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S01.E02: Ante Up


saoirse

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Alex Kane is sent to stop a diamond heist and runs into an old colleague that wants information. Mr. Johnson and Cassandra King intervene and threaten to call off the bets. Finally, Kane attends Ginny's funeral and uncovers some shocking evidence about her murder.

 

 

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I wish we could transport Winchester, Snipes, and Wakefield to a better show. The action is usually good until we got to the unrealistic parachute fight. But they should have waited for him to lose/double down until much later in the season. The attempts to add more people were really ham handed. There's no need for tech guy and goth girl or Cassandra's boyfriend. Also, I found the final conversation between Winchester/Snipes weirdly shot, even though the actors did their best. I'm only semi-intrigued by the maybe dead wife or it could be just in comparison to the gambling silliness.

 

I'm still trying to going to give it a shot (and given the ratings maybe not for long) because I like the leads but I don't have the optimism I did after the pilot.

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The A-story was fine, minus the "double down" aspect which was telegraphed from the moment Johnson said Alex lost the "bet."  If it had come perhaps ten minutes later in the episode, it might have worked better.  And the transport plane fight actually was fairly decent.  It's the padding that seemed a bit much in spots--Alex's techie friend, the random "niece" (which would be Ginny's brother or sister's kid...hmm), and especially Cassandra/April's beau.  Why did they bust that out two episodes in?

 

OTOH...Johnson going to the Secretary of Something (the Air Force, I suppose, since drones were invoked) to, if I caught the name right, kill the guy who was tied to Ginny's "death" and then say to Alex that he wanted to help him find Ginny--after admitting that he set up the bet specifically to test Alex's commitment, and after damn near taking out the Secretary's bodyguard without even wrinkling his suit?  Wesley Snipes is kind of the best thing about this show, or at least a close second to the action choreography, and he's slumming.

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Okay, that was interesting, sort of.  I could do without the " villain = darker me" time sink, but I kind of liked Alex's "if I go gray, I'm not comin' back." Snipes is great with the non-reaction reactions. There's stuff behind the eyes and it's not just " I get paid for this."   If Cassandra is rogue, I wonder why now and why Ginny seems to be the lynchpin to the Playerverse.

 

I adore that the A.I. is named Ada. Nice hat-tip, Show ( and/or Mr. Rogers)!

 

I hope the Goth-y "niece" comes into play a little more. I think Buggy Lab Dude was used just enough, unless there is a plan to fix his meds.  Cop Friend needs to lobby the writers for either more dialogue or better dialogue. It's only episode 2 and I tune him out when he's scolding Alex like a naughty school kid. No telling how fun it is for the actor, who's trying to work it.  I liked that the cop friend trusted Alex in the street battle. Yes, cops have rules, but they don't have to be whiney smothers who demand info they don't necessarily need.  

 

If I owned a car in Las Vegas, I'd sell it, especially if I tended to park in a high-rise parking structure.  Or I might leave the driver's side window down.

 

What does Cassandra's bf do that he can sneak into her apartment and surprise her like that. He almost took a bullet for his romantic gesture. Yeah, he thinks she's just in PR, but really? Don't you double-check the house if you are giving the surprise so sit-com level misunderstandings don't end in tragedy? ::shrugs::

 

Tonight's band of villains I was ready for Alex to just shoot down in the street; they were unrepentantly Evil and had no fucks to give.  I also wasn't so sure that Alex's Old Buddy would be that suicidal; Alex was heavily painted as gung-ho reckless, not suicidal last week. Ginny "saved" him from his darker choices/impulses. So the guilt-wrapped suicide by law enforcement/-adjacent  pal seemed off to me. I could have missed something, as I was working on something else part of the episode. ( Half-assing two things, just as Ron Swanson advises against!)

 

Upside: Jose Zuniga as a Mr. Secretary. Downside: He's corrupt. Upside: Jose Zuniga might pop up again!

 

Neat fall gag, Stunt Team! Kudos.

 

Ready for next week.

 

PS: Please tell me the plane with the (presumably) shot-dead pilot was guided down or crashed in a non-populated area. DH pshawed my concern with "they're over the desert." I asked," Where were they headed?" When the reply was in Mexico, I said, " So over populated areas at some points."  While it doesn't mean much, especially as Alex couldn't do anything once he left the plane, I do wonder about the collateral damage. Even when I watched Leverage ( Sophie's neighbors in Boston, for instance.)

Edited by Actionmage
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Johnson/Snipes blackmailing Jose Zungia's Secretary, totally felt like a Red Reddington move.  I think those two characters would either be best friends or try to take each other out after their third interaction.

 

I did like the idea of Alex failing at the "game", but wanting to continue after the bad guys.  I just wished I cared more about the actual game, but I've seen different variations of the "someone from the lead's past comes back and is bad", and this one didn't really grab my interest.  They did go all out with the stunt pieces.  Exploding cars, shoot-outs, and a brawl on a plane?  Nice!  Although, with the pilot, what ever did happen to the plane?  I really hope that somewhere out there, some poor folks are going to look up and see a plane heading straight for them.

 

Still not sure what to make of either Cassandra or Johnson's real motives.  On the surface, Cassie is more helpful and Johnson's more shady, but now there is the ending, where Johnson is claiming he wants to help Alex find his wife.  And there are still a few things about Cassie I question, like whatever her history was with Jenny.

 

On one hand, those flashbacks with Alex/Jenny were hokey.  On the other hand, it did get Daisy Betts into a bikini, so I really can't complain too much.

 

As much as I like Damon Gupton, I'm not quite sure they really know what to do with his character.  One scene, he's being helpful to Alex, the next he is being hostile.

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Call back to Strike Back with Alex jumping into the back of the plane.  It was a mash up of several similar scenes on Strike Back.  I think I saw Michael Bassett's name in the credit for directing this.  Makes me happy and I hope he does more.

 

The hour just went by.  Not sure about the new people and something was weird with the goth niece.  The police friend knows that Alex was Special Ops at one point doesn't he?  So why does he keep asking Alex what he's into?  He should know by now that Alex can't talk about most of the stuff he's involved in.

 

I really hope this sticks around. It's fun and mindless entertainment on a Thursday night.  I initially didn't believe it when Mr. Johnson took down Alex in the first episode and the body guard in this one, but then I find out Wesley is actually very well versed in martial arts.  I had no idea which will make this more enjoyable and given Philip's capacity for stunt work, this could get even more interesting and fun to watch.

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I wish we could transport Winchester, Snipes, and Wakefield to a better show. The action is usually good until we got to the unrealistic parachute fight.

 

Definitely, it sort of looked fake during some of those scenes, but otherwise most of the actions scenes were done better.

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Philip Winchester can wear a suit.  I like it almost as much as shirtless Winchester (though I don't think Winchester is as buff here as Strike Back).  That's about all I got, since I don't care about the game, the absurd action sequences, the crappy dialogue, or Ginny.  

 

Oh, and nice to see Nick Weschler.  Nice bit of eye candy to end the episode. Though I assume he dies at some point, either by Cassandra's hand or the game.    

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This seems like a show put together by committee. There's the gambling, dead wife, and Alex's past plots. I wish they would just pick one and do that well. Then you can do other stuff. If you're a show relying on action sequences, the plot should be as straightforward as possible. You just don't have the time for complicated mythology.

 

Also, why is this up against football?

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Johnson/Snipes blackmailing Jose Zungia's Secretary, totally felt like a Red Reddington move.  I think those two characters would either be best friends or try to take each other out after their third interaction.

 

 

Game recognizes game?  

 

This is not the greatest show in the world but it is a fun thrill ride partner to The Blacklist.    It is fun mindless entertainment which is sometimes all I need.  

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Oh, and nice to see Nick Weschler.  Nice bit of eye candy to end the episode. Though I assume he dies at some point, either by Cassandra's hand or the game.

 

I knew he looked familiar.

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This seems like a show put together by committee. There's the gambling, dead wife, and Alex's past plots. I wish they would just pick one and do that well. Then you can do other stuff. If you're a show relying on action sequences, the plot should be as straightforward as possible. You just don't have the time for complicated mythology.

 

I see your point here.  Maybe they'll simplify things in future episodes.  As it stands, every time they get into the convoluted game mythos, my eyes glaze over and I wish for another shirtless Winchester scene. That's why the Secretary blackmail didn't interest me, though I know it's important. Johnson seems to be playing both sides, and the why should be intriguing.  Yet I can't find a fuck to give at the moment. 

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So I see what you're doing, Show, trying to add yet another layer of complications to an already convoluted premise, what with the Pit Boss getting that guy dronestriked and all.

 

But they're still claiming that the rationale for the games is to keep rich people engaged so they don't destroy the world! What the hell? Walk that back, please, it's too preposterous.

 

Now, the preposterous I like: Kane leaping out of a plane without a parachute. That was fun.

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Yeah, if some rich person is going to destabilize the world, dronestrike them!  There's no need to fabricate this ludicrous game to entertain them.  Suppose they aren't into gambling?

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Yeah, if some rich person is going to destabilize the world, dronestrike them!  There's no need to fabricate this ludicrous game to entertain them.  Suppose they aren't into gambling?

 

They should've kept it less complicated instead of trying to do this in the 2nd episode.

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PS: Please tell me the plane with the (presumably) shot-dead pilot was guided down or crashed in a non-populated area. DH pshawed my concern with "they're over the desert." I asked," Where were they headed?" When the reply was in Mexico, I said, " So over populated areas at some points."  While it doesn't mean much, especially as Alex couldn't do anything once he left the plane, I do wonder about the collateral damage.

 

I couldn't enjoy the silliness of jumping out of the plane without a parachute because of this.  I mean, seriously, he might have won the bet but at what cost and why wasn't this addressed?  It would have been an interesting twist, stay with the plane and know it lands safely or risk many innocent lives as he hopes for the best. Then there is the other thing, it's full of money. I was kind of hoping millions of dollars were going to rain down over Las Vegas.   

 

Of course when his friend dumped the other parachute out the back, he acted like staying with the plane was a death sentence but I'm not sure why.  The pilot got shot but how about The Dealer talking the extremely talented former military guy down to a landing. 

 

There was a lot of stuff dumped into this episode but not too much, IMO.  I'm not invested yet but the show's entertaining enough.   

Edited by BkWurm1
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I mean, seriously, he might have won the bet but at what cost and why wasn't this addressed?

 

I don't think the game itself has been thought out well, they only know the basics and are most likely going to make things up when necessary for them.

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Philip Winchester can wear a suit.  I like it almost as much as shirtless Winchester (though I don't think Winchester is as buff here as Strike Back). 

 

He's not as buff and neither is Sully.  It's not your imagination or lack of reviewing the evidence ;)  The two fellows have talked in interviews about the stuff they used to take and the work-outs they had when they were filming Strike Back.  Sounds like it was some pretty heavy duty stuff.

 

I didn't recognize the boyfriend and as someone has said, he's lucky he wasn't shot.  She really didn't look very pleased to see him.

 

Lots of things I need to hand wave, but right now I'll go with it to have Philip on my screen weekly.

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I watched these two episodes back to back on H_l_ and I was completely entertained. 

 

I think Mr. Johnson and Cassandra knows more about Ginny's "death" than they let on.  I think they used Ginny to pull Alex into the Game.  How else did Cassandra know where to "run over" Alex when Alex nearly caught the bad guy on the street?  And how come Cassandra has a picture of her and Ginny in her office?  Yep, Cassandra definitely knows a lot about Ginny, maybe even more than Alex knows.

 

Wow!  I think Wesley Snipes is really awesome as Mr. Johnson!  He has a very intelligent, commanding presence and I like how he confidently carries himself.  I've never seen Snipes look so dapper before.  He wears his suits well.  He actually makes me look forward to watching more episodes of this Show.

 

Philip Winchester makes a great action star hero.  I think I saw him in Strike Back.  He's a little bland but earnest.  I found him likable and someone to root for.

 

I got a kick out of Cassandra.  I saw this actress who plays Cassandra in Wolf Hall where she plays a sexy temptress, Mary Boleyn.  She's very pretty and she makes Cassandra a little bit of a sympathetic character.  I like how Cassandra softened up to Alex when Alex told her he still wanted to continue in the Game even though he failed.

 

I honestly don't know how long this Show will last since it's up against the powerhouse How to Get Away with Murder but I'm going to continue tuning in as I like this action packed hour and the characters involved.

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I honestly don't know how long this Show will last since it's up against the powerhouse How to Get Away with Murder but I'm going to continue tuning in as I like this action packed hour and the characters involved.

Why would anything else do better against HTGAWM?  I like this show a lot and I hate HTGAWM.  There must be more people like me.  If HTGAWM is such a powerhouse, I guess nothing will succeed against it.  Although I actually wish they had kept Blacklist (and now this) on Monday night.  I'm not a fan of Blindspot.  

 

Speaking of Blindspot, I never watched Strike Back.  Was the guy in Blindspot as bad in Strike Back as he is on Blindspot? 

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He's not as buff and neither is Sully.  It's not your imagination or lack of reviewing the evidence ;)  The two fellows have talked in interviews about the stuff they used to take and the work-outs they had when they were filming Strike Back.  Sounds like it was some pretty heavy duty stuff.

 

Hee! Well, I was closely inspecting the physique, and Winchester in particular was ripped in Strike Back. He's presumably naturally lean, so I can only imagine what it took to stay that buff. I don't remember Stapleton being all that buff, though.  More husky than muscular.  He gave us plenty of nudity for study, heh.     

 

I didn't recognize the boyfriend and as someone has said, he's lucky he wasn't shot.  She really didn't look very pleased to see him.

 

It's part of this show's absurdity that she didn't recognize her own boyfriend from behind.  It's not like it was dark and his features were obscured.

 

Speaking of Blindspot, I never watched Strike Back.  Was the guy in Blindspot as bad in Strike Back as he is on Blindspot?

 

I only saw the Blindspot pilot, but Stapleton can act and was good in Strike Back (I disliked the character, but he did a lot with the role).  I assume that stoic, almost wooden performance is deliberate, or mandated by production.

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I assume that stoic, almost wooden performance is deliberate, or mandated by production.

 

Definitely, the show wanted his character to be super serious and it ends up coming off as stiff.

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Well, that was ridiculous. But I'm not opposed to ridiculous. This show could be really fun if they let it. This dead wife thing is bringing it down. I know they want an season-long mystery, but it makes things depressing.

 

I wish this guy was on Blindspot instead of the other.

 

Nice to see Nick Weschler, but why should I care about Cassie's boyfriend? Pit Boss is getting more interesting, though.

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Why would anything else do better against HTGAWM?  I like this show a lot and I hate HTGAWM.  There must be more people like me.  If HTGAWM is such a powerhouse, I guess nothing will succeed against it. 

 

Speaking of Blindspot, I never watched Strike Back.  Was the guy in Blindspot as bad in Strike Back as he is on Blindspot? 

I can't stand HTGAWM either.  I couldn't make it through the first episode.  I think it's one of those shows that people either gravitate towards and enjoy or like the two of us, can't stand.  Truth be told, I'm glad The Player is on Thursday nights as I have no use for the "must see" Thursday night line up from ABC. 

 

Sully and Philip had amazing chemistry on Strike Back and played off each other really well.  So far on Blindspot poor Sully hasn't had anyone he connects with this well.  I know it doesn't always happen and having watched him in Strike Back it can colour a person's perspective on his acting on Blindspot.

 

I can say I'm happy that Wesley Snipes hasn't appeared too much on The Player.  I'm not a huge fan and there's something odd about him I can't quite figure out.  It took me a bit to realize he changes up his accents for the person he's supposed to be on this show.  At first I thought I was hearing things, but he sounds very different as the FBI agent vs Mr. Johnson. 

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So far on Blindspot poor Sully hasn't had anyone he connects with this well.  I know it doesn't always happen and having watched him in Strike Back it can colour a person's perspective on his acting on Blindspot.

 

His character is stuck stuck in serious mode so that severely limits what he can do and it doesn't help that he's stuck growling exposition at people since it doesn't help.

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why should I care about Cassie's boyfriend?

 

I think of him and goth girl and DNA dude as worldbuilding, showing that the characters have more to their lives than just their roles in the game.  Kinda like the homeless kid in the pilot.

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I really love this show. It feels like those men's adventure novels my dad used to read in the 70's and 80's(and I'm just now discovering). My head cannon is that Mr. Johnson is a former player who was "promoted" which is why he seems to be highly skilled in martial arts. 

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Hey, over here! I didn't get through the first episode of HTGAWM either, and I like Viola Davis.

Seems like I'm getting invested in another show that won't make midseason.

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