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  1. Airdate 2020.01.29
  2. The seams really showed on this one when you remove the family dynamic as the main storyline. I mean, I guess they had to somehow address Malcolm basically letting him get himself kidnapped last episode in a case he wasn't even supposed to be involved in, but still. We were supposed to buy the same people who just last episode were proclaiming Malcolm "one of us" and racing to save him so casually throwing him into the woodchipper and not wonder about that? There's a lot of hand waving and sure, let's go with that anytime the show focuses very much on the actual police department or police procedure that would allow anyone like Malcolm or Jessica? (seriously?) anywhere close to legitimate case work. Maybe it's best not to do an entire episode on that that also includes a long if predictable fake out of the department IA psych also being a super secret deprogrammer committing crimes. That they put dialogue in both Malcolm's and the good doctor's mouths about both being overeducated men too immersed in their work made it feel all the more like they knew they were subbing this interaction for the usual Malcom-Martin mind games and were hoping we wouldn't notice it was coming up short. The dragging out all episode about what "the incident" actually was was laughable. I'll admit to being a little surprised that Malcolm is accepting the whole "your dad was going to kill you" reveal at face value, even if I did like younger Malcolm's shrugging "but he didn't." While we know Martin isn't likely to give him a straight answer about it either, it seems like that's a conversation he would be having with him and gauging his reactions before taking it as fact.
  3. Pretty interesting episode in that we saw Bjorn at his smallest and most impotent for all that he now seems likely to end up with two wives, but there was also a sense in his farewell speech to Ubbe and Torvi and crew that he was finally at a place where he's ready to step out of Ragnar's long shadow and own his own choices and be the king he believes himself destined to be. The whole production of burning and then not burning poor addled Hvitserk, only to be greeted by uncomfortable silence when he made his big pitch as to why the residents of Kattegat should still want him as king before the always terrific Gunnhild basically shamed them into it, and then half assedly protesting that his wife deserved better even as poor sad Ingrid was on top of him all made Bjorn look so terribly small and weak. Like, this is what the supposed great legacy of Ragnar and Lagertha has come to. I agree that Gunnhild just baldly offering to make Ingrid part of the package is basically forcing them to make a choice out in the open for everybody to see and taking any of the illicit thrill out of it. She already knows that she's fabulous and that everyone sees it. Let poor sad Ingrid try to stack up against that and see how long it takes either Bjorn to tire of her or Ingrid to be just done always being the distant second-run wife. It's actually a fairly clever and elegant solution in a society that doesn't have any qualms about polygamy, especially for a king, anyway. I loved how Gunnhild very casually threw the final dig in that Lagertha and Halli died because of the bandits that Bjorn set loose in the first place. The Rus Viking raiders always make for great visuals coming out of the trees through the snow but I'm at the point of kind of wishing they weren't continually drawn as this big monolithic faceless evil. Still, the show is signaling that all of Harald's finagling to win the kingship isn't going to do him any good if he doesn't develop a head for strategy for dealing with them. My sense of Harald has always been that he's more one to align himself with whoever's usually better at planning these things than that he's any real strategizer himself and that maybe running off the Lothbroks who have consistently shown themselves to have some wit about them, especially after Bjorn went against everyone else's advice to come rescue him only to be thwarted for the crown, wasn't the smartest move. Oleg losing it and smashing the puppet was gloriously terrifying, culminating as one reviewer said in the broken puppet king laying at the feet of another broken king in Ivar. Igor was being a brat, which wasn't surprising considering what Ivar's been pumping his head full of, but I mostly wondered at the end of that scene how on earth did Ivar get up in the nest in the rafters with him? Hopefully if Ubbe and Torvi are taking up residence in Iceland, the story there will finally amount to something of interest.
  4. Finally caught up. As long as I don't think too hard about some of the more nonsensical elements of this like where did the cell phones mother and daughter are always on suddenly go and why were trying to barricade themselves in a bedroom instead of running for help outside to the reporters we've been shown over and over are surrounding the front door, this was a solid fairly tense episode. The FBI turned out to be all but useless because of course only Malcolm can ID the killer and save the day, even if he has to get himself kidnapped to his own childhood home to do it. They might as well have stayed in Washington and applied more fake spider eyelashes. The Gil-Martin showdown was great and you could really see the years of resentment and tug of war over being the father figure of record to Malcolm. Michael Sheen was really terrific there, slipping in and out of his self-absorbed fucking with everybody serial killer persona as he was mentally struggling with the likelihood that Malcolm was already dead. I don't know that I'm all that convinced yet that Watkins was telling the truth about Martin planning to kill Malcolm. I think it's entirely possible he may have considered it or idly speculated about it to Watkins as he said the chloroform wasn't really doing the job anymore, but he's also enough of a narcissist that he clearly sees Malcolm as an extension of himself and thus feels unlikely to have really had serious intent to kill him. Not to mention that his own child turning up dead would have invited all kinds of scrutiny that would have made continuing to cover his tracks that much more difficult. I'll be curious to see how they address this going forward when it's not a hallucination or the ramblings of a clearly crazy person with an agenda. I'm fascinated by the reveal that while Ainsley doesn't really remember her father or much of anything else about that time, she does remember meeting Watkins, even if she thought he was a ghost or imaginary friend at the time. Clearly the guy was hanging around the house quite a bit. I also liked how much Dani and JT were obviously affected by Malcolm going missing for all their earlier complaints/concerns about all his weirdness.
  5. So the witch from the FBI is trashing Malcolm right, left, and sideways for being "unconventional" and the first thing he does when he gets a chance is take off with a disgraced cop after the case he's been dumped from without cluing anyone to where he's going? Yeah, I can't imagine where anyone gets the idea that maybe he's a leaky vessel to be putting much faith in. Every cell phone has GPS. How does the NYPD not have access to that in a case like this? Of course he ends up kidnapped because of this because of course he does. Again, the Crime of the Week is a complete afterthought to more of the Surgeon/Junkyard Killer drama. Blind Grandma is a complete whackadoo accessory, and Jessica is just walking in and out of the precinct anytime she feels like it with evidence she then waves around on TV. Sure, why not? Ainsley went completely unlikable not able to see anything past her "career." Did you not notice the crowd of reporters at your mother's door? Maybe you don't remember them from the first time around, but your mother and brother surely do and probably have some feelings about living through that again. It seemed like whatever version of the interview she cut and pasted together aired at least a couple of days before Christmas. As goofy and implausible as some of this, I'm still getting a tremendous kick out of this story, even if I wonder where they can possibly go from here when they inevitably wrap up the Junkyard Killer story.
  6. I guess having sex on the floor is one way to get around dealing with awkward questions like why exactly do you have restraints attached to your bed. I get Jessica, even if it doesn't make her any less annoying at times. She's a socialite who seems to be very light on the social part of it because she's Mrs. Serial Killer. She has her own issues from that and her son is very very emotionally and mentally fragile as a result of Dear Old Dad's fuckery. He spends all his time mucking around in other murder scenes. And now she's just found out that she's spent the last 20 years telling him he didn't see what they now know was real. So she's hovery as hell and anxious for him to have any quasi normal experience. All I can think is that something has to be seriously off with Eve too that she's ingratiated herself as quickly as she has with this family and isn't going thanks, but no. I get that the family is still rich and influential but then maybe don't get your back up if you know what the guy does for a living and he actually shows you when you ask. It feels like it would almost be too much for her to be related to the girl in the box, but I did love TJ and his wife gamely trying to play along only to realize oh wow, he really is this weird and no it isn't a parlor trick. Don't really have much feeling about the Crime of the Week beyond it's a show that on the surface is about odd killings. Sex club is an almost obligatory box to check off.
  7. I get that Jessica is lonely and feeling isolated with everything bubbling up, and it must be really hard to make and keep friends when you're still Mrs. Serial Killer after 20 years but she's being awfully chatty with a woman she just met and only knows superficially through charity work. And now she's sending Eve to her son's apartment as well, the one that's only mildly crazy on a good day and may not appreciate this stranger barging in? The Crime of the Week is actually a lot more absorbing than a lot of them have been up to this point, maybe because they found a semi-organic way to tie it to all the family drama instead of letting it be just this thing that happens that prompts unrelated strife within the Whitlys. I didn't realize until the end that we never actually saw Martin this episode, but he still managed to be fairly present through all the discussion about his protege and the girl in the box. Can't blame Ainsley's boyfriend for looking at that footage and realizing that hey, while this life-threatening thing was happening to me after I was stabbed doing her bidding, she had the camera rolling for the story instead of focusing on me. I randomly wondered if anyone has bothered to clue her into the fact that it was all a setup by Daddy Dearest or whether she still thinks he was being a hero. She was clearly still seeing the original interview and his ties to the new serial killer as a story she could pitch, so who knows? I did love how the hospital was suddenly convienently abandoned and then it was just ... over like nothing had happened. Also loved JT at least asking about the phone and being, no actually, most of us don't have business managers who pay our bills where we might just forget the secret serial killer hotline in the basement for 20 years.
  8. All the craziness of this episode aside, I really did love "So you're telling me my children went to visit their serial killer father in serial killer hospital and it didn't go well?" That hospital seems dangerously understaffed. How did they only have the one usual guard in Martin's lavish cell as they were setting up and trying to conduct this interview? And there's no one who could keep crazy inmate where he was supposed to be to prevent him from stabbing people? I am glad the hospital figured it out on their own without sitting around passively waiting for Malcolm to tell them what had happened. For all her attempting to be the ruthless reporter with a plan, Ainsley's not very good at her job. She went in there with a personal agenda and then immediately started with questions she'd already answered. "You took a man's heart out to see how long it would take him to die. Why did you do it?" She also didn't bother to ask her brother if he was okay with using the personal hell that his life has been in an on-camera interview to bait their father or notice at all that she was being manipulated by someone much better at it than she is. Michael Sheen did nice work turning on a dime between quietly remorseful yet grandiose to scary rage to competent surgeon, and while I generally don't have a ton of feeling about Tom Payne's acting choices in this, I did think he was doing nice work struggling through his fear and trepidation in handing Martin the scalpel and his obvious relief that he gave it back without it turning into another situation. Of course Martin had a serial killer trainee because of course he did.
  9. Of course the kid was the killer. That was obvious from the jump, but the show's never really about the Murder of the Week as much as it's about how the case affects Malcolm's teetering sanity. In this case, he was so busy seeing himself as the poor lost child in the kid that he missed all the other obvious stuff until he was rummaging around the backyard digging up dead rabbits. He clearly wanted to be that kid's Gil Arroyo. It's hard to imagine after everything this family has clearly been through in the last two decades how Ainsley thinks dredging up Daddy Dearest's extracurriculars after all this time is really going to help anyone, but I guess we're supposed to think she's so tunnel visioned with her "career" that she's not considering that at all. It makes sense that having no real memories of Martin because she was so young or no real exposure since that she's got questions she feels like only he can answer, but as she said herself, it hasn't escaped her notice that Mom and Malcolm do remember Martin and have had varying degrees of exposure to him in the intervening decades and they're both pretty far from okay. You'd think she might see that as a tipoff or warning. I mean, really, Ainsley? You feel like the people most affected by him may have painted a bad picture of him for you and the fact that he killed at least 23 known people doesn't have anything to do with that? I got a bigger kick out of the serial killers' support group than I probably should have. The group leader just seemed done with Martin's bullshit. You know he has to be just exhausting to deal with on anything resembling a regular basis.
  10. So the previous episode ends with Ainsley meeting Martin for the first time and they just ... ignore that entire subplot in the followup episode? The Crime of the Week felt pretty convoluted, but I realize the show was aiming for fleshing out Dani Powell and I like the actress well enough even if her backstory also got harder and harder to follow, so whatever. Tom Payne was seriously going all rubber faced and bug eyed this episode to the point where all I could do was laugh. I get that insomnia seriously messes with your mind, but all this one was missing was Scooby-Doo ghosts chasing everyone through a funhouse. I felt for Jessica when she tried to throw a fundraiser and nobody came. It's a fair question as why the family en masse didn't all change their names or maybe consider relocating since money was obviously not an issue to avoid to whole ugly Whitly connotation. I don't know what to think of Eve yet or even what pairing with her we're supposed to be rooting for, but she was coming on pretty strong for a hostess who the desperation to be accepted was rolling off of in waves. Hopefully at least she's not a scammer, although I'm not even sure that would matter all that much to Jessica as long as she's nice to her.
  11. The Murderer of the Week was a little better this outing, which made for a stronger episode overall. But as always, I'm primarily here for the family drama. Malcolm was kind of an ass throughout much of this one, which of course is its own trope as you can't have a rogue cop, excuse me "consultant," who's always right unless they also don't play by the rules and are out breaking protocol and social niceties right and left. We get confirmation that he has in fact told Gil that he's seeing his father and not doing so well as a result, but does Gil also know that he's discussing cases with Dear Old Dad? How does any of this scream stable coworker to him? I don't think I'm familiar with the actress playing Jessica, but she was doing nice work here showing just how brittle and defensive she's become after everything that's happened the last 20 years. I've thought all along we were going to find out that she either found out about Martin's extracurriculars before Malcolm turned him in or that she suspected "something" whether it be affairs or BDSM or something and tried to bury it so as to not upset the nice life they had going, and my opinion hasn't changed after seeing that interrogation tape. That was nice framing of the shot, putting Malcolm in silhouette in front of the giant TV. Ainsley said something to the effect of oh of course you're worried about Malcolm when she walked into her mother's bedroom, so it doesn't surprise me much either as the only member of the family with no clear memories of that before time that she'd be feeling left out and wanting to find out about her father for herself. That she learned that he watches her reporting regularly when it's been stated over and over that Jessica and Malcolm rarely do only baits the hook for her. I am enjoying the supporting team of JT, Dani, and the quirky ME whose name continues to elude me.
  12. I'm here for the family dynamic and not the Murderer of the Week, which is probably a good thing since the weekly cases almost feel like afterthoughts. Oh yeah, it was this random grad student you're never even going to get a good look at it and he did it because ... oh, I guess he was stressed to the point of a psychotic break by these drug experiments they were all doing. And here's our "consultant" consulting with a person of interest about his own personal issues while he's supposed to be investigating. Sure, let's go with that. So yeah, I like the show, warts and all, because it's delivering the tortured family relationships in spades. I guess we're to assume the restraints have mostly worked up until now, but since the reintroduction of Hereeee's Daddy, not so much. Maybe it's time for Mom to go shopping for some upgrades since she seems to have all the family money and plenty of free time. Both the flashback and modern day Martin-Jessica interactions were pretty interesting and plenty revealing, from Martin telling her with all seriousness that they were affluent enough he and his attorney thought he could skate on 23 known murders to present-day Jessica telling him point blank that their visits were hurting their son and Martin basically shrugging it off because what about me? What about what I want? Me me me. It seems obvious from the red dress flashback that Jessica knew something hinky was going on, but I'm not ready to buy just yet that she was an accomplice or anything along those lines. As of now, I'm still inclined to either think she found out about his extracurriculars and didn't do anything because as she said, they had a nice life and when he was arrested she basically lost everything. Or she thought he had mistresses or something and was willing to look the other way. I guess we'll see now that Malcolm has realized something is off there. We never did find out what JT stands for. And now I know because of this show that you can indeed buy chloroform online. If anyone ever looks too closely at some of my searches, it's going to be hilarious. Or so I hope.
  13. Two episodes in, I admit I don't really care all that much about the Crime of the Week. I'm here mostly for the family dynamic because stories of families who live through horribly traumatic stuff like, oh, dear old Dad's a notorious serial killer and now he wants father-son bonding time are right up my alley. I'm not convinced yet that mom was in on any of the killings as much as I think she may have found out about some of it and chosen to keep quiet to not upend what we're told was a fairly upscale life as a well-to-do doctor's wife. Instead, she left her 10- or 11-year-old kid to stumble upon it and do the right thing by calling the cops and it's easier for her pretend that she didn't leave him to be in that position to find one of Dad's victims in the first place. I got the impression that she already suspected that Malcolm was seeing his father again and wanted to keep tabs on it because he's obviously not doing well. But then I couldn't believe that she and Malcolm would be sitting in a public restaurant openly talking about dear old dad the serial killer where anyone and everyone could overhear them in the first place. Putting all the implausibility of Malcolm continuing to visit Martin on his own as a child, Martin is probably a very abstract concept to Ainsley since she was only 5 when he was arrested and she's likely had no relationship with him since beyond whatever she might have seen in the news. I wondered randomly when she discovered the voice mails if she's even ever heard his voice since then. I'm trying to remember the last time I saw a man as young as Tom Payne in a formal three-piece suit. I did like mouthy detective (TJ?) suddenly having nothing to say beyond "was it weird?" when Malcolm tried to clear the air about Daddy Dearest, who was positively chilling in his denial about using chloroform on his young son. "Why, that could kill a child!" But sure show, he's got so many phone privileges for his "consultations" that he can fill up his son's voice mail. I kept waiting to see if he was going to clue Arroyo in that his father was harassing him, but no dice.
  14. Just now seeing this as the cast is intriguing enough for me to take a look. Tom Payne was completely wasted on The Walking Dead, where all the showrunners' promises of what an awesome character he was never really materialized as he hung around, killed a few walkers with showy karate kicks, and then he died. I'm also always happy to watch Lou Diamond Phillips pop up in anything as that man is aging well. I'm not a huge procedural kind of person, but I've seen enough to know that if you're watching police, lawyer, or doctor drama there's going to be a fair amount of stuff you're going to have to handwave away and just go with. I mean, does it seem extremely unlikely that someone as unstable as Malcolm Bright appears to be with his family ties is ever going to pass the necessary background checks to get anywhere close to this field? Sure. And the NYPD apparently just lets anyone who knows somebody on the force from way back work one of their ongoing cases? Okay, sure, let's go with that too. Our resident serial killer gets to have a nice office with all his old case files because he's got rich benefactors, one of whom seems to have visited him recently? Yeah, okay, why not? It's a pilot, and pilots are often clunky while the show and the actors are still sorting themselves out. What works here is the offbeat energy between Malcolm and his whackadoo father and the whole devil/angel dichotomy Malcolm has going with Daddy and Arroyo. Michael Sheen is obviously having a lot of fun with the role. The actress playing his mother looks way waaay too young, even if we're to buy that she's one of those very well preserved women of a certain age, but I'm curious enough about the family dynamic of living longterm with something like Daddy being a famous serial killer enough to give them at least a few episodes.
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