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Monday, January 11, 2010
TV Round-Up
Dollhouse: "Getting Closer"
During the vast wasteland that is holiday repeats, I mainlined seven episodes of "Dollhouse" on my DVR. And it was seven episodes when the season really kicked into gear and we found out the show was getting the pink slip. The stories all seemed to be really delving into the implications of what the Dollhouse is, does and the bigger picture overall of Rossum and how events now are leading toward the destruction and choas we saw in "Epipath One" (at least if you got the DVD set). Of those seven episodes, the one I enjoyed least was the one set inside the Attic, if only because it felt like it was doing some heaving lifting to set up the pieces that are about to fall in the next couple of weeks.

So, having mainlined the show, I was left in the lurch to the point where only watching one episode this week felt like I was just getting warmed up. Of course, it doesn't hurt that "Getting Closer" packed in a ton of exposition to its hour, including at least three plot twists that you could see coming only a few moments before they developed. I'm referring to Dr. Saunders killing off Topher's love interest and the doctor who can restore Caroline fully, the revelation of who the high and mighty person is at Rossum and the restoration of Melli to her original personality when she met Paul. If the series were to continue, I'd love to see a bit more time to explore a triangle between Melli, Echo and Paul. Alas, that probably won't happen, but it could make for a heck of a novel or comic book.

Instead, we're hellbent for the finish line with Joss Whedon determined to give us the answers we all want. Of course, if the show had been kept around, we might get some time to explore the implications of them and how they impact the characters, but I guess we should be grateful Fox is airing these and not making us wait for DVD. Or never answering the questions.

I find it interesting to see how Whedon and his writing staff can put the groundwork in place all year and then slowly began to offer the payoff in the season's final episodes. Having Dr. Saunders come back and then kill off Summer Glau's character worked extremely well, though I've heard some conversations wondering if she was programmed to do it or if she did it to get back at Topher. Or possibly a bit of both. Her history with Topher would indicate she'd enjoy taking this away from him and that she could be the petty and vindictive. It also made me wonder if there was some kind of history (romantically) between Topher and Saunders. Or if she had feelings and he was pre-season-two Topher and unable to respond.

The other huge revelation that Boyd is actually Clyde, who is the head honcho of Rossum, I'm not quite as sold on. As the flashbacks revealed the history of Caroline and how she got into Rossum's sphere of influence, I figured it had to be a familar face. I wasn't quite prepared for it to be Boyd and it certainly opens up some interesting questions that hopefully we'll get the answers to this week. My willingness to declare it a good or a bad move depends a lot on what happens in the final two episodes, though I'm not willing to discount that Boyd could be a doll himself. I want to go back and see if he was around Topher's remote shutdown device at any point when it was used.

Heroes: "Upon This Rock" & "Let in Bleed"
As I watched these two episodes, I kept asking myself one thing--why am I bothering? I'm not the type of person who generally likes to fast forward through shows when I'm first watching them, but I can't tell you how many times I was tempted to do so here. In fact, I could easily have skipped all the Nathan funeral scenes. I realize the characters are just now coming to terms with his loss, but he's been dead since the end of season three and we've had time to adjust to the fact as viewers. In fact, I think Adrian Passdar is better off for being off the show.

But the real frustration comes in how the show can't seem to follow its own continuity. I refer specifically to Emma, whose powers seems to morph into whatever the episode needs it to be at the time. She can see sounds and now the power can draw fellow people with abilities to her....huh? If so, why hasn't that been a side effect of it until now. Or was it Samuel somehow manipulating and using her power to his own greater end? The show could and should answer these questions but yet it doesn't really bother. It seems to not think beyond the current script and episode, which would be fine if it were an episodic series. Unfortunately, it's a serialized thing and is supposed to reward us for paying attention to details.

Meanwhile, we have Sylar who apparently is now obsessed with Claire again. Ummm, we did that already didn't we? I still say that they'd be better off to kill off at least half the cast, including Sylar, Claire, Peter Patrelli and Hiro.

Speaking of Hiro, has everyone forgotten that Peter went to New Orleans to get the healing power to use on Hiro? If I were Hiro, I'd be kind of annoyed that Peter randomly took on some new power before he healed me as he said he'd do....oh wait, that would involve continuity beyond an episode and a half....

Chuck: "Chuck vs. the Pink Slip"

As most of you know, I love "Chuck." Season two was a think of beauty and the news that season three was getting a green light was cause for much rejoicing on my part. And given that we've upgraded Chuck and we might see him finally get to begin embracing the life he so desparately wanted and was growing toward at the end of last year, I was eager for season three to begin.

First up, we get "Chuck vs. the Pink Slip" which was good, but not great. In a lot of ways it had to do a lot of heavy lifting and get everyone back into place after last year's finale. We had to find a way to continue the Chuck and Sarah tension, we had to get the team back together and we had to explore Chuck's ability (or lack of) to control the new Intersect. In a lot of ways, this one felt like a big laundry list of "to do"s and hopefully as the season now gets underway, we'll see something better come along. Because I hate to say it, but I didn't love this one.

A lot of it was due to Chuck himself. Chuck was growing into his role as the spy last year that it feels like we took a big step backward here as a way to throw another roadblock between Chuck and Sarah. And surely the Chuck who listened to his dad's heart-to-hearts last year wouldn't have broken Sarah's heart in the way he did here...would he?

I've only seen the first part (as of this writing) so maybe we get more about this in the next couple of installments. I hope so.

That said, there's still fun to be had here. Seeing "Chuck" learn how to use his new powers is fun, though I wish we'd seen more of his training. Also, Casey getting to use the big gun and save Chuck and Sarah was a nice moment for the show.

Hopefully there's more fun to be had as season three continues. I'm still firmly along for the ride and I encourage you to join in. With the news that Leno is gone, if we can get some solid viewing figures for "Chuck" we might even get a season four...

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posted by Michael Hickerson at 1/11/2010 02:12:00 PM | |
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