to make him the new worst.
Verrrry excited to see what happens with Captive Nora next week.
Criminal Minds, 8x21, "Nanny Dearest"
Hmm...I got next to nothin'.
1. Unprofessional-like-whoa handling of a still traumatized survivor on the BAU's part.
2. The amount I don't care about JJ's home life is the most terrifying part of all of this. I think it's because her husband bugs me; I have the sense he played someone dumb and/or creepy on another one of my shows and I can't shake the feeling I get from his face.
3. The torture was hard to watch at first, but after a while, the nanny's begging and pleading to "do whatever, just don't hurt her" started to grate on my nerves - he is very obviously only interested in actively hurting you, shut up. I don't know if the asthma condition was supposed to be life threatening or just uncomfortable, but until she's being physically harmed or in acute danger of dying, I just can't bring myself to care about or sympathize with a crying toddler from this side of a TV screen. In related news, I may not have a soul.
This is the first episode in a very long time, maybe ever, where I seriously didn't think I was going to be able to watch it. I like the whole couples-being-abducted-together trope, but putting them into situations where they're coerced into voluntarily hurting each other* is too far and makes me very anxious, uncomfortable and nauseated.
*the only time causing pain is acceptable is under Revolution-style duress where some kind of injury treatment is required without the benefit of anesthetic
That kids-in-shock-collars episode almost broke me, the one where the 3 friends have to choose one to kill still gives me nightmares, and this looked like it was going to be worse than either of those. Fortunately, they always cut away to something mundane at the BAU before getting too graphic at the beginning, and never gave us any scenes of actual couples together or explained how he made them turn on each other (unless it was just tormenting them with unending ear-piercing noise until they acted?), so it turned into something watchable.
That said, for a while - especially after seeing the woman bandage up the man's wounds - I felt dangerously like the unsub was what you get when you mix questionable sanity & addictive personality with a strong background in hurt/comfort fanfic. If the fanfic stops doing it for you, what is the next logical step?
You're worried I've extrapolated entirely too much out of this and looking at my fic rec background, aren't you? If you weren't, I bet you are now.
ANYWAY. Apparently the actual theme is a guy who likes being hurt and comforted as much as he enjoys watching it. Not sure if this just got better or worse - it was less repulsive to watch, but definitely did not make a clear distinction between a general desire to cut oneself and whatever was wrong with him; that was as worrisome as his wife apparently leaving him just because of the cutting. If you're going to throw that curveball in, I'm going to need clarification that he wanted to have her participate in mutual cutting and/or to cut him as some kind of fetish, as opposed to her being like "ew you look gross bye." That's just disheartening.
A) After 10 seconds of Blake talking to her husband on the phone: "I am already more invested in this marriage than JJ's, whoops." The episode proceeded to be nonstop wonderful and adorable on that front. Marrieds! I love 'em. I was not sure I liked where they ended with her compromise, which seemed a lot like the life they have now only with shorter timespans between seeing each other, but then he smiled and seemed kind of proud of her convictions so I'm going to believe the lie until ordered otherwise. Hopefully they'll write her out before that happens. Ugh, I am really sad that I just wished for her to be written out.
[This is a ridiuclously long digression about how my feelings on long distance relationships has changd in the past few months:]*This Year In Television has shattered all of my faith in long distance relationships forever and ever, spread the word! The lesson I have taken away is that you should immediately give up all dreams and/or sense of self in order to remain with your partner**, because no matter how strong you think you are, one of you will crack and it will fail and IT'S NOT WORTH IT. This is not a good lesson and I'm very proud of this fact, in hopes that some showrunners will take note of the harmful notions they are spreading in the name of exciting writing. Think of your even younger and more impressionable viewers.
**This is happening in real life with someone who just gained an awesome-sounding boyfriend but is going to grad school hundreds of miles away in the fall. Like I literally want to shake her and yell TO HELL WITH GRAD SCHOOL! YOUR CURRENT JOB SEEMS FINE, JUST STAY HERE. DON'T JEOPARDIZE WHAT YOU HAVE***. Harmful notions, television writers. I am trying to remember the story of my other now-married friend who did semi-long distance for at least 6 years prior to even formally getting engaged, but it's hard.
[***edit: and lo, not two months later, she was like "yeah, not really feelin' it anymore," and dumped him. And that's when I cut her out of my online life.]
B) REID + BLAKE TALK ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS yes good. Honestly, I was happy just to have him pick up on her agitation and offer a sympathetic ear in fine mirroring of their personal conversations earlier this year, and then he broke out this unexpected part and made hearts melt everywhere:
"For 10 years, this job was my life. And then for a few months, I had a taste of what you have. There's work, and there will always be work. What's rare is finding someone who makes us happy."
C) I am glad he also got to bear witness to the happy couple reuniting. It was sweet and uplifting and such a nice contrast to a guy offing himself with a knife. It is good to be at the point where someone else's happy ending isn't a painful taunt. (for me, at least, there was a while where it would have been terrifically bittersweet, emphasis on bitter)
Overall? It ended up being really good, though obviously better in the personal department. (IT IS STILL SO WEIRD TO SAY THAT ABOUT THIS SHOW.)
Ending Digression: My favorite part in the entire episode was this totally unrelated moment in the background at the MP's mother's house where I was like HEY WAIT I KNOW THOSE BOOKS!
Fact: I love those books! (Wonderful Worlds of Walt Disney boxset)
These are also my two favorite characters. It's a double whammy.
In fairness, you then get a couple of closeups on Blake that make them a lot clearer, so it's not *quite* as awesome a feat as spotting them in the wide shot alone, but those four colors in a row are almost as distinctive as the Harry Potter series. By the time we saw a closeup, it was like there was a giant blinking arrow pointing at them even though they're still out of focus.
Four for you using them, though, set decorator! KUDOS. (I rarely talk about things I notice in the background, but let me just say, set decorators have basically the most fascinating job on a TV series. They are way more interesting than, for example, directors, and yet getting an interview with one is like spotting a celebrity in the Midwest. The reason I never talk about sets is because I could literally spend hours being fascinated by the background in almost any given room, especially in a beautifully staged scene like this. And this is even more digression-y, but when it comes to decorating personal sets for regular characters, and objects are specifically chosen to represent that character's personality and interests, it is a whole new level of amazing. It's not easy work, but boy, it sounds fun.)