Shades of Blue: Sap Hits Rock Bottom, Woz Helps (Recap/Review)

To paraphrase from Bad Boys II, in Shades of Blue: Fall of Man, “Sh*t just got real…” Woz, who decided last week that Sap was the rat, goes after his suspected mole to question him.

Shades of Blue - Season 1

To paraphrase from Bad Boys II, in Shades of Blue: Fall of Man, “Sh*t just got real…”  Woz, who decided last week that Sap was the rat, goes after his suspected mole to question him. Harlee calls Stahl to intercede, the FBI agent opts to arrest Saperstein to protect him from Wozniak.

Stahl: “Lieutenant Wozniak thinks you’re working with us. He was on his way to question you. And by question you, we mean shoot you in the head.”

This week it all breaks loose, Harlee goes to question the suspect for her ex’s murder, Frank Kovach, who slaps her with a pistol, Loman is identified as the shooter officially, Saperstein is arrested by the FBI and when he escapes custody has a federal warrant put out on him and Woz crosses the line and kills the murder suspect and tries to kill Sap.

On top of all the other excitement, Tess confronts her husband about the barmaid and Cristina learns about Miguel Zepeda as well as his domestic abuse of her mother.

Everything begins to spiral out of control when Harlee goes to question Kovach after speaking with Miguel in prison.

Her ex convinces her that the recently released convict murdered the teenage girl he was convicted of killing. Woz tells Santos to leave it alone since he and Harlee set Zepeda up for the fall to keep him away from her and Cristina.

Her boss also tells her that he is going to question Saperstein, whom he believes is the mole. Disturbingly, as Woz packs a bag before setting out to collect Stuart, he includes zip-ties…

Harlee bumps into Sap on her way out of the squad room and asks him to accompany her to Kovach’s house.  As Santos goes to question Frank, Woz calls Sap and asks where he is. Getting the address, he tells the suspected mole to stay put.

After Santos gets struck across the temple with Kovach’s gun, an act that allows the ex-con  to escape, she learns that Woz is on his way. Harlee calls Stahl to intervene.

Tess confronts Joe and he admits, eventually, the affair with the bartender. He explains that it was a “mid-life crisis” and the two reconcile. Back at the precinct, Loman discovers a row of bullets on his desk, thinking he is being “hazed” he speaks to Tufo and Espada about it.

The two detectives explain that the news has linked him to the drug dealer shooting and the bullets are a sign of solidarity from his colleagues at the precinct. The three learn of Kovach’s assault against Harlee and give her the file with the con’s ex-wife’s address and they go to question the man’s new girlfriend.

The FBI handler tries to call his bosses to get permission to step in to save Sap and cannot connect. Agent Chen urges him to act immediately.

“Easier to ask forgiveness. We’ll get him out the back.”

After telling Harlee to leave the location, Stahl and Chen then move in to  arrest Sap on a number of charges just as Woz shows up, gun in hand to grab his mole. Stuart talks the two federal agents into stopping by his home so he can tell his mother about going to a safe house before testifying.

Shades of Blue - Season 1
Espada placating Loman after “bending the rules” with Tiffany.

Espada and Loman talk to Tiffany and set things in motion to catch Frank. The con’s fiancee looks as charming as he is, and Espada gets told off by Loman for bending the rules.  Woz catches up with Harlee at Kovach’s ex-wife’s address and as he is telling her off for getting involved they find the Frank’s ex tied up. The beaten and captive woman then explains that Kovach is kidnapping their son.

Loman tries to explain to the family before they learn from the newspapers but misses his chance. Tufo, Espada and Loman head to the school to stop Kovach and the escaping kidnapper  hits Carlos with his truck as he is leaving with his son Brian.

At the Saperstein house,  Stuart tells his mother that he has to go away while Harlee stops Cristina from visiting Miguel and tells the prison officer at visits that the girl is barred from visiting Zepeda.

Sap tells the two feds that his mother is having palpitations and uses this as a chance to escape. Tufo offers Kovach a chance to bring the boy back, with an offer of money and a car. Loman learns that the news of his shooting has already reached the family he befriended.

Stahl tells Chen to “light up” Saperstein with a federal warrant and Santos tells Cristina the truth about Zepeda. Tess talks to Sap and after he warns her not to use her personal phone, she learns about the federal warrant.

Kovach turns up at his fiancee’s site with his son Brian to make the trade. Tess tells Harlee about Sap and the two head out. Santos tries to keep Sap away from Woz by leaving a message on his phone as Wozniak arrives at the construction site to facilitate the trade.

Woz meets with Frank and the two make the trade, although Kovach reneges at the last minute and pulls a gun from his son’s backpack. He points the gun on Woz and Sap comes up from behind the man but puts his weapon down. Harlee and Tess arrive, siren blazing and Kovach gets distracted. Sap attacks the man and Brian escapes.

Shades of Blue - Season 1
Harlee looks up to the floor where Woz and Kovach are negotiating.

Sap head-butts the kidnapper  while Woz watches without helping to subdue Kovach. After Saperstein overpowers  the con, he attempts to explain to his boss what is happening.

Sap: “I had no choice, Woz.”

Woz: (rushing forward and pushing Sap over the rail) “Neither do I.”

Woz then pick’s up Sap’s gun and shoots Kovach in the head and the dead man topples over the same railing that Woz pushed Sap over. The man’s body lands next to Sap as Tufo rushes up and Harlee arrives on the floor where Woz is. Tufo yells out that Stuart Saperstein is still breathing.

Wozniak lies to Harlee and says that Sap shot Kovach and they both fell over the edge of the railing.

Previews of the next episode make things look even more out-of-control with more lies and more murder set to take place.

This episode of Shades of Blue was top notch. Everything rushed to a dramatic and tragic climax, that sets up the next episode brilliantly.

Kudos to the stunt coordinators of this installment for Saperstein’s fall off the building;  truly a genuine heart-stopping moment that stole the show.

Jennifer Lopez is selling it as the plate spinning cop caught in the middle and Ray Liotta is killing it as the man desperately trying to keep control of his little band of crooked cops.  Apart from the “rat” storyline, it will be interesting to see just how long Tess and her husband stay “made up.” Just as it remains to be seen how Loman will handle this latest setback.

Shades of Blue airs Thursdays on NBC.  This procedural crime drama has gotten past its earlier issues of continuity and plausibility and is well worth a look.

Shadowhunters: Raising Hell – Infection (Review)

After retrieving Simon from the Hotel Dumort vampire enclave last week in Shadowhunters, Raising Hell sees Clary getting closer to Jace and further away from her best friend who is now suffering from a Camille infection.

HARRY SHUM JR.

After retrieving Simon from the vampire enclave last week in Shadowhunters, this week Raising Hell sees Clary getting closer to Jace and further away from her best friend who is now suffering from a Camille infection. The vampire leader offered up vampire blood to Simon while he was a hostage and Clary’s BFF is not himself.

Infected or not, Simon offers up the first real lead that Fray has gotten; Magnus Bane.  After this transfer of information, Lewis bolts from the safety of the Shadowhunter lair. The first real gulf appears between the two and after Clary reveals that she belongs with the Shadowhunters, Simon leaves.

In order to find Magnus, who wiped Clary’s memory, Isabelle suggests throwing a Downworld rave.  The lure works and the warlock teams up with Fray and her group of protectors.  Bane falls instantly for Alec who, it seems, only has eyes for his parrabati Jace.

Valentine continues his search for both Magnus and Clary while Luke Garroway also searches for the girl. Each  are looking for the Mortal Cup.  Valentine is still based at Chernobyl and Luke is still at the precinct, but only just.

ALAN VAN SPRANG
Alan Van Spang as Valentine.

As the episode progresses, Clary learns that Magnus gave her childhood memory to a memory demon and Valentine tracks Bane down and begins killing warlocks.  Simon starts having strange urges and sees visions of Camille and blood. He also gets told off by his mother and Maureen tells Simon how she feels.

“I’d like to date you.”

This confessional moment, which doubles as a request, becomes more than a little awkward as Simon “zones” out. Upset at this lack of response Maureen leaves.

Clary finds out that Dot is dead after meeting Magnus. He explains that Valentine killed her and offers to protect Fray. She refuses just as an assassin sent by Valentine strikes and misses when Alec saves Bane. Magnus is smitten by Isabelle’s brother but leaves as Clary grabs a button off his outfit.

Jace and Alec track Magnus down, after Jace argues again with his parrabati about Clary. As the Shadowhunters arrive at the Warlock lair, Valentine’s minions are killing everyone. Fray saves a warlock child and Magnus helps to summon the memory demon.

The Shadowhunters take position around the pentagram that Clary draws to summon the demon and as it appears, each one must give up a memory of the one they love most. Despite being warned not to break contact, when Alec’s memory turns out to be of Jace, he reacts badly and lets go of Jace’s hand.

The demon begins killing Jace and Clary jumps in to kill the demon. This act also destroys Clary’s  memories that Magnus stored in the creature. Simon spends a lot of time trying to contact his friend to apologize. Later, when Clary attempt to call him, Simon ignores the call. He is on his way back to Camille.

The revelation at the demon summoning, or “hell raising,” that Alec loves Jace explains all that animosity towards Clary…he is jealous.  The male Lightwood is also apparently in denial about his true feelings and nature.

Clary now must live with losing any chance of reclaiming the memories her mother asked Magnus to take but she and Jace are even closer than before.

EMERAUDE TOUBIA
Emeraude Toubia, the sexiest Shadowhunter

Thus far in Shadowhunters Isabelle,  as played by Emeraude Toubia,  is the sexiest and most sensual character hands down.  Her character is a fashionista as well and she makes this Lightwood sister captivating,  full stop.

Harry Shum Jr. plays Magnus with a fey self awareness that makes his character interesting and vulnerable.  Bane is world weary in some areas, offering sage advice to Alec after the  Jace demon revelation  that “it’s nothing to be ashamed of,” yet is still able to be swept off his feet by the male Lightwood like a giddy teenager. 

Alberto Rosende has stepped fully into vampire infection territory as his character heads unsteadily back to Camille. Dominic Sherwood convinces as the Shadowhunter who thinks “outside the box” and the guy who is steadily falling for Clary Fray.  

Alan Van Sprang gives Valentine a most impressive air of menace and danger while also conveying a sort of faded sophistication. Matthew Daddario does a good job of being the jealous parrabati who may, or may not, love Jace.

Katherine McNamara has her work cut out for her as Clary.  The young actress has to vacillate between desperation, wonder, disbelief and heroic gestures.  Not surprisingly, as it is early days yet, McNamara struggles with some nuances but never fails to keep her character interesting and earnestly vital.

MATTHEW DADDARIO, KATHERINE MCNAMARA, DOMINIC SHERWOOD
Clary and Jace being watched by Alec.

Part of the problem may be with the dialogue as written but that will obviously improve as the season moves along. Certainly with a script that includes a topical gag of David Guetta being a Downworlder…

Shadowhunters ended last week with Jace learning that he had a supporter in the vampire camp. This world is in upheaval as all search for the Mortal Cup and things should only get more interesting.

This series airs Tuesdays on ABC Freeform and one does not have to be a fan of the YA franchise by Cassandra Clare to enjoy the show.  Tune in and let the camerawork, music and editing carry along the storyline of Clary Fray in her quest to free her mother and to defeat Valentine.

Agent Carter: Smoke & Mirrors – An Intense Cold (Review)

Agent Carter continues to walk that fine line between humor and some fairly intense characters. In Smoke & Mirrors Peggy Carter shows she can bluff, using “an intense cold” injection to break an unbreakable source.

HAYLEY ATWELL
Peggy Carter at that defining moment.

Agent Carter continues to walk that fine line between humor and some fairly intense moments. In Smoke & Mirrors Peggy Carter shows she can bluff, using “an intense cold” injection to break an unbreakable source. Jason Wilkes proves he is still top in his field, despite his weird distraction and Jarvis is willing but not always able.

This episode provides a double backstory element where the viewer learns of the humble (Whitney Frost), and not so humble (Peggy Carter), beginnings of the two main female characters.  The dual flashbacks for each character, that visit both Whitney, nee’ Agnes, and Peg at significant junctures of their lives explains much about each woman.

Whitney comes from the wrong side of the tracks, American tracks, and her mother sleeps with the landlord to keep a roof over her and Agnes’ head.  In England, Peg and her brother Michael play in the garden of a house that could belong to landed gentry.

Each memory shows how similar the two women are in temperament and attitude while their backgrounds are wildly dissimilar. Whitney (Agnes), is like Carter; intelligent and full of drive. The main difference is that Peggy’s life is shaped by war and tragedy while the young Whitney’s world is shaped by poverty and a mother who stresses that the world does not care how smart a woman is.

This focus on the build up of both character’s  past storyline, which has shaped them into the individuals they are today, seems to indicate that they will face one another.  It is interesting to note that the future Madam Masque was always more internalized than Carter. Not self-centered so much as just introspective and motivated more by her own needs.

Peggy on the other hand was set to live a life dictated by her soon-to-be husband, despite her brother Michael’s attempt to move his sister on a path more suited to her abilities and desires. It is his, her brother’s, death that motivates Peggy to stop the lie and take those first steps to becoming “Agent Carter.”

 KURTWOOD SMITH, HAYLEY ATWELL
KURTWOOD SMITH, HAYLEY ATWELL

Backstories aside, the episode also revealed just how influential the “Council of Nine” really is and that Vernon Masters (Kurtwood Smith) has been perfectly placed to play for the other side.  Whitney shows that coldblooded may be too tame a term for her pursuit of power and that SSR has a leak.

In Agent Carter, the cold war is ramping up, and Masters references the Hollywood 10 and makes a very unveiled threat toward “foreigner” Carter. (This appears to be the main thought process of the villains, later when Chadwick learns that Peggy kidnapped his lackey Hunt, he threatens deportation.)

Jarvis (James D’Arcy) and Hayley Atwell make a brilliant double act and their chemistry is spot on. D’Arcy is adept at comedy and his delivery is both perfectly timed and expertly performed.  As Carter’s “sidekick” Jarvis manages to be all manner of things to Peggy,  not least of which is being ready to take on all threats to his colleague. 

The fires of romance still smolder between Carter and Wilkes (Reggie Austin) as the scientist struggles to fix his “problem.” 

Whitney continues to do her own research, bringing in a cage of white rats to see if she can replicate making her director disappear. After one, inadvertent, success, the neophyte super villain goes on to do the same to the overconfident stool pigeon Mr. Hunt.

By the end of the episode, there are two memorable moments revealed via flashback. Peggy’s decision to enter the war as a field agent and pre-Whitney Agnes learning that in Hollywood one can be whatever they want.

 PRODUCTION SETS AND PROPS
Significant shot of Peggy Carter’s backstory…

Agent Carter also maintains that level of amusing moments, relying upon the atypical English delivery from Peggy, that makes this Marvel offering so much fun.

Example: As Carter and Chief Sousa (Enver Gjokaj) interrogate Rufus Hunt (Chris Browning) and Peggy gives him an injection she claims contains a deadly strain of malaria. Sousa questions her about this and Carter reveals that Howard Stark developed a cold injection. 

Sousa: “You gave him a cold?”

Carter: “An intense cold.”

It is brilliant to see Kurtwood Smith doing what he does best; portraying an absolute stinker of a baddy. In Smoke & Mirrors, Resurrection actress Samaire Armstrong  plays Agnes Cully’s mother Wilma opposite prolific character actor Chris Mulkey in Whitney’s flashback sequences.

Wynn Everett is disturbing as Whitney and she manages walk the fine line between delighted discovery (of her new power) and an underlying fear of this new ability.  Yorkshire actor Max Brown plays Peggy Carter’s older brother Michael with quiet conviction, in the limited time allotted his cameo appearance and Olivia Welch is spent on as the teenage Whitney/Agnes.

Agent Carter airs Tuesdays on ABC for 10 episodes. With six left in the second season, wise Marvel fans will opt to tune in “on the day.”

Shades of Blue: Episode 104 – Loman’s Folly (Recap/Review)

In Shades of Blue things are moving on at a rapid pace as episode 104; Who Is It That Can Tell Me Who I Am.

 Shades Of Blue - Season 1

In Shades of Blue things are moving on at a rapid pace in episode 104; Who Is It That Can Tell Me Who I Am. While Harlee tries to sit on the fence and not give up Woz as she attempts to keep Stahl appeased, Loman proves he has not learned anything after his colleagues stage an intervention and his folly may get him killed.

A number of things are revealed in this episode.  Woz is apparently in over his head with Donny, who is keeping a lot of things secret from his lover.  Wozniak  is also promiscuous when stressed and after a quickie in the alley, wrecks his car and gets injured severely enough to be put in hospital.

After Harlee leaves James’ apartment and returns Stahl’s wire,  she comes across a robbery taking place and once she calls for backup,  intervenes. The shop owner is stabbed and the two robbers escape.

Loman goes to the funeral service of the drug dealer he killed and starts to speak to the mourners. His fellow officers drag him away from the podium and their actions almost start a riot.  The neighborhood becomes violent and the police barely get Loman out, although not before being attacked.

Michael’s colleagues take him to a vacant lot and hand him a gun, telling him to shoot himself if he is really  suicidal. (Earlier, Loman tried to throw his service weapon in the river and it fell short. Police came by as he stood on the railing, they brought him in thinking he was attempting to kill himself.) Loman fights and his fellow cops think he has learned his lesson.

Woz sends Harlee to collect that van needed for Donny’s big job, the one he was hesitant to included Santos in, and she discovers C4 and counting machines hidden in a false floor.  Harlee then calls Stahl but hides the incriminating evidence before he and his assistant Molly  (Annie Chang) arrive.

The two robbers, one of whom stabbed the shop’s owner, are tracked down and Harlee  shows that she still bends the rules wherever possible. The second suspect, who abuses his spouse is at home is given up by the one robber in custody. (an amusing scene where Tess comes in as bad cop)  Bernard, the man who stabbed the shopkeeper is protected by his  battered wife who will not let the police in. As they begin to leave, Loman and Harlee can hear him beating on the woman.

Loman is upset and Santos tells him that they can go in if he heard the woman cry for help.  Michael says that he did hear her and the two enter the apartment.

After tricking Stahl, Harlee gives Woz the C4 and cash counting machines. Much later the FBI agent finds them in Matt’s lock-up.

After the hospital visit from Harlee, where Wozniak learns of the C4, he punches Donny and demands to know what is going on and what his partner in crime is not telling him.

Shades Of Blue - Season 1
Harlee visits Woz and tells him about the C4

Ray Liotta delivers in this episode as the cop with many layers. A married man who is secretly gay, a crooked cop and a man consumed with his daughter’s suicide, so much so that he has built a shrine to her in his lock-up. Liotta’s Wozniak is a man of many secrets and issues.

Warren Kole keeps Stahl in the role of unlikeable and stalker-ish douche.  Molly, who is the bipartisan observer to her boss’ behavior, learns that Agent Stahl is focussed completely on himself and his goals on the case. 

Dayo Okeniyi  is consistent with his portrayal of the guilt ridden cop who feels pressure to be a good guy while trying to cope with his murder of an unarmed suspect.  At the end to the episode, his character shows up once more where he has no business being.

Jennifer Lopez still manages to look that bit too glamorous to be a homicide cop, but she pulls it off with a committed performance. As Harlee Santos she convinces as the woman and mother desperate to not rat on her friend and protector Woz while trying to keep Stahl at bay.

Shades of Blue, episode 104 continues to keep up the tension. Santos is still fighting her handler every step of the way and Stahl  is beginning to look more  like the stalker that Harlee accuses him of being.  Nava and Santos take a step back after their amorous evening  while Nazario and Espada get too close.

Sidenote: The reason that Woz wrecks his car is because of a stray dog that he first sees while receiving oral sex in the alley behind a bar. As he drives off, Woz spots the dog again and become distracted. Later in the show, as Loman gets his hand treated and Harlee and Nava talk, Woz brings the dog a scrap of food.  It seemed that, for one moment at least, the crooked cop was going to poison the dog, but it seems that Woz is not as bad as Stahl believes him to be. Although it was surprising that there was not a shot of a dead stray at the end of the show.

Shades of Blue airs Thursdays on NBC.  The show seems to have found its feet and, in this episode at least,   creator Adi Hasak  prevented any further disconnects that detract from this interesting story line. Tune in and see how much longer Harlee can keep Stahl at bay and how long Loman can hide who he is.

 

Telenovela: The Kiss – Eva Longoria Still Comic Gold

There is no doubt that Eva Longoria is still delivering comic gold as telenovela star Ana Sofia Carlson, in The Kiss.

Telenovela - Season 1

There is no doubt that Eva Longoria is still delivering comic gold as telenovela star Ana Sofia Carlson, in The Kiss. In this episode, Ana Sofia channels her inner Pasión for her date with James McMahon (Zachary Levi), the new network president of VivaVision. Xavi (Jencarlos Canelais initiated onto the cast as the newest member, the writer reveals a secret and McMahon reveals it is not wise to eat the deviled eggs on set.

The Kiss begins with Ana driving into work and discovering the Xavi has parked partially over her parking space. She squeezes the vehicle in between her ex’s car and another and then climbs out of the window.  On set, Ana is disturbed to find that the new network president had a meal with Xavi the night before, so much so that she forgets her line.

After a wardrobe malfunction (marvelous in-joke) instigated by Mimi (Diana Maria Riva), Xavi tells other cast members that strange things have been happening to him on set. Roxi and Rodrigo explain to their new colleague that the set is haunted. Ana goes out with McMahon on a date, albeit reluctantly,  and she decides to go as Pasión.

This episode brings out the real Ana, the actress who does not speak Spanish, like spicy food, pads her bra and uses boob tape to create cleavage and  whose life is not “quite” a telenovela. Although by the end of the episode, her life certainly looks like a one, with McMahon as  the romantic leading man.

The comedy revolves around Ana’s reluctance to begin dating again, the other cast members hazing Xavi, and just how unlike her character Ana actually is.

Levi and Longoria work very well together.  A natural chemistry that plays perfectly whether they are awkwardly getting to know each other or making the final move to really dating. It is cute and endearing that Levi’s character wants to date, not Pasión, or an equivalent of the character. McMahon wants to date the cheese puff eating, car window climbing woman he sees on the security cameras.

(Granted, this whole security camera storyline sounds a bit “stalker-y” but it does not detract from the budding romance. This is, after all, a comedy.)

It should also be pointed out that while singing Longoria’s praises as comedic actress that Zachary Levi is a dab hand at performing comedy as well. The two are brilliant together.

Eva Longoria delivers her performance with timing and an ease that impresses (and a clear delight in her character). Her Ana Sofia Carlson is not just funny, she is lovable. How can one not fall in love with a woman who leaves a cheese-puff handprint on the back of a suit,  let alone clambers out of a car window just to prove a point?

Telenovela - Season 1
Eva Longoria comedy gold

It should also be pointed out that the feature photo with McMahon’s carrying Ana out of the club, is the result of Ana Sofia’s tossing off her wig and it catching fire…Splendid comedy turned into an uber romantic moment, telenovela style.

The finish, where the two are wearing sweatshirts over their drenched outfits, while eating cheese puffs,  and watching the cameras indicates a new level of awareness between the two.  Surprisingly subtle but only for a moment as the final punch line is delivered.

Telenovela is pure comedic gold and airs Mondays on NBC. Tune in for Eva Longoria and relish this entertainer’s panache, beauty and splendid comic timing.