MacGyver: Magnifying Glass – Zodiac (Review)

Lucas Till as MacGyver

It seems that show creators Peter M. Lenkov, Lee David Zlotoff may just have had an idea about how badly their replacement for Patricia Thornton was going to be received by fans. MacGyver “Magnifying Glass” does not put new boss Matty in jeopardy, but it strives to make us see her more human side. 

A zodiac copycat kills the diminutive leader’s goddaughter and boyfriend. Matty calls on her team to step outside the purview of Phoenix and catch the killer. The group agree and even Jack Dalton steps up smartly to catch the serial killer copycat.

The main problem with this scenario is that we audience do not know Matty well enough to connect with her grief. As bad as it sounds, she is not yet a character that we care about, ergo, all this has been an exercise in futility.

It does not, in any way, prove this new boss to be a solid replacement to Thornton.  She is, ultimately, still unlikeable. When MacGyver, whose trademark is his improvisational skills in the field, helps to solve the case, Matty reluctantly agrees to let him continue.

Thus far the new boss is nothing like the old boss (See what we did there?) and it is not a good fit. The plot line also worked to re-establish the group as a team.

Jack notices that the address they inspect is too perfect after Mac’s remark about the place being too “Leave It to Beaver.” Riley is abducted by the killer just as she is about to crack the code on his emails. Boze helps by known Riley’s password.

Once again those annoying subtitles, or screen titles, were missing. At one point Matty prompts Mac to explain the device he is manufacturing in the abandoned apartments. So far so good…but…

The formula is still not right. The voice overs by Mac are still needed here and the fact that they are missing takes away from the “magic” of MacGyver.

There were other issues with this episode. The beginning of the episode, the prologue piece, has Mac and Boze building a robot. This prompts Jack to go into a mini diatribe about the The Terminator and how robots are bad. Cute and amusing but it was done a few weeks ago on Agents of SHIELD.

Mack and Yo-Yo had a long discussion about the franchise and it was very funny. (One gets the feeling that writers on these shows spend too much time emailing one another about ideas.)

The bad guy, aka the zodiac copycat killer, turned to be the guy they first talked to at the start of the episode.  “Magnifying Glass” worked to show just how well the group are fitting together as a team. It tried too hard to make Matty, the very unpopular replacement for Thornton, more acceptable to the MacGyver fan base.

MacGyver  is still doing well in the ratings stakes but that could well be down to its lack of competition on a Friday night. Rosewood recently made the move from Thursdays to go up against the CBS series.

Tune in and see what you think of this re-imaging of an ’80’s classic and let us know if you like Matty or whether they should bring back Patricia Thornton.

Cast:

Dr. Ken: Ken and the Basketball Star – A Shot to the Heart (Review)

KEN JEONG

In keeping with a theme of mixing a bit of tragedy with the ensemble comedy on offer via Dr. Ken “Ken and the Basketball Star” steps up to the plate and hits a home run. (Yes we are aware that there has been a mixing of sport’s metaphors here.)  It was pointed out quite clearly in the first season that Ken is a huge basketball fan.

With last week’s emphasis on Ken’s job and the more serious moments hidden amongst the mundane, this episode looks at Dr. Ken having to break news to a patient that is more than a little life changing.  The fact that the patient is a teenager makes the diagnosis all the more upsetting.

The Story:

Molly is studying with high school basketball star Danny Willis. The kid comes into the Park kitchen and Ken is beside himself. He is so excited that he tells Dave off for embarrassing him in front of the star.

Later Molly calls Ken at work and asks if he can look at Danny’s ankle, he injured it at practice. Since this could keep the boy from playing in the big game, Ken says yes.

After the exam, Ken tells the delighted teen and his parents that playing in the big game will not be a problem. When Ken goes to shake Danny’s hand  he notices something and starts asking the athlete some questions.

Another exam takes place and this time the news is not good. Danny has marfan syndrome. The star athlete could literally drop dead on the court in the middle of a game. Willis’ parents are outraged at the diagnosis initially, until Ken reveals that the medical tests have proven him right.

Danny, quite wisely, opts out of playing basketball and instead plans to become a doctor.

The main storyline focused upon Ken’s love of the sport and his hero-worship of the athletes who make the game exciting. It also allowed us to see, again, that underneath the jokes and OTT behavior, Ken is still a doctor who cares.

While the Danny Willis story played out, there were other smaller plot threads in the show. One dealt with Allison’s bonding with Pat and, to a lesser degree, with Damona over a mutual love of good cappuccino.

This made for some splendid comic moments. Not just from the topic of conversation, Allison revealing some of Ken’s humorous moments at home, but also from Damona.

TISHA CAMPBELL MARTIN, SUZY NAKAMURA

Damona and Allison sneak into Pat’s office to drink cappuccino and the receptionist’s reaction when they are caught is brilliant.

The other storyline featured Connor who in this episode moves in with Clark. The newly engaged couple have some teething pains caused by both men being a bit set in their ways.

Of course Clark being Clark reacts with some OTT histrionics and Connor responds with a more grownup attitude. These two are, it seems, a perfect match and they are brilliant together.

Standout Moments:

The Ken wearing Dave’s pajamas story.

“You’re embarrassing me in front of Danny Willis.”

“Armageddon!”

Damona blaming Allison in Pat’s office.

“I stayed with Pat a whole extra month for that coffee…”

Dave and his face paint, along with cheering at inappropriate moments.

Ken leaping on the cheerleader’s bus.

Allison and Pat making up over cappuccinos.

Clark and Connor cuddling and the pillow.

Final thoughts:

D.K. has been missing for a couple of episodes and we miss him. While we may be sad that Dana Lee is not in every single episode, the show continues to deliver, almost flawlessly,  a perfect mix of humor with just a touch of the old lump inducing sentimental moments that make this series a special experience.

This year has seen the loss of a favorite character, Dr. Julie,  and the introduction of Eric and Connor. Dana Lee’s grandfatherly presence has been greatly increased and the remaining members of the cast are being allowed to widen their characters’  horizons.

Tisha Campbell-Martin, Suzy Nakamura (a personal favorite since that hysterical cameo in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story), Albert Tsai, Krista Marie Yu, Dave Foley and Jonathan Slavin continue to fill their characters with moments of truth.

They also manage to effortlessly work together as one of the best ensemble casts on television.  The comedy works each week and every single player gets “a moment.” Even in an episode like this one, where both Ken and his patient get a “shot to the heart,” the players all have a chance to shine.

Dr. Ken is still the best thing about Friday nights.  This series can make the most downbeat day end with a smile. Tune in and see what we mean.

DAVE FOLEY, SUZY NAKAMURA
Dave Foley and Suzy Nakamura and that espresso machine…

Cast:

Guest starring Zak Henri as Danny Willis.

Legends of Tomorrow: Destiny – Lies (Review)

Wentworth Miller as Snart/Captain Cold

The penultimate episode of ‘Legends of Tomorrow,’ ironically titled ‘Destiny,’ reveals the truth behind the lies of the Time Masters. This build up to the almost final confrontation started somewhat humorously. After the Masters come for Rory, Hunter and Kendra, Snart and Sara Lance square off on the Waverider only to be interrupted by the ringing of a phone.

It is Gideon.

She is back on-line and ready to save the Legends in the custody of the Time Marshals. Rory is to be turned back into Chronos and Kendra is taken, after a brief battle, to be with Savage while Rip learns the truth. All that has happened was done so  to enable Savage to save Earth from alien invasion from the planet Thanagar. (In the future.)

He also learns that the Time Masters have lied about many things and that they manipulated Rip and his team the entire time. This has been enabled by the Oculus a device that allows the Masters to change time as and events as they see fit. Druce also tells Hunter that his tendency to go rogue was just what they, the Time Masters,  needed.

Using Hunter’s rage against him, the leader ordered Rip’s  family murdered by Savage in order to make it easier to “play” the man. Zaman  Druce (Martin Donovan) explains that the Oculus enabled the elders to move people  in whatever  direction they wish. 

It is the Time Masters who who helped Savage rise to power so he could defeat the aliens in the future.  A shattered Rip is returned to his cell. Mick Rory is turned back into Chronos while Snart and Sara argue and then work together to save their friends.

Savage (Casper Crump) takes Kendra back to 2166 where he will kill Rip’s family again. Sara and Leonard Snart (Wentworth Miller) sabotage the other time ships and escape. Druce orders all the Time Captains to pursue the departing Waverider. 

In what may be a series comic highlight all the other ship’s systems break into the Captain and Tennillle 1975 song “Love Will Keep Us Together” and they all short circuit, failing to leave the hanger.  (This could also be a splendid dose of irony, in that the singing duo divorced in 2014…)

(The interaction between Rory (Dominic Purcell) and Brendon Routh as Ray Palmer came a close second to the above comic moment.  After the rescue where Rip (Arthur Darvill) explains how Druce has been “running” them all. Ray’s response is that this information is not reassuring and Mick slaps the back of Palmer’s head. Mick then asks Rip, ” You saying the Time Masters wanted me to do that?” Very funny indeed.)

Jax (Franz Drameh) finds Martin (Victor Garber) back in 2016 and has the doctor help him get back to the team in the future. He arrives in the nick of time and prevents Druce and his henchmen from stopping Rip and the rest of the team from accessing the Oculus. 

Back in London, Rip’s wife and child die again.  Back at the Oculus there is a “musical heroes” thing going on where Ray, who should die destroying the device, is knocked out by Rory who takes over.  After Rip shrinks Palmer and puts him in his pocket he heads back to the Waverider.  Snart learns that Mick has opted to stay and die. Leonard then knocks Rory out and has Sara take his partner out of the room.

Lance kisses Leonard (Earlier she  tells Snart that if he wants to steal a kiss from her, he need to be a “hell of a  thief.”) since he  has finally decided he wants to be a hero after all.

With the Oculus and the Time Masters base destroyed the team all have their destinies back where they belong; under their control.   The future that Druce had orchestrated is no longer valid.  Although Savage, who still has Kendra, believes he can change the future to what he wants.

There are many things left unanswered in this penultimate episode of season one. For instance the younger versions of the team who are apparently  still  in the Harry Potter-ish safe house and whether or not Snart is really dead.  Not to mention the fact that Vandal Savage is still free and has both Kendra, and presumably, Carter.

All in all not a bad episode although a little predictable in places. It was not overly surprising that Rory withstood the “Chronos” brainwashing again and Palmer not dying at the Oculus was also not unexpected.

It has to be said that the cast all did well and that Martin Donovan gives great “bad guy.”

‘Legends of Tomorrow’ finishes next Thursday on CW and will be coming back next January for  a second season.

Quantico: Turn – Coming Together (Review)

In Quantico: Turn events at the academy seem to be coming together to make sense of present day occurrences. More details are revealed about Claire Haas in terms of personality; she has an almost scary intensity, and the Senator appears to have an agenda on gun control

 AUNJANUE ELLIS, J. MALLORY MCCREE, JAA SMITH-JOHNSON

In Quantico: Turn events at the academy seem to be coming together to make sense of present day occurrences. More details are revealed about Claire Haas in terms of personality; she has an almost scary intensity, and  the Senator appears to have an agenda on gun control.

Miranda’s son Charlie turns out to be part of the terrorist cell that “kidnapped” him and Shelby learns that her parents faked their deaths.

Or has she?

There is still the question of who Wyatt talks to on a regular basis. The conversations are always in Arabic and done in secret.  Were all these made to her half-sister, or were some to her parents?

The main plot of Alex being forced to  carry out the terrorist’s demands continues and she now has to get close to Claire Haas, a woman who is tipped to be the next vice president of the US and a scarily intense individual.

At Quantico the assignment is “hate crime” and as the NATs work their latest tasking, Chang and Olsen double-team Caleb to help Shelby.  At the same time Miranda learns that the cell Raina was infiltrating has moved out and the terrorists turn up at the main gate of the training facility.

The white van is full of armed men and women who kill the guards in a shoot out. The facility is placed on lockdown which prevents Raina and Charlie from entering Quantico.

Present day sees Alex get caught out trying to swap out the senator’s pills.  Parrish tells Hannah about the terrorist controlling her and that the medication will not harm Haas. Ryan’s ex-wife then relieves Parrish of her badge and gun, telling Alex that she is finished at the bureau. Wyland also takes the pills.

Hannah  promises that the next time they meet will be when the bureau arrests Alex.

Back at the academy, Shelby runs out prior to the lock down. Caleb and  Will go out to track her down. Liam leaves to “do his job” and Perales also slips out and will save O’Connor’s life.

The terrorist cell is stopped.

Charlie confesses his role in the day’s events and that he provided the information needed for the cell to get into training grounds.  Miranda goes home to speak with Raina and Charlie and the leader of the group brings things to a head.

The young black man is a muslim convert and after arguing theological dictum with Raina orders Charlie to shoot his mother.  Raina has called Nimah allowing the FBI to surround the house.  The cell leader is shot by Miranda, who later uses the same gun to shoot  Charlie after he freaks out.

Sidenote: It is unclear who actually shoots the cell leader. A shot is heard outside the house by Liam so presumably it had to be Miranda as Charlie could not have moved the gun from his mother’s head fast enough to shoot the man who also had his gun aimed at Charlie’s head; point blank.  

After she shoots Charlie, in the hopes that the sniper will not kill her son, the sniper adds his bullet to Miranda’s.  Present day sees Hannah Wyland turn up at Alex’s apartment after learning that Vasquez did not send the email asking for administrative leave and that she could find  no  trace of the agent anywhere.

Quantico has fallen back upon its original theme of  “a terrorist under every bush.”  There are a lot of threads in this drama with all of the main characters having secrets or implied secrets, or hidden agendas.   All of these characters are connected to or work for the FBI.

There are many questions left unanswered. Back at Quantico for instance;  who is Tom Raymond and, more importantly, why does Will have those pictures of fellow NATs in his sock drawer with red crosses over the faces and is he working some type of investigation with Chang.

Present day still has the issue of who the voice is on the other end of that phone and why the sudden character change in Hanna Wyland?

Marcia Cross as the vice presidential hopeful is terrifying and Eliza Coupe is spot on as the  snotty and aggressive ex-wife of Ryan Booth. Priyanka Chopra continues to provide an intense performance in a show that is starting to become a bit too convoluted. 

With so many plots and subplots the story is getting hard to track amidst all the noise of various secrets and questions being brought up every week. That said, things do make a bit more sense in terms of episodes earlier in the season.

It is now clear why Booth and Vasquez were dating when Alex was being chased down as a terrorist.  Equally apparent is the rift between Caleb and Shelby (Johanna Braddy). What is still to be answered is how and why Liam O’Connor is not at Quantico at the time of the initial explosion.

There are eight episodes left in this season and if the show does not get buried under the mountain of ever increasing subplots the viewer may yet learn who is on the other end of that phone.

On a sidenote, it is interesting to note that there are two popular shows on American television that deal with the FBI and multiple terrorist threats. Is someone trying to tell us something?  Or are television networks cashing in on the paranoia.

Quantico airs Sundays on ABC.

Castle: Fidelis Ad Mortem – Welcome Back Kate (Review)

Castle: Fidelis Ad Mortem (which is “faithful unto death” in Latin) gave fans the welcome return of Kate Beckett as she is now moving back into Rick’s life properly. In other words, it looks like the captain will no longer be sneaking out of bedroom doors to avoid Martha.

 MICHAEL BOWEN, STANA KATIC

Castle: Fidelis Ad Mortem (which is “faithful unto death” in Latin) gave fans the welcome return of Kate Beckett as she is now moving back into Rick’s life properly. In other words, it looks like the captain will no longer be sneaking out of bedroom doors to avoid Martha.

Rick’s mother almost catches Kate having an early morning breakfast when she brings a copy of her  just published “agony aunt” book around for her son to see.   Despite Castle revealing that he caused Beckett’s team to be murdered and the whole “How is Kate going to react to this latest lie” plot, this episode was all about Beckett.

In case we needed reminding, Kate is a strong, capable woman who takes no prisoners.  The murder, that she and her team investigate this week (without any help from Rick for a change),  is that of Officer Bardot a recruit at the police academy.

Not surprisingly, a young Beckett was an overachiever when she went through the system and a current female recruit, Officer Decker (Ellen Woglom) is the new version of Kate.  Instructor Fitz (Michael Bowen)  takes Beckett through the academy and to the suspects, fellow classmates of the murdered cop.

The episode showcased Stana Katic as the uber cop Beckett, even Javi and Ryan took the back seat to proceedings doing little more than backup, and catching a fleeing suspect, than doing any real police work. Granted there were moments when both men did a little bit, but, it was a very little bit of detection.

Kate shows that not only is she the ultimate interrogation “bad a**” at the precinct, but the captain can also question multiple suspects and still winnow out the truth.  The scene was impressive. It felt a bit like speed-dating without the timer, so “speed interrogating” is the newest revealed skill of Captain Beckett.

Rick Castle shows up a couple of times throughout the episode, usually with Toks Olagundoye (who is now Hayley Shipton and no longer Hayley Vargas, perhaps Kate can figure that one out) who provides him with motivation.

 

NATHAN FILLION, TOKS OLAGUNDOYE
NATHAN FILLION, TOKS OLAGUNDOYE

Woglom plays Officer Decker; girlfriend of the murdered recruit officer and illegitimate daughter of the local Irish mafia boss.  She becomes a suspect but is later cleared after Beckett has a heart to heart with the new recruit.  The two women have a short “sparring” match of sorts when Kate shows Decker some moves on the mat.

Before the episode is over, Beckett’s “tough love” instructor is shot and Bardot’s murderer is caught. The head of the police academy is revealed  to be the killer.  There is a shoot out, in the academy’s Hogan’s Alley course,  where the murderer uses night vision glasses a’la Buffalo Bill in The Silence of the Lambs and Kate proves she don’t need no stinkin’ glasses to best a baddie.

(Sorry.)

Kate and Rick get back together to work LokSat as a team.  Cue confetti and a popping of champagne corks.  Now, apparently, the two can move back in together and stop the charade of being separated.

There is one bone of contention  with this episode. (Actually there are several but only this one bears mentioning.) At the academy where Kate is speaking with Fitz outside Hogan’s Alley, she gets a hunch.  Asking where Bardot’s locker is and finding it,  she reaches in and with her bare hand grabs a blue index card with a threat written on it.

The camera even zooms in for a close look of Kate’s (or a hand actress’s) bare fingers clutching the card.

Oops.

Captain Kate Beckett is a super cop. That she would mishandle evidence is criminal enough that this particular moment should not have happened.  Are things getting sloppy in season eight of Castle?  Perhaps we should ask Ms. Shipton.

Still, Castle is retaining its charm, even without the presence of Molly C. Quinn this week and a split second view of Susan Sullivan.  There was a slightly longer look at Olagundoye’s Hayley which is always a good thing.

With this focus on Kate Beckett (Katic) one wonders if another yearly contract has been signed…

Fidelis Ad Mortem ends with “Casket” back together (properly it seems) so the title appears to imply that the two will be faithful until death which, if the upcoming titles are any clue, may be how the eighth season ends.

Castle airs Mondays on ABC.