Friday, November 21, 2014

Castle Season 7 Episode 7 - Once Upon a Time in the West

Overall, I have been very happy with season seven of Castle, especially with episode six.  I really enjoyed Once Upon a Time in the West, the seventh episode of the season.  It is another fun, entertaining episode.

Like usual, there are spoilers ahead for people who haven’t seen the episode yet.  Read at your own risk.

Rick and Kate have Lanie, Esposito, and Ryan over the loft and tell them they got married.  The three are a bit upset, especially when Martha goes on about how perfect it was, even saying you should have been there.  Lanie goes off on Kate briefly, talking about not eating carbs for months so she would fit in her dress, and then she hugs Kate in happiness while pushing Rick away.  The guys hold on to their disappoint, saying they had plans for the wedding, including a song, and now there is no song for Rick, not even at the reception/party that will be coming up.  Kate gets a call about a new murder, and Ryan and Esposito refuse to go, saying that is another call they didn’t get.

At the hospital, they discover that the victim got sick on the subway, was taken to the hospital, said diamondback just before she died and she had been poisoned.  At the precinct, Ryan and Esposito discover that the woman had just been at Diamondback Dude Ranch.  Kate contacts the local sheriff who says he can’t do anything with any concrete proof and he’s unwilling to go to the ranch to ask questions since the ranch brings in a lot of tourists to the area.  Kate is aggravated, but thinks there is nothing else she can do.  Then Rick comes up with the idea that he and Kate should go to the ranch and honeymooners to investigate.  Surprisingly, Gates agrees with Rick, so the two head off to the ranch.  Rick thinks they might as well try to have some fun too since they won’t be able to take an actual honeymoon for a while because Kate used her vacation days looking for him when he was missing. 

Rick is having fun from the moment they get to the ranch while Kate is trying to focus on finding out what happened to the victim.  They do some shopping, getting some western clothes and Rick wants to get guns, but Kate says they need to head to their room - she managed to talk their way into them getting the same room as the victim.  They talk to the guy in the room next door who also shares the bathroom and learn some things about the victim, including that she may have been involved with a married ranch staff member.  Rick comes up with a way for them to try to figure out which staff member by them doing various activities around the ranch.  He of course goes for the poker game in the saloon while signing Kate up for something like calf or hog roping.  They learn that the victim had been asking a lot of questions and they keep hearing about lost gold. 

Back in New York, the guys are working on the case as well, while continuing to whine about not being at the wedding.  Rick and Kate go looking for the lost gold, with Rick tracking trash through a field instead of tracks.  They find what Rick thinks is the treasure, only to discover a dead body instead.  There is a suspect in New York, though he turns out not to be the killer.  When Rick is drinking with the owner of the ranch, he gets a call from the guys.  They figured out that the owner of the ranch is the killer and Kate isn’t answering her phone.  Rick and the guy almost get into a shoot out, but Kate arrives to deal with the situation just in time.  At the precinct, the guys are still complaining about not being at the wedding when Gates decides that she has had enough of that.  She points out that real friends would just be happy for their friends, especially when they have been through as much as Rick and Kate have.  The important thing is that Rick and Kate are happy and married.  The guys see the light and follow through on an idea from Gates and each give a few of their vacation days to Kate so she and Rick can have a short honeymoon.  They are staying at the ranch for those days, but Kate gets a promise of a real honeymoon for sometime later.

This is another fun, entertaining episode that I really enjoyed.  Yes it does get a little silly a few times, but it works for the episode and makes it more entertaining in my opinion.  The case is interesting and it serves as a way to give Rick and Kate at least a short honeymoon, which is nice.  I’m not the biggest fan of westerns, but the western theme works well here.  The episode does use some of the cliches of the genre, like shootouts and someone shooting a gun out of someone else’s hand.  Those things all worked to make the episode more fun and entertaining.  Castle has done other episodes sort of like this and those episodes also did the same thing.  I tend to like these type of theme episodes.

Once Upon a Time in the West is very closely tied to the last episode, well, at least the ending of the last episode.  It isn’t said for sure, but I don’t think much time has passed since Rick and Kate got married and the beginning of this one when they are telling Lanie, Esposito, and Ryan.  I got the impression that Rick and Kate weren’t home that long before getting them to the loft to tell them.  It is clear that they are happy to share their news.  I get why the three were disappointed or even upset at first.  I think Lanie was the best, with how she sort of told Kate off, and then was hugging her and happy for her friend in less than a minute.  The guys held on to their issues longer, and while some of that was amusing at first, like when Rick just hands his wallet over to them when they say he owes them for the tux rentals, but it got old for me when they wouldn’t drop it.  Even when calling Kate about the case, they brought it up again.  They were being childish and it got old for me fast.  I was very glad when Gates decided to have a talk with them and I agree with everything she said.

Overall, I really enjoyed Once Upon a Time in the West and think it is one of the more entertaining episodes for this season of Castle.  The next episode looks like it will be one of the more serious episodes.

Once Upon a Time in the West is available to watch on the ABC website and other streaming services.  I think it is also available through ABC On Demand.

Castle Season 7 Recaps/Reviews
Driven ~ Montreal ~ Clear and Present Danger ~ Child's Play ~ Meme is Murder ~ The Time of Our Lives ~

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Big Bang Theory - Season 8 Episode 9 - The Septum Deviation

The Septum Deviation, episode nine of season eight of The Big Bang Theory, is another fun, entertaining episode overall that also touches on something more serious.

Like usual, there will be spoilers for people who haven’t watched yet so read at your own risk.

Leonard arrives home with Penny after having gone to the doctor about his breathing problems - trouble breathing, lots of sinus infections, and snoring.  It turns out he has a deviated septum.  When Leonard mentions that he is having surgery to fix it the next week, Sheldon does not react well and thinks it is a very bad idea even though he has complained about Leonard’s snoring for years.  Sheldon now claims he won’t be able to sleep without hearing Leonard snore.  Sheldon is also freaking out a bit and is convinced that Leonard will die in surgery.  Sheldon has even done research and discovered that one in 700,000 die from general anesthesia. 

Sheldon keeps obsessing, all but guaranteeing that Leonard will die because of math that he has done.  Since he won’t stop it, Leonard and Penny try to cover up the surgery, telling Sheldon they are going swimming.  Sheldon finds out while Amy is driving him to work by badgering her until she tells him.  He wants to go to Leonard - so he can be at Leonard’s bedside when he is dying to say “I told you so.”  He makes a point of calling Penny a liar before wanting to talk about Leonard’s funeral preparations.  When there is a small earthquake and the lights go out in the waiting room, Sheldon insists he is going to check on Leonard and no one can stop him.  He was sort of right - a glass door that wouldn’t open stopped him.  At home, Sheldon and Leonard have matching bandages - Sheldon broke his nose on the door - and Penny finds it funny.  Sheldon is still annoyed that Leonard had the surgery. 

Raj is trying to figure out what to get his parents for their fortieth anniversary.  He is shocked when he learns they are splitting up when he dad calls to say he is moving out.  Raj acts all right at first, but then breaks down.  Later, Howard and Bernadette stop by Raj’s office to try to cheer him up and end up making nasty cracks to each other about their parents.  That evening Bernadette talks about how she doesn’t want her and Howard to end up like Raj’s parents.  They start sharing things they like about each other before it spirals out of control into a sort of passive aggressive type argument before Raj arrives for dinner.

The last little bit of the episode is at least a few days later - the bandages are much smaller - and Sheldon has received something he ordered before Leonard’s surgery.  He bought matching engraved urns for himself and Leonard.  The one for Leonard says that he thought he was right but he was wrong and it was his roommate that was right.  Sheldon’s says “I’m with stupid.”

At the very end, after the credits and a promo for another CBS show, there is a very nice tribute to Carol Ann Susi, the actress who provided the voice for Mrs. Wolowitz who passed away a few days before the episode originally aired.  Mrs. Wolowitz isn’t mentioned at all in this episode, but that isn’t exactly unusual.  There have been many other episodes where she wasn’t in or mentioned.  I haven’t heard how the writers plan to deal with this in the show yet. 

It is funny, as well as a bit sweet, to see Sheldon worrying and fretting so much about Leonard having surgery, though he goes way, way overboard about it.  I get being worried about someone having surgery, no matter how minor because, well, it is surgery.  I haven’t dealt with the best when my mom had a knee replacement or her gall bladder removed - though there were some extra complications with the gall bladder surgery that added to the stress of the situation.  I did, while alone, have small meltdowns each time, but then I was fine.  I didn’t obsess over every tiny thing that could go wrong like Sheldon did, though that does seem believable for him.  I do get why Leonard and Penny tried to keep the surgery from Sheldon as well.  It was really funny when Sheldon ran into the door at the hospital. 

The other storyline going on in the episode is tied to Raj learning that his parents are splitting up just before their anniversary.  This part of the episode stays more serious.  It has been a while since we have seen them talking to Raj with some kind of video chat.  There have been hints in at least one or two of their most recent video chats that things are not happy between them, so their separation isn’t exactly a surprise.  Raj seems all right at first, which makes sense since he’s even made remarks about their marriage before, though he does have a bit of a meltdown.  Later in the episode, he is better about it while Howard and Bernadette end up having an argument about their marriage.  Some of what came out has come up before - like how Howard won’t do anything around the apartment - and there were a few new things as well.  It is good that they sort of discussed those things, but nothing is really settled. 

Probably the coolest thing that came up in the episode is when Howard was telling Raj how he found a fencing school that gives lightsaber lessons.  Unfortunately, that was at the time that Raj learned about his parents, so he couldn’t properly appreciate it.

The Septum Deviation is another fun, entertaining episode of The Big Bang Theory.  It will be interesting to see if more comes out about Raj’s parents, and if he and Howard follow up on the lightsaber fencing.

The episode is available at the CBS website and through various streaming services.

The Big Bang Theory Season 8 Recaps/Reviews
The Locomotion Interruption and The Junior Professor Solution ~ The First Pitch Insufficiency ~ The Hook-up Reverberation ~ The Focus Attenuation ~ The Expedition Approximation ~ The Misinterpretation Agitation ~ The Prom Equivalency

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Castle - Season 7 Episode 6 - The Time of Our Lives

After having to wait an extra week, Castle fans finally got the episode we have been waiting for, The Time of Our Lives.  Overall, I am very, very happy with the episode.

There are spoilers ahead, so beware if you haven’t watched the episode yet.  You have been warned.  Read at your own risk.

First, before I get into anything else, I want to clear up one thing.  The wedding does really happen.  It is not a dream or something in an alternate world.  It happens.  It is beautiful and wonderful.  I will go into more detail with that in a bit.

The episode begins by showing a man riding in the back of a vehicle with a briefcase handcuffed to his wrist.  He seems a bit nervous, and it turns out he has reason to be.  His car is ambushed, he and the driver are killed, and the killer uses a rather unpleasant method of getting the briefcase.

At the loft, Kate is putting together breakfast when Rick joins her in the kitchen.  He hasn’t been able to sleep the last few nights for some reason.  Martha is considering whether she should audition for a new play.  He sees that Kate had gotten an invitation to Will Sorenson’s wedding and that gets the two of them having short talk about how they would be different if they hadn’t met.  Kate then gets a call about a murder and they head off.  The victim is the man that was ambushed.  Rick notices something that makes him think an abandoned coal plant might be involved and he convinces Kate to stop there to check it out. 

On the way inside the plant, Rick asks Kate if she wants to go to Will’s wedding and she says she isn’t ready to see someone else’s perfect day, something that clearly upsets Rick.  Inside they find evidence that seems connected to the murder including some kind of amulet that Rick picks up.  Some kind of alarm goes off, alerting the bad guys that they are there.  There is an explosion, Rick is thrown through a door, falls through it or jumps through it as an odd light washes over him.  When he gets up, Kate and all evidence that anything was going on there is gone.  He rushes back to the 12th, telling Ryan and Esposito that Kate is in trouble.  They call out the captain, who is Kate and she says she has never met Rick before.

Rick is surprised but tries to convince everyone that he knows them.  He knows things about a current crime scene, which raises suspicion so they take him into interrogation.  Kate eventually goes into interrogation and mentions wild things that Rick has done, like jumping onto a float during the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade and singing a duet of Let it Go - he would never sing a duet of that song.  She wants to know when they met, and he mentioned the book party six years before when she had short hair that was cute.  Kate says that didn’t happen and that a different detective contacted Rick about the murder that was similar to his book.  Rick did help with that case, but he didn’t continue to work with the police and never wrote the Nikki Heat books. 

Rick ends up calling Martha to pick him up and is surprised to see her signing autographs in the precinct.  Her career has done very well on the stage and she is in final preparations for a revival of Mame.  Rick is in for even more shocks when they get back to the loft.  Since Martha co owns the loft - that happened after Rick lost most of his money - she went a bit wild in the decorating department.  Alexis is home for a few days to see the opening of Mame.  She moved to California three years before and dyed her hair black and she and Rick don’t have a great relationship.  When he can’t make himself wake up, Rick decides he is in some alternate world and sets out to find a way back home.  Rick manages to talk his way into observing Ryan and Esposito - mostly in exchange for good seats to Mame.  Ryan is a huge Martha fan.  Rick tries to find the amulet again but manages to get himself in trouble with the guys and Kate and he is kicked out.  Rick is persistent though, and he sneaks his way through the precinct to watch another interrogation, only to be caught and thrown into holding.  Kate shows up and lets him out, saying she doesn’t want to do the paperwork.  She also admits that they met years before at a book signing.

Rick returns to the precinct again, and he asks Kate out for a drink.  She accepts and shares that she isn’t sure that being a detective was the right job for her since she never solved the case that set in down that career path to begin with.  They are able to catch a suspect that closes the case, though the amulet is still missing and they don’t know the whole story.  Kate is satisfied but Rick isn’t.  That night Rick and Alexis talk, with her sharing that when he gave up on writing after a badly received book, she felt like what she isn’t making a difference either and that she shouldn’t bother anymore.  He tells her that everything matters, which makes him determined to get through to Kate.  The next morning he picks up coffee to take only, only to be taken at gunpoint.

One of the bad guys takes Rick back to the factory.  Marcus Lark, a wealthy man, has the amulet and believes that Rick is from an alternate world and wants to know how the amulet works.  He is less than pleased when Rick says he doesn’t know how it works.  Kate shows up just in time to save Rick.  Then another armed person shows up, and Rick jumps in front of Kate, saving her from being shot.  Kate asks why he did that and he says it was because he loved her.  The medallion activates again, sending Rick home.  He wakes up to Kate wanting to know if he is all right.  Once he sees the engagement ring, he knows he is back home.  Rick tells Kate about what he went through before saying it helped him figure out a few things, including why he hadn’t been able to sleep the last few days.  It is because they didn’t get their wedding day.  He thinks they are ready now and he asks Kate to marry him now.

They head to the Hamptons with Martha, Alexis, and Jim (Kate’s dad) and have a ceremony outside at sunset.  Kate has a new outfit that is different than I expected but fits her.  I am almost 100% sure that she is wearing the earrings that Martha gave her the last time.  Their vows are sweet and beautiful.  The episode ends with Jim, Martha, and Alexis drinking champagne while Rick and Kate dance to a song he plays on his cell phone with Kate proclaiming it to be perfect.

Like I mentioned earlier, I wasn’t completely sure what to expect from the alternate world type of story.  I first read a little bit about that a few months ago I think it was.  At that point, there was basically no information shared other than it would be an alternate world story and I thought it sounded interesting.  Then I saw the first preview, at the end of the fifth episode, along with another short clip that had the story idea making less sense to me at that point.  I think the story ended up working well.  It was entertaining and interesting to see the different versions of characters - some more different than others.  Kate was definitely successful in her career, but had no personal life and didn’t seem to have much in the way of happiness.  She even doubted her job choice because she hadn’t been able to solve her mother’s murder.  Kevin and Jenny’s relationship fell apart after he and Javier had to work longer hours when Kate was promoted.  Javier and Lanie still have a history, but things went wrong there too and they didn’t work it back out.  Rick’s reaction when he saw a very pregnant Lanie walk through the precinct was rather funny.  Javier seems to have some lingering issues about the former relationship as well.  Seeing the different version of Kate - either in a dream or alternate world - along with hearing about himself did make Rick realize a few important things. 

There was a good amount of build up to Rick and Kate getting married last season in Castle.  I was fine with that at the time, along with their decision to have a big wedding that seemed to just keep getting bigger.  Then the finale happened which, as far as I am concerned, screwed up the wedding.  They were minutes away from it when Rick is run off the road and the episode ended.  I still have not watched that episode again.  I really do not like it for multiple reasons, including some that have nothing to do with the non wedding.  I am now referring to that episode as The Episode That Shall Not Be Named.  I have also had issues with the first few episodes of this season, but I have been liking the season overall.  I am very happy with The Time of Our Lives, but I still don’t like The Episode That Shall Not Be Named.  Honestly, I don’t know that I ever will like that episode, but it didn’t drive me away from the show. 

There was speculation online even before the new season began about when the wedding would be.  Many people have thought that it would happen in the sixth episode for a few reasons, including the fact that Terri Edda Miller wrote the episode.  She is married to the creator of the show and one of the producers.  I wasn’t sure what to think when I first heard about this episode having some kind of alternate world story, especially once it became more clear that the wedding would be in this episode.  The few previews that came out - it seemed like there were fewer clips and pictures released this time - just confused me more.  I was still looking forward to the episode though.  I was a bit anxious while watching as things unfolded even though I knew the wedding was supposed to be coming.  There were several call backs to moments in earlier episodes, though I may have missed some since I was a bit distracted waiting for the wedding.

All along, I didn’t care if Rick and Kate a big, huge, extravagant wedding or something smaller.  I tried not to have many expectations for the wedding and I did well, until the last week before The Episode That Shall Not Be Named aired.  Some of the promotional things at that point really built up the wedding, so my expectations grew.  And then it didn’t happen.  Even if I had kept my expectations more under control, I still would have been annoyed by how the episode ended.  Last season, as they discussed the wedding plans a bit here and there, it did seem to be growing a bit out of control.  I definitely remember Kate saying at one point that she didn’t want a huge guest list and Rick agreed, but the guest list grew and grew until it reached several hundred.  I wasn’t crazy about Kate’s first dress and I loved her mother’s dress that she was wearing when everything went straight to you know where.  The creator and new show runner both said in interviews over the summer that a wedding was still coming.  I still wanted to see a wedding of course, but I kept the expectations down.  Yes I did get very happy and even excited when I watched a short interview with Nathan done on set and I spotted him wearing a wedding ring, but I still kept my expectations under control.  That is probably part of why I am so very happy with the episode overall now.  I have watched the episode again already, and the wedding specifically many, many times.  The rewind feature of my DVR got a work out.  I honestly don’t know how many times I backed it up to watch again last night.  I will more than likely be watching that part of the episode again tonight.

I was not expecting the entire episode to be focused on the wedding or even most of it.  Really, I just wanted to see the wedding, no matter how long or short it was.  The wedding is short, taking place in the last five minutes or so of the episode.  I am not the least bit disappointed that the wedding wasn’t longer.  What we got was sweet, beautiful and perfect.  I like that only Jim, Martha and Alexis were there.  Yes it would have been nice if Kevin, Jenny, Lanie, and Javier had been there, but I’m not upset or disappointed that they weren’t.  I actually think that if more people had been there - even if only those four - it would have lost something and it wouldn’t have been as perfect.  It would have been nice if Jim had gotten at least one line, but that is a minor thing for  me.  Hopefully there will be some extended or deleted scenes on the season seven DVD release. 

Before watching the episode, I wasn’t sure where the wedding would take place, though I had a few ideas.  I didn’t think they would go to the Hamptons again because of the mess that happened last time, but it works and I like that they went there.  I do think that shot of the house was pulled from Murder He Wrote, the season five episode when they spent the weekend there, with the background adjusted with effects.  I remember reading before that the location for that house was very, very expensive, so I don’t think they really went back there.  I think the shot was reused, and the actual ceremony, set outside on the grounds, was on a set with green screen.  At first, the sunset does look odd and even a bit unnatural.  On rewatch, I didn’t even notice it.  Filming on set also allowed them to keep any pictures from leaking before they were ready to release something.

Rick and Kate both look so happy during the entire ceremony part of the episode.  Kate wears a white pants outfit that is different but works for her.  It is a simple, elegant look which fits her perfectly.  I did like her mother’s dress, but I get why she didn’t wear it again.  Their vows are touching, beautiful, and absolutely perfect for them.  I love when Rick called Kate Mrs. Castle and how they started to dance while the others were drinking champagne.  It was a very sweet moment between Rick and Kate, especially when she says that it was perfect.  When she says that, Rick gets such a happy look on his face.

I am very, very happy with The Time of Our Lives overall.  The alternate world story is interesting and entertaining and the wedding is beautiful, touching, and perfect.  Yes they could have devoted more time to the wedding, but I honestly don’t think it could have been any better than this.  Last year, Booth and Brennan got married on Bones and most of the episode was focused on the wedding in some way.  There were nice moments in the episode, but once it was over, I was left thinking is that it?  I haven’t felt that way at all with The Time of Our Lives at all.

The episode is available online at the ABC website as well as other streaming services.

Season 7 Castle Episode Recap/Reviews
Driven ~ Montreal ~ Clear and Present Danger ~ Child's Play ~ Meme is Murder ~

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Big Bang Theory Season 8 Episode 8 - The Prom Equivalency

 The newest episode of The Big Bang Theory, The Prom Equivalency is the eighth of season eight, is another fun, entertaining episode that also has a surprising development.

As usual, there are spoilers ahead, so read at your own risk.

Howard is a bit upset to hear that his mother Debbie and Stuart were at Beninhana the night before even though he says he is all right.  It doesn’t help that Raj says that once they got back to the house - Stuart is still living there - they probably put on matching pajamas.

Amy and Bernadette arrive for an evening at Penny’s.  The living room is full of clothes because Penny had to make room for her new work clothes in her closet.  They start talking about proms after Amy and Bernadette see Penny’s prom dress.  Penny actually went six proms and enjoyed them.  Amy was on the clean up crew for her prom, and only danced with a mop.  Bernadette had a date, but he only went with her because he was trying to get to her friend.  Bernadette says how she thinks it would be cool if they had their own prom now by getting the guys to dress up in tuxes and decorate the roof.  Amy likes the idea too, though Penny is less interested.  She comes around when Leonard says that he would like it.

Bernadette is happy that everyone is coming, including Stuart who is bringing a date.  Howard flips out some about that, thinking that Stuart is bringing his mother.  Howard decides to call him, and then is upset when Stuart says he is bringing someone else.  Sheldon is less than pleased about the idea of going to a prom.  In high school, he spent his time studying - though he was also younger than his classmates since he graduated so early.  He decides to talk to Penny about it since he knows she isn’t as into the idea either.  His idea for getting through the evening is to pretend that he’s an alien that is taking part in a human ritual to learn about humans.  Penny doesn’t want to do that.  She does ask Sheldon if he will be taking part in any post prom mating rituals.

On the night of their prom, Sheldon kind of freaks out after seeing Amy in her dress.  He runs back into the apartment while Penny and Leonard head to the roof and start to enjoy their evening.  Raj, Emily, Howard, and Bernadette are in a limo going to pick up Stuart and his date.  Howard is shocked and upset to see that it is his second cousin Jeanie.  Yes, that second cousin.  Howard is also upset by the fact that Raj starts talking about the incident and it only gets worse when Emily says that she already knows because Raj told her ages ago.  Howard is not dealing well and things devolve to the point where he and Stuart start fighting in the car.  Emily is having a great time.  Amy goes to check on Sheldon and he talks about all the pressure he is feeling tied to this prom and how it is more than he can deal with.  Amy says she wasn’t putting pressure on him for anything and she just wanted to have a nice evening.  Sheldon then says something incredibly shocking that I absolutely did not expect.

I really enjoyed this episode and thought it was very fun and entertaining.  The prom do over is only main story in this episode, though a few subplots do come up.  Overall, I think the idea of them doing their own prom on the roof is sweet and fun.  There are a few really nice, even sweet moments with some of the characters that come about because of the prom.  It is completely believable that Penny went to multiple proms and made out with the football captain at one of them.  I think Amy and Bernadette’s prom experiences are completely believable too.  It was fun to see Bernadette so excited about something since her mean side has been out more in recent episodes.   Amy gets to show a slightly different side as well with dressing up.  It may seem a little silly to some people, but I think it makes an entertaining episode.

It is interesting that there is a bit more about Howard’s cousin Jeanie who has only been mentioned a few times, usually when one of the other guys is teasing Howard.  I still find it funny how Howard is dealing, or really not dealing with - Stuart living with Debbie and their strangely developing relationship.  Things are not fully normal there, but Howard’s relationship with Debbie isn’t exactly normal either.  I find it very interesting to see Howard more and more crazy about Stuart and Debbie.  I just find it very funny.  It is clear that Debbie sees Stuart as a surrogate son with what we have seen.  She was probably a bit lonely after Howard moved out even though he was still going over there somewhat often for various reasons.  At the very end of the episode, Stuart gets a call from Debbie and immediately has to leave, something that use to happen to Howard.  Howard and Stuart getting into what is basically a brawl in the back of a limo is hilarious.  There is another development in Amy and Sheldon’s relationship that is very surprising.  It isn’t a bad thing and it is progress, but it is surprising.

The Prom Equivalency is a very fun, entertaining and somewhat surprising episode of The Big Bang Theory.  Fans of the show should definitely enjoy it.

Friday, October 31, 2014

The Big Bang Theory - Season 8 Episode 7 - The Misinterpretation Agitation

After airing on Monday nights for just over a month, The Big Bang Theory is back to airing on Thursday nights at 8 pm EST for the seventh episode of Season eight, The Misinterpretation Agitation.  I think it is another fun, entertaining episode.

I will be discussing the plot of the episode a little, so there will be spoilers for people who haven’t seen the episode yet.  You have been warned.  Proceed with caution.

Bernadette is excited to have been chosen to be featured in a story about the sexiest female scientists in California.  Penny is happy for her friend while Amy doesn’t like the idea of the article, saying that women scientists should receive attention for their minds, not their looks.  Later when Bernadette and Amy meet for dinner, Bernadette shares that the article isn’t happening after all.  Amy goes on about how it is for the best because women scientists shouldn’t be looked at as sex objects before finally admitting that she complained to the college about the article and that is why it isn’t happening.   

Right after returning home, Sheldon discovers someone he thinks is a delivery man trying to get into the building.  The man is actually there to take flowers to a woman he is interested in and that he believes returns that interest.  During their conversation while walking up the stairs, Sheldon discovers that the man is there to see Penny.  Dr. Lorvis is a doctor with several famous patients.  He ends up in Sheldon’s apartment talking about some of those patients.  He is still there when Leonard arrives with the food.  He is surprised to learn that the doctor is interested in Penny and believes the interests is returned.  He is also surprised to hear that Penny doesn’t wear her engagement ring while working.  The guys head off to the doctor’s house to see his collection of movie props.  Things take an interesting turn when the doctor once again heads back to see Penny, only to decide he likes Amy after she is nice to him.

This episode does bring up another issue with Penny’s new job.  She sort of flirts with doctors to help her sales.  It has already been said previously that flirting is part of the job and that she should do well because of her looks.  This is the first time it has come up that one of the doctors Penny flirts with thinks it is anything more than just flirting.  Dr. Lorvis seems nice enough, though he is very shy and possibly more of a nerd than the guys.  He has no clue about how to interact with women and he takes everything out of context.  Leonard and Penny do end up talking a bit about her flirting and the fact that she doesn’t wear her engagement ring when working.  She claims it is no different than what she did as a waitress to get tips.  I think that shows that even though Penny is being more mature and responsible about some things, she is still the same person.  Leonard is a little bothered by what is going on, but it didn’t seem like a huge deal.  They didn’t really fully discuss the issue or settle anything about it, but it is good that they at least brought it up.

I think it is believable that Bernadette would have been happy to be featured in the article about sexy scientists.  She has shown that she is comfortable with her looks and doesn’t mind if people notice.  I also think it is believable that Amy would have a problem with it, both for why she says, and maybe because she is a little jealous as well over not getting any sort of attention herself.  Their disagreement is a real issue that women have to deal with - getting more attention for their looks than their brains or work accomplishments.  It was an interesting storyline even though their positions weren’t surprising.  Personally, I enjoyed what was going on with the doctor a little more, both with how the guys started to look at him as some sort of hero because of who some of his patients were, and how Dr. Lorvis himself reacted in certain situations.  His basement is full of movie props and classic arcade games.  It is a nerd paradise. 

The Misinterpretation Agitation is another fun entertaining episode.  It would have been fun if something tied to Halloween had come up - I tend to like holiday episodes - but the episode is still fun and entertaining.  Fans of the show will probably find something to enjoy about it.

The episode will be available on the CBS website.  It may also be available through some streaming services.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Castle - Season 7 Episode 5 - Meme is Murder

The fifth episode of season seven of Castle, Meme is Murder, is another entertaining episode.  I feel like it stands alone better than the first four episodes of the season since there isn’t anything that ties back into previous stories.  While that does mean there is nothing new to the mystery surrounding Rick’s disappearance, I am all right with that. 

As usual, there will be spoilers ahead, so proceed with caution.

Rick, after receiving some last minute coaching from Martha, films his first ever internet commercial for his new book.  As he tells Kate when they are on the way to a new crime scene, the internet and social media is the future and he has decided it is time to make it work for him, at least for publicity for his books.  The victim, Abby Smith, is a young woman who because famous online through posting funny things on social media.  Shortly after the investigation begins, someone going by the user name Netslayer posts pictures of the crime scene and Abby’s body on Snappamatic, a photo sharing site.  The photos aren’t the ones that the cops took, so they decide that Netslayer is the killer.  The investigation leads to a retired police detective, Bill Garrett, who worked in the cyber division who now owns a store that sells vintage furniture.

Ryan and Esposito pick him up, but it soon becomes clear that Bill is being framed.  Netslayer decides to taut the police by posting a picture of Ryan and Esposito picking up Bill along with a message saying that the police are wrong and he’s still out there.  Netslayer then posts a collage of images that seem unrelated.  Rick and Kate decide that it is a clue to who the next victim will be.  Tori discovers where one of the images came from, but the woman who posted it has nothing in common with Abby.  Rick finally figures out that the clue is referring to a recent story about a group of spoiled rich kids who flood Snappamatic with pictures of their lavish lives.  Kate then finds another picture on the site from the collage and it points them to Tatiana Fischer as the next potential victim.

Kate and the guys find Tatiana and try to take her into protective custody, but she refuses, claiming that she has a party to get to and that Netslayer wouldn’t dare to target her.  When she gets to the car, she discovers her boyfriend, Cam Magani, another rich kid who is also popular on Snappamatic.  Almost immediately, pictures of Cam’s body are posted to Snappermatic, along with one of Rick and Kate looking happy while drinking coffee.  That was actually from when they were on the way to the first crime scene, but Netslayer is using the picture to try to make Kate look bad at her job.  While Rick thinks it will blow over, Kate is upset, especially since the higher ups at the police department expressed concern to Gates about the photo, who stands by Kate and won’t take her off the case. 

Ryan shares that they figured out how Netslayer got in Cam’s car.  When Cam got the car, a Rolls Royce, he posted a picture holding the key.  Netslayer was able to use the picture to make a copy of the key with a 3D printer.  Talk about freaky.  Anyway, they figure that Netslayer did the same thing to get a copy of Abby’s apartment key, so footage from surveillance cameras on her street are checked and Tori manages to find a shot of his face.  Kate and the guys decide they need to talk to Bill again to see if maybe Netslayer was connected to one of his old cases. 

Bill recognizes him immediately as Adam Lane.  While still in high school, Lane was severely bullied, including a humiliating video being posted online.  Bill was able to get the video taken down, but the damage had been done and was just made worse when the DA wouldn’t press charges.  Lane seems to have vanished, but they manage to track him to the basement apartment of the house where he use to live with his mother.  Just as Kate arrests him, Esposito calls with the news that something has just popped up online showing the owners of Snappamatic, Kent and Orin, restrained somewhere, hooked up to some kind of electrical device that will kill whoever doesn’t get the most votes by the time the counter gets to zero. 

At the precinct, Kate tries to reason with Lane.  When that doesn’t work, she changes tactics, using insults to get to Lane’s insecurities.  He lets a few clues slip that point to where Kent and Orin are being held.  Ryan and Esposito are able to get them just in time.  Soon after, Rick happily gathers Kate, Alexis and Martha in his office to watch the finished web commercial.  To say that it wasn’t what he expected would be an understatement.  The ad is mostly made up of the bloopers from the filming, with creative editing and a lot of auto tune going on.  It is hilarious.  Rick is upset while the women point out that it has already gotten a lot of hits, which was the point.  Kate tries to reassure him that people will forget since it is just the internet before deciding that they need to watch it again.

This episode is a bit more serious overall than the last two even though there are some funny things here and there.  People who felt that the last two episodes went too silly may like this episode more.  Most of the funny stuff is tied to the commercial.  Yes it is a little silly in spots, but it is very funny and I think it works.  I do wonder if his agent and publisher are a bit ticked at him about something - perhaps being missing for two months - and decided on the blooper commercial as revenge.  I have no idea if something like that would be released as an official commercial for anything.   

The case for Meme is Murder is interesting and it deals with things that are more current and relevant in the world today.  Social media has gotten extremely popular in recent years, and there are people how have huge followings on the various social media sites for basically doing nothing.  Abby becoming famous for posting her silly “reviews” seems believable.  Bullying has taken on a whole new unpleasant angle tied to the internet.  Bullies can now torment their targets around the clock by posting nasty stuff online and to make it worse, other people can, and do join in, adding to the taunting or even just watching things unfold.  As Kate says during a bit of a rant at one point, being anonymous on the internet means people aren’t accountable for their actions and cowards who would never do anything in person become bullies.  Cyberbullying is a very real problem and I think the episode deals with it decently.  Kate also points out how once anything is posted to the internet it is there forever and that people can take things, like the picture of her and Rick, out of context.  During his questioning, Lane shares his belief that the people who started to follow him because of the murders and the ones voting for Kent and Orin are the ones who are really sick.  He may have a valid point on that and it is a bit disturbing to think that people would sit by and watch something like that.  Unfortunately, there probably are people that would do that.  I do think it is believable that someone who had been bullied like Lane with nothing being done to the bully could flip like he did. 

The episode also brings up something else that Lane does in committing his crimes that I think is very unsettling.  Lane is able to create copies of keys just from taking pictures of them and uploading the pictures to a 3D printer.  I’ve heard of 3D printers before and different things they can create, but I guess I didn’t realize that something could be made just from a picture without some sort of design or something.  That is a scary thought.  I know that criminals had ways of getting copies of keys before, using impressions or something like that, but they had to actually get their hands on the key for at least a short period of time.  I do think it isn't as likely for the keys to a newer car to be copied in this way, especially one for a Rolls Royce.  I do know that several car companies have started to put microchips or use special laser cutting for the keys.  When my mother got a new Camry in 2007, she was told that she couldn't just go get a copy of the key made for a spare because it wouldn't work.  A copy would have to come from Toyota.  It seems more believable that taking a picture of a house or apartment key could work.  

Lane’s victims were all popular because they shared a lot online.  Lane was able to track them through the pictures they posted online, which reinforces the idea of how it isn’t safe to put too much on the internet, something Rick himself tried to convince Alexis of back in season five, only to have his concern brushed off.  The pictures may look innocent enough, but there are things in them, included hidden GPS information connected to where they were taken, that people can track.  I actually first heard about how GPS information can be found in pictures taken on smart phones a few months ago.  There are ways that criminals can find that GPS information.  The idea that an innocent picture of a pet or flowers, or whatever would have that sort of information in it does freak me out a bit.  This makes me glad that I have never been comfortable posting pictures online and haven’t jumped on the bandwagon of taking a selfie every time I do anything.  In fact, I have never taken a selfie and have no plans to do ever do so.

It seems like Martha and Alexis have been around a little more this season than they were last season.  That is fine with me since I like them.  Martha tends to be fun, and she is again in this one when she decides that Rick needs to go through some last minute warm up exercises right before filming his commercial.  Her reaction to the finished commercial at the end is fun as well.  Alexis is only in the last scene.  It was fun to see her reaction to the commercial too.  I like that things are back to normal between her and Rick after their issues in season six.  Ryan and Esposito each play important roles in solving the case.  Captain Gates is in a few short scenes.  I really like that she backed up Kate with the higher ups at the department and didn’t pull her off the case after the picture was posted.  I really didn’t like Gates when she first showed up, but she has grown on me. 

Meme is Murder is one of the more serious episodes.  I think it works very well.  It is another entertaining episode that is worth watching.

Rick’s internet commercial has been posted on several websites if anyone would like to watch it again.  Meme is Murder should be up on the ABC website by now.  I think it is also available through other streaming services. 

Unfortunately the next episode will not air until November 10th.  There isn’t even a rerun next week because the time slot is going to some special connected to the music award show that is airing on ABC on Wednesday the 5th.  Going by information that has been online about the episode and from the teaser at the end of this episode, the next one should be good and make a lot of fans happy.

Season 7 Castle Episode Recaps/Reviews
Driven ~ Montreal ~ Clear and Present Danger ~ Child’s Play ~ Meme is Murder ~

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Castle - Season 7 - Episode 4 - Child’s Play

The fourth episode of Castle of the season - Child’s Play - is another one that is a bit lighter overall even though a few more serious things come up.  The episode stands alone fairly well, there are a few small connections to earlier episodes.

Once again, there are spoilers, so people who haven’t seen the episode yet will want to proceed with caution.

At the loft, Rick, Kate, Martha, and Alexis finish a big dinner that Martha and Alexis fixed, complete with a huge sundae with potato chip fudge ice cream.  When Kate tries to say that she and Rick will do the dishes, Alexis takes the plates away.  Kate is a bit concerned with how Alexis is acting, but Rick isn’t bothered and thinks he should enjoy it.  They get called to a crime scene where there is a dead man inside an ice cream truck.  They soon figure out that someone was hiding in a cabinet in the truck and it looks like it was a second grade student since there was a field trip permission slip from a near by school in the cabinet. 

When Kate and Rick talk to the principal the next day, he says that none of the kids have said anything.  Kate then gets the idea that Rick should go into the classroom, as an adult who can act like a kid, and try to find out who was in the truck.  Rick claims he’ll have no problems, but a few of the kids do present a bit of a challenge.  He does come up with the idea of having the kids write stories, hoping that something in them will point to who the witness is.  As Rick tells the teacher, he believes that witnessing the murder will come out in the writing some way.  He thinks he finds the potential witness, but it turns out the boy was writing about a scary movie.  A little girl named Emily seems on the verge of telling him something at the end of the day, but then her mom interrupts, so Rick promises that he will be there the next day.

The next morning, Alexis actually feeds one last bite of breakfast to Rick while giving him a lunch that she packed him.  After that, he agrees that he needs to talk to Alexis.  Back at the school, Rick has a princess tea party with Emily during recess that is very sweet and she does confide in him.  Unfortunately, it is that Jason is a bully.  Rick does tell her something that I think is very good related to her inner strength.  Emily interprets it in a different way, punching Jason who then goes running to the principal.  Since Jason’s parents are lawyers who threaten to sue at the drop of a hat, the principal sends Rick on his way.  As he is leaving, Rick finds a drawing in his coat pocket that is of the ice cream truck.  Kate, Ryan and Esposito have been following other leads in the case.  Rick lets Kate know about the drawing and she goes to the school where they discover that Jason drew the picture.

Jason mouths off a bit to Kate when she first starts to talk to him, but he eventually starts to talk.  He insists he wasn’t in the ice cream truck but that he knew who was and that he wasn’t supposed to tell.  It was his older half sister who also was the graphic art teacher of the victim.  It turns out that they, along with one of the victim’s childhood friends from Russia and a former cop had been making fake passports to help Russians being taken advantage of go back home.  One of their clients is actually a wanted criminal who is now killing anyone who has seen his picture.  Kate and Rick go after an actual picture Jason’s sister has, only to figure out that the picture is in the classroom.  Just as they find it, the bad guy shows up, a fight ensues, and Rick ultimately stops him by dumping marbles on the floor.  Rick discovers that Alexis put a tracking program on his cell phone when she texts him to come straight home.

Rick again agrees that he has to talk to Alexis.  Rick arrives home on a scooter to Alexis freaking out a bit because she thinks he is late.  They talk about her being afraid that he will disappear again and how he felt after she was kidnapped.   He also points out that part of being a grown up is realizing that you can’t protect someone you love every minute.  Rick convinces Alexis to be a kid by bringing in another scooter and the two head off for pizza. 

While this episode isn’t one of my favorites, I still really enjoyed it.  Rick and Kate spent most of the episode investigating apart, something that I generally don’t like as much.  I just tend to enjoy the episodes more when they are together more.  I did like Rick spending time with the children .  While it was perhaps a bit silly, it was fun and I think worked overall for the episode.  The princess tea party was absolutely adorable and gives the audience a hint at how he was when Alexis was that age.  It takes a confidant man to pull of fairly wings and a tiara, and Rick pulled it off perfectly.  I just wish that Kate would have shown up then for some reason - maybe to have lunch with Rick or just to check in - and seen the tea party. 

Rick has always been a bit of a child inside the body of an adult man and that one of the things that I like about him.  It makes him more of a fun character.  He isn’t exactly immature, at least not all the time, but he will take time for fun and to enjoy things.  Yes some of that can be a little silly, but I like it.  Rick in a classroom full of children is very fun.  He thinks he will have no trouble at all, only to quickly see that he is wrong.  It seems mostly realistic even when it is a little silly.  Rick has a way of connecting with children without talking down to them.  I thought it was fun to see him with younger children after seeing him with Alexis for the last six years.  Nathan Fillion is wonderful in the episode and it nice to see him get a bit more to do.  The case is interesting, though I enjoyed the parts with Rick in the classroom more than Kate, Ryan and Esposito following other leads.  I think I would have enjoyed that part more if Rick had been more involved in it as well like usual. 

There are no new developments connected to Rick’s disappearance, but the episode does address how Alexis is afraid that he is going to vanish again.  It even refers back to when she was kidnapped and how overprotective Rick felt afterward too.  When that happened, once Alexis was back home, they didn’t really deal with that again except very briefly when Rick didn’t want her to go off to Costa Rica.  They really didn’t talk about things at that point, so I think it is good that they did this time.  I think it is completely believable that Alexis would be worrying more about Rick and even kind of over protective.  It is kind of cute to see her fuss over him in that way, though she is going overboard.  Last year when Rick and Alexis had their issues, Kate didn’t bring it up, she just waited until Rick said something.  This time, she points it out early in the episode.  I think this is a way of showing that Kate feels more comfortable as a part of the family that includes Alexis and Martha.  I also think there is a bit of a clue in what Rick says to the teacher about how it would come out someway in writing of the child who witnessed the murder.  I think that is a clue that whatever happened when he was a child has already made it into his writing at some point in his past.  I’m also thinking that it is possible that something from the missing two months may start to come out in his future writing, once he is working on another Heat or Storm book. 

Overall, I really enjoyed Child’s Play even though it isn’t one of my favorite episodes.  I liked Clear & Present Danger better, but that one is hard to top.  This one is still very fun and well worth checking out.