*there is some irony in me saying this months after the episodes aired, but not much, because if I were a person with Nielsen responsibility I would take said responsibility extremely seriously. not like these fools now.
2x18, Austin City Limits: KA-POW, DOWN GOES JASON UNDER CHARLIE'S GUN, in the single most shocking death of the series since Danny, or possibly ever! And also a most welcome one. Oh, that was wonderful. Big stakes, bigger rewards! The best part was its humanizing effect on Charlie. Well timed.
Prior to that, I really enjoyed his temporarily useful aid in spy tactics, the chat with S&M enthusiast Blanchard (what a friendly guy! and what morons they are for not suspecting that one of his hired lady companions might also be an assassin), and the shocking reveal that wonky-eyed Salty Shirlee, General Store Owner, is a Patriot. Actually, I just liked Austin in general. How is it that there can be all these relatively well functioning, non-psychotic regions in the former U.S., and there still be people who want to upend everything in nonstop war? I am so jealous that our heroes don't get to live in the nice places. Even though that makes no sense from a storyline perspective.
2x19, #*$& Happens, a.k.a. Miles and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day: So this is my favorite episode in quite a while. It includes, in no particular order of awesomeness:
-Flashbacks to Miles finding Charlie in a dazed state of shock, worry mode kicking in, then ushering her out of there
-Miles being cut down after the first line of a pep talk on the way back, to which he seamlessly switches gears into a "you're not getting one. Bad stuff happens. Quit wringing your hands." That said, Monroe turning around to look back at her with the helpful advice that Neville is going to kill her made him seem, very briefly, like a bonus concerned uncle. RS like.
(and what is it about him holding the reins to a wagon hitch that makes him somewhat way hot? Gross.)
-Miles attempting to lead the Rangers on a wild goose chase (after impatiently reminding Monroe that they still want Texas on their side, "so if we could stop killin 'em, that'd be great"), only to go flying, hitch broken, in one truly specatacular stunt double roll.
-Miles warning the lead Ranger to have his men stand down, "or they will die." Which, of course, they do. That was pretty epic.
-I also liked the hand to hand sword combat with the lead Ranger, poor ending and all. He seemed a kindly old chap. They could have made good allies, in another life.
-Connor joining the bromance snark: "Go find your boyfriend."
-Epic collapse through the rotted floor in the remants of an abandoned building. Followed by finding the first aid kid to have nothing but a band-aid in it, and then the remaining free standing wall collapsing to form a perfect seal over his soon-to-be tomb. "Very bad day." Hey, what's my favorite thing in fiction? People getting all smashed up and needing rescue? Suck it, Sleepy Hollow Tumblr fandom. He's not even a damsel.
-And there is literally no more perfect group of people to potentially find him than Monroe, Rachel, and Charlie. I spent a whole happy evening concocting what-if scenarios for each one being the one to come upon him.
-The Charlie option quickly obliterated itself on account of her capture, but at the same time, WOW. Seeing Tom all unhinged and finally ready to kill her was magnificent. I still couldn't bring myself to be moved by her tears, because I cannot express to you how little I believed in or cared about their relationship, but seeing him totally lose it and knowing that this time his grief is permanent really got to me. And reminded me of a line I'd forgotten earlier in the season, or maybe season 1 -- about how the one thing he would never do, and the one thing Julia would never forgive, would be letting his son die out there alone. (I mean, technically Charlie stayed with him so he wasn't ~alone~, but...)
-I also liked his long rant-off about how her candy ass needs to stay the hell away from his son. What is with the men on this show being so threatened by her sexuality? It's like they have shotguns trained on the son of a preacher man.
-Yay for more vicious verbal Monroe vs. Rachel sparring. "You look up Girlfriend From Hell in the dictionary, there is a full page -- glossy -- of you." // "Oh, you know me, and you know Miles, you know everybody? I know you pretty well too, Bass. You insecure child."
-I don't want to know about Philadelphia, I never want to know about that night in Philadelphia, but w o w @ that grossly possessive kiss. I honestly don't know what to do with that.
-The woods scenes, however, which allowed her to be in full light, reminded me that Elizabeth Mitchell is probably one of the prettiest women who has ever existed.
-OH HEY THAT'S WHAT THE BURNING SHED WAS ABOUT?? (the nanotech appearing to taunt him in the form of Ben) I totally forgot about that! Now that you mention it, I was totally confused by that! Way to bring that reveal back out of nowhere.
-Excuse me, I just need an hour or ten to recover from Miles going to hopelessly defeated to remembering the first time he saw Rachel, and the thought of her being his final motivation to make it out of here alive. "No. No, I'm not leaving." SUCK IT, NANOTECH.
2x20, Tomorrowland: My immediate memory of this episode is that I have no idea what it involved beyond mustard gas, because CLEARLY the only thing of importance here was the following quote: "I didn't crawl out of that hole on my own. You and Charlie pulled me out." Followed by pretty kissing with a purpose and YES. THAT IS WHAT I CAME BACK FOR. They're no Barbie and Julia, but damned if my heart does not still thrill at their rare full-strength romantic moments. Which just reinforces that whole idea of playing house with his 2 girls from a few episodes ago.
I can't help but feel like my Miles-rescue was a tad shortchanged, although I guess a few seconds of Charlie cradling his head and screaming for mom is better than nothing.
Gene: Stay in bed, you dummy.
Miles: If I have to lay here one more minute, I'm gonna kill myself. And then kill you.
Rachel: At least he's feeling better.
Monroe: Brought you some medicine. (holding a bottle of liquor) That is, if it's okay with Mom.
No, okay, mustard gas. I feel like mustard gas does not work in such a way that you could simply plug the holes with your hands seconds after the enemy shoots holes in the walls of your previously airtight refuge, and still come out of it with no side effects. Two seconds of research tells me that skin contact causes blistering, for starters. But sure, fine. That is the scariest tactic the Patriots have pulled yet. So much for the remnants of Duncan's merry band of ragtag forest marauders.
I did really enjoy the fake fight for Monroe's benefit, including his genuinely pitiful disbelief in the face of Miles sideswiping his plans yet again ("We're gonna use the gas, right?" after they literally just locked him out and explained how lye & water neutralize mustard gas). I like everything about the surly dynamic of him cussing out the "bitch" at every turn when his threats are so empty and harmless. (dear Tumblr, this is what Actual Misogyny looks like) True story, one of the biggest reasons I'm afraid to go back to season 1 is that I'm not sure I can handle seeing him as a scary dictator when I've gotten so used to him as a grumpy but tame (or at least defanged) lion.
I also enjoyed Neville staying two steps ahead of the competition and bear-trapping the Patriot man sent to assassinate him. I still don't believe Julia's dead, though. Too circumstantial. It'll be interesting to see him and Monroe team up again, given that the latter was last seen calling him a turncoat while hell-bent on murder.
And I thought I was done mentioning fake!Priscilla, but damn, her macabre scene of "happiness" was straight out of the creepiest book of horror stories ever.
BONUS: Last week's episode of Survivor.
So I've definitely taken a shine to Reed, though not at the expense of losing Jeremy, to which I say "BITCHCAKES" and also learned that without that gallant and handsome man in play, my enthusiasm for the majority of the tribe has vanished. Son of a bitch was the ringer in a Cheerleader Effect! Only one I genuinely want to root for now is Missy.
Now, now, give me a minute to cool down and I'll get some of the enthusiasm back, I'm sure. It's just...why. John, we were rooting for you. We were ALL ROOTING FOR YOU! The only thing that makes up for this even a tiny bit was that "told ya" wink Reed gave Josh, which was pretty darn adorable.
(and also I just remembered he's from Minnesota, looked him up to see where he's from, and then found out he's the son of a mayor my mom remembers, so that is also neat).
I think John made his "big move" one step too early, honestly. I think people are going to come after him now in a way they wouldn't have before. I think he should have just come clean about the idol to Jeremy and run with it for a while. He might have had to move before the top 6, but at least two more Outsiders should have gone down first. Man, I am really going to miss Jeremy's witty observation comedy like "I think Keith's playing the game, he's just not very good at it."
In other things that happened:
-I thought the "feet only" challenge was going to be terrible ("I don't want to see close-ups of people's feet! Gross!"), but it was actually fast pace and surprisingly entertaining. I'm surprised how good Keith was -- everything Keith does surprises me; I should prolly stop being surprised -- and really enjoyed watching Reed work, but seeing how happy Baylor was to win was just darling. My Glee AU made it even better, imagining Rachel grinning ear to ear while skipping for her prize.
-The knock-opponent-off-a-wiggly-balance-beam challenge would have been way more fun over sand or water rather than mud, but I still really wanna play that one! And was really surprised and sad that Reed didn't do better. Maybe it's all just a weight advantage thing.
-John & Jaclyn continued to be obnoxiously cute and kissyface on day Whatever of their pre-honeymoon island vacation, this time taking a day trip to eat sandwiches and champagne on a picnic boat. With jumping dolphins in the background waves!
-WHY ISN'T THERE A HARDCORE RULE ABOUT NOT BEING ALLOWED TO RIFLE THROUGH PEOPLE'S BAGS.