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.

Gotham: This Ball of Mud and Meanness – We all Scream for Ice Cream (Review)

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Gotham: This Ball of Mud and Meanness may have been a reality check for Bruce Wayne, but in other areas the black comic touches were to scream for, like ice cream, for instance. There were many quirky and odd things going on. Lori Petty as Jerry, the “Joker” makeup and strange Ellen DeGenres type delivery, a mountainous street villain called CupCake and Nygma moving swiftly into Riddler mode.

While all these things were part and parcel of the Heller-verse of Gotham pre Batman and therefore not too surprising, the tale of Penguin’s rehab manages to almost overtake the main storyline of Bruce Wayne taking his gun to town. Or more accurately Matches Malone’s apartment.

Line of the episode goes to Michael Bowen as Matches:

Matches: “I kill all kind of folks. Just about every way you can. Rich, poor, guilty, innocent. By hand, by blade, by gun. Burn just one guy to death, they call you Matches the rest of your days.”

Gotham-ep214_scn22_25_26pt_6098_hires1

Back to Penguin’s therapy. It is odd to see Cobblepot turned into a cringing inmate with a kicked-dog demeanor.  While it is tempting to think that Strange has broken the villain, one only has to see the real distress in his eye when the doc mentions therapy to believe that Oswald is playing Hugo.

The “ice cream test”  was brilliantly funny. The delivery of the line by Strange (BD Wong)  dredged up images of some warped psycho test and instead there is Cobblepot limping into the chow hall with a big ball of ice cream on his tin tray. Cue the biggest chap in the room pitching a fit because he has no ice cream.

The follow-up to the therapy has Oswald let into a room. This quickly turns into outright comedy as the second Cobblepot spies the big ice cream goon in a chair, he turns on a dime and begins pounding the door to be let out. He then grabs the knife and offers to cut the big fella loose.

Penguin then gives the guy a glass of water.  Strange and Miss Peabody applaud his move.

Equally amusing is the mosh pit capture of Jim Gordon so Bruce Wayne can escape the club where he meets Jerry.

This episode of Gotham is not all laughs and giggles however. When Wayne finally confronts Matches he finds that pulling the trigger on the pistol is too hard. Why? Well, the boy expected to see a full-on monster in that apartment.

Instead, Bruce finds a tired older man who looks, for all intents and purposes like any other older man.  The tired killer knows what young Wayne does not. Monsters come in all shape and sizes.

Matches: “Look at me! I’m a monster. You need to kill me.”

Bruce: “I wish you were a monster. But you’re just a man.”

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Sadly young Master Wayne has not learned yet that men can be monsters. The boy leaves the apartment. Matches and his gun are left behind. Wayne meets Jim Gordon in the hallway and a shot rings out. Malone really was tired of it all and he takes the fast train out.

On the lighter side, Petty’s Jerry gets the second best line in the episode during her interrogation scene with Ben MacKenzie’s Jim Gordon.  She baits the cop, taunting him about his temper.

Gordon: “You’re trying to make me angry. Do you want me to hurt you?”

Jerry: “Could you? I got nowhere else to be.”

By the end of the episode Bruce runs away from home to live on the streets with Selena. (Can’t blame him really, Alfred is pretty capable in terms of protection, but Kyle is no slouch and much prettier…) The butler is distraught at the note he finds from Bruce and Nygma takes one long step toward becoming the Riddler.

It has to be mentioned that the Lee and Jim interchange where the M.E. brings up the question of the departed Kris Kringle is funny. It is a variation on the old “you don’t ring, you don’t write”  complaint. It this that starts Nygma on what looks to be the last of his more “normal” self and on to the green question marks.

Sidenote: Back to Penguin: And just how disturbing was that dream? Two Cobblepot’s and one carting a baseball bat ready to bash in dear momma’s head. It is to shudder…

Bruce Wayne is taking those first steps that will bring him to Batman  later in the Gotham-verse.  Meanwhile, Oswald Cobblepot is a free man with a certificate to say he is sane. Smart money says that Penguin is just playing along and that he will revert to form now he is out of Arkham Asylum.

Loved the music in this episode. In parts it felt very Sicariothat sliding cello bringing on a tone of foreboding and a touch of trepidation. Other times it was B movie horror, or science fiction, and all the ambiance gave the episode an excellent nuance to  the action on screen.

Gotham airs Mondays on FOX.

 

Autopsy (2008): A Cut Below the Rest

You know that a film just isn’t that interesting when you spend more time wondering why one actors’ hand is so swollen that it looks like a cartoon hand. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Written and directed by Adam Gierasch (Toolbox Murders, Mortuary) Autopsy looks great. The cinematography is spot on and the lighting and sets are really excellent. Critic’s raved about how good the film looked and how they relied on non-CG effects.

But kind of like the old joke, looks aren’t everything. The films plot was interesting and as slashers go, it was not too ‘unoriginal’ and did not rely on the old ‘jump’ scares that most films of that genre do.

The cast list was pretty good. Robert Patrick (whom I kept expecting to turn into the T1000) and Jenette Goldstein ( a real busy actress who was also in Terminator 2, “Wolfie’s fine honey.”) and Michael Bowen (who appeared to be reprising his role from Kill Bill vol 1). The film’s heroine Emily is played by Jessica Lowndes from television’s 90210 and she does a capable job.

But.

The film begins with a group of five friends who are celebrating Mardi Gras in New Orleans. As they drive away from the city’s celebrations they run over a pedestrian and crash their car. An ambulance arrives from out of nowhere and two ‘ambulance’ men grab the injured pedestrian and strap him onto a stretcher.

After putting him in the back of the ambulance one of the men tells the group that they should go to the hospital to get checked. The five friends climb into the back of the ambulance and are taken to Mercy Hospital. When they go into reception the nurse on duty (Goldstein) gets them to fill in forms. Emily’s boyfriend Bobby (Ross Kohn) finds that he has been impaled by a long piece of grass. He pulls it out and starts bleeding and has some sort of fit.

An orderly (Michael Bowen) comes in with a stretcher and takes Bobby away. The group of young people get separated and sent to different rooms  in the hospital. Emily is called  to Dr Benway’s (Robert Patrick) office so he can question her about Bobby.

We find out that the group of  friends are being  separated and systematically murdered by the ‘hospital’ staff and they need to escape.

I wanted to see this film mainly because of Patrick and Goldstein. Unfortunately the film itself, the cast of young victims, and the murderous staff just did not grab my attention or interest. Rather than being engrossed in the action on the screen, I found my self wondering what Robert Patrick had done to his left hand.

From the first frame of film that Patrick appears in, his left hand has a plaster (band aid) across his knuckles and the hand is extremely swollen. I’m talking ‘Bugs Bunny blowing-into-his-thumb-until-his-hand-is-huge’ swollen. I suddenly found myself  looking  at Patrick’s left hand every time he came into the shot.

The Essential Bugs Bunny

I also spent more time waiting for Jenette Goldstein to turn back up. The film was okay and fairly entertaining in spite of Patrick’s ‘Bug’s Bunny’ left hand.

I suppose that my main problem with the film was Patrick’s left hand. Every scene he was in I spent more time looking at his hand and wondering how he’d injured it. I also wondered it he had hurt it doing a stunt for the film or if he’d done it at home. In essence the film was not interesting enough for me to forget about that damn hand.

So my verdict on this film is it’s a one bagger. One large bag of popcorn will see you through this film and you’ll probably still have some left over.

Oh, and if anyone can tell me just what happened to Robert Patrick’s left hand?  Let me know, okay?

English: Actor Robert Patrick addresses guests...
English: Actor Robert Patrick addresses guests at the 2009 USO Gala at the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, D.C., October 7, 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)