Monday, November 30, 2009

Dexter - Road Kill, Hungry Man, and Lost Boys or Twistier and Turnier

So, I've managed to fall three weeks behind Dexter's antics in the span of a week, and while I don't quite understand the physics of that, allow me to quickly recap the goings-on.

Dexter, overwhelmed with remorse for killing the innocent, though obnoxious, fashion photographer, redoubles his efforts to nab Trinity. Conveniently, Arthur is about to embark on another cycle of killings in Tampa, so Dexter decides to tag along. He literally tags along in Arthur's van, in a fit of strangeness, and the bromance ensues. Dex admits that he's broken up about accidentally killing someone (in a hunting accident, he claims) and Trinity opens up about his own past. Turns out he's tangentially responsible for the death of his sister and mother, and completely responsible for his father's murder. After telling all this to Dexter, Dexter is ready to slice him up big time. But, before Dexter can wield his scalpel, Trinity went to the charity home building site (the cover for the trip) and tried to commit suicide by jumping off the unfinished roof. Dexter decides to save him, and is about to let him drop at the last second, when other workers arrive to help. Dexter learns an important lesson about remorse and how it makes us human, killing Trinity will have to wait for another day.

Also, Deb was removed from the growing Trinity case because she's technically a victim, but when the bullet trajectory of her wounds doesn't match up to Trinity's DNA, she's back on the case! Hooray! Also, LaGuerda and Angel are back together, kind of.

So, I've managed to fall three weeks behind Dexter's antics in the span of a week, and while I don't quite understand the physics of that, allow me to quickly recap the goings-on.

Dexter, overwhelmed with remorse for killing the innocent, though obnoxious, fashion photographer, redoubles his efforts to nab Trinity. Conveniently, Arthur is about to embark on another cycle of killings in Tampa, so Dexter decides to tag along. He literally tags along in Arthur's van, in a fit of strangeness, and the bromance ensues. Dex admits that he's broken up about accidentally killing someone (in a hunting accident, he claims) and Trinity opens up about his own past. Turns out he's tangentially responsible for the death of his sister and mother, and completely responsible for his father's murder. After telling all this to Dexter, Dexter is ready to slice him up big time. But, before Dexter can wield his scalpel, Trinity went to the charity home building site (the cover for the trip) and tried to commit suicide by jumping off the unfinished roof. Dexter decides to save him, and is about to let him drop at the last second, when other workers arrive to help. Dexter learns an important lesson about remorse and how it makes us human, killing Trinity will have to wait for another day.

Also, Deb was removed from the growing Trinity case because she's technically a victim, but when the bullet trajectory of her wounds doesn't match up to Trinity's DNA, she's back on the case! Hooray! Also, LaGuerda and Angel are back together, kind of.

Onto Hungry Man! Taking place on Thanksgiving, this episode was a long character study on Trinity and Dexter. After Arthur's son confesses that Trinity abuses him, and begging Dexter to come to Thanksgiving dinner so that he won't hurt him for some perceived slight, Dexter agrees. When he arrives, he finds out that Trinity is a true monster, terrorizing and destroying his family. Unfortunately, Trinity was supposed to be the alternative to such inhuman behavior, and with that bubble punctured, Dexter once again worries that he can't balance his dark passenger with his growing family life and obligations. Also, we find out that Cristine, Quinn's new girl toy is, along with a relentless reporter and Deb's possible shooter, Trinity's daughter! Shock! And LaGuerda and Angel are in love now.

Finally: Lost Boys. Just when we thought Trinity could get no worse, it turns out that his kill cycle is actually 4, not only 3, which makes him...Quadrupley? Anyway, he ritually abducts a 10 year old boy, makes him dress up in cowboy pajamas, calls him Arthur, plays with trains, then poisons him and encases his body in concrete at the charity house building sites. Sneaky. Dexter, tailing him with the intention of finally killing him, stumbles upon the abduction and stalks him to try and save the boy. He enlists the help of Arthur's son, Noah, who knows that something's not right with Daddy.

Speaking of Daddy issues, Cristine's relationship with Trinity is fleshed out, and we find out that she witnessed one of his kills as a child. She realized that it was more than just a bad dream when the same murder took place in the same house 25 years later, and took measures to cover up his crime by shooting Lundy and injuring Deb. Because she's such a good detective, Deb catches on to Cristine's nervousness and that she knows far too much about the crime. After swiping her toothbrush from Quinn's pad, they realize that she's related to Trinity and connect the dots from there.

Dexter succeeds in finding Trinity and his abductee just in time to save him from a concrete grave, but does not manage to secure Trinity. But now that Trinity knows that Dexter "Kyle" knows all about him, it won't be long before the stalker becomes the stalkee.

And on the police front, with Cristine in custody, will she give her father up? She swore that she'd do anything for him, but does that also include taking the fall?

I worried that we'd run out of material after Trinity finished his last kill, but I was sorely mistaken. The evolution of Arthur into the monstrosity he's become is as fascinating as a high-speed car crash and almost as gruesome. It continues to get twistier and turnier, and the season-long theme of family keeps taking darker and darker turns as we learn more about Trinity and his facade of a family.

As we near the end of the season, Dexter's inevitable execution of Trinity runs of the risk of being anticlimactic, since it's what we've been lurching toward for roughly four episodes now. But, I've certainly been wrong before.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Vegas, Baby, Vegas!

Dear Readers,

I just wanted to let you know that I am about to embark on an epic trip to Vegas for Thanksgiving, and thus will be behind on my (already tardy) postings. I apologize, but promise to get back up to speed as quickly as possible upon my return. Until then, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

Happy Thanksgiving!

V - A Bright New Day, or Alien Babies Are Coming!

This week on V, the Visitors have secured their visas, allowing them to wander free amongst us lowly humans. But little do the vast majority of people know, they've been walking amongst us for years! Drama!

Along with their new diplomatic status, the V's have attracted new haters, and there's been a death threat. Erica, the FBI mom, has been stationed to the New York mothership to keep watch for shifty characters looking to assassinate our new friends.

Erica's also been busy checking out her ill-gotten FBI files on anyone who's called in an alien complaint lately. Father Jack wanders into her house, and does some surveying after Erica leaves to protect the V's. He stumbles upon Georgie, the leader of the warehouse gang, and decides to call Erica on a cell phone to tell her the good news. A cell phone, Jack? Really? After the V's hacked into a pay phone, you're going to pass that sensitive information along via cell phone? Well, some people just aren't made for high-stakes alien espionage.

So, Jack decides to pay Georgie a visit, and as he gets out of the car, we see the time flash in the lower right hand side of the screen, for no apparent reason. I don't really care that it's noon, V, just show me some lizards eating humans! Anyway, Jack finds out that Georgie's family was eaten/taken by V's, which is the source of his malice toward them. Understandable, really.

Meanwhile, Traitor V Ryan is looking to reassemble something called the 5th Column, which I can only assume is a legion of V's that are trying to stop the main V's from eating people. He tries to recruit an old friend, only to be double-crossed AGAIN and held at gunpoint. Turns out his old buddy is a double-agent for the mothership, who have promised to "reconnect" him if he brings back other former rebels. Ryan makes some vague remarks about "bliss" and the dude being a junkie, and Anna controlling everyone. So, apparently, the V's are so orderly because they're all super-high on some drug that Anna concocted. Good to know.

But back to the mothership, possibly under attack by some shooter. We now see that it's 2:40 or something, which I still don't care about. Erica surmises that the shooter took a guard V's jacket, so he could be anyone! But, most likely, it's the dude they're showing in sinister slow-motion. Erica's killer instincts kick in, and she takes him down. But when it comes time to book 'em, Danno, the V's sequester him in a special holding pen where humans are not allowed. Suspicious! Luckily, Erica took this valuable opportunity to spy on the V's and figure out their one passcode to all the secret doors (duh, guys, multiple passcodes when trying to an invade a foreign planet) and sneak into one of the rooms. It's a circular space, filled with screens, and is apparently a torture chamber where V's are subjected to our worst forms of reality TV as punishment. Not really, but it turns out V's monitor everyone through tiny cameras in their V jackets.

While we're here on the mothership, let's check in with Dale, the V sleeper cell, formerly Erica's partner. He's back alive now (Ta-Da!) but has a bad case of the forgetfuls. He can't remember anything about his previous life, including who knocked his fake face off. A handsome doctor with a sweet, flowing coat comes along, promising to help him rediscover his old life. Thanks, Dr. Sweet Coat! By going back into Dale's memory cells (don't ask) he remembers that Erica saw him, and now must die. Duh-duh-duh!

Back on Earth, Tyler, Erica's son, is still all sad about not being able to be a peace ambassador. Luckily, he runs into Lisa, his alien crush, at a pizza parlor, who tells him he's back in the club. Hooray! He then takes her back to his house, and has some sweet makeouts. Unfortunately, Erica comes home in the middle, and Tyler has to hide his newly-recovered V jacket. After being incredibly obvious that he has a girl in his room, Erica bursts in and sees Lisa in her underpants. Hey-o! In some quick alien thinking, Lisa deduced that it would be better for Erica to see her unclothed, than donned in V apparel. What a clever lizard-person she is!

So, this whole time, Anna has been obsessed with a protester who lost her husband in the initial V landing, and is a force for the V-protest movement. Anna decides to meet with her and offer condolences, but we know that these sentiments are false, since we see Anna rehearsing her speech, complete with fake tears, just before meeting the protestor, Mary. Anna accosts her, and asks for her forgiveness and a few moments of her time. A few moments later, Mary is giving a press conference about how we should forgive the V's and that they're our friends, and for peace, always, yadda, yadda, yadda.

It's been theoried that they just killed Mary and used a V with brand-new Mary skin to show the turnaround, but then why would Anna waste her time with the fake condolence and let's be friends talk? Maybe Anna hooked Mary up to the fabled bliss, and got her hooked on the good stuff. We'll see.

Now that Dale knows Erica is about to blow his cover, he's raring to get back to Earth and do some killing. Nuh-uh-uh, Dale, turns out that Dr. Sweet Coat was also a member of the famed 5th Column, and injects Dale with a death syringe, along with the delicious line, "The 5th Column says hello." Oh, yes, it does.

Georgie ends up tracking Jack down to his church and greets him in the typically paranoid fashion of sticking a gun up to the back of his head. Georgie is pretty pessimistic about forming a new resistance like Jack wants to, considering his past with the friendly Visitors. But, Jack convinces him to give it the old college try. Jack, Georgie, Erica, and Ryan all assemble at the church to discuss their new resistance plans.

Back at the mothership, we find out that the would-be V assassin was really just another V! Shock! The whole thing was orchestrated from the beginning! Also, Lisa, fresh from her makeout, comes to Anna with these cryptic lines:

Lisa: Tyler's the one. We should use him.

Anna: You did an excellent job.

Lisa: Thank you, Mother.

WHAT. Okay, so Lisa is actually really her daughter, OR Anna is some sort of queen bee that's really all the other V's mom (and very well preserved, somehow) OR it's a term of endearment among V's to their leader. And what do they want to use Tyler for? I'm thinking it's a human-alien impregnation, to show that the V's really want to be our friends. See? We'll even deign to have sex with you filthy creatures! We're all cool! But then, really, it'll be terrible, and the V's will eat all the humans.

Overall, a lot more happened this week, which is always good. I have the sense that we're building to a few different confrontations, rather than treading water like last week. The Obama parallels have almost all dropped off, but the tense message of the power of charisma is still present. All in all, jolly good, V, jolly good.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Glee - Ballad, or So Many Crushes

I was really concerned that they weren't going to pull this, but it was inevitable, really. Of course someone was going to develop a massive crush on Shuster. He's irresistible, and if I were 17, hell, if I knew him today, there would be no stopping that attraction.

Anyway, Rachel finally got the memo that Shuster is hot, talented, and HOT while assigned to sing a ballad with him. Mike (who? yeah, I don't know either) is out because of a "spider in the ear" related incident, so Shuster and Rachel have to perform a ballad together to get ready for sectionals in a few weeks. Other pairings for the ballad-off include Mercedes and Puck, Quinn and Kurt, and the two other cheerleaders.

Meanwhile, Quinn is still pregnant, and can no longer fit into her chastity ball dress! The horror! We finally meet Quinn's clueless parents, who are aptly characterized as boozy conservatives, due to some subtle glass clinking sound effects, and the exhortation from Quinn's mom, "Glenn's on!" Pretty clever, there, Glee. To make matters worse, Russ Fabray has decided to invite Finn over for Sunday dinner, where I'm sure everything will be fine and nothing terrible will happen.

So, Rachel is in full on stalker mode, and gives Shuster a blue tie with gold stars on it. "Gold stars are kind of my signature thing," she explains. Oh, Rachel, we all know what your thing is.

But, this isn't the first time this has happened to our boy Shu. Apparently, a few years back, there was the Suzie Pepper incident, where she stalked him, and after being told to back off, ate one of the world's hottest peppers, which burned holes in her esophagus and left her in an induced coma for three days. Not exactly a success story. Thankfully, Emma's back to offer advice! She suggests that Will sing his non-feelings for Rachel, letting her down easy.

Cut to Kurt and Finn, trying to rehearse. Finn is weirded about about singing to a dude, so Kurt suggests he sing out his feeling of frustration about the impending adoption to the crowd, imagining his daughter is out there. We are then treated to a beautiful rendition of "I'll Stand by You" with interspersed shots of Finn singing to a video of a sonogram.

During the big finish, Finn's mom walks in, carrying a basket of laundry. She asks what we're all asking inside: "Are you singing to a sonogram?" The answer is yes. Because she is obviously an more observant parent than Quinn's folks, Finn's mom immediately realizes that Quinn is pregnant. Finn breaks down sobbing in Mommy's arms.

Finn tells Quinn that he spilled the beans, and she freaks out, worried that his mom will tell her parents.

We find out that Kurt has had a long-standing crush on Finn, even though he realizes how foolish it is. Though Kurt realizes that foolishness of his feelings - "I don't know why I find his stupidity so charming. I mean, he's cheating off a girl who thinks the square root of 4 is rainbows" - he can't get over him. He's so delusional that he believes he can turn Finn gay with the right combination of camaraderie and girl bashing. Oh, Kurt, you poor sweet thing. Although, to be fair, a relationship with Quinn would be enough to scare a lot of men away from the ladies forever.

Speaking of poor sweet things, we get a peek into Rachel and Will's ballad rehearsal. Will has composed a mashup of "Young Girl" and "Don't Stand So Close to Me" in the hopes that she'll understand that he's not interested. Poor Rachel doesn't get it, and both Rachel and Emma are sent into paroxysms of joy and lust. Rachel rushes home to compose her own mashup of lovey songs to sing right back at Will.

But, she can't wait until the next day to get her lovin' on, so Rachel shows up at Will's house, cooks him dinner, and cleans the bathroom. Terri puts up with these shenanigans, even encourages them, so that she doesn't have to do housework. Terri! Anyway, Will takes Rachel home, and it's super awkward.

Next, we see Mercedes and Puck attempting to rehearse their ballad. Mercedes reveals that everyone has decided to sing a song to Quinn and Finn to show support during Babygate. Puck freaks out and reveals that he's really the father. To Mercedes! Luckily, he picked the right person to reveal to, as Mercedes brings the tough love advice. She says that impregnating Quinn does not make him the father, and that role will be filled by Finn, because Quinn chose him. So, back off and leave her alone. We'll see if Puck gets the message through his mohawk, which seems pretty likely, judging by the look of sheepish surliness on his face.

Suddenly, it's Sunday dinner time, and the Fabray's are in full on crazy mode. Finn decides to break the tension by singing "You're Having My Baby" to Quinn right in front of her folks. We find out that it was Kurt's idea to serenade her, in the hopes that she would break up with him. Oh, Kurt, you conniving little fashionista! Further hammering home the fact that the Fabray's are the stoutest bottles on the shelf, it takes them at least two verses of the song before they realize that Quinn is knocked up.

Then all hell breaks loose. Because she's such a disappointment to them, the Fabray's disown Quinn and kick her out of the house. What? This really happens to people? Aren't we pretty clear as a society that kicking your children out at their most vulnerable tends not to work in their favor? Well, I guess old Glenn Beck didn't have that message on any of his programs, so the Fabray's didn't get the memo. She's given a half hour to pack, then moves in with Finn and his much more reasonable mom.

Suzie Pepper, Will's old stalker, corners Rachel in a bathroom to tell her to back off Shuster. However, this isn't some old rivalry emerging, but rather, more sound advice from someone who's gone through hell. She says that her and Rachel are not so different, and they both hitched their stars to Will because they know he'll never reciprocate their feelings. They are attracted to unattainable boys, further reinforcing their fear that they'll never be good enough to love. Suzie's advice is to find someone else, and save herself a lot of heartbreak. Not that I ever had an inappropriate crush in high school...but I wish someone had given me this advice at 17. The only beef I have with Suzie's pep talk is that she refers to Rachel as mildly attractive. What?! Rachel is smokin' hot, and I refuse to conform to the narrative of unattractiveness that Glee is perpetuating against Rachel!

Anyhow, Rachel gets the message, and apologizes to Shu for her inappropriateness. Will sits her down, reiterates that they will never have anything more than a student/teacher relationship, but says that there's a boy out there who will love every part of her, including the parts of herself that she wishes she could change. Again, where were these beautiful, uplifting speeches when I was in high school?

We wrap things up this week with a lively rendition of "Lean on Me" from the glee clubbers to Quinn and Finn. So, the message is that, even though Quinn is effectively a homeless orphan, it'll be okay, because her high school buddies still like her. Hooray!

I shouldn't be so callous, but really, what is Quinn going to do? She's about to have astronomical medical bills, a terrible emotional upheaval (if she does give the baby up for adoption) and no income. Glee is about to take a dark turn if things continue in this direction. I'm hoping that Mrs. Fabray (the less crazy one) grows a brain and takes Quinn back in. With any luck, she'll also divorce that neanderthal, Russ Fabray. But until then, we'll always have the music.

The Office - Murder, or The Diversion

Diversion is the name of the game this week, and with the King of Diversion himself, Michael Scott, at the helm, it's going to be a bumpy ride (yeah, I just mixed my metaphors, get over yourself, nerd).

So, there's a nasty rumor going around the Wall Street Journal that Dunder Mifflin is about to go bankrupt. After a not at all reassuring email from David Wallace, people are freaking out. Instead of allaying their fears and telling them all to get back to the grindstone, Michael pulls out his Murder Mystery game, and they all don costumes and terrible Southern accents to figure out who killed the wealthy Southern gentleman.

At first, everyone is dismayed. They want to stay clued to their computer screens, refreshing incessantly for any update. Of course, Dwight gets right into it, but the others take some more coercing. Oscar, sweet rational Oscar, interrupts their fun when he reveals that he's been directed to suspend all payments to their clients. It's a bad sign. There's more freaking out.

Jim, predictably, has been pretty miffed about Michael's reaction to the crisis, and wants to get back to work. Michael, however, will only respond to his character's name and really, really wants to know who the killer is.

Faced with the prospect that they could all be fired never see each other again, Andy screws up the courage to ask Erin out on a date. However, he foolishly does so as his game character, and she responds in kind. The problem is that Erin is portraying Naughty Nelly, the town trollop, who will go out with any and every one. Andy worries that he asked Nelly out, and not Erin. When he confronts her about it, she demurs, giving a non answer. He takes this as a rejection, and says it was only part of the game. Of course, they both wanted to go out, but now they won't, because they're both foolish.

Finally, Jim confronts Michael in his office, and Michael explodes that they all need to have fun, get their mind off the impending disaster, and keep morale up. It's a surprisingly valid argument, though Jim remains unconvinced.

David Wallace makes a personal call to the office, and because Michael (as Caleb, his character) refuses to take the call, Jim takes it. Things are looking bleak for Dunder Mifflin, David confides. Jim returns to the conference room, the scene of the game, looking grim. When asked what happened, he pauses, then slowly raises his head to declare, in his best Savannah accent, "There's been another murder." So, now everyone's in on the game, and they all have a a great rest of the day that concludes in a four way fake gun battle among Michael, Dwight, Andy, and Pam. They resolve their differences by having an epic shootout, complete with sound effects and the miming of spewing blood.

So, the question we're all left with is, what's going to happen? They can't really bankrupt Dunder Mifflin and expect the show to continue, so I doubt that's the play. But are they about to undergo a new corporate restructuring, complete with new staff assignments and consolidations? Could it mean the return of Holly, Michael's lost love? We'll see, and this week's episode was a great teaser into what comes next. The Murder Mystery plot was okay, but mainly a vehicle for other character development. Michael actually seemed to be helping, rather than unintentionally destroying, lives, so I suppose I can get behind it.

For the record though, if a real murder goes down, I definitely want Dwight on the side of the law. Man, can he recreate a crime scene!

30 Rock - The Problem Solvers, or A Little Help From the Audience

I wish there was an awesome word for a deep bond between a man and a woman that is in no way sexual. Because that's what this episode is all about.

We start out with the introduction of Jack Baker, the new cast member. After deciding that, not unlike the Highlander, there can only be one Jack, the original Jack renames him. So, his new name is Danny Baker. Turns out Danny is incredibly nice (and Canadian!) and has some acting experience. His one problem is that he refuses to let Kenneth help him with anything. This freaks Kenneth out to no end, causing him to talk backwards. Apparently, Jack/Danny used to be a personal assistant, and hated the way they were harassed and harangued about the actor's every whim. He assumes that Kenneth feels the same. Oh, Jack/Danny, you have so much to learn.

Jack and Liz have an intimate dinner, and Jack reveals that he wants to produce a talk show with Liz after Dealbreakers has risen to prominence. Liz tells Jenna and Tracy the good news, and they advise her to check out her options with other agents and production companies, rather than commit to Jack just because they have a personal relationship. Surprisingly, this is legitimate advice, so Jenna and Tracy decide to take their problem solving on the road, under the guise of...the Problem Solvers!

They find out that Kenneth is upset that Jack/Danny won't let him do any of his errands, so they agree to talk to Jack/Danny for him. Jack/Danny tells them his story about being a personal assistant and they immediately flash back to all the times they mistreated underlings. So now NO ONE will take any help from Kenneth, and he is distraught!

Meanwhile, Liz breaks the news to Jack that she wants to shop around for a TV deal. He's upset, and the two begin a standoff of epic proportions. She threatens to go with a different production company, and he threatens to steal the rights of the show (since it originally aired on NBC, thus making it property of Sheinhart Wig Company). They do nasty things to each other, a 12 year old (not really, but kinda) agent is introduced, and Padma Lakshmi makes a cameo. At the end, they realize that they want to do business together, not with anyone else. There's an iconic shot of them running across Rockefeller Square toward each other, and the camera spins as they profess their undying mutual respect.

To wrap things up, Kenneth confronts Jack/Danny about being too nice, and tricks him into blowing up at Kenneth, revealing his true actorly persuasions and also conveniently getting rid of his Canadian accent. Kenneth implores Jenna and Tracy to do the same, and everything is officially back to normal.

All in all, a good episode. I am super excited about the new cast member, Jack/Danny, and hope he continues to be endearing and a little goofy. I can't wait for the development of the Dealbreakers talk show, and was glad that Liz and Jack got some time to develop their relationship and generally have great chemistry. But I still have a problem: what catchy phrase can we use to describe their relationship? I am at a loss, so I leave it up to you, my readers. Please post your ideas for a deeply platonic male/female friendship. Who knows - the next bromance may be born right here on this blog. Post away!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

House - Known Unknown, or Liar, Liar

This week, the lucky patient that gets to be treated by House is introduced via every teenage girl's dream. She's standing in line for a sweet party that will be attended by her favorite band, when the band in question comes walking by. The lead singer chooses her and a friend to get past the velvet rope, and they have a magical night of playing Rock Band, fence jumping, skinny dipping, and being serenaded. While retelling all this magic to her uber-jealous friends the next morning, however, the lucky girl becomes not quite so fortunate, as all her joints swell to elephantine size and she collapses.

House is convinced the diagnosis is something called Rabdo, which also sounds like an awesome new Swedish band. Anyway, he wants to close the case quickly and jump town, since he has two tickets to the National Pillow Fighting Championship - a valid desire. But, after some tests, it's revealed that the girl couldn't have done all the things she described (jumping a fence, playing rock band, swimming) because she's experiencing temporary muscle paralysis due to potassium depletion. So, now we have a double mystery: why is she sick, and what did she really do that night?? Oh, the excitement!

Turns out that the girl didn't really care about the emo band after all, but found out that the creator of a super sweet comic and sci fi series (fake Joss Whedon, let's be clear) would be at the party. She couldn't tell her friends this because they wouldn't understand her passion. So, she followed fake-Joss around all night, and ate at the same restaurant he did, having the exact same meal. They postulate that, since no one else that ate the food got sick, she might have bulimia.

Meanwhile, House has jumped town, though not to the Pillowfight Championships (darn). He accompanied Wilson to a medical conference after he found out that Cuddy was also going. Apparently, he has full-fledged plans to woo her now, rather than just sexually harass her constantly.

Cameron and Foreman do the test to determine if the secret sci-fi nerd has bulimia (you can do that, apparently?) and find out that she, does not, in fact, suffer from an eating disorder. Cameron bothers Foreman about if Chase is having an affair, because he's been so distant, yada, yada, yada. Whatever. I am so tired of the "I killed a genocidal maniac and now I am sad" storyline. Man up, Chase.

So, they still don't know what's wrong with the Whedonite, and during their next round of interviews, to determine what exactly happened, she starts making shit up and bleeding from her ears. Not a great sign.

For some reasons, the writers then decided to take a break from this exciting scene and cut to an 80's party at the medical conference. House and Cuddy do the classic thing where they go out to the dance floor in the middle of a fast song, but it immediately changes to a slow dance when they reach the middle of the floor. Uh-oh! So, they slow dance and we find out that Cuddy and House actually had a one-night stand in med school (!) and House never called. We expect his ladykilling ways to be the culprit, but it turns out he really was going to call, but received a call of a very different nature that very morning, informing him that he'd been expelled and should pack up his bags. Downer.

Cameron and Chase are still on the sleuthing trail trying to figure out what super fan did to get so sick, and finally figure out that she came up to fake-Whedon's room on the pretense of returning his journal after sntaching it. First, they think that he drugged her with rufies and slept with her, and he is understandably upset at the allegation. Foreman is able to rule out rufies. They do some sort of lie detecting test, and ask her again what the hell happened. She lies, again, saying that fake-Whedon drugged and raped her. But it's okay, because it's a lie! But seriously, WHAT HAPPENED.

Back in conference land, in addition to House mooning over Cuddy, we find out that the paper Wilson is about to present basically advocates for physician-assisted suicide in cases of advanced cancer. House freaks out, in an uncharacteristically selfless way, because he knows it will ruin Wilson's career. After Wilson doesn't take his advice to not give the presentation, House slips Wilson rufies. He then goes to Cuddy's room, offering to babysit her child (who seems to have aged about two years in the space of three months) but there's another man there! Who's apparently named Lucas! And I gathered there's some sort of history there, but having not watched the show since its inception, I can't really say.

House's next step is to give Wilson's paper in his absence, pretending that he wrote it, so that the blame will fall to him. Actually, at the end, it's a hit, and everyone praised the courage of Dr. Perlmutter (House's assumed name for the conference). While Wilson is arguing with House about the audacity of stealing his paper, House magically solves the case of the Whedonite. It was hemochromatosis, in case you were wondering. She'll be fine, and will stop her pathological lying.

With all that business taken care of, we get a few personal vignettes with our favorite doctors. Turns out that Cuddy's been dating Lucas (who's a detective, I guess?) for awhile, and kept it secret from House. He was sad. Chase finally admitted to killing the dictator, and fade to black.

Okay, House, let's talk. You're a procedural medical drama that rises above because your characters are interesting and support the mysteries. BUT, when the interpersonal drama and stoylines start to take away from the sweet medical junk you do, you give it to the soapiness of other treacle like Grey's Anatomy. I want an interesting case, a few false diagnoses, sarcasm, tension, and finally, sweet resolution. Anything more, and you start to lose me. Please get back to your roots and entertain/scary me with rare diseases. Thank you.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

V - There is No Normal Anymore, or There is No Plot Anymore

Things ground to a resounding halt this week on V, which it's difficult to get away with on a mini-series. I want to see some human eating, people!

We started up right where we left off last time, in the aftermath of the warehouse massacre. FBI mom (Erica, as she's apparently called) makes a frantic 911 phone cal to get some backup, but it's mysteriously intercepted by the V's, who sent another one of their terrible, explosion balls to take care of the lingering witnesses. Erica outsmarts it, though, by bashing it with a piece of wood. Hooray!

Erica and Jack (the young priest) then decide to trust no one and secretly go about their resistance movement. All that goes down the tubes when another FBI agent comes to Jack's church interviewing him about the man who passed on his V intel before biting the dust. He hedges, not giving any info, then feels bad and goes to the police station to spill the beans. There, he meets Erica, and they have a cute little scene of, "You're a priest?!" Dang, Erica was definitely looking for a love interest, but that's not happening, honey.

They furtively whisper at each other about the various merits of telling what he knows, versus not, with Erica's point of view being, "But anyone could be a V! ANYONE." And Jack was all like, "But we have to help!" Meh.

Meanwhile, we catch up with Ryan, the traitor V, and his scene of continuing domestic bliss. Her fiance, a therapist, makes a particularly crude comment about the invasion being good for business, but Ryan still wants to marry her ass. He has to explain the gaping wound on his forearm, and goes with "scraped it on a filing cabinet". She buys it, which furthers my theory that she may not be the brightest bulb on this series. Anyway, Ryan goes to a mechanic buddy by the name of Angelo who is also a V traitor, and, conveniently, a V doctor. We see some cool CGI of Ryan's arm magically healing itself before our eyes, but then, it appears that Angelo has injected Ryan with no only medicine, but black out drugs! Oh, no! So, we then think that Angelo is a double-agent, secretly loyal to the V's, but it turns out he just can't trust anyone, including Ryan. He's a triple Maverick!

Erica has been called into the office to investigate the disappearance of Dale, her partner, and Erica plays it cool, being all like, "I don't know where he is. Certainly not dead on the floor of a warehouse with a gaping head wound of my own infliction." The investigators, however, are suspicious, and think that Erica isn't being honest with them. We recap pretty much everything that happened in the past episode, before Erica makes the quick cover that Dale was actually working with the terrorists, so she couldn't trust him, and that's why their case files aren't lining up. Sure, Erica. She convinces them that Dale won't be showing up for a long time, and they seem to buy this particular load. Too bad, though, because at the end of the episode, we see that Dale has been resurrected on the mothership, surely bent on revenge.

Erica's son, Tyler, has been living the peace ambassador high life with Lisa, the hot alien. That abruptly comes to a stop when Tyler punches a protester (who totally started it!), then getting banned from the ambassadors. Tyler definitely wasn't "for peace, always" when he straight up cold-cocked that sucker. So, now he's sad.

The framing of the episode (maybe I should have gotten to this earlier? or they should have made it more interesting?) is that the V's are in the process of gaining diplomatic relationships with all major countries in the world. They've already successfully conned Japan and Mexico, but are really hoping for Russia, China, and the US. The State Department is deliberating, and Anna is pissed at Fountain of Youth Scott Wolf for not doing more to plug the V's to the viewers. Well, Scott Wolf makes some claims about how he can't control the government, but he can control public opinion, which he's happy to do if the V's play nice. It's unclear. Anyway, the State Department grant the V's diplomatic access to the US.

So, we get to the end of the episode, and nothing has really happened. We don't know what the V's plans on, there's no resistance forming, and we don't know who else is secretly a V. Although I do have my theories: mostly, the older priest (he's way too pro-V) and the FBI agent investigating the murder at Jack's church (mostly because she played a double agent on BSG). The one thing we did learn this episode is that the producers definitely signed a product placement agreement with iPhone. Those frickin' things were everywhere, and served little purpose. For example: do we need a closeup and a showcase of the iPhone's easy-to-use camera feature just to get a shot of hot alien Lisa? Plus, the picture that they show of her in no way resembles the face she was making when the camera went click. Is that an iPhone app? Take magical pictures with different expressions than the person you're photographing has? That would actually be kind of cool.

But other than that, very little. True, they did tamp down the Obama metaphors, but I'll take those coupled with sweet alien action, rather than a politically neutral bore fest. My descriptions of the pilot enticed someone to watch the second episode (I'm that good) but this episode made me look like a fool for my initial recommendation! Can't be doing that, V! Step your game up! My recommendation: Ryan's idiot fiance finds out he's a V, we see a serious rebellion, and above all, aliens eating humans! Use that immense budget on something cooler than holographic pictures of Anna changing clothes, for God's sakes!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Glee - Wheels, or Skirting the Line

So, full disclosure - I was so excited about the return of Glee this week that I pumped myself up by listening to recordings on YouTube during work (don't judge me). However, I accidentally stumbled upon this week's "Dancing with Myself" and "Defying Gravity" covers. Now, the question is: with the thrill of the musical numbers already experienced (only auditorially, not visually) will the show still stand up to its former glory?

This week, Quinn's still off the team, and starting to fret about medical bills for her impending bundle of joy. Instead of, oh, I don't know, telling her parents so she can jump on the family insurance bandwagon, she harps at Finn to get a job so he can pay for all her new maternity clothes. I'm starting to get a whiff of Terri in Quinn's demeanor, and the shrillness does not look good on her.

Meanwhile, Will wants the kids to travel to a tournament in another town, but there's no money for a special bus equipped for the mobility impaired (i.e. Artie). Not wanting to split up the team, he'll have to find his own way to finance the trip, without the school's help. I don't mean to be nit-picky, but I feel like there's a law somewhere that says public schools have to be equally accessible to all people with disabilities. Oh, that's right, it's the Americans with Disabilities Act. Oh, well. Carry on.

So, Will pitches the idea of a bake sale to raise money, and the glee clubbers balk. They say that Artie won't mind riding alone with his Dad. Artie agrees, then sings a sad rendition of "Dancing with Myself". Okay, so the test arrives! The version, while smooth and jazzy, isn't all that exciting on its own - unlike other Glee classics like "Don't Stop Believin'" and "Somebody to Love". But what really made it work was the wonderful montage of loneliness and sweet wheelchair dancing that accompanied it. Glee, you have passed your first test.

Turns out that Artie is miffed about being left out, and Will goes to bat for him, saying that not only will they do a bake sale to raise money, each member of the club will spend three hours a day in a wheelchair, and the number they perform will be wheelchair based. I feel like the punishment does not fit the crime here, Shuster, but I'll roll with it (see what I did there?)

Puck gives Quinn $18, after overhearing that she needs money. For some reason, they start a weird baking food fight (since Quinn was baking cupcakes for the bake sale) and almost kiss. Then, Finn walks in and, for once, has a glimmer of suspicion that maybe, just maybe, the bun in that particular oven is not of his own stirring.

Kurt has a heart to heart with his Dad about how much he wants to sing "Defying Gravity" for sectionals, but Will won't even let him try out, because it's a female part. Kurt's Dad goes to the principal, complains about discrimination (take a hint, Artie's parents!) and convinces Will to hold fair tryouts for the part, with all the rest of the glee club voting on the best performance. Rachel raises hell because she thinks it's just going to be a popularity contest, not a fair judge of talent. Kurt makes everyone promise to vote sincerely for the best performance, and it's on!

The principal, so inspired by Will's dedication to accessibility in the school with the wheelchair stunt, has decided that Sue must hold open auditions to fill Quinn's spot in the Cheerios. She relents, and we see a melange of uncoordinated students try their luck. The last auditioner, Becky Jackson, has Down's Syndrome, and is also quite uncoordinated. However, Sue decides that she's on the team.

What? We know she's up to something, because the "I'm up to something!" a capella plays in the background, but I'm really concerned about where this is going. There's a point where it's okay to make fun of things, and Glee, you were really skirting the line with the mobility impaired and gender discrimination. Throwing in intellectual disabilities, I fear it's too much. I find myself cringing at the next scene, and unless you deliver a big-hearted, we're all okay message at the end of this, it will just be too bitter to swallow.

ANYWAY, Rachel is nervous about the diva-off, Kurt's Dad has second thoughts about being "Super Supportive Dad" after he gets an anonymous phone call calling his son the f-word, and Quinn threatens to break up with Finn if he doesn't get a job. Dude, seems like an easy call to me - you don't have to get a job, and you get Quinn off your back. But, he doesn't see it that way. With Rachel's help, he concocts a nefarious plan to bring in the bucks.

Speaking of nefarious plans, Puck has his own way of bringing in the dollars. He fills the glee club cupcakes with marijuana, so people are buying them by the fistful. Also way up on the nefarious scale, we check in with Sue, who is running poor Becky into the ground with drills and exclamations that she's terrible. Will runs in, horrified, but Sue protests that she only wants to treat Becky like everyone else, not easier, just because she has a disability. Will isn't convinced that her motives are that pure, and neither am I.

Puck tries to give Quinn his ill-gotten funds from the marijuana bake sale, but she protests. Puck goes on and on about how they could be a family, and he has ambition, and everything will be great, but Quinn says the argument pretty much breaks down when you see that Puck stole from a friend in a wheelchair. Sorry, Puck.

The results of Rachel's treacherous plan come through, and Quinn got a job! He pretended to be in a wheelchair, and Rachel threatened to sue the restaurant for discrimination if they didn't hire him. So, now he has checks to dutifully hand over to Quinn, and has to keep up the charade of being bound to a wheelchair as long as he works there. Well, this is a win-win for everybody? Maybe?

Now, with the money to rent the special bus for Artie in hand, everything seems right with the world. But, Artie selflessly gives up the money, agreeing to ride with his dad to sectionals, so they can install a wheelchair ramp in the auditorium. BUT, wonder of wonders, it turns out that Sue Sylvester just wrote a check for three, count 'em, three, wheelchair ramps for the school! So, they get to have ramps and all ride together to sectionals! The only person not totally excited about this prospect is Will, who's still convinced that Sue is about to unleash something terrible.

But then, as I hoped, we have a beautiful, touching moment, when we learn that Sue's older sister, whom she visits religiously at her assisted living facility, has Down's syndrome. Sue read her sister Little Red Riding Hood, and I teared up. Oh, Glee!

As if things couldn't get better, we cut to an adorable scene between Tina and Artie on their first date. It turns out that Artie has been pining for Tina for awhile now, and after recovering from the epic fail line of "...but I still have full use of my penis," Artie convinced Tina to go out with her. They kiss, and it's awesome.

Then, Tina drops the bomb. She doesn't really have a stutter! WHAT. She drops some bullshit about not wanting to give a speech in 6th grade, so she faked it, and just kept it up until now, but New Directions made her want to experience life to the fullest, blah, blah, blah, whatever. TINA! You were so cool, with your blue highlights, and now you're just a poser! Artie has the same reaction, and is all like, "Peace!" Relationship over.

But back to the diva-off. Rachel sang like an angel, of course, and Kurt was okay. Mostly, he just has a brassy sound that I can't get over, and the whole thing sounded so force I felt pity for his vocal chords. When it came to the high F, the centerpiece of the song, Kurt totally blew it, and they gave the part to Rachel. Womp, womp. But then we find out that Kurt intentionally threw the try-out so that his father wouldn't have to put up with more harassing phone calls about his son's sexual orientation. Heart-warming, but also sad for poor Kurt. When is his moment to shine?

The big finale is a rendition of "Rollin' on the River", performed entirely in wheelchairs. Subtle? No. Great choreography? Yes.

So, overall, Glee played a pretty tricky game, and tackled a ton of discriminatory topics. Were they successful? Well, Artie got some ramps, and people understand him better, but poor Becky is still getting her ass kicked on the Cheerios. We find out Tina really doesn't have a stutter, though that isn't really in the discrimination category, but a revelation. Finn narrowly escaped a Quinn breakup by exploiting laws designed to help people with actual disadvantages. A lot of mixed messages here, and the episode felt a little like it was treading water. None of the plots really advanced, but it was a pleasurable interlude, and it was good to give Artie some serious face time. He sure can sing, and man, can he wheel that chair.

I'm hoping that next week we'll get back to the interpersonal drama, and have some real consequences. Until then, I'll keep replaying the Glee standards in anticipation.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dexter - Slack Tide, or Ruh-Roh!

This week, Dexter and Trinity become super best friends, with the hope that Dexter will learn important serial killer/life skills. Then, of course, he will kill him, but not until he's mined Trinity for all the information he can!

It's Deb's first official day back at work, and they're investigating the murder of a young Nicaraguan woman. The twist is that they were tipped off to the homicide after discovering her arm in the belly of an alligator. Turns out the main suspect is a twisted fashion photographer who might have a violent past. After sexually harassing Deb, he jumps to the top of the list of Dexter's next victims.

Dexter and Trinity have some man time, going out into the woods at 6:30 AM. When Trinity offers Dex his choice of weapons - chainsaw, ax, saw, or pickax, Dexter is convinced that only one of them will make it out of the encounter alive. But surprise! They're just going to cut down a tree together. Whew. After Dexter successfully starts the chainsaw when Trinity tries and tries but can't do it, Trinity gets unnecessarily snippy and weird.

On the way back into the city, Trinity accidentally hits a deer on the road. Dexter insists that Trinity put it out of its misery, but he refuses, getting sick and nervous at the thought of killing the deer. So, Dexter takes the ax, and kills the deer. I believe what we're supposed to gather from this scene that, unlike Dexter, Trinity's killing stem from an altered psychological state, not a constant way of hardness and insensitivity, like Dexter. Does this make him better or worse? Will it help or harm Dexter's efforts to both learn from the most successfully serial killer in recent history, or harm them? We'll see!

Dex investigates the creepy fashion photographer, and of course, it turns out he's killed a bunch of beautiful South and Central American girls who were in the US illegally. Bring on the killing!

Dexter tries to go over the photographer by ambushing him outside a swanky club, but freaking Quinn is there too! Turns out Quinn has a bug up his butt about Dexter ever since he found that Dexter knows Quinn stole money from a crime scene. Quinn is also pressuring Deb to sit for an interview with his reporter girlfriend, something that Dex is adamantly opposed to. Quinn seems to think that Dexter has secrets, so is trying to figure them out to have something to match Dexter's knowledge about him. Oh Quinn, this is not a road you don't want to go down. Don't you remember Sergeant Doakes? You don't want to end up fried in a cabin, and that's where you're headed if you don't back it down.

So, Dexter has to delay the killing and instead, take Cody on an overnight boating trip with the Young Sailor's Club (adorable!). They tell scary stories around the fire, and despite protestations that he doesn't know any scary stories (yeah, right), Dexter starts telling the story of the Trinity killer, before he's interrupted by a fellow chaperone and all the kids go to bed. BUT, after everyone is tucked in night and snug, Dexter sneaks to the photographer's in a second attempt to kill him. This time: success! Although the photographer makes the requisite pleas of innocence, Dexter knows better, and takes care of him.

PLOT TWIST - after getting to the station, we see that the photographer's assistant has been taken in for the murder of the girls. It turns out they have DNA evidence, security camera footage, the works. Ruh-roh. Looks like Dex just killed an innocent man! This is certainly a new situation for our hero - what will he do? How will he handle such a blow to his method?

Stay tuned!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Mad Men - Shut the Door. Have a Seat. or Really?

Big things are afoot at Sterling Cooper PPL! Connie (making a triumphant return) tells Don that his company is being sold to McCann, which will mean that Connie will have to take his business elsewhere, as McCann represents another hotel chain. Don pitches a fit and blames Connie for stringing him along. Connie replies, "You know, I got everything I have on my own. It's made me immune to those who complain and cry because they can't." I'm not sure if that line was intended to be hilarious, but oh Connie, if you only knew how your legacy would end up.

Anyhow, Don has an inspiring flashback about how his father selfishly refused to help out his cooperative when the wheat price was too low, and this made him decide to storm into Cooper's office with the wacky scheme that they buy back Sterling Coop from PPL. Now, maybe it's just because I've been doing LSAT prep, but that logic seems pretty far-stretched. So, Old Man Whitman was a jackass and screwed his buddies, so you're going to save the company from corporate death? I'm...just going to hope this is explained later.

At first, Bert balks at the idea of taking back what is rightfully theirs, but then comes around with a pretty sound business plan of securing their major accounts. The obstacle: Roger Sterling. American Tobacco, their biggest client, is all in the hands of Roger, so they have to convince him to join their rebel club.

Predictably, Roger doesn't care where he works, and doesn't want to sacrifice his easily-earned fortune buying back the company. He forces Don to apologize, say how much they need Roger, yadda, yadda. After some coercing, Roger agrees.

They sit our friend Lane down, "Shut the door. Have a seat." And announce their plans to buy back Sterling Coop. The problem is that the price has risen too sharply, and their offer isn't high enough. McCann offered a better deal, so they're out of luck.

Speaking of out of luck, Betty announces that she's going to see a divorce lawyer, and suggests Don do the same. Don makes some vague pleas about not breaking up the family, to which Betty replies, "I'm not the one who broke up this family!" Oooh, sick burn.

In the lawyer's office, we see once again how arduous the divorce process is in New York. The lawyer suggests that Betty go to Reno, establish residency in six weeks (six weeks!) and do the divorce there. Don doesn't even have to go, he just has to consent. The lawyer then asks about a settlement, and Henry immediately jumps in. "I don't want you to owe him anything," he says, and promises to provide for both Betty and the kids.

Let's reiterate: a man who has spent a total of 45 minutes with Betty, tops, doesn't want her to get a settlement from her husband, promises to take care of children he has never met, and says he wants to get this done "as quickly as possible"? Really? I mean, really?

We then get to see another glimpse into Dick Whitman's past. In the aftermath of his decision to stockpile the wheat and wait for prices to raise, Mrs. Whitman puts the smackdown on that idea, and tells him he has to sell so they won't lose their house. Old Man Whitman goes out to the stable, drunk as a skunk, with Dick in tow. A thunderclap rings through the sky, the horse bucks, and Old Man Whitman finds himself flat on the ground, gushing blood.

So, the lesson is: if you first try to screw your friends, then renege because your wife tells you to, you'll die? Help me out here, Mad Men, I'm trying to work with you.

In the wake of this potent recollection, Don hatches up a new scheme. He'll get Lane to fire Cooper, Sterling, and himself, since he has complete authority over hiring and firing, in order to release them from their contracts. In return, they'll make him a partner, and even consider putting his name on the door. Apparently Cooper isn't the only vain one, as Lane agrees. They need to assemble as many accounts as possible and a skeleton crew to ensure continuity of services. Oh, and they have to steal a bunch of office equipment.

Don immediately starts to prioritize his staff, first asking for the whereabouts of Pete Campbell (he's out sick) then yelling for Peggy to join him in his office. First off - really? Pete Campbell? The dude who tried to blackmail you and is an asslicking, ineffective ninny? Really, Don?

Anyway, his second choice, Peggy, also ends up disappointing. After assuming that she'll follow him, Peggy stands up for herself, saying that won't follow Don around like a nervous poodle, and doesn't want to make a career out of standing in his shadow, being blamed for his mistakes and getting none of the credit for her work. Good for you, Peggy! Make Don give you a much better offer, or take advantage of Duck's generous offer (not that one, you guys. Sheesh. Bunch of dirty minds around here.)

So, it turns out that Pete isn't really sick, but having interviews at rival firms, after deciding to leave Sterling Coop when he didn't get the promotion. Don and Roger make a house call, and ask Pete to join the new company. In the course of the conversation, it becomes clear that Don and Roger are using Pete for his accounts, since they need way more money to make this thing work. They give him some bullshit about him being forward looking. Pete agrees. Whew. For a second there, I thought Don actually like Pete. Carry on.

Over drinks at the bar, Don drops the bomb that he's getting a divorce. "So it's true?" Roger replies. Don has no idea what he's talking about. Oooh, Roger, really? Yikes. Apparently, Roger heard about Betty and Henry from Margaret, who heard it from Henry's daughter. It's serious, Roger says.

So, in a great decision, Don decides to go home and rough Betty up a bit, call her a whore, you know, the usual, mature things you do when you realize you're not the only cheater in the relationship. Dammit, Don, don't be like that. Sure, Betty's a brat, just like you said, but your past as a hick who changed his name has nothing to do with this. You cheated and you lied for years, and don't make this about Betty. Harrumph.

Back to Sterling Coop, they hold a secret meeting to steal all the files, and ask Harry Crane to be the new head of media. He doesn't really answer, which I assume means yes. Now, down to the nitty gritty - where are the time sheets? Where are the account books? No one has any idea. No one knows how the office works. But you know who does? Yeah, that's right, Joan Holloway Harris!

But there's one important member of this gang missing from the festivities: Don. Turns out he's at home having the worst "We're getting a divorce" conservation with his kids in history. Betty says he's moving out, Don says it's temporary, Betty says no it's not, the kids are understandably confused. But you'll get to have two Christmases, guys! They only want one Christmas. Sally is convinced that it's all Betty's fault (typical) and Bobby is confused (also typical). Everyone is sad. Guys, you really should have had a better game plan going into this, and not contradicted each other in front of the little 'uns. Man, you two suck at divorce.

Don runs straight from that shit show over to Peggy's digs, and begs her to join the new company. He doesn't think he can do it without her, he sees her as an extension of himself, you know, all the nice things he should be saying to his wife right about now if he wants to save their marriage. But, it works on Peggy, and she joins the team.

Everyone assembles at Sterling Coop: Bert, Roger, Harry, Pete, Lane, Don, Peggy, and Joan. Can you say dream team? After they find out the art department is closed, Don literally kicks it down, and the move out begins.

They relocate to the Pierre Hotel, under the new mast head Sterling Cooper Draper Price. It's quite a mouth full, but the bustling, excited energy in the room bristles with possibility.

Don makes a call to Betty, reneging on his earlier, ghastly behavior, and says he won't fight her. They have a poignant goodbye, and Betty takes off for Reno.

The final shot of the season is Don moving into his new, furnished apartment in the city.

Excitement! The fourth season is set for more intra-office drama, rather than the familiar and personal storylines that dominated the second and third seasons. And while those were great, the core of Mad Men is certainly the office shenanigans. I predict that Kinsey and Ken will try to join the new agency, and Joan and Roger will reignite their romance. I'm concerned, though, that the goodbye Don gave to Betty will also be the last we see of her. Are Betty and Henry preparing to fly off in the sunset, only to be seen in tense encounters of visitation rights? I'm not afraid to say I'll miss her, and I'm very curious to know what happens between her and Henry.

Until next summer, when we see what our good friends at SCDP are up to!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

V - Pilot, or Reinforcing the Birthers (not a good thing)

After all the ballyhoo about the upcoming remake of V, I thought I'd take a gander at the first episode. Most media criticism has focused on the parallels between V and the fervor surrounding the Obama campaign, so I won't repeat all that here. Is V just an extended mockery of the Obama administration? Hard to tell what the rest of the series will show, but so far, yeah, pretty much.

The show starts with a black screen and white writing. "Where were you when JFK was assassinated?" it first asks. Then, a more modern question: "Where were you on 9/11?" Okay, I see where you're going with this, V. The final question is: "Where were you this morning?" By juxtaposing two terrible events in American history with this new phenomenon clearly shows that the alien visitation will not be a happy, fun event to be cherished by the generations, but rather, on par with the JFK assassination and 9/11. Not an auspicious beginning.

We follow three sets of New Yorkers on the morning of the invasion: a FBI agent and her son, a well-to-do couple on the cusp of engagement, and two Catholic priests. They're all going about their normal business, when suddenly a huge alien spaceship comes barreling over the skyscrapers of New York. We learn through live newscasts that mothershipes have parked over 28 other major world cities. In the midst of widespread hysteria, the mothership morphs into a giant TV screen, and the face of a smoking hot lady appears. She calls herself Anna and she's the leader of her people. They've traveled the cosmos and are overjoyed to find another intelligent life in the universe. They need water and another mineral of which Earth has an abundant supply. In exchange, they're happy to give some sweet technology to Earthlings, and be on their way. At the end of the message, people from all corners of the earth start clapping.

Now, if you've been living under a rock without an internet connection, stop reading here - I'm about to make a big reveal. The mineral that the Visitors want (get it - Visitors - V) is PEOPLE. They're really terrible lizard creatures that have come to Earth to eat humans.

Anyway, we don't know this yet, and a media frenzy erupts over the V's, as the cool kids call them. They promise cures to diseases, anti-gravity technology, the spreading of hope, and above all, peace. Everyone gets into it, especially the teens, who become cultural ambassadors to the V culture, spending time on motherships with the intent that they will spread the message of hope to their friends (I'm not kidding). The media gets involved as well, and Anna gives an interview to a still surprisingly young looking Scott Wolf, on the condition that he ask her no questions that will paint the V's in a negative light.

So, yeah, not exactly subtle. You got young people all in a tizzy and the media drooling all over themselves. The only skeptics so far are the FBI Mom and a young Catholic priest, who worries that admiration of the V's might turn into worship, or even worse, devotion! Personally, I always thought false worship was worse than devotion, but whatever. His older mentor tells him not worry, since the pews have been filled to capacity ever since the V's arrival, but then an old man appears in the church, with a fatal wound and an envelope filled with "proof" that the aliens are here to destroy us.

Meanwhile, the male half of the well-to-do couples starts getting calls from a mysterious man from his past who wants to involve him in some sort of special club devoted to getting rid of the V's because they know they're out to destroy the world. The young man says that he's moved past that, and he's not into that conspiracy stuff anymore. Birthers, anyone?

Throughout this business, the FBI mom has been investigating a strange spike in terrorist cell chatter that began right when the V's landed. Her theory is that terrorists are plotting an attack on New York while everyone is distracted by the V's. This is an interesting take on what would happen if aliens invaded, as the reigning theory (as promoted by none other than the conservative hero Ronald Reagan) goes, that if aliens did invade, all the world's cultures would unite against them. I suppose this doesn't exactly fit that scenario, since everyone still thinks the aliens are here to help society and cure diseases. But why would the terrorists have a problem with that? The V's are all over the world, helping out, not just in America. Oh well, who knows. My personal theory is that the terrorist cell is actually made up of V's who were an advance deployment, getting ready to bring the smack down on humans. I suppose we'll see.

FBI mom, young Catholic priest, and the well-t0-do guy's friend are end up at the same meeting, where everyone has to have a small piece of their scalp ripped open to prove that there's skull underneath. After everyone passes the test, the well-to-do friend brings the breakdown: turns out that V's have walked among us for years, all in an elaborate plot to bring down humanity. They've cloned human flesh to graft over their reptilian skin and ingratiated themselves in all facets of life - business, military, religion, you get the picture. Then, they've started the mechanisms to bring humans down, causing unnecessary wars, economic breakdown, and religious extremism. If there was any doubt that these guys represent the anti-Semitic/birther/Neo Nazi fringe groups, it's gone. These guys are the crazy ones, but they're going to turn out to be right, which really doesn't send a great message to all the weirdos out there who actually believe this crap about African Americans, Jews, whoever, take your pick of outsiders.

Then, we find out that the person FBI mom has been tracking is actually a V, a part of a terrorist sleeper cell. "A terrorist sleeper cell of V's?" she asks. "A terrorist sleeper cell of V's," the main dude answers. I was right! Huzzah!

Suddenly, a group of people crash into the meeting, wielding terrible scythe things and ripping everyone to shreds. The worst part is that one of them is FBI mom's own partner, and after throwing him off of her, she cuts his skin, revealing lizard flesh!

Well-to-do guy, who's named Ryan, it turns out, comes to the rescue of his friend, showing that he believes in the cause. They run away from the fracas, and Ryan reveals that he's a lizard person, too!! But, guys, it's okay, he's a good lizard person, one who doesn't want to kill humans, a defector from his own people. He promises there are others out there like him, others that will join the human resistance.

At the end, we see FBI mom's son, Tyler, joining the peace ambassadors and becoming embroiled in the culture of the V's, setting the stage for an inter-generational civil war.

Yowza. Well, the critics were right, in my opinion, this really does make a point of slamming the Obama candidacy. Of course, the chance that Obama and his minions are actually lizard people intent on destroying the planet are fairly minimal, in my view. Let's hope so anyway. I think I'll continue to watch, if only to see what other absurd parallels they employ. It's equally likely that they spread it on really thick in the pilot just to draw interest, and it'll be more original in the following episodes. Regardless, the production values are out of this world (get it?) and everything is sleek and beautiful. The scenes on the mothership are painstakingly detailed, and not too computer-y. There was one scene of a small transport vehicle dropping down onto a harbor that was clearly green screened, but other than that, you can tell some serious cash went into the special effects department. And good for ABC, putting some serious value into a big TV event. I just wish it were a bit subtler.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

THe Office - Double Date, or Lessons for the Kids

It's Helene's birthday, so Michael, still oblivious to the fact that he is not helping, organizes a birthday lunch with Pam, Jim, Helene, and himself. After trying to scam her way out of lunch, Pam starts playing psychological games, making her mother less appealing to Michael. Her tactic? Age. Turns out Helene is turning 58 this year. Upon learning this, Michael is sufficiently weirded out, but will it be enough to end the relationship? Pam hopes so.

It starts to look that way, as Michael starts visibly pulling away from Helene, making awkward comments about a generational gap, and trying to keep his birthday gift to her secret. It turns out he made her a scrapbook of their first memories together, and wrote her a poem. But the sentiment isn't ringing quite as true now that he knows she's not really turning 49. The kicker is that the scrapbook/poem combo, as well as her mom's obvious happiness, have finally swayed Pam to the pro-Michael camp.

Meanwhile, back at the office, Dwight and Andy engage in a strange politeness-off. Dwight brought in bagels for breakfast as a favor, so that his coworkers would someday have to repay the favor to him by getting Jim fired (yes, it's a stretch, just accept it). But, Andy, with his constant congeniality, must return the favor to Dwight immediately, so they constantly one up each other with favors, advice, and gifts all afternoon. Eventually, Dwight gives up trying to have everyone owe him, and Andy's niceness prevails, which is a nice lesson for the kids.

During cake, Michael confesses that he wants to break up with Helene, and cites Pam's feelings of disgust as the reason. It's a clever ploy, hiding his real motives with other, equally plausible explanations - a first for Michael Scott. Sadly, it doesn't work, as Pam protests that she's fine with the relationship, and wants her mom to be happy. Then, Michael reveals that Helene is just too old for him, and he has a lot of life still to live, and she can't accompany him on that journey. Ouch.

Back at the office, Michael tries to bribe Pam by offering her a raise. A bribe in exchange for what? It's unclear, but has to do with her having a better attitude. She says she'll take it, then reneges. What she really wants is to hit Michael. In the parking lot. In front of everybody. After work. Looks like school is back in session at Dunder Mifflin!

Hold up - can we talk about Pam for a second? While she's getting increasingly interesting as a character, something I can never fault, she seems to be manifesting only negative emotions and motivations. She hated Michael dating her mother and acted horribly, and now she's reverting to schoolyard rules of engagement to get back at him for breaking up with her? Are the writers consciously doing this to show a shift in Pam as her life changes, or can it be explained away with hormones? Other suggestions. Comments definitely welcome, because I'm having trouble connecting with this new, bitter Pam that's emerging.

ANYWAY, the rest of the afternoon passes with Toby giving Pam punching lessons (oh, how he wishes it were him doing the hitting) and excitement gathering. Michael goes to Jim to try and stop it, and Jim waffles. He doesn't agree with Pam's decision to hit Michael, but there's nothing he can really do to stop her.

Everyone gathers outside, and Pam winds up. Just as she's about to hit him, Michael apologizes for both dating Pam's mom, then dumping her on her birthday. He promises never to date a member of Pam's family again. All is resolved? No, of course, Michael finds a way to ruin the situation, saying, "For the record, she came on to me." Pam whips back around and delivers a hearty slap to Michael's cheek. He cries, but she doesn't feel better. Another lesson for the kids this week: violence doesn't make you feel better.

Wow. So, I guess this storyline is over, but we'll see if Pam continues on her road to anger, or if this was all brought on by the Mom episode. All in all, we received some good life lessons, and that slap was badass.

30 Rock - Audition, or The Vague Metaphor

Finally! Hopes of a new cast member are finally realized with the final decision to add Jayden Michael Tyler to the TGS family! He's funny, kind, and comes with an impressive resume: he lists his references as Martin Scorsese, Christopher Walken, and Gilbert Gottfried. But, to make Jack believe it was his idea to hire him, Liz and Pete selected three "decoy" candidates that Jack is sure to hate, making him choose Jayden.

Predictably, Jenna gets a hold of the audition list and raises hell. Apparently, she did a show with Jayden years ago, and he was terrible to work with. To further complicate matters, Liz agrees to let Dot Com audition (he played Trigorin in The Seagull). Word gets out, and the floodgate is opened, with Frank demanding to audition, and, in an excellent cameo, even NBC News Anchor Brian Williams begs to try out.

Jenna tells Tracy about Dot Com trying out, and Tracy is mortified, knowing that Dot Com is a far superior actor, so they decide to find better, neutral talent to bring in to usurp their nemeses.

Meanwhile, Jack has fallen to the bottom rung of society, a leper that no one will touch. Why? Apparently, there's a terrible bed bug epidemic sweeping New York, and Jack has caught it. He isn't able to attend meetings or use the company car. Not even cabs will take him, so he uses the subway to get to his dermatologist. The final humiliation comes when even Kenneth will not embrace him.

During the audition, we see a strong of unimpressive comedians, then, finally, Jayden makes his big entrance. Turns out his act is actually an impression of, you guessed it, Martin Scorsese, Christopher Walken, and Gilbert Gottfried. The references were fake, and Jayden is actually a sociopath who blackmails Liz into hiring him! And we thought it couldn't get any worse!

But, they don't have to hire Jayden in the end, since Jack chose another auditioner as his favorite. Now, Liz has to employ one of those robot impersonators you always see on the streets, because he was the only person who would shake Jack's bed bug-infested hand. What will he be like? We don't know. Does he speak English? We hope so.

All in all, a frenetic and exciting episode, with lots of ins and outs. But I'm unclear what the bed bug metaphor was all about. Swine flu? It's unclear. It seemed like it was trying to be "about" something, but too vague to really have a clear tie to the real world. Or, it could have just been an absurd little trope that Tina Fey thought up. I don't want to overthink it. The only thing that matters is the greatness of the following line, by Jack: "Human empathy, it's as useless as the Winter Olympics...this February on NBC." Zing! 30 Rock is really sticking it to the parent company this season, but with continuing hilarity, so I guess they're okay with it. I'm glad that Tina and the gang heard my plea to wrap up the "new cast member" storyline, so we can get on to bigger and better things.

Dexter - If I Had A Hammer, or How To Be A Serial Killer

Now that his cycle of killing is complete, we delved more into the personal life of Trinity this week, learning that, in addition to having a wife and teenage children, he is also a teacher and a deacon. All camouflage, to hide his dark secret.

Dexter is working on patching things up with Rita while trying to track down and kill Trinity. Needless to say, it makes it a little tough to fit in those couples' therapy sessions while stalking a vicious serial killer.

Back at Miami PD headquarters, after the arrest of Nicki Wald for the vacation murders, Deb still feels uneasy, since Nicki refuses to confess to her and Lundy's shooting. Well, that's because it wasn't her, but Dexter can't let her know it was Trinity. Angel is also getting ready for his transfer to a desk job, thanks to the fact that LaGuerda spilled the beans about their tryst. I've never really bought the two of them as a couple, if only for clunky lines like this:

LaGuerda: But you hate working behind a desk!

Angel: But I love being with you.


But Dexter finally does make it to couples' therapy, where Rita issues the ultimatum that if Dex can't be totally honest with her, she "[doesn't] want to do this anymore". I assume she means get a divorce? Yeesh, Tina Fey's three year old daughter is a better writer (I want to go to there, anyone?)

At the crime scene of Trinity's latest kill, Dexter discovers a rare bit of evidence that yields two strains of DNA - count 'em, two! One belongs to a cremated body, and the other is saliva. The theory is that Trinity licked his finger, dipped it in ashes (gross!) and stuck it to the wall. A lead! A very probable lead!

Of course, Dexter must stop the efforts of the real law enforcers so he can administer his own brand of justice to Trinity. But, in tracking Trinity, Dexter realizes that the health of his family is more important than killing Trinity, especially since the cycle is over and Trinity won't kill again soon.

Whoa! Breakthrough! Dexter prioritizing his family over the dark passenger! He said that he couldn't picture his life without Rita and the kids, and by neglecting to mention how he could picture his life without killing again, it may mean that his serial killing urge is waning. While this is great for Dexter, I must selfishly consider my own needs: what would this mean for the show? A serial killer that doesn't have to kill? The whole point is that Dexter doesn't want to kill these guys (well, he does, but it's secondary), the whole drama is that he feels incomplete without murder in his life. He just reigns in his impulses by singling out terrible people. Now, he's a family man and killing becomes like fantasy football or Scrabble, a meaningless hobby? I don't know what to think. This is a dangerous road you're walking down, Dexter writers, tread carefully. Because if we don't care about Dexter and his dark impulses, it'll be tough to keep a steady audience.

Meanwhile, Deb continues her obsession with proving Nicki shot her. She goes to Quinn's house and declares that she's had a revelation and remembers seeing Nicki just before she shot her and Lundy. Of course, we know that Deb is framing this woman who's already going away for a long time, in a desperate attempt to gain closure for the horrific act that killed her recently regained love. I'm not really seeing a downside to this arrangement, as another murder probably won't add significantly to Nicki's already hefty prison sentence, and Deb will gain a modicum of peace. Of course, Dexter will still kill Trinity, so the real justice will be served.

On his way out to a charity project that Trinity is running through his church for some recon, Vince makes the revelation that the cremated remains and the saliva show that the two people are related. I knew it! My personal theory is that Trinity's mother, father, and sister were killed in the horrific ways that he now feels compelled to recreate, time and time again. This is also reinforced by Trinity's exclamations during his kills, with things like, "You made me do this", "It's your fault", etc.

Deb goes to the cell where Nicki is being held and roughs her up a bit in the hope that she'll confess to the murders. She doesn't, and says that Deb will be the liar if she says she saw Nicki there that night.

LaGuerda then goes to the higher ups and asks for a transfer. She's thinking press liaison. That way, Angel can stay in homicide and do what he loves. Seems like a perfect fix, except when she tells Angel, LaGuerda admits that she doesn't really want to leave homicide, and now they have to decide which is more important, "our jobs or each other". Gag.

Dexter brings home an array of expensive gifts for Rita and the kids, and while Aster and Cody are pleased, Rita protests that they don't need gifts, they just need Dexter around and to be open. Rita just wants Dexter to talk to her. He tries, but can't. To retaliate, Rita schedules another therapy session.

Deb, after deciding not to be an eyewitness, has been scouring Lundy's personal effects gathered after his death, and realizes that important elements are missing. Research books, audio tapes. So, she deduces that Trinity stole them after killing Lundy, because he was getting too close to finding him. Of course, we know that it was Dexter who took that important information to track down Lundy, but this means that now Deb realizes who Lundy's real killer is, and will no doubt seek traditional forms of justice for him. This will likely get in Dexter's way as he goes about his own way of doing things.

LaGuerda and Angel decide to file paperwork with the higher ups saying that their relationship is over, so neither of them have to leave the department. At first I thought they were faking just to stay in homicide, but it looks like they broke it off.

While cleaning out the last of his apartment, Dexter stumbles onto my hypothesis (see above), and through some Google magic, finds out that, indeed, Trinity's mother, father, and sister all died in the same manners he now ritually performs. Ta da! I knew it!

Eager to find where and how Trinity hides his murderous implements, less out of a need to prove that he did - we all know that already - but more curious as to how Trinity has successfully hidden his secret life from his well-adjusted family. He deliberately cuts himself to be let into the house and gain access to the First Aid kit. While Trinity roots around for it, Dexter makes himself at home. He realizes that the house building charity work Trinity does is an excuse to travel the country and kill without being caught.

Trinity gives Dex some unwitting advice about how to be a good serial killer: let your family in, jump in with both feet. I'm not entirely sure what that means, exactly, but Dexter seems committed. So, he goes to his next therapy session with Rita and fully commits to letting Rita into his life. He admits to being scared that she'll abandon him if he gets too close They have a beautiful moment of understanding, and Rita agrees to give him some personal space, both emotionally and physically, so he can store his murder implements. They build a storage shed, complete with padlock to which on Dexter has the key. It's true love!

At the tail of the episode, Deb reveals that she thinks Trinity killed Lundy and injured her. Ruh-roh! We know what's happened when Deb tries to find serial killers in the past, and it isn't good. Will Dexter be able to shield her from Trinity?

We'll find out!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Mad Men - The Grown Ups, or The Pseudo Finale

Well, something tells me that when Peggy's children as her where she was when JFK was shot, she won't be telling them the whole truth.

But I shouldn't make fun - after weeks of protestation from creator Matthew Weiner that he absolutely would not be dramatizing the assassination of JFK, that fateful day in November finally came to our friends at Sterling Cooper.

I really enjoyed the vignettes of what everyone was doing as the story unfolded. It's amazing to think that news like that wouldn't hit the airwaves immediately, that there would be hours of confirmation before we even knew the president was dead. But it was a different time, and Mad Men really captured the fear and prolonged anxiety of that dreadful day.

My favorite revelation scene: most definitely Margaret and Mona in the bridal dressing room. The entire "I want to cancel the wedding!" tantrum was some over the top dramatic irony, and I doubt I was the only viewer shouting, "YES, cancel the wedding! It will be ruined anyway! Aaah, Margaret, you're so snotty!" Then, the moment with her crumpled in that wedding dress (a dry run, I suppose, since the wedding is the next day?) sobbing, "It's ruined, it's all ruined!" we knew that it wasn't the future of the country she was talking about, but her own wedding.

Betty's reaction was also surprising. Her exclamation to Don as he arrived home, "I just can't stop crying," may be hinting at deeper depression for our leading lady, as I recall her not being the biggest Kennedy fan. Of course, who am I to judge how one reacts to a national tragedy on this scale? I was impressed with Don's parenting, both comforting Gene in the middle of the night, and the surprisingly comforting and firm reassurance to Sally and Bobby. But even cold as ice Don Draper was affected by the events of the day, slipping one of Betty's pills (I assume anti-anxiety of some sort) before hopping into bed.

And then, of course, onto what was supposed to be the main event - Margaret's wedding. After humiliatingly asking his guests to consolidate tables and try both kinds of entrees provided, Roger gave a surprisingly touching toast to his daughter. And who else was at the wedding? Why, our good friend Henry the Rockefeller advisor! Of course. Betty spends the whole time mooning over her lost chance at an affair, while Henry's daughter and Don both take notice.

At the end of the night, Jane is sloppy drunk again, so Roger takes the opportunity to ring up his favorite set of hillsides. They have a strangely pleasant and benign conversation, then hang up. A precursor of things to come?

After watching Lee Harvey Oswald get shot on live TV, Betty decides to track down Henry for some more awkward foreplay. But Betty clearly has a lot to learn from the affair-master, Don Draper. When announcing that she was taking "a drive", Betty had no alibi planned, and had one of the worst lie deliveries of all time. Next time, Bets, just tell him - you'll both feel better.

So, she meets up with Mr. Rockefeller Aide, who promptly declares that he wants to marry her. Betty replies, "I don't know what to say," and seems genuinely flabbergasted and excited by the prospect. Oh, Betty, please, this guy does not want to marry you. It's the oldest trick in the book! He'll wait until you've lost your kids, husband, and house, get in your pants, and then be all like, "Oh, did I say marry? I you want to go on a Staten Island?" He will then assume a preparatory running stance, then disappear in a cloud of dust and a comic "whoosh!" sound effect. Trust me, Bets.

But, apparently, Betty doesn't take my advice, and instead, storms home in a cloud of righteous fury and announces that she doesn't love Don anymore. Nope. Not one bit. The look of sheer terror and confusion on Don's face is priceless as Betty makes her announcement, as if he cannot possibly fathom how he has ruined their marriage. His sheepish entrance into the kitchen the following morning was also telling - he is now an intruder in his own home.

Going into work, we hear the telltale sounds of clacking at the typewriter. As soon as those workaholic little shots rang out, I knew it could be none other than Peggy, the other person as dedicated to their job as Don. But, even she takes a moment out of her day to watch the funeral, while Don drinks alone in his office.

Wow! This episode was so dramatic and emotionally fraught, I forgot that it wasn't the season finale. For real. We have one more left, and how can Weiner and the gang possibly top that? An anticlimactic "Betty moves out" montage? Even if they do falter next week, I'll still be clutching my pearls in anticipation of next season's machinations.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

House - Brave Heart, or The Merits of Autopsies

House took a page out of Tony Jaa's book this week with the opening sequence, a decision with which I heartily agree. The production staff splurged and hired an awesome par cour actor as a fleeing criminal suspect, with two out of shape cops chasing him through a maze of urban amusement for our par cour dude. He vaulted over crates, leapt through windows, and even scaled a wall. The director must have been having a great time covering this, indulging in slow motion shots and even the Ong Bak copyrighted (in my book) rewind shot. For the uninitiated, it's where they show an awesome, gravity-defying move, only to immediately play it again, in slow-motion, from a different angle. Amazing.

Then, one of the cops chasing the criminal, inspired by his physical deftness, decided it would be a great idea to try to jump 10 or 12 feet from one roof to another. Needless to say, he did not make it, and fell 30 feet to the ground. The kicker? He didn't die. Cue House opening credits!

It turns out the cop jumped because he's living life on the edge, with no regard to his own safety. His father and grandfather both died around age 40 from undiagnosed, untraceable heart conditions, and, as his 40th birthday is just around the corner, Mr. Cop has decided that, since he'll be dying soon anyway, he can try fun things like jump from rooftops.

House, of course, dismisses this guy as a possible case, saying that people die of heart conditions all the time, and it's not worth his time. To make matters worse, Cuddy is insisting that House go on rounds to requalify for his medical license. Oh, how terrible! Having to do doctor-y work to become a doctor again!

The team runs a battery of tests on Mr. Cop, and finds nothing to show any heart problems. The next logical step? Why, to exhume the bodies of his forbears, of course! We see a shot of increasingly less-putrified remains, starting with great-grandfather, then grandfather, and finally, a disgustingly decaying father. Really, guys, this was the next logical step? Whatever.

Chase is also having some serious guilt over killing the tyrant president, which is starting to get old. Dude, he killed thousands of people, and was an asshole. Get over it. I'm cure Hippocrates would give you a pass on that one.

At Wilson's apartment, House is getting tired of sleeping on the couch, (and having his masturbation interrupted) so moves into the shrine Wilson has set up for his dead girlfriend, Amber. House spends his first night in there, but is haunted by Amber's image everywhere, and hears strange voices. Considering that House's psychosis manifested itself in visions of Amber during his every waking moment, it probably wasn't the best idea to have him sleep there.

As for Mr. Cop, it turns out he has a son, and the boy's mother is concerned that whatever afflicts Dad will also bother Son later in life. So, little Michael undergoes tests, and the results are nada. But, to get him to submit to testing, he extracts a promise that he'll finally meet his father. Turns out Mr. Cop is an asshole, and tells Michael he never wants to see him or have a relationship, since he's going to die after he turns 40 anyway. Harsh.

Determined to get rid of this non-patient, House tells Mr. Cop he has a nonexistent disorder and to take a week of placebos, then he'll be fine. He then discharges him. House has also been making life hell for Dr. Singh, the head doctor on his rotations, in an effort to get him to sign off that House has completed the requisite number of hours, so he can get his license. Oh, and he still thinks Amber is haunting him, and begins to hear strange whispering.

Then, four hours after being discharged, Mr. Cop collapses and dies. Whoops!

So, they get the body shipped to Princeton-Plainsboro and do an autopsy. Foreman makes the initial incision into the sternum, and then OH GOD, HE'S STILL ALIVE!!!

Turns out his heart just slowed down enough for him to be declared dead, and make it all the way to the autopsy table. They figure it's something auto-immune related, and start him on steroids. He begins complaining about searing jaw pain, and, after he's maxed out on pain medication, staggers to the medical supplies drawer in his room and yanks out a tooth. The team can't find anything wrong with the tooth, and so, are at a loss for another diagnosis. They can't go to House, since he's decided he's not ready to come back to medicine, what with hearing voices and all.

While investigating the source of his returning psychosis, House realizes that the voice he's hearing is actually Wilson, through an adjoining grate in the two rooms, secretly whispering to Amber about the details of his day. We thought it was going to be exciting, or at least scary, but it just turns out it's incredibly sad.

But it means that House can come back! Hooray!

The team finds another diagnosis for Mr. Cop that's conveniently hereditary, and House makes Chase face his fears and go back to the room where both the genocidal president and Mr. Cop both reside. He also counsels Chase to get some help for his guilt, a rare turn of empathy without any perceivable upside for house, other than it will help Chase actually do his job, rather than moping all around the hospital.

Chase goes to confession and the priest tells him that he needs to go to the police. Chase is all like, "Hell no!" then goes and gets wasted. Cameron is mad. Also, the diagnosis for Mr. Cop is wrong. Again. Damnit!

House finally figures out the problem with Mr. Cop after receiving his certification of 120 hours of rounds for Cuddy (it's unclear) and diagnoses that he has some sort of weird self-destruct button that can be disarmed through brain surgery. Both father and son are cured, and the beginnings of a beautiful paternal relationship begin.

At the end of the episode, we see House taking a book from Wilson's page, whispering to his dead father.