Quick Hits: The Good Wife, Homeland, Fargo, The Leftovers, & Quantico

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…

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Quantico – Episode 1-02 America: Review

You know, when you sit down to describe a television show, it is not often that the term exhausting comes to mind. The exception to that theory would be if you are discussing the ABC-TV series Quantico.

Using the flash forward / flash back model that worked so well for the fans of How to Get Away With Murder, Quantico seems like HTGAWM on speed. We are continually switching back and forth between FBI Trainee dorm life, class rooms, lecture halls, and case studies. I’m talking about the events of 9 months previous when the new recruits arrived and began their training at Quantico.

There’s all sorts of alliances and rivalries, flirtations and competitions, and all of that is not confined to the agent trainees.

We have come to discover that there is an analyst class their as well. Plus who knows what is really going on between the Training Supervisor Miranda Shaw and one of the lead instructors Agent Liam O’Connor.

There’s Nimah and her twin. They are not known by their fellow classmates, but Miranda knows about them. Then you have Ryan Booth who is also posing as a trainee but he is somewhere above that as he is spying on Alex Parrish. O’Connor knows something about that too – as he’s the one running Booth.

Then we have Shelby (the blonde Georgian), who has a crush on the analyst Elias. Simon is set up as the FBI Academy’s first ever gay trainee but he has his eyes on Nimah, while another male student pursues him.

Have I mentioned Nathalie? She wants nothing more than to get the best of Priyanka Chopra’s lead character Alex Parrish.

We bounce around from lectures, to training exercises, to jogging. What we don’t get is seeing anyone study, sleep, or even eat.

I tell you it is exhausting.

Meanwhile in the flash forward present Alex has been named the prime suspect in the Grand Central Station bombing.  But, as she says … If I am the bomber why would I leave a room full of evidence in my own apartment?

That makes a lot of sense to me – but she has only said this so far to Nathalie. Alex and Nathalie also have a scene where they are fighting. Nathalie is trying to capture Alex, and Alex is desperate to escape. This was the single worst ever fight scene editing that I have ever watched.  The apparent use of stunt doubles and stand-ins was never ever more apparent.

You never saw a face in the fight. And when the fight became a chase up a fire escape then across roof tops, every leap led to a rolling, tumbling landing with each and every angle carefully arranged to conceal the faces.

I mean why have a chase and a fight scene that are so obviously staged and using doubles – which I understand, and then ruin it all with some crummy editing.

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Quantico – New TV Series on ABC

Did you catch the new ABC-TV Series called Quantico which premiered on Sunday night?

I did. I especially wanted to see this one because the lead actress, Priyanka Chopra, is one of Bollywood’s leading stars. I also saw her in person last spring at the IIFA held in Tampa. On the surface, it seemed like a bit of unusual casting for American TV – an Indian actress portraying a FBI Agent; but in the name of fairness, I should tell you that Priyanka attended high schools in both Newton, Massachusetts, and Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

As the show opens, a woman is lying unconscious on a slab of concrete in what looks like the very recent aftermath of a huge explosion. I’ll return to that shortly. But before we can learn anything, we flash backwards 9 months and we cut quickly to Augusta, Georgia, where a blond girl is walking about a large mansion which still has all of its content but the major furniture pieces are all covered with sheets – signifying that it is likely that no one lives there.

And before we can learn anything about her we cut to Oakland, California where we see the original woman from the opening, now jogging. She returns home, and we learn that she is on her way somewhere as her mother conspicuously tells her (and us) You’re going to be late for the train – I printed your ticket. But something is amiss. This woman had concealed some papers under the corner of a rug in her bedroom, and, moments later, as the taxi begins to leave, the cabbie says to her, Train station, yes?, and she says, No – the airport.

In my opinion, this was a bit ham-fisted. We are now thinking – why is this woman going to a unknown destination that she’s been very careful to keep from her mother. Call me suspicious, but while this was not all wrong it came on too quickly and seemed forced. Did we really need to know that she has secrets this early – basically within the first two minutes of the series?

Cut to the airplane which is flying across the country to Washington DC. This time the girl from the slab, and then Oakland, will meet a guy on the plane. It could be she is telling more lies but we will have to wait and see. He buys her a drink.

Flash to Salt Lake City, then to Manhattan, then to Logan, Ohio. In these places we meet a guy in the Mormon Tabernacle, then a gay guy, then a woman who looks Middle Eastern. She will need to buy something in the convenience store in order to use the bathroom. There she locates a concealed phone wrapped in plastic and hidden in the toilet tank. She changes from wearing a dark scarf into wearing a black hijab head covering. Before driving away in a different car than she arrived in.

We know nothing about these people, but you get a feeling about them that conveys that they are all up to something that’s not readily apparent. Now don’t forget we are still in the flashback mode – which places us some 9 months in the past. We then cut to a car parked in the airport garage. Two people are having vigorous sex. It is the Oakland jogger and the guy she met on the plane.

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