Tube Talk: Tyrant: Desert Storm

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War is waged.

SPOILERS!

Tyrant: Season 2: Episode 11: Desert Storm: GRADE: A-

The tension that was created by the events of last week’s stellar episode to roll over into the PENULTIMATE(!) chapter of Tyrant’s second year in spectacular fashion. It has all finally come to this, the war between the Red Hand and Caliphate and the added tension that Rami is arrested and unable to provide assistance gets exciting quickly. A good portion of the episode is indeed the battle both bullets and talking and they are really captivating. Ihab’s crazed revenge towards Bassam and how that conflicts with Abu Omar’s plans and Bassam’s instant regret as to how this might go. On almost every aspect to make this episode, its purely entertaining, but for right now, the battle.

For a show like this, the next to last chapter has to amp things up, really raise the stakes and have high drama and Desert Storm doesn’t disappoint in that regard. Its fairly obvious that much of the budget went to this from the shots they get to the extras, explosions, everything. Tyrant hasn’t disappointed in action this season, significantly stepping up its game between its break and its been refreshing to see. Bassam’s willingness to do what’s right, but as well as his committment to saving people conflict beautifully as they are nailed down by their forces. This builds to his willingness to sacrifice himself to Ihab for everyone, but that of course doesn’t go well for the person that steps up in his place for anyone as Ihab is locked up by Abu Omar for leading a vendetta.

Again I can’t praise enough how well filmed this is and how tied into Bassam’s character it is. It fuels him and reminds him of what he’s there for. Adam Rayner puts his all into the performance that he gave for this episode and it shows. He’s made this character his own and knows how to make him operate, even refusing to let a severely injured Ihab die when tending to those wounded in the field. Abu Omar lives, but I think there will be more of him soon enough next week. Or you know if the show gets renewed for a third season, so let us hold our breathes on that.

Bassam’s leadership is put on full display and its truly amazing to see how far this character has come from how bland and uninteresting it was from the first few batch of episodes. I also must speak on the performance of Alexander Karim as Ihab Rashid who has been a force of nature in of himself this season by providing amazing and solid conflict.

TYRANT -- "Desert Storm" -- Episode 211 (Airs Tuesday, August 25, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: Moran Atias as Leila. CR: Kata Vermes/FX

Things are not going to be ending well for Jamal soon. He’s confronted by Molly and Leila that Bassam is the Red Hand leader how his paranoia has caused all of what’s going out and all because of the love he shared for his brother. Leila and Ahmed’s confrontation at first as a bit on the nose by saying it out right, but its done well enough to honestly make the scene keep up its tension considering the scene before and after, Leila and Ahmed are now staging a coup to take Jamal down and put Ahmed on the throne. Leila is going to leave Jamal and as seen in previews for next week, agree to testify against him, so now she’s a maybe as to her survival chances for the series.

Ahmed’s confrontation with her in how she insists she’ll be leaving Jamal is exceptionally biting in its own way given how so done with everything and everyone. What his role could be for a next year would be exciting to see.

Leila’s turnaround will not only end the story for this year but also set the stage for what might come should Tyrant get its third year and honestly I kinda hope that is where the show ends since I’m not too sure how long this might be able to honestly continue.

Molly and Sammy’s scenes while not too big are essential to the episode in how it further motivates Bassam to do what he’s doing for the people of Abbudin. They do so much in the little time they are on screen this week that it impacts the episode even further to me.

Though if there was a problem in the episode it was how too convenient Rami’s return was to go and save Bassam just in time. He kinda got played off as a deus ex machina in the story and that kind bothered me moments after viewing the episode and has still been playing on my mind, but its not enough to really hurt the episode.

TYRANT -- "Desert Storm" -- Episode 211 (Airs Tuesday, August 25, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: (l-r) Jennifer Finnigan as Molly, Ashraf Barhom as Jamal. CR: Kata Vermes/FX

Tyrant gets ready for the finale in grand fashion that promises many more fireworks to come. I’m excited and can’t wait.

Tube Talk: The Strain: S2/E7; Masters of Sex: S3/E7

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Some weeks won’t always be stellar.

SPOILERS!


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The Strain: Season 2: Episode 7: The Born: GRADE: B-

Everyone say hello to Quinlan, my new favorite character on the show next to Fet and also the most interesting part of this whole episode. Now Quinlan’s fleshing out and even Corey Stoll’s performance help elevate the show above the last episode, but its bogged down with a couple problems and they are romantic problems, but first I think we need to focus on the badass vampire that brightens things up.

Quinlan is the mysterious vampire that suddenly came into the picture last week and he is played by Rupert Penry-Jones who turns out was a Roman gladiator. Yes let me just type that again, Quinlan was at one point in the history of the world, a Roman gladiator fighter. I didn’t think we could top a luchador wrestler taking on vampires, only thing missing from SummerSlam on Sunday night, but it seems I was wrong and I tip many of my St. Louis Cardinals hats to you showrunners.

He has been a life long warrior, even being shown to have taken on vampires throughout centuries beyond the Roman era and is also half human. He’s here to recruit Setrakian into being his warrior in an alliance considering he’s the one person in the whole world that seemed to weaken The Master enough to force him into changing vessels. This comes about after saving Setrakian and Fet from some of Kelly’s feelers and then they both face off with The Master and Eichhorst. It’s a nicely small tense sequence that even gives some backstory that The Master has history with Quinlan and especially his mother. Too bad that the confrontation is abruptly broken up by Fet blowing up The Master’s little hideaway. Live to fight another day.

Quinlan comes in at just the right time here to add some extra excitement to the show in this second half and opens up for the mythology to be explored much deeper than it has for the past couple of weeks.

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The only other exciting bit is Eph’s low key and alcoholic hazed return into the fold where it’s a bit uneasy at first, but Corey Stoll plays it so right. His determination to keep going even in failure seems relatable to damn near anyone that might be watching the show and gives his character some intriguing ways to go since now his focus is straight up killing Palmer. Now we all know, not gonna happen instantly but how it will play out soon will be fascinating to look at.

With those out of the way, holy hell, do I not care for a love triangle right now. Nikki turns back up after Fet and Dutch hit up her place to get some of her things and Fet immediately starts to feel as if he’s old hat to her and thus a love triangle is going to be put into place. Really the one thing to come from this was Fet being further fleshed out, giving some more sides to him as a character beyond what we know and love about the character so far. He’s showing how vulnerable he can be and is considering what a connection he was making, even willing to have Dutch move into his room. That’s a commitment! Really it kinda just makes things a wee bit melodramatic and I just wasn’t feeling this. It dragged the story down whenever the episode would put its focus on it and that goes the same for Palmer and CoCo.

Yes they further their own bond and go to bone each other. I honestly have nothing more to say about that other than its just a momentum killer.

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The Strain gets one foot off the ground this week while the other foot is stuck where it was from last week. With an intriguing new character, it suffers from a returning character mucking up from of its works. Where it goes from here is anyone’s guess.


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Masters of Sex: Season 3: Episode 7: Monkey Business: GRADE: C-

I feel like this episode was Masters of Sex at a standstill, that’s what it felt like at least to me. I found nothing too different from last week aside from the intriguing storyline of the guest stars, which does push forward a plot point, and the return of Sarah Silverman and Teddy Sears to the show. Honestly this episode also suffers from just now in the second half of the season throwing stories upon stories upon stories.

Really I think that’s what my problem was with the latest episode is that despite the many balls it’s juggling in the air, its familiar elements from past episodes don’t feel too inspired here. It’s a boring episode.

As you can guess from the episode title above, we pick up with Bill and Virginia debating about wither or not to take on the case and of course that also means Virginia is a bit more curious and insistent than Bill is which feels a bit more than old hat with some of the more unique cases and the push for the Newsweek interview after Isabella and Al are seen leaving the clinic from last week. Mostly it fuels a log of the conflict from the show and depending on sometimes the story and its direction its captivating and there are numerous examples of that over the course of the show but here just feels it’s a needed plot conflict to drive and make things complicated between them and make Virginia think Dan as more of a suitable suitor for herself. This time it’s not to compelling despite the persistent charms of Josh Charles who even shows up to charm Virginia in an ape costume. Yes that really happened.

Dan even gets to know Tessa who is still in pissy vengeful teenager mode this week and doesn’t seem to go above that so there’s not too much I really can say beyond that. Can we go back to the interesting and complex Tessa from before?

But back to Gil the Gorilla it does touch upon and feel similar to the plotline of Keith, Jane’s friend from acting class. They are both single males and really don’t fit the client criteria for the practice, but as noted, Bill has a soft point for sympathetic males in trouble. The Gil story is probably the most exciting thing in just how weird it gets when they visit Gil’s old handler played by Alex Borstein that felt truly emotional give how she would stroke his ego and had a much deeper connection between human and ape than one would expect. Virginia’s reaction to how she did it makes her wanna forget it and make it a fluke and doesn’t feel comfortable discussing it in the Newsweek interview. Bill of course feels pissed since he was against the same thing with Isabella and Al, yet knew they could keep it confident because doctor-patient privileges This is Bill’s dickhead moment of the week people.

Honestly with the Gil story being captivating I just didn’t feel so emotionally connected or invested and the same goes for Jane who agrees to be a surrogate partner for Keith so he can participate after she does some convincing to Lester by reminding how they met through the study and that it helped her, she just wants to do the same thing. Noble, but I just again don’t feel too interested in it. Jane’s return has been a problem for the show in where I would like closure for her and Lester, I’m not sure I wanted them back together and this is beyond wanting Lester and Barb, who gets a mention this week, to be together. Because Lester moved on, he was able to rebuild himself after how Jane broke him down and made him less a man when she ran off in a great moment from Lester this week. I loved that.

Now for Betty and Helen wanting a baby. They want a baby and of course it being the 60s, single moms and lesbians need not apply. I will say was the best storyline this week given the performances because Sarah Silverman is back and it gets us more Annaleigh Ashford as well. They try to used some of the sperm collected at the office afterhours since well Bill doesn’t help single people and they are uncertain about who to use since they can’t get to know the donors so enter penis ex machina, Austin Langham, Teddy Sears back, surely misplaced by the Speed Force. His brief return will surely be expanded upon, but I’m not sure how much, but it again also served to kinda overstuff the story.

Back home Johnny burns one of Bill’s football cards. REBEL!

Libby’s story just doesn’t live up to how good it was last week given it would be ripe for high drama but it just slowly drags out how inevitable  her affair with Paul or anyone else might be since she seems to be here to be the under-appreciated wife who has her own affairs. That seems to be the only mode for her on the show anymore. While its not hard to feel sorry for Paul, Libby just kinda brings the proceedings down.

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Masters of Sex just doesn’t feel like itself this week and that’s a real letdown given last week’s installment. I can’t help but figure that this is just wheel spinning until a bigger event towards the finale and even the finale itself. I guess much like Gil, this episode couldn’t rise to the occasion.

Tube Talk: Hannibal: The Number of the Beast is 666

HANNIBAL -- "The Number of the Beast is 666" Episode 312 -- Pictured: (l-r) Laurence Fishburne as Jack Crawford, Mads Mikkelsen as Hannibal Lecter, Caroline Dhavernas as Alana Bloom -- (Photo by: Brooke Palmer/NBC)

Preparing the last meal.

SPOILERS!

Hannibal: Season 3: Episode 12: The Number of the Beast is 666: GRADE: A

Hannibal and Chilton once again have a conversation that gets oddly meta in how Hannibal brings up that fate sometimes doesn’t let us choose our ending. How timely for that to come up in the PENULTIMATE(!) episode of the series itself. Its smart on Fuller’s part to have done Red Dragon now instead of the fourth season since it seems there might not be a fourth season, though one can’t help but think how this would have played out in a full 13 episode season. Life huh?

Speaking of Chilton he is the answer to what they would do about Freddie Lounds and the infamous, “Do you see?” scene. Will, Jack, Chilton, and Freddie come together in the most unlikely team possible to further bring out Francis with Chilton offering up his honest opinion as Will gives blatant lies about it to fuel his rage as he knows he’ll read this. The four of them plotting this together and playing it out was charmingly delightful as they work so well together and we got more of Freddie here, who kindly offers Will a Tooth Fairy shirt, pondering if he’s a small or a medium. It was also kinda funny as well it keep up some of their nicely placed humor this season. Really this has kinda been the funniest season.

Not so funny was Francis capturing Chilton. The scene is tense and filled with uneasiness that it just makes you squirm in your seat as you watch, or at least it made me do. This is one of the few scenes in the entire series that made me uneasy to watch, I couldn’t stand to since I know what was to come, but yet I couldn’t look away. I think Armitage managed to really out crazy Ralph Finnes with his portrayal in this scene and really command this episode, it was his hour without a doubt. He seemed so much more visceral, more animal like, especially how he crawls to Chilton before biting his lips off which also rarely made my audibly yell out several sentences that mostly began with “FUUUUUUUUUUUUUU-“. It doesn’t hold back on that, its nastily brutal and just amazing how well its filmed, really the whole hostage sequence itself is a crowning achievement of the show. Such an incredibly well done sequence that even makes things more tense with a brief appearance of Reba midway through it. Reba trying to connect more to Francis and Chilton sat there in silence. Oh the tension.

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Now back to Chilton, not only does he have his lips bitten off, that is gonna be ingrained in my brain for goddamn weeks, he is set on fire a la Freddie from the books in a deliberate slap to Will for setting up that bait from last season. Oh and Chilton is alive. Yes, Fredrick Chilton on this show now has survived holding his own organs, a bullet to the face, bitten off lips, and being set on fire. Chilton is the Wile E. Coyote of this show and I think this was also in place to somehow bring him back should there be an honest future for the show beyond next week’s finale. Well I will say Chilton replacing Freddie in the situation given how incredible and high up on his ego he is, even after Hannibal refutes Chilton’s book in a psychology magazine and his plans for a book on the Tooth Fairy. Raúl Esparza once again just brigns what’s needed to the role of Chilton and makes him an instantly memorable character, he even shines in his scene when he’s mostly BBQ and rightly blames Will for touching him as if he were his pet, as Francis does the pets first. Making Will a participant.

Hannibal himself is really who set the sequence of events of this episode in motion because of what he did last week and really this episode feels like a straight continuation of the previous episode. Its fascinating to see how much damage this man can still do from his now bare cell. Mads Mikkelsen is relishing his role from behind the glass as much as he did when he was outside of it. His most delightfully dark moment maybe ever in the show coming from eating one of Chilton’s lips when its delivered to him. It also gives us more Alana goodness and I’ll be curious now as to her role in next week’s events.

HANNIBAL -- "The Number of the Beast is 666" Episode 312 -- Pictured: (l-r) Hugh Dancy as Will Graham, Gillian Anderson as Bedelia Du Maurier -- (Photo by: Brooke Palmer/NBC)

Will and Bedilia are linked together in this episode once again by a therapy session that gets really deep and personal in addressing something the show seems to also in this PENULTIMATE(!) chapter address for fans about Hannibal being in love with Will. Tumblr, calm down, pretty sure in a purely psychological level of mind game fuckery, yet it could be deeply personal considering how much they might still even be friends right now. They are connected to one another in a very sick and unhealthy way. They are one as it were.

Hannibal allowed Will to build a family. Why? so he can bring it down around him, wanting Will even more, proving their connection to one another yet again. Its nicely played out again between Hugh Dancy and Gillian Anderson as they do a verbal tango with one another inside each other’s heads. I do have to wonder if Fuller went to outright define the bond between those two with the end looming, but yet I think he was just going to do that regardless of the show’s future. Lecter is engaged in a sick love story with Will Graham as his true equal that would have seen Abigail Hobbs as their surrogate daughter.

Also Francis now has taken Reba for what will be their confrontation next week and that should be just as tense.

HANNIBAL -- "The Number of the Beast is 666" Episode 312 -- Pictured: (l-r) Lara Jean Chorostecki as Freddie Lounds, Laurence Fishburne as Jack Crawford -- (Photo by: Brooke Palmer/NBC)

Hannibal faces a final fate next week with a series finale and I feel confident in that term seeing as there is still no news as to anyone else picking up the show and Mikkelsen and Dancy already on to new projects. Let us not be sad though, this week next to last installment gave us an incredible hour full of creepy tension, uneasy, yet striking visuals, amazing acting, incredible direction, and another reminder as to why its the best show on television right now. Hannibal, what will you serve us next week?

Tube Talk: Tyrant: Zanjir

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Tension gets Tyrant right back on track.

SPOILERS!

Tyrant: Season 2: Episode 10: Zanjir: GRADE: A

After a dull week, Tyrant seems to have snapped back into place as it runs on nothing but high tension this week and fantastic character interactions in what could very well be maybe the best episode of the series itself.

The episode all but fully places Jamal make into his former crazed self and sets the stage more so for our last episodes. The accidental death of Amira in place of Rami is what sets everything in motion. That sets the whole tempo for amped up tension that remains perfectly tight for the whole hour. This is really an ace up the sleeve as it just comes out of nowhere and just sucked punches your emotions right away with the explosion itself and Jamal’s reaction over the phone once he realizes what has happened.

Jamal’s guilt fully takes over and its what really puts him over the edge and its incredible to finally see crazy Jamal again but its really more of a broken Jamal, which seems appropriate with how his reactions go and the fact this brings up his guilt over Bassam which clashes with the guilt of inadvertently killing his own mother. Ashrof Bahrom is again fantastically amazing here and just gives such depth and range to the character that is making him one of the most criminally underrated characters and actors on TV right now. While the crazy isn’t fully out there, I expect the crazy to come out more so next week. The most surreal moment coming at the end when Leila looks on at Jamal who its his head repeatedly against a wall in the room where his mother’s body lays. Blood coming from his head and bleeding on to his shirt and kneeling before his mother as she can’t bring herself to pull the trigger.

Jamal’s unraveling even seems to put Leila at the end of her rope as her denial is slowly fading away. She has been managing Jamal for years now and can’t see anything good coming from his current mindset, which is why murder is her solution after she loses the faith of Ahmed and Rami to help stage another coup to take down Jamal for he holds all the power right now and is truly far more dangerous. Leila’s crying as she points the gun is an expertly done character beat that feels honestly real and true to what she’s been through this season. Moran Atias absolutely shines in this episode and gives her best performance as the character.

Really all the acting is great, especially at the palace as Ahmed even seems to finally have it with his parents after he confronts Nusrat about her encounter with Rami in the garden earlier which he saw before Nusrat explains the annulment was his parents ideas. Seeing Ahmed compare his mother to his father and call them both monsters was incredible. His statement that he’s done with his parents rings true. That confrontation had its own room full of tension and let those actors as well shine.

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Rami’s fate is left uncertain, but I believe he might see to live the events of the finale, though he’s left high and dry by Solomon and the military is being pulled out of helping the Red Hand against the Caliphate.

Tension is raised over at the Red Hand and while Bassam and company are unaware of Amira’s death there is plenty to enjoy, mainly how Bassam is trying to keep Sammy away from battle. This week does a great job of bettering Sammy again and showing that last week’s events have definitely changed him a lot. The connection between father and son is deepened by this and the acting from both Adam Rayner and Noah Silver shine through as they expertly play that change and development in them so well. It feels believable of what they each believe, especially how Bassam seems to be willing to bring Sammy into battle with them. Until of course he drugs him to make sure he oversleeps their departure, which felt honest and true to Bassam, also much better than just simply knocking him out or anything else really.

Molly really isn’t much here, but does set into motion the events of the episode and helps to set up perfect tension for next week by warning Sammy to warn Bassam of the military not coming to them, but of course the sand storm is interfering with the radio.

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Tyrant throws a curveball and its effective. Amazing drama, high tension, incredible characterization, expert plotting and pacing, and brilliant acting and direction. Its most powerful hour of the whole year is proof of what makes Tyrant undeniably great television.

Tube Talk: The Strain: S2/E6; Masters of Sex: S3/E6

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Perception is a hell of a thing.

SPOILERS!


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The Strain: Season 2: Episode 6: Identity: GRADE: C

Although Identity is the name of the newest episode, this episode struggles to really find one. Pacing and focus is all over the place as so many things are balanced.

First off with the majority of the episode, Mr. Goodweather goes to Washington. Eph spends the episode trying to work around the system with his friend in the CDC and soon to be lord of hell on Fox, Tom Ellis as his old pal Robert who helps him, even after learning that throw from the train last week did indeed kill Barnes. Hopefully that can be further addressed and bring in a great examination of morality here in that the vampire test subjects presented.

Eph’s arrival in Washington didn’t do all that much in separating itself as far as reaction to the plague. Robert and Lee Thompson seem to be as invested as the bureaucracy and epidemic containment of New York. Understandable they might not be that in the know given their location, but still, it needs to feel different enough that it makes the new location distinct. This also represents that with a epidemic/disaster narrative in that you gotta deal with the bureaucracy and the system within the world, it’s just not that terribly compelling.

Not much is done with Eph needing to go through a private pharmaceutical to fund research and develop his cure. Something like that is good for Palmer, but bad for the people that would need it. Many of the scenes in this story and exposition dumps that really don’t add too much and Robert and Lee aren’t that terribly compelling in the narrative of the episode itself. Even their death by a private hitman of Stoneheart doesn’t give this a shot in the arm.

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Back home we seem to finally get some excitement in Kelly finally finding Zach. Kelly and her spider kids make some great menace as their movement is still creepy, but it comes right at the tail end of the episode and feels a bit tacked on to finally get us a payoff for now before Zach further sees what his mother really is. The tension in Nora and Zach being corned is quickly done when Setrakian, Fet, and Fitzwilliam show up and then Fitzwilliam dies. The show seems to be misguided in putting the emotional weight on this and it wants, but its not felt or earned considering that Fitzwilliam has now been with the team only for this episode. The mercy killing by Setrakian after he’s been bitten rings hollow and detached. There’s nothing to feel considering he’s barely been here. They built up Fitzwilliam and his past to make him an important fgure then just kill him off. Lazy storytelling.

Gus spends the episode fanboying on the Silver Angel who himself becomes a little more compelling. Gus and Aanya’s budding relationship isn’t too engaging, but the vampire attack as all three of them make a delivery and while it feels like it lets Angel in on more about the vampires than he knows, it goes nowhere. This whole storyline goes nowhere in this episode, its just there and helps to fill up time in the episode. It’s just wasted.

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The rest of the episode just has a bunch of things. Palmer is around and not happy, the mysterious hooded figure is there and much isn’t sad about him, and The Master now resides in the body of Bolivar. Now that I quite liked as the ending of the episode itself for how disappointed Eichhorst looks and then realizes he will continue to be The Master’s lackey if he wants to keep his ass alive.

The Strain kinda got lazy again this week and wasn’t that engaging. It felt unfocused and rushed to get to where we need to go in terms of the season. Hopefully that all changes soon.


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Masters of Sex: Season 3: Episode 6: Two Scents: GRADE: B+

Identity is a thing that seems to even carry over into the latest Masters of Sex and is expertly highlighted by the guests of the week. Bill and Virginia take on a difficult couple in Alan Neely and Isabella Ricci. They each had this perception about each other, an identity they placed on one another that gave them such an amazing spark when they met and had their way with each other in a fountain in Rome where they felt like Gods. Its more striking in Alan with his reveal he always wanted to keep seeing Isabella as the 20 foot woman he first saw on a movie screen. They both couldn’t take the insecurities, the flaws, their humanity. The moment they see each other as real people, the magic is completely gone.

Expectations go a long way for damn near everything and that is especially true for Bill and Virginia such as they might see what they have with each other especially since they can’t seem to find any real time together to resume their own personal activities. Sheen and Caplan really deal with this well and run with the idea of fantasy in a relationship. Its a terrible foundation, but its not a bad thing to have and Bill’s way of trying to romanticize their first encounter when he stops in the elevator, but she remember how real their first encounter went and doesn’t feel the same love that Bill seems to and part of that might be what drives her to Dan Logan at the end of the episode.

Josh Charles gets an extended role here as he and Virginia once again keep trying to find that scent of sex. The heir that Charles brings to Dan is what attracts Virginia to him and what makes the viewers so interested in his role here on the show. They have such chemistry and both really seem intrigued by what Dan wants to do and they even seem surprised as we are that Lester’s sweat is just the thing that they needed. Lester: Bring the Erotic Thrill of a High School Locker Room. Alright sidenote, I kinda want a Calvin Klein like commercial for that on the season 3 DVD set.

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Perception is also Virginia’s main conflict as she finally has it out with her mother after seeing how she changed up Tessa, trying to improve her with how she possibly failed with Virginia and its a remarkable scene where Virginia does own up to the pageants, but it was everything else she had a real problem with, especially with not so subtly trying to further push her and Bill together. She wants to have an idealized life she could have had, an identity for herself that is better than the one she’s currently living in right now.

Edna really just doesn’t care, even when she shifts Tessa’s attention from her winning essay to the hair on the opposing page. It was refreshing for Virginia to do something like that and even see Tessa lighten up and be on her side, until she see the rustled blouse of hers after a night out with Dan Logan, of course thinking it was Bill. She doesn’t even wanna mention she’s been published now. Its a greatly played silent moment that speak volumes for her character and suddenly turns her around from last week’s episode.

Perception hits the Masters household. Bill becomes assistant coach on a youth football team and the kid he bullied that bullied his son is the quarterback. Instantly after that its obvious how it goes, but the way Sheen and play this is interesting. Obviously now Dennis is the son he wishes Johnny was and how he sees it as the son he could have been to his own father. Johnny doesn’t understand that.

Libby decides to get away and perceive herself as Joy and take the apartment she gotten before her brain aneurysm. Libby takes this and makes her fantasy reality here. This is the identity she perceives herself to have. Even the super relating his own divorce she believes nothing will happen to her kids. Libby needs perfect. Anything, like Johnny’s ankle injury while she was away at the apartment, throws her off and she can’t deal with anything and loses focus. It upsets her so much, even revealing Joy’s plan on leaving to Paul which makes things awkward even further. Libby is a great mother, but not the best person and this is so far the most compelling thing to involve her this season.

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Al Neely was an overgrown ape, dangerously simplifying sex to animals and it makes sense how at the end, Bill is brought by a zookeeper to see about the sexual apathy of a prize gorilla. The staging of the bars in front of the gorilla might feel a bit on the nose, but it speaks to Bill. Something inside is waiting to come out, the something that came out when bullying Dennis. He thinks love making is able to thrive anywhere, but Virginia thinks context of where it is does matter.

Masters of Sex reaches the halfway point and its solid enough right now that the drama ratchets up here and has a good focus on what its telling. How it keeps telling that is only a matter of time.

Tube Talk: Hannibal: …And the Beast From the Sea

HANNIBAL -- "...and the Beast from the Sea" Episode 311 -- Pictured: (l-r) Nina Arianda as Molly Graham, Hugh Dancy as Will Graham -- (Photo by: Ian Watson/NBC)

Relationships are complicated.

SPOILERS!

Hannibal: Season 3: Episode 11: …And the Beast From the Sea: GRADE: A

Be it romantic, personal, casual, or professional, relationships are always gonna be complicated. To connect with one other person or persons in someway deeply is gonna get things mixed up and that is what I felt most during the latest episode of Hannibal as we countdown to the end of the series itself.

Several relationships are examined in this latest episode from Will and Hannibal, to Alana and Jack & Hannibal, Hannibal and Francis, and Francis and Hannibal. Francis and Hannibal’s is the one that fuels the events of the episodes from yet another phone/Francis and Hannibal’s vivid imaginations of the office. Francis seeks Hannibal for guidance, Hannibal seeks Francis for relevance and an outside connection. Its fantastically played well from both sides because of how they need each other. The moment Hannibal coldly tells Francis to kill them all is the match that lights the evens of the episode up right away. Hannibal hasn’t been this straight forwardly evil in such a cold way before and it was amazing to see Mads Mikkelsen play that. He sold it right away. Hannibal wants to see Molly and Walter gone so he can have Will to himself for the purpose of still eating him.

Speaking of Molly and Walter they are attacked by Francis in a stellar sequence. I think the new cabin setting for the Grahams helped to make this scene even creepier. Francis’ look and movements would be creepy either way, but to set it within the rustic settings of the woods makes for something else entirely. The pacing, shots, its all wonderfully tense and exciting.

Just as exciting is the fallout when Jack and Alana use the next phone call between the killers to find Francis, but Hannibal lets him in on the tracing and Alana is a woman of her word. The delight played across her face as Hannibal is locked up and masked as his cell is deconstructed continues to show what a great presence the character has been this year. Oh and the toilet is gone too. She literally took everything.

Will’s talks with his stepson and Molly are also great in their genuine emotion of the situation. This episode gives us more of that and shows what they mean to Will, maybe more in how he talks to Walter at the hospital, that was a particular standout scene next to how he talks to Molly about everything when she wakes up. Will needs them, depends on them to anchor him here in the world. Hugh Dancy is again really digging into the meat of this character and gives yet another amazing performance, especially with his confrontation at the end with Hannibal, once again showing how complicated relationships can be as he’s had it up to here with him and all the other crazy sons of bitches. Hannibal takes great delight in Will’s anger, admitting he gave Francis the address and asks how Molly is doing. No fucks given by Hannibal, just none. Its biting back and forth and Hannibal even asks if Will craves change like Francis does. Hannibal truly cuts deep.

HANNIBAL -- "...and the Beast From the Sea" Episode 311 -- Pictured: -- (Photo by: Sophie Giraud/NBC)

Speaking of change, Francis is craving that with the Red Dragon in his head urging him more and more to kill Reba. This week gets more visual with the Red Dragon himself as we see through amazing effects how it truly is inside Francis, causing him to harm himself and seeing the Dragon do it to him as he deeply cares for Reba, its horrifying. Again it plays to how well the writing is and Richard Armitage’s performance of Francis Dolarhyde. Francis is complicated by both the people in his life, the Dragon and Reba. What is he to do? How can he love both when he can only really be with one? While knowing the outcome, Bryan Fuller still makes this interesting and internally compelling to watch. Its fascinating to see this go down.

Even when touched briefly, the goings between Jack, Alana, and Will were great to see the old team again and touch on relationships since even though so much has happened, they seem to even still be the same around them after everything. Also love a nice appearance from Jimmy and Brian.

HANNIBAL -- "...and the Beast from the Sea" Episode 311 -- Pictured: (l-r) Scott Thompson as Jimmy Price, Laurence Fishburne as Jack Crawford, Aaron Abrams as Brian Zeller -- (Photo by: Brooke Palmer/NBC)

Hannibal keeps going strong with the end nearly insight and doesn’t show signs of letting up. the big confrontation is coming and with all the superb camera work, cinematography, acting, and writing, its gonna be one hell of a send off for the show.

Tube Talk: Tyrant: Inside Men and Outside Women

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Wasted opportunities.

SPOILERS!

Tyrant: Season 2: Episode 9: Inside Men and Outside Women: GRADE: C+

After the series highlight last week, its incredibly disappointing to see what a letdown this weeks episode is.

Bassam and Sammy was great last week, not so much now. Sammy goes back to being a bit whiny, good point in bringing up how suddenly Bassam seems to be big on faith, but its not that well written. Its interesting to see how Sammy goes into bringing himself into life with the Red Hand, but that kinda plays into a problem for this episode as far as focus and lightly treading water. We are neck deep in the story now and this episode seemed to spin its wheels. You gotta keep movement going and I understand that for the storytelling, but this deep in and with all the great story elements we have, its disappointing.

Especially in how Bassam calling Molly, wasted drama. The best moment being the first with Molly’s shocked response and look as the camera locks in on that then zooms out. Jennifer Finnigan plays it perfectly. I think Finnigan honestly has been hot and cold to me, but she’s had her great moments and this might be her best. It didn’t last too long. Honestly it was one sided in how really Molly just continuously railed against Bassam and while it was well played on her part to get to play with this material and have righteous anger, I really wanted to hear more from Bassam. No lying, he personally was in the wrong, but he had his own reasons that he felt justified and I would have loved a more back and forth between the two of them. I feel there was some missed opportunities there that could have been mined for great dramatic TV.

Now back to Sammy, while his character isn’t as great as he was last week, is integration into life among the Red Hand offers up some great possibilities, especially in the best part of the episode which is the Caliphate raid on the Red Hand’s headquarters. Sammy getting right in the shit is hopefully just what the character needs to kickstart him into amazing development. I see this paying off big. Now for the sequence itself, its a greatly done, tightly shot and paced chaotic attack. It also wraps up the arc for Munir and Kasim who both go away now since Munir was tortured to give up the location then killed and Kasim, in admittedly a great moment of silent guilt played across his face after he allows Daliyah to flee, kills himself. Bringing back to Molly, also seemed rushed to have her be so cool with Sammy now wanting to stay around and be in the fight.

Oh and for Molly, Jimmy is going back to the states. So long talented, but thanklessly wasted Jake Weber.

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Now back at Abbudin and the palace, wheels are being spun as well. The slow unraveling of Jamal back into his former crazed self continues and it feels old hat now. Ashraf Barhom is now balancing the line between crazed and finely tuned. For as much as Barhom has become the real star of this season, it was better for that because of reformed Jamal. Jamal improved over the course of season one, but this year is how he’s risen above the entire cast and his acting has been the real good thing about this storyline. I’m curious to see him slip back, but I don’t want that to encapsulate his whole character. The other thing its got going is the reactions people are having around him, but again this week its just stuck in motion. He still doesn’t trust anyone around him, just the man he doesn’t know that is his brother and God.

His talk to Bassam over the phone goes all over the place. It heightens things between the two of them without Jamal knowing, but then kinda lays things on thick with Jamal eyeing Nusrat and Rami outside his window and drawing a heart around him. That’s the problem, I’m not sure how the show wants to fully play Jamal’s descent, are they wanting a subtle or a more obvious, noticeable approach to the story? They need to figure this out and keep a consistent tone if they want to keep it compelling, not just the story, but also Jamal himself, and I’d love for Jamal to stay compelling. Right now since he’s one of my favorite characters currently on TV.

Rami Said loves Nusrat confirmed! Go nuts Tumblr! They share a conversation in the garden about Leila’s proposition to Nusrat and this only serves to the purpose to further bring them together for an adultery storyline and I’m just not feeling that. Depending how they play it, I guess it can be good, but with everything else going on in the show, this doesn’t feel like its going to add much to the proceedings and really is tacked on for the sake of drama. Speaking of Rami, Jamal wants him dead now for his secret meeting with Bassam. Also more obviously, Colonel Mahmoud (Peter Polycarpou) is the snake in Jamal’s boot. It was noticeable last week, but it wasn’t too effecting on the story, but now its kinda just there. Would be more compelling to have played this up as a mystery game and add more to Jamal’s unraveling, have someone inside the palace look for who might be the one for Jamal, but with all that’s going on having it be just known is fine, its just not too terribly great here.

TYRANT -- "Inside Men and Outside Women" -- Episode 209 (Airs Tuesday, August 11, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: Ashraf Barhom as Jamal. CR: Adrienn SzaboÕ/FX

Tyrant just really didn’t amount to too much this week until it reached its climax which makes the remaining episodes of the season promising with the oncoming storm of war, but with this installment, Tyrant feels like its just coasting by on autopilot and that’s just not too terribly entertaining.