MacGyver: Compass – DNA (Review)

Lucas Till as MacGyver

“Compass” starts out with a bit of a disconnect by showing Bozer back in the field in the MacGyver teaser segment. Wilt made it pretty clear in an earlier episode that he preferred to stay back in the lab and would be doing so in the future.

The opening sequence had Jack and Mac in a garbage compactor and they were about to be crushed. While Dalton talks about Star Wars and the compactor scene, and solution in that film, Mac works out how they can really escape.

In the process, however, Jack is injured and later Matty questions whether or not Dalton should still be partnered with Mac. During the short conference, Mac learns that his best friend in Uni has been killed. He jets off to attend the funeral where he is met by Dalton.

Jack has his injured arm in a sling but he still manages to accompany his friend to the service. Later they spot someone taking pictures of the mourners and after some hacking by Riley, they learn that Mac’s friend Frankie is still alive.

Her project; a new DNA analyzer, has uncovered something that someone wants hidden. There are the usual MacGyver tricks and he even makes a centrifuge out of cardboard.  We learn that Frankie was a romance that he knew could never happen and that Matty really does care for Dalton.

On the romantic front, it appears that Bozer has to live with Riley falling for the Hawaiian Kalei that she met in the Hawaii Five-O crossover episode “Flashlight.” He is jealous of all the “text time” that the two are engaging in and later, after talking to Jack, decides to keep being friends with his crush.

This episode really brought nothing new to the table.  On the plus side, those annoying subtitled split screen “builds” have disappeared.  However, there is very little time spent with anything that Mac now manufactures for any particular storyline.

There needs to be some middle ground where we can actually see how clever MacGyver really is. Having other characters point out what he is making, in this episode it was Frankie who asked if he had really made a piece of lab equipment from a cardboard box, is going too much the other way.

MacGyver has always been about improvising and not using guns to take out the bad guys. Sure the series was annoying as hell in the beginning but with too much emphasis on what Mac was making but now it is beyond vague.

Complaints aside, the team are still working well together, Tristin Mays has been allowed to ditch that bird’s nest hairdo she was lumbered with in the beginning and Meredith Eaton has slid nicely into the position of severe but caring new boss at Phoenix.

Till and Eads are a respectable double act, although Eads manages to fit in well with whomever he works with, and Hires as Wilt feels as comfy as an old pair of shoes.  While the original MacGyver was less about teamwork and more about Mac’s going it alone, this new iteration is hitting the mark with a good cast and some standard scripts.

MacGyver airs Fridays on CBS. Head on over and check it out and see what you think. Good or mediocre?

Cast:

Guest starring Aly Michalka as Frankie and François Chau as Richard Sang.

Dr Ken: Ken’s Professor – Tough Love (Review)

KEN JEONG, JONATHAN BANKS

Jonathan Banks, who has made a career out of playing characters that one would not want to be stuck in a doctor’s waiting room with, guest stars in Dr. Ken as Ken’s old professor from his intern days. In this episode Ken’s old mentor re-applies some “tough love” (a practice he utilized while overseeing Ken’s training years before) only to learn that the student has become a teacher as well.

Banks, who caught the public’s imagination as Mike Erhmantraut in both Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, worked with Ken in Community and yet is another alumni of the popular comedy to “drop by” and play an integral part in Ken Jeong’s hit show.

Ken has been spreading the “Community” love heavily since helming his new series last season and the show has benefited from having guest stars who have brilliant chemistry not only with Ken but his co-stars as well.  Banks, a prolific veteran character actor, proves to be just as adroit in a low key comedic part as he is in playing his usual roles.

(On a sidenote: Banks continues to get better and better with age. The actor has consistently been cast as quirky and unpleasant characters who, with a mere glance, give the audience palpitations. Tough and aggressive, Banks never disappoints; except, that is, when his character is killed off far too soon, as in The Expanse‘s pilot episode.)

Little is seen of the Park children in this episode. Dave, who has an issue with his own version of Dr. Erwin (Banks) takes his father’s advice about redoing a “Moby Dick” essay/review that she gave him a “D” on. Another instance of Ken rising to the occasion while suffering almost severe anxiety because of his former mentor’s presence.

Dr. Ken “Ken’s Professor” manages to serve up a double-helping of comedy, with a touch of poignancy (the show’s overwhelming trademark) by allowing the Damona/Pat storyline to share the limelight. This is an interesting, and favorite, part of the Dr. Ken verse that continues to please.

While Pat and Damona clearly find each other irresistible in the physical chemistry department – those steamy clinches in the supply cupboard were funny and very revealing – they also, apparently, bring out the best in one another.

Damona tells Pat earlier that his focusing on her happiness, even when they were apart, meant a lot to her. On the surface this appears to be a case of “opposites attract.” However, if one looks closely, the two are very similar. Both tend to avoid conflict, Damona “ghosting Eric” to avoid telling him that their relationship if over and Pat’s living in his boat on his ex-wife’s driveway in season one are good examples.

Of course Pat’s reluctance to end things with “Manic Megan” was also a clear indicator that the Welltopia Administrator will go a long way to avoid a confrontation. (Unlike his behavior at work where he ran roughshod over Clark in the union negotiations.)

The couple also have “grown up” issues something that Pat hilariously uses to “one up” Damona.

The power of this episode, as in many of the episodes in season two, is Ken’s reaffirmation of his skill as a medico and his growth as a character.

Dr. Ken has been less about the gags and his comedic yearnings to be a stand-up comic this year. It has been more about his personal journey to become a better father, husband, doctor and colleague.

It is the growth of all the characters, not just Ken, that makes the second season of Dr. Ken a real winner in the comedy stakes and the poignancy on offer ups the ante considerably. Allison has become more of a working spouse (no pun intended) and less of a punch line – although she has knocked some real comedic zingers out of the metaphorical park this year – Molly and Dave have also taken the comedy reins in hand. (With Krista Marie Yu killing in the cancer episode in the drama stakes.)

Dana Lee, who was absent in this episode, makes any episode he appears in funnier and Jonathan Slavin  is another performer whose work makes his character more in-depth and multi facetted, while still milking those laughs with his more outrageous moments.

It goes without saying that Dave Foley and Tisha Campbell-Martin bring a certain comedic level of expertise to the show that continues to grow and and grow.

This was a brilliant episode that bears re-watching just to see the splendid chemistry between Banks, Ken Jeong, Tisha Campbell-Martin and Dave Foley.  The interactions of these actors and their characters in this episode went beyond delightful.

Dr. Ken “Ken’s Professor” ends with Dr. Erwin informing Ken that he is now his doctor. Ken manages to simultaneously beam with pride while looking a tad panicky at the thought of future consults with his old professor.

Great stuff.

Dr. Ken airs Fridays on ABC. Tune in for a great bit of Friday night TV.

Cast:

Guest starring Jonathan Banks as Dr. Erwin

Rosewood: Season One Episode 19 (Review)

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In ‘Rosewood’ this week, Mitchie Mendelson works on Team Rosie for the first time as a member of the lab. In ‘Sudden Death & Shades Deep’ a jingle writer, and the man who broke up the band, Shades Deep, is found dead. Rosie suspects foul play and  preliminary tests show beta blockers in the corpse’s system and coagulated eyeballs.

Mitchie is an awkward fit “at the office” and still annoys Villa who  has not warmed to the newest member of Rosie’s staff.  Captain Hornstock confesses his relationship  with Daisie to Rosie and Erica has a secret. Dr. Kincaid took a gap year and when Rosie asks her about it Erica evades the question.

Villa questions suspects while Mendelson gets involved with Rosie’s dilemma and tells both Annalise and  Donna Rosewood (Lorraine Toussaint) what he learned about Erica’s gap year.

The murder of the week has Izzy Clateman (Micah J. Jones) dying mysteriously in a recording booth. Suspects include a former friend and member of Shades Deep as well as Izzy’s former manager  Jimmy Amiel (played by Scottish actor Steve Valentine). The latter was accused by the singer/songwriter of cheating him on money. 

As the duo of Villa and Rosewood work their way through suspects Mitchie tries too hard and could end up alienating TMI, Pippy and Rosie.  Hornstock’s romance with Villa’s mother Daisie (Lisa Vidal) is still an issue, and Daisie has departed the area arousing Annalise’s suspicions. Ira asks Rosie for advice.

Hornstock (Domenick Lombardozzi) and Rosewood have a great exchange during Villa’s questioning of Sylvester. As the captain delightedly reveals that the new love of his live is Daisie Villa (Rosie’s response is “Whoa!”) Villa can be heard saying the phrase “sucker punch” to her suspect. The implication is clear and funny. 

Sylvester Maines (Antwon Tanner) is the chief suspect after the lab turns up the beta blockers in Izzy’s system and the musical  artist with an attitude gives Rosewood the best line of the episode. Maines gets upset at being questioned about his friend’s murder and Rosie attempts to calm him down:

“Whoa, whoa, Sylvester, come on, now. Happy place… get there. Send us a postcard.”

Later in the episode the former manager appears to hang himself. Rosewood and his team work out that Amiel was murdered as well.  Before the end of the show the killer is revealed to be Walter (Michael Traynor) the recording studio partner of Izzy and Erica reveals to Donna what happened during her gap year.

Mitchie (Sam Huntington) is an odd fit as a new “regular” in Rosie-World.  He is loud; Donna points this out  when forcing him to give up what he learned about Erica’s gap year. With his over the top eager to please attitude Mendelson is just short of  annoying. To give the character credit, he does inadvertently help Rosie solve the case.

Erica and Donna still have some issues. Even though Rosewood’s mother has welcomed Erica into the family, Donna is very quick to jump to bad conclusions. Hornstock is rumbled by Annalise who figures out about Daisie and she tells the captain she is worried for him.

In terms of relationships everyone comes out on top, with the possible exception of Ira and Daisie; who is still AWOL.

Once again the explanation of the crime (the “how” dunnit”) was clever and it was interesting to see that the victim also had heart issues, just like Rosie. Erica explains the gap year to Donna and this may be the right step in clearing up any doubts about her suitability for Rosie.

While not a overly amusing episode ‘Sudden Death & Shades Deep’  stepped away from the Villa/Rosewood “will they won’t they” storyline until the very end.

Kudos to Gabrielle Dennis (Pippy Rosewood) who shows, at the end of the episode, that she also has impressive pipes on top of those massive acting chops. She sings, as part of the plot, and it is the voice of an angel. 

The song she sings, ‘Does She Love’ (Like I do) is the backdrop to Villa looking over at Erica and Rosie. The glance is pensive and not a little sad. This is the one allusion to the Annalise/Rosewood dynamic and done very well.

It raises questions about Villa as well as a little lump in the throat.

‘Rosewood’ airs Wednesdays on FOX.

Agents of SHIELD: Failed Experiment – Hive Backstory (Review)

JOHN HANNAH, BRETT DALTON

Agents of SHIELD this week sees Holden Radcliffe (John Hannah) fail in his first attempt to recreate the Kree experiment that Hive relates as part of his own backstory. Mack tries to rescue his friend and partner Tremors (Daisy) and fails. Melinda May and her abbreviated team of agents try to kill Hive and also fail.

Lincoln disregards all the warnings about the antitoxin that Fitz-Simmons made and injects himself in a bid to find a cure for Hive’s infection of Daisy.  Coulson spends an obsessive amount of time searching for Daisy via facial recognition software and finally spots her outside a building in “Hive Town.”

Mack is obsessed with his failure to see that Daisy was infected by Hive and May gets annoyed.

“Why is everyone making this about themselves? “

Daisy’s old partner believes that she is fighting for control and not completely taken over by the creature. In a way Mack is right.  Hive/Ward wants to destroy all of SHIELD and Daisy wants to transform them using the treatment developed by Radcliffe.

When the first metamorphosis fails; a pretty gross “meltdown” where one (due to budget only one poor volunteer turned into a puddle of runny toffee-like goo) man screams and melts.  Hive’s reaction to the failure may give a clue as to what his downfall may be.

Hubris.

Radcliffe tells his new boss that the problem was, in fact, down to Hive providing the wrong materials. Old “dead” Kree blood versus the more potent “live” stuff. Hive is not amused and threatens to kill Radcliffe and do the next experiment himself. The expression on the creature’s face and his attitude suggests that Hive believes himself to be infallible.

James, the most recent Aussie inhuman recruit (played by Axel Whitehouse) proves that he is not the sharpest tool in the Hydra shed by giving up where Hive is to Melinda May.

The Kree reapers are summoned.

These big blue aliens begin killing “filthy inhumans” and one of the first to die is Alisha (Alicia Vela-Bailey). The blue duo split up and one head for Hive and other to the shed that Radcliffe and Daisy are in.

Daisy incapacitates one and Hive kills the other. After the last blue alien is taken care of, May and her team unload on Hive and it barely slows him down. The group of agents run.

Mack tries to talk Daisy down and when that fails he destroys the Kree blood bank that Radcliffe has been draining and she goes full Tremors on him.  It looks as though she will beat him to death when the other agents, led by May, arrive and one shoots Daisy.

The team evacuate the injured Mack and Hive goes to Daisy. Once again that attitude makes an appearance and Hive professes his disappointment in his newest recruit. Daisy then volunteers her blood after revealing that Coulson used Kree blood to revive her after almost dying before.

Hive is pleased at this news.

At the end of the episode Hive’s concern about being destroyed by his creators (who called him a failed experiment) turns out to have been misguided and Daisy professes her loyalty to Hive and her intention to destroy her old friends at SHIELD.

Despite Daisy’s attack on Mack and her decision to turn her back on Coulson and SHIELD it does feel like she is playing both sides here.  The fact that Hive took on the appearance and memories of Grant Ward (Brett Dalton) may have something to do with her ability to resist complete domination.

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As to those memories of Ward, Hive is not perfect as he/it forgot about the Kree transfusion until Daisy reminded him. So much for being all powerful.

The whole Kree storyline ended quite abruptly, after  the implication that they would make mincemeat out of Hive when they arrived. With their failure to destroy the failed experiment one wonders if more will be on their way.

Lincoln, after risking his life to test the antitoxin learns the only effect was that the stuff destroyed his immune system. It did not “cure” him.

The next time Agents of SHIELD airs the events of Captain America: Civil War will have changed the Marvel-verse and the paths of Coulson and his team will be altered once more.

Agents of SHIELD airs Tuesdays on ABC.

 

Gotham: Azrael – Strange Days (Review)

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Okay Gotham. You had me at Azrael, as drawled out in that deep mellifluous voice of Jim Frain, but then Penguin turns up and he is so manifestly nuts, again, as is Barbara Kean and the black comedy just kept delivering in this episode.

Dr. Strange (BD Wong) reading  from Alice in Wonderland:

“‘But I don’t want to go among mad people,’ Alice remarked. ‘Oh, you can’t help that,’ said the Cat: ‘We’re all mad here.'” Oh, yes. Yes, that will do nicely!”

Barbara (Erin Richards) maniacally clicking through the television channels with the remote and Butch admitting  that Jim Gordon’s ex “scares me.”  Followed up by Gilzean   pronouncing that Kean is:

“Mad as a bag of squirrels.”

Kean then comes back from the kitchen, she is making gimlets, and with a mad-as-a-hatter gleam in her eye holds up a chopping knife and asks, “Do we have any limes?”

The comic quotient was huge in this episode, despite the somewhat downbeat end (?) of Captain Barnes (Michael Chiklis). How disappointing if the straighter than straight head of GCPD punches out after Azrael/Galavan shoved a broken sword into his abdomen.  Barnes was pretty amusing in this episode as well, with his awkward interaction with the young Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz). Barnes can be infuriating but he did try to be the voice of reason.

Cory Michael Smith, as Nygma, almost stole the show with his antics in the asylum. His “I manipulate” people “montage” was brilliant but overshadowed by the “Four Leaf Clover” montage of the former forensics specialist searching for that hidden passage. In terms of amusing bits of interaction, the Gordon/Nygma exchange was chuckle worthy as well.

“See you never Ed.”

(In fact the entire Arkham Asylum bit was funny. The cannibal doing a Daffy Duck riff, “Kill him now.  Kill him now” was a lovely variation on the Looney Tunes gag, “Shoot him now. Shoot him now.”)

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Ethel Peabody (Tonya Pinkins) , resplendent in her “Prince purple” lippy,   telling Dr. Strange that she prefers Thorazine was also funny.

The fact that Strange is still so overjoyed with bringing back Theo Galavan and based upon Nygma’s caring and sharing routine, his providing the former mayor a great persona shows where the “mad scientist’s” brain is at.

The “Alice in Wonderland” reference does open up a wealth of ideas of just who this persona is for. Fish Mooney or someone else? Despite the fact it would fit Barbara Kean like a Victorian glove it cannot be her as she is out of Arkham.

Amusing moments aside, Barnes almost kicking Azrael’s butt was brilliant, even though it was most certainly going to end badly for the captain as he was so clearly outmatched.  As annoying as the stick-in-the-mud  head of police may be, he is a touch cookie and tries very hard to be on the side of right if Galavan kills him Barnes will be missed. In the scheme of things the captain  is an old fashioned sort of cop and even though he can be infuriating the man earns major respect.

Bruce Wayne is moving ever closer to embracing his supremely messed up and dark side.  The boy who one day becomes Batman is showing that the strain of his parents murder, the corruption in Gotham and his own thirst for vengeance is turning him into a caped crusader that Christopher Nolan would love.

On a sidenote here: Just how brilliant is it that Oswald keeps the body of his “step-mother”   at the table, flies buzzing and foot rotting, this gesture shows how deep the Penguin has slipped back into his own brand of madness.

Honorable mention for comic moment of the show had to be when Galavan/Azrael falls/is shot off of, the roof and lands on the vehicle.  The reporter in the front has the most delicious reaction to both the event and Galavan still being alive.

It is far too easy to assume that the next episode will have Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylorgoing after his “old friend.” That should be the next sequence of events, although Azrael may be put on hold now that Nygma has found Dr. Strange’s secret laboratory.

Young  Bruce Wayne may get more involved in the next episode sign he is slowly turning into the type of young man who will practice vigilante justice with no hesitation in a few years time. He definitely wants to zero in on Strange so a dry run or two may be in order.

Theological tempest in a Gotham-cup: Alfred (Sean Pertwee) with his line about no-one dying and then coming back from the dead may just cause an uproar amongst certain circles…Just saying…

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This was one of the best episodes of the second season.  With a few episodes to go, the season may get even better. “Gotham” airs Mondays on FOX; tune in now and catch the fun and games before the season wraps up.