Tag Archives: 3.08

Answering a Calling: How Everyone Gets Sucked Back in on Hannibal

26 Jul

One chapter is over for Hannibal this season and the Red Dragon portion begins with a three year time jump. Moving forward by this amount is a wise move as it spares any lengthy courtroom scenes, which weren’t so successful when Will Graham was on trial last season (it did give us Freddie’s hat which I will forever be grateful for). It also means all the players in the Hannibal hunt have been given time to heal both physically and mentally; some have moved on in a big way and others seem comfortable in returning to their jobs with varying degrees of proximity to Hannibal.

Hannibal 3.08 FrancisThe episode opens with Francis Dolarhyde’s transformation and at no point does he speak or do we get to hear his real name (it can only be seen on his uniform name badge). A William Blake retrospective in an issue of Time gives a peak into the beast he becomes obsessed with and this is where the episode gets its title from; “The Great Red Dragon” proves to be so important to Dolarhyde he gets it etched on his back and kneels before this painting in a position of worship.

Hannibal 3.08 tattooBlurred butts ahoy! This has been very on trend this season and Bryan Fuller did mention at the Comic-Con panel there would be no blurring on the DVD.

This opening sequence does a good job of highlighting Dolarhyde’s isolation as you can see his co-workers chatting over lunch in the background as he sits alone. His attic dwelling with its broken mirror and portrait reinforces and when we see him picking up the teeth which inspired his tabloid nickname, his hood is up as a way to protect his identity and attempt to conceal his hair lip.

Red Dragon is the only Thomas Harris book I have read so this is the one portion of Hannibal where I know the source material and hopefully this won’t bleed too much into my interpretation because while he doesn’t speak, the way Richard Armitage moves and makes those guttural sounds indicates he is a killer who might just have a monster inside him. One thing we know is that he is a big fan of scrapbooking and as Hannibal predicted he is not so fond of the sensational name he has been given.

Hannibal 3.08 scrapbookingDolarhyde has also been paying attention to ‘Hannibal the Cannibal’ and despite Dr. Chilton’s assertions that people have tired of Hannibal’s crimes in favor of the new serial killer on the block, Hannibal is not without fans. While cutting out evidence of his latest endeavors we also see a family photo from Dolarhyde’s own collection and pictures are an important part of this storyline.

Some of those are moving and in a terrifying fantastical moment Dolarhyde is enveloped by the film turning him into the projector.

Hannibal 3.08 FDTransformation is important with the moon cycle acting as a countdown for when he will kill again. When he exits the home of the second family he killed covered in blood it acts like a kind of rebirth and briefly stops whatever is giving him the urge to kill. There are two sides to Dolarhyde; this duality also exists in Will Graham and it is Dolarhyde that causes Will to come back to the crime solving fold.

Photographs act as a prompt to get Will to come back and while it is an emotionally manipulative move from Jack he sees it as a necessary evil to stop another family being murdered. Will doesn’t want to see the crime scene photos using Molly and her 11-year old son Walter as an excuse; really it is him that doesn’t want to see them. Jack borrowed Will’s mind before resulting in the twisted relationship with Hannibal so it is clear how desperate Jack is as he has ventured up to Will’s secluded residence.

By not inviting Jack in, Will attempts to keep his home free from this old life, but the weight of responsibility is too much and Jack ends up staying for dinner. Dolarhyde has infiltrated Will’s peace with his crimes and if the photograph of happy families wasn’t enough to convince Will, well then Jack has his props at the ready to show Molly.

Hannibal 3.08 photosBy leaving Jack with his wife, Will is knowingly giving Jack the opportunity to make his case and despite everything telling him to protect the life he now has, he also feels responsible for the fate of whatever family might get torn apart next. So long to the brief moment of happiness we got to see on Will’s face.

Hannibal 3.08 Dear WillOld faces come to visit in several forms for Will Graham and he has a letter from Hannibal (in beautiful cursive of course) telling him “We have all found a new life, but our old lives hover in the shadows” followed by “I would encourage you as a friend not to step back through the door he [Jack] holds open. It’s dark on the other side and madness is waiting.” The newspaper clipping about the Tooth Fairy murders makes it quite clear that Hannibal wants Will to walk through that door and into his new abode.

Will obliges and he’s rather practical about it all as he explains how he might as well get it out of the way now rather than in an act of desperation when the countdown clock to the next full moon is approaching at speed. Will makes it clear he does not care for Hannibal’s note nor the clipping by burning them.

Chunky shawl neck sweaters and beanies for Will are more like his clothing of old and thanks to the shooting schedule there’s always a lot of snow on this show. The “Will Graham Glasses Watch” continues and the only point we see him wearing them this week is when he takes them off as he approaches Hannibal’s fancy pants cell.

Hannibal 3.08 HelloMirroring the end of season 1 and the roles are reversed; the only similarity is Hannibal’s part in creating the conditions for both scenarios as he framed Will and surrendered himself to the FBI. Hannibal’s surroundings both real and memory palace are far more opulent than the cell which housed Will and the memories which haunted him. You might say Hannibal has landed on his feet despite his lack of freedom as now he has everything he needs before him.

Last week Alana warned Mason that Hannibal is always playing; Mason did not heed these words and ended up with an eel down his throat. Now it is Alana and Chilton who are embroiled in a dangerous game of their own making as they lied in court and now Hannibal is considered legally insane.

Hannibal 3.08 Alana and HannibalAlana’s sticking to the fabulous pantsuits and her new power color of bold red in her visit to her former boyfriend and it is a conversation peppered with contemptuous remarks from both parties. It remains rather civil as they drink the wine which revealed Hannibal’s Italian location even as they trade barbs about Alana’s current job, how to categorize Hannibal away from lazy monster assertions – Alana thinks he defies categorization – and why she stopped drinking beer. They also discuss the number of people he was charged with killing, a baker’s dozen if you include Mason (“You’re welcome”) and the thinly veiled threat Hannibal made last week towards Alana’s life comes up again as he reminds her that he always keeps his promises.

Instead of taking this moment to storm out, Alana instead sits back down and while I am sure she does fear that he will come good on this promise at the moment she is protected. The Alana/Hannibal romantic relationship was frustrating because of the position it put her in; however I want to see a lot more of this dynamic because their back and forths are rather fun. Somehow there is still warmth and humor even with what has gone on. Plus she is now part of his Renaissance fan art collection.

Hannibal 3.08 sketchIn this conversation with Alana we get to see his memory palace in action:

Hannibal 3.08 Alana Hannibal 3.08 wineAnd in reality:

Hannibal 3.08 drawingHis former Baltimore residence is not the only place he spends time and the church in Palermo is just as vital. Hannibal’s fanciest of suits which are more Baltimore than his European collection appear in the moment where he listens to a choirboy singing. Hannibal is making the jumpsuit work for him, but I am always thrilled to see him in a three piece suit.

Hannibal 3.08 churchThis provides the soundtrack for Hannibal getting booked by the returning Price and Zeller (so happy to have them back) and a hint of the work Freddie Lounds has been up to. Lounds is later referred to as an “obnoxious flame haired woman” after she has tried to take photos of the dead woman at the funeral home.

Hannibal 3.08 HannibalYes I had to chuckle at the “Kitchen Nightmare” headline.

Alana is not the only one sharing words and treats with Hannibal as Chilton enjoys fine dining and a dessert he has had with Hannibal before. A dessert which includes blood and Chilton asks the question you don’t ask Hannibal if you have sat at his dinner table and gets the answer he was hoping to avoid “The blood was from a cow only in the derogatory sense.” Eat the rude and all that.

Chilton provokes Hannibal with the discussion of the new serial killer du jour – like the show Hannibal is niche – and as is generally the case with Chilton he wants to know the opinion of an esteemed mind on the subject.

Hannibal 3.08 dinner with ChiltonReporting his findings to Alana about their ‘cabal’ confirming their involvement in Hannibal’s trial outcome and why they lied; they are attempting to save everyone else from the ‘monster.’ Yes he would have got the death penalty and yet he would have probably found some way out of it. And as Alana pointed out previously she was up for Hannibal getting tortured, but less so for his death even if it puts her in the firing line. For Chilton fame motivates this choice and with Alana it is more likely a sense of duty. Concern is in her voice as she discusses Hannibal’s presence and she informs Chilton that Hannibal has written “a brilliant piece for the American Journal of Psychiatry” debunking Chilton’s book about him.

They are all walking cautionary tales when it comes to Hannibal and yet they’re all getting pulled back into his influence. Everyone is playing the most dangerous game.

Hannibal 3.08 stagThe stag is of course Will’s thing, but it is worth nothing that Alana has one in her office.

Hannibal 3.08 the teamSure is good have the crime solving gang back together and a return to the storytelling format closer to previous seasons. The first half of this year was incredibly ambitious, but at times it did feel weighed down by some of the dialogue and continuous slow mo shots of blood.

Returning to Baltimore and a crime where they don’t know who the killer is, gives a sense of familiarity; Will’s pendulum swinging followed by “This is my design” coupled with a red stringed winged looking form was really good to see. It’s not all old tricks as Will’s flashlight was used to illuminate where the bodies had been and this whole sequence prior to Will’s recreation of the murders is disturbing both because of the crime and the dangerous path he is about to walk down. A path he tries to resist, but he knows he will have to embrace the darkness (and Hannibal) to save another family from this awful fate.

The Americans 3.08 “Divestment” Review: “Is Any of This True?”

19 Mar

The real/fake relationship setup at the heart of The Americans twists and turns delivering gut punches on a weekly basis. Whether it is Philip and Elizabeth navigating parental decisions when they disagree so much over this one very big thing or the amount of angst which is stacking up in the other relationships Philip is maintaining all in the name of the cause. The net is closing in on one of those as Martha questions everything about who Clark is causing him to turn on the damage control charm spewing out half truths to save the operation.

the Americans DivestmentNcgobo tells Philip “Being married and being at war do not always go together” and yet in the case of the Jennings being at war is the reason they are married. For them it is different, but for everyone else pulled into their orbit it is far from the case. The teen girl who through misguided rebellion or simply a craving for someone to notice her, the other teen girl who doesn’t know her parents are fighting over her future career, the woman who will believe whatever her husband says because he tells her he loves her; these are the people who are going to suffer because they are pawns in a war they don’t even realize they are part of. This isn’t to say that Philip and Elizabeth are not suffering as the operations with Martha and Kimberly directly impact Philip all while Elizabeth must maintain the supportive player role pushing down feelings of concern and jealousy which is creeping in. Combine this with the Paige problem coupled with the son he didn’t know was real until very recently and the weight of the war overseas is playing on his mind.

This is where being married comes into play in a positive way as Elizabeth wants to alleviate some of the pressure and while she can’t remove the burden by taking Philip’s place in any of these operations she can try and reduce his worry in another way. Her visit to Gabriel at the end of the episode to ask for help getting Mischa Jr. home surprises their handler because he didn’t realize Philip would tell Elizabeth; he noted things had changed between them but not by that much. Gabriel was using this personal connection to Afghanistan as an incentive for Philip to progress with the Kimberly operation and this husband/wife information sharing is not something he factored in.

Last week Philip listened to the news in the laundry room away from his wife, now he is back in the bedroom and the tight closeup on Philip’s face reveals a whole world of worry for the child he has never met. Elizabeth asks what his son is called and while we have seen Elizabeth share what her real name is we were not privy to seeing Philip do the same. So whether she recognizes the significance of Mischa or not by hearing his name it only adds to this personal connection, which leads to the favor asking. Elizabeth also receives a package from Gabriel and for a brief moment she fears the worst about her mother, instead Gabriel reinforces the notion that her mother is “a fighter.” As with Ncgobo and the home he has long since left there is this aching for the past and the family they can’t access.

One difference as Ncgobo points out is they still have their home and there is a stark contrast in methods, something Ncgobo mentioned when discussing disciplining his children last week. The Americans has been pushing boundaries all season and it crosses the stomach churning bar previously set by the packing and dentistry scenes as Ncgobo makes Venter’s death as painful and prolonged as possible by setting him on fire. At first it felt like a bluff and a way to get Venter to talk, but then I remembered this show doesn’t really bluff and we are forced to watch just as Philip, Elizabeth and Todd are. It is a dark, fucked up scene and one that shows the extremes of the multiple wars which are being waged. With Todd, Philip and Elizabeth both end up arguing for him to be spared and win their case citing his age – “he’s just a kid” – and what he has witnessed as a deterrent. Philip and Elizabeth might disagree on some fundamental things but here with Ncgobo they present a united and unbreakable front. His age has certainly helped save him and kids getting caught up in the war of their parents is a repeated theme this season; Paige, Kimberly and Misha.

The Americans 3.08 Martha at workSomehow I have got this far without mentioning this week’s most devastating performance as Alison Wright takes the ball she was given last week with her bathroom spiral and runs with it. First at work Martha is holding it together in an impressive fashion with only Gaad showing cracks as a result of this investigation, as he is the one who is ultimately accountable and poor mail robot feels the full force of his frustration. Martha’s interview with Taffet is a tense affair and yet she uses an aura of ignorance to stay off his radar; this is the most fraught conversation about office supplies since Office Space.

At home it is a very different story as she nurses a glass of wine waiting for the confrontation she was edging to do last week. Again it should be pointed out how incredible Alison Wright is in this scene moves from acknowledgment and devastation as she tearfully asks “What have I done?” and demands to know what is true to falling under Clark’s spell again despite her better judgement. At first it looks like nothing will make her believe him particularly when she points out that Walter Taffet is who Clark is meant to be; while he never answers the questions pertaining to the web of job related lies he swings things in his favor by resorting to desperate and flowery language about love. Damage control includes truths such as “You are one of the most true and honest and good women I have ever known” combined with something I think only stands for Elizabeth and the kids “I love you and I would do anything for you, to protect you.” Clark asks her is this is enough and if she needs more than this and with the shake of her head it looks like he has convinced her.

The final shot of the episode of both Philip and Martha lying naked and awake in the same space but so distant from each other and this is in direct contrast to the bedroom sharing scene of Philip and Elizabeth last week and it feels like something far more devastating is around the corner for Martha; is she someone who is going to get divested?

The Americans 3.08 Paige researchPaige is also questioning the story her mother told her about Gregory after doing some research – using microfiche – and finding out that Gregory was a drug dealer. Elizabeth manages to turn this into a conversation about the injustices Paige is already fighting against. Nice deviation Elizabeth, though maybe you should be more concerned about your daughter eating cereal for dinner even if this is a practice I sometimes partake in and I love breakfast for dinner. In a way these questions are good for Elizabeth’s plans to tell Paige, but I’m not sure how happy Philip would be at this development. In Paige’s book club this week she is reading Why We Can’t Wait by Martin Luther King, Jr.

Over in Russia, Nina has shaved some time off her sentence thanks to her work with Evi, but she still has to serve ten years which is not such a thrilling proposition. However she has a chance to walk free is she can get Anton to work a little quicker than he has been. Anton is the scientist who was shipped off against his will last season and who at the time yelled at Philip for being a monster. He still isn’t thrilled with his situation and isn’t going to be broken as easily as Evi. What Nina now has is certain comforts in her imprisonment even if she has also come face to face with her former boss Vasili who she set up back in season 1; the forgiveness she asks for is not accepted.

Calls from the Motherland to the Rezidentura come in over a secure line and this factor is important as Oleg’s father doesn’t want anyone listening in on his conversation about his son. He wants Oleg to return home but Arkady is sticking his heels in and his neck out for Oleg. Not being able to get the train when he goes home is not something Arkady is concerned by and yet I worry this will have bigger ramifications down the line. Oleg’s brother as we know is in Afghanistan and this war looms over everyone and everything on the Russian side of things.

In the midst of this talk of children following on from their kids whether it is Oleg, Paige or Ncgobo there is one character whose path deviated far from his father’s and that is Agent Aderholt. His ‘unusual’ road to the FBI comes up in his conversation with Taffet as he is the son of a janitor and went to night school at Berkeley; Taffet tries to suggest this ‘difficult’ path sets himself apart from everyone else. Aderholt disagrees and doesn’t see himself as a victim stating that “Being new isn’t a bad thing.” A legacy doesn’t always make for the best kind of worker and I am beginning to wonder just how vital Aderholt’s role this season is going to be as he hovers on the edge.

Shot of the Week

The Americans 3.08 ToddTodd thinks his fate is death and showing us his view of those decided what to do with him raises the tension. Luckily for him Sid and Nancy are repping for him.

Disguise of the Week

The Americans 3.08 wig of the weekLast week I said I would come back to this look and this is the most cool and edgy disguise Elizabeth has worn so far. She definitely wouldn’t look out of place now in the leather jacket/hoodie combo and this wig is super sleek. While Elizabeth isn’t going to blend in as easily as some of her dowdier other disguises allow she does look different enough that Todd wouldn’t be able to identify her. Bonus super smudgy eyeliner.

Outfit I Would Wear in 2015

The Americans 3.08 ElizabethThis is pure Elizabeth casual chic with the slouchy but sexy sweater and a high waisted skirt (with pockets!). Seeing as I’m currently in a leather jacket coveting phase the disguise outfit could also work for this category, ditto the hoodie and yet I can’t resist this very typical Elizabeth at home look.

Scandal 3.08 “Vermont is for Lovers, Too” Costume Review : Fantasy and Reality

22 Nov

It’s time to declare a new coat champion on Scandal and this episode featured plot twists galore (of course), a surprising end to a campaign and a whole host of shirtlessness (the absence of costuming if you will).

So let’s get to it.

Scandal 3.08 Dior DogtoothStarting with THE coat and a trip to Vermont that includes a big declaration and reconciliation of sorts. This Dior dogtooth beauty provided Olivia’s armor for her initial conversation with Fitz. After ignoring his calls and breaking the Fitz phone, Fitz pulled out the helicopter grand gesture move with the added incentive that he now knows who Olivia’s father is. Other than the fact that I find this relationship toxic (to both parties), I’m not a fan of Olivia being at Fitz’s beck and call because he uses his status as the most powerful man in the world to see her. By not taking her coat off it’s a signal that Olivia has no intention of sticking around, but Fitz soon warms her heart by revealing that he bought this house for her and things soon heat up; the armor comes off.

Scandal 3.08 back shotThis shot helps show the structure of the coat and perfectly swishy it is. It’s saying “I mean business.”

Scandal 3.08 cable knitFitz is out of his presidential attire and it helps emphasizes that this is the Fitz away from the White House, the cable knit sweater is perfectly homely and is probably what Fitz pictures himself wearing in his house in his Vermont fantasy. On this occasion it’s a reality, but I still don’t know how they can ever really make this relationship work. They steal away moments like this, is it enough? Olivia does tell Fitz that he shouldn’t sell the house which is a signal that future rendezvous are on the cards. Fitz declares his love and says he’s going to stop Eli and he does have the power of his office behind him. Cyrus has already warned of the dangers of doing this, but Fitz seems pretty determined.

Scandal 3.08 Chloe blouseThis white Chloe sleeveless blouse with a black collar is pretty standard Olivia Pope and the buttons at the back (which costume designer Lyn Paolo modified) played their part in the sexy, slow mo sex montage with Fitz.

Scandal 3.08 twirling hairMeanwhile, Mellie is twirling her hair like a lovesick school girl while watching Fitz defend on her on TV. Fitz is distracted, instantly killing Mellie’s post-interview buzz as he’s not really there for her. For a moment she allowed herself to believe that Fitz was back, but the reality of the situation is not lost on her. Mellie has been through a lot to get to where she is now, as last week’s episode revealed and it makes everything all the more tragic that this role isn’t anything like she thought/hoped it would be.

Scandal 3.08 red suit plottingMellie is part of the honey trap conspiracy with Cyrus and this Ralph Lauren red suit gives off a super traditional Nancy Reagan vibe (the pearls are of course part of the ensemble). While she plays her role perfectly in this scheme she warns what this could do to Cyrus’ marriage. Cyrus is far too arrogant to heed these words of caution as in his mind James is nothing like Fitz. James isn’t Fitz, but Cyrus has pushed him too far this time.

Scandal 3.08 plum v neckCyrus even picks out the plum v-neck that James should wear on this seduction trip. James has been manipulated by Cyrus many times in the past, however this is the first time he has whored him out for political gain. Cyrus, you really should have listened to Mellie.

Scandal 3.08 peach suitMellie’s moved away from the bold red to this soft peach tone as she comes to see Fitz after his Olivia tryst. Mellie knows what has happened, but doesn’t let on and she’s playing the “for the good of the campaign” card as she suggests asking Olivia to run their campaign again. This is the kind of tone that Olivia told Mellie to wear in the season premiere to try and win back voters; a subtle nod that she’s listening to her advice.

Scandal 3.08 JosieSpeaking of campaigns, I’m sad to see the Josie Marcus one come to an end so quickly. I know Scandal moves at a breakneck speed but it only feels like Lisa Kudrow just got here. The outfit in the shot above is the most Olivia Pope Josie has looked in the entire run and shows the subtle work with Josie’s appearance that OP&A have done.

Scandal 3.08 popped collarHarrison did get to pull his most pissed off face all while looking super dapper in his popped collar trench, pinstripe shirt and polka dot tie combo. Harrison also got in on the shirtless action this week as after dressing Candice down for her rookie PR moves, he slept with her. Is this the first time we have seen Harrison get in on the romance?

Scandal 3.08 QuinnQuinn has got herself into a very Quinn like problem as now B613 “owns her” after she killed the security guard on camera. I’m not sure if there is much more they can do with this character and now she’s facing down the barrel of Huck’s pliers set. The two different shades of blue look good on her, maybe dial back the eyeliner. Abby is less kind to Quinn’s look as she gives the unknown suspect (that is Quinn) a fashion burn saying it’s a woman in a “cheap skirt suit and dumpy heels.”

Scandal 3.08 Abby DVFRounding off the associates is Abby – who should also ease up on the darker eyes- wearing another Diane von Furstenberg item that I would very much like in my closet. This time it’s an Alyce Houndstooth pencil skirt.

Scandal 3.08 beltBelts like this one are very much part of the season 3 Abby look and things are going well with David even if he refers to her co-works as Popeheads (hee).

Scandal 3.08 chuncky knitBack to Olivia and one of her many white chunky knit pieces of lounge wear. I just wanted to mention this scene in relation to something Mama Pope says when she mentions that she used to make Olivia popcorn when she was sad. Eli dismisses this and claims that she doesn’t know what Olivia is like, we know popcorn is pretty much what Olivia lives on and she’s pretty sad all of the time (especially at the moment). Olivia clears away a bowl of popcorn in this moment as she ignores the Fitz phone.

So Mama Pope has revealed herself to her daughter! This is an example of the crazy pacing of this show and I never expected this to happen as quick as this. I have no idea what this is going to do to the plot of the show but as long as we don’t have to see anyone eat their own wrists again then I will be very happy. In the meantime, I’m going to go on an Alias binge while we wait to find out what the return of Maya will do to Olivia.

New Girl 3.08 Review – Are You a Doer or a Dumplinger?

13 Nov

There has been suggestions that this season of  New Girl has been a little off, that it’s not connecting in the same way as last year and while I agree that it might not have the same spark as season 2 there’s definitely still a lot of great material here. Part of the issue comes from how fractured these characters have been; Schmidt started the season dealing with his double dating drama, Nick and Jess have been paired off and Winston was languishing in a place called crazy town. Schmidt’s moved out and Coach returned and it already feels like Coach has been on this show for more than 3 episodes.  If last week was about reintroducing Coach in the broader sense, then “Menus” builds on this and shows that an extra person can help boost the story.


From the pilot the main Coach characteristics were that he yelled a lot and he couldn’t talk to women; both of these attributes are still part of him and he has a terrible time forming sentences when Cece stops by, yes the word ‘breasts’ randomly comes out of his mouth. Plus he tells her that he will “tip her right over.” Smooth. Coach feels like he is defined by his job that is also his name; since his breakup he hasn’t been doing much coaching and he sees a project in Nick. As we are already aware Nick has some terrible habits including eating Chinese takeout for breakfast – it’s not even takeout from the night before, he’s actually ordered it in special and for some reason this seems way more horrifying.

Even with the perfect workout track and yes Britney Spears’ “Work Bitch” is just that, Nick still can’t resist the menus that keep coming through the door and he chooses dumplings over abs. The abs that he thought God just hadn’t gifted him with. Nick has very little belief in himself, but he has an infinite supply for those around him. While he might not always go about this in the most logical way Nick has an abundance of encouragement for those he cares about and he was always on hand last season when Jess was feeling down about employment status. On this occasion his advice is misguided as Nick tells Jess to stop trying to try so much because she’s constantly getting shot down with her suggestions at school. In refusing Coach’s help and opting for his not so healthy lifestyle, Nick’s telling Coach that he’s terrible at what he does. This isn’t Nick’s intention, he just really wants to eat dumplings.

Nick’s big speech moment comes as a result of seeing both Coach and Jess eating takeout in the most slovenly manner (“Chinese food ménage”) and seeing Zooey Deschanel eating out of a takeout box as if she is a horse with hay is pretty damn funny. Nick’s no Jeff Winger when it comes to the speechifying but he does solve the problem and it’s nice to see an overall victory. Nick is his best self when he sees the best in others and while he doesn’t think much of his own achievements he certainly cares about what his friends (and girlfriend) are doing. This speech moment includes an interruption from Schmidt as he finally admits that he is missing everyone. The nanny cam and the desperate fear of missing out phone calls had already informed everyone of this fact. I’m still not sure what’s going on with Schmidt this season but I hope that we’ve hit the point where he returns to the fold, even if he is living across the hall.

In an episode of personal victories, Winston suffers physically on a couple of occasions whether he is slipping on the stack of menus while eating an ice cream or falling over while faking a jump shot (as someone who might be considered clumsy I totally feel for Winston here). He also ends up as a pawn in Jess’ war against Hop Foo as he has an allergic reaction to the Chinese food – Lamorne Bishop does swollen jaw speak rather well. So while it’s probably not a great for Winston personally, this episode goes a long way to show that rather than taking screen time away from Winston, the return of Coach might help boost his story thanks to their slightly antagonistic relationship. Also the wheelchair that Winston found led to both this Friday Night Lights reference “What’s up Jason Street?” and Winston’s call of “IRONSIDE” at the beach.

Jess’ one women menu stopping mission is something I fully support and while I am partial to the odd takeout, having my letterbox crammed with menus is frustrating, especially when it is the same menus week after week (luckily in my building they put a recycling box next to our letterboxes, yay conservation!). This is Jess is transferring her frustration at Principal Foster onto the manager at Hop Foo and she is naive enough to believe that simply asking will stop the endless menu supply and really what can she do? Report him to the city? Yes she threatens to do this. Jess also researches lawsuits on the internet but really this argument is futile because at the end of the day she’s just going to get someone fired. What she really needs to do is put this energy into her planned school trip and this is where the two merge as Hop Foo lends her their van to take the kids to the beach.

There’s not much else to do but wear a hot dog hat and while they haven’t been to the beach a great deal on New Girl when they do it’s a place of self discovery – in “Injury” Nick came to terms with his potential illness and he gets his big run into the ocean moment – in “Menus” it brings everyone together and it feels like everything is going to be ok. Except for maybe Winston who is probably going to get buried in the sand.

Julie Hammerle

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