Showing posts from August, 2010

Psych: Ferry Tale

Watching Psych is the equivalent of eating a bowl of marshmallow fluff for breakfast: tasty but insubstantial, and it’s only a matter of time before you start jonesing for solid food.

A cluster of furloughed convicts on board a ferry bound for the Channel Islands to participate in a work-release program overpower their guard and try to escape on the lifeboat. Fellow ferry passengers Shawn and Gus (Gus dragooned Shawn into helping him with an environmental cleanup effort) team up with the prison guard, Craig (Chi McBride), and try to recapture the felons, above Henry’s explicit orders to let the Coast Guard take care of it. When Shawn releases the lifeboat, thus cutting off the prisoners’ line of escape, the felons take everyone on the ferry hostage and demand a boat and safe passage in exchange for the release of the passengers.

Under orders from Captain Vick, a SWAT team storms the ferry. Two of the convicts are recaptured, but the remaining two, Dane Northcutt (Kevin Alejandro) and…

Covert Affairs: Communication Breakdown

In what appears to be a deliberate prank, internet access is mysteriously disabled for several minutes all across DC. The CIA believes this is somehow linked to the Datatech conference, a huge annual convention noted for attracting mischievous hackers. The suspected culprit is Natasha Petrovna (Liane Balaban), an avowed anarchist and Russian national with an extensive criminal record for hacking. Natasha also has a colorful romantic history with Auggie. Hey, who doesn’t?

The CIA is desperate to own the source code Natasha used to cause the tech blackout, so Joan sends Auggie into the field to offer her two million dollars for it. Auggie objects at first -- Natasha doesn’t know he’s a Company man, and he’d like to keep it that way -- but Joan insists.

Auggie, with Annie in tow, approaches Natasha at the Datatech conference, where both the FBI and a gaggle of shady Europeans in expensive suits have been trying to sweet-talk and/or bully the source code out of her. Natasha wants noth…

Psych: Viagra Falls

The Santa Barbara Police Department’s former police chief, Herb Wilkins, is found shot to death down by the waterfront. Two legendary SBPD veterans, Peters (William Devane) and Boone (Carl Weathers), who are essentially a more curmudgeonly version of Shawn and Gus, come roaring up to the crime scene in their lime-green Cadillac, anxious to investigate their old boss’s murder. Gus and Shawn sulk and moan and complain about having to share the investigation with the pair of old duffers.

From questioning the owner of a waterfront churro stand, Shawn and Gus discover Herb had been spending a lot of time with a young redhead who works at a nearby gift store. Shawn and Gus, plus Boone and Peters, search Herb’s locker down at the aquatic center and discover a duffle bag filled with cocaine. Juliet notes that Herb withdrew fifty grand in cash a couple days before his murder. Evidence points to a drug-related hit, though Boone and Peters refuse to believe their former boss could have been …

Covert Affairs: Houses of the Holy

Ah, Covert Affairs: Putting the “domestic” firmly into “Domestic Protection Division.”

Here’s what I’m looking for in a show about secret agents, and bear in mind that this list is by no means comprehensive: Memorable villains. Cool action scenes. Exotic locales. Sophisticated intrigue. Complex relationships. Sendhil Ramamurthy leaping wildly from the tops of shipping containers in pursuit of miscreants.

Sadly, Covert Affairs kind of fumbled the ball on all fronts this week.

I should be clear: This is not a bad episode by any stretch. It’s just not terribly interesting, or evocative, or exciting. In fact, if I’m judging it harshly, I’d have to say it’s… pretty dull. There’s a strong motif of crumbling marriages and cheating spouses running throughout this episode, most of it only peripherally linked to our major players, which is not what I’m looking for in an action-packed spy show; it’s difficult to become emotionally invested in anything that happens in this hour.

Crucial infor…

Life Beyond Thuderdome: Gotcha!

I've got a fresh new column up over at Forces of Geek: This month, I'm examining 1985's Gotcha! in waaaay too much detail. Gotcha! is not the sort of film that holds up well under scrutiny. In fact, it's thoroughly obnoxious from start to finish. Still, Paris and West Berlin in the mid-Eighties both look fantastic, and Linda Fiorentino is awfully pretty, so there's that.

My review is here.

Psych: Shawn and Gus in Drag (Racing)

Fasten your seatbelt. This won’t take long.

A masked gunman steals a Lamborghini belonging to loan shark Logan Paget (Angus Macfadyen). The car is found shortly thereafter, with the thief shot to death in the driver’s seat. The dead man is identified as Max Contreras, a known street racer. Shawn snoops around the crime scene and determines the shooter must’ve fired from another speeding sports car.

Juliet and Lassiter interrogate Paget, who spoke on the phone to Max shortly after Max stole his Lamborghini. Paget maintains his innocence and claims Max was afraid someone was trying to kill him.

Calling on their vast knowledge of The Fast and the Furious, with a hefty dose of Point Break thrown in for good measure, Shawn and Gus infiltrate Max’s former street-racing gang, which includes charismatic leader Tommy (CSI: Miami’s Adam Rodriguez) and Max’s ex-girlfriend, sexy mechanic Gina (Vanessa Minnillo). Tommy challenges Shawn to a race to test his mettle. Shawn, driving Henry’s pic…

Covert Affairs: In the Light

There’s a whirlwind of activity in the Domestic Protection Division: An errant shipment of surface-to-air missiles is en route from Johannesburg to an unknown port in the United States, courtesy of notorious Sudanese arms dealer Hasaan Waleed. Annie is given the task of trying to convince the CIA’s former expert in East African affairs, bitter recluse Christopher McAuley (Eriq La Salle), to come out of retirement and help track down Waleed.

Meanwhile, the former Director of Clandestine Services, Henry Wilcox (Gregory Itzin, who, careful observers will note, doesn’t look a blasted thing like his onscreen son Sendhil Ramamurthy) stops by to chinwag with his successor Arthur. Annie and Auggie talk some gleeful trash about Henry, who, per Auggie, “ran more Dark Ops than anyone since the Cold War” during his reign. Auggie drops a chunk of exposition about Jai’s past -- his mother was Henry’s contact in India, whom Henry married and then dumped for a younger woman. While Auggie yammers on…

Psych: Chivalry Is Not Dead -- But Someone Is

Well, that’s deucedly odd: This episode of Psych did not start out with a childhood flashback. Is this a first? Are they phasing out the flashbacks? Are the pineapples next to go? (Are they still hiding pineapples in episodes? I wouldn’t know; I can never manage to find the damn things anyway.) The universe suddenly seems very cold and uncertain.

A handsome tuxedo-clad young man named Lance chokes on his poisoned drink at an elegant soiree at an opera house and tumbles over the balcony to his death. The police, plus Shawn and Gus, head over to investigate. Suspicion immediately falls on Lance’s escort, sexy older woman Jillian Tucker (Jean Smart), whose last husband committed suicide under fishy circumstances. Shawn and Gus want in on the case, but Lassiter and Juliet are reluctant to work with them (Lassiter more so than Juliet, naturally). Henry, who is taking over Chief Vick’s role a little more with each passing episode, instructs both teams to investigate the crime separa…

Covert Affairs: No Quarter

We open in media res, with Annie toting an industrial metal briefcase through the Zurich airport while kvetching over the phone to Auggie about how flying coach on international flights really sucks. In the process, she manages to somehow compare Auggie to a St. Bernard (he’s cute and dependable -- true enough). She’s in Zurich to do a simple brush pass -- she’s supposed to exchange briefcases, contents unknown, with her mysterious contact, whom she’ll identify by his orange wristband.

There’s a hitch: Two men with wristbands and briefcases approach her. While Annie tries to plan the best course of action, a flash grenade goes off, one of the briefcases explodes, and mass panic ensues. In the confusion, Annie hightails it out of the airport, still lugging around her briefcase,

Meanwhile, Arthur and Joan loll in bed watching the news, where sexy journalist Liza Hearn (Emmanuelle Vaugier) cheerfully divulges Agency secrets while naming Arthur as her source. Enraged, Arthur swears to…