Recapping Television's Hottest Shows with Monkeys as Critics
A major piece of the show's mythology is exposed and fans debate what they've learned
Two weeks in a row now, "Lost" has started without a "previously on" montage. I'm guessing that's because if you tune in at this point, and you haven't been keeping up, there's probably no way you're going to figure things out in ninety seconds of clips.
I'm afraid to go read anyone else's recap on this episode. Just watching my Twitter feed go by, I can see already that people are having polarized responses to this big fat plate full of exposition, all served up at once, a mythology download that explains a big chunk of the show's mysteries all at once.
That's a scary prospect for a show like "Lost." The time to put up or shut up for this particular game, and this season has been a long slow fuse that is paying off now in ways that I never would have predicted as a from-the-start fan of the show. Part of me is glad that it's really not doing anything I thought it would be doing at this stage in the game, and part of me is wondering what, exactly, it is that they're actually doing. There's one regular episode left, then the giant finale event. And that's it. That's all the time they have to wrap up the on-Island conflict, the flash-Sideways structure of season six, and everything else that's brewing, and I don't envy them the position they've written themselves into.
I've spoken to people who have intensely disliked this season's contributions to the show's mythology, and until tonight, I would have completely disagreed with them. I'm actually not sure what to make of the decision to tell an entire episode of backstory at this point in the game. This episode feels like something that we maybe should have heard at some point in season five as a myth told by the original Others on the Island, and it could have been much more valuable if it had been dropped on us then, if the show had been building to this longer. As it is, much of this year's legwork feels like it's been piled onto the top of the show here in the home stretch. Too much of it feels like it's just now coming into play.
"So you like showtunes? It doesn't mean you're gay. It means you're awful"
This week on a very special "Glee," everyone's in search of their true selves. Kurt ditches his identity and goes butch to please his dad, Puck loses his mojo (and his mohawk) and tries to regain his popularity, and Rachel loses her voice, leading her to wonder who she'd be without those pitch-perfect pipes.
It all leads to standout performances by a few Gleeks beginning with Finn, who displays a shocking amount of confidence in his unabashed pursuit of Rachel AND manages to teach her a Very Important Lesson: Quit whining already -- at least you're not a paraplegic! On top of that, Finn leads off the episode with a number that we should have seen coming, singing "Jesse's Girl" with some righteous, Rachel Berry-loving passion.
But even Finn's best Rick Springfield was no match for the dueling attitudes of Santana and Mercedes, who give Brandy and Monica a run for their money. And then came the second coming of Kurt Hummel, who gets not one but two SOLO numbers this week including a show-stopper that would make Gypsy Rose Lee herself proud. Everything's coming up Kurt!
[Full recap of Tuesday's (May 11) "Glee" after the break…]
This episode just moved pieces into place, so let's talk about what could improve the show overall.
Tonight's episode of "V" concludes with a scene where one guy we don't care about cuts a deal with an alien we don't care about. And that deal is one we're pretty much just finding out is in the works. And we don't really care about the deal either, even though it's supposed to be setting up the big season finale next week, the episode that's supposed to make us want to see the show come back from the brink of cancellation. Now, theoretically, this is all interesting, since it should have some big implications for both sides of this war, but in actuality, it's really kind of pointless. Why should we care? "V" doesn't know. It just wants to do some things that it knows serialized dramas are supposed to do.
[Full recap of Tuesday's (May 11) "V" and things the show might want to try in the future, after the break...]
The final four are chosen â€“ and one couple gets the boot
Boo, hiss, it’s elimination Tuesday. It’s time for yet another celebrity to set aside his or her bedazzled spandex costumes and slink out the door. Elimination Tuesdays are generally just a bad scene. Sometimes there’s crying and it’s always uncomfortable and a little sad, like seeing your parents doing it on the sofa or breaking your ankle on the first day of a two week ski trip. Of course, if a reality dance show really bums you out, that’s depressing in and of itself, so let’s just move on, shall we?
[Full recap of Tuesday's (May 11) "Dancing with the Stars" results after the break...]
Crystal Bowersox shines in the solos, but Mike and Casey have a surprising duet
Tuesday (May 11) night's "American Idol" featured a troublesome theme (Songs from The Movies) and a troublesome mentor (Jamie Foxx). With the Finals only two weeks away, would anybody from the Top Four step up and make a case that they're deserving of becoming America's Next Top Model? Or whatever it is that they're here for?
Full recap of Tuesday's performances after the break...
One couple gets a perfect score, but another could be on the way out
Oh boy oh boy oh boy! It’s the week before the semi-finals! Which would be much more exciting if Nicole wasn’t walking away with the competition and ABC didn’t plump what should be a one hour show into a two hour epic like it’s one of those saline-injected roasted chickens at Costco.
This week, every couple must stumble through not one but two dances. Horrors! For the second routine, the dancers must hoof it Latin-style in either the style of the '50s, '60s, '80s, '90s or the future. Tom quickly points out that the '70s aren’t included, which just strikes me as weird. Is there not a single '70s song that has a Latin beat? Or are the producers just hating on hippies and groovy music? Of course, the fear is the costume designers will break out the halter tops and bell bottoms, and if we can avoid that, well, that’s really for the best.
Yay, it’s time for a filler segment! God forbid we actually get to the dancing right away or anything! This time, the pros must criticize their competition. Erin gets slammed for not trusting Maks enough. Evan’s total lack of chemistry with Anna is noted without anyone pointing out that Evan is simply chemistry deficient in general. Chad is encouraged to move his ass. Nicole is perfect. Duh. Niecy needs to work on her technique. Double duh. I have learned exactly nothing from this segment. Except that the pros are too smart to be honest. Anyway, it’s time to dance, so let’s get this show going!
[Full recap of Monday's (May 10) "Dancing with the Stars" after the break...]
After two zippy episodes, Chuck experiences bad dreams
This recap is superfluous.
HitFix has Alan Sepinwall now. He doesn't just recap "Chuck." He *saved* "Chuck." It says so in the flash banners that still swaddle our site.
It's not like I'm incapable of disagreeing with Alan, but in this case, I happen to share his general sentiment on "Chuck vs. the Tooth," which was a worthy if not completely successful attempt to expand on the show's tonal tapestry.
I'm almost writing this recap entirely because so many of Alan's readers are taking him to task for not loving the episode, since it's unclear how many of my observations are going to be new (I only skimmed Alan's recap).
So why didn't I love "Chuck vs. the Tooth"? I guess that's after the break...
With Jack in possession of damaging evidence, Chloe starts to understand the scope of the conspiracy.
Confession time: I might go see the “24” movie that’s apparently in the works. It’s not because I’m enjoying the final season of the show, but quite frankly I’m interested in the idea of it far more than the current execution. The show has become a slave to its own conventions, and those conventions would necessarily have to be thrown off once a major motion picture. For now, the show’s simply moving through familiar beats, uninterested in making things new as opposed to simply trying to one-up previous iterations of the same plot points. A little more creativity and a little less gore would be a welcome change. Maybe even worth my admission ticket at the local cineplex. But we’re not here to talk about the upcoming film: merely tonight’s lackluster episode, which featured far too few twists, except when said twists damaged human tissue.
[Full recap of Monday's (May 10) "24" after the break...]
'Breaking Bad' tones it down after several episodes of high tension.
In pretty much every way, "I See You" is a deliberate ramping down of the tension that's been building up throughout the last few episodes of "Breaking Bad." This makes sense, in a way. The episodes of "Breaking Bad" that often have the least tension in them are the season premieres, and after last week's episode, most of the show's big storylines had come to a close. After a full season of having the screws turned more and more tightly on him, Walt was almost completely in the clear. The Cousins had been removed from the picture, Dean was going to be at least temporarily off Jesse's trail, and no one was going to be getting in his way. Walter White has been weaseling his way out of impossible situations for so long, that I was worried the drama would disappear from the show as the suspense did.
So did it? Well, this episode was a bit of a step back from the previous two, but it was also a nicely paced hour, with at least a couple of jolts to the system.
[Full recap of Sunday's (May 9) "Breaking Bad" after the break...]
The Final Three race through San Francisco, where one loser sours the finale
Sunday (May 9) was the finale of "The Amazing Race" and one team won a million dollars and two other teams managed to make it to the final pit stop, running through the gauntlet of their eliminated comrades, enjoying respect and admiration.
I should be wanting to congratulate the winners, who ran a generally decent Race and weren't to be blamed for a lamely designed final leg. I should be a little disappointed, but not outraged, that the only team I really liked finished second, never losing their composure or their sense of humor. And I should be generally ambivalent about the team that finished third, since they didn't have an especially admirable "Amazing Race" departure.
Instead all I want to do is make fun of one of the show's many losers, the biggest loser of all: Pathetic, bitter, ignorant, conceited Brandy. Yech.
I'm not sure if Brandy is at fault for being the awful person that she clearly is (or has been showcased to be), or if the show's producers and editors are at fault for not only giving her a soapbox, but for letting her ugliness be the final and lingering thought from the season. I'm almost inclined to believe the latter, since there was no reason at all why the season couldn't have ended happily and triumphantly for the Top Three. Nobody cared what Brandy had to say and nobody had to see it.
Thus, this season of "Amazing Race" ended sourly and that was the choice the "Amazing Race" producers made.
[Full recap, with results, from Sunday's "Amazing Race" finale after the break...]