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Tara Ariano

S02.E04: Dr. Linus Creel

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Nonviolent citizens become killers, prompting Red to suspect that a deadly psychological experiment has been put in motion. Meanwhile, Red offers a complicated proposition. Mary-Louise Parker and Paul Reubens guest star.

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Enough of the side plots...they just convolute the episodes and detract from the main storyline. I get that now in Season 2 they want to expand on things but they need to keep things coherent...so many loose threads gets confusing real quick.

 

Another thought- since it says we're dealing with a psychological experiment, will this episode reference Stanley Milgram?

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Ok, show, I'm done.  You are boring. 

I've watched almost every episode of The Blacklist so far, and have stayed with it because of James Spader.  The thing is, I just don't care.  Last season's husband/not husband plot was interesting and kept me watching.  Now i don't care if Lizzie is Red's daughter or Red's third cousin thrice removed.  I just don't care.

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Ok, show, I'm done.  You are boring. 

I've watched almost every episode of The Blacklist so far, and have stayed with it because of James Spader.  The thing is, I just don't care.  Last season's husband/not husband plot was interesting and kept me watching.  Now i don't care if Lizzie is Red's daughter or Red's third cousin thrice removed.  I just don't care.

I feel your pain. I just started watching the show this weekend on Netflix. I liked the Tom plot too...it kept me watching. I'm hanging on, because despite the plot (so motheaten in some episodes) I have a sudden FBI-show fixation (only on screen, however- not irl or even in print). Tonight's episode doesn't sound THAT interesting, however. If Megan Boone gets that long overdue personality transplant for her character- who really could do with more smarts, more ingenuity, and more maturity- I'll hang in a lot longer. Let tonight be the night!

Edited by nyxy
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NBC has a bonafide hit here. Lets speed up the arc, get Wiggy out of here and surround The Talent with some talent. She is sucking the life out of this show with her shit deadpan delivery in non deadpan situations. She is making me stabby.

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I see another Blacklister was able to get the drop on Lizzie and if not for Red, she might be dead. Stupid Red.

 

So, Tom is locked away if we go by Lizzie's session with Dr. Creel.

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Well, I did enjoy seeing David Costabile as the The Blacklister.  He was a great on The Wire, as poor Gale on Breaking Bad, and plenty of other stuff.  But Dr. Creel was just the same old, same old; and the story played out pretty much the same way as the rest of the "Blacklisters of the week" do.

 

As much as I love James Spader, all the stuff involving Red and his wife bored me.  Really bummed that the new husband's big secret was just that he was having an affair.  I was really hoping he would be more sinister, and we would get vintage Lee Tergesen.  Instead, he was just wasted in this role.  I would much rather watch a road-trip movie with Red and Paul Reubens character instead.

 

At least it's still better then any FBI scenes.  I think the only times my eyes don't glaze over is whenever Aram and Samar are interacting.  But, I don't want to get too invested, because knowing this show, one of them will probably die soon, to provide more drama for boring Lizzie (oh, and Ressler.)

Edited by thuganomics85
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I see another Blacklister was able to get the drop on Lizzie and if not for Red, she might be dead. Stupid Red.

 

So, Tom is locked away if we go by Lizzie's session with Dr. Creel.

Yes.  It looked like they want us to believe she has Tom locked away.  It's probably just a fakeout, though.  Wishful thinking on her part. 

 

I've been defending her, but her acting really was weak when she was pretending to be this fringe character in the evil doctor's office.

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Not one of this season's better ep's so far, maybe because I was totally distracted by Mary Louise Parker's uncanny resemblance to a former co-worker. I hope they tighten up this story arc soon.

Did I snooze thru something? What became of Berlin? Is he busy putting his accomplice thru a wood chipper?

Edited by torqy
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i had some faint hope about the Megan Boone character but i saw her on Fallon a while back and she is a complete idiot. she giggled through the whole thing, acted like a 6 year old. it was kind of disturbing. there is not one ounce of gravitas there. there are not any reservoirs of intelligence for her to draw on. there is no there there. which makes me sad because this show will never get any better. the creator and the casting director should be ashamed. deeply ashamed.

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Well for what it's worth I'm going against the grain to say that I throughly enjoyed this episode. As with Hawaii 5-0, I always enjoy a departure from the formula and this episode certainly offered that. I don't think Lizzie has ever spent so much time with a Blacklister without being a hostage.

 

There have been complaints that she is the worst FBI profiler in the world so I thought it was great that they actually used her background here.

 

Paul Ruebens was an excellent addition to this show. He's perfectly creepy as Red's henchman and I loved his indignation at the treatment of the dog. He even cleaned up after it!

 

I knew there was a Breaking Bad connection in this episode but I totally failed to recognize Gale beyond knowing he was a "Hey, It's That Guy!" I thought the young patient he was treating looked like Walt Jr.

 

So Gale's cunning plan was to get himself shot in front of the Senator who had no interest in his research?

 

Was the sniper who save Lizzie the same handsome man from her hotel stay?

 

MLP's character is reminiscent of Nancy from Weeds and her lack of logic. She's been kidnapped and tortured, with her body parts being mailed to Reddington. Reddington saves her, resolves the situation that put her in danger in the first place (Berlin was mad about some money, which Red got back to him in a previous episode) and then offers to send her off to start a new life with the husband whom she doesn't know is cheating on her. She decides she'd rather stay in Philly and continue to be available as a target for Red's many enemies. Even though she must realize the next kidnapper might cut off something more significant than a finger, she has set down roots and is going to stay where she is, damn it! But her husband has a change of heart and she relents after a second of questioning Red's involvement. Alright then.

 

I like that there's a bit more comedy in these episodes. The bit with Aram and Lizzie regarding her warrant was hilarious, although it is chilling that the actual FBI could poop on you in just such a manner and there's really nothing you could do about it.

 

What's up with Cooper? Why did he just blurt out all this exposition about secret government programs? It's not like him to have an IDGAS moment. Is his illness catching up to him?

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Even by the low bar I have for Lizzie, this was mixed. She actually seems to get a small spark of energy when they let her do something physical, but they really need to stop using her for exposition. She's just not credible as someone whose halting speeches spring from knowledge and thought. Also, not by grade or seniority does government employee Lizzie rate an office.

It was much better seeing how much more effectively Team Red manipulates outcomes. Minion Peewee's indignation about the dog was priceless, and I know Frank was written to be a bowling pin, but it was enjoyable watching Red knock him down.

 

I didn't recognize the doctor without his beard, but he was the evil former partner on Suits. And in other That Guy news,

I think the woman who's more important than Lizzie from the promo was Tony's lost doctor love Jeanne from NCIS.

Edited by Julia

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And here I was recognizing our titular Blacklister from when he played a dirty cop on Damages. Dude gets around.

I kind of love that Keen's pipe dream of unlawfully imprisoning her shitty ex-husband appears to be true. Way more interesting than whatever her connection with Red is. Or maybe they keep dangling that particular carrot so much that I just don't care anymore.

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And here I was recognizing our titular Blacklister from when he played a dirty cop on Damages. Dude gets around.

 

He really does. He was also a number on POI as a judge whose son was being threatened by someone who wanted him to throw a case.

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I mainly know the Blacklister from a phone commercial a few years back, where his kids wanted to set him up with their friend's grandmother. "Grandmother?!?!" he blurted out. By the end of the commercial, he asked them, "So....what does her grandmother look like?" LOL

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Wow, can we please make this just the Raymond Reddington show?  Everything he does is so much more interesting than watching the fibbies....

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Open letter to the Blacklist costume department:

Look, the only reason many people are watching this show is James Spader, so, for Pete's sake, make him look good. The hats are great, but lately, he's been looking a little schlubby - clothes too tight, too wrinkly, etc.  A little effort, folks.

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Wow, can we please make this just the Raymond Reddington show?  Everything he does is so much more interesting than watching the fibbies....

I would like to see his hiring process for "applicants". Simulations, Loyalty Tests, End of year Performance Reviews, Exit Interviews (Bang! You're Dead)  

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Vargas is PeeWee as an adult, and that's cool. So I propose we chuck the whole FBI angle and let Red and Vargas open either a private detective agency or a law office. Or maybe interior design by day, illicit and nefarious global dealings by night.

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Questions / Did I miss something?

1) Blacklisters have a purpose for Red; their takedown gives him information, eliminates a rival, etc. What was the purpose for removing Creel? Was it so Liz would gain her super-special medical records?

2) Any theories about her tests? Simply that she's a warrior type? Has a disease?

3) Naomi knows about "Elizabeth". Liz obviously isn't their daughter, and they married young enough that I can't believe Red had an earlier family. Naomi was in the dark after Red left, so Liz isn't the product of a later Red relationship. Naomi also doesn't seem particularly friendly/kind to Liz; does she indirectly blame Liz or the Liz "situation" for the destruction of Naomi's married life?

4) #3 implies that Naomi was aware that Red was up to something before he left. Either his relationship to Liz is above-board (daughter of a family friend, etc.) or Naomi knew Red was "compromised/dirty."

5) In Madeline Pratt, didn't Red tell a story about coming home to a bloody mess and a missing Naomi and Jennifer? Was that a lie? If it was true, then I'm surprised he knew Naomi was alive in the first place.

I'm trying to ignore MB and focus on the backstory. Has anyone noticed how much more interesting this whole story is in fan fiction? ;)

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Vargas is PeeWee as an adult, and that's cool. So I propose we chuck the whole FBI angle and let Red and Vargas open either a private detective agency or a law office. Or maybe interior design by day, illicit and nefarious global dealings by night.

I'd go for just Red stories of double-dealing and jet-setting, with Madeline Pratt, Dembe, Vargas, Aram, and the Mossad agent thrown in as needed. Traveling the world, sending Blacklister info to the FBI from the road. They could operate out of the jet, kind of like "Agents of Shield" ;). Maybe they can kill of MB and Red goes hunting for her murderers/Berlin (?).

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I'm trying to ignore MB and focus on the backstory. Has anyone noticed how much more interesting this whole story is in fan fiction? ;)

 

Oh, god, I wish you'd never said that, because if I hadn't looked, I could have lived the rest of my life in blissful ignorance of the fact that 3/4 of the stories on AO3 ship Reddington and Lizzie. That's terrifying.

 

Vargas is PeeWee as an adult, and that's cool. So I propose we chuck the whole FBI angle and let Red and Vargas open either a private detective agency or a law office. Or maybe interior design by day, illicit and nefarious global dealings by night.

 

I totally vote for this. 

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I assumed Naomi/Carla was not the wife Red talked about in that earlier episode, and maybe he got with her after the first one was killed/missing? And the way they talked about "Jennifer" sounds like she was her daughter, but not Red's? Yet she did say Jennifer thought he would come for her one day so she left. I don't know. I try to keep up just enough to sorta kinda know what's happening, but it's getting more challenging following everything.

Loved Peewee and the dog too. Also when Red throws the stick for the dog and he just sits there. "City dog." I wonder if that was planned or if the dog was supposed to chase it but didn't and Spader just rolled with it. Maybe they should've given the dog to Lizzie so it could keep her other dog company.

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So, the promo monkeys from last week showed how the answers to Lizzie's questions were behind that door, but somehow that gets postponed to next episode.  What a ripoff !!

 

It looked like they want us to believe she has Tom locked away.  It's probably just a fakeout, though.  Wishful thinking on her part.

Where was that locked door supposed to be anyway -- in Lizzie's secret lair in a hollowed out extinct volcano ?

 

And Lizzie's latent magician abilities are resurrected -- once again.

 

The whole 'remote-access-to-the-perp's-laptop' plan was completely contingent on Dr. Creel bringing his laptop with him, and leaving it powered on AND unsecured while he was in the room with a patient during a consult.  How about no ?  That's a little too convenient.

 

Megan Boone is an even shittier actress when she tries to pretend to be undercover -- a "blogger" researching government conspiracy theories and a suicidal housewife -- it was pretty bad.  Plus she did such a shitty job of making it look like she tried to slit her wrists -- her palms were wrapped up. WTF ?

 

Plus, I was quite frankly bored for most of this episode.

Edited by ottoDbusdriver
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Maybe they should've given the dog to Lizzie so it could keep her other dog company.

 

Then there would be TWO dogs not being walked and otherwise neglected. It would break poor Peewee's heart. 

 

There have been complaints that she is the worst FBI profiler in the world so I thought it was great that they actually used her background here.

 

I only remember her recognizing the personality test (which gave us the gem "this is a modified MMPI-2, but it's severely modified"). Did she do anything else, profiling-wise? Speaking of Lizzie's skills, why did she have to kick the poor student who was playing a video game, not bothering anyone, when she and Ressler came searching for Creel's last patient.

 

Blacklisters have a purpose for Red; their takedown gives him information, eliminates a rival, etc. What was the purpose for removing Creel? Was it so Liz would gain her super-special medical records?

 

That's what I got from it, too. Come to think of it though, if Lizzie was curious about her DNA test, what was stopping her from having it done on her own? 

 

What exactly is Red's problem with Solvang?

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Way too much Lizzie and cardboard FBI

What he was doing seemed more like behavioral genetics than social psych

Love Red and Mr. Vargas with the dog

??? Highly altered MMPI2??? Without the validity scales it would allow a ding bat like Lizzy to game it

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Where was that locked door supposed to be anyway -- in Lizzie's secret lair in a hollowed out extinct volcano ?

 

 

 

I thought she was in Red's super lux log cabin.

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The whole 'remote-access-to-the-perp's-laptop' plan was completely contingent on Dr. Creel bringing his laptop with him, and leaving it powered on AND unsecured while he was in the room with a patient during a consult.  How about no ?  That's a little too convenient.

And what was worse is, though I know they had her write down the password to get the prescription drug stealer scene, she couldn't just SAY the password as it was unscrambling.  She had time to say "two more letters!"  She could have easily said "E02XWWP" or whatever and the guy on the other end could have written it down his damn self!  Stupid.

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Julia said:

 And in other That Guy news,

I think the woman who's more important than Lizzie from the promo was Tony's lost doctor love Jeanne from NCIS.

 

I thought so as well.

Edited by torqy

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First episode this season that I truly enjoyed...although I'm pretty tired of all this "don't trust Red! He's not what you think!" rhetoric...it's getting tiring. I get it, he's a criminal, a criminal mastermind at that, and by default he's someone you shouldn't trust all too easily. The characters need to stop beating me over the head with that.

 

I also think this episode furthers my own speculation that Elizabeth Keene is No. 1 on The Blacklist (this is where I think the show will go anyway, because I don't think the show could do anything else that would qualify as a "series-finale" level reveal), or that she's got the potential to be a "prized criminal asset" that both Berlin and Red want, with Red deciding he had to step in to stop Berlin from taking her.

 

I also fear that all those feints and misdirections could very well be a sign that Jon Bokenkamp still has no idea how he'll resolve his mystery, giving us six or seven years of clues that, when it's all said and done, will be worthless. Kind of like Bruno Heller and The Mentalist (with the wasted opportunity that was the Season 3 finale), where Heller admitted he didn't know who Red John was until a year and a half before he actually resolved the storyline. I only hope Bokenkamp is a bit more prepared.

 

The case was pretty interesting...nothing like Milgram, unfortunately, and I think the science was simplistic and thus pretty suspect...but, I still found it entertaining. The two Davids- Costible as Dr. Linus Creel and Fonteno as the Senator- were very engaging in their roles, so much so that I think they could have done the episode by themselves. I loved how Costible made Creel ominously creepy without going over the top, as it made the character that much more believable and sinister. So many other actors fail to hit that target, making characters that could have been interesting into mere caricatures, and I think for a storyline like Creel's to work, it needed to be real, even if the character is essentially a "comic book villain". I also liked the concept of the U.S. studying mind control- I could buy something like that, since it's in the Army's best interest to see if there's any way they can "craft" the perfect soldier. It's a creepy thought, but it might be one of the few conspiracy theories I'd actually buy.

 

The other storyline...well, I think James Spader, as usual, sold Red very well and made the exchanges entertaining, but I was a little off-put by the wife subplot. It kind of felt like a "been there, done that" moment, and I was expecting a little more spark. I was also disappointed that Spader and Marie-Louise Parker didn't have much chemistry on screen, which killed the mood. Still, I did enjoy Red showing his character in arranging things so that Naomi gets what she really wants- a normal life- and making sure that Frank is in line with that too. Red's really become the guy you really want as a friend but not as an enemy, because he'll stop at nothing to make sure the ones he cares about are not messed with.

 

Finally...liked the bet between Samar Navabi and Aram Mojtabi, and I believe Navabi only conceded the bet because she doesn't want Aram to know that she knows the truth. I believe they telegraphed it a little when they showed Navabi's interest piqued when Aram and Keene talked about tapping into Naomi's phone calls, but I still think it's well-played. I also wonder- perhaps, maybe even hope- they're having Navabi target Keene just to get rid of her so that Mozhan Marno can assume the role of female lead...not likely, but Marno would be a far better choice in that role, if you ask me.

 

Overall, good work.

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Hmm. I'm now wondering if Liz has the Warrior gene and is potentially the child of powerful and wily criminals. If so, perhaps Red's mission is to prevent her from realizing her evil potential. His redemption would be saving her from becoming like him.

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He really does.

And as a hardass attorney on both The Good Wife and Franklin & Bash.  At the same time, although not the same character.

 

I took an MMPI once.  As I remember, it required about 3 hours of my time.  400 questions.

 

Kudos to Reddington:  "I would never, EVER, put someone in Solvang!"

 

I also liked Liz detailing her proposed punsihment to her husband Tom.  But she wouldn't really do that.  She said.

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Hmm. I'm now wondering if Liz has the Warrior gene and is potentially the child of powerful and wily criminals. If so, perhaps Red's mission is to prevent her from realizing her evil potential. His redemption would be saving her from becoming like him.

 

That's what I think. Or, alternatively, he wants Liz to "channel" it, like Dexter's father did with his son. Probably needs something more to the theory because it begs the question "why Liz? She's not the only one like this" but I think after tonight it's the more plausible explanation...it's the only one with any real nuggets, at least.

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Hmm. I'm now wondering if Liz has the Warrior gene and is potentially the child of powerful and wily criminals. If so, perhaps Red's mission is to prevent her from realizing her evil potential. His redemption would be saving her from becoming like him.

I'd be willing to buy into that theory, except that it doesn't explain how Naomi knows about Liz. Red just didn't seem to be the type of husband to be all, "Hi honey, I'm home. What a day at work, we discovered this kid who has a genetic anomaly that gives her the potential to be a sick, sadistic fucker unless I interfere..."

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Kariyaki -- I get your comment. But the way Naomi talks about "Elizabeth" seems like she's always known the "whole story", and it wasn't a forthright one. I can't visualize "Elizabeth" being the orphaned daughter of Naomi and Red's neighbors, college buddies, etc. The original contact with toddler Liz must have come from someplace at least a bit shady, and I assume it happened not long before their marriage went downhill.

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Hmm. I'm now wondering if Liz has the Warrior gene and is potentially the child of powerful and wily criminals. If so, perhaps Red's mission is to prevent her from realizing her evil potential. His redemption would be saving her from becoming like him.

 

Or Red discovered a typo in her file - she really has the Worrier gene - and all the Treadstone triggers planted in her brain should be in someone else's.

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I actually thought they said "worrier gene", not warrior. As in "you stress the gene carrier out a bit, he or she starts worrying a lot, and boom! - casualties." The gene didn't exactly make all those losers warriors.

 

But the way Naomi talks about "Elizabeth" seems like she's always known the "whole story", and it wasn't a forthright one. I can't visualize "Elizabeth" being the orphaned daughter of Naomi and Red's neighbors, college buddies, etc. The original contact with toddler Liz must have come from someplace at least a bit shady, and I assume it happened not long before their marriage went downhill.

 

Or Red and Naomi have been sent from the future (I am not entirely convinced that "Naomi" is not a cyborg) where Liz is a John Connor kind of figure, and their job is is to make sure she becomes that. What? At least this explains stuff. 

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Or Red and Naomi have been sent from the future (I am not entirely convinced that "Naomi" is not a cyborg)

Oh, is that what Botox does? Sorry, couldn't resist.

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I lost my attention for a bit. So whose dog is that? Red's ex-wife's husband's ex-wife's? She is the one visited by Pee-Wee right?

 

Red's ex-wife has a husband that she thinks is faithful. Alas, he is not and his girlfriend was about to spill the beans because she wanted him to leave his wife. Red and Pee-Wee made her go away. They kept the dog, both as an exclamation point on the message to the husband and also because that dog was being treated shamefully.

Edited by dwmarch

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Vargas is PeeWee as an adult, and that's cool. So I propose we chuck the whole FBI angle and let Red and Vargas open either a private detective agency or a law office.

 

 

With Mr. Kaplan as a silent partner. 

 

There is something missing from this show now. None of it feels very threatening or exciting. Maybe we know too much about all the players and therefore don't think any are dangerous. or maybe none of them have been shown to be particularly dangerous except to themselves or bad people who deserve it. We need more instability, or edginess.

 

I agree that Liz's blogger played and appeared to be about 10 years too old.

Edited by Ottis
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Megan Boone is an even shittier actress when she tries to pretend to be undercover -- a "blogger" researching government conspiracy theories and a suicidal housewife -- it was pretty bad.  Plus she did such a shitty job of making it look like she tried to slit her wrists -- her palms were wrapped up. WTF ?

 

 

 

IIRC, didn't the nurse say she'd put her hand through a glass window? 

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would much rather watch a road-trip movie with Red and Paul Reubens character instead.

This.  Paul Reubens might be amusing me more than Spader right now.

 

I never would have thought a mind control plot could be so boring.  It wasn't even better executed than Dollhouse, and that's a ridiculously low bar..

Edited by ToxicUnicorn
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