Con Man: Season Two Finale – Shock-A-Con Shocker (Review)

Ep 11 Alan and Laura

The hilarity continues right up till the last moments of the season two finale of Con Man. Episode 11 sees Wray struggling to meet with Finley and Bobbie’s increasingly desperate attempts to take the final Hemsworth out of the picture.

Wray’s agent is not the only person dead set on removing Girth, Stutter is still creeping around with his camouflaged guns.  Later, he shows Wray that his adapted sniper rifle shoots bean bags.

Nerely spends a good bit of time “saving” Tiffany from drinking. He ends up imbibing a good bit of alcohol before going over to speak with Finley. After Tiffany orders Wray a tequila, she reorganizes his shirt. After pulling out the tail of the garment she advises him to “show your tits.”

Yanking open the top buttons of Wray’s shirt reveals a hairy chest. Tiffany is shocked and confused. “What is that?” she asks and upon being told it is chest hair, remarks wonderingly “it grows there?” “Put it away,” she says, “I don’t like it.”

Wray replies that he could if she had not ripped off his buttons. He then goes to speak with Finley only to find Girth there already. As the two men start to compete for Farrow’s attention, Bobbie shows up in an ethnic costume to divert Hemsworth.

Ep 11 Mindy Sterling
MINDY STERLING AS BOBBIE

The diversion turns into a billabong attack which wounds the actor over his right eye. Bobbie flees and Girth goes to give himself a “stitcheridoo” with some dental floss and a stick.

Wray talks to Finley and Brenda comes up to support him for the lead role in “Doctor Cop Lawyer.” She then attacks a woman serving cocktails dressed in black. Finley gets drink spilt on her back and leaves. Wray is startled by a camouflaged Stutter, whose sniper rifle cleared the room when it went off accidentally earlier.

Episode 12 starts off brilliantly with Wray talking to John the bartender. Nerely believes that he is really Casper Van Dien, after he tells of a boy who dares to dream big.  The entire interaction turn out to be a dream which ends with Wray screaming.

(Kudos to Tudyk and his team for getting Van Dien’s Starship Trooper co-star Dina Meyer for that split second cameo.)

Realizing that he is missing the “Spectrum” board Wray rushes across the comic con floor. He stumbles across Girth, who has stitched up his wound with cinnamon dental floss, and the two almost have a fight.

Ep 12 Liam and Alan
Garth Hemsworth and Wray Nerely

Nerely rushes off before things get physical and Hemsworth chases after Wray.  The two enter the recently closed down “Obstacle Corpse,” following closely behind Brenda who rushes through without a scratch, and Stutter shoots Nerely with a beanbag round.

Girth saves Wray but loses out on the lead in “Doctor Cop Lawyer.” Wray gets the part and learns that shooting on the new series starts on September 15. He gets cast because Finley Farrow believes he is “broken” a quality that she insists is crucial to the character.

Wray makes it to the panel and while struggling to control his contempt for his former cast mates he pays lip service to the idea of the movie. He then goes about the long process of insulting everyone, including fans of the show.

Jack reveals that shooting on the movie will start on September 15 and Wray somewhat spectacularly undergoes a meltdown on stage. He tells the world that he will not be doing the film and his old pal Jack Moore is hurt and a little bit angry.

Ep 12 Nathan
Jack Moore

Tiffany sobers up long enough to recommend moving the start date of the movie to allow Wray to do both projects. Before Jack moves things on to the Q&A portion of the panel, he texts his agent telling him he now wants the lead role in “Doctor Cop Lawyer.”

The last two episodes of Con Man brought everything together perfectly. The long build up to the chase through the deadly obstacle course, that mic drop moment and Wray’s decision to drop the “Spectrum” movie role left Nerely right back where he started. Still unhappy with where his career has  headed since “Spectrum” the television show was cancelled.

A lot of comedy moments were scattered throughout the two episodes. The Shock-a-Con/Talk-a-Thon battle between the hosts, Bobbie’s attack on Girth, that long drawn out fart from Tiffany and the interaction between Wray and the “child star” earlier were hysterically funny.

The sight-gag of Brenda rushing pell mell through those blades of death was also a brilliant comic touch.

Con Man ends on a flat note for Wray.  Somewhat tellingly, it reveals that the actor, whose best friend really was Jack Moore (emphasis on the was), really is his own worst enemy.

With season two ending on an audience member asking Wray about dumping on his old cast and refusing the role it looks like there may well be a third season on the cards.

There are certainly enough actors to keep up a never ending stream of uber cool cameos, think Dina Meyer here, and this fact alone is a good reason to bring the show back again.

For fans of the series, Comic Con HQ have set up a binge session where both seasons can be seen for free over the first seven days. Once the week is up, viewers will have to pay $5 a month, or $50 for an annual pass.


Cast:

Guest stars Ricki Lindhome as Janey Carney, Josh Dean as Rico Java, Liam McIntyre as Girth Hemsworth, Laura Vandervoort as Finley Farrow and Dina Meyer as other bartender.

Con Man Season 2: Episodes 3 Through 6 – Thath Thowbizth (Review)

Ep 5 Alan and Nolan 1

After season one of Con Man poked fun at the whole fan convention experience, as seen through the eyes of Wray Nerely, season two continues to look at the funny side of working in showbiz. It also takes a slightly different direction than indicated by the season one finale. It appears that the path to a Spectrum film is not quite as cut and dried as Jack thought.

The first two episodes included some moments from season one favorites, Dale, the “female” stuntman and Faith, the delicious, and funny, right-hand woman to Jack Moore. Both characters are gone all too soon but Bobbie is back, to stay it seems, and she has gone from Comic Con agent to agent…agent.

Jack has been offered the role of Doctor Cop Lawyer and he turns it down. Meanwhile Wray does  a commercial, being shot by Diego (who will be shooting the pilot for Doctor Cop Lawyer.). Wray does all his own stunts despite the stuntman offering to do them.

The two talk about the deal in her “spa” (“Hot grease!”) while she massages a customer and makes her plea to become Wray’s full-time representative.

Bobbie has the script and she pushes for Wray to read for the part of “gimpy sidekick” Dr. Richard Trimmings, aka Dr. Dick Trimmings.  (Get it?) The character has a squinty eye, a lisp, and a limp. Wray wants to go for the lead, Dr. Blade Slater.

Bobbie tells Wray that he cannot go for Slater as she submitted herself for the “20 something” dancer role; Blade’s lover. Jack pushes for Wray to do the commercial for Diego, while he orchestrates the Spectrum Movie.

Jack’s personal assistant, Faith, breaks up with both men through a letter. “Blah, blah, blah, self destructive, blah, blah, blah, sexual inconsistency…” Although, it turns out that the letter was not a “Dear Wray” break up note until Nerely insults Faith when she walks in.

Dale exits after “discarding” his broken arm and cast.

Wray learns that Bobbie did not get the part of the 20 something former dancer and that Diego does not want him for the lead role.  After being told by Bobbie to read for the gimpy sidekick, Wray complains to the health food bartender (Van Diem) who drowns him out with the blender.

Ep 6 Alan
Alan Tudyk as Wray Nerely at the audition.

Wray goes to his buddy’s mo-cap lesson. Jerry Lansing offers the class as an alternative to Andy Serkis’ course on doing apes. (“Get out of here you damn dirty ape!”) Lansing takes Wray through the paces of his upcoming audition and how to capture the character of Dick Trimmings.

After the mo-cap training session, Wray goes to the audition. Two Aussie actors let Wray go next and the casting director reveals that Diego is not even at the audition. He is, according to Cindy, watching via the smartphone in her left breast pocket.

The audition takes place in front of three assistants and a trio of children who are in charge of social media. Diego watches while he eats lunch. During the audition, no one looks at Wray except for Sarah, the gum-chomping girl who reads the huge Blade Slater part. Nerely has two lines.

After the audition, Wray becomes agitated by Sarah’s over-enthusiastic chewing and flips out. Enraged, he calls out the entire room, including the absent Diego. (“It’s anaphylactic shock!”) The director asks Wray to audition for another part.

Nerely then reads for the lead. Amid spontaneous applause, Wray leaves the audition and he meets Jerry Lansing all hunched over, limping and lisping, as he comes in to read for Dick Trimmings.

These four episodes were excruciatingly funny. From the breakup with Faith to the mo-cap class with Nolan North, each sequence had plenty of laugh out loud moments. There are also plenty of bits that hit a nerve of truth.

Anyone one who has auditioned for a role will recognise the scenario that Wray faces in his Doctor Cop Lawyer reading.  The sly dig at Australian actors apparently inundating the business was also funny.

Episode five was mainly a lot of sight gags combined with the brilliant delivery of Nolan North as he “teaches” his students to be a variety of animals (No apes!) and aspects of weather.

Dushku and Hathaway killed it in episode six. Huertas is proving that he has comedy chops for days as Diego. (On a sidenote: Nolan North proves once again that apart from being the master of videogame voice acting, he is one of the funniest comic actors in the business.)

There are some brilliant gags in this season. Jack Moore tearfully brushing his toupee, and that huge bald-dome, Bobbie and the whole health food bit, the audition piece, and Lansing turning up “in-character” as Dr. Dick Trimmings. (“Sorry! It’s such a great part!”)

Ep 6 Eliza 1
Eliza Dushku as Cindy

Season two of Con Man is just as irreverent as season one. There are a number of well-loved performers (from the Whedon-verse) who drop by for cameos and the comedy ranges from slapstick to farce.

This time Con Man is airing via Comic Con HQ, versus Vimeo. Head on over now and catch the fun.

Cast:

Con Man Season 2: Continuing the Laughs with Alan Tudyk (Review)

Screen shot of Con Man Season 2

Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion are back for the second season of Con Man. The tale of the “also ran” actor, aka Wray Nerely and his best buddy, Jack Moore “superstar” is continuing. Watching the first four episodes it is clear that the laughter quotient has increased exponentially.

There really is very little that we can reveal without entering spoiler territory, but suffice to say, Wray is still having difficulty living down the specter of “Spectrum” (The Firefly of this universe.).

The show’s star, Moore (Fillion) is working hard to bring the popular television series to the big screen. (This was part of the plot in season one.) Moore is focusing his efforts on reuniting the show’s cast while Nerely is still trying his best to avoid revisiting his past performances on the series.

There are some splendid cameos in the first four episode’s.  Dr. Ken regular Jonathan Slavin makes the most of his role as Wray’s agent. Returning season one regular Mindy Sterling returns to take up the reins of control, for her convention client and she is just as hysterically funny this time around.

In this second season times are hard in the “entertainment industry” and Wray’s romantic life is suffering as well.  Agents prove to be fickle in terms of loyalty to their clients and we learn that stuntmen do not get paid if they do not perform.

Tudyk continues to show that he has a definite flair for comedy, and not just the physical aspects of the job either. Tucker and Dale vs Evil, a tale of such dark hilarity that fans want to see it repeated in the guise of a sequel, proved that Alan has got comic chops for days.

(The actor has other comic roles but none were as nuanced as his character in the “Evil” film.)

Fans of Con Man season one will remember that Vimeo streamed the story of Wray’s uncomfortable life on the convention trail.  The second season has moved to Comic Con Hq and there will be a launch on December 6 over at the Paley Center in Los Angeles.

There will be a load of familiar faces. Geek pinup Felicia Day, video game actor Nolan North (who has featured in more video games than Carter has little pills) and Alan Tudyk, as well as a plethora of other stars, will be having a panel discussion about the new season.

It should be noted that Casper Van Dien and Mark Hamill will also be attending the special event.

Season two of Con Man delivers the same quirky and irreverent humor as the first season and promises to be even funnier. Nothing is sacred. From Brazilian waxing to other assorted attacks on the nether region, the comedy comes fast and furious with all the major players mercilessly taking part in self parody.

There appears to be another 13 episodes this time around and the show will most likely follow the four show format. (Last season featured releases of four episodes at one time, until the season ended.)

Since the plot line includes Jack Moore’s determination to make a feature length film of Firefly Spectrum, one can imagine that all the players will return.

Fans of Con Man will enjoy this newest installment of the series which premieres 8 December on Comic C0n HQ. Check out the trailer below and see if this second season tickles your funny bone.

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.

Castle: The G.D.S. – Total Recall and Blindspot have a Baby (Review)

2016 is the year for Total Recall homages, or at the very least borrowing the “message to yourself” plot device from the film. Castle: The G.D.S. uses the “pre-recorded message” scenario

NATHAN FILLION

2016 is the year for Total Recall homages, or at the very least borrowing the “message to yourself” plot device from the film. Castle: The G.D.S. uses the “pre-recorded message” scenario.  Blindspot has also used the device, something that was absent from the Philip K. Dick book that inspired both the 1990 and 2012 versions of “We Can Remember it For You Wholesale.” It does feel a little like Total Recall and Blindspot had a baby.

Sidenote: To be fair, at the end, just before the “message” part, Rick says that the whole Hayley/LA scenario feels like a Philip K. Dick story. 

While the main storyline of Castle this week is all about Rick trying to “find” his lost time in Los Angles, the serial killer plot line, which allowed one great cameo from Gerald McRaney who is rapidly becoming the face of Gravitas on television and a great guest spot for Summer Glau, Fillion’s former cast-mate from Firefly and Serenity.

Although in the intense of Rick Castle, his message may well contain the information that he has “done this to himself” (wiped his memories) but we find out the reason. (In Blindspot Jaimie Alexander’s character still has no idea why.)  Richard jettisoned his memories because he was investigating LokSat.

Before the revelation that Castle quite probably sentenced Kate’s investigative team to death because of his interference, he has to solve the murder of a deceased D.G.S. member.  The Greatest Detective Society, far from being the myth  that Hayley Vargas declares it to be, is real and its leader (McRaney) has offered Rick and San Francisco P.I. Kendall Frost (Glau) a chance to become members.

The catch is the they must compete to find the killer of former member Phillip Harris.  As Rick, with the assistance of Harley (Toks Olagundoye) investigate both the murder and Castle’s missing time. Alexis (Molly C. Quinn) is along for the ride and she also investigates her father’s  missing time.

Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) is missing from the proceedings, even when Javi and Ryan are called in to help with the investigation (There is a New York connection) the only other member of the 12th to be seen is Lanie (Tamala Jones).  In New York, the two detectives track down the East Coast serial killer in a pretty satisfying stand off with an impressive end. 

The two play a practical joke on Lanie that gets them both in trouble with the M.E. and in Los Angeles, Alexis makes a startling discovery about Hayley.  It turns out that Vargas is a lot more than she appears and that she and Rick have a previous connection.

A deadly one.

Despite the fact that the episode used the Total Recall “message in a video” device (sans wet towel) all the threads were neatly tied at the end. Revealing that, apart from appearances to the contrary, Vargas is a “good guy” and that she has her own reasons for working with Rick and Alexis.

At least according to Hayley she does…

There  is a clever twist  in the end where the Hollywood type who destroyed the Nikki Heat film turns out to be much more, and less, than a top notch studio head.  Interestingly, Castle’s father (played brilliantly by James Brolin, Josh Brolin’s father) is mentioned again in connection to the LokSat issue. Considering the amount of “verbal” airplay “Daddy Castle” has been getting lately it may not be too long before Brolin senior makes another appearance on the show.

After last week’s episode Castle: And Justice for All, where it looked like Alexis may be shoved to the side, Molly C. Quinn got quite a lot to do in this episode. At one point, it did look like Vargas might be a threat to her new chum, but that was soon sorted out.

It does still look like things may turn bleak, if not deadly, for Stana Katic’s character, especially if one reads between the lines and remembers that one year contract

The whole invitation to the “Society” as well as the competition between Glau’s character and Rick, with plenty of screen time for Toks Olagundoye’s character was entertaining and fun.  Any plot that enables the talented Toks to  show off her acting chops is a good one.

While the storyline of solving Harris’ murder was what drove most of the action,  it did allow time for Castle to search for his missing time. On a sidenote, the Lanie practical joke was funny.

Castle: The G.D.S. does two things very well. It ties Rick into the LokSat investigations solidly and implies that he inadvertently put Kate in danger. The plot also allows Fillion to drop the bumbling buffoon that his character has become in this season. A nice reminder that while Rick is not a “tough guy” he is capable of being serious and deadly.

Glancing at the upcoming titles on Castle, the season finale’s Dead Again, is a tad foreboding, but as it was Rick who was presumed dead before it may not indicate a grisly end for Kate Beckett as much as for the series.

Castle airs Mondays on ABC. Tune in and see if there are any clues as to whether Rick and Kate will return for another season.