Quantico, The Good Wife, Homeland, The Leftovers, Fargo, and Blindspot are all on my current list of shows that I try not to miss. However with my taking to the friendly skies in 16 hours. I’ll have to give these shows less than they deserve. Instead of full reviews, I’ll give you some highlights (if I can find any) , and mostly low-lights, as well as some golly gee moments and mostly some gripes.[Edit] I am now in Minnesota, and despite the early beginning and the long day – these quick hits are still – a work in progress, and more meaningful, not so quick. Let’s start now,
The Leftovers –
Everybody is wondering what and where they all came from
Everybody is worryin’ ’bout where they’re gonna go
When the whole thing’s done
But no one knows for certain
And so it’s all the same to me
Think I’ll just let the mystery be
While those are the lyrics to the Iris Dement song, which also is heard behind the opening credits of The Leftovers second season on HBO,
I think those words are indeed at the heart of what this series is about. Which is to say and very much as the lyrics do – that I’m not sure, and I’m not in a minority when I say this..
In Episode 3, called Off-Ramp, we meet Laurie (Amy Brenneman). Nowadays, Laurie is out of the Guilty Remnant (GR). as is her son Tommy. Together they are working to destabilize the GR. Laurie is writing a tell-all book about her time in the GR, and Tommy ostensibly remains in, as an undercover. His job is bring out some folks from the grip of GR, and Laurie’s job is that she runs a group therapy which helps people deal with the aftermath of the departures. Her real task is to help those folks recover.
Laurie looks and sounds like she’s not only made progress herself, but the episode implies that the counseling work the group does is both meaningful and is actually helping people cope. Laurie may be out the GY physically, but she still has the silence of the GR, and the menace of GR, within her. So much so that it is almost as if the GR is choking the life out of Laurie.
There are three major shocks in the episode, and their interpretation is up to the viewer. Brenneman was great in this episode, and she finally has become a character in the fullest sense.
But the underlying theme, or what lies at the heart of The Leftovers is that all the remaining people still need answers, and are not getting them. I was disappointed in this episode as it showed that while Laurie may be out of the GR, she’s no where’s near being even close to being a fully realized person.
Speaking something else not realized at all this time, was Jarden, aka Miracle, Texas. So they spent two episodes setting up Jarden for us – with all of its scars, and blemishes, and secrets only to abandon the whole place this. Why?
I’ve no idea so I’ll just let that mystery be…
The mystery of what went down at the Waffle Hut remains a mystery to the police – but clues and questions are starting to creep into the picture. The Kansas City mob, with their designs of the Gerhardt business has made their approach. A deal has been offered, and in the words of Floyd Gerhardt – it may put us in a better place than where we are now.
And the question of what has happened to Rye Gerhardt remains unknown to the police and the Gerhardts. We know, but due to the bumbling and fumbling of Peggy and Ed Blomquist – the question could be answered, and likely will be answered down the road.
As for the Blomquists – they’re some pair. Okay, they’re not NBK’s, you know, natural-born killers; it’s much more likely that they are NBI’s as in natural-born idiots.
The show has offered us an unstated road map of where it is headed – and it is just a real treat watching Noah Hawley weave the threads together. Some of it borders on the absurd, some of it is silly, and yet. that’s what makes the show so delicious.
As for that road map – let’s quickly review where we are headed –
1) Joe Bulo. played by Brad Garrett – The bosses gave the orders to take down the Gerhardts, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do
2) Dodd Gerhardt and Floyd Gerhardt – son and mother. These two will be fighting for control of the Gerhardts, that is while they try to fend off the KC gang
3) Mike Mulligan, played by Bokeem Woodbine – he and his two pals are in the neighborhood as collectors for the loan sharks – they too are looking for Rye Gerhardt, and they’ve already crossed paths with Hank Larson and Lou Solverson
4) Lou Solverson and his Missus, Betsy – she’s sick, and she’s the real glue that holds the Solverson together.
5) Peggy Blomquist – she’s got plans that likely do not included her butcher block of a husband. But she’s the reason the TP went missing, and she has already gotten herself into trouble about that with her own boss – played by Elizabeth Marvel – because of the lack of towels in the Blomquist bathroom.
6) Ed Blomquist – he’s real single-minded, that is when he’s not being simple. He thinks things through but his problem is that he can only manage one task at a time. Watch for the late night scene at the butcher shop.
This was the 2nd episode of the season, and it was called Before the Law. I love the way the show is ever so slowly unfolding as it mixes macabre, murder and mayhem in a frosty and mirthful Minnesota setting.
The Good Wife
For my money, this show has gone from being an entertainment to now being on the verge of being an embarrassment.
1) Do we really want to see so little of Gary Agos. For all the screen time he gets, Cary might just as well be one of the unnamed sproutlings – aka the associates who do most of the work, instead of being a name partner
2) Alicia had yet another falling out with Diane. Of course it was yet another misunderstanding or an unwarranted jump to a conclusion by Diane – but so what. Methinks they’ve gone to the same well ( a falling out) far too many times.
3) The first two times the door to Eli’s new thumbnail size office hit his desk, it was worth a chuckle. As was Eli’s remark that with a few posters and art for the walls, and a plant or two, the ‘office’ would take on a whole new look, all while not increasing in size.
4) What happened to Jeffrey Dean Morgan who was cast as the doubling down investigator. We saw plenty of him last week, and none of him in this episode called Cooked.
But those are just the side dishes. Heading up the list of embarrassments – in other words – the main course = is the budding romance of Howard Lyman (Jerry Adler) and Jackie Florrick (Mary Beth Peil).
More Howard Lyman? Is that what the show runners Michelle and Robert King want us to focus on? After basically sleep walking through last year, Adler’s Lyman takes nap in his office on a regular basis you know, this year he has been thrust into the front and center of the show?
Now I’m all for geriatric crushes and forays into romance by the grey=haired set, but this is really too much. Then Lyman brings in a big client, make that A BIG CLIENT – the teacher’s union. Now didn’t that make David Lee and Diane Lockhart’s jaws drop.
But Lyman as a major player cannot sustain the audience. Too much Heshie will cook The Good Wife’s goose.
This show should be called The Valley of the Stupid. Now I really like Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison. And I love Mandy Patinkin as Saul Berenson. But Carrie has gone off her meds again. She’s bi-polar and she needs that Lithium. But she’s managed to take the wheels off her own vehicle while it hurtles toward what – who wants her dead?
And she kept this from her German live-in man friend Jonas until it had been up and running, or is it down and running for three days. Don’t ask…
While Carrie is now unhinged again, Saul is rolling along at high-speed. First he is tasked with finding out who is responsible for the data breach. A head must roll. And the chosen head sits on the shoulders of Allison Carr (the Berlin Chief of Station and played by Miranda Otto). She’s not fired but she has to leave Berlin and head back to Langley for re-assignment.
She’s not going to take this lying down so she dials up Dar Adal and suggests that he can Saul instead of her. Of course this blows up on her. Saul storms in and tells her that he and Dar go back 30 plus years. Did you really think he wouldn’t tell me?
Of course Dar told Saul. So what happens next – Carr remains Berlin Chief of Station (she keeps her job) and it turns out that she and Saul are sleeping together. Now no one saw that coming, and evidently this has been going on for a while.
How do we know this – what else is there to think when Carr gets into bed and says to Saul – let’s just sleep tonight. Which is a shorter way of saying – This time, let’s just sleep.
Then there’s the two hackers – frick and frack. The one working with the reporter finally delivers a thumb drive to her. Supposedly it is the rest of the documents. Only it isn’t. Meanwhile the other hacker is trying to sell the same documents to the Russians.
I don’t see it as being even remotely possible. One hacker killing the other so as to not have split the proceeds from any sale seemed more appropriate instead of the way it went down with the two idiots each trying to sell the documents both independently and secretly.
Then again maybe they are escapees from the aforementioned Valley of the Stupid.
But as you recall, Peter Quinn is now working as Saul’s off-the-books sicario. Peter knows that Saul is involved but he has no idea as to who else. But here it gets really dumb –
1) Why would Saul want have Carrie killed? Because he can’t find her? Could Carrie really work for Otto During’s firm and they don’t have Jonas’s country house address?
2) Did Saul or whoever really think that Peter would just take out Carrie no questions asked.
3) On what planet does the killer assigned to take out the target approach a country house deep in the woods with the headlights on his car sending out sort of an early warning?
4) Didn’t Carrie swing her high-powered rifle about too much after getting the approaching killer in her sights. She didn’t know it would be Quinn. Then again Quinn didn’t know that Carrie had gone off her meds. He also didn’t know that she’d be lying in the tall grass waiting for someone to come and kill her.
5) Yet he wore Kevlar…
6) And he was able come up on Carrie by outflanking her after she thought whoever it was had been hit by her bullet.
6) Of course Quinn doesn’t kill her – Instead he gives her the knockout drops via an injectable.
Or is all of this a dream, or another elaborate plan/scam by Saul and Carrie.
I liked the fact of Carrie’s hallucinations – bringing back Aayan from last season came out of nowhere. Who’s next, Brody? But it did prove the point – Carrie is out of it.
There’s not much to say. Priyanka is great as Alex. But stop the merry-go-round that this show has put us on. I want to get off. With the shifting loyalties, the fact the bosses are each working side deals with one or more of the recruits – leaves us all confused and worn out. Not to mention that if you can’t trust anyone, why care about the outcome?
Blindspot – Doesn’t make the cut this week, as I just couldn’t squeeze in hour to see this.