This Week on TV, Sept. 26, 2015

Spoiler Alert!

Yay! The new seasons are beginning in force! Castle, Gotham, and Nashville joined Doctor Who this week, and several more are joining the fray this coming week! Ahhhh! The break is finally over! 🙂

And we had quite a few surprises this week, too!

castle titleCastle

“XY”

Normal episode of Castle: murder mystery.

This episode of Castle: we see the murder actually happen, and we see who did it. But, oh, wait, that’s not the murder being investigated. No, something completely different than usual is going on here.

We’re able to piece together that something from Beckett’s CIA days has come back to haunt her. Her old team, including her partner/supervisor, have all been killed off on the same day. The guy we saw die at the beginning was a loose end, unaware of what was happening to his team.

That said, for a CIA agent of any caliber to approach a woman he’s noticed following him, and then let her immediately get close enough to knife him, just reeks of stupidity.

Beckett gets pulled into this by the last survivor of her old team. Though they seem to have never met before, he goes to her for help. My personal theory is that someone inside the agency is corrupt, so Mr. Survivor went outside the system for help, to the only person he could think of whom he might still be able to trust. She probably already saved his life, but the bodies she had to drop in so doing, and the severe injuries Castle and co. are able to deduce she’s sustained, have her friends desperate to find her, to get answers and protect her life. But she really doesn’t want to be found right now, and she’s trying to protect her friends by keeping them in the dark. Which sort of leaves her branch of the NYPD without an actual captain, as it would have been her first day on the job. (she turned down the offer for State Senate, it seems)

It barely works, as Castle is so set on finding her that he follows every possible lead. He makes the acquaintance of an experienced private investigator woman, Hayley Shipton, who is clearly very capable and has some resources at her disposal. They find a black ops stash, collide with the killer woman we saw earlier, who turns out to be a mercenary, Castle goes to talk to former-Senator Bracken, and when he gets kidnapped outside the prison, Hayley provides a vital clue to help Ryan and Espo find him in time.

Castle himself is mostly put through the ringer in this episode. Things were going great, including a sweet and romantic gesture to congratulate his wife at the beginning of the episode, and he goes to office which has been renovated with a sweet little secret room. Then his wife vanishes, she’s keeping secrets, she’s been hurt, and he can’t find her. And all of that is before he experiences the tender ministrations of an expert in forceful interrogation. The moment the villain said they’d try something “more psychological,” that was when I knew Castle was in serious trouble. Being cold and brutal is one thing, but being creative at the same time? Physical pain is expected and can be tolerated. But straight up fear, with all those spiders? That’s outside the box. This is not a man you want for an enemy.

Fortunately for Castle, Beckett arrives in time to save him, and the NYPD arrive soon after, though they still miss her by moments. They manage to take one of his captors, the woman, into custody, but she’s tight-lipped and chooses to go out guns blazing.

Also fortunate for Castle, Alexis is coming into her own as an investigator. She’s been running his office behind his back, and she’s closed more cases than he has. Nothing world-shattering, mind you, as she’s still a beginner and not stupid, but they might as well rename the practice “Castle & Castle.” 🙂 For that matter, Alexis is very much showing how strong she is. Castle is plagued with doubts born of fear for his wife, but Alexis gives him solid ground to stand on, telling him he needs to trust Beckett.

Unfortunately, the episode ends with Beckett’s final surviving pursuer… getting backup, driving up to where she’s hiding, and storming in with at least eight armed and armored people behind him.

gotham-logo-screencapGotham

“Damned if You Do”

Perfect title for this episode.

In the month since the great free-for-all, Falcone has officially retired, Penguin has become lord of Gotham’s underworld, filling his mansion with an assortment of freaks, Selina has signed on with Penguin’s group, Barbara has been sent to Arkham, Nygma has gone crazy enough that he should be sent to Arkham, Bullock is out of the force and working in a bar, and Gordon has been demoted to traffic cop. Oh, and Bruce and Alfred have been banging their heads against a thick, strong metal door with an electronic lock, which they found in the secret passageway, and which bars their progress in discovering the secrets of the deceased Thomas Wayne.

Gordon does a spectacular job taking down a lunatic with a hostage, so Loeb expels him from the force before he can receive a commendation. Leigh is very supportive, of course, but Gordon just can’t give up the fight. He goes to Penguin for help, and, this is where he’s damned, Penguin will see Loeb cast out and Gordon brought back in… if Gordon will just collect a debt that was owed to Falcone.

The debtor in question is certain that Penguin will be out by the end of the year. So, be Penguin’s errand boy and sully his honor.

While it is generally wiser to pay up anyway, rather than risk the wrath of someone who may or may not be out of the picture soon enough, it is absolute idiocy to look at Penguin’s resume and not err on the side of caution. I mean, he went from holding Fish’s umbrella, to being dead, to being alive again, to being Maroni’s right hand man, to being Falcone’s right hand man, to being the self-proclaimed King of Gotham (who can have people executed quickly in front of a room filled with people) while Falcone is retired and Fish and Maroni are both dead. That’s someone to be wary of, and stay on their good side.

But the debtor refuses, and Gordon resorts to force to take the money, resulting in an adrenaline-fueled chase, ending in the debtor’s death. So now Gordon has a literal skeleton in the proverbial closet, and Penguin can hold that over his head forever.

Like Bullock once said, “There’s still that one bad thing you did.”

The real tragedy is that Gordon refused at first, and Bullock and Leigh both supported him fully. But then he went to visit Bruce Wayne, to apologize for being unable to keep his promise, and Bruce answered with some unforgiving sentiments. That’s a slippery slope Bruce just went on, and pushed Gordon in front of him. It does not inspire confidence in the boy that he reacted in a crazy fashion, reminding me of Arkham, and then resorted to bombing the steel door. Bruce found a letter from his father, where he learned the pass code was “Bruce” (duh!), his father had become a better man for the sake of his son, and Thomas Wayne felt the shadow of death coming for him. There are truths in this hidden room, but Thomas warns his son, he cannot have both the truth and happiness, and begs him to choose happiness… unless he feels “a calling.” We all know what Bruce will choose.

So, Bruce goes crazy for a bit, and comes out of it with the knowledge his father left behind for him. While Gordon dirties his hands and has Penguin right there to hold it over him forever. He gets what he wants, as Penguin and Zasz visit Loeb, kill his guards, and convince him to either resign as commissioner (Essen gets the job) and reinstate Gordon… or die. Bodies are starting to pile up in Gordon’s name, and that is never good.

Meanwhile, a shadowy figure, who turns out to have a nice public facade, was using the loony Gordon dealt with at the beginning of the episode to break into Arkham and take half a dozen of the inmates. These inmates include Barbara, who is right at home, and her new friends, including Jerome. Barbara was able to get her hands on a phone to harass Leigh and Gordon, but she was safely behind secure walls until the breakout. Which, as it happens, involves a familiar woman, the same who once invaded Wayne Manor to try and kill Selina, and who kicked Gordon’s butt in a fight. It’s a pretty safe bet, these people are related to the murder of Bruce’s parents.

And just like that, all the disparate threads of last season are brought together… and off we go into a new season of dangerous mysteries!

nashville-headerNashville

“Can’t Let Go”

Like Gotham, we have a “one month later” skip, and they did a pretty good job psyching me out that it might have been Deacon who died, but, fortunately, everyone’s still alive. Granted, in Beverly’s case, she’s been unconscious in a hospital bed the entire time, but as she had an aneurism because she didn’t tell the doctors she was on medication for menopause, I’d say any chance for survival leaves her getting off lightly for that blunder. She has a real habit of bringing ruin down on herself, doesn’t she?

And speaking of which, Juliette is “on top of the world” with her hit new single and a new album coming out and the premier of that movie she’s in and so on and so forth. But she ain’t happy, not one bit. She has fame, fortune, and so-called “friends” all around her, but she doesn’t have her husband or her daughter. She’s putting on a good show, but that show is all her life is now. She collapses and, for just a moment, reaches out to her old, dear friend, Rayna, who promptly flies to LA just to help her. But Juliette is ignoring Avery as he reaches out, and she practically spits venom on Rayna.

I notice: the worse things that Juliette does, the more she hurts herself afterward. I think, maybe, she believes she’s done something unforgivable, so she’s bent on punishing herself worse than ever before, and still trying to hold herself together, at least in public, while doing so. I could be wrong.

Avery, meanwhile, has a tough decision to make. He’s been living with his parents for the last month, trying to decide what to do. He has the option, as his parents love him, to stay with them until he’s on his feet, to raise Cadence with them in Ohio, and to cut ties with Juliette, aka, a divorce. But he does some soul-searching, and decides that he wants his daughter to know her father didn’t just give up on his dreams and his marriage. So they’re on the way back to Nashville, moving in with Gunnar and Will. And what drama that will be, these three guys and a baby.

Will is trying to find his place in the world, now that he’s publicly gay. People stare at him, a girl he slept with is angry with him, and he doesn’t like the gay bar scene. In short, he needs to redefine his comfort zone, and that is easier said than done. It’s straining his relationship with Kevin, who has, as Gunnar notes, been very patient with Will, who’s pretty much been in hiding since he came out as gay.

As for Gunnar, he still wants Scarlett, and when they’re making music together, the chemistry skyrockets and they kiss passionately. Cheating is seriously not cool, and Scarlett knows it. So she’s been trying to distance herself from Gunnar, but I have a feeling that, sooner or later, something’s gotta give. If she doesn’t like the sort of person she becomes when she’s around Gunnar, then the smart thing to do is to sever ties with him completely. But she’s not doing that, either. She’s trying to have the best of both worlds, to be with Gunnar but not be with Gunnar. It’s a recipe for disaster, especially if Gunnar doesn’t give it up, soon.

Granted, I’m not really a fan of Scarlett and Caleb together, as it still seems a bit like she’s with him explicitly to not be with Gunnar, but she is with him, and living with him, and being given jewelry by him. There is something to be said for loyalty. Even if she and Caleb break up, I don’t think she should choose Gunnar, if only because he’s putting the moves on her while she has another boyfriend, then trying to argue that the passion she feels when they kiss actually justifies leaving said boyfriend.

So, Gunnar is still trying to pursue a woman who doesn’t want to want him, Will is having an identity crisis, and Avery crashes in with baby Cadence and hopes to pursue his music and his wife again. Yeah, that won’t get complicated at all!

Moving back to Rayna’s family, Daphne is not handling her father’s imprisonment very well, absolutely certain that Teddy is innocent, and she’s clearly resenting Deacon for moving in on her family when her real dad is in jail. Maddie is doing better, but not even reading Teddy’s letters to her anymore. She, at least, has both Rayna and Deacon to lean on. Deacon, meanwhile, is pretty much living in Beverly’s hospital room, and he’s the one who notices as she begins coming back towards consciousness. All Deacon is hoping for is the chance to mend their relationship at long last.

As for Rayna, she’s as smart and selfless as ever, but she’s dealt a few blows in this episode. She goes to help Juliette, who refuses to be helped, and even swallows some of Juliette’s poison. She looks herself up on the internet, which is always a mistake, and finds that people think her label is a vanity project, and, in truth, she hasn’t done so well with it. One of her first stars, Scarlett, had a meltdown that people are not forgetting, then she invested a ton in Sadie Stone only for her to leave town after killing her ex-husband, now she’s lost time and effort on Juliette, only for her to jump ship and sign on with Luke and Jeff the Scumbag, and Layla has thus far gone nowhere except with Juliette, who does not want her, to gain some press attention. Her dream just might be about to collapse in on itself.

And Rayna doesn’t even know that Teddy went to prison because he believes Tammy invested ill-gotten funds to start up Highway 65.

Luke gets a little wake up call when Rayna visits Juliette. It’s surprising he hasn’t noticed Juliette’s implosion, but, then again, he always was one to lose his life in work and catering to the media. He tries, but, really, the first thing he did after Rayna left him should have been to talk with his kids. Perhaps it’s not so surprising after all, that he didn’t notice Juliette’s complete distance from her husband and daughter.

Finally, we don’t see Jeff in this episode, but he has a guy, Patrick, managing Juliette and Layla, and the two stars collide yet again. Layla seems to really believe Jeff loves her, which I highly doubt. The man’s displayed typical abusive-boyfriend behavior, including displays of magnanimous gestures and sweet words while he screws her over. Jeff may be an effective agent, but he is a despicable human being, and Layla’s going to get her heart broken over and over so long as she’s with him.

A note about this Patrick fellow… he seems to be exactly of Jeff’s ilk, only he might be even better at their underhanded methods, which is cause for concern.

Doctor-Who-logoDoctor Who

“The Witch’s Familiar”

So, I was right about Missy’s little teleporting trick, and apparently that’s how she managed to survive getting killed in last season’s finale. She and Clara are, of course, perfectly alive and well, as much as “well” can apply to an ingenious homicidal maniac and the human girl who’s stuck with her. They’re outside the Dalek city, but sneak in through the sewers, which are the remains of generations upon generations of rotting Daleks. Creepy and disgusting. Then they lured a Dalek down there and tricked the rotting Daleks into killing it. Then Missy put Clara in the vacated shell, and pretended to be a prisoner.

Small detail: Clara’s words kept getting mixed up with Dalek vocabulary, which blared to me, a little too late, that this was Missy’s scheme designed to trick the Doctor into killing Clara himself. But we’ll get to that in a moment.

The Doctor and Davros have a merry dance of schemes and counter-schemes. Speaking of, the interactions between these two pivotal figures, old and fading, at their lowest and highest points, was pure genius. There is the usual potent mixture of intensity, hilarity, and emotion as Davros strives with all his might to play to the Doctor’s compassion. It seems – of course it seems – to work, as the Doctor shares just a bit of his Time Lord regeneration energies with Davros, and Davros, with the assistance of Colony-whatsis, steals it away, spreading it out among his surviving creations. But the Doctor knew about that, and knew that the old, rotting Daleks in the sewers would rise up to digest the living.

Clever, poetic, and harsh at the same time! Though considering the Daleks are the ultimate genocidal freaks of the universe, I am not too concerned about the “harsh” part.

Oh, side-note, it was just a fantastic little detail they did, showing all sorts of Daleks from throughout the entire history of the show. 🙂

Still, surviving his own scheme hinged on Missy’s interference with the procedure. That was some very good timing on her part, and the two Time Lords ran off, leaving Davros and the Daleks to their own rot.

But Missy she rescued the Doctor only to push him into her own trap. It very nearly worked, too. Except, somewhere in Clara’s pleading interactions in with the Dalek lexicon, the word “Mercy” managed to come out. Which surprised the Doctor enough for him to become suspicious and guess what was happening. He saw through Missy’s deception and just told her to run, before his temper got the better of him, while he took Clara with him.

And where’d they go? Back to where the Tardis was. It dispersed itself in response to the Dalek’s attack, but it reassembled around the two friends with just a wave of his… sunglasses? That’s a new one. I prefer the sonic screwdriver to sonic sunglasses, thank you very much, but it certainly proved useful! So, Clara and the Doctor got front row seats to watch the city of the Daleks be swallowed by its own sewers!

But then Missy was surrounded by Daleks… and got a clever idea. Yeah, we’re probably seeing her again sometime, and probably in association with the Daleks. Now that is a terrifying alliance to contemplate.

Yet, there seems to have been a prophecy on Galifrey of some sort of hybrid creature, something from both the Time Lords and the Daleks joined together, more powerful than either. I’m guessing that’s our next “big bad” for the Doctor to face. Could the Master be a part of this?

Finally, we see the Doctor’s final answer to the question. He abandoned Davros once. But then he heard the word “mercy” coming out of one. We, the audience, have heard that before, but the Doctor wasn’t there to hear it. Now he does, and he knows the significance. The Daleks are only what Davros is, and ever was. So for them to have even the concept of mercy anywhere within them, so must Davros. And so, he goes back, and shows mercy to Davros, saving him, and planting the seed that bloomed, so much later, in the salvation of Clara Oswald.

His answer: he’s not sure it matters, being friends, or enemies, so long as there is mercy, always mercy.

So the child would grow to be filled with spite, leave a staggering body count and countless worlds burned in his wake. So what? Mercy should remain nonetheless.

That is his final answer.

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