Tube Talk: The Strain: S2/E12; Masters of Sex season finale


The Strain gets ready to close shop and Masters of Sex does it poorly.



The Strain: Season 2: Episode 12: Fallen Light: GRADE: C+

A show like The Strain needs to use its PENULTIMATE(!) episode of a season to really amp up the tension, lead our characters on the road to where they need to go before the finale, bring tension to a full 11. Fallen Light fails at doing all of that.

The one bit of tension that is fairly prominent and will pay off for next week is the Occido Lumen which will be contested over a bidding war between Setrakian and Eichhorst and each side with its own set of drama. Turns out Palmer and Coco’s gift of eternal, which admittedly I didn’t expect so props to this episode for genuinely surprising me there and Quinlan isn’t trusting of Setrakian to uphold their deal so he wants Gus to convince him and if that doesn’t work, straight up kill him and hand him the book. Now that right there should have been all over the episode a lot more. This sets up tension and has expectations of amazing conflict for the finale next week.

The only other bit of that here was Mayor Lyle being offed and Justine being risen up through the ranks in Palmer’s plan to run security in New York city. That’s intriguing.

Not so intriguing is a full focus the current love lives of the show. First to Eph and Nora whose meeting is explained in flashbacks from ten years ago with a brief return of Sean Astin, who I admit I was pleased to see on here again. Fleshing out their story and including the build up towards Eph’s divorce was just so boring. Their romance hasn’t been a fixture on the show for sometime and to see it come right back up is jarring on the episode plot to say the least. It just doesn’t really seem to work here as I never feel invested. Same goes for Dutch walking out on Fet and then Nikki walking out on Dutch. It was emotional framework that should be building up for next week, but it just doesn’t have the legs to hold itself up to be an important factor on the story here. I wanted to care, but I just don’t.


Another problem is Quinlan himself. Quinlan is by far the most engaging thing of season three and he and another great idea in the Silver Angel have been given a disservice by being saddled with Gus for the season. The Silver Angel should be amazing, not a story accessory, it can expand the show. Gus and Angel’s breakout of the prisoners isn’t at all as cool as I had hoped. Sure they have to fend off some vampires, but its just okay. The whole sequence is. I feel like The Strain really squanders the moments where it needs to be big and it just holds back. Don’t hold back, go all in!


The Strain limps its way towards the end of the season and that is not at all how it should be setting its endgame for the year up. This finale is gonna need to really be something.

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Masters of Sex: Season 3: Episode 12: Full Ten Count: GRADE C

Masters of Sex this season has been playing with its history a lot and my thing is as long as you can still tell a compelling narrative with how you’re playing with facts, its all fine by me, its good. That said, this finale was just all kinds of wrong in so many ways. It barely skates by with its grade thanks to excellent performances, but I think this was a completely poor way to leave things.

As expected Bill is brought in on the wild stretch of charges of molesting Dennis, but prostitution and pandering charges with the surrogacy program. Nora as it turns out is involved with recurring Bible thumper Ronald Sturgis and tricks a police officer to listening in to Bill handing her money for the rent as paying her for her services. As much as I thought the Bible group being annoying because its yet again fear mongering and spreading Christians, fitting for repressed 60s, but still, I put up with that a lot within my own personal life and hometown. It just felt like such a reach around to make for conflict in the finale to make sure we can make this a finale that means something except it doesn’t in that regard. The only thing good it led to was Virginia rightfully calling her out on her bullshit. That’s all. This was all a big stretch to help create conflict where there could have been internal conflict within the office with Bill and Virginia dealing with their bullshit while putting on a face for the press conference about their new book.

Nora was a pure plot device to make this happen and doesn’t help Emily Kinney’s case as an actress at all. In fact the Bible group were just plot devices and not that interesting of plot devices which makes their role in the finale here even worse to me.


Speaking of acting, that’s the one saving grace of this finale. In particular the scene between Bill and Libby in the police station when he confesses about his affair to Libby. Her reaction is laughter, knowing all along of what was between the two of them and seems to finally come around to sever ties with Bill. It’s a very powerful scene between Michael Sheen and Caitlin Fitzgerald where they finally have it out about what a sham of a marriage they have had for the past few years. It’s also great for Bill realizing how bad he is, going head first without ever thinking of the consequences. Both come to realize their true selves and what that’s done to one another. They are broken. Bill losing grip on trying to control everything and Libby losing grip on her family.

Bill and Virginia’s conflicts are the other highlight as they have great confrontations across the episode about all that’s gone on this past season. It’s really great stuff that made up for much I didn’t care about her finally choosing Dan Logan. I’ve felt over that by now, even with last week’s excellent episode. This only makes for heightened drama to add to the ending scene where Bill goes to get Virginia to bring her back before the charges against Bill are made public. Bill finally takes the advice of his dad via dreams to stay down for the count and stop getting hit. End of season. Yeah that’s where we leave the series for the year. I’m left hollow by the ending of the season. Not feeling a sense of waiting or anticipation for what is next, but really nothing. I have no real reason to be excited now.

Also Barton and Jonathan are a thing that’s really just an after thought in this episode.


Where the finale really fails in how it brings up the conflict they choose to go with for the finale. It feels like much of the season itself, unsure of where it really wanted to go for where it needed to go. Something so much better could have been done and really I expected better of the show. I hope season four can pick up fast.



Tube Talk: Brooklyn Nine-Nine: New Captain


Things are changing.


Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 3: Episode 1: New Captain: GRADE: B+

Brooklyn Nine-Nine is clearly always ready to shake things up and accept changes that it has set up for itself and thus is the case with the return to its third year on the air.

The premiere picks up right where the finale and it just goes head first into Jake and Amy which works. This episode wastes no time getting them truly together and I love that. Jake and Amy figuring out what they are happens over the full course of this episode and that’s the best decision the episode could have done instead of needlessly dragging it out over the course of episodes. They go out on a date, have great sex together, and their secret kiss is outed to their colleagues. They say they’ll try to just be friends which would ring as a goddamn cop-out, but then like second later decides that it bullshit. Safe to say the writers of this show know exactly what they are doing. In an attempt to keep things light and breezy for them, Jake and Amy have done the opposite and that is most wise. I was afraid coming in this would be just horrendous as now its out there and the will they-won’t they would dominate what is essentially a fantastic ensemble comedy series, but New Captain proves that will not be the case. Andy Samberg and Melissa Fumero play this very well and their officially has no affect at all on their chemistry together which if anything got better because Jake and Amy are officially dating. Would could have been the shows downfall is now one of its strongest aspects.

As for Boyle, he’s basically nothing but a Jake/Amy shipper for the episode, but still gets good laughs in such as continuing his obsession with shampooing other people’s hair and psyching Jake up to go see Amy towards the end. That’s not all bad, it means Boyle is still a blank slate for the year and could start fresh at any moment. Last year’s secret affair with Gina was a great move so I’m interested where he could go for now but for this episode its a shame to see him saddled with a one note joke that occasionally stretches outside of its one note.


Oh yeah Bill Hader is the new captain. For an episode titled after arguably the bigger change to the 99, that would be a central focus. Its a bit of a secondary one, but a good one. Bill Hader comes in as a very work obsessed captain who’s all about efficiency, efficiency, efficiency. Hader’s wild approach to Captain Dozerman is outstanding and gets huge laughs whenever he was on. Even his quick liking to Jake kinda worked. But he’s not around for long and how they close the door on his character is really good. Hader plays Dozerman is a very strange man and for the world this show inhabits, he fits right now.

Dozerman was a bait and switch for who the real new captain is, The Vulture, who just strides into the briefing room in one of the most pompous ways possible. Dean Winters plays the moment up very well that shows he’s not going to make things easy and Jake’s displeasure ends the episode on the right note.


Now we come around to Captain Holt. One thing is clear by his subplot, this show needs Captain Raymond. The decision to keep him where he is for now is smart since I really wanna see Vulture’s Nine-Nine now, but also the readiness of the show to full sale accept change. Holt will fight and claw his way up through the ranks and get back to where he was.

Holt and Gina, the human form of the 100 emoji, are now within the P.R. department under the thumb of Wuntch where he treats Holt like a Fatone instead of the Timberlake he really is. Its seriously taking all my strength to not write five paragraphs about how much I’ve missed Gina’s comedy gold over the summer hiatus. Wuntch being here helps to give conflict for Holt and a goal to attain in getting back to his previous position by overcoming Wuntch and her crazy stunts to halt his career progress and also more hilarious and biting back and forth between Braugher. Their separation from the main cast for this episode kinda wasn’t missing for me as it allows for the two to grow their characters. The writing around their first day is to establish them in their new setting and it really works. These characters didn’t need any change to shake them up, they were already great characters, but this has the potential to make them even better characters now. This show is really smart in handling its characters.


Brooklyn Nine-Nine returns fully charged and much stronger than one would expect given where we were left off last spring. Its a wholly confident show that knows what its doing and is more than ready to charge right on into its new settings. Brooklyn Nine-Nine, I’m glad your back.

Tube Talk: The Strain: S2/E11; Masters of Sex: S3/E11


Centralizing focus on both shows give it some strength this week.



The Strain: Season 2: Episode 11: Dead End: GRADE: B

A heavy centralized focused episode was exactly what The Strain needed right now to get itself ready for the last two weeks of the season.

Eichhorst is our central focus this week as he’s a perfectly creepy creature keeping Dutch ready and essentially playing with his food to make it a far better meal. In addition we get flashbacks that flesh his character out and are the weakest part of the episode. Now its good to actually see so much of the life of Eichhorst, but the story is mediocre. It’s a fairly standard story of rejected love that sent him on his path and again its great to see more of Eichhorst, but it’s a fairly weak backstory that feels a bit villain standard. Once again, its not that I don’t like it for what it is but the execution also felt fairly standard and nothing to extraordinary. This tries to make Eichhorst a sympathetic character so much that it just rings false when we already have seen him do some of the most evil shit possible. It rang false to me in how they want to give more layers to him, but just really misses the mark.

Present day Eichhorst is far more engaging in his mind games with Dutch. So much great slow tension and build up. Making her eat pineapple in order to better season her up. He becomes a far more dangerous threat because of this episode and how Richard Sammel delivers the creepiness. Now when the moment comes Eichhorst does get ready to eat he has Dutch remove her pants, spread her legs, and bend over. Honestly, not the biggest fan since Eichhorst at this point is already a hugely established threat and has broken Dutch’s mind. The imagery of the stinger growing out towards her body is already full of subtext that it’s not even funny. There are ways to do a storyline with sexual violence and make it a legit narrative choice. Here it’s not overtly bad to me, it could have been worse, but it’s not exactly the best. The ensuing chase scene is excellent as it does keep up the tension and slow pacing from before. It’s so well shot and has great cinematography on it that made it just pop. Dutch us saved in time by Fet, Eph, and Nora, but the damage is done.

Eichhorst simply makes this episode and having a huge centralized focus on his story, both the good and the bad parts, gives the show a chance to slow down and let things simmer towards a huge explosion that is sure to come for next week’s PENTULIMATE(!) installment.

THE STRAIN -- "Dead End" -- Episode 211 (Airs September 20, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: Ruta Gedmintas as Dutch Velders. CR: Michael Gibson/FX

Now elsewhere Gus and Silver Angel send off their crew to get to safety and Gus’ love story is boring. I really don’t have too much to say on that as it really just didn’t amount to much. There’s no dramatic stakes to this or investment at all. What’s worse is that they bring down Quinlan, who I know isn’t in this episode, but something that fascinating doesn’t need to be saddled with something this boring. Gus’s emotional goodbye is lazy as hell since he and his crew of characters so often rarely appear and well when they do its not so good. I like the idea of the Silver Angel, but again involving it in Gus’ story does it no service or room to fully grow into its full potential.

Now Setrakian find himself trusted up in Rudyard’s place and tries to desperately plead to his humanity and really that’s all that is. Its gets better as it goes, primarily for David Bradley. Sadly for Setrakian Rudyard goes and sells the Lumen to Alonso Creem. Not the best of times for Setrakian.


The Strain goes and finds a good focus to have, while kinda meandering around a bit with some less than inspiring things around it that take away some of the good quality it was building up.


Masters of Sex: Season 3: Episode 11: Party of Four: GRADE: B

This is exactly the episode that Masters of Sex needed right now and frankly of all season. It also does a great job at being a project in 2015 that brings on Judy Greer for it and doesn’t waste her fucking talents.

The centralized conflict harkens back to what is the best episode of the show, Fight, where it’s all focused on a very awkward dinner. How does this all come about? Bill of course in a wholly misguided effort to make Virginia rethink what she thinks of Dan Logan. This whole event could only have happened because of Bill and his misguided ways.

This doesn’t quit reach the same heights that Fight did, but man is this filled to the brim with tension. While under the façade of their advance on their second book, which it is, Bill uses this as a chance to once and for all get rid of Dan by bringing his wife Alice along and thus the awkwardness sets in and festers for the rest of the evening. Everything is brought to a huge boiling point where everything is now broken between everyone. Things seem fine until Bill, good old instigator, by bringing up how they can end things with Logan thanks to the advance, only bringing it up after Virginia’s expression of the displeasure of the evening. Bill doesn’t realize how not clever he’s being in doing this as his blow up with Virginia in the coat check room where Virginia does fully call out Bill on his shit. It’s a great scene for seeing Virginia truly lay into Bill for all he’s done this season. It also once again allows for Sheen and Caplan to play brilliantly off each other in heated arguments, which they do just oh so well.

Now on to Dan and Alice. Judy Greer comes on and she’s a nice breath of fresh air at helping to further flesh out the Dan Logan character and give her a lot of good material to work with as well. Sure they may have an understanding, but it seems that Alice is resentful of how Dan handles himself. The evening causes her to fall off the wagon. Greer really sinks her teeth into the role and shines so incredibly well, especially in what is the final battle that she and Dan has in their marriage which has her demand to know what Dan loves about Virginia. This is the moment where it all end for the both of them. Its just brilliant how it’s all done and how Bill still tries by bringing up Ethan. Bill just can’t ever give up; he never sees when something need to really end. Dan showing up to Virginia’s with his bag really helps to set the stage for finale next week quite well.


Now there are problems back home as Bill might be arrested soon. Johnny’s bullying Dennis where he talked about Bill showing him what was wrong with his “broken penis” has gotten the attention and ire of the police who are investigating Bill as a possible child molester. I didn’t care for this at all. This is where the other focus of the episode was. This just seem to come off as a bit far fetched. Bill is a medical professional who was asked a question by Dennis by showing visual aid. Now I know misunderstanding to lead to a conflict, but man this is a far reach for my goddamn tastes. It just seems so forced in as to introduce a new conflict and have the finale now center around this drama. There had to be better ideas for how to write the season finale next week because this is just poor to me.

This ties into Libby and Paul who might believe it, but Libby honestly knows way better. Of course he brings up their marriage, but Libby knows the kids need Bill, how they need the both of them in order to keep producing a happy household for the children so they aren’t broke by a broken home. This not only further puts their future aside, but possibly just killed it altogether.


Masters of Sex gets really good, but then really dumb heading into the end, but the good did far outweigh the dumb. I highly hope next week can pull off what they’ve set up.

Tube Talk: The Strain: S2/E10; Masters of Sex: S3/E10

THE STRAIN -- "The Assassin" -- Episode 210 (Airs September 13, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: (l-r) Kevin Durand as Vasiliy Fet, Mia Maestro as Nora Martinez. CR: Michael Gibson/FX

Everything and everyone is breaking down.


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The Strain: Season 2: Episode 10: The Assassin: GRADE: A-

The Assassin was exactly the episode The Strain needed at this time and point as it nears the end of its second season. Tight focusing on the important parts of the story, high tension, and raised stakes. This episode brings us to the culmination of Eph’s assassination attempt against Palmer and Setrakian’s hunt for the Occido Lumen. There finally feels like there are some stakes within the narrative where the stories conclude this week

But first on to said assassination which as we all know is gonna go tits up and does show in the best way that even seems to screw over Palmer. Eph and Dutch are the ones going to carry this out and I actually liked the pairing if not for the sparkling chemistry that seems to shine among these two. They are the vampire killing duo I never knew I wanted. But yeah they seriously work really well together and provide some good levity to the grim proceedings that leads to the shooting of Coco Marchand. Now I haven’t exactly been the biggest fan of love this season, even Eph seems to confront Dutch on it and I guess she said something you could say is meaningful but was kinda eh. Palmer and Coco have been on the same level of interest as the love triangle and whatever Gus’ thing is for the season, but now its taken a turn for the better. With Eph’s misfire Palmer is desperate and begs to Eichhorst to let The Master allow Coco to become a vampire. I mean eternity might be pointless after all if you don’t have someone to spend it with. Master complies, but I think to only dig Palmer in deeper to his hand. Palmer has show a tiny bit of resistance against his overlords ever since getting a spring in his step and this seems to be just the thing for him to be put back into place and further honor their settled upon agreement and maybe Coco as a vampire will make her worth caring about and interesting since I really could have done without the character before this latest development.

The one problem I did have was after the botched attempt how they were caught by that detective Eph bumped into. I mean how did he know unless Palmer tipped him off? He was then later paid off by Palmer to empty the precinct so he and Eph and have a conversation but unless we knew that then what? It just took me out of things for moment before I got pulled back in by said conversation with Eph and Palmer and that is exceptionally well done with a sense of honest urgency, something that seemed to have been missing from most of the season, mainly in the first half. Their desperateness comes out in their words to one another and the performances by Corey Stoll and Jonathan Hyde are exceptional in this moment, showcasing them beautifully. Eph and Palmer are men of purpose, Eph to take down the man who has ruined his life and Palmer to save the love of his life, which again while I haven’t been a fan of said storyline, its given Palmer something else to do than be a lackey. This is possibly the best scene to enough the character in the whole series.

THE STRAIN -- "The Assassin" -- Episode 210 (Airs September 13, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: (front to back) David Bradley as Abraham Setrakian, Mia Maestro as Nora Martinez, Kevin Durand as Vasiliy Fet. CR: Michael Gibson/FX

As for our other main plot Setrakian and the rest finally make a big push for further finding the Occido Lumen which made me happy to see that come right back into the forefront once again. For something so important to the narrative of the show for our heroes, the Lumen sure gets placed on the backburner a lot doesn’t it? While not as intriguing, its still good. Of course there is more than one Rudyard Fonescu in New York City and of course the last apartment is the one its in but the sense of urgency and way it builds to its conclusion is also wonderfully done to give some nice back and forth with the crew and even more Fet one-liners which I’m sure we can all agree there aren’t enough of. Setrakian finds it but is then knocked out by a mysterious figure, possibly Rudyard Fonescu? We’ll find out soon, but it also adds more mystery to the storyline that has also been missing whenever its not featured prominently and give the show some weigh in these last bit of episodes.

Is Setrakian and using worms to stay alive ever gonna come back into play?

The episode even ends on a great scene that builds suspense in a disturbing image as Dutch is slowly being pulled by the chain into Eichhorst’s death trap with delight coming across his face. It makes me excited for next week.

THE STRAIN -- "The Assassin" -- Episode 210 (Airs September 13, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: Ruta Gedmintas as Dutch Velders. CR: Michael Gibson/FX

The Strain finally picks itself back up over the course of these last two weeks after slogging through a bit and feels ready to be the show it wants to be. Nothing can be predicted this time around unlike last season and so the story possibilities for the remaining weeks feels exciting with tension, meaning, and intrigue all around.


Masters of Sex: Season 3: Episode 10: Through a Glass, Darkly: GRADE: B

Bill is in full breakdown mode now and it like this episode might have just set the tone for the last part of the season.

Both Bill and Virginia seem to spiral out of control but its Bill’s that the more compelling unnerving since Virginia’s makes no honest sense. Bill’s mounting stress from everything and the continued absence from Virginia is causing him hallucinate his father. Oh what joy. Pressuring him in how to get Virginia back, which is Bill’s main objective for this episode, mainly by admitting to Virginia that the study itself might be a failure. He ensists that they themselves find a way to make the program work, how they usually discover the best methods by doing it themselves. This both for the study and his selfish needs and it works. They may have stumbled upon a way to make it work and possibly be intimate again, well until they have another huge disagreement over the already in place protocol when question Lester, who really adds nothing here but more squabbling at home with Jane.

Bill continues spiraling until he sees Virginia leave with Dan Logan then drinks himself stupid and goes to have sex with Nora. Finally, a natural conclusion to this until Nora ruins it by telling him to tell her he loves her. Erection killer game on point, Nora. Bill seems to have a moment of clarity in saying, “The only thing I’ve done right is loving someone so completely with as much of my broken soul as I can muster. And I can’t give up on that or I’ll have nothing.” Nora then mentions she had no idea he loved Libby that much. Oh Nora. Sheen keeps giving spectacular performances here in what I’ll admit is kinda not as strong a season as the previous one. Bill’s mindset is going to get more and more fragile now and its fascinating.

Lizzy Caplan as Virginia Johnson and Josh Charles as Dan Logan in Masters of Sex (season 3, episode 10) - Photo: Michael Desmond/SHOWTIME Photo ID: MastersofSex_310_0193

Now for Lizzy Caplan and Virginia’s breakdown which just makes no sense to me at all. She is told by Dan Logan that he knows about her and Bill because of Tessa which leads her to acknowledge that Tess knows about her and Bill. Honestly this just wasn’t as compelling as what happens with Bill’s mindset and that the lies she’s been telling her daughter aren’t so much lies anymore. This affair has been going on for a good long while now and she’s kept it secret herself. I get she’d be upset that she knows this dirty secret, but I really just didn’t feel much of anything for this development in the episode. Lizzy Caplan doesn’t really plays this as well as it should and maybe its because really that it doesn’t feel compelling from the writing of the situation itself. Though she does discover this after find out Tess has been seeing a boy, said boy from the oral incident, for five months now. That happened and I kinda wasn’t that invest in the Tessa part aside from Dan Logan’s talking to Matt himself about sex and how he should just use her and maybe even consider her own feelings aside from his own.

Now Libby gets to really shine here and thank you writers! Caitlin Fitzgerald gets to have good material and Libby gets to have happiness. Its her 40th birthday and its all over the place. First after a afternoon with Paul she thinks she’s put into a wife role and running errands oh but its a ruse to plan a surprise show performance with her kids, Johnny looking far happier than usual, but then Bill gives her a trip to Chicago, alone. Bill seems to think this is the norm of things. I mean he’s got work to worry about. This seems very much in character for both how they feel in that moment and also well a honesty. Its maybe that moment that Libby feels like all is lost. But then Paul proposes! Yes he purposes on her birthday, willing to wait for all the necessary steps to happen in order for it all to happen. This moment really felt honest and rewarding for all that Libby has had to swallow this year and for her to truly move on from what she felt with Robert.

Elsewhere, Nora seems to have strayed from the righteous path as she knows the Bible thumper that’s harassing Bill and Virginia’s lobby. I really couldn’t care about that. Barton though I do care as a night out with the ultrasound technician turns sour at a bar with him hightailing before shit goes down as he still feels some resentment on being a gay man in that time, but then it takes a turn for the better with Betty who asks him to be her and Helen’s OBGYN and opens to Barton in order to reach out to him not as a doctor, but as a friend. Its an honestly touching moment when she opens up that it then brings this episode to  good close.


Masters of Sex gets ready to close shop for the year and its got its foot in the right direction, give or take a couple speedbumps.

Tube Talk: The Strain: S2/E9; Masters of Sex: S3/E9


A three day weekend gives both shows a boost.


As you noticed this went up a day later. All is fine, I just felt like indulging in the three day weekend granted by Labor Day. Well charged and rested, lets talk about some TV!


The Strain: Season 2: Episode 9: The Battle for Red Hook: GRADE: B+

Without the addition of Gus, Angel, and Quinlan, The Strain this weeks feels more centered and focused on the story they tell here with said aforementioned battle. Well okay slightly focused, but we’ll get to that.

I gotta say that the trip to Washington, while not as exciting when it happened, has done wonders in terms of after effects, such as Nora’s attitude towards Eph now in light of what he revealed and his talk with Setrakian on their way to talk to Councilwoman Feraldo. Its really been a great turning point of development and even more interest in the character and seeing where and how far the path he’s on will take him. Also more great work from Corey Stoll that just goes to show how he’s one of the best working actors today

Speaking of effects, it seems last week’s invasion has done Zach some good in development. Again my problem is with the writing of the character and now that he’s see how dear old momma has held up since getting bitten, it seems he might be redeemable.


On to the majority of the episode which is Eichhorst and crew shutting off the power to the UV lights around the borders of Red Hook which leads to said battle that while brief and maybe slightly misleading from the episode title, is nicely done. Once shit starts to go down the show really does kick into full gear. Its well staged and has a great sense of tension that really helps to give some more meat to Councilwoman Feraldo’s character as she is faced with the reality of what she’s doing. I’m more than glad for that and able to continue seeing more sides of her character.

The police and citizens of Red Hook handle a good majority of the vampire attack with some help from Dutch as our merry band of vampire hunters are set off into two separate stories. First being Fet, Nora, and Zach going to get the power back on and yet again being ambushed by Kelly, but only after they are able to get the UV lights back on, just in time to help out on the battle. Zach again seems to be coming to grips very well of the fact that Kelly seems fully gone and its such a great relief that we can have a cohesive unit now. Well as cohesive as you can have, there is still so much tension among the group itself. Though I like how Eichhorst is further subplanting the idea in Kelly’s head how Nora has become Zach’s mom now, thus making her a more dangerous threat to exert that its her child, said much more dangerous Kelly coming out in the cat and mouse game she and Fet played before she got chased off. This I feel like will have great play down the road for the remainder of the episodes.

To me the episode is best with Setrakian and Eichhorst, finally ready to settle it once and for all. Eichhorst makes his way to the hideout waiting to truly end it all. Its so good, their standoff with their banter is greatly done and I really just love how David Bradley and Richard Sammel play off each other. They have a wonderful dynamic together. This doesn’t go too long, Eph’s intervention at trying to snipe Eichhorst sends him on his own trail and plays in his own cat and mouse game with Eph that is kinda better paced and has some great slow burn tension, even getting deeply personal with how Eph thought about not really wanting to be a father at first, even when Kelly was pregnant. Now that is some cold shit to use that as an advantage. Eichhorst would do well in politics. It culminates on the roof where all seems lost of Eph before Eichhorst is outflanked by Setrakian and lives to fight another day. That whole mini section of the show at the end was a delight to me, it just did so many things right and got me even more engaged in these characters specifically.


That said, I’m not a fan of Nikki being back. I knew she’d have to appear again but this whole love triangle with her and Dutch and Fet is doing nothing for me and really the scenes between Dutch and Nikki bog down the episode for me and take away lots of the interest that was built up. Even Nikki’s saving of Dutch from getting turned amongst the battle, didn’t care one bit. I think this is what held me back from outright giving it an A or A- since its so prominent within the narrative of the episode.

This episode was a step in the right direction for The Strain. It gave some much needed urgency to the proceedings and feels like it can put its foot back into the right direction that it needs to go in. Finally implicating the vampires as more of a threat not to our focused individuals, but really everyone in the city. Character development as well makes this a very strong addition to the season so here’s hoping it can keep things going like this.


Masters of Sex: Season 3: Episode 9: High Anxiety: GRADE: A-

I believe the recurring theme for all the characters on this week’s excellent episode of Masters of Sex is that shit’s sad. Sadness really just follows everyone involved around tonight and it leads them to freaking out, kinda just going over the edge.

That’s played off right from the start as Virginia and Bill are having some strives together, professionally and personally. Bill shows up in Virginia’s house just a mess and points out how much he depends and needs Virginia as he falls apart when estranged. He’s so desperate he’ll take Virginia’s fake orgasm when they’re together as a comforting solace, even though he’s most likely aware of that.

They are both not happy with diverging paths, Bill starting the surrogate program and her continuation of the study with Dan Logan. He’s sorry, but he ain’t shutting down shit because well Bill is still one stubborn bastard. He feels like he’s still losing Virginia and really relies on Betty to spy on her for him, which she of course writes off because she legitimately has much better things to do and worry about herself.

This plays into Bill’s story all over as he does go head first into the study and focuses all his efforts towards Nora, the star pupil of the program. He is pleased to all hell with her and the attitude that she gives off about being involved. Well he did until she went too far with a new client, when she touches what the clients says is “the only erection he’ll ever get”. This leads to Bill yelling, feeling as if yet something else in his life didn’t go his way, that its all falling apart, until Emily Kinney honestly pulls out the best acting I’ve really seen her do. That really shined through when admitting to Bill that him yelling at her reminded him of her father, even admits her past boyfriends show similar behavior. Bill seems to be more sympathetic here in this moment given his own abusive father. It sets up a deeper connection for them, allowing for more interest to be shared, possibly more than professional between them.

This part of Bill’s story for the episode worked for better than what goes on at home for the most part. His talk with Libby over booze is actually really good and has walls being broken down between the two that desperately needed, even if it involved getting drunk with her already drunk husband. The Johnny stuff, yikes was that not at all good. Yes the bullied is becoming the bully, but I think it can be done better. Johnny yelling at Dennis to get out after seeking help from Bill and even embarrassing him in front of a couple of girls at school. Damn dude, like what the hell? It just didn’t grab me so much.

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Now for Virginia who is sad about the loss she might be feel in Dan Logan going back to New York and how much its fucking with her psychologically. She has a man that seems truly interested in her, yet feels unable to really emote that, a character flaw that still haunts her. She even brings up his marriage as they lay in the tub and apparently they have an understanding. Is really no marriage ever successful on this show? Goddamn. She thinks of the brilliant plan to try a different stage of the experiment of a placebo effect with the scene and yet it doesn’t make as much a dent for them as their previous work has and Dan becomes aware that. Lizzy Caplan plays Virginia here as strong in her defiance against Bill but honestly feels a bit more honest in her inability of truly opening up with Dan and admitting she wants him here, that she is honestly better off with him. Really she can’t seem to keep both relationships with Bill and Dan personal, they are purely professional. Even when Bill and Virginia are often together its professional, especially in their sex scene from earlier to keep Bill stable. Dan saying, “What if I keep coming here, because we love each other?” Virginia might have a personal relationship yet again, well outside of Tessa I guess, but still.

Meanwhile Austin really is losing his shit. He’s lost full custody of his children and shows up at Betty and Helen’s as a drunken, hilarious mess. Really I think Teddy Sears is a highlight here as he stretches his acting muscles so well. His drunken self is hilarious and his explaining the seemingly suicide note that Helen found was him doodling as a depressed person, but also he acknowledges his fuck ups and that he’s lost without his children. He honestly was my favorite part of the episodes. He’s nobody’s father, son, husband, he’s nothing, until Helen reveals that last week’s deflowering got her pregnant! Things are looking up Austin and I’m so glad there was more of Betty and Helen because this is really brightening things up around here.

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Libby however once again, saddled with kinda just meh story. Joy has officially kicked the bucket and as Paul puts flowers at her grave Libby is conveniently at Robert’s grave and that was actually the nicest part of her subplot. She wants Paul to be happy as well, doing so in setting him up with the mother of one of his peewee football players and wants back in after seeing them laughing together. Really that’s just about it, I’m not truly feeling too compelled by this subplot. Though it is noticeable how much the loss of Robert still affects Libby given that you can see how much she didn’t have passion for her tryst with Paul.

Masters of Sex has a very fine chapter this week while balancing a couple stories that don’t quite get up to snuff. Its fascinating to see the characters at their worst and helps give them so many great layers.

Tube Talk: Tyrant: Pax Abuddin


The uncertain future of Abuddin.


Tyrant: Season 2: Episode 12: Pax Abuddin: GRADE: A

For all of its bumps along the way, Tyrant certainly turned things around in this second season and now I’m left here wanting at least one more season given the events the finale leaves us on.

The ending of the finale is much like the show, uncertain as Bassam tries to save the life of his brother Jamal after a fatal shooting by Nusrat, guess she’s really out of the will now.

The bulk of the finale is the rift between Jamal and Bassam. Bassam finally seeming to have his life back on track and ready to go home despite being wanted by the people of Abuddin to lead the country just as it seems Jamal is finally going to be brought down. The highlight to be any scene involving the two, but more so their reunion in the hotel. Its played out exactly as it should have been. Jamal’s affectionate nature, carrying on as if nothing is wrong, but Bassam having rightful anger at him since he has discovered what’s happened to their mother. This perfectly showcases the journey both men have been through. Jamal becoming more calm and collected despite his brief descend into unhinged madness and Bassam realizing his purpose in protecting the future of his homeland. Its really incredible and speaks to the development that both characters went through to be better than how they were with season one, specifically Jamal who is the MVP of this season. Ashraf Barhom and Adam Ryaner have encapsulated their roles and played them in so many layers. Their scene when Jamal signs the confession on the gas attacks plays nicely as well to how even though they really shouldn’t depend on each other, they always will.

To continue with the acting praise, Moran Atais again gives a remarkable performance as Leila where she continues to run the gambit of emotions as the long suffering wife. Even had the balls to admit to Jamal that she’s testifying against him. No fucks left to give. She’s given this character many sides as well, but not all of them good. She even turns the conversation she and Bassam have after Jamal signs the confession into how she’ll use this to keep herself floating.

So much is packed in that I’m amazed many things got wrapped up. Bassam and Molly’s reunion was played just absolutely right for the level of emotions it would produce seeing lovers back together and Ahmed and Nusrat’s resolution felt organic to their characters as well.

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As for Daliyah well things are lingering and not really solved too much, but I’m okay with that since it seems if there will be a new season the cliffhanger will keep things rooted in Abuddin for the time being. Daliyah was a great addition to help Bassam stay grounded in his mission and help him hold on to his humanity which is his greatest strength. They are bonded together by helping each other survive, but I think honestly it should stay that way. Bassam and Molly are great for each other, but that’s just me.

But back to that final scene which weirdly could work as an ending to the show, but there’s just too much you want to see after that. Jamal makes his speech of resignation, but that produces evidence of Tariq ordering the gas attack and begins to start beginning a rant, but Nusrat shoots him several time after learning how he might not serve as much judgment as she’d like. That is natural to her character even her arc from the beginning and not surprising she would do it, but it was surprising watching it as I wasn’t expecting it to go down, but its was needed to help give the season one last shock. The moment where Bassam tries to save him and Leila insisting that he let him go is brilliantly played and in character of the both of them. The framing and composition of it stages the ending perfectly. Again it leaves Jamal’s fate as uncertain as the show’s is right now.

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Even Jamal going off the handle like that was in character for him since it felt like with all that happened he was gonna slide back into mad Jamal again after being reeled back in.

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Whatever the future may hold for Tyrant it certainly looks bright with a better grasp of storytelling, character development, engaging drama, and jaw dropping turns. Tyrant should be able to have at least one final third season to wrap things up, maybe a fourth, but it certainly knows where it wants to go and hopefully it gets to reach that. Tyrant already wins my award for biggest TV turn around of this year.



Tube Talk: The Strain: S2/E8; Masters of Sex: S3/E8


Zach and Bill learn hard lessons.



The Strain: Season 2: Episode 8: Intruders: GRADE: B-

I feel like I should really address my problem with the Zach storyline in that I just don’t find it terribly well written. In a narrative such as this its not unlikely for a storyline such as Zach’s to exist, but as all things its about execution, but its also about the character that you put into that narrative. Zach’s a child and so rarely are children well written in a whole lot of narratives, but the writing on Zach hasn’t risen above mildly tolerable. More often than not the character will have a confrontation where they wake the hell up and face reality about seeing someone they love as one of the monsters they are trying to not become.

That moment finally comes for Zach once he lets Kelly into their hideout near the end of the episode. Zach has been his usual grating self in this episode, especially saying how Setrakain was wrong about The Master and sunlight so he might be wrong about mom. The scene that follows from letting Nora is as fairly entertaining from its pacing and tension, but has some bad direction and editing on it in how fast things were cut. I barely saw anything, but the sudden appearance of Kelly’s feelers coming from under the grates added a nice little touch of suspense, also one of the few things you’re able to see. Really that’s the best part of the episode itself aside from Eph and Zach going to get a rifle and them performing emergency surgery on the man they get it from. They had some well done small scale suspense and Eph’s confessing to Nora about what went down in DC was also pretty good to give an interesting dynamic between them going forward that could make some good tension after having to protect their presumedly now former home front..


The episode features a hunt for the Occido Lumen that is sorta interesting for the fact that it centers around a greedy as shit cardinal who will extort both Setrakian and Palmer with constantly upping the price. I respect this guy a lot. That’s the interesting part since it lets us see the hunt for the book is now back in the forefront again after feeling left to the wayside for a while with Eph’s trip to Washington and Palmer’s blossoming romance. This story is highlighted further by Eichhorst’s killing of the cardinal which has some really damn good villainous dialogue on the part of Eichhorst. Answers are given as the the Lumen in that its in the hands of the little boy Setrakian met at the Rudyard Fonescu. Now that I wasn’t expecting and again helps to make this plot line important again.

As to Palmer’s romance, I still can’t find any emotional interest what so ever in that. Palmer does have a great moment when having fun at Eichhorst’s expense that Bolivar was chosen as the new vessel for The Master. Such a bitch, I loved it, but him and Coco I never really find myself too invested in to care enough about the secret keeping between them.

Quinlan meanwhile tries to recruit Gus who seems to wanna keep his new family safe. Gus’ romance isn’t interesting as well, Angel is though. I want more Angel rather than I do Gus at this moment. Honestly the scenes with Quinlan sadly go nowhere beyond trying to get Gus to join the fight, aside from how The Master isn’t forgetting Gus’ part in all the proceedings.

Special mention to the effects and makeup team for that effective opening of Eichhorst helping Kelly become human again. Top notch work that shouldn’t go unnoticed at all. Though the question does come to mind of how she was able to be out in the day. I mean it was pretty cloudy so it could have been covered up, but what about Eichhorst being near Palmer’s window in the day? Quinlan is a daywalker, but how? MAKE SENSE, SHOW!


Well The Strain keeps some momentum going and has a feeling or urgency now when it comes to one of its main stories, but certain focuses and how they are handled do hinder what could have been an exciting episode.

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Masters of Sex: Season 3: Episode 8: Surrogates: GRADE: B+

Masters of Sex thankfully took an upswing right when it needed. Still featured plenty of the things that hindered last week a bit, but its a significantly improved chapter.

Hypocrisy seems to be a big theme for this particular episode and is perfectly highlight in the best scene between Bill and Betty once he discovered the sham going on between her, Helen, and Austin. He brings up how medical records now seem, that she’s done something wrong and after proclaiming that she is a lesbian, not a moron, mentions how he’s doing the same by upstarting the surrogates program without Virginia and that  in seven years of working there, she’s become an expert at looking the other way. Betty done went and picked up the mic Hannibal dropped the night before and dropped it back down, told Bill to suck it, then walked off stage to the sound of airhorns.

Betty got to have her moment which I had been waiting for so long this season as she’s been a bit underutilized. That confrontation was just waiting and waiting to happen and its handled so perfectly. Betty might not be the best voice of morals here, but Bill never has been and he’s getting it put right into his face this week. Its somewhat satisfying to see Bill’s face get shoved in the deuce he dropped on the floor himself. This scene could be played in melodramatic ways that would have made it bad, but there’s enough brains behind the show to make this exceptionally well done.

Bill really can’t seem to wait. He begins the program as Virginia jet sets to Vegas with Dan Logan and find an old family friend in the daughter of former neighbors played by The Walking Dead’s Emily Kinney who seems to more or less have the same bit of acting method as she did on that show, yet feel a bit different in character and slight more dimensional as Nora. She’s taken to the science of human sexuality as Bill has and he seems to be pretty smitten about that. Nora appears to be be some extension of Bill and he wants the best for her since well she’s essentially gonna be a bit of a teacher’s pet character, which seems it’ll become more than that. Hypocrisy continues there when Bill refuses to send Nora away at Libby’s request, legitimizing her role there as helping with touch and the human need to be touched, which is coming from a man that most likely hasn’t touched his wife in a long time.

Now to go back to Betty, I’m still much interested in her story with Helen as I love these two together. They are so wonderfully charming and this week it helped to shine a lot on Austin whose life has gone to shit in majors ways and is getting the chance to get his children back with Betty and Helen’s help and I instantly miss Austin being a regular around here. I found the character a good edition to the cast in a lively way and he brings that back again in his interactions with Bill and just his character as a whole. He brings fun to the show and can get serious when needed, especially when drinking with Betty and Helen at the end of the episode. It was a nice moment at the end for Austin to take Helen’s virginity with Betty there to help her thought the act so she can become pregnant.

Hypocrisy further comes from Lester signing up for the program to spite Jane for last week and well their bickering and resentment to each other was a low point for this episode. It just wasn’t funny at all. Their back and forth in the prep course personally grated on my nerves.

Teddy Sears as Dr. Austin Langham and Sarah Silverman as Helen in Masters of Sex (season 3, episode 8) - Photo: Michael Desmond/SHOWTIME Photo ID: MastersofSex_308_0768

Libby and Paul have found surrogates in each other for their sexual desires, but Paul seems to wonder what Libby’s deal is when they do have sex with the curtain drawn, lights off, and her eyes closed. She opens up in honesty the best scene Libby has had all season when she opens up about her friend, and former lover, Robert who we learn has died after being ran over by someone who fell asleep at the wheel. She isn’t giving everything to Paul as she already gave it her all with Robert. Its a moment that does reek of “For Your Consideration” in terms of Emmys, but hey I gotta call a spade a spade and damn this was some good work for Caitlin Fitzgerald to play with. She’s not mourning her dead marriage, she’s mourning the one man she truly ever did and most likely will ever love.

Now the season theme has seemed to be about change and Virginia is slowly realizing the change she needs to make from Bill to Dan which is well played in their Vegas trip where he shows true commitment to her. They pitch to a casino and well their chemistry stays really strong there and in the scene back at the hotel when they talk down a kid that tried to rob them once they realize, more so Virginia does, that he’s a 19 year old kids out of the Vietnam War. He’s been on drugs and robs for money to get said drugs and well the scene kinda did drag the episode’s pacing down a bit for how drawn it it becomes. Virginia sees a true caring side of Dan when he agrees to pay for the kid’s treatment and rejects the casino’s offer of pumping the scent of their perfume in their casino since it would have him relocate to Las Vegas. Virginia is so lovingly moved by this and I was to as a viewer. Dan is proving to be all the things Bill really isn’t and that is adding to the show in a good way. Sure its a love triangle, but its one that truly feels emotionally investing for its characters while giving the show drama that it needs. Virginia’s sending Bill home is maybe the turning point of this storyline and I’m anxious to see how that affects things going forward.

Oh and Barton might be getting love too from a new doctor that’s started around the office working with him. Good on him.

Lizzy Caplan as Virginia Johnson in Masters of Sex (season 3, episode 8) - Photo: Warren Feldman/SHOWTIME Photo ID: MastersofSex_308_0690

Masters of Sex gets back to its usual best self this week at just the right time and it felt very refreshing to see it be entertaining again in a way that was lacking from last week’s proceedings, furthering characters and stories as we get closer to the end of the season.