5x08, App Development and Condiments: THIS IS THE MOST WONDERFUL THING SINCE THE LAST GREAT THING. I love when this school turns upside down and transforms into a dystopian novel overnight, especially at the increasing regularity with which it's been happening. Particularly if it comes with fancy white overlord costumes and Deviously Ambitious Shirley, although Jeff's comedy routine was pretty marvelous too. Honestly, I just adored everything, from Abed's assessment of wearing neutral colors to Vicki's tragic ostracization for a rating mistake, aside from the grossness of Britta smearing mustard on her face to make people listen to her. Also, THAT ENDING TRAILER. I need to watch this movie.
5x09, "VCR Maintenance and Educational Publishing"
What I loved: the VCR game (and shoutout to Goodwill!) and its assorted madness, Abed's delightful sweeping speech in the "rain" to fix his relationship, the not-actually-a-hired-stunt-guy slipping and falling in the resultant puddle, and every single second of The Textbook Wars. Dark!Britta serving as dealer, everyone pouncing on Chang and forcing him to record a message for insurance/blackmail purposes, people getting tied up in rope, cut to: Shirley having EVERYONE tied up in rope (that escalated quickly), and the ultimate discovery that the text numbers have no page numbers, a detail which Britta managed to miss while having her nose buried in said pages to authenticate it by smell. I would really love to know how Shirley having four captives in rope went down, by the way. Except not really, because that random reveal was comedic gold.
What I did not love: Annie's gross hulking lump of a brother (I'm rejecting literally every piece of canon we learned about Annie in this episode), which kind of sucks all the joy out of watching the VCR game, and the ending tag flashback that gave me many pains in the heart for the doomed financial future and probably marriage of the well-meaning game guide. Also, I am trying but continually failing to warm up to Abed's girlfriend. I want to love her, but I feel nothing.
5x10, Advanced Dungeons and Dragons: A vast letdown from the original. I deeply dislike David Cross, and am disappointed this show has not learned its lesson about how boring father/son storylines are (although the Dean's enthusiasm for his character was marvelous, up to and including Jeff's unemotional impaling of him rather than risking a hug). However, I crowed in delight at Abed's magnificent and quite convincing hobgoblin impressions. And the ending tag, with Abed leading a new game with Annie's stuffed animals as players, was adorable.
I am continuing to watch Stalker and greatly enjoying it.I kind of love that this show is ignoring its own premise in favor of having Beth's team insert themselves into Homicide's territory to only focus on the super-violent stalkers after they escalate to Murder Most Foul, which I'm guessing is probably not how the vast majority of stalking cases turn out. But why be real when you can be SENSATIONAL?? Also, I like that we have Beth's budding stalker hanging around in the background as a sinister force in the back of our minds while we deal with the day-to-day.
That said, it is still my greatest hope that eventually, Jack(ass) gets arrested on stalking charges himself and his apartment is so loaded with supporting evidence that he has no recourse, and no character witnesses to testify to his good-guy nature, either, and then BOOM OFF TO JAIL. Since I don't think that can happen, for contracual purposes, I'm just going to hope I get to enjoy it as the plot of a single episode, and/or that Beth at least continues to consider him a barely tolerable assjack for the rest of the series. If I have to suffer through this character, I want on-screen validation and zero redemption. I'm really enjoying his ex-wife's icy stares of death.
(Fact: nothing annoys me more than showrunners who expressly try to introduce a character as a jerk and then transform him into a fan favorite. Except possibly people who like relationships that start with characters hating each other. I haven't checked the fandom because I don't want to imagine that could possibly happen here.)
Criminal Minds: I still love Callahan, even though I cringe slightly at the beginning of every episode when she shows up to deliver a forcibly cheery line to demonstrate how delightful she is. The harder they try, the more she feel like a sticker pasted on top of the group. Does not have the organic fit of Blake or Rossi at all. Its' super frustrating, because literally everyone (including me) wants her to fit so hard, but as a result the effort is too obvious.
10x02: I loved the premise -- committing murders based on Dante's circles of hell -- but I would have preferred someone truly sadistic instead of suffering mental delusions as a result of childhood abuse and trauma. It was a lot less fun to watch. I also would have preferred that they deleted that scene with the father slapping his son outside the dentist's office, because it was so horribly acted and fake-sounding. Lastly, I had less than zero patience for Garcia's wibbling about Death Row Guy (I never thought I would take Morgan's side in anything, but there I was).
10x03, "A Thousand Suns": PLANE CRASH. And Callahan backstory? I love it. I love her backstory to infinity and beyond. I also really liked Reid's casual attempt at bonding. She's worried about being the girl with the tragic backstory because her sister and brother-in-law died in 9/11? Reid's girlfriend was killed in front of him. And that was just one year's worth of his tragedy. (I probably could have taken issue with his flippant tone of gallows humour over actual sadness in mentioning it, but I thought it worked in the moment)
I also really loved that they made us get to know so many of the passengers, with artfully placed lines and glimpses into their lives and personalities in just the span of the teaser, and then mercilessly killed them all. Good on your emotional manipulation, show! The visual wreckage of the plane was impressive, too, large scale and with just the right touches of gruesome body parts. I can't even imagine how many hours of labor that took to set up, based on the way-less-elaborate setup of that Numb3rs ep "36 Hours."
I would have liked to know more about the random survivalists/mercenaries in the woods, though. I was never quite clear how they fit in, and suspect they could have carried an episode on their own.
Bad Judge is, improbably, the actual highlight of my television week. The kid disappeared after the pilot, and it immediately improved 500%. Everything from the attractive brother-in-law from Chuck to the (horrible crushing sadness) of her destroyed van + bonding with the only reliable friend in her life* in its flaming wreckage was adorable and silly and wonderful and oddly heartwarming. What a great cast. Verdict? Pulling. This. Off.
*BT-dubs his name is Tedward. TEDWARD. This could not be better.
Sleepy Hollow, 2x04
Oh how I love when this show gets back to its creepy monsters roots. And uses Hawley. Hawley is the second-best thing after demon monsters. And if these things should combine in a way that involves Crane rescuing a 10-year-old child and carrying her to safety, well, I would just not argue that at all.
Other highlights: Irving's vision of the End of Days (I think I was supposed to notice something about him being a bad guy but HIS ATTIRE IS TOO RIDICULOUS AND AWESOME FOR ME TO SEE ANYTHING ELSE), Crane learning to drive, watching him play the bone flute, the cleverness of looping its sound on MP3 and having Abbie listen to it via earbuds, and Abbie being a badass and killing the piper where her good buddy fails.
Let's see, what's been happening on Survivor? I can now tell the blondes apart because Jaclyn is the older of the two, bears a noticeable resemblance to Heather Morris in the face department, and has the most amazing figure I have ever seen. It is more flawlessly shaped than a store mannequin. The mind actually boggles.
And in other news, um...I'm glad Gorilla Man is gone, but I cannot particularly fault him for going off on Natalie at that point, since she was going out of her way to provoke just such a reaction in the most aggravating rapid-fire way possible. After a while I kind of wanted to knock her teeth out too, just to make the sound stop. Also, I really hope Drew goes down as one of the more legendary dumb players for accidentally orchestrating his own eviction from the game over the course of one voting period.
I've really been enjoying the challenges, both the group efforts and the head-to-heads, which I suppose isn't new, but worth a mention. And as of this last episode, Josh finally stopped talking, which is a relief because I was really getting sick of his smug face telling us how smart he was all the time.