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All Rise (2019) s03e09 – Truth Hurts

I want to be more enthusiastic about this episode of “All Rise,” but I don’t trust the show anymore. They’ve resolved Simone Missick’s extra-marital flirtation arc with (not appearing this episode) Sean Blakemore. Again. They promise this time. For sure. This time it’s over. For sure. The resolution arc involves Missick’s husband, Christian Keyes, who hasn’t had this much to do all season. Even though—as Keyes points out—he’s been selfless primary caregiver to their infant […]

Evil (2019) s03e09 – The Demon of Money

For a show about literally Satanic demons and humans cannibalizing each other to serve their dark lords, “Evil” hasn’t had any significant cast deaths. Certainly not any of the leads, none of the supporting regulars; I don’t even think they’ve had a repeat guest star die off. Well, unless you’re killed by one of the show leads. I can think of one character. This episode ends with a supporting character’s death, a relatively big one, […]

The Orville (2017) s03e10 – Future Unknown

“The Orville” has had great episodes and middling episodes this season; there haven’t been any bad episodes, and there haven’t been any just good episodes. It’s entirely fantastic, or it’s relatively bland (for “Orville,” so still well-written, acted, directed, just not a zowee). This season finale—and current series finale—is a wowee zowee; directed by and script credited to creator and top-billed Seth MacFarlane, it does a phenomenal job of wrapping up the season’s outstanding story […]

Evil (2019) s03e08 – The Demon of Parenthood

As the end of season three approaches, “Evil” seemingly does a soft reset and closes off two big outstanding story arcs. The mysterious, demonic fertility clinic–which the gang discovered, I think, in the first season and have been waiting seasons to resolve–might finally be done. And then Li Jun Li’s maybe reincarnated Jesus, a Chinese woman imprisoned in a labor camp. What’s strange about the closures is the show not really getting anything else going […]

All Rise (2019) s03e08 – Lola Through the Looking Glass

I never watched “Ally McBeal,” but is a dream episode something it might have done? I wonder if it was better suited for the diversion than “All Rise.” Though… even when “Rise”’s cast has been wanting in terms of performances, they’ve always been amiable, so having them play various absurd roles in Simone Missick’s dream is entertaining. The episode begins with no resolution to the elevator cliffhanger, where Missick and law school beau Sean Blakemore […]

The Orville (2017) s03e09 – Domino

Once again, I don’t know how “The Orville” gets away with it. A lesser show would be entirely undone by the strange John Debney score. It’s bombastic and enthusiastic but altogether over-the-top. Despite Domino being a not-even-loose remake of Episode VII, ending with a combination Deaths Star and Starkiller Base homage (the latter already being an homage to the former), Debney doesn’t do a Star Wars score. He does a… I don’t know what. And […]

Evil (2019) s03e07 – The Demon of Cults

In addition to “Evil”'s most acute religion observation in the entire series, this episode is also an Aasif Mandvi episode, which gets it all sorts of goodwill. It’s also got a handful of concerning developments, principally Kurt Fuller falling in with Michael Emerson. Fuller decides he’s going to write a book about seeing the demon and goes to ask nun Andrea Martin for help on the subject. Martin tells him to get some Jesus and […]

All Rise (2019) s03e07 – Through the Fire

So, even after going through a whole episode to close off the Sean Blakemore arc—he’s Simone Missick’s law school love, and he’s around again; it’s causing feelings, which are always awkward because Blakemore and Missick haven’t got any chemistry together. Returning guest star Ronak Gandhi does a great job pretending he’s in the middle of a chemistry-soaked scene when it’s ice-cold flirting. It’s nice to have Gandhi back, especially since there’s the inexplicable Blakemore. Blakemore’s […]

The Orville (2017) s03e08 – Midnight Blue

Midnight Blue is less an extended regular episode than a combined two-parter or even an “Orville” TV movie. It’s entirely dependent on previously established subplots and story details—going back to season one of the show—but it’s also completely self-contained. It’s an incredible hour and a half. Jon Cassar directs, contributing his best work on the show so far. He doesn’t have much time left to top it. There’s a great score from Joel McNeely, also […]

Frasier (1993) s07e09 – The Apparent Trap

The Apparent Trap is another episode “Frasier” can only do because it’s been running seven seasons, and there’s lots of back story. Plus, guest star kid Trevor Einhorn has aged enough he can more fully participate in the episode. He’s not quite full supporting, but he’s closer than he’s ever been before. It’s a Lilith (Bebe Neuwirth) episode and a Thanksgiving episode (the second Neuwirth Thanksgiving episode), so there are the traditional John Mahoney can’t […]

Evil (2019) s03e06 – The Demon of Algorithms

It seems like it’s been a while since “Evil” has done a “modern technology will ruin our lives” fear-mongering episode. Or maybe it’s just Algorithms fully integrates “Evil”’s streaming status (f-bombs galore) with the format, making it feel like the epitome of the sub-genre. This episode’s about TikTok and how it ruins everyone’s life. The episode accidentally raises the real concern TikTok’s format could have terrible consequences for someone suffering Munchausen by proxy but someone […]

All Rise (2019) s03e06 – I’ll Be There

“All Rise” has a history of ingloriously dumping unsuccessful subplots—I think Simone Missick running for state senate or whatever in season one warranted in-show commentary they dropped it so fast—but this new one, where Missick’s got the hots for law school ex Sean Blakemore, is something else. Maybe because the show’s on streaming now and has ten episodes instead of twenty, maybe because they didn’t test Blakemore and Missick enough, but it’s a bland disaster. […]

The Orville (2017) s03e07 – From Unknown Graves

I’m not sure if this episode’s the best “Orville” of the season, but it’s definitely the best constructed. The script—credit to David A. Goodman, who’s written “Orville” in previous seasons; this episode’s his first “New Horizons”—is magnificent in every respect. There are four perfectly balanced plots. First, the Orville is on a diplomatic mission to a matriarchal society, so captain Seth MacFarlane and first officer Adrianne Palicki cook up a scheme to appear more palatable […]

Ms. Marvel (2022) s01e06 – No Normal

“Ms. Marvel” wraps up with its inevitable MCU third act finish, with Iman Vellani teaming up with her friends to save Rish Shah from the racist Damage Control agent (Alysia Reiner, who seems strangely unconcerned with the type-casting). Reiner starts the episode explaining it’s not just brown people she doesn’t like; it’s teenage brown people especially. She escalates from trying to take the teens down with non-lethal rounds to just shooting her service pistol at […]

Evil (2019) s03e05 – The Angel of Warning

The sad thing about this episode is Matthew Kregor’s direction is good. The episode starts with Mike Colter getting called to his first emergency crisis intervention; a building collapses, and he’s there to talk to the Catholics. He doesn’t remember his collar; everyone thinks he’s a cop; it’s fairly amusing despite the grim circumstances; it’s probably the best the episode gets. A handful of survivors see an angel. Throughout the episode, Colter and Katja Herbers […]

All Rise (2019) s03e05 – It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over

Last season we got a plot about Wilson Bethel’s relationship with Lindsey Gort getting unsteady as college crush Ryan Michelle Bathe started hanging around. It got very soapy. This season, it’s Simone Missick’s turn. And it again involves Bathe. She’s in L.A. (for the first time this season) with her new beau, Sean Blakemore. Blakemore was Missick’s college love, and he’s giving her feels. Unfortunately, Blakemore’s not particularly charming, and he and Missick don’t have […]

Ms. Marvel (2022) s01e05 – Time and Again

While director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy continues to have action scene problems, the rest of the episode’s direction is so spectacular it doesn’t matter. There are only a couple minutes of superhero action, with the rest being child-missing-in-crowd stuff. Obaid-Chinoy’s perfectly fine with the latter; it’s just the superhero stuff. Last episode left Iman Vellani stranded in the past; the cute boy she likes has an evil mom, Nimra Bucha, who tracked Vellani to Pakistan to force […]

The Boys (2019) s03e08 – The Instant White-Hot Wild

So, before getting started with the episode itself, I just want to say it’s a very good episode, with excellent direction from Sarah Boyd, a great script (credited to David Reed and Logan Ritchey), and fine performances from most of the cast. There aren’t any bad performances. Well, maybe Cameron Crovetti as Antony Starr’s superpowered son, but we won’t know until next season if he’s hitting his limit or if it’s part of the role. […]

The Orville (2017) s03e06 – Twice in a Lifetime

I was expecting a lot more from a time-traveling romance episode written by Seth MacFarlane. “The Orville: New Horizons” seems to be focusing on a character an episode, sometimes a character and a half, but usually a character. There are nine principal cast members. There are ten episodes. They should get to everyone (it’s going to be weird if they don’t, especially since Penny Johnson Jerald got two episodes). For this episode, it’s Scott Grimes’s […]

Evil (2019) s03e04 – The Demon of the Road

“Evil”’s original conceit was a supernatural procedural. Hot priest-to-be Mike Colter, hot-but-appropriately-aged psychiatrist Katja Herbers, and funny and cute tech guy Aasif Mandvi investigate cases and prove they’re either not supernatural, or their solution gets left up in the air, but the danger abates. It’s changed over the seasons, though this episode leans in heavy on the religious people—both Churchy and Demonic—are just more susceptible to hallucination, whether through brain chemistry or mental health conditions. […]

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