‘Fresh Off the Boat’ WWJD: What Would Jessica Do? (Review)

 CONSTANCE WU, IAN CHEN

This episode of Fresh Off the Boat is perhaps the cutest one yet. ” WWJD: What Would Jessica Do” focuses, for the most part on Jessica and Evan. The two are Costco buddies who shop every Sunday for all the bargains they can find. Suddenly, Evan is invited to church by his friend Zack and Jessica is lost.

Louis gives friend and neighbor Marvin a friend’s discount on their latest meal (aka, free) and the dentist returns the favor. He gives Louis neon white teeth during his cleaning appointment.

Both mother and father of the Huang clan have difficulties for very different reasons. Louis hates his “glow in the dark” teeth and Jessica misses her shopping buddy.

Meanwhile, Eddie and Emery make “Bad-A** Cereal Bars” out of all the left over cereal from the multi-packs that Jessica bought at Costco. Sadly, as the boys learn to their dismay, not all  cereal is created equal when it comes to making cereal treats.

The mixed up cereal gets harder and harder to chew. Emery breaks off small pill sized portions to wash down with water and Eddie breaks a tooth.  The eldest Huang child goes with Louis to Marvin’s office to get the thing sorted and he orders a crown like his rapper idol.

(On a sidenote: There was a brilliantly funny gag at Marvin’s dentist office. Five dentists, including Marvin are all standing  and looking a tube of toothpaste. It looks suspiciously like Colgate. Four of the group says yes and the fifth shakes his head and says he just cannot. The punch line is, of course, that “four out of five dentists” recommend Colgate.  This was the best comedic sequence of season three so far.)

Evan is quite taken with church and even though Jessica tries to dissuade her youngest from going, he continues to attend with his friend Zack on a regular basis.

(The second gag of the show had Jessica using the voice altering  megaphone to play “God.” She tries telling Evan to stop going to church. Louis overhears and he and Evan find Jessica hiding in the pantry. Very funny.)

Eventually Evan decides that he can do Costco and Church, alternating between the two. Jessica agrees to this solution.

Yeardley Smith has a cameo role as a sampler in the Costco who dispenses some advice to Jessica about how to handle Evan’s defection.  Smith proves once again that she does not need Lisa Simpson to be funny. Her Costco shelving “confessional” was brilliantly funny.

Marvin and Louis make up after the latter’s angry outburst over the whiter than white teeth his dental neighbor set him up with.  The only loser in the show is Grandma Huang.

Grandma makes fun of her own son mercilessly. Calling him a muppet and  using every opportunity to laugh at his shiny white teeth, his discomfort is her clear delight.

Fresh Off the Boat keeps pushing the comedy envelope.  Ian Chen and Constance Wu make the best comedy double act ever and Forrest Wheeler and Hudson Yang were spot on in this episode.

Ray Wise, as usual, makes the most of his time on the show.

The final punchline in the episode had Jessica making a “stock” out of the giant cereal bar, much to the chagrin of the two Huang boys.

Fresh Off the Boat airs Fridays on ABC. Stop by for some addictive fun and Stay for Constance Wu.

Cast:

Guest starring Luke Judy as Zack and Yeardley Smith

Legends of Tomorrow: Outlaw Country – Setting up a Cross-Over (Review)

Johnathon Schaech as Jonah Hex

Legends of Tomorrow “Outlaw Country” sees the Legends return to the land of Jonah Hex, aka the old west. There is a time quake in 1874 Liberty, Colorado caused by a time pirate hunting down Dwarf Star ore.

A local land baron, Quentin Turnbull kills the pirate and uses what the dead man told him to start his own territory in the west.  The Legends, bar Dr. Stein who is having health issues, go to fix the timeline aberration.

Stein is having painful visions, of a  woman, and he has Gideon run repeated brain scans to find out what is going on.  Gideon finds nothing.

Apart from allowing the storyline to head back to Hex, and to save him from being lynched, it also gives us a deeper look into Mick’s psyche. Vixen and he bond, after their adventure, and she offers to help him control the animal inside him.

Jefferson talks to “his other half” and between the two of them they figure out that Stein has altered his own past.  The woman he is seeing in those visions appears to be a woman he loves.

Jackson says Clarissa will be angry and Stein wonders if there is even a Clarissa to “go back to.”

The dwarf star alloy the team recover will help Ray Palmer construct another atom suit. In the meantime, he makes Citizen Steel a suit of his own.

By the end of the episode, Hex has decided he can take orders from a woman and Captain Lance comes in to say that “our friends in 2016 need our help.”

This seems to indicate the huge The Flash, Supergirl, Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow cross-over “Invasion!” which is set to air on 29 November for The Flash universe. The episode airs 1 December for the Legends-verse and 30 November for Arrow.  Supergirl gets her call to action on “Medusa” which airs on 28 November. Fans will want to watch the episodes in order.

Cue excitement and keen anticipation for this epic CW event.

“Outlaw Country” was another fun episode.  It allowed the ever brilliant Jeff Fahey to show that no one fills a bad guy’s boots like he does.  It also looks like some new friendships have been formed amongst the Legends and Palmer is well on his way to getting a replacement suit.

There were the same old problems dealing with western wardrobe. The hats, that look like the cheapest versions of cowboy hats found in Halloween costumes the world over, were constantly changing shape; even when no one has touched them.

It is also interesting to note that the Legends are not comfortable on horseback. Apart from the one scene where they ride into the  shot (on magically created horses) the team operated on foot, even walking down the western town’s main street rather than riding.

The reminder that Mick Rory, aka Heat Wave, is, at heart, a pyromaniac who also loves to blow things up was brilliant. As was the moment where Ray Palmer talked about his lack of abilities without the atom suit.

(Palmer also got some good lines with his little “hero in training” speech he gave Nick Heywood.)

Legends of Tomorrow will be back on 1 December for “Invasion!” to help the other superheroes on CW  stop the Dominators.

Cast:

Guest starring Johnathon Schaech as Jonah Hex and Jeff Fahey as Quentin Turnbull.

Chance: The Unflinching Spark – Shocker (Review)

Hugh Laurie as Eldon Chance

Chance: “The Unflinching Spark”  sees everything fall apart for Eldon.  The episode picks up right after the accident. Not only does Chance find out that Jaclyn has been playing him, but his daughter seems to have inherited some of his mental issues.

Raymond did not die from the knife wound and he is in hospital recovering from the knife that D put in his chest. Eldon learns that the other man killed by D was not a cop.

At the home front, Chance questions his daughter about the boy she is supposed to be stalking. Nicole downplays the incident and says her former boyfriend’s parents are over protective.

Eldon is let go from his recent job as psychiatric expert when the file containing information about his breakdown is delivered to his employer. Raymond is obviously behind the gesture.

Jaclyn arrives at Eldon’s office and they talk. She tells him that the black knight chess piece was found at a thrift store. “It reminded me of you,” she says. Later Chance will find another black knight at Raymond’s place.

The two go to his apartment and have sex. Jaclyn tells Eldon that they should not see each other again. Later he learns that Nicole lied to him about what she was doing with her ex boyfriend.

D and Eldon enter Raymond’s apartment. D plants some evidence to thrown the cop off the trail. He spray paints the symbol for vengeance on a painting. It is here that Chance finds the other chess piece.

After the break-in, he and his ex meet with the parents of the lad that Nicole is stalking. It turns out that she was obsessively sending him texts. After being blocked off his account, she then created false names so she could continue her smear campaign.

After D killed the goon outside Raymond’s bordello and then threw  the knife into Jaclyn’s husband, things have spiraled out of control.  Nicky apparently takes after her father with obsessive behavior and Raymond is clearly moving against Eldon.

Chance goes home and hears men’s voices in his apartment. He heads back downstairs and finds two more men waiting outside his building. Eldon hides in a neighbor’s apartment as the men in his flat leave.

He goes to D’s and finds the door open. As he cautiously enters the room, he stumbles over D laying on the floor. It appears that the big man is dead, killed by the same men who were waiting for Chance in his apartment.

If that is the case, then Raymond, who is in the hospital with a collapsed lung, is orchestrating the retaliation from his bed.  It looks like Jaclyn has been playing both men off one another.

The appearance of the other black knight chess piece seems to indicate, at the very least, that she lied about the thing. Chance’s reaction to finding the piece suggests he had no idea she is not genuine.

Eldon is clearly obsessed with Jaclyn so it may not matter in the end if she is not as she appears. What will matter is D’s death, if he is indeed dead.  After helping Chance escalate things against Blackstone, the doctor will be hopelessly out of his depth if D is gone.

Chance airs Wednesdays on Hulu.  Tune in and get hooked on this gripping thriller.

Cast:

Guest starring Sal Lopez as Jean-Babtiste.

‘Channel Zero’ Candle Cove: Welcome Home – Finale (Recap/Review)

Channel Zero: Candle Cove - Season 1

There was only ever one way that Channel Zero: Candle Cove was going to end. Mike Painter was a doomed character and we knew it from the first time we saw him.  “Welcome Home” (it is hard to imagine a more ironic title for the season finale) sees the conclusion creep home with the horror of a mother killing her last remaining son to protect her granddaughter.

The finale moves slowly, like someone trying to move through waist deep molasses, and it draws out the ending.  Those expecting a cacophony horrors to leap off the screen will be disappointed.  Instead of a clash of disturbing images, the whole of episode 6 presents its horrors sparingly,focusing instead on the personal aspect of this tale.

Mike sacrifices himself so his daughter can live. He agrees to stay behind so Eddie can inhabit his body. (There is a splendid reversal of the Ringu effect where Lily crawls into the television screen to come out in the real world.)

At the start of the episode, Erica comes back looking for Lily. Mike explains that he knows where Lily is but only he can get her. Erica’s frustration manifests itself in her screamed demand to take her to Lily.

Mike takes his wife out to the field where Lily lays unconscious on the ground.  He makes his wife stay back and Mike walks over to Lily. Just like his vision at the start of episode,  the Tooth-Child takes some teeth and Mike wakes up in the Cove.

Eddie and Mike bargain over who will stay behind as the Skin Taker looks on.  Lily is released and as soon as Erica brings the child back, Marla leaves the house.

She is headed to Mike and on the way she runs into Francis Booth. The teacher attacks her with the hook. As she starts to give Marla the  killing blow with the instrument, Amy  shoots her.

The temporary sheriff tells Marla to step back and Mike’s mother grabs the hook and plants the thing in Booth’s ear. Back at the cove, Eddie tells his brother goodbye and starts to the television.

Amy holds a press conference and informs the reporters that Francis Booth was the murderer, back in 1985 and now. As she talks to the press, the former sheriff packs up his kids and drives away. The widower is heading toward a new start and leaving Iron Hill.

Marla is healing after Marla’s attack. Lily is coloring a picture.  She pauses and watches as the television show “Candle Cove” comes on. Mike enters the room and turns the television off.

There is a flashback to the day that Mike dies.  Marla pinches his nostrils shut and covers his mouth with her hand. She kills him in order to protect Lily and the world from Eddie’s power.

It is a shocking moment, but not altogether too unexpected.  All of Iron Hill can breathe a sigh of relief although Marla looks a bit troubled.

The slow almost dream-like presentation of the show’s finale, meant the tension never really let up. It seemed certain that the pint-sized new sheriff was going to be attacked by Booth’s children. In the end, however, she avoids harm and comes across as another local hero who defeats the evil controlling  the area and its children.

Mike tricks Eddie by replaying that card game where he cheated. Tantamount to playing chess with the grim reaper, this time Mike plays fairly and Eddie wins the game but loses the battle. He is stuck in Candle Cove with Mike.

Channel Zero: Candle Cove - Season 1

The former sheriff, whose wife the children killed, takes his two kids away from Iron Hill. Mike, lives on through Lily, who sees her father turn off Candle Cove when it plays on the television.

Channel Zero: Candle Cove ends with a slight whimper and a sigh. The climax of the finale is a bit of an understatement.  The only real violence comes from two middle-aged women who fight in the wood.

The most disturbing scenes deal with Mike facing the Skin Taker. Once as a burning entity in the hallway and later when the creature shoves sticks into its face and eye.

The series was easily one of the creepiest and most disturbing on television.  Kudos to all the players and show creator Nick Antosca. Only one real question remains, was Marla somehow “touched” by Candle Cove?

Cast:

Timeless: The Watergate Tape – Rittenhouse (Review)

 Timeless - Season 1

Timeless follows up The Alamo with a relatively short jaunt back to 1972 and the Watergate scandal. This episode got off to a shaky start with President Richard Nixon repeating that they needed to get the “doc.”

Presumably only the television audience were able to ascertain immediately that Nixon was not on about a document.

There are a few problems with this episode. For one thing it suddenly swerves into 12 Monkeys territory with the phone number given to Rufus.  It becomes even more like the 1995 film when the Rittenhouse guy turns out to be the voice on the other end of the line back in 1972.

A further twist is that the Rittenhouse boogeyman is Lucy’s biological father.

The best line in the episode went to Sakina Jaffrey’s character. Wyatt complains that he looks like Greg Brady. Agent Christopher responds:

“Well, go find Marcia and Peter and get going.”

(Another cute ’70’s reference comes from “Doc” when she looks at Lucy and calls her Laurie Partridge. A pretty spot on call actually as Spencer, in her ’70’s garb does faintly resemble the actress Susan Dey.)

Rufus observes that “they don’t have colors like that anymore.” He pretty much hits the nail on the head with that one. Just as some of the 1970’s fashions have disappeared, some colors really seemed to die out when the ’80’s started. (No pun intended.)

Little nods to the time period aside, the implication being made about Cahill, aka Rittenhouse guy, is that he was there on the day. Which in and of itself indicates that the Rittenhouse group also have access to time travel. Otherwise how could he have known to give a particular number to Rufus and be waiting at the other end of the phone for that call.

Of course the biggest part of the show had nothing to do with Nixon or the Rittenhouse legacy. It was all about trust and the lack of it.  Both Rufus and Lucy have kept secrets from Wyatt and from each other. At the end of the mission the military man states bluntly that he does not trust either of them anymore.

Wyatt also insists that Rufus will now be a double agent.  (Rufus then gets the second best line of the episode when he says “I can barely single agent.”)

It was surprising that Lucy’s dad is the show’s resident boogeyman. However this did feel a little too…The X-Files and the Smoking Man, aka Cancer Man.  Clearly Cahill is the big bad of the show. Connor Mason, despite his attempts at standing up to the man, fears Cahill and that speaks volumes.

Having Rufus directly affect a mission, via the Black Liberation Army, (a radical group made up of former Black Panthers) was a brilliant touch.   It allowed the pilot to take charge for awhile and shared a little civil rights history at the same time.

Garcia Flynn was able to shed a bit more light on his tragic backstory and he also revealed more about Wyatt’s dead wife.  We now know that it was his actions that got the woman killed. Both expositional bits of storyline explained a lot about both men.

It is also apparent that the two are more alike than Wyatt would care to admit.

The “Doc” was a walking, talking historian of the Rittenhouse group’s membership numbers and names.  (This fictional group who are silently controlling our world and its destiny sound amazingly like the Illuminati. Which again brings up our previous mention of Masons

Thus far, Timeless, has managed to keep story mixing pretty well with the trips back in time.  There are things that do not match overly well in terms of historical correctness. For example, not one person was wearing flairs or bellbottoms in the initial scene set in the park.  (Platform shoes were also missing…)

The flower children verbally accosting the Army guys was pretty spot on but if memory serves the cry was “Baby Killers” (A term brought about  after the 1968 Mai Lai Massacre.) Nixon’s name was not used in conjunction with the term.

(Coincidentally, the term was still in use in the early 19080’s in some parts of the country.)

Timeless is still entertaining, although the episode this week felt a bit bland. Of course any storyline following “The Alamo” would have problems after that rather grim episode.

The team is now standing on uncertain ground. Wyatt does not trust either Lucy or Rufus.  It will be hard for the trio to move past this one and the plan to have Rufus report back on Rittenhouse seems doomed to failure.

Timeless airs Mondays on NBC. Tune in and see what happens next week. The title, “Stranded” sounds pretty interesting if not a little ominous.

Cast:

Guest starring Tom Amandes as Mark Felt,  Mustafa Shakir as Gregory Hayes and Tiffany Mack as Doc.

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