Sleepy Hollow: Freedom – Highway to Hell (Review)

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The season four finale of Sleepy Hollow (titled “Freedom”) could have been called “Highway to Hell” with its connection to the devil and the bartering of souls as its centerpiece. It was a wrapping up of all the new characters introduced in this season and the possibility of a return of the grown up Molly if the series returns.

Sleepy Hollow saw the death of Crane’s fellow witness at the end of last season and this year Ichabod moved from his old stomping grounds to the country’s capital. Lt. Abbie Mills bid the show adieu and a new witness was introduced; Molly Thomas.

The change of partner and locale did not bode overly well for the series as its viewing figures dropped from just over 3 million to 1.92 million. The season average for the show’s targeted demographic also dropped from .83 to .50 this year.

Once again, the show’s overall storyline dealt with an impending apocalyptic event, referred to as “the Apocalypse” which implies that the end of the world really applies only to America and the United States. (Or at  the very least that the end of days will start there.) This gives the US a rather imperious significance in the world of the supernatural.

Since the script for Sleepy Hollow was written before the advent of November 8 and the election of the newest POTUS, it seems almost prophetic that this season’s storyline deals with an egotistical madman who becomes the newest leader of the “free world.”

(All the season four bogeyman lacks is a bad orange hairdo and the advanced age of the current POTUS.)

The season has faltered however. Despite bringing back the brilliant John Noble, who never really had the chance to chew up great bits of the scenery as he did in earlier seasons, and introducing the delightfully talented Seychelle Gabriel as the grown up Molly, Sleepy Hollow has lost its spark.

SLEEPY HOLLOW: L-R: Guest star Seychelle Gabriel and Tom Mison in the ÒFreedomÓ episode of SLEEPY HOLLOW airing Friday, March 31 (9:01-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2017 Fox Broadcasting Co. CR: Tina Rowden/FOX

The last episode of season four has Malcolm Dreyfuss (a rather impressive baddie who manages to cheat the devil out of his due) taking over the White House and holding the real president hostage.  He has raised the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and is ready to bring things to a nasty end.

Henry Parrish is the God of War and he is persuaded by his father, Ichabod to lay down his fiery sword. Crane reminds his son that freedom, the title of the episode, is more important than revenge or selling one’s soul to a tyrant. This, more than anything else, helps to save the day and allows the rest of Team Crane to stop the Horsemen.

Crane and Diana defeat Malcolm, much to the satisfaction of Jobe who immediately collects the megalomaniac’s soul. Ichabod defeats Dreyfuss because he placed a “lien” on his soul in exchange for the Philosopher’s Stone. This made Malcolm’s immortality vulnerable for a moment, long enough for the two to kill him.

By the end of the episode, Alex shows Jake just how much she cares for him, Lara/Molly decides to go walkabout and get her head straight and Crane has gotten a new partner in Agent Thomas. Jenny and Ichabod are also made part of Thomas’ new team.

The move to bring things to full circle, having a supernatural task force that reports directly to the president (just as George Washington had his own task force) was a nice touch. (Although it does feel a bit “Agent X.”)

Sleepy Hollow finishes with a kraken and a new bond between Thomas and Crane. It also sees the present day Molly released from her role as witness. If the show does somehow manage to be given another season it will be interesting to see what direction it takes.

With such low viewing figures, however, it seems that another season may not be in the cards. If you missed the season four finale head over to Hulu to catch up on all the episodes.

Cast:

Guest starring Seychelle Gabriel as Lara/Molly, Edwin Hodge as Benjamin Banneker and Terrence Mann as the Devil and John Noble as Henry Parrish.

Superstore: Valentine’s Day – Sexual Harassment (Review)

 Superstore - Season 2

It was all about love on Superstore “Valentine’s Day” episode. Although the journey was not smooth for anyone.  In the end, it was all about harassment in the modern workplace, much to Glenn’s chagrin, and Dina manages to scuttle Jonah’s burgeoning romance with Shannon the shoplifting suspect.

Perhaps the highpoint of this episode was the appearance of Bernie Kopell, better known to millions in his decade long run as Dr. Adam Bricker on “The Love Boat.” Kopell has been working steadily since 1961 and in terms of comic performances from the heart, no one does it better.

The storyline this week has Glenn, and later Amy, playing cupid after two Cloud 9 employees find love on Valentine’s Day. Glenn hired them so he begins matchmaking in earnest. Amy, seeing how much Arthur clearly likes Myrtle, does some matchmaking of her own.

Glenn helps her to set up Myrtle and Arthur and it results in the store, Glenn and Amy being charged with harassment. Arthur, is not the sweet little old man that Amy believed him to be.

The staff have to attend a sexual harassment training session run by Jeff. Glenn tells how he got his wife to marry him and describes how he asked her to go out with him every single day till she said yes. Jeff explains that this is not a good thing.

Glenn then goes on to explain that his father, who they both worked for, told her that if she did not go out with Glenn she would be fired. The Cloud 9 staff are horrified.

Jonah believes he has spied the shoplifter from earlier in the season. He talks Dina into letting him act as the plainclothes floor detective. Jonah flies a drone into the gorgeous young woman’s head and when he goes to apologize, he is instantly smitten.

Dina is furious that instead of concentrating on catching the woman in the act, Jonah is flirting with her. The two make plans for a date when Dina turns up in shorts and a hat accusing Jonah of leaving her and the kids in the car for hours.

Jonah then gets into an argument with his “wife” and Shannon leaves while he is distracted.

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Sondra takes her pretend affair with Jeff to new, and expensive, levels. Giving herself a dozen roses and other extravagant gifts from “The Man.” Mateo gets increasingly jealous and Cheyenne ends up telling Garrett that he and Jeff are dating for real.

The cutest part of the episode has Jeff giving Mateo a small Valentine’s Day gift and topping it off by calling Mateo his boyfriend. All jealousy is forgotten and Mateo’s day is made. He then swans out of the dressing room shutting Jeff in.

Amy and Jonah have a splendid moment breaking up all the Valentine’s Day signage, a move that is slightly reminiscent of the forklift mayhem in Secret Shopper. While not as hysterically funny as the carnage caused by the forklift, there is something about these two gleefully destroying things that counts as a win.

Another highlight in this episode had Cheyenne wowing the staff with her “Catch 22” reference. Jonah congratulates her on this show of knowledge. She responds by saying that she has been studying for her SAT’s. “It’s been an extrapolatory experience,” Cheyenne says while working on her giant lollipop.

As part of the sexual harassment training session it looks like the “in love” couple are breaking up. What Glenn brings together he also breaks apart. The highlights of this episode included Dina and Jonah’s argument, the valentine signage carnage and the Arthur/Myrtle storyline.

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Superstore is still the best thing about Thursday night comedy on NBC. Do not miss this one if you like to laugh.

Cast:

Guest starring Bernie Kopell  as Arthur and Andree Vermeulen as Shannon.

Agents of SHIELD: Boom – I Is For Irony (Review)

JOHN PYPER-FERGUSON

Agents of SHIELD “Boom” serves up a heavy dose of irony. There are several instances where certain characters get their fair share of karma courtesy of the plot lines on offer. Shockley, after breaking the terrigen crystal developed by Radcliffe, is affected instead of Senator Nadeer as expected.

As a further bit of irony, however, Shockley’s first act as an inhuman is to explode, blasting the horrible Ellen Nadeer into oblivion. This episode shows who Radcliffe based Aida on, a real-life love interest who was dying of a brain tumor.

It was interesting to see that Holden Radcliffe was once, like most comic book villains, a good guy who wanted to use science to save the love of his life from death by tumor. Agnes, the template for Aida, professes to hate Radcliffe for deserting her.

Coulson talks her into making contact with her former love in order to save May. Meanwhile, Shockley’s mission turns him into living bomb. Quake practices on how to neutralize the newest inhuman and Jeffrey Mace learns that the facsimile of the Captain America serum is killing him.

Later, the “leader” of SHIELD will sacrifice himself to stop The Superior from interfering.  Mace injects himself with the serum via his new suit and is captured by the Russian big bad.

The very act of using himself as a distraction serves up yet another dose of irony since his inadvertent act of heroism got him the job as a faux Captain America in the first place.

Agnes unsurprisingly chooses to return to Radcliffe when he promises her a Matrix-like existence in his re-created world. She is “downloaded” into the verse where there is no brain tumor. Unfortunately, the woman dies shortly after being loaded into the world.

Radcliffe explains to the Agnes’ replacement (Aida) that it was always going to happen. Her brain, however, lives on in the new re-creation, the same manufactured world that May is currently residing it.

The implication is that May too will die if she is not rescued soon. One interesting point is whether or not a replication of May will live on in this new world even after she has been rescued.

By the end of the episode Shockley is still determined to help The Superior bring down SHIELD and the rest of the inhumans. He escapes from the omnijet, after being shoved into a containment pod and ejected before he can blow everyone on board to pieces.

Mace has been captured by The Superior. Somewhat annoyingly, that Captain America serum does not render him immune to high powered cattle prods.

This is an interesting development in the show. In the Marvel verse Mace does actually take on the role of Captain America for a short while. Daisy, aka Quake, tells Jeffrey that he is not the new “Cap.” One wonders if this spell in captivity will somehow change things for Mace in that department.

As a sidenote, kudos to Mallory Jansen for knocking it out of the park in this episode and the storyline on Phil Coulson and his search for May was spot on. Clark Gregg never fails to deliver.

Agents of SHIELD airs Tuesdays on ABC.

CAST:

Guest starring John Pyper-Ferguson as Terence Shockley and Zach McGowan as The Superior.

SNL: Melissa McCarthy Rules as Sean Spicer (Review)

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You have to love SNL for trying so hard to be “un-pc” on everything. They do have a reputation to protect and this last episode, with Kristen Stewart hosting, did its best to keep the show on its rebellious path. Although it does seem that smoking on stage, something that Kate McKinnon did during Stewart’s monologue, is their standard go to move to indicate cocking the snook at convention.

This week, however, on top of Alec Baldwin’s Trump cold open (which was brilliant and topical) there was the presentation of Melissa McCarthy with her scarily accurate mickey-take of Sean Spicer – the malignant and mentally challenged press secretary of POTUS Bannon Trump.

This was beyond perfect. Had the episode begun and ended with Baldwin and McCarthy, it would have been a 42 season highlight. These two segments were not only hysterically funny but so spot on that it hurt. This was comedy with a purpose.

SNL do have a reputation to making fun of whoever is in the white house and this cabinet of Trump’s (Kellyanne Conway, Spicer, Bannon et, al) are such easy targets it is like shooting fish in a barrel. (If the violent allusion is too much feel free to replace it with “taking candy from a baby…”)

With an open that had Trump “prank” calling world leaders, at the instigation of Bannon’s grim reaper SNL could have stopped there and still won in terms of comedic genius. (That final shot of Trump sitting at his little presidential desk was perfection.)

However, opting to follow this up with the Sean Spicer sketch was a bold and brilliant move. The easy target would have been Conway with her “Bowling Green” fictional massacre. The Internet got there first and it would have been difficult to pull off a comic coup after all those memes.

Taking a shot at Spicer, who comes across as some sort of vicious and addle brained Jack in the Box who pops up at press conferences to take pot shots at the press, was SNL magic.

The episode was, overall, a hit. Stewart’s monologue dredging up old @realDonaldTrump tweets from 2012, back when she and Robert Pattinson were an item, was a good move.  Her finish, where she declares that Trump obviously had a thing for her then boyfriend and that she was now, “so gay,” was on the nose.

Stewart should have hosted SNL years ago. The actress has always come across as a grumpy, taciturn and moody performer. This spot on SNL proved that Kristen has a sense of humour and is not afraid to use it.

The rest of the show fared pretty well. “Meet Cute” was pretty cute and funny. So too was the Willy Wonka riff where Charlie gets the hump when he realizes that his grandparents have always been able to walk was funny.

The pre-recorded Totinos advert with Kristen Stewart and Vanessa Bayer (reprising her housewife huckster role) was funny, well-timed (the Super Bowl is today) and allowed Stewart to “label” herself a little.

Coming in as another one of the husband’s friend’s date, Stewart zeroes in on Bayer and the two have a sort of Bergman-esque interlude in the kitchen while the men shout at the match and query about those missing Totinos.

This gag worked on so many levels and it was pure, unadulterated SNL.

The MVP award of the episode went to Leslie Jones for her portrayal of Samuel L. Jackson on Celebrity Family Feud. The moment where she has to fight corpsing, and almost loses the battle was brilliant. We love Leslie and she never ceases to make any sketch that bit more fun. She is even more lovable when she gets caught up in the hilarity of the moment.

Weekend Update, while funny, was not the winner of this episode. Although Michael Che came a close second to Jones when he had issues with his segment. “Shut up Colin.”

Musical guest Alessia Cara was entertaining but apparently a bit of an acquired taste.

The clear winners in this episode were Baldwin and McCarthy with their “dueling sketches.” Both were very funny but Melissa won in this competition with her podium attack on the press. Just brilliant.

Timeless: Karma Chameleon – The Sting in the Tale (Review)

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This week’s episode finalized, to a certain extent, Wyatt’s story. It also ended another, more peripheral character’s arc quite violently. In many ways the climatic sequence of events, where the sting in this tale is felt by more than a few major characters, feels somewhat preordained. Timeless has managed, in this episode, to hark back the the ’80’s and answer some intriguing questions.

“Karma Chameleon” also opens up a few questions.  We learn, in the closing moments that not only is Lucy’s father part of Rittenhouse but that the organization is in her blood.  Anthony, who was so freaked out by what Emma reveals about the plans of the nefarious organization that he decides to blow up the ship.

Bruhl’s plans come to naught, despite the huge explosion, and the bespectacled cohort of Flynn’s is found dead at the site. The main story, set up back in episode 10, is Wyatt’s desperate struggle to remove his wife’s killer from existence.

While the whole segment feels like an overlong homage to Back to the Future, sans the laughs, it is clear that Rufus and Wyatt both have some morality issues about taking a serial killer out of the circle of life.  Rufus only agrees to help his teammate after he promises not to hurt anyone.

This plan goes awry when the man who sired the killer accidentally dies while running from the man he perceives as a lunatic. That moment when the bartender sits up and blood shoots from the wound in the back of his head like a fountain, we feel as sick as Wyatt clearly does.

It is the combination of this quandary, which follows him back into the present, and the news that Jessica is still dead that obviously sends him over the edge. While Logan may not be removed entirely from the Mason program he will at least get one hell of a timeout.

The sight of the normally taciturn Special Ops soldier leaping and struggling against his captors while screaming that “she is alive,” was poignant enough to produce tears in the eyes of the viewer. This was the heartbreaking sting in this tale that overshadowed Lucy’s news.

The big shock was finding that Flynn was more than capable of killing Anthony. Just as surprising was the knowledge that Mason is all too happy to offer up Jiya as the replacement pilot of the backup time machine.

“Karma Chameleon” was an interesting followup to the Jesse James episode. The reveal that Lucy is part of Rittenhouse and has been all along explains a lot about the feisty historian. It was Lucy, after all, who shot James dead (in the back) when Wyatt was under the gun of Bass Reeves.

On a sidenote: It was fun to see all those old arcade games being referenced with Galaga getting a mention.  While it went towards setting up the time period, it also worked as a nod and wink to Tony Stark’s line in the first Avengers film, where he points out that a crew member is playing “Galaga. He didn’t think we’d notice but we did.”

Timeless continues to be a cracking series that, regardless of the odd faux pas, delivers on a regular basis. The mystery of what Rittenhouse’s ultimate plan is and how Lucy features in it have yet to be revealed. So far Flynn has proven to be a good guy who uses the villain’s methods to win and Lucy is somehow part of the baddie brigade.

The series airs Mondays on NBC. Tune in and see where this show goes next.

Cast: