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Tag Archives: 3.10

Behind the Veil with Hannibal

9 Aug

Francis Dolarhyde and his quest to become the Great Red Dragon is a new chapter of Hannibal, but the events which took place for these characters three years previous still loom in a variety of ways and they need to be addressed. Loose ends are tied up relating to Dr Bedelia du Maurier, who when we last saw her was trying to convince the world that she thought she was Lydia Fell. Bedelia was in a unique position with Hannibal as his traveling companion and this week’s Bedelia catch-up reveals what happened leading up to the death of her patient. In returning to this world Will is attempting various forms of self preservation with one method involving a debrief session with Hannibal’s other Bride of Frankenstein.

The past plays a vital role this week for Will, but Dolarhyde is all about the present as he continues to experience inner turmoil and much to his surprise he has a very successful first date. He is at war with himself and while Bedelia’s split state was all smoke and mirrors, Dolarhyde is very much experiencing two very distinct versions. One is sweet and shy, the other devours paintings and has murder on his mind; with the next full moon just 11 days away the Great Red Dragon is awaiting its next kill.

Hannibal 3.10 Hannibal and FrancisDolarhyde as we saw is fond of scrapbooking his own murderous achievements giving them pride of place next to the clippings he has collected on Hannibal’s many crimes. An interaction with the man who he holds up in such high regard seems like an impossibility considering Hannibal’s current location and yet last week ended with Hannibal receiving a phone call from his new protege. The episode opens on how Dolarhyde makes this happen and the very familiar location provides an instant connection between the pair while also reinforcing the notion of Dolarhyde’s dueling personas. It is Dolarhyde’s perspective rather than Hannibal’s memory palace and the location is real; Hannibal’s physical presence is imagined, but as this is a guy who is seeing flaming images and tails this is the least out there vision he has had.

The fan adoration turns into a therapy session as the demeaning names the press has given both of them gives Hannibal an instant personal connection to Dolarhyde’s plight; all the better to manipulate him with. This is what Hannibal does as he takes someone’s fears no matter how small or big and bends them to his will. With others he has to put the hours in to make them killers, here the murders have already begun but there are still plenty of strings to be pulled. As one Dolarhyde watches on the other turns into the beast giving Hannibal a glowing sheen.

Hannibal 3.10 Hannibal on fire Hannibal 3.10 Red DragonHannibal plays the devil on one shoulder, but there is a new positive force in Dolarhyde’s life who threatens the existence of the dragon.

Stroking a tiger is going to be a hard first date to top and this was an inspired idea. Tigers also feature in the work of William Blake (“Tyger Tyger, burning bright“) so he is on point here, but this version of Dolarhyde doesn’t feel threatening. Instead he is the incredibly shy and nervous one as he watches Reba edge closer and closer to the sharp teeth of the animal. Reba stops before putting her hand fully in, much to his relief and instead places her head on the tiger; smiling followed by a single tear.

Hannibal 3.10 tigerPositioning Reba as the good in Dolarhyde’s life could lead to the age old Madonna/Whore complex at work especially as he is quite clearly not accustomed to intimacy of this kind – more drinking implements are broken this week – but there is nothing scandalous about Reba’s actions despite her “Hope I didn’t shock you” comment. After a moment of recovery he scoops her up in a sexually charged moment. The painting Dolarhyde worships has a demonic sexuality component (thanks Hannibal for that interpretation) and the vision he has of Reba is instead rather angelic. So rather than Madonna/Whore there is a whole lot of Madonna/Madonna if such a thing could exist.

Hannibal 3.10 RebaRutina Wesley spent years on True Blood in a variety of storylines that didn’t particularly serve her well and her portrayal of Reba is both vulnerable and confident; these delicate flourishes show just how good she can be. Like True Blood the sex scenes on this show don’t play with general conventions so here she is sleeping with a dude who wants to be a dragon as he imagines her bathed in golden light.

Body hangups are common, but for Dolarhyde his perception of his disability is mostly imagined from his hair lip to his speech. He is comfortable around Reba because she can’t see and yet he worries what their co-workers have been saying about him; they are curious about him and they know he is sensitive about his face even though he shouldn’t be. While she is sleeping he places her hand on his face and in this moment he seems content. Content until dreams of teeth, the moon and the dragon wake him from his slumber sending him dashing to his broken mirror and painting.

The copy he has is a mere reproduction; the real one is in Brooklyn where Dolarhyde ventures. Under an assumed name and using academia as a reason to view the real thing he literally eats the painting and has his first encounter with Will Graham. Hannibal has pointed Will in the direction of this work by Blake acting as puppet master from his cell and this is where Will has a brief, but violent interaction with Dolarhyde. All that working out comes in useful when it comes to picking people up and throwing them so you can escape.

Hannibal 3.10 symbolThe symbol Will discovered last week carved on a tree is replicated in this stunning shot of Will approaching Hannibal’s current abode and it is the Chinese character for “you hit it” used sometimes in gambling. It is also the symbol for “The Red Dragon” on a Mahjong tile and this is where Hannibal steers Will toward William Blake. Hannibal is clearly having fun here pointing out the 11 days countdown until the next full moon – “tick tock” – and talking about Dolarhyde with such fondness claiming that he doesn’t think he is insane.

Hannibal is proving both useful to the investigation and as a mischief maker. In another phone call he manages to get Will’s new address and that is not good for those Will has left behind at home. Thankfully there are plenty of dogs to watch guard.

The set design also continues to create fascinating and striking images such as Will’s reflection merging with Hannibal.

Hannibal 3.10 reflectionsGreat danger still exists despite the physical barrier as Hannibal represents Will’s darkest path. A path Will has shared some details of with Molly, but how can he truly explain what occurred between them? And no one tells their current significant other everything about their ex.

Hannibal 3.10 Will and HannibalI am mesmerized by how mesmerized Will is by Hannibal in this moment and the use of space and light is incredible as it amps up those feelings of intimacy.

Will made a clean break from Hannibal and has got dragged back by recent events; for Bedelia du Maurier she has been using her time with Hannibal to fuel her career, which is troubling because her encounter with Neal Frank (oh hey Zachary Quinto not playing just a corpse this time) shows she’s not a great psychiatrist. Everyone is lying when it comes to Hannibal; Alana and Chilton with the insanity plea, Jack with what really really went down and Bedelia with her fabricated drugged story. To the outside world Bedelia is just another victim and she’s giving grand lectures which directly reference Dante; a cheeky nod to Hannibal’s specialist subject in Florence.

Not wearing adequate armor is how Will puts the events of three years ago and you’re going to need more than just your glasses – once again he wears them out in public, but not private encounters – to stop the spiral.

Hannibal 3.10 Will and BedeliaA hint of smugness peppers Bedelia’s comment that she doesn’t need to see Hannibal because she was behind the veil; how very Wizard of Oz. She does still receive cards from him on Christian holidays and her birthday which he sends via the FBI. He always includes a recipe and this made me laugh so hard. Will’s response is less kind as he tells her it will be what she deserves if she ends up on Hannibal’s plate.

This session plays out in the classic sitting across from each other format with a twist as Will’s present day conversation is seamlessly intercut with Bedelia’s sessions with Neal.

Present day Bedelia. She is rather self-satisfied with her current position.

Hannibal 3.10 BedeliaFlashback Bedelia. The white shirt and hair loosely pulled back (which comes undone during the fisting) gives her a rather innocent and compassionate look, which are quickly betrayed by what occurs.

Hannibal 3.10 Bedelia flashbackNeal is understandably annoyed at his experience with Hannibal and the care he is receiving here as his mild symptoms have increased in a dramatic fashion. Bedelia exasperates the situation and is not too concerned when Neal mentions how Hannibal stood over him as he choked on his tongue doing nothing. When this happens again, Bedelia does go to help and instead fists him to death. The aftermath is what we saw in the season premiere.

In a scenario Bedelia asks what Will would do for an injured bird and he replies he would want to help it, Bedelia has the opposite urge and while she claims she wouldn’t actually crush it as we see with Neal when he was in danger she did just this. She’s really failing at the ‘do no harm’ thing. In Bedelia’s school of thought Will is not a killer even though he has killed and instead it is his compassion that led to these righteous acts of violence. I mean I’m pretty sure he is still a killer, but I get her point that he isn’t the monster he maybe believes he is. She also tells him he should use his empathy to crush rather than nurture as it will be easier for him in the long run. You can see why Hannibal let her see behind the veil with comments like this one.

As with Dolarhyde, Will has this internal battle between two versions of himself; the one he fears he is and the compassionate empathetic saver of the vulnerable. Hannibal encourages what he believes are natural urges and someone usually ends up dead and maybe mounted in a artistic tableau as a result of this push. He also doesn’t let the limitations of his surroundings get the best of him and he is incredibly resourceful when nurturing new projects. The pieces are forever moving and I don’t think even he could foresee the chance encounter between Will and Dolarhyde, but I bet he will have a plan formulated as soon as he finds out.

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The Wish List: Delphine’s Return to Prints on Orphan Black

22 Jun

It was the season 3 finale of Orphan Black on Saturday and as per the standard Clone Club crazy there were plenty of twists and all the feelings moments. In this world it is hard to trust anyone who doesn’t have Tatiana Maslany’s face and the core group of regulars make up what is actually a rather small cast when you take away Maslany out of the equation. One character who has always been on the outside is Delphine and her loyalty is hard to gauge as while her love for Cosima is undeniable her overall agenda and position is less certain. In season 3 she took on the Rachel role at Dyad putting her in direct conflict with Cosima and her sisters pushing her even further away from the women she loves.

Over this year Delphine’s costuming has shifted from patterns to streamlined style where the only flourishes have been the slightly harsher details of fur and leather and the only sartorial aspect she now shares with her ex is an excellent collection of outerwear. In the first episode Delphine shows up in a Michael Kors fur panel coat and a sleek monochromatic look in a leather trim Helmut Lang blazer. An instant entry into #LadySuitWatch2015.

Orphan Black 3.01 Delphine fur Orphan Black 3.01 DelphineCut to the Orphan Black season finale (spoilers ahead) and Delphine’s return to pattern as she makes some tough choices which lead to an almost certain grave end. It is not a definitive goodbye, but it sure doesn’t look good for our favorite French scientist especially as there’s an emotionally charged Cosima scene which feels like a farewell of sorts and plays out before the parking garage confrontation with an unseen assailant. *sob*

Delphine’s costuming has been rather straight forward this year sticking to dark colors and white; all very no nonsense corporate attire. In the season finale she deviates from this in a patterned Zara blouse which nods to who she was before she took this position of power. Her top button is still done up giving off an executive air, but this print is Delphine revealing her old style as she attempts to make things right for Cosima and her sisters.

Orphan Black 3.10 DelphineDefiance is etched all over her face and this is still keeping with the black and white color palette that Delphine has always favored; this Twitter back and forth between Tatiana Maslany and Evelyne Brochu includes this photo of Delphine and Cosima’s first official meeting (cue more sobs) which shows Delphine’s penchant for the black and white.

Orphan Black S1If only her motivations had been so clearly defined as her wardrobe color palette. But she definitely had Cosima’s back and if this indeed the end for Delphine they have lost one ally who was in a position of some influence; her maybe last words emphasize her true love infused agenda “What will happen to her?” 

She also had a pretty fabulous chair spin down:

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So goodbye for now Delphine and hopefully this is not the end.

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The Americans 3.10 “Stingers” Review: “If You Really Love Me”

2 Apr

For all the facades and lies that have been told on The Americans there are some truths that can’t be shaken; the family that was started as part of their cover is very real despite the double life they lead. Paige has been at the heart of much of the discord between Philip and Elizabeth this season as they vehemently disagree about the Centre’s interest in their daughter as a future asset. Elizabeth has been itching to tell Paige who they really are all with Philip firmly in the keep her in the dark camp (a camp of one).

The Americans 3.10 Philip and Elizabeth - CopyThis season has been building towards Paige finding out inching forward a tiny amount at a time with the nearest Elizabeth has got involved talking about their activist past. Rather than going all in at once Paige has lingered in the background as the constant elephant in the room with Philip questioning his wife about her projected time frame; would he come home one day to find a now all knowing Paige? For all Elizabeth’s desires to go ahead and tell Paige, she has also been concerned about Philip because they are now very much husband and wife. This love is very real and she is considering his feelings in the matter whereas in the past she wouldn’t have given him a second thought if it meant defying Centre’s orders. Things are different now and Elizabeth even apologizes for her trip down memory lane with Paige and Elizabeth Jennings is not one for apologizing.

In the end it isn’t a decision made by either Elizabeth or Philip to tell or not to tell as Paige confronts them of her own volition. It isn’t out of the blue as Paige has been questioning what her parents have been up to since the end of season 1 when she made the trip down to the basement to check the laundry. With the counsel of Pastor Tim she asks them what their big dark secret is opening with an emotional kicker of “Do you love me?” Paige pivots on this and uses it as a reason for them to tell her what their deal is and doubles down on this by using love as a reason for them to be completely honest. If they really love her then they would tell her the truth and she’s backing her parents into a corner. Yeah they could lie their way out of this situation, but the question is out there now and this is actually the perfect time to do the thing one of them has been aching to do all season.

What makes this scene so incredible is how all the pieces move; from shock at Paige’s forthright question to how they decide to tell her. Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell are so good at the face parts acting, it sounds like such a simple notion but I can’t think of two other actors at the moment who can convey so much through the smallest gesture or reaction. After Paige lists off all the possible reasons there can be for their behavior/lack of family – witness protection, they killed someone, drug dealers, she’s adopted, they’re aliens – and turns her back on her parents there is a long beat and Philip nods at Elizabeth giving her the go ahead to reveal who they are. So for all their fighting it ends up being a joint decision.

The Americans 3.10 StingersEven the telling process is in sync as Elizabeth starts the confession with Philip actually being the first one to explain they weren’t born in the US after Elizabeth stumbles on her words. This back and forth of finishing each other’s sentences shows their united front in this and while Elizabeth has wanted to do this, it still doesn’t make the actual telling any easier. I’ve watched this scene a couple of times now and it is incredibly powerful seeing them share the burden and highlighting how important it is that Paige doesn’t tell anyone; not Pastor Tim, not Henry. The moment after with Elizabeth and Philip left alone in the kitchen deconstructing what happened includes Elizabeth asking Philip if he hates her (he doesn’t) and Philip pointing out how Elizabeth thought the kids finding out would “kill them.” Everything has changed since then as this was a line uttered in the pilot when Philip suggested defecting and that time seems worlds away now. This season they have been talking about Paige a lot as “my daughter” and now they are back to using “our” and “we” showing this all important unity. In this they are very much a team once again.

The morning after is just as impressive for everyone involved as they tiptoe around their daughter; asking her what she needs, whether they should stay home and it is all about not pushing her no matter how much they want to. This isn’t just about finding out your parents have a different job and it is entirely world changing. Nothing is what it seems and praise should be heaped on Holly Taylor for how she conveys Paige’s confusion towards this monumental news. She doesn’t scream, shout or burst into hysterical tears (all of which would be perfectly understandable in this situation) and she plays it with the right level of incredulity. This is earth shattering and changes her perception of her entire upbringing; her parents are nothing like the idea she had of them and spies wasn’t even a consideration on her list of possible reasons why they behave so strangely.

In the final scene she sits transfixed by how her parents are with Stan. Stan who is an FBI agent and who they are technically at war with. It’s like she is seeing them for the first time and now everything teeters on a knife edge even more than it already did. The balancing act just got a lot harder and this is one which includes seducing teens, a huge forthcoming mission and another marriage which is in a precarious position. Henry is of course oblivious to all of this and he barely takes his nose out of the electronic computer game to register what is going on. That’s not completely fair to the younger Jennings sibling as he watches a pirate copy of Tron courtesy of Stan and when returning the VHS he chats to Stan about his forthcoming divorce. The Stan/Henry relationship is rather sweet even if Henry has a photo of Sandra Beeman in her bikini stashed in a box with other illicit pictures beneath his floorboards – showing signs of being a good spy. Henry also does impressions which Philip and Elizabeth have no time for even pretending they are the least bit interested in. Oh, Henry.

The Americans 3.10 Elizabeth and HenrySo if Philip has been so strongly opposed to telling Paige why did he give his blessing in this moment? Early in the episode he has to leave before dinner is even served to go get a drunk Kimmy from a house party. When he takes her home there is no one there and she drunkenly mumbles “I think you’re the only one who really cares about me” as her friends were a no show. This alone is so tragic because he is using her for the intel which he goes to get while she is probably puking in the bathroom; this girl has no one and the sad family shot of Kimmy, her dad and step-mom in her dad’s office further highlights this. A few episodes ago Kimmy laid out how desperately alone she feels at home and I think Philip can’t bear to have Paige feel like this. So when Paige gives her ‘if you really loved me you would tell me the truth’ ultimatum it really hits Philip and revealing all is the only option even if it pushes her away initially.

Gabriel informs Philip that Mischa has been secured an early return from Afghanistan (thanks to Elizabeth) and it is one he has refused; they can force him to if Philip wishes and it is something Philip turns down. How can he make a decision this huge for a child he has never met and I believe that Philip doesn’t want to exert this power even if it might save his life. And he probably doesn’t want to be in debt to Gabriel in anyway. It will be interesting to see how Gabriel reacts to this Paige news and particularly the united front from Philip and Elizabeth. Philip has already told Gabriel that he can see through his manipulation and the tension is simmering away.

The Americans 3.10 Philip and ElizabethHeavy exasperated sighs puncture several interactions in this episode as everything continues to stack up against them from Philip’s audible groan on the phone when he has to leave to deal with Kimmy to Elizabeth not being able to hide her anxiety before they sit down and tell Paige. There is even talk of sleep at one point and when Philip returns with the tape from Kimmy’s – note how quick he is telling Elizabeth what happened, or rather what didn’t – Elizabeth offers to send the signal because she has had sleep. Philip insists as he knows the Yousaf protocol and later on she mentions how Yousaf only has eyes for Philip. Elizabeth meanwhile has the hotel plan on lockdown as she uses her charms with Neil the concierge, securing him for when they will need him later on. Elizabeth hasn’t had to seduce anyone all season and I think it is worth pointing out that Philip hasn’t had to kill anyone so far this year either. Soon it feels like both of these things will change.

More is at stake now and while one burden has been lifted, they also appear deflated because they are going to have to watch what Paige does in an entirely different way now. We see Paige calling Pastor Tim and for a moment it looks like she might spill all, but she hesitates ultimately heading her parent’s words about ending up in jail for life. I’m so excited as to where this story might go now that Paige knows and I figured this was going to be a season finale kinda bombshell. Instead there are three episodes left to play with and I cannot wait to see what happens next. This episode has made me so giddy.

Other storylines are simmering away in the background with the revelation that Zinaida is indeed a double agent and not really a defector. Good instincts Stan. Arkady is worried that because the mission is so secret someone from their own side is going to fuck things up not realizing it is part Oleg and the reason is Nina. Speaking of Nina she is slowly earning Anton’s trust first by speaking in English and then mentioning living in America. In the bug in Gaad’s pen investigation Stan is interviewed and has a moment where it looks like he is starting to suspect Martha, dude has a good gut for this kind of thing. Well except for the neighbors across the road (and he was originally suspicious of them, they are just very good at deception).

Shot(s) of the Week

The Americans 3.10 Paige bedroomI could easily have gone for far more than two shots this week but otherwise this would just be an endless page of photos. First up Paige the morning after; wearing the same clothes and she’s still in a state of disbelief. If you looked at this image and didn’t know it could be from a different kind of drama that would lead to a teenage daughter turning her back on her parents and refusing food. It also highlights the amazing production design and the Jennings house feels so lived in. This is also the scene where Paige asks them to say something in Russian as some sort of proof that she didn’t dream up their story. Philip can’t quite bring himself to do so, he tries but he looks like he is gagging on the words. Elizabeth does so for them both with Philip translating that they love her very much.

The Americans 3.10 StingersElizabeth stands and watches Paige when they get home from work with suspicion and fear, which makes such a striking image. The truth has set them free but at what cost? And it’s like she is looking at the spot where everything changed and the way they use the different rooms in this house is so good.

Disguise of the Week

The Americans 3.10 Elizabeth disguiseA new disguise! Sexy white suit (well sexy for 1982) with bobbed hair business lady. All the better for seduction needs.

Outfit I Would Wear in 2015

The Americans 3.10 star earringThe morning after and Elizabeth’s earrings are rather whimsical large star shapes. What this says to me is that Elizabeth wasn’t necessarily thinking about what she was putting on in the morning, but also that she has subconsciously gone for something inviting/silly. I don’t even have my ears pierced but for these I might.

Scandal 3.10 “A Door Marked Exit” Costume Review

13 Dec

Welcome to the last Scandal costume chat of 2013 and the season 3 midseason finale. As the Pope family secrets continue to unravel, Vice President Sally Langston encounters a problem of her own making (with a little hint of Cyrus and Mellie) and Fitz attempts to deal with Olivia’s father.

Scandal 3.10 shoes offThe frenetic editing of the opening sequence details the Sally and Daniel Douglas confrontation and we already know how this is going to end; the quick cuts of before, after and during the murder heighten the feelings of hysteria. It’s not premeditated and the impulsive reaction is emphasized by how it is shot. We see Sally wondering around in a daze blood-splattered and bare footed, we see the point she takes her heels off and loses the height and power she has been trying to exert over her husband (of course he is still about a foot taller than her even when she is in heels, but he’s lying on the floor dead at this point). It reminds of Mellie’s barefoot drunken Oval Office hangout and as someone who lasts about an hour in heels before I take them off, it makes sense to ditch them when something terrible has happened.

Scandal 3.10 OPABack to the office wear of OPA and it’s a veritable pattern fest; Abby has been wearing a lot of Diane Von Furstenberg this season and here is yet another amazing DVF wrap dress this time in snakeskin, the animal print is another repeated theme emphasizing Abby’s feisty nature. Olivia is becoming increasingly buttoned up in both clothing choices and as she tries to protect herself from the infinite hurt caused by her parents’ duplicity. This charcoal woven jacket is by Armani and like all the coats/jackets in Olivia’s closet it is exquisite. Harrison displays his standard dapper pattern clashing in checks and polka dots. Harrison and Abby are the two associates that I’d want on my team, as at least they’re not going to bring out the pliers and duct tape.

Scandal 3.10 woven jacketLater on when Jake comes to say goodbye, Olivia wears yet another beautiful textured jacket – a Dolce & Gabbana garment combining lace and tweed.

Scandal 3.10 Olivia greyIf you’re wondering where Olivia gets her coat taste from we can look no further than…

Scandal 3.10 MyaMaya! Who also happens to be back in Washington DC and making phone calls from outside Fitz’s house (I’m not even going to start figuring out the logistics of how she got back here) and doing so in a gorgeous belted coat that could have come from Olivia’s extensive collection. Those leather gloves help add to the dastardly, but super stylish appearance of Olivia’s mother.

Scandal 3.10 popcorn and wineOne thing Olivia is still doing is living off the snack her mom made her when she was sad and drinking copious amounts of red wine thanks to her father. So not only did Olivia’s parents abandon her when she was about to enter her teens, they also gave her some pretty bad eating and drinking habits. As always Olivia defies logic with the color and quality of her loungewear. Not a pair of sweat pants in sight.

Scandal 3.10 rowanOlivia’s father spends most of the episode hanging out with Fitz stripped of his coat and tie, which considering what Quinn didn’t get to wear during her interrogation with Huck last week he should consider himself very lucky. It’s all about attempting to strip him of some semblance of power, but for all the “I sleep with your daughter” digs that Fitz tries to drop, Eli is ten steps ahead of him with everything he says in his “You are just a boy” speech. It’s an incredible scene and it takes Olivia asking questions about her mother and the plane to make Eli look small in front of Fitz.

Scandal 3.10 Jake is commandFitz can’t usurp him face to face, instead he can twist Eli’s proclamation that B613 isn’t a person to gain power as he makes Jake the new Command and while it isn’t clear that this is within Fitz’s pay grade, it happens. Say goodbye to the hoodies and leather jackets as suited Jake is here and he looks good. Bonus points for the rugged stubble.

Scandal 3.10 Jake leather jacketHere is said leather jacket as Jake tells Olivia that he loved her, scratch that he loves her and yet he has bigger things to do. That’s not before he plants a smooch on her. Jake needs his own storyline and he finally became more than just the jealous guy as he reinforced the notion that Olivia’s father is still the bad guy to the people that he kept in a hole in the ground for months.

Scandal 3.10 Mellie in blueOver at the White House Mellie is dominating in a royal blue Michael Kors ensemble and you can tell Mellie has her groove back as her costumes have been primary color focused. Mellie is ecstatic about the Daniel Douglas news and even when Cyrus tells her what really happened she uses it as an opportunity.

scandal 3.10 Mellie in mourningThis is Mellie’s best mourning and caring face and the clickety-click inserts included this beautiful shot with Mellie’s game face on.

Scandal 3.10 Mellie in blackThe blue has been swapped out for the more appropriate black and she informs Sally that she knows the truth and uses this to gain some advantage. I still have a feeling that Sally will ultimately run as Leo has just as much control at this point.

Scandal 3.10 Cyrus underwearHe doesn’t have red horns but Cyrus equates his part in the death of Daniel Douglas as being like the devil. Mellie played a much more passive role in the whole affair which is why she can distance herself from the blame game; Cyrus is right in the middle of it as he pimped his own husband out. In yet another excellent turn by both Jeff Perry and Dan Bucatinsky that rivals the wiretap strip from last season Cyrus asks “I’m standing here afraid in my underwear and without a soul and I’m asking you what happens now?”

Scandal 3.10 James barbor jacketJames has the upper hand in all of this and his indignation is more than justified. Cyrus is hunched and his top is wrinkled, in contrast James is rocking the wax jacket scarf combo and Cyrus is at his mercy. James has tried to go to David Rosen, but after the election rigging debacle, David is reticent to help let alone believe this. A test from David’s substitute teaching job with penis drawings all over it is how David tells James he’s not interested.

Scandal 3.10 unhappy bedfellowsLast time Cyrus bought James a baby to get him to keep quiet, now it’s the Press Secretary job – that’s not going to arouse suspicion is it?! Add to the mix the evidence that has been given to David Rosen that implicates both Cyrus and Sally, and it’s going to get a lot more complicated for Cyrus, James and Sally. I’m glad David will have a storyline in the second half of the season that goes beyond helping Abby out.

Scandal returns Thursday, February 27 and we talk about the importance of the white hat conundrum in the TV Ate My Wardrobe Best of 2013 series here.

New Girl 3.10 “Thanksgiving III” Review: “Hurts so Good”

27 Nov

It’s time to celebrate Thanksgiving on New Girl and as Jess points out their indoor celebrations haven’t exactly gone well – ruined turkey, a dead body and mom crushes – so camping is going to be a hoot, right? Nick feels like he has something to prove as Coach has called his manhood into question and this prompts this trek into the great outdoors. All Jess wants is to celebrate with all of her friends and instead it’s an episode that explores the insecurities of half of the group, I mean it wouldn’t be a sitcom Thanksgiving without some shenanigans.

NG_310-17_0162This is the first episode where all six regulars (I’m counting Coach as a regular as he’s staying for the rest of the season) have been part of the same overarching story. Thanksgiving is of course a time of coming together and it can also be a source of conflict so it makes sense to divide the group in two; Nick, Schmidt and Coach as the ‘hunters’ and Jess, Cece and Winston as the ‘foragers.’ The hunters are the ones who feel like they have something to prove when it comes to their manhood as Nick wants to show Coach that he isn’t just about pink pants and cute invitations with dudes named Roger on them. Schmidt saw Coach smooching Cece so he’s sees this trip as a way to show that he is the best at something and that something is going to be camping – he’s done the research and he has an exact replica of the hat that Viggo Mortensen wore in Hidalgo. Nick brings no food and 96 beers for their feast (that’s a generous 16 each) as he thinks that hunting for food will help restore his manliness.

It’s a bonehead idea of course and the man chant that Schmidt and Coach join in with shows they’re just as ridiculous as Nick is with this plan. Nick walks the line of insufferable for the first half of the episode, but he manages to pull it back because he is aware of how stupid some of this is. This relationship with Jess has changed things for Nick, yet at the heart of it all he is still an incredibly insecure guy and he does have a habit of being easily influenced by negative remarks from others. This happened last season when Jess’ dad told Nick that he wasn’t good enough and he’s very reactionary to comments that call his worthiness into question.

The fish that Nick does catch is already very dead (“Yes it is. No regrets”) and it’s one eye away from being the nuclear fish from The Simpsons. When he realizes the foragers have been to a store, he overreacts and says he feels betrayed – the found on a bush gag gets funnier the more it is offered up as a source. For a lot of this season Nick has been the one who has been holding everything together when various meltdowns occur and this role of sensible one does get passed around the group; Winston and Cece share that crown this week. None of them have it all figured out which is why the group dynamic can shift like this. Jess in her attempt to have a shared fun Thanksgiving indulges Nick’s behavior and this is what leads to her ending up in the hospital as she eats some of the very terrible looking fish (“Hurts so good”).

Nick might be Jess’ “mountain man” but he also has some very inaccurate beliefs when it comes to both nature and history – he doesn’t think that anything purple can grow in nature, he tells a story about George Washington milking a cat and he thinks the first Thanksgiving was the bad one. He also dives head first into his bear hole to rescue a delirious Jess which prompts Winston’s amazingly confused “Head first. Why?” response. On this occasion Nick definitely isn’t the smartest. Nick does have very sweet sounding dreams that involve brushing a horse.

The Schmidt/Coach friendly-ish rivalry is of course Cece related as Coach hasn’t divulged what happened on their date and Schmidt believes it went a lot better than it did. Schmidt thinks that Coach is better at everything so he finds it impossible to hide his joy when Coach reveals that Cece has been ignoring him since their date. I’m not sure how I feel about the construction of this love triangle and I want to see Cece as part of the group without the romantic drama. This is why I’m glad that Cece spent most of her screen time with Winston in “Thanksgiving III” as they shared their disdain for this whole outdoor plan.

Winston doesn’t lose man points for opting to not go on the hunt; he’s more than comfortable with who he is in this regard and in this scenario he doesn’t have anything to prove. The only hunt Winston is interested in is either Bonnie or Helen and even though he’s left hanging after this gag it definitely made me laugh. This is Winston reclaiming his sensible throne, though we get flashes of the other Winston as he really wants to make the craziest mugs. Plus the cats on his thermals are totes cute.

The Nick and Jess relationship has followed sitcom conventions with the whole will they/won’t they set up, but it has also been trying to circumvent some of the other traditions. We have had the crossed wires episode (Taye Diggs) and the ‘don’t try and change me episode’ (“The Box“) but it does feel like they are creating a path for Nick and Jess that isn’t going to end up in a mid season breakup followed by a reconciliation at the end of the season. I could be very wrong, but we are pretty much at the halfway point and so far their conflicts have been pretty minor. This could be thanks to their living situation as a breakup would definitely divide the group and we have seen this all too often in sitcom land, there is of course the second apartment now so this could still be an option.

This is an episode that has Jess playing along with Nick’s plan and it ends up with her getting poisoned which results in hallucinations (“Extension AC Slater”) and a belief that she may or may not be a rabbit. Zooey Deschanel does an excellent job with the mostly incoherent ramblings. There is also a lot of (thankfully off screen) vomit and she might still be drugged up, but she seems pretty ok with this turn of events. Jess reinforces the notion that Nick is already the guy that she wants and hopefully this will placate some of his worries. The return of Coach has allowed the further exploration of Nick and Schmidt’s insecurities as well as revealing some of his own and this is a good thing, even if I wanted to yell at Nick for half of the episode for being such an easily swayed bozo.

Julie Hammerle

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