Tube Talk: Masters of Sex: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

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Here we are yet again at the end of Master of Sex’s time on TV for now but let’s go out with a bang. The review below!

SPOILERS!

Masters of Sex: Season 2: Episode 12: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: GRADE: A-

“What if you let go of everything you thought your life would be?”

This is the question posed to Virginia by Libby in the finale I think incapsulates season two as a whole, but the finale is all about trust and faith. Trust and faith as Bill and Virginia discover are key to their study of sexual dysfunction which will help many people. After seven nights of nonsexual touching, then seven of sexual touching, and finally, seven nights of successful, and successive, sex they finally feel as if their on to something. They might be able to present. I mean why else would Bill feel inclined to dream as if he and Virginia were JFK and Jackie on a parade motorcade, until a Libby shaped roadblock appears. Yeah nothing symbolic there. Well we’re not to Libby yet.

After they see a rough cut of the CBS piece, Bill is well not happy. He had faith CBS would help accurately portray his study but its far from what he trusted them to do, so naturally he’s gonna set out to destroy it because he’s Bill Masters. From some point I can understand, this is his life’s work, his brain child, and as someone who wants to make movies for a living, I’d want my work to represent what I put into it and not what someone thinks it was or focus grouped to all damn hell. Bill has trusts himself this is what the right thing to do is and that his faith is put into soon enough the study being represented accurately.

What Bill doesn’t take into account is how Virginia will be fucked over by this. She’s still very much in a custody battle with George, who is apparently back from the six month sting in Europe, in which he does bring up an offensive point, well too Virginia its offensive, that she cares more about the work and study than she does about their children which prompts her to throw booze right back in his face. Though, he does bring up a good point. Yes the reasoning of staying late and being with Bill was for the study, then it wasn’t, then it was again, but George is right. She isn’t the model mother.

She tries to seek the advice of Libby but she can’t keep her composure in the scene. Virginia thinks of quitting but Libby wisely points out the judge will see that as just a move to get them back. The acting from that scene is really good not just for Caplan but Caitlin Fitzgerald who does bring up the theme of the whole season. Libby always saw herself as the housewife she should be, as many woman where taught to be seen as but she’s discovered more about her this year, more about what life has to give and offer, she’s also discovered Robert. I must saw the Libby subplot here was really good as it has been all season. The scenes with Robert hit home about the theme of living the life you have, not the one you think you have. Robert is Libby’s way of truly living her life. He wants to end it, but Libby doesn’t seeing as he husband didn’t, yeah she more or less knows now, and Libby can’t let it end because she wants this life to continue.

Though we’re gonna get back to the custody thing cause its also this scene where Virginia decides that as long as the children are safe and loved, that’s all that matters. So she reverses the custody agreement, trusting Bill and having faith their work in the documentary will prove her hard work paid off and that she’s been there for her children no matter what. Her custody hinges of the documentary’s success. You know they say when it rains it pours.

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That’s true here. After seeing the rough cut, Bill and crew gets word that a Dr. Kaufman in California is publishing a book similar to Bill’s study so he calls in a couple favors to one get a manuscript of the book which Bill reads and finds it much like the CBS documentary, written for the average joe, not full so much of science and leaks the info of the documentary to Kaufman so another network scoops it up and goes to film it. That’s bad enough, Virginia slowly realizing she just lost her kids, their shot at getting the study realized in the public, and how fucked the day is, Kaufman’s partner is ex-fiancé, Ethan. Will be honest, didn’t see that coming.

Michael Sheen has exemplified all the qualities of Bill masterfully, puns, over these two seasons. I don’t know how accurate he is to the actual Bill Masters but for the show, Sheen has created an intriguingly flawed character. He’s all about the work, holding himself to the highest esteem and standards yet when opprotunity comes he can’t seem to want up in the spotlight, more so this season than last where he wanted the study out there, but the reception wasn’t welcomed. Yet he still wants the people to know but I believe that experience from last season has emotionally gotten to him. He’s afraid of what might happen, but as we know from history, that’s gonna change, though also I see why he doesn’t want it out right now because they are still working to find a way of curing dysfunction.

This is all shown well when we meet Bill’s partner in the sabotage, Barton! Yay Beau Bridges is back and calls Bill out on his bullshit, that working the way Bill works is hell on everyone around him, even Bill himself. Say, just like when he blackmailed Barton to continue the study last season. Bill admits he never wanted to hurt Virginia, but Barton shows Bill he never does, but when he isn’t considering the actions he does will be for those around him, they do end up hurt.

This was such a great scene, not just for the wonderful character work and Bill realizing what an asshole he is, but also tying us back into trust and faith. Things are still bad for Barton with Margaret, their still dealing with Barton’s homosexuality but still loving Margaret. How did he do it? He took a leap of faith because he decided to trust.

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One person that Bill has hurt is Lester, remember miss Kitty? Who while not slightly berating Barb for liking Pillow Talk, look dude as a fellow film lover that might have done the same with an ex, SHUT UP! Just like what you like, alright I got off track there, they are progressing well by sleeping together. Not that, like sleep sleep where you close your eyes and dream and stuff. Bill tells Lester of the breakthrough he and Virginia had, well minus the sex part, but he’s fine not doing it, but Bill can’t by it since as he says, sex is as basic as breathing. Lester is eventually going to want Barb.

Slowly but surely Lester realizes that after seeing L’Avventura, that what he loves, it what makes him passionately take Barb against the car to kiss her. Its obvious as hell Lester and Barb are what the study is about now, but they trust each other so well. Barb’s loosened hair by the end of the finale shows she’s willing to open up for Lester cause of what they’re going through and how much they been there for each other. They trust Bill and Virginia with their new method at the end.

So what of Austen and Flo? Austen realizes Flo is connected to the Kennedy’s tries to get in on that, is shot down and realizes he’s a dumb blonde who’s always gotten when he wanted but doesn’t now, and that really didn’t do much for the finale as a whole. Also Betty was here. See what I mean with out her ex or Helen there, what use is she to the story?

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The season has been up and down, but its never lost focus on being great. This is still one the better shows on TV right now, well when it focuses on the study and characters involved in that part, and show that Showtime is still capable of top programming. I think looking at them both, season one feels a lot stronger in terms of narrative and character work but season two has Fight, the series finest hour yet and that’s a good arguement for itself, though not much. Season two hit all the buttons it needed to and I’m so happy about that.

FINALE: A-

SEASON TWO: A-

Tube Talk: The Strain: Last Rites

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Time for our last rites as we get ready for the final battle here on the PENULTIMATE chapter of The Strain’s first season.

SPOILERS!

The Strain: Season 1: Episode 12: Last Rites: GRADE: B+

This week things really geared up for our crew as they prepare for their stand against The Master, but first Gus.

Gus does things this week, but mostly he leads some nobody to a storage container full of vampires and is abducted by the rogue vampire commando squad who are FINALLY back here but I fear now their coolness might be bogged down by Gus’ blandness. Here’s hoping for the complete opposite of that.

But now moves are being made with Dutch coming back to help Eph breaking into all telecommunications to get the word out about rocking the vote, I mean the vampires. YAY, but NAY as it leads Eichhorst to them, nice to see you again, and drive them out. Tonight we get more of Setrakian’s with past when we flashback to Albania as he hunts for Eicchorst and its here we see how he killed his wife and that scene is played very well. The “younger” actor plays the emotion well but as that scene plays we see current Setrakian give an honestly emotional scene where he says goodbye to his wife’s heart and its also in big thanks to David Bradley’s acting. It really is an effective scene that let’s him have a nice moment.

Setrakian’s arc has been the most engaging with his history with Eichhorst and the flashbacks that flesh his stuff out to where he is now. I hope he makes it to the next season because frankly he’s a badass and more badass David Bradley is always good for television.

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Meanwhile Palmer is finally given youth again from The Master. It seemed at first though Eichhorst would back out the deal just to be like, “Oh yeah you go us here, well fuck, we’re gonna take over the world.” Master keeps up his end but I still doubt Palmer might make season two since what other use does the vampires have for him now? He used all his resources to bring them over and while they held up their end of the deal, what’s to stop them from offing him? Also it appears Palmer is just human again, not vampire, but he’s also immortal. I kinda, really hope they can address that.

There are nice character moments like Vasiliy and Dutch on the rooftop talking about relationships, anything Setrakian and his arc which has been the most investing, and Nora killing her mother after forgettable rockstar attacked her. I’m glad she did it instead of Eph because well you know, the emotional weight of the situation. That moment is also good thanks to how Mía Maestro acted for it.

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The finale is coming and let’s hope it all lives up to expectations.

What’s Coming?

Well fall is here so what can you expect form me as a weather goes down? Well I won’t be doing as much Tube Talk, nor covering the comic book based shows. I know I posted a piece up today but given all the projects I’m doing as well as my personal life, plus the fact I co-host a comic book podcast and radio show, yeah seems like I’ll have enough time to talk about them.

More episodes of Prattling Panels will happen, we got Original Sin soon, Tube Talk will be covering Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Legend of Korra, and other returning shows. Batman pieces are about to come fast and furious for the 75th anniversary, more movie pieces, and more musings from yours truly.

Tube Talk: Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Undercover

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We welcome back last fall’s funniest new show with weekly episode coverage here on Tube Talk!

SPOILERS!

Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 2: Episode 1: Undercover: GRADE: B+

Well last season a sitcom set within a NYPD precinct with Andy Samberg as the lead debut and it’s much better than it has any right to be. Brooklyn Nine-Nine was the funniest new comedy last fall providing truly hilarious and consistent episodes over its first season with sharp writing and wonderfully character drive work so let’s get to it!

Last season ended with Detective Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg) going undercover on a case for the FBI and confessing to Detective Amy Santiago (Melissa Fumero) and Charles Boyle (Joe Lo Truglio) and Gina Linetti (Chelsea Peretti) having slept together.

After a successful bust on the case, minus one criminal getting away and giving us a driving narrative for Jake and Boyle in the episode, we’re back into things no time because only three things worth mentioning happened like Terry (Terry Crews) chipping his tooth and lisping for a while, Boyle and Santiago wearing the same outfit one day with Boyle pulling it off much more, and “The Gina Incident” which lead to Captain Holt (Andre Braugher) banning headphones in the precinct. One thing the show has right now is lots of ideas for gags and jokes that work and its refreshing to see a show be this creative early on, hopefully they can keep this up for a while.

But we also have two looming situations in the office of Jake and Santiago and Boyle and Gina. First Jake and amy which gives me pause since Santiago is still together with boyfriend Teddy and I fear this second season is gonna get bogged down with a love triangle and will they-won’t they that could hinder all the great character work built up from season one. Samberg and Fumero have great chemistry when both non and semi-romantically last season.

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Then there is Boyle and Gina. Lovable, sweet, bumbling, Boyle and well Gina. gina is hit hard as her spirit animal was the wolf, nature’s greatest predator but thanks to the sexual blunder, she is now best represented by a naked mole rat, but yet, they only still know. Its been a full six months, it would have gotten out and does appear to be the longest time Boyle has held a secret. This was very good and didn’t distract from anything, but got funnier with the ending. Their pairing together can provide many laughs and also stop the Boyle pining after Rosa (Stephanie Beatriz) storyline because it got kinda old.

Speaking of Rosa, she, Santiago, and Terry are put through drills by Holt to prepare for the new NYPD commissioner as is revealed towards the end and helps Holt find his smile again, was if ever really missing it though? But this is worth noting for how once again Terry Crews who is game for anything on this show as he acts as a suspicious package, confused elderly woman, and a lost seven-year-old child who ruins Santiago’s lego house. It had stables!

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Brooklyn Nine-Nine came back strong with plenty of wonderful character moments from Jake starring at his maggot filled drawer, Holt’s speech at the bar, and well anything Gina and Terry really, this show has no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

Batman Eternal #25

Well it seems the weekly series is finally catching up to what we saw back in Batman #28 so let’s take a look how in Batman Eternal #25

SPOILERS!

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Batman Etern #25
Written by James Tynion IV; Drawn by R.M. Guera

Yeah we already we got here cause of Hush. Tommy Elliot once again here to up-stir and wreck Bruce’s life ever since Bruce was the golden boy back when they were best friends and we get a damn good conversational confrontation between them thanks to the great writing of James Tynion IV. Well more so Batman and a hologram of Hush that Tommy is controlling elsewhere from Bard’s apartment, who Batman followed to confront after Bard had released the Architect and pressed Vicki Vale into releasing a story saying terror attacks in Gotham are imminent. Naturally, riots start going on all over the city.

The dialogue between Batman and Hush feel so natural given the history of the character and their place in the present right now. He really wants to get personal this time and won’t stop at nothing until its done. Such as blowing up the apartment that won’t kill him. Hush feels as ruthless as he was back in Paul Dini’s amazing Heart of Hush, which I highly recommend you read right now. He wants all that Bruce had gone in the worst possible way.

Elsewhere we definitely we’re back to multiple storylines going on as Tim and Harper are back from Japan, no training montage then I guess, before he goes to see Jason who called him to see Alfred and have a surprisingly about sticking together as a unit since the event of Death of the Family, also read if you haven’t by now. They call Barbara and decide its time to talk to Bruce, after she talks to her dad from Blackgate, and Bard goes to see the Mayor Hady who thinks Bard was killed and Bard tells him city officials are being targeted and that they must initiate martial law, which Hady agrees to.

Great balance as usual so on to R.M. Guera’s art who I like for the most part. This is the first time I’m aware of him and his art and he’s got great different facial work in his wheelhouse to make everyone standout and works well with action scenes and destruction. He helps effectively tell the story that’s on page and that to me is my biggest mark of great art for a comic besides looking amazing. I like this style and hope he does a few more issues of the book.

Right now the book still feels very much in place with its narrative right now that is elevated but the quality of tis writing, but maybe the martial law being brought in can give this book a huge shot of energy. I would like to see something big happen every now and then.

RATING: 4/5

Tube Talk: The Strain: The Third Rail

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The show this week gets really good, but also really, really stupid.

SPOILERS!

The Strain: Season 1: Episode 11: The Third Rail: GRADE: B-

This week we once again have the ongoing battle to stop The Master and his plan and Gus.

Yeah once again he’s here and I have to say again, I do not care for him. Much like last week with Kelly, we’re suppose to feel for a character suddenly that we haven’t had any proper development of at all. Kelly was just Eph’s ex-wife and Gus honestly was just the person needed to help further get the plot moving in action. I’d been fine with Gus if that’s all his role is, but there’s nothing much to him

He’s sprung out and comes home to find brother and mother turned into vampires. Him and his whole family have been severely underdeveloped and we’re suppose to have this strong emotional reaction to him having to kill his brother and his landlord, which by the way big sidenote to Justin Britt-Gibson and Chuck Hogan who wrote the episode, the landlord killing moment? That was not as cool or cheerworthy as you think. He’s not an important character but only there to show how tough and serious Gus was and all he said the last time we seen him was that he made a simple request of a tenant to make living in his building and that rent be on time. Why the build up for that? Unless we seen him kicking puppies or punch kids randomly out on the street or being a corrupt landlord, then that moment is earned. Here? Not at all earned.

Also Gus is a piece of shit for NOT killing his mother. He can do it to his brother no problem but when the time comes to axe off old momma, he can’t do it. Gus, you’re an asshole. You just allowed for her to go out when the sun drops and turn more and more people into fellow vampires. You could have saved plenty of more people, but you can’t do the right thing. She’s dead anyway when The Master bites it, so its pointless that whole scene, as pointless as this whole subplot for the episode was. I haven’t read any of the books or comics, so maybe Gus is as important a character as the show seems to think he is, but man I kinda hope he’s not around next season or at best, think of something else for him to do.

Also Eph’s son goes to get Nora’s mom some cigarettes while coming across people looting and almost becomes vampire chow because he dropped Kelly’s iPhone and doesn’t want to lose the last bit of his mother he has left and leads them to be vampires while coming across Gus. Much shorter and had somewhat of a more emotional connection to the centralized character of that

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Alright now let’s get to talking about something that matters into the damn plot of this show!

Eph is a flawed character and at points not the best guy. He prides himself on his knowledge and intelligence, even just has to have the last word. Like when he and Vasiliy get into in the subway tunnel. He’s asked how it feels to have a pawnbroker and a rat killer know more about him after Eph tries to humiliate Vasiliy about being wrong on a skill of his. He even doesn’t believe things have fully changed as evident by the dialogue from his first scene with Nora in the episode, still can’t believe this insanity is around him that the world is upside down, but he’ll totally buy into the notion that killing The Master is the cure all to vampires. That’s a slight inconsistency that would bother me, but since I’m really enjoying Corey Stoll’s performance here on the show and he’s giving this role his all, I can buy into wanting to follow this character as the hero of the story.

He isn’t the single highlight here as he, Setrakian, Nora, and Vasiliy go to take down The Master and the tension, build up, and conclusion to this, is great. Obviously they don’t get the job done but what is seen is exciting. Especially when Setrakian and Vasiliy each get stuck in a very tight space trying to get The Master and they are just stranded there ready to be vampire bait, the pacing, shots, and editing tighten it up so well I kinda was fearing for them, even know I know they are gonna make it out of that situation.

We see The Master in full light again and its still amazing. He and Eph have a memorable confrontation having lured Eph to him by using Kelly to toy with him. Its nicely done. I loved just everything about this section, it almost makes up for how stupid everything involving Gus was. Keyword: almost.

We do get a very cool strobe UV light bomb out of it. Yay new weapons!

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Two episodes left in the season and it loos like things are heating up, but the show really, REALLY needs to know where to put the majority of tis focus.

Tube Talk: Masters of Sex: One for the Money, Two for the Show

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We reach the PENULTIMATE(!) chapter of the second season as Bill and Virginia get camera ready!

SPOILERS!

Masters of Sex: Season 2: Episode 11: One for the Money, Two for the Show: GRADE: A-

This week we deal with reality. Ah reality, what a concept! Also we deal with artifice. The artificial idea we project onto ourselves and what others project about someone. Bill and Virginia’s presentation of the study, Libby’s role in life, Virginia’s motherhood, and even Austen and Flo get in on the theme this week. Everything connect’s together this week and also obviously help set the stage for the finale next week which brings me to my only slight problem is that I worry about how all this will be wrapped up for the season next week, even though some could carry over into the third season, which hey it got renewed, yay. There’s a hefty sum of things going on for this season that its gonna have to keep its plates spinning. Also how fast and loose they seemed to have played with the historical events brought up in the episode, but more on that later.

But let’s worry more about that next week, right now let’s focus about how Bill breaks under pressure. Again. As shown last week, P.R. man Shep (Adam Arkin) wants to help present the study for television, but not the way Bill and Virginia would like it. In reality now, we’d have no problem, but we’re still in the 1960s. Most people were predisposed to just missionary back then and people were a bit uppity as it were. CBS won’t allow the use of the words “masturbation” (cause they don’t wanna imply solo acts) and of course, “orgasm”. Bill begins to feel as if this isn’t truly him. He has to promote the study without selling himself out completely but his actions this episode lead Lester to being the voice of reason this week about Bill and the access CBS is having to the study as to presenting it on television. It really makes for a great scene about the ends justifying the means. Mean while Lester and Bill come together in the problem of how much more artificial the study presentation will feel when CBS tries to hire a fake couple for an intake interview. To both of them, more so Lester, they might as well have stabbed him right in the heart. Bill still wants the main focus of the study to stay in tact: change how the world looks at sexual behavior.

Its really compelling in that way to see how much more differently people might react to the public acknowledgement of the study like when Bill presented it at the college last season. Of course the acting does help it work as Michael Sheen does am expert job of perfectly fitting into Bill outside the study and how stiff and insecure and slightly machine like Bill seems when on camera talking about the study, except when truly getting into it, then he’s a little more animated, also when butting heads with Shep and the director about what to present and say. Virginia is obviously more camera friendly. Seems the beauty and the beast assessment isn’t too far off after all.

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Speaking of Virginia and the study, her artificial belief that she and Bill were off to the hotel in the name of the study wasn’t exactly the best mother to her children. She’s artificially a wonderful mother in that case, even though at times she has proven to be a great mother, but reality comes to smack her right in the face when her ex-husband gets a great offer to go on a six week tour around Europe and he and his wife want the kids to join. He does bring up how often she isn’t there. When she isn’t at the hotel with Bill, she’ll still be working non-stop on the study. The kids’ babysitter gets more attention from her as evident when they come to have dinner with her at office. The shock really hits her when asked who will giver her Christmas presents when they’re in Europe. Her own children have been neglected for the work.

Libby finally faces reality that she is the number two woman in Bill’s life whereas Virginia is number one. She’s artificially still believed to be important around people who matter but when the cameras come to the office she feels misplaced again, instead when near Robert and the CORE office. She finally strips away the last bit of artificiality to herself and let’s her walls down and realize she loves Robert. When they finally get together is shot very excellently and told even better with Michael Penn’s perfect score that is ever present in the episode. It fills the scenes where’s its most effective, here and when Virginia is still in shock of the presents question, it just makes the scene work so much more. The music becomes its own character itself there.

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Austen and Flo are back and they actually do tie in well to the theme this week much better than they did last time. Flo has always been enamored with Clark Gable since he made her weak in the knees when seeing Gone With the Wind, which Austen has never seen. Having heard of the actor’s heart attack. She loved how he just took Scarlett and the fact that’s what she’s doing to Austen now clearly isn’t lost on me. That’s a weak point as to how sort of obvious that feels, but the acting from Teddy Sears and Artemis Pebdani. she has to hold his hand during their little Gone With the Wind fantasy. As she accurately points out, “Kind of ruins it when I have to tell you what to do every second.”

Though I was more engaged by the pillow talk afterwards where it showed how this detailed ordeal allowed them both to further open up to each other, like Austen nothing that Flo has this desire to defy anyone that’s ignored her. Really damn good stuff.

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I think this image above best summed up how the episode went as far as its theme did.

Even when playing fast and loose with historical facts:

  • Nixon and Kennedy’s debate was in September 1960
  • The arrest of Martin Luther King Jr. happened on October 19 in 1961
  • Clark Gable’s heart attack was on November 6

Also, I can’t come up with evidence that Bill and Virginia ever went on TV to present their evidence before their first major publication of the study in the late 60s, we’re still in 1961 here people.

But while those are little hinderances that slightly took me out of it, also admitting I’m spoiler on historical accuracy now thanks to Mad Men and Boardwalk Empire, its still a strong episode and a perfect set up for the finale next week.