Homeland, 2 Broke Girls, Once Upon a Time, Boss (23\10\2011)
Homeland - 104 - Semper I
It's still not clear what Homeland will become as a show. It's still not clear if Sgt Brody is a terrorist. I really like both those facts.
Right now it's still fascinating to watch and wonder what is going on. The final scene was very unexpected and intriguing. Saul points out that Carrie is addicted to Brody. She has been watching him for weeks now and that's become her social life. When the monitors are gone she feels the need to sit outside his house and watch the windows.
Finally she decides that she needs to make some actual connection with him. So she follows him into a veterans support group and manages to lure him into a conversation. It wasn't clear what she was expecting to happen. What did happen was some very surprising flirtation. For her part it's funny to think that part of it could be genuine. It seemed like she was responding to his interest and she was probably thrilled to get as much contact with him as she did. She certainly had every reason to encourage him. On his part he was clearly looking for a way out of his group meeting but it sure looked like he wouldn't mind something else coming out of their chat.
It was such an interesting choice for the plot. Could the two of them start a bizarre affair where he seeks comfort with someone who knows what Iraq was like while she tries to trip him up? I'm assuming it won't get that far but it was an intriguing escalation of their relationship and it put their emotional situations right in front of the spy stuff which is absolutely what the writers should be doing.
The episode planted seeds for Carrie to be capable of flirtation. In the first episode we saw her boss David tell Saul that it was thanks to her that he never saw his kids. Now we understand why and suddenly the edge to their relationship becomes clearer. David lives up to her description of being super smart by spotting the Nazir connection in Carrie's recent behaviour and setting a poor junior agent (Galvez) on her trail.
Brody's behaviour was conflicted. On the one hand he was out making charismatic public appearance and on the other he hid from party guests in his garage cleaning his gun. The idea that he is isolated and doesn't know how to communicate makes sense. However it was a slight contradiction with his behaviour last episode where he bonded with his daughter. However three weeks have passed since then so it's not unbelievable. His pissiness around Mike is immature but again plausible.
The mixed race couple got a little more screen time and are both under surveillance and under instruction. Without their involvement I might have believed the show was about to become a weird relationship story about our two main characters. Instead the terrorism angle seems very much alive in them but we don't know a lot yet.
I like that the political vultures are already circling and seeing Brody as fund raising material. And I loved Virgil's response as Carrie reached for someone to support her theories and asked what Max thought about Brody: "He thinks the wife is hot."
2 Broke Girls - 106 - and the Disappearing Bed
I'm enjoying the pace and tone of this show. Here we are six episodes in and they are still paying off debt and fixing their living situation. By the time they have even moderate success in life it will feel earned. It also means the plots feel organic.
The characterisation here was very good. Seeing Max too ashamed to promote her own cupcakes made so much sense. She is used to dealing with her poverty by being sarcastic and she is proud not to need anyone's help. Although she overperformed her own anxiety it was still a sweet moment to see Max try to tell Peaches about her new venture.
Caroline is the contrast to Max. She is not too proud to beg for help when she can't build her own bed. However she also has no problem selling herself. Her fake sales pitch for Earl's CD was beautifully targeted to hit all the sweet spots including a heroin addiction to add gravity to his "career." Max asks Earl if any of it was true and he got a laugh out of me by responding "Nope, she even made up my damn last name!"
The story with Max' friend Johnnny was passable. Again I don't mind the slow storytelling, especially when it shows Max being guarded and vulnerable in a likable way.
Once Upon a Time - 101 - Pilot
Once Upon a Time is set in the modern American town of Storybrook, Maine. The town is populated by fairy tale characters who have forgotten who they are. They were imprisoned here by the Evil Queen and only the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming (Jennifer Morrison) can save them. She was sent out into the real world as a baby and has now returned, aged 28, and slowly discovers that only she has the power to restore everyone's happy endings.
On the one hand this was interesting to watch. It was never obvious what was going to happen next and my memory of fairytales isn't strong enough that I instantly knew who everyone was. The flashbacks to the fairy tale world had some intrigue, particularly Robert Carlyle playing a creepy Rumpelstiltskin.
But on the other hand it's difficult to see the show making you care about the characters. It's not as if any of the fairy tale characters are going to grow emotionally. The setup of the show is that they all want to get back to their happy endings. It's difficult to imagine how seeing Emma interact with the Maine versions of them isn't going to be anything but tedious. For example Geppetto instantly starts talking about how he and wife couldn't have a child and how sad that was. Is he going to talk about anything else? Tune in next week to see Geppetto show Emma his collection of strangely real looking marionettes!
Not to stick it to Geppetto too much but he was at the big meeting of advisers to Prince Charming and Snow White. They are a Royal Couple right? Why do they have an impoverished wood carver as one of their counsellors? That might seem a ludicrous question but it's just one of the things that occurred to me as I tried to envisage how the show is going to play out.
The series is being run by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz who wrote on Lost for years and apparently the flashback structure is here to stay. Can they tell interesting stories about these characters? Sure. Will they? We'll have to see.
I am officially doubtful as the pilot feels emotionless. In some ways it reminded me of the Legend of the Seeker show. As in it was clear the whole show was set up for a big happy ending from the start.
Boss - 102 - Reflex
I enjoyed this more than the pilot in many ways. The focus on Kane's illness and the emotions which washed over him as he contemplated his own mortality began to humanise him. The interactions with his wife and daughter also began to drag deep emotional conflicts into the story.
The political machinations were clear and easy to follow too. The double whammy of planted videos which simultaneously launched Zajac as a candidate and dealt a bad blow to Cullen were simple and clever. Perhaps a little too simple but at this stage I will take clarity over strict plausibility. The underlying story is of course about feeding the media machine and lies being as valuable as the truth which I'm happy with.
The sex scene with Zajac and Kitty was pretty ridiculous. It was far too risky and brief to be believable. He has so much to lose that you would think he would take a little more precaution than hiding behind a pillar.