This Week on TV, Jan. 17, 2014

Spoiler Alert!

No Gotham, but we had the return of both Castle and Grimm! And more to come this next week! Yay! 😀

Agent Carter

agentcarterlogoThe plot thickens!

We learn why Jarvis is so loyal to Howard Stark, as the latter saved the former and his wife from the noose and the Nazis, respectively. If that isn’t enough to earn the loyalty of an honorable man, then I don’t know what is.

Carter is doing fairly well juggling her job at the SSR and her work trying to clear Stark’s name, but things get very dicey when Jarvis is brought in for questioning. His interrogation goes much more gently than most, but I suspect it’s easier to hold your secrets close when someone is trying to beat them out of you instead of reaching straight into your soul to pry them from your cold, dead fingers before you’re even dead. Pressuring Jarvis with the stain of an unfounded charge of treason, threatening to sully his name, and even to deport him and his wife, whom he so dearly loves… well, those are blows to his soul instead of his face. It’s underhanded, but effective, and more civilized than torture, like a scalpel is more civilized than a club. Either one can be deadly.

Carter had to take a risk and ruin her reputation a bit, but she got Jarvis out before he could start spilling secrets.

And speaking of “deadly,” I like how they make us, the audience, really feel the weight of the violence. They don’t have to show the blood spatter, but they do communicate the horror of stolen life.

Agent Krzeminski was the sort of person I doubt I’d ever get along with. Loud, brutish, not the brightest bulb in the box, selfish, short-sighted, unfaithful to his wife, rude, disrespectful, and more. In many ways, he represented a lot that was, and remains, wrong with our world. But these didn’t mean he deserved to die. He did put his life on the line in service to his country, which speaks to something worth honoring, even in a very flawed man.

To make matters worse, everyone at the SSR, with sole exception of Carter, believes Krzeminski was murdered by Howard Stark, or some professional employed by him. Not good!

Though they were largely adversarial towards each other, Carter finds the news of her colleague’s death hits her harder than she’d have thought it would. Reminded that life ends anytime, and with the need for a friend, she reaches out to her waitress friend, Angie, whom she inadvertently brushed off earlier. As Jarvis said before, no one can carry the world alone. Everyone needs friends.

And being neighbors beneath the hawkish eyes of their landlady, I suspect that friendship will come in handy, what with Carter’s extracurricular activities. Seriously, the word “unforgiving” was invented to describe that old woman. It’s one thing to throw a girl out because she violated the rules she agreed to, but to humiliate her like that in front of everyone is plain cruel.

Castle

vlcsnap-00079Leave it to Castle to take such a huge upset as suddenly barring the star of the show from working with the police anymore, and somehow making it hilarious!

Castle being Castle, which is to say, “wily and wacky,” he immediately goes from being a banished former-consultant to the NYPD to being “Richard Castle, Private Eye.” He completes an online course, but things don’t really go as planned. The idea was to work alongside his wife and their friends again, but becoming a PI does not negate the effects of his exile. So, instead, he and Beckett end up competing with each other as they try to solve this week’s murder. The back-and-forth is adorable as they try to outdo each other, racing towards the finish, not to mention prying information from each other.

Not sure which scene had me more in stitches: trying to talk information out of each other over the phone, encouraged and coached by Ryan, Esposito, and Alexis, or trying to get the other plastered with wine! There’s always a humorous, adversarial element in friendships, and Castle and his loved ones have never hesitated to rib each other in the past. They do love each other, of course, but they can be so merciless in one-upping each other!

Though, due props for the couple, Beckett lets Castle witness the arrest he contributed to. Isn’t she so nice to her hubby? 🙂

And to his credit, though things don’t go as planned, Castle decides to stick with his PI effort for a little while. I can see the appeal: writer by day, PI by night. And Beckett shows her support in the best possible way, by giving him a Sherlock Holmes hat and magnifying glass! Classic!

Grimm

grimm_title_cardAfter that last cliffhanger, I was afraid the Wesenrein were going to go after Rosalee and catch her unawares in her own home. Small favors, and I think Munroe would agree that her not being taken is a good thing. But, oh, to be the one waiting for your friends and the police to find the one you love, knowing that every moment that passes makes it that much less likely that he’ll ever return… that is nothing short of torturous. I do not envy Rosalee. But as foxes are hunters by nature, I may soon be not-envying the people who stand between her and her husband.

Juliette deserves another shout-out, as she is going through something terrifying too, namely finding that she is turning into a hexenbiest. Holy crap, I would be screaming too if my reflection suddenly went rotted like that! But at this moment of tremendous stress and need, she puts Rosalee and Munroe first. She wants, no, she needs to talk to Nick, but he’s looking for Munroe and the Wesenrein, and Rosalee needs a safe place to stay. So Juliette takes her in and says nothing about it, just supports her dear friend. She’s at a breaking point, but she endures. Hopefully she doesn’t need to for very long, but wow. I say again, no wonder Nick’s in love with her!

Oh, Nick… he once said to Renard, “You find this attractive?” when Adalind was all hexenbiest. I think he’s going to find the price of restoring his powers was, indeed, very high.

Speaking of both Nick and breaking points, pretty much everyone’s at that point in this episode. Rosalee wants to go hunt the Wesenrein and take back her husband, Juliette had been dealt a devastating blow (one which, at the very least, has already given her a monstrous nightmare of tearing Rosalee’s throat out), Nick is losing control at the thought of what the Wesenrein will do to Munroe (he very nearly kills their best lead in interrogation), and Wu had an episode of terrified insanity last episode.

Nick and Hank finally give Wu some answers. He needs some time to absorb them, but he’s coming round right. All things (such as the psychological trauma he’s suffered) considered, I’d say he’s handling it with great aplomb. Certainly, he’s not letting it distract him from helping to find Munroe, though he and the rest of the PD were being sucker punched by a traitor in their ranks. Interestingly, Wu was the first one to notice this. Nick and Hank would have in only another moment, but his observational skills really do make me think he’d make for a good detective.

As for Munroe himself, he manages to endure the cruelty of his captors, particularly the “grand master’s” little brother. He’s rightfully afraid, though, as a fellow wesen next to him is dragged away to be executed, and all the man can do is plead with him to give his wedding ring to his wife. That has to be pure, psychological torture. Then there’s Munroe’s escape attempt, which, if he’d just had some better timing, might have worked. The episode ends as he’s brought to stand before the Wesenrein tribunal. (they really like their cliffhangers)

So, our heroes have to save Munroe before he’s murdered for being more decent than the Wesenrein (both loving a fox and befriending a Grimm), and then they have Juliette’s hexen-crisis to deal with, and then they’ll be having Adalind and Viktor lingering in Portland, looking for her child. Ya know, if they manage to keep building up the tension like this, then I’m gonna have a heart attack by the time the season finishes. 😉

A few parting thoughts on the Wesenrein:

I have yet to hear of any body of people doing something that really is as good and holy as they proclaim, yet must also wear masks. Masks are the tools of a coward, but, as the Wesenrein have sent a brick through a window, burnt an effigy on a lawn, and left a dead animal hanging above a door, all in complete, safe anonymity, I’d say their cowardice has been well-proven.

Masks are also lies, and lies we accept and tell ourselves over and over and over. Masks are a means of trying to hide our sins instead of taking responsibility for our actions. Masks are a surrendering of one’s own will to something foreign and monstrous, using the deeds of others to justify our own. Masks are a choice, and one which is utterly distasteful to me, to stifle one’s own humanity.

After all, it’s easier to look in the mirror when that’s not the face your victims saw.

As Munroe says, “Cowards.”

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