29 August, 2013

Review - SUITS 3.7: 'She's Mine'

I could be negative. I could complain about how obvious any of the following occurrences were in this week's episode...

1. Stephen betraying Donna. No way!
2. Rachel getting into a law school nearby, negating the need to go to California. No Way!
3. Another twist in the Ava Hessington case. No way!

But if you're a regular reader of my reviews, you know that's just not how I roll. I'm always so very positive. So while it wasn't surprising there was yet another twist in the case, the twist itself was surprising. And it helped save what appeared to be another slog of an episode on the Ava Hessington case.

I think most of us knew Stephen was going to hurt Donna. That was obvious from the beginning. But I just didn't think it would happen this way. I knew he was using her and just being a dirtbag, but I didn't think it was to help cover up a mass murder that he helped orchestrate. Good stuff.

But thank goodness we had the ridiculous mock trial shenanigans to lighten the mood and have some fun this week. That was just brilliance. I thought the last few weeks the show under-utilized Louis, but it was all just a brilliant set-up to the mock trial involving the cat. If you didn't enjoy that insanity, than I don't know why you watch this show in the first place.

Not only was it funny, but it resulted in Louis getting the associates back (which I think we all wanted) and it let Rachel have an episode to shine in a story NOT involving Mike. I appreciated that, because I wish she was given more to do other than stories centered around her relationship with Mike.

I've been complaining about the Ava Hessington case for weeks now, but for the first time I'm somewhat interested in what happens next om that front. But I do what it all to end sometime this millennium. This is getting more dragged out than who killed Rosie Larsen on 'The Killing' or the origin of the Smoke Monster on 'Lost'.


--HARVEY: "But you're never going to convince a jury that the number one didn't know what the number two was up to."

--JESSICA: "Believe me, I can convince anyone of the fact that a number two can betray a number one behind her back."

--LOUIS: "Rachel, you know how tough it's been for me this year. I lost the associates, Mike made a fool out of me, I saw Harvey's name go up on the wall and I went home."

--NIGEL: "This is not a criminal trial!"
--LOUIS: "Well it should be. Where were we?"

--LOUIS: "Holy shit, we're in trouble."

--HAROLD: "He said: 'He might as well of left his cat with Michael Vick.'"


--Top Secret Shredding Day! I think that would make me WANT to come in the door even more.

--A Radio Frequency Identifier-Integrated Circuit ... really? If my mom knew about those, she would probably get one.

--Poor Mike, at the wrong place at the wrong time -- incurring the wrath of Donna.

--I had forgotten about Harold. Rachel's take-down of him was top-notch. He's a fun character, although he was so completely inept that there's no way he would have gotten a job anywhere.

--Why do men have to be so macho and fight other dudes when they are mad? I could be saying this because I'm a scrawny bitch who can't defend himself. But who knows?



28 August, 2013

The Plopper Reviews - COVERT AFFAIRS 4.07: 'Crackity Jones'

I feel … weird … right now.  And confused.  And cold.  And alone.  Somebody hold me.  Please.  Tightly.

I finished this ep like 15 minutes ago and I think I’ve now set a new record for the longest time I’ve spent sitting on the couch post-ep, staring into space,  trying to get my head around it and to decide whether I enjoyed it or whether I want to drag my TV into the front yard and set it on fire.  I mean obviously, if you read my review of last week’s episode, you know that I was NOT particularly thrilled with the insertion of the “OMGAASH Helen’s really alive!!” storyline.  But still, despite that, I went into this ep with an open mind.  I swear.  I gave the writers the benefit of the doubt that this Helen character could wind up being interesting for the storyline, and that her presence could force our main characters into confronting feelings and situations that they would not have otherwise.  i.e., character development.  I’m a *huge* fan of character development, so if that’s where this gets us, I can be extremely forgiving.

And after watching “Crackity Jones”, I see that this is indeed exactly where the writers were going with it – to push the story, to push our characters, and to give them some insight on themselves, their situation, and each other.  Which is a GOOD thing.  So then why did this ep feel so ODD to me??  So ... kind of ... off?  I’ve been texting back and forth with my cousin while writing this and I think with her help, I’m starting to diagnose the sitch.  Or at least some pieces of the sitch.  Here’s my take: This episode required a LOT of exposition and flashbacks to get us up to speed on who Helen is, how Auggie wound up thinking she was dead when she really wasn’t, what Arthur’s doing with her, and why the hell we should give two shits about ANY of this to begin with.  So as a result, we ended up with an episode of Covert Affairs that starred some random-ass chick who we’ve barely even MET before today.  It was an ensemble effort, yes, but Helen’s screentime had to have been at least equal to both Annie and Auggie here.

So start with that jarring and foreign situation, and then add to it the fact that the amount of time that had to be spent on the flashbacks took away essential story time that was needed to show Annie and Helen’s relationship build and develop on that mission to Lyon.  Crucial time that we did NOT get.  Instead, we got a quicky mission, plus two and a half dialogue scenes.  And this is between two characters who have not only never met before this mission, but have every reason to dislike and distrust the HELL out of each other from the get-go.  Yet somehow it only took a couple chats with Helen to convince Annie that the entire way she’s living her life right now might need a complete overhaul??  Really??  It’s one of those things that ... I would imagine, when you’re mapping out a storyline, makes sense in theory.  In the writer’s room you’re like, “Yeah ok so Helen shows up and she tells Annie her story, and then Annie starts to doubt her sitch,” and then yadda yadda yadda A&A break up.  BUT when the rubber hit the road here, the writers didn’t allow themselves enough screen time to execute this in a convincing way.  The dialogue between Annie and Helen even felt strangely forced to me at many points, like overly on-the-nose.  I’m pretty sure this is because they needed to move these characters from 0 to 60 in their relationship with so few scenes.

So THEN, we get back home from the mission, and Annie goes to Auggie’s apartment for their H2H.  And while Chris and Piper played the HELL out of this scene – major kudos to both of them for that - and it gave me plenty of angsty feels ... it still somehow didn’t seem ... right.  It didn’t feel natural or organic to how I imagine *I* would be acting in that situation, or decisions I would be making.  The events of this episode were plenty to plant seeds of doubt for both Annie and Auggie, sure.  Even plenty for Annie to decide she needs time to herself to process all these crazy developments.  But to call it quits for good??  If you put yourself in their shoes, is this situation even close to enough to make you decide, “Aiight.  That’s it.  Fuck it.  I’m outtie.”  (mic drop)  ?  After ALL that they’ve been through over all these years and that bond they share and everything??  Not even close, for me.  Granted, I do get that in break-up type conversations, the way one person says a little something and then the other party kind of agrees with it, and once that little snowflake starts, you keep pushing each other until it becomes a huge snowball avalanche and you can’t get yourself out of it.  Because neither of you has the balls to be the one to be like “OK JK JKaaaayyyy I didn’t mean it I don’t really wanna break up!!”  I get that, and I think that’s part of what was at play here.  But still, it just wasn’t enough to convince me that they’d go anywhere near this far.  And I’m being 100% honest when I say that I don’t have an issue with A&A breaking up IF it feels organic to the progression of the story, and IF it’s something I can absolutely believe the characters would and should be doing, based on their circumstances.  My issue with this episode is that this was not the case.  It felt much more manipulated and manufactured than it did organic.

There’s another thing I noticed about that final scene too.  It’s of very minor importance to the scene itself, but it reminded me of something I’ve been observing and irked by for quite a while now.  And please forgive my comparisons to other spy shows again, but it’s how my though process works - One thing I always found interesting about ‘Alias’ was that Sydney Bristow was written as a tough character, but she was also allowed to be very “girly” in many ways.  And that was nice, but she was almost TOO girly, in the sense that the woman bawled like a baby every damn time you blinked an eye.  Going back and watching old eps now, the amount of crying Sydney does drives me INSANE.  And that’s the main reason I loved Annie’s long-lost cousin Sarah Walker so much on ‘Chuck’ – She was tough as nails, and rarely showed her emotions, UNTIL the series progressed and the character developed *naturally* from a pretty cold and ruthless spy, to basically kinda opening her heart as a result of Chuck’s influence and impact on her.  It felt right, it progressed naturally, and it was fun to watch.  And she never came even CLOSE to being the weepy baby Sydney was.  She was well-balanced in that sense.

And like Sarah Walker, one thing I’ve always appreciated about Annie Walker is her LACK of weepiness.  Not only that, but she has a cocky swagger about her, that type of cockiness that’s actually even a level or two above what she probably deserves to give herself credit for, that I don’t recall seeing in female characters all that often.  Maybe I’m crazy, but this seems like a traditionally very male quality to me, like Jeff Winger on ‘Community’.  Or every guy on ‘Gigolos’.  Point being, it feels like an interesting change of pace to me, and I like this about Annie as a character.  And her tough-ness is a good thing, but sometimes she can seem like the exact inverse of Sydney Bristow to a fault.  i.e. In the interest of the writers making her “tough,” she can almost border on beyond human sometimes.  Like she’s some sort of robot who can get through anything with barely a quick brush of a little dust off her shoulders.  Like that time she returned home from the Russian prison after the Simon/Lena/nearly-dying debacle and she was just like, “Ok well that was lame.  Next?  No prob.  Back in action and better than ever.”  She never had any sort of emotional breakdown, she never hit any rock bottom, she never had PTSD, nothing.  She just kept on going.  It’s always seemed very odd to me, and it’s hard for me as a human audience member to relate to someone with such super-human cyborg-like powers.

And then, in the break-up scene with Auggie, we saw Annie break down FAR more than she ever has before, that I can remember.  And it was nice to see her finally having some real normal human emotions, BUT even this was quite interesting in terms of the way the scene was filmed.  She started to break down but then she stood up and walked behind the couch, and we could tell that she was crying, but we couldn’t see her face.  The point is that she was trying to hide it from Auggie, but at the same time it almost seems like the writers/director/etc. didn’t want the *audience* to see it either.  And then when she left the apartment, the focus at the end was on Auggie.  I think that was to show him breaking down after she left, but it still struck me as kind of interesting.  Like the writers themselves are afraid to let Annie act like a normal human being with real emotions, every once in a damn while.  I dunno, I could just be in a bad mood at this point and being too nitpicky.  But it’s one more thing adding to my constant nagging feeling that CA’s lead character is the LEAST fleshed-out character on the entire show.

UGGH holy shit this review is so long already.  Let me just do a few other quick random observations before my summary/grade:

  • Watching Auggie look people in the eyes in flashback scenes is always weird, isn’t it?  And in this ep we got him running too.  Without tripping and stuff.  Kinda fun.
  • The transition from the Auggie->Arthur punch to the flash of the title screen thing made me LOL.
  • The way Annie approached Sabino also made me LMAO – “I’m the owner of the missile launchers you stole??  I want them back.”
  • Ha, I love that Myers-Briggs got a shout-out in this ep.  I took one of those many years ago, but at my company they’ve run through several other assessment methodologies since then.  We’re currently using one called LinkUp.
  • Convenient that Helen’s cover for this ep’s mission gave an excuse to let Michelle Ryan use her real accent.
  • Ok that was the best Barber scene EVER, right??  He even came within an inch of going full-on Abed.  “Cool.  Cool cool cool.”  Frankly, he was probably the only bright point of this entire depressing episode!!  Thank you, Barber.  And Auggie took his words to heart, too.
  • The fight scene underwater was kinda cool.  With the bullets going through the water.
  • Ok so it was already obvious to pretty much all of us that the flashforward they keep giving us from ep 10 is Annie faking her own death.  This episode just punches us in the face with it 50 times in case we hadn’t already figured it out.

Ok.  Now for the grade.  I re-watched this ep while writing my review, thinking it might change my feelings on it.  It didn’t.  As a matter of fact, I was even more annoyed on second viewing. 

GRADE: 77 out of 100

I’m so freakin’ tired right now I almost reverted back to my letter grading system on accident.  Is 77 super harsh??  My network just went down so now I’m in a SUPER bad mood, right at the time I’m assigning the grade.  That doesn’t help.  What did you guys think of the ep?  Will I need to fake my death to hide from you after this??  Will my network ever come back up so we can POST this review??

The Plopper


27 August, 2013

Create Secure Passwords to Protect Against Hackers

After reading this article about new and more powerful password hacking tools, I decided it was time you all learn how to best protect yourselves the best possible way when creating passwords.

Use the Smash & Grab technique!


21 August, 2013

Review - SUITS 3.6: 'The Other Time'

This is the case that never ends, it just goes on and on my friends ...

Some people starting caring about it (not knowing what it was), and they'll continue watching it forever just because ...


Hell, even when episodes are set 10 years ago, the case is still prevalent. There's just no end in sight here.

Despite my annoyance of the Ava Hessington case's refusal to go away, this was a solid episode. Basically, it comes down to this: Flash forwards = stupid and Flash backs = useful and interesting (even if they did a poor job of making them all look 10 minutes younger, let alone 10 years)

But the main criticism I had with this one was that we didn't really learn anything new by going back in time. We already knew why Harvey left the DA's office and we pretty much already knew that him and Donna hooked up one time and one time only. And there was no big revelation regarding Mike and his douchebag friend Trevor. I mean, how crazy is it that 10 years prior Trevor was getting Mike into trouble?

I really don't want this show to try to humanize that piece of crap. Not going to work. But any episode that brings back Mike's grandmother is good in my book.

And what a tease ... I thought we were going to learn the full extent of the can opener and the only thing we learned was that they were looking for a new ritual and a waitress happened to walk by as Harvey stole her can opener. I should have known better and not gotten my hopes up.

And yet another shock ... Harvey appears to be going back on his word on taking over the firm and things are on the verge of going back to status-quo. That's USA Network for you!

One last note: Sorry for not posting a review last week. I started writing it, but needed to take a break and just never got back to it. This isn't exactly a groundbreaking take, but reviewing a show can really sap your enjoyment of it. That's definitely at play with me and Suits right now.


--DONNA: "I'm not into you, I'm Donna."

--EVERYONE: "I'm here, you're here -- do your job."

--HARVEY: "I don't want to find out what kind of lawyer I'd be without you."

--DONNA: "You really do need me to stop doing things like this ... in the future."

--DONNA: "OK, listen Rainman -- you wear lifts in your shoes, you want braces but you don't have the balls and you have a cat ... that you love more than it loves than you.


--Louis is the creepiest dude ever and a complete snake, but it's hard not to love him anyway.

--I'm starting to think Donna is more valuable to a law firm than Harvey would be.

--HAHA, I love that the random dude in the elevator called Louis an asshole. Who doesn't hate that guy?

--At first, I was thinking that Dean could go *$#% himself, but then I realized that he pretty much had every right to be furious and take it out on Mike.

--Cameron is a terrible lawyer. How does he still have a job?



The Plopper Reviews - COVERT AFFAIRS 4.06: 'Space (I Believe In)'

Oh god.

Look ... I mean ... I had a feeling I was going to come out of this episode feeling extremely uncomfortable.  Let me first start by asking – Do you watch 'It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’?  If not, and if you enjoy demented humor, you’re missing out.  I spent 99.9% of this Covert Affairs episode, “Space (I Believe In),” in a pretty decent frame of mind, and then the last 30 seconds suddenly sent me into feeling exactly like the YouTube supercut of every single utterance of the phrase “GODDAMNIT!!” in the entire ‘It’s Always Sunny’ series.  Google “always sunny goddamnit supercut” and you’ll find it.  That is me, right now.

If you’ve read my previous reviews, you’ll know that I’ve been dead set against this “Helen is really alive!!” twist since the second we found out Helen ever existed to begin with.  And that is all while knowing it was 99% likely to happen, due to Bionic Woman constantly lurking in the background the entire season.  Why do I feel so uncomfy with this?  It’s two reasons, really.  First, it gives me horrible flashbacks to ‘Alias’.  There’s GOTTA be some ex 'Alias' superfans who watch CA, right??  Well, if you live in my head, which is not at *all* something I’d recommend, you’ll know (remember, this is pure fact because you’re hypothetically living in my brain), that the first two seasons of 'Alias' were amazing and seasons 3 through 5 were an ever-increasing pile of steaming shite.  Maybe I’m exaggerating, but it was a STEEP slope into season 5.  :shudder:  Anyway.  The turning point was the last scene of the season 2 finale, when Sydney wakes up confused and disoriented in Hong Kong, meets up with Vaughn, and Vaughn tells her, “Syd, you’ve been missing for 2 years, we thought you were dead.”  Syd then looks at Vaughn's left ring finger and is like, WTF dude, is that a WEDDING RING!?  Then we got to spend the ENTIRE 3rd season with some random blonde being MARRIED to Sydney’s new boyfriend.  What a nightmare.  In all fairness, JJ Abrams leaving the show to focus on ‘Lost’ was really the larger issue at hand; the overall quality of the show took a major dive at the same time.

But point being, one of the major suckage points was the fact that the writers purposely threw in this love triangle so as to *manufacture* drama and put a wedge between Syd and Vaughn.  It FELT contrived, and caused nothing but lameness the entire season.  I don’t know what the angle of the CA writers is with this Helen thing, but if it’s to set up a manufactured love triangle, then no.  No thank you.  It’s been done on many other shows, and it has always been lame.  If, on the other hand, it’s to INFORM our lead characters and give them insights on next steps to deal with Henry, or to help them to grow as characters even, then maybe it’s something that can be of value.  We shall see.  There’s another reason I feel uncomfy with this though, as well - The whole “OMGWHUUT she’s still alive!!” thing is a liiiittle on the wacky side for this show.  It would feel right at home on many other spy shows, but one thing I’ve always liked about CA is that it usually tries to keep its head a little closer to reality and away from soapy town.  Now, to be fair, the Lena storyline also veered a bit close to soapy town, but I loved that storyline so much that I was able to get past that.  Likewise, IF this “Helesa” (the Twitter fans came up with this nickname: a Helen/Theresa hybrid) thing is done well, I’ll be forgiving.  We just won’t know what this is about until we get there.  Fingers crossed.  BIG time.

Have I seriously just spent THREE paragraphs on the LAST 30 SECONDS of this damn episode!?  Lord.  Writing the rest of this is going to be a rough ride.  Let’s get to *everything* else now, shall we?  Outside of my uncomfortable feelings about Helesa, I actually enjoyed this ep.  I’ve gotten a big kick out of the whole “Annie killed Seth” storyline this season in general, and I’ve had to really sit and think about why that is.  I’m a HUGE sucker for spy shows.  A running theme on these shows is that bodies tend to pile up at the hands of the lead characters pretty regularly, and as far as I can think of, it’s pretty damn rare for the characters to ever face REAL consequences for that.  Think about ‘Homeland’ - Brody has killed several people, from Tom Walker to that tailor who made the suicide bomb vest, to the damn VICE PRESIDENT of the United States, and has he really had to face consequences for ANY of these??  I don’t think so, not yet anyway.  He dumped that tailor’s body in the woods and I don’t think we ever heard another peep about it.  Did we, or is my memory failing me?  OH my cousin Katie just reminded me – “Well he WAS a no-show at his wife’s fundraiser event that night, which was NOT COOL.”  True.  Maj consequences.

Now take ‘The Americans’ ... the bodies piled up all season, including the damn PARTNER of the FBI dude/neighbor investigating the KGB.  There’s constantly the threat on that show of any one of these killings coming to light, but that hasn’t happened ... yet.  Granted, it’s only been one season, so there’s plenty of time.  But you see where I’m going with this.  On CA, again keeping itself somewhat in the realm of the “real world,” when Annie accidentally kills someone, she has to face REAL consequences for it.  She has to sit in the hot seat for an entire in-depth murder investigation.  Yes, Henry saved her ass in the end, but her going against him now means she’s in even hotter water now than she was to begin with.  She doesn’t just get to wipe her brow in relief and go on her merry way.  She’s now even more screwed than she was when this ep started.  Like I said, the effort to stay within the realm of logic and reality is one of the things I’ve always loved about this show.  And the tense and suspenseful way they played out each bit of Seth’s murder investigation in this ep was great.  I’ve always loved Rossabi as a character, and Noam Jenkins was awesome in that final scene with Annie, after he had been “broken” and turned by Henry.  You could really feel his pain.  Poor Rossabi has been the CIA’s punching bag throughout this entire series, so I’m glad Annie defended him against Henry in the end.  The poor guy deserves someone on his side.  Marlon, on the other hand, is f*cked.

Here’s my random thoughts before I get to my summary and grade:

  • The exposition spent re-introducing Rossabi to the audience every single time he shows up again on CA drives me insane.  Wouldn’t a new viewer be able to figure it out from less obvious comments here and there??
  • Hahaha poor Tim Griffin – how would you like to be killed off of a TV show, only to be forced to return for one more episode to play your own dead body?  Oh well, part of the job of an actor I suppose.  ;-)
  • I recall recently saying, either in one of these reviews or to my friend Shelby, “Joan’s goddamn abandoned pill addiction storyline will haunt me to my grave.”  FINALLY it reared its hazy drugged-out head again tonight!!  We still have zero background on it, but at least it’s something I guess.  Oh and Annie jumping in to stop Rossabi’s line of questioning in defense of Joan gave me the warm fuzzies.
  • Calder, seriously, continues to be ... THE WORST.  It’s frankly kind of annoying me, because he really didn’t seem THAT terrible in eps 401 or 403.  I could at least identify with where he was coming from in those eps.  But in 405 and 406 he’s just been downright insufferable.  I hope they put a little humanity back into his character soon.
  • “Now Rossabi thinks there’s a conspiracy to cover up Seth’s murder.”  Auggie: “Well there kinda is!!”
  • Bwahaa when Annie secretly calls the FBI chick in the evidence room to distract her – I love that she keeps the sound on her damn cell phone turned ON.  Great spycraft there – “Swipe click click dial!!”  Very inconspicuous.  Hahhaa I do like that her trick didn’t work here though.  Rossabi caught her.  That woulda been way too easy.
  • They can’t possibly have much of a budget on this show for fancy stunts, I’m assuming, but they still managed to make Rossabi and Marlon’s fall from that balcony look pretty cool.  Didn’t feel fake at all – props to the director and stunt coordinators for that one.
  • Annie/Auggie HAD to realize that Annie’s number would be all over Henry’s call history.  But Rossabi’s initial investigation was focused on Seth’s call history, not Henry’s.  I suppose they simply had no better option at that point than to put Rossabi on that goose chase, to buy themselves some time to get Henry’s GPS data.
  • I already called out Noam Jenkins for his awesome performance this ep, and holy SHIT Gregory Itzin in that final scene with Annie?!  The recurring guest actors they have on this show really are top notch.  What a great scene.  I liked his line too: “You haven’t lost nearly enough yet.”  YET.  And we’ve never seen him that out of control.
This was one of those transitional episodes that I always find extremely difficult to assign a grade to.  The main purpose of it is to set up the next few eps, and depending on how those go, my opinion of this one could change significantly.  But if I’m taking this solely on its own, and mostly ignoring Helesa since it only took up 30 seconds here, I actually quite liked this one.  I thought it was smartly written, it kept me on my toes at every turn, surprised me in several places (e.g. whoops Auggie couldn’t hack into the FBI database after all, amongst many other moments), and all the actors gave great performances.  It wasn’t snazzy like last week with Vienna, and it wasn’t action-packed, but it was very solid, clever and entertaining.  It also set up the rest of the summer season, it seems, with Henry now on the complete warpath against Annie (along with the rest of Team Campbell).  I guess I’d give this a grade of …

GRADE: 91 out of 100

Dang, I feel like a zork giving so many eps B+ and A- grades other than 4.02, which I thought was a solid A.  But that’s just how these have been for me.  And believe me, if you were to read my old reviews of eps 3.13 and 3.14 you’d see that I have NO problem giving episodes “eh, not awesome” reviews just after watching them in real time.  I just luckily have not run across any of those in season 4 YET (knock on wood).  Am I lame??  Tell me in the comments.

The Plopper


14 August, 2013

The Plopper Reviews - COVERT AFFAIRS 4.05: 'Here Comes Your Man'

Random fact: My husband loves “Here Comes Your Man” by the Pixies so much that he was careful to ensure it was played at our wedding reception.  The DJ played the song and people on the dance floor kind of halfway froze in a state of awkward confusion as to exactly what to do with it, but we were happy.  We and like, the 4 or 5 other people who knew what the hell the song was.  I wasn’t entirely sure what this title would mean for tonight’s ep of Covert Affairs, especially since the preview made it clear that our heroes A&A would be purposely separated during this episode.

  Turns out, it didn’t refer to our boy Auggie at all, but to my sweet, sweet illegitimate baby puma cub Teo.  Puuuurrrrr.  Well o.k., to be fair, I guess it referred to both of them since Auggie sent Teo there to begin with.  I mean whatever, fine Auggie, I’ll give you a LITTLE credit.

I kid, I kid.  I love Auggie as much as the next red-blooded gal of the dude-loving persuasion, but I’ve always been an equal opportunity appreciator of the fine male characters on this show.  And this storyline went down pretty much exactly like “Rock ‘n Roll Suicide,” didn’t it?  With Eyal?  Oh god how I LOVED THAT rescue scene, despite having to flinch and groan my way through Annie’s hair being down, then up in a bun, then down, then up in a bun again.  In a Russian prison, where she would have been very worried about the state of her hairdo.  Whoops, I digress.  Anyway I’ve seen this show take a lot of shit on the internets in the past from people who claim that Annie is a terrible spy because she always has to be saved by Auggie et al. (sidenote: I just had to google “et al.” to make sure I was using it properly here).  But I would claim that first off, this is not factually accurate.  Auggie HELPS Annie because he’s her handler, but she does just fine on her own in plenty of other instances as well.  I’m ok with the fact that she occasionally needs to be saved, because that’s how it would happen in REAL LIFE.  IF real life were this amazing, of course.  But point being, this mission was way too risky thanks to DPD Head Calder McJerkOff, so it went bad.  Was it convenient that Teo swooped in JUST at the right moment to rescue Annie?  Well yes, but I’m willing to accept some of the unrealistic stuff if they at least make an effort to make other aspects a bit more real.

OH!!  Record scratch sound!  Speaking of Calder McJerkWad, can we please go back to the first scene of the ep again for a second here?  The flash forward.  Can I get a WTF????  We’re in the elevator again, and I just have to ask, is it just going to be a theme on this show now that EVERY season involves Annie getting shot nearly dead by her boss??   Remember on ‘Chuck’ when Casey used to get shot practically more often than we saw Big Mike eating a donut??  I seem to recall him getting shot three separate times & getting thrown off a building once.  But at least those were all shots to the leg and foot.  Annie apparently is going to be taking KILLshots in every season now, I guess.  Of COURSE there are many things we don’t know yet about that scene, so we’re probably just being misled to think that’s what’s happening, when it’s really something else.  Still, my reaction to it was to physically pause the TV and yell, “Haha WHAT the F#$%!?” when I saw it (response from my husband from the back room: dead silence).  Hell, at least Annie made progress in this one by actually shooting BACK??  Maybe NEXT season she’ll actually win the gunfight.  Baby steps.

HAHA sidenote #2: Just now as I was finishing the above paragraph, my cousin Katie texted me, “Oh WTF. Annie gets shot AGAIN AND she’s wearing booties!!??”  Then we wasted several minutes trying to recall if she was also wearing booties when she got capped by Lena.  I don’t have time to check.  Someone’s gotta remember.

Whew ok so ... Lord I can’t touch on even half of what happened in this ep because it was DENSE.  Almost more so than last week, AND with more action.  My Twitter friend Shelby usually sums up the ep for me in a non-spoilery few words after she sees it on East Coast time.  Tonight she was 15 mins late, and as I was ALL CAPS yelling at her on DM to give me her reaction, she *finally* responded with, “Hang on, eating a Payday.  Trying to gather my thoughts.”  Uhhhh, yeah.  I did the same thing for about 15 mins after watching it.  I had to pause this ep every 5 seconds to re-listen to lines because SO much information was being dumped on us at once.  If there’s one major thing I take issue with in this ep, it’s the back-and-forth between Annie and Stavros.  She charms him in the beginning and that’s fun, but then it gets weird.  We go from a deal being made for his art collection, to Stavros calling Annie a fraud and coming within an inch of killing her by the river, to him suddenly trusting her enough to find him a buyer for 25 MISSILE LAUNCHERS.  I suppose that’s simply because he’s so desperate to find a buyer and get his Paul Klee back that he's willing to try anything at that point?  I just watched it again; I guueessss I can buy it because I suppose, what does he have to lose at that point?  He might as well give her a day or so to see what she can work up.  HAHA the location of those white vans with the missile launchers at the end though, just in the middle of the ... shopping area or something??  With all the people around, pretty ridiculous.

I’m going to sum up my overall take on this ep after my random thoughts:

  • So Senator Pierson is in cahoots with Henry, eh?  I guess that explains all the mustache-twirling in ep 403.
  • “Amy Jacobs is an LD on the Intelligence Committee for Senator Pierson.”  What the heck is an LD?  Lame Duck?  Lady Doctor?  Living Dead?  Legal District?
  • HAHA Barber.  “I’m angry.  And SAD!!  And you know what??  I’m slightly annoyed, too ...”
  • Seriously though, Calder Michaels is THE WORST, right!!??  He can’t even manage to charm Auggie properly with the promise of approving Project Hummingbird, which should have been SO EASY.  He has to completely f*ck it up 5 seconds later with his threat about Auggie’s call to Annie!!  He just oozes “dickhead” from every pore.
  • Is it bad that I’m attributing a good 10 points of my score for this ep to the look and feel of the Vienna scenes alone??  I love the music they used on those too.  On point.
  • In my ep 401 review, I made a crack about Annie being CA’s version of Claire Bennet, due to her uncanny ability to get shot twice in the chest & have no physical aftereffects or even scars from that.  I later watched 401 in HD (rather than the shitty low-def hotel TV I first watched it on) and realized I was wrong about the scars.  They were much more clear in the hotel scene here too, so I have to give the CA peeps their due credit for attention to detail and continuity.  Still no surgery scar though.  ;-)
  • My my, Annie managed to take her habit of disregarding Auggie’s advice to new levels in this ep, didn’t she?  That Tarel Birkin conversation was intense.  Glad Auggie really gave it to Crapper McDoucheFace after that.
  • “What I don’t understand, is how you got to Vienna so fast!?”  Hahah yeah, good question.  Spy shows are constantly guilty of these crazy globetrotting feats; it’s kinda funny that the writers called themselves out on this one.  It doesn’t necessarily forgive the contrivance of it, but at least they’re admitting it.
  • “Welcome to my home, Annie.”  “Hello, Dion.”  Bwahaha oh Annie, you are becoming quite the lil’ sassafras these days, and I approve wholeheartedly.
  • You don’t bring the Bionic Woman onto this show as a guest star simply to waste her on what we’ve seen so far.  That had to have been her trailing Henry at the end, right?  She’d BETTER NOT BE HELEN back from the dead!!  Grr.

So, If I’m looking at the big picture right now, the Powerful Big Bad Henry storyline needs to fully play out before I can really form a valid opinion on it.  And the Calder stuff in this ep was obviously contrived to create hurdles for our characters, especially his mandate that Annie cut off ALL contact with Auggie.  But, I’m willing to buy it for now to see where it all leads.  I’ll tell you what I appreciated about this ep though – It’s one of the things I’ve always liked about this show – When things go wrong on missions, they’re not always things you expect to go wrong, and the REASONS they go wrong tend to be quite logical.  You’re not always going to be able to make the deal with your target without hitting some major bumps.  You have to bring in another agent at the last second to deal with those bumps, you might get someone who’s green.  You get someone who’s green, you might run into issues with them not being 100% on their cover.  You trust someone like Puma Cub to save your ass, and shit may go sideways later when he suddenly decides he’s going to kill your assets & smash your only method of communication with him.  You kill someone and dump their body in the Potomac, that shit is going to wash up somewhere eventually.  And thank GOD they made Seth really for real dead.  Having him turn up alive would’ve been too hokey for this show.

I’d say I liked this ep better than the last couple.  None of them have been a total knock out of the park for me like 402 yet, but I liked this one.


Depending on what happens later with Calder and Henry I may decide I graded this one too high, but based on what I know now, I enjoyed it overall.  What do you guys think?  Am I being too hard on Calder?  Did I grade this too high or low?  Tell me I suck in the comments.

The Plopper


12 August, 2013

TOP 10 Stupid Things TV and Film Makers Do

Not necessarily in any order. Though, it’s in a specific order so I'm lying.

10. People just hang up when a phone conversation ends. No one ever says “bye” and no one ever calls up the other person asking them “What the fuck, Bob?! You just hung up on me!”

9. Lovers call each other by their first names instead of “baby” or “honey” or “titty sprinkles”.

8. Characters constantly refer to each other by name as if they're trying to remember it, because that's how we all do it, right?

Bob? Right, Bob? Hey, Bob. What's up, Bob? Bob? Let's go do that thing, Bob.

7. A discussion that starts at one location will continue to its next logical step in a follow-up scene in a completely different location, even though the characters would have taken minutes to hours to arrive there and would have finished the conversation already.

Obviously this is based on those times when you're like "Hey, Bob, how about we finish this conversation when we arrive where the cameras are filming the next scene? Okay, Bob?"

6. I supposed this started with BATTLESTAR GALACTICA but it has caught on with writers all over the place: Military and police personnel referring to female superiors as “sir”. NOPE. INACCURATE. It’s still “ma’am”. Don’t believe me? Try calling a female officer “sir” and see what happens.

Seriously, don't fuckin' do that.

5. Arm and leg bullet wounds are shrugged off even though they can be extremely painful, result in broken bones, and cause severe blood-loss that can kill just as easily as any other wound.

4. People dial phone numbers from memory. No one is ever like "Fuuuuuck! I should have put that number in my phone!"

3. Characters don’t say “ummm” or “ahhh” or “uhhh” like real people do. They are all expert public speakers that never lean on auxiliaries.

2. No one can see what is happening within anything greater than a 5 degree field of view. They’re always really surprised by someone not directly 2 feet in front of them. People just pop up on them like ninjas.

1. Characters speak at a normal conversation level in a non-secure location where anyone can hear them say something super important that should be kept secret.


BREAKING BAD - It's really quiet over here, guys!

It was nice to see the BREAKING BAD crew back in action last night, giving it their all and acting the shit out of the scenery. The episode was a good launching point for the remainder of the series, if a tad bit much on the setup side (since this is supposed to be episode 5.09 and not 6.01, shouldn't there be a bit more going on?).

However, the thing that I walked away from in this episode was the quiet.

I know this show is fond of its quiet moments to build up tension and allow the actors to play around with their reactions. And I'm a fan of that. Not enough shows utilize quiet. There's often way too much talking in scenes. In the real world, people who know each other well have a lot less to say a lot of the time.

No one pulled off the quiet better than Hank (Dean Norris, in the role of his career), who only now realizes that his buddy Walt is the Darth Vader of this universe. If there is an Emmy for projecting the conflict, suffering, anger, and feelings of betrayal without ever saying a word, then Norris should get it. Hell, give it to him anyway.

Unfortunately, the scene between Jesse and Walt had a bit too much quiet and it's not the first time, or even close to it. I've noticed over the length of the series, and specifically since Jesse started becoming the strict moral compass, the quiet between them is used to convey manipulation, distrust, and sometimes acceptance. It's just that in a show that tries to live within the believable real world, that much quiet is rarely seen as a sign of trust. And for a character like Walt, who we are to believe is a wolf of perception, for him to miss that Jesse's quiet is about distrust and disbelief, as opposed to acceptance, is difficult to swallow.

Therefor the only reason for the quiet is to manipulate us into thinking the scene has more weight, when it doesn't. That's when I get pulled out of the moment. That's why that scene didn't work as well for me.

Still, shows need more quiet. Let the actors do that thing they do with their eyes. Unless of course it's an eyeless actor, then give them lots of dialogue.


10 August, 2013

CFBWMR Episode 8 - Solo

GeekFurious talks about almost very little in a raspy voice thingy. Then talks briefly about BEFORE MIDNIGHT, and Erin McGathy's "This Feels Terrible" episode with Dan Harmon (CLICK HERE FOR THAT). Also the devastating news that Erin is not a real redhead.

It's 7 minutes long. Though, only like 5 of those minutes have any talking.

Press play below to listen:

Or RIGHT CLICK AND SAVE the mp3 to your hard drive.


08 August, 2013

Review - SUITS 3.04: 'Conflict of Interest'

Short and concise review coming up...

Things that we knew were going to happen, thus making it not at all that interesting nor good: Donna and the new guy hooking up. ... Donna realizing that Harvey would not be happy about it, thus not telling him -- leading to Harvey finding out later in the worst way possible and causing a rift (that will last like one whole episode) between them. ... The Ava Hessington case that just won't die with no end in sight. ... Harvey continuing his war with Jessica.

There were others, but that's good enough. Now, on to the things that we didn't necessarily see coming but still don't care about: Mike and Katrina connecting. The Rachel being jealous part, of course, was no surprise whatsoever. If this turns into something, which I don't think it will. I will stop watching this show because it will be the worst storyline ever.

And the supposed bombshell that Ava wasn't involved with the murders is a non-issue for me. They kept making it appear that she was guilty, so I was expecting the show to turn the switcheroo on us. So I wasn't exactly blindsided by her changing Harvey's mind. Frankly, all I care about is that case coming to a close.

I wonder how long they will drag out the war between Jessica and Harvey? Something needs to happen on this show, because literally nothing did in this episode and it was a boring clunker.


--LOUIS: "What just happened to him?
--KATRINA: "He got Litt up."


4. "What can I say, it deserved me."
3. "Quiet, copy boy."
2. "Suffice it to say, I was awesome."
1. "She finds you a bit douchey, love."


--Louis waddling, but pretending to run when hot women were nearby was priceless. I also loved the point.

--That reporter bought Mike's accent? Oh come on.

--Black swan.



07 August, 2013

The Plopper Reviews - COVERT AFFAIRS 4.04: 'Rock A My Soul'

Wow, should I be flattered that we viewers of ‘Covert Affairs’ are so “high class” that the main product placement being used this season is for the Jaguar F-Type?? 

I know TV advertising and viewing habits are a much different beast these days than they used to be ... with my TiVo, I hardly see commercials anymore.  So I’ve gotten used to, and can even forgive, obnoxiously overt product placement in my shows.  Hell, ‘Chuck’ fans even supported Subway enough to come up with the “Finale & Footlong” campaign; eventually those sandwiches practically became their own characters on the show.  Oh and how bout all that Bud Light Annie & Auggie are always drinking at Allen’s??  Do people REALLY drink Bud Light??  No matter.  Point is, we fans are completely willing to put up with a certain level of cheesy product placement in order to keep our shows on the air.  But with that said - seriously, CA, did you really have END the entire episode with the ridiculous Jag commercial??  Because now, despite it being an otherwise pretty good episode, I’m left right at the end suddenly feeling annoyed.  And now I’m starting my review this way.  Grr.

O.k. sorry, rant over.  Let’s get to the ep now, shall we?  Let me start by asking this: Am I the only person who is feeling kind of relieved that Auggie’s gig as head of the DPD didn’t last long?  There's a line in the ep during a tense conversation between A&A where Annie says, “I don’t want to do this if we’re going to wind up like Joan and Arthur.”  THANK YOU Annie, I don’t want you to either!!  I’ll be honest, I love Joan & Arthur as characters, but I never found their relationship to be particularly romantic or even all that compelling, up through season 3 (though I will say, it has gotten much more interesting in season 4, which I definitely appreciate).  But through S3, it seemed like it was simply all tension all the time, with them constantly bickering back and forth about the conflict between Arthur as Joan’s boss vs. her husband.  Having A&A wind up like this is the absolute LAST thing I want for this show.  I’d rather the show focus on Seth’s zombie corpse rising up from the Potomac for revenge (like Jason Voorhees?) than to see a version of this show where the romance is completely sucked out of A&A’s relationship, and all that’s left is constant bickering.  :shudder:  Nightmare.

So not surprisingly, I spent much of the ep feeling very nervous about this.  Now that the ep is over, however, I feel fairly relieved that A&A do not seem to be headed this direction.  I don’t THINK.  Auggie’s demotion helps.  Is that horrible of me?  Sorry, Auggie.  A&A is way more important to me than your career.  There.  I said it.  It’s out there.  Sue me.  And on a similar note, most CA fans spent the entire week leading up to this ep freaking out and speculating on just WHAT the hell Auggie’s secret could be.  I heard theories ranging from Auggie & Teo being brothers (which would have been my own personal soapy hell), to Auggie moonlighting as Daredevil at night, to Auggie having bad credit (in the “mundane Auggie secrets” category).  After all this speculation, I’m downright relieved at what the secret ended up being.  I went into this episode with a horrible fear that it would be something shark-jumpingly horrible (Anyone else still scarred by Luke’s long-lost daughter April on ‘Gilmore Girls’?), and it ended up being something I was pretty fine with.  Teo caused the death of someone Auggie was in love with ("Helen").  And Auggie believes that his fully open “no secrets” relationship with Helen is partly responsible for her death.  Hence, we have an explanation for his attempts at keeping Annie in the dark on certain information.  O.k., I can deal with that.  Just so long as Helen doesn’t turn out to be secretly still alive or some ridiculous shit.  THEN we’d be in the shark-jumping zone.  Bionic Woman - I’m looking at you.  You’d BETTER be someone other than Helen using the alias of Teresa.

The reveal of Auggie’s secret is a great example of one of the things I’ve always loved about CA – it has a very “down-to-earth,” true to life quality that wasn’t there with many of the wacky spy shows I’ve loved in the past.  It’s a lot more relatable.  It’s not 'Covert’s way to make Auggie’s secret something total out-there and overly melodramatic.  And that’s why I found HENRY’s storyline in this episode to be a bit irksome.  Clearly he is the “big bad” this season, at least so far.  And that completely makes sense, given that he’s been lurking around as this angry vindictive and powerful character since the beginning of season 1.  CA is not taking this in an unexpected direction at all.  What irks me about it is that Henry’s “a son for a son” campaign against Arthur is not only a bit “operatic,” to use an analogy that Henry actually used in this ep, but it doesn’t even necessarily make sense!  We know that Henry blames Arthur for Jai’s death, but we’ve never been given a reason as to WHY.  Have we??  Did I miss that at some point??  Are we simply to assume that Henry thinks Arthur’s bad management of the DCS led indirectly to Jai’s death?  That doesn’t seem nearly damning enough for him to want THAT level of revenge on Arthur.

In any event, despite my concerns about Henry and my nervousness about A&A, I did find this to be an entertaining episode.  In the past, I’ve found that my fave shows tend to be at their best when the core characters are really banding together to fight against a common enemy.  At the end of season 3, I was really concerned that Joan and Arthur would be turned into villains this season due to the contents of Henry’s file.  Thank GOD they didn’t take this in that direction, as it wouldn’t have been true to what we’ve seen from these characters so far.  No one is perfect and they’ve made plenty of mistakes, but they’re not bad people, especially Joan.  So Joan’s line at the end, “From now on we trust NO ONE but ourselves.  No one,” gave me a very warm fuzzy feeling.  I want our main characters to grow closer, not further apart, and to work together.  And that seems to be the direction they’re going.  Joan even gave Annie some relationship advice in this ep!!  She gave Auggie some too for that matter.  Aww.

Oh, I also like that Henry called Annie out on Auggie’s involvement in this situation being the entire reason that she let Henry court her in the first place.  I suppose it’s obvious that this was her motivation, but it’s nice to see it clarified.  There’s no way in hell anyone would go through all this trouble just to help out and/or dig up dirt on their bosses.  Here’s the rest of my thoughts on the ep in random order:

  • Annnnd Annie’s red VW Golf is suddenly in perfect shape again.  I guess it really is like Walter White’s indestructible Aztek.
  • Eric Barber is back!  And trying out Auggie’s office for a bit.  I love any excuse for scenes with him.
  • Auggie makes two blind jokes within the span of like 20 seconds in this ep.  Is this a record?
  • So Annie couldn’t get the calendar with the bug in the Chens’ room, but I guess the audio device Auggie already had set up was good enough?  Also, Auggie specifically says the Chens have no cell phones in their names, and are likely using burners.  And yet, Annie is alerted when a call comes into Xu’s cell, and can hear at least his side of the convo.  How?  Is that just from the same audio sensors through the wall?  Do they have Lester Freamon working for them or something?  (High-five for anyone who gets that reference).  OH he was in two eps of this show too!!
  • Wow, Wendy Chen had quite the ‘tude going on there, eh?  To be fair, Annie WAS a bit annoying in that first convo.  For a “neighbor.”
  • What the hell is up with Eric Braithwaite??  He’s been in 4 eps of this show in seasons 1-3 according to IMDB.  Can anyone with a better memory than me remind me of his backstory?
  • “Don’t worry Olivia, my former husband seems to have a way with women!”  Nice one, Joan.
  • “I thought you said I was the type that didn’t need luck!”  Annie remembered Auggie telling her this when they first met.  Aww.
  • “My feelings haven’t changed, just my job.”  Again, aww.  Also, it’s good to see that Annie’s not listening to what Auggie tells her to do any more now than she did before they started dating haha.
  • Henry: “Just keep yourself covered, the sun can be very dangerous, if you’re not protected.”  This was an odd line.  What was up with all the “sun” references here?  My cousin Katie thinks it’s a sun/son analogy.
  • Teo: “[Arthur] didn’t raise a son, he raised a spy.”  Looks like Arthur’s got a little of the Jack Bristow thing going on in his past.
  • Annie’s call from the safe house after finding everyone dead: “Umbra 10-79.”  Is this a real term or was it made up for the show?  I did a quick Google search and came up empty-handed.

So what’s my grade for this ep?  I’m having trouble deciding if I liked last week’s ep better, or this one.  Last week was more exciting and action-packed, but this week was stronger on plot movement and character development.  And despite my concerns about A&A and the Joan/Arthur parallels, their scenes here were all pretty damn great.

GRADE: 88/100

I changed my grading system since we’ve had 3 B+ eps (IMO) so far.  Whaddya think?  Too low?  Too high?  Yell at me in the comments.

The Plopper


01 August, 2013

Review - SUITS 3.03: 'Unfinished Business'

I'm typically a fan of multi-episode arcs on shows like 'Suits', but at this point I'm just glad the Ava Hessington case is over with. It was stalling/delaying Harvey's attempt to take over the firm from Jessica and that's much more interesting to me than some foreign client who tries to bribe her way out of everything and that is completely obsessed whether or not Harvey thinks she's also a murderer.

He doesn't care and neither do I.

I'm also not much interested in the new hot-shot fixer from out-of-town, Stephen Huntley. He's a smooth talker, which can be fun, but I just don't care about his character or what he's up to. We already have a character that does what he does and we like him much more. And haven't we had enough of characters we don't know if we can trust or not? And OF COURSE Huntley is going after Donna to try to mess with Harvey. So obvious. I'm sure we all want to see Donna happy and all, but not if it's a ploy from the writers' room to make it more about Harvey than about Donna. Do not short-thrift Donna, dammit!

What is the deal with Katrina and her war against everyone? What is this, high school? (Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled to see Amanda Schull back on the show.) Just not sure where they are really going with this. Being on Team Litt could be interesting. I hope they go after Harvey and Mike somehow. Louis deserves a win at some point.

In regards to Rachel and Mike, is getting on one knee to ask someone to be their girlfriend the new rage? C'mon, Mike, you can do better than that. If you ask me, Mike and Harvey are a much cuter couple. I mean, how awesome is it that they are doing movie lines/analogies together again?


--HARVEY: "Origami festival? Oh my god."

--HARVEY: "Do you want a lawyer who thinks you're innocent and loses, or a lawyer who doesn't want to know and wins? ... Then don't ask me that question again, because after I win and after you're free -- what I think, won't matter."

--MIKE: "Yeah, but we can take him. What's he gonna do? Talk to us with his words?
--RACHEL: "Or wag a finger at us?"
--MIKE: "Or give us a timeout?"
--RACHEL: "Maybe slap us with a lawsuit?"


--Was hoping for the Rachel-Donna spat to last much longer. But coming from a USA show, I knew it wouldn't. Viva la status-quo!

--Gary Cole is a douche in everything he does, isn't he? Still love him, though.

--Louis' Dictaphone is back! They should make an entire episode out of just playing what is on it.

--I've heard we are going to learn about the origins of the can opener ritual this season. Can this happen next week, please?