Still haven’t caught up on Tuesday night’s “Sons of Anarchy?” Well call up the dog walkers, dig up some dead bodies and tell that ghost to stop talking because that body count just keeps on rising and you might want to see it for yourselves.
By the end of last week’s Season Two premiere, Abbie had been rescued, Jenny had been rescued, and Katrina was still ensnared by Headless. Well, two out of three damsels no longer in distress ain’t bad? Unless Captain Irving counts (he totally does), in which case the distressed damsel to rescue ratio drops to an abysmal 50% success rate.
Can our heroes get the team back together by the end of “The Kindred”?
The world is upside-down, literally, as Headless and his horse canter across the moonlit night. Headless is riding towards a circle of fire, and sticks, and human skulls. Because he is nothing if not a stickler for evil traditionalism. Katrina is with him, and it doesn’t take long until she’s tied to the altar at the center of the circle, set to be sacrificed/married while her son officiates.
Henry pricks his mom’s hand and she is blood-bound to Headless. Gross. But right before they can be pronounced husband and recently decapitated wife…Ichabod wakes up. IT WAS ALL A DREAM!
Now we’ll never know who shot J.R.
But the dream was more of a premonition since Crane has been doing research. According to the codices of exposition, Headless is totally going to bind himself to Katrina in unholy matrimony. Abbie cracks a joke about the wedding industrial complex and Ichabod gets to be offended that the sacred right of marriage has been turned into a billion dollar industry and fodder for reality TV. Abbie declines to point out that in Crane’s heyday, most marriages were more business deals than love affairs. Because she’s a better person than me.
Instead she distracts Ichabod before he can get fired up into an apoplectic “Back in my day,” rant, by asking him where Headless might be keeping Katrina. After all, before he was the fourth Horseman, he was just plain old Abraham Van Brunt. Crane totally knew him as a person and should be able to figure out where his ex-buddy would be hiding. But Abbie can’t stick around to hold Crane’s hand through it, she has to go meet the new LADY sheriff.
WHERE THE EVER-LIVING HELL IS ORLANDO JONES!?
Abbie missed roll call on the first day of school but that’s okay because she knows Sheriff Leena Reyes. Or more specifically, the Sheriff knows Abbie. Mills was too small to remember, but back when Reyes was an officer, she responded a few times when Abbie’s mom called the police…or had the police called on her. The nature of the disturbances is left vague. If I were a bettin’ woman, I’d say they involved demons but nobody believed her.
Anyway, Sheriff Reyes is tough as nails. She’s dealt with border patrol and drug cartels who leave body parts behind as warnings, so she’s not about to be spooked by some lone serial cop killer who decapitates people. Unlike Captain Irving, Reyes is going to restore sanity to Sleepy Hollow.
Excuse me while I laugh until the end of time. Oh man, poor newbie!
While Abbie was introducing us to this season’s non-believer, Ichabod figured out where Headless took his wife. To the family estate. Wow, really? You didn’t IMMEDIATELY think of that? Worst. Detective. Ever.
Anyway, we get a quick flashback to the emerald necklace Abraham gave Katrina when they were betrothed, in case you forgot that Ichabod stole his best friend’s girl. This is what happens when the wish from “Jessie’s Girl” is granted. Your ex-best friend makes a deal with Satan to be come an immortal warrior of Death to avenge getting cock-blocked.
On their way to the Van Brunt estate, Abbie hedges that maybe they’ve lost focus on the big picture here. Trying to get Crane laid isn’t exactly going to stop Moloch from heralding the end of times. Ichabod points out Katrina is a super powerful witch and they need her help, despite doing just fine without her up until this point.
Look, I’m just gonna say it. We’re all thinking it. If Katrina was that powerful, she wouldn’t be playing budget Princess Peach. Self-saving is kind of what powerful witches do, isn’t it?
By the time Crane and Mills find the old Van Brunt carriage house, it is the dead of night because time in Sleepy Hollow is wonky as hell. Death’s horse — whom I shall be referring to as Binky from here on out — is outside, so they know this is the right place. Crane catches sight of his wife and is ready to bullrush the place but Abbie is all, “Calm down kamikaze. Let’s go back to Cabin Control and get a plan that doesn’t involve instant death.”
Our heroes make a tactical retreat. Again, pointing out that Jenny…boring old non-magical human Jenny…would’ve escaped from the Horseman of War four times over by now. Get it together, Katrina.
Speaking of Jenny, she’s back at Cabin Control with the Scooby gang to figure out their plan. Turns out Katrina’s coven of witches had been in league with Ben Franklin to stitch together a creature powerful enough to match the Horseman of Death. They called it the Kindred, but it’s totally Frankenstein’s monster. Wait, no. It’s Franklinstein’s monster! Unfortunately, they were never able to turn on their abomination because they needed something from the Horsemen of Death to power it. Without magical batteries, it’s just a super disturbing doll.
Meanwhile, Henry has moved into the creepy house from last season. But he’s not there long before Moloch comes a calling and we’re back in Purgatory. Like any lenient parent, Moloch finally remembered he should punish failure, but the message is kind of diluted when you wait that long to dish out punishment. Rookie parent mistake. Moloch is all blah, blah, blah, I’ll find my own way the mortal realm. Blah, blah, blah, don’t fail me again.
Last week, Twelve and Clara went on an old-school high stakes bank robbery with a cybernetic human and a mutant human. As you do. The big takeaways were the Doctor hates himself — still — and he is actively competing with Danny for Clara’s affections. Not in a “the Doctor wants to shag Clara” way but in a “the Doctor needs to be the most important person, always and forever” kind of way.
This week’s episode is called “The Caretaker” and seems more character driven. Off we go!
Welcome back to another season of “Saturday Night Live,” everyone. It will be a momentous year for the show, as it seeks to shake off the hangover of last season’s uneven, sometimes turmoil-filled year. But in this, its fortieth season, there’s a lot about which to be optimistic. The cast is smaller, but its core cast is essentially intact, and those that “SNL” have added suggest a willingness on the show’s part to explore new comedic voices within its venerable institution.
Kicking things off will be recent box-office hero Chris Pratt, with the sister of “Big Brother 16” Frankie Grande serving as musical guest. (I just typed that in case Frankie has a Google search on his name. Sorry, Ariana.) I’m actually writing this from the road rather than my home, so I won’t have the usual luxury of pausing mid-show when needed. So things will be a bit faster and looser than normal.
For those that have followed along with my coverage for the past four seasons, nothing will really change this year. I’ll grade sketches one by one. These grades will threaten the very fabric of reality for some of you. The only big variation: I won’t be giving grades to the musical acts. It’s not my expertise, and talking about those segments of the show really doesn’t give a feel for how the episode’s comedy plays out on a weekly basis. I’ll discuss the music in the ending notes, but will omit as part of the ongoing liveblog.
We good? Good. On with the liveblog starting at 11:30 pm EST!
State Of The Union: Right off the bat, “SNL” takes on the NFL. Chris Pratt gets the plum role of Roger Goodell, a role that probably should have gone to a regular cast member. Seems like that will be a real-life person that will appear on a repeated basis, no? Ray Lewis (Kenan Thompson) and Shannon Sharpe (Jay Pharaoh) appear on “State Of The Union” to discuss the issue, only to further confuse the issue at hand due to their past actions and current verbal fumbles. (Pun intended.) The message is clear: It’s hard for many on-air personalities to discuss the current plights of players when they themselves have committed similarly illegal/suspect activities in the past. It’s more biting than the usual cold open, which is appreciated. Not a lot of real laughs, but some real meat on the bones. [Grade: B]
Monologue: First monologue of the year, and first song during the monologue of the year! Pratt is demonstrably nervous, but it’s endearing all the same. Pratt’s real-life wife Anna Farris is there to help support him, his nervous tics, and his verbal flubs. Oh boy. This premiere either be a shabby-but-happy party in which attitude rules comedic precision, or be an absolute mess. Time will tell. Hard to see much good here, but there was little truly bad, either. It mostly felt like it needed three more rehearsals. [Grade: C]
Cialis Turnt: It’s funny when white people dance to DJ Snake and Lil Jon, right? Wrong. [Grade: C-]
Alive Toys: Kyle Mooney is a child who wishes that his toys would come to life on his birthday. And lo, Pratt and Taran Killam turn into real-life versions of He-Man And Lion-O. Unfortunately, the two action figures don’t know anything about this world, so things like “cake” and “sister” confuse them. Sooner than you can say “hormones,” the pair are masturbating in the kitchen. Like ya do. This is a fine premise for the sketch, but Pratt’s timing is so off that the sketch more than occasionally dies. Not even Ariana Grande’s appearance as She-Ra saves the proceedings. The mess in the kitchen by the end of the sketch feels like a visual metaphor for the last twenty minutes. What works really works, but I can’t help but wonder what another two days would have done for this whole episode. [Grade: B-]
Animal Hospital: Whoa, did NOT expect to see this one again. It’s a fairly cruel concept for a sketch, one that I thought would have revealed itself during its initial appearance last season. Unlike the last few segments, everything is crisply performed, but the idea of incompetent veterinarians gives me the heebies and jeebies. It just does, so this will never work for me. If it works for you, awesome. [Grade: D]
Marvel Can’t Fail: After “Guardians,” Marvel is super cocky. That’s why we are soon getting “Creatures Of The Cosmos,” “Bus People,” and “Pam,” all of which feature strange casts strolling through hallways to the sounds of “Hooked On A Feeling.” Maybe they have a point: I’d watch the hell out of “Pam 2: The Winter Pam.” What a silly, stupid concept for a sketch, but the sheer repetition here won me over. [Grade: B+]
Weekend Update: As a consolation prize for losing her anchor position, Cecily Strong returns as That Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started A Conversation With At A Party. She’s here to talk ebola, which she calls an “Obamanation” among other malapropisms. The last joke about her dad hating the selfie she took of them worked, but little else made Che stand out. Would "Update" neuter his personality and perspective? Luckily, almost immediately after that interview, Che lands solid joke after solid joke that sound like his stand-up/”Daily Show” brought to “Update.” Whew. Leslie Jones makes her second appearance on “Update” to discuss her singledom, which involves “Ghost Whisperer” reruns on ION. Whereas her last appearance was marked by audience confusion, but tonight she’s absolutely on fire, and the crowd is totally onboard. Finally, newbie Pete Davidson appears to discuss the monetary exchange needed for him to give a man oral sex. “I’m not gay. I’m a business man!” He keeps almost breaking, which immediately makes the audience love him. It helps that he’s immediately confident and has a perspective that feels fresh on the show. Some of his turns of phrase are just incredible. (“Once in the summer…so you have a GREAT summer!”) As for Jost: He was fine, but essentially forgettable. Amazingly, that’s an improvement over last year. And he and Che did team up for a "Cheer Up, President Obama" segment, suggesting ways in which the two can be a team instead of just two anchors occupying the same space. So good things all around! [Grade: A-]
Legends: Aidy Bryant’s character strikes up a flirtation with Pratt’s nerd, which is a meet-cute until it turns into a hip-hop verbal grindfest between the two. The pair have absolutely dynamite chemistry, and it’s never not funny hearing Bryant sing “Anaconda”. The sketch is high-concept, but simple in execution. There’s not a lot of there there, but it’s amusing all the same. [Grade: B]
Roommates: A similar Digital Short was cut last year during the Andrew Garfield episode, so God bless Mooney and Beck Bennett for trying again and succeeding this time. An incredible take on late-80’s/early-90’s TGIF-esque sitcoms, it takes the best of the Mooney/Bennett sensibility and marries it to some stellar editing and odd-as-hell touches. (That cut to the mystical castle made me laugh harder than anything else tonight.) As with all Digital Shorts by these two, this is an acquired taste. But damn did I love this. [Grade: A-]
NFL on CBS: A variation on the “Key & Peele” “East/West” sketch, this is all about the various crimes committed by the Ravens/Panthers players listed out one by one. A late appearance by Leslie Jones is funny, but the rest is “nice idea, mediocre execution.” I know Bismo Funyuns. I respect Bismo Funyuns. You, sketch, are no Bismo Funyuns. [Grade: C]
Video Game Testers: Vanessa Bayer (underused tonight) and Pratt are in-game characters that celebrate the completion of each level with excessive, amorous interactions. I could have watched about ten more minutes of those two melodramatically playing out their relationship, but apparently there’s not enough time. Oh well. I liked what was presented, but there wasn’t enough to take it to the next level that seemed incredibly within reach. [Grade: B]
Best Segment: “Weekend Update”. I have a special place in my heart for this part of the show, and it’s encouraging to see some life breathed into it. You could argue (and I wouldn’t disagree) that Strong should not have been the one to leave. But the Jost/Che combo is what we have, and it’s good to see “SNL” might be able to use this duo for more than simply sparing Jost’s feelings and not abandoning the show’s investment in him over the past few years.
Worst Segment: “Animal Hospital”. Just ugh.
How Was Ariana Grande? Great voice, but ultimately forgettable songs. I’m very curious where the current crop of female pop stars are eighteen months from now. Grande, Iggy Azalia, Charli XCX, and others are certainly having a moment now. But there’s (other than Grande’s headgear) to make them truly stand out at this point.
Overall Assessment: A sloppy start for most turned into a well-oiled machine by the end. Even if certain sketches didn’t work late in the episode, at least the show didn’t feel riddled with nerves and miscues. There were not many sketches involving lots of characters, which means we still don’t have a truly ensemble feel yet. But that might come soon enough. Plenty of time. I'm optimistic!
What did everyone else think of the premiere? Sound off below!
Well, here we are. At the end of the line. It’s hard to believe this is the last episode until April! What am I going do? The temptation to read the book to find out what’s going to happen will be strong, but I will overcome!
Last week we left Claire in a state of internal tug-of-war between her new husband Jamie and her first husband Frank. After an amazing night of wine-muddled honeymoon sex, the harsh light of day crashed in to remind her — and us — that she’s been sidetracked from her mission. As we gear up for a SEVEN MONTH break (whyyyyyyyyyy?), we’re going to see “Both Sides Now.”
I don't know how to break this to you, but all you need to know about "Big Brother 16" is the following: Cody won the final HOH, could've guaranteed himself $500,000 by evicting Derrick over Victoria, and yet he didn't; that's because Derrick is too powerful a player with too much intuition and too much command, and he wrangled Cody into feeling obligated (I guess?) to give him $500,000.
That is unthinkably sensational gameplay. It doesn't feel real. Week after week, we've watched Derrick move more pawns into place (or at least one pawn named Victoria) and choreograph a flawless victory for himself. It even feels like the look on Cody's face has been "silver-medal good sport" for about a month. I figured all along that Cody was this season's Shane from BB14, a studly gamer with a good alliance and no Machiavellian masterstroke, but he turned into this season's GinaMarie, a proud runner-up who couldn't even muster the nerve to argue for a victory.
So congrats to Derrick for creating the straightest possible line to $500,000 and never coming close to veering from that plan. He's the best winner in the show's history, and he never once felt obligated to be the most interesting player. He's the real deal.
To make the ending of this season feel more satisfying and less like the anticlimactic end to a season that wound up arcing right into Derrick's pocket, let's remind ourselves what we learned from every individual houseguest.
If your personality is defined by recycling, you will be trashed like so much non-biodegradable styrofoam.
If you are a woman with the nerve to start an alliance against the prevailing alliance, you will be ostracized by a terrible man. He will also soon be ostracized.
If you look like you're constantly wearing the cheapest available H&M gear, no one is that sad if you leave the game.
DJs are barely people.
It's only a good idea to be paranoid if you're also smart.
You might not be a great game player if Brittany can save herself just by muttering, "I'm a mother" at you.
If there's a prevailing alliance in the house and you're not in it, stop seeming smart immediately. That's why Victoria is here on Day 97 and Brittany isn't.
You can't pretend calling other people "fake" is a relevant criticism when you're playing "Big Brother. I think this show is called "Fake People Bein' Fake Lol" in Korea.
If you're being stalked in the "Big Brother" house, remember: Yikes, that's scary.
I'm just sorry about that whole situation, Amber. You go, Amber.
Also, you look like a silhouette of young Whitney Houston in the "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" video. Soar, dear.
Ring, ring. Who's there? My entire reason for watching this season, that's who.
Jesus heals all! Except the marks left on your neck from a chintzy bow-tie. He doesn't play that.
Why am I handing out life lessons when Jocasta gave us the best and most inspirational quote of the season with, "I've been with men! I've been with women! My past is my past!"
It's hard to trust a player who ends most of his sentences with, "And I also need a kiss from Nicole."
Oh, Zach. I trusted you until you called Frankie the "smartest, funniest" person you know. Then I didn't trust this world.
"Fruit Loop Dingus" isn't funny. But when said with enough gusto, it can be... loudly unfunny.
Zach is the one player this season whose problems would be over if he was given a juice box or a nap.
If there's one thing I know about Donny, the mild-mannered, lovely, quaint man who always told us the whole truth, it's that he's secretly ex-military.
I still think Donny is in a secret alliance with a caterpillar and an apple. They'll have that forever.
It's hard to trust a player who is ending this game with kisses from Hayden.
Mack on the women when you're a cocky, unrepentant dude? Get called a legend. Mack on a man when you're a friendly lady? Get slut-shamed on national TV.
If you're not the dominating member of your alliance and you're a woman, get called a floater. If you're not the dominating member of your alliance and you're a man, get called $50,000 winner Cody Califiore.
If Rupert Murdoch would sound ridiculous calling himself a mogul, maybe you sound ridiculous calling yourself a mogul.
Opening your eyes really wide is not the same thing as having a personality.
I give it two years before he's on the new season of "RuPaul's Drag Race." And may the best Victoria drag queen win!
Don't vote out your best alliance member just because he's a troll doll in Bugle Boy shorts.
If you have a Final 4 deal, that's not the same thing as a Final 2 deal, is it?
Here is all I remember of this person:
He didn't win the pageant. But he definitely won the swimwear portion.
This kid. This kid.
Your entire personality is undercover if you're smarter than everybody.
There is such a thing as "Big Brother" perfection. Even Zingbot is bowing down.
“I’m not afraid of the monsters, monsters are my friends.”
You can say that again, Gemma. If you haven’t caught up on Tuesday night’s episode of “Sons of Anarchy” then pop in those Skankenstein films and dust off those white sneakers because there are monster-sized spoilers below.
When we last left the gang at the end of Season One, everyone who wasn’t John Noble was having the worst day ever. Abbie Mills was trapped in a dollhouse with her twelve year old self — which is honestly more hell than Purgatory. Jenny Mills was unconscious in an overturned truck. Katrina Crane was being Princess Peach’d away by Headless and Ichabod had been buried alive.
We’ve all been waiting months to see how the Scooby gang is gonna get out of this mess. Because "This Is War."
With the fortieth season of “Saturday Night Live” just around the corner, we have a few questions about the upcoming year. It’s a huge year for the show, and we have some big queries for it before the September 27 premiere.
Chris Pratt will host the September 27 premiere with Ariana Grande as musical guest. They'll be followed by Sarah Silverman and Maroon Five.
Bill Hader will return for the October 11 episode with Hozier as musical guest.
And that leads to our Burning Questions...
Last week Claire — and the audience — were subjected to a harrowing experience. We got up close and personal with an honest-to-God psychopath wrapped in a shell of gentility. Black Jack Randall is welcome to die in a fire.
But with the help of Scottish Santa, Claire escaped…and was immediately betrothed to Jamie to save her from falling back into the British army’s clutches. So without further ado, on to “The Wedding!”
Full disclosure: By the end of this episode, I am still solidly Team Frank.
Instead of opening at the wedding, or with a flurry of wedding preparation spearheaded by Mrs. Fitz (because she’s back at Castle Leoch), we open at another wedding. Claire and Frank’s to be precise. Just grind that salt into the wound harder, Starz.
Frank and Claire are holding hands and walking past the courthouse when Frank stops. Claire is puzzled but she looks so sharp in that off-white ensemble that I’m momentarily distracted. Why is 1940s fashion so pretty!? But it’s a good thing Claire is wearing a wedding appropriate outfit because her beau just proposed. Why wait to get married?
We just learned a few interesting things. Whenever this is taking place, Claire has not yet met her future in-laws. Frank is far more spontaneous than I would’ve pegged him for. And he’s also romantic and cares not for convention. He just wants to spend the rest of his life with his lady love, the societal pressures of his family be damned! He pops the question on the spot and Claire kisses him…
…but we are never to know if they went into the courthouse before heading to dinner as the new christened Mr. and Mrs. Randall. Claire was having a flashback to a happier moment while kissing Jamie. At THEIR wedding. Awkward.
During some voice-over narration, our heroine tries to explain her current mindset. She compares her situation to broken string of pearls, with each pearl being a memory of her life with Frank. Slowly, each one is rolling away from her and into the darkness, and one day she might not remember it at all. As a happily married woman, this analogy terrifies me. Someone is getting a super long hug later.
While Claire voices one my literal worst nightmares, we transition to the honeymoon suite. Jamie enters and looks uncomfortable as hell. Whether this is because his wife has been on the verge of tears all day, because he has no idea what he’s supposed to be doing, or because all the boys downstairs won’t leave until the marriage is consummated, is left up to viewer discretion. I’m going with “all of the above.”
Trying to diffuse the mood, Jamie quips that only Tweedle Hagrid and Tweedle Dumb have to watch the consummation. In a delightful moment of time-forgetfulness, Claire sarcastically calls him a “regular Bob Hope.” Jamie — and any audience members under the age of twenty-five — are confused. Who?
Speaking Claire’s language, Jamie hands his new wife a decanter of wine. It’s not Rhenish, so she tucks in fast to get drunk enough to handle what is about to happen. Three glasses disappear in quick succession. Poor Jamie tries to save the moment by giving a lovely speech about their new life together but Claire just pours herself another glass, while maintaining a look that screams she’s either about to pass out or throw up.
Damn girl, you and Cersei Lannister are lush sisters separated at birth. Slow down!
Awww. Jamie thinks she’s knocking back enough fermented grapes to kill a small horse because she’s afraid he’s going to force himself on her. Claire is like, “Hahaha! I would never have thought that. Excuse me while I get another bottle,” before distracting her new husband from any thoughts of sexytimes with an impromptu Q&A session.
We are thrust into our second flashback of the episode as Jamie explains why he would even agree to this. Budget Ben and Dougal have cornered our lad in the stables. You can tell this is serious because BB has a huge book of law. If Jamie hadn’t agreed, my money is on they were going to beat him with the letter of the law until he relented. They let Jamie know that if he doesn’t agree to this, Claire is going right back into the tender care of Black Jack and nobody wants that, DO THEY?? When Jamie asks why Dougal even cares what happens to Claire, it boils down to she didn’t rat them out to the British and one good turn deserves another.
After laying on the guilt nice and thick, Dougal is forced to reveal the kicker. For the law to stick, it has to be a proper wedding. Jamie will actually have to sex Claire up…because just lying about it or making it look like they had sex is too complicated for these masters of law manipulation. I mean, she’s not a virgin. How would they even prove it? If Jamie came out and was all “Yep, it’s done,” who’s going to argue with him? Hell, pull an “Easy A” and have the two of them jump on the bed and moan to make it convincing!
I am so disappointed in their lack of commitment to Sparkle Motion. Even Jamie’s Fairy Godfather is all “Dougal, you are supposed to be anti-rape. man!” But Dougal would rather split hairs about “persuasion.” And just like that he is back on my shit list. I’m getting whiplash from his numerous conflicts of personality. Dude, just be good or evil. Stop acting like a three-dimensional person! God!
Back in the present, we’re all distracted by Claire’s cleavage. And if you claim otherwise, you are a liar. She is one deep breath away from a wardrobe malfunction.
Jamie makes another attempt to get the conversation back around to wooing his new bride. He says now that they’re married, she is safe. Claire has his name, his clan, and his protections. “AND MY AXE!” yells Gimli, wandering in from the wrong universe.
It seems to be working, they go in for a kiss and…”TELL ME ABOUT YOUR FAMILY!” Super subtle, Claire. But it works. Somehow she manages to keep her husband’s mind off sex for hours as they swap stories about their families and lives, all while going through enough wine to put Dionysus to shame. So long in fact, they end up having to light candles. Maybe even too long, because suddenly Tweedle Hagrid and Tweedle Dumb! They burst in hoping to find the couple In flagrante delicto, but alas they’re just boring old talking. In their clothes still. The boys are disappointed but beat a hasty retreat before they are struck down where they stand.
So, did Jamie seriously not lock the door? If not, rookie move man. You’ve clearly never had college roommates.