Thursday, February 25, 2010

Psych: Think Tank

Not a strong episode to start with, and this situation was not improved at all by my cable company’s decision to air eight minutes of it entirely without sound last night. I’m feeling a little grouchy about this lackluster installment, so this’ll be brief:

The episode opens with Shawn in the process of solving a case involving a poisoned pizza. Just as he accuses one of the pizzeria workers of the crime, Henry rushes in, takes his son aside, and accuses him of not reading the case file closely enough -- the poison was dissolved in peanut oil, and the man Shawn accused has a deadly allergy. Thus, he couldn’t possibly be the murderer. Shawn recovers, revises his conclusion, and shifts his accusation to another culprit, who confesses.

Afterwards, while Gus frets about Shawn’s current deductive slump, Shawn and Gus are approached by a man named Walter Snowden, who is played by Senator Jellyfish from the X-Men movies (sticklers for details might know him as Bruce Davison). Snowden claims to be a huge fan of their psychic work. He offers them a two-week $8500-a-day gig to participate in a think tank he’s assembled to prevent the assassination of billionaire business mogul Ashton Bonaventure (Chris Sarandon). Snowden, who runs a private security contracting firm, has received word that someone will try to assassinate Bonaventure during an upcoming speech in Santa Barbara.

(Why are billionaire moguls on television always transparently modeled on Richard Branson? He’s awfully easy to emulate, what with the accent and the hair and the hot-air balloon, but it’s becoming a bit overused. It would have been nice had Psych opted to chart a fresher course here.)

In addition to Shawn and Gus, the think tank consists of former Secret Service agent Fred Collins Boyd (the always-awesome Miguel Ferrer), a former KGB assassin named Svetlana (Sandra Hess), and Alan Zenuk, a statistician from MIT. Snowden briefs them on the situation: There have been three attempts on Bonaventure’s life in the past three years. Bonaventure will be giving his annual address to his board of directors in a few days -- Snowden wants his think tank to analyze the situation and search for any holes in the security for the event.

The think tank gets to work. Shawn, however, is in full-on obnoxious mode, throwing out worthless ideas and generally jamming up the proceedings. Here’s the thing: Shawn’s irreverent, unfocused man-child shtick only works when it’s grounded in competence and intelligence. He’s off his game for most of this episode, and the end result is… well, frankly, it’s annoying.

After an unproductive first day with the think tank, Gus and Shawn turn to Lassiter for help with the genuine police-work side of Bonaventure’s security detail. Lassiter is disgruntled that he’s heard nothing about this think tank, seeing as he’s been working closely with Bonaventure’s head of security for the past week in anticipation of his arrival in Santa Barbara. Lassiter has never heard of Snowden, which leads Shawn to realize the entire think tank is a fake: Snowden enlisted their help to find ways to assassinate Bonaventure, not protect him.

Lassiter and Juliet, with Shawn and Gus in tow, raid the building where the think tank convened and discover it’s been completely vacated. When Bonaventure arrives in town, the police brief him on the threat against his life. Bonaventure refuses to cancel his speech, even after Shawn saves his life by tackling him to the ground just as an unseen assailant opens fire on him.

Bonaventure identifies Snowden as the plaintiff in a wrongful death lawsuit against him -- Snowden’s wife died in an accident in one of Bonaventure’s factories. To counteract the assassination attempt, Shawn reassembles the think tank and comes up with a brand-new security plan.

Unwilling to let Bonaventure appear in public while there’s still a potential threat out there, Shawn commandeers the podium at Bonaventure’s scheduled speech and launches into some bizarre ramblings to stall for time. Yes, he’s still being kind of annoying. I’m not entirely sure why Shawn is misfiring so badly this episode -- normally I find Shawn delightful and charming, and he’s none of those things right now.

From the stage, Shawn spots something in the air vents. Lassiter and Juliet find Snowden lurking inside with a rifle. They apprehend him successfully, but Shawn realizes Snowden must have had the aid of a partner: In Shawn’s think tank, Boyd had advised them against placing too much security around the vents. Well, naturally. Basic rule of television: If you’ve got three possible suspects -- in this case, Svetlana, Zenuk, and Boyd -- the villain is going to turn out to be the one played by Miguel Ferrer. Basic logic there.

Shawn hustles Bonaventure to his limo, but Boyd has assassinated the driver and is sitting in the front seat, waiting to kill his target. It turns out Boyd’s sister was Snowden’s wife, the one killed in the accident at Bonaventure’s factory. Shawn tries to talk Boyd out of shooting them. When that proves ineffective, he uses an official NBA air horn he happens to be carrying (don’t ask) to startle Boyd. The police swoop in and make the necessary arrests.

So everything ends well. Chief Vick, who has finally figured out that Henry might in fact be brainier than his son, calls him in and offers him a job as a liaison overseeing the department’s dealings with various outside agencies, but Henry turns it down.

Sort of a shaky episode. Not many great quotables, and Shawn seemed to be spinning his wheels too much, with too little progress. Fingers crossed for a better installment next week.

Pineapple spotting: Nope.

Gus’s fake name: Senator Jellyfish identifies Gus by three of his prior Shawn-granted aliases: Ghee Buttersnaps, Lavender Gooms, and Clementine Wooliesocks.

Lassiter-based awesomeness: Lassiter grumbles about Shawn’s cushy think-tank gig: “Man, I’ve been trying since like forever to get on one of these private security details! I once wrote a letter to Gerald Ford when I was a kid, telling him I wanted to protect him. And that I loved him.”

Awesome Eighties references:
Shawn, upon hearing Zenuk’s credentials as a statistician (in reference to Danica McKellar’s current career as a mathematician): “Didn’t Winnie from The Wonder Years also do that, and wouldn’t it be way cooler to have her instead?"

Shawn, in re: the think tank: “Let’s blow these guys’ minds, Scanners-style."

Working Girl: Shawn addresses Bonaventure’s board of directors: “Raise your hand if you vacuum topless to Carly Simon.”

Wall Street: Shawn gives a modified version of Gordon Gecko’s “Greed is good” speech.

Also in his speech, bemoaning the lack of scientific progress: “And where, I ask you, is the hoverboard activity that we all saw in Back to the Future 2 over twenty years ago?”

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

White Collar: Bottlenecked

After being preempted last week for the dog show, White Collar is back. Good. I like adorable animals, but I like Neal and his cheekbones even more.

Neal receives another postcard from his anonymous chess opponent. The postcard, which shows a photo of the Museum of Natural History, has no postmark, suggesting it was hand-delivered. Neal plays the chess move scrawled on it and recognizes the game as one he played against his longtime nemesis, Matthew Keller (Ross McCall).

At the FBI headquarters, Neal searches through NYPD files about a recent robbery at the Museum of Natural History. The culprit got away with an odd smattering of items, including old French soil samples and some antique cork duck decoys. Peter is highly suspicious of Neal’s keen interest in this small-potatoes crime, but agrees to accompany him to interview the prime suspect, Manuel Campos, who is currently out on bail. Just as Peter and Neal arrive at Campos’s house, a car runs Campos over right in front of them. Peter doesn’t think this is a coincidence. It’s hard to put anything past Peter.

Neal tells Peter all about Keller, whom he describes as a blue-collar version of himself, only without all the amazing bone structure and thick, floppy hair. Keller, a con man and thief, has been responsible for several elaborate heists, but has never been caught. Keller and Neal have a long-standing bet as to who could authentically replicate a valuable bottle of wine once owned by Benjamin Franklin. Neal believes Keller will use the materials stolen from the museum -- the soil, the cork -- to counterfeit the bottle as a challenge to Neal.

A seller will be presenting the Franklin bottle for auction soon, so Peter talks to the owner of the auction house, Sir Ronald Cattigan, who refuses to believe the bottle could be a fake. He gives Peter the name of the broker for the sale, Grace Quinn (Kate Levering), who runs an upscale wine cellar.

Posing as the agent for a prospective seller, Neal meets with Grace (who is, naturally, young and attractive) and charms her into letting him scope out her high-security vault of valuable wines. Neal snoops around shamelessly -- you know, for a brilliant con man, Neal really isn’t all that discreet, but he’s so damn pretty and charming he can pretty much get away with it. Neal finagles an invitation to a wine-tasting at which the seller of the Franklin bottle is scheduled to appear. Neal also finds a postcard stuck in a book randomly laying in the vault: The postcard simply says “8 PM,” while it marks a section in the book about the old Kings Crown tavern, frequented by George Washington, formerly located on what is now a construction site.

Neal shows up a the construction site at eight. Peter calls to brief him on what he’s learned about Keller: He’s heavily in debt to the Russian mob due to a heist in Stockholm. Peter believes Keller plans to repay the mob with the proceeds from the auction of the counterfeit bottle.

Keller, who is kind of smarmy and slimy and irritating, meets with Neal and taunts him a bit about Kate, with whom Keller has also apparently shared a romantic history. There’s ten days until the auction -- Keller challenges Neal to counterfeit his own Franklin wine bottle to see which passes as more authentic.

Neal accepts the challenge and puts Mozzie to work assembling the necessary components to create a counterfeit bottle of antique wine. He confesses the whole matter to Peter, who is gruff and grumbly about Neal keeping secrets from him again, but who eventually agrees to go along with the plan, seeing as it’s the only way they can implicate Keller in Campos’s murder (I’m not entirely sure of the logic there -- I mean, Keller ran Campos over right in front of Neal and Peter, so maybe there’s some other way to tie him to the crime -- but let’s go along with it).

Neal explains the plan, which is actually kind of interesting: Since there’s only one Franklin bottle in existence, if they submit their own bottle to the auction, the auction house will have no choice but to test them both to see which is authentic. It’s impossible to flawlessly counterfeit a pre-1945 bottle of wine, because all bottles made since then contain trace amounts of Cesium 137, a metal that only exists since the first atomic detonation. By gum, I think I just learned something from watching White Collar! They’re sneaking some genuine information into my escapist television! Since there’s no way Keller’s bottle can pass a Cesium test, the FBI will be able to arrest him on fraud.

Mozzie needs some 18th-century beeswax for his forgery, so Neal offers to break into Grace’s vault and shave some wax off the old bottles in her collection. He convinces Peter to pose as his wealthy client so they can gain access to the vault. Peter is reluctant to engage in (more) openly illegal activities with Neal, but Neal wheedles him into it, claiming they won’t really be stealing anything (“It’s like taking a lock of hair from the floor of a barbershop”). Neal is sooooo going to get Peter fired and/or arrested one of these days.

Anyway, Neal loans Peter a nice tie and accompanies him to Grace’s wine tasting, where Peter fakes his way through sampling expensive wines and gets Grace to show him the vault. Peter rigs the super-secure high-tech vault door with, like, chewing gum or tape or something, so Neal can break in later and steal the wax. While Neal is in the process of doing this, however, Keller shows up at the vault and threatens to exposing Peter’s illegal non-FBI-sanctioned activities by calling security while Neal is still hiding inside the vault. Neal busts this nefarious scheme by, uh, walking out of the vault before Keller can call security. So that’s all kind of anticlimactic, but what are you going to do? Keller, who doesn’t seem to be quite the brilliant, diabolical criminal mastermind that Neal and Peter think he is, taunts them openly about how he murdered Campos and waltzes off.

Using the stolen wax shavings as a finishing touch, Mozzie flawlessly replicates the wine bottle. Neal and Peter present it at the auction, thus forcing the auctioneer to run Cesium tests on both bottles. While waiting for the test results, Peter discovers that someone in a nearby parking garage is watching the online feed of the auction. The FBI swarms the garage.

The test results are announced -- Neal’s bottle is a fake, naturally, but Keller’s bottle turns out to be the genuine thing. Neal realizes Keller had the real bottle all along and used Neal to drum up interest in the auction and thereby raise the selling price by having a forged bottle turn up. It’s generally not considered a good idea to deliberately alert the FBI -- who would have remained completely oblivious to the auction if Keller hadn’t dragged Neal into this -- to your criminal activities, but Keller lives life on the edge. Me, I would have tried to drum up interest in the auction, by, like, distributing glossy pamphlets or something. This is why I’m not a world-class con artist.

The world’s most laconic auction gets underway. Peter calls Neal and Mozzie at the auction to tell them the parking-garage lead went nowhere -- Keller escaped just before they arrived, leaving his laptop behind in an empty car. Neal realizes this must mean Keller is no longer monitoring the auction. Neal also learns from Mozzie that the Russian mob boss is in town, intending to receive payment from Keller immediately at the close of the auction. Neal convinces Mozzie to place the winning bid for the bottle -- one million dollars -- then Neal and Peter meet Keller on a helipad, just as Keller is preparing to fly away with the Russian mob boss.

Neal cheerfully tells Keller that he won the auction, but can’t pay for the bottle. Also, Peter says the FBI investigation into the counterfeit bottle could last for months, so Keller has no chance of repaying the Russians any time soon. Caught, Keller turns himself in for Campos’s murder. He seems optimistic about his chances of breaking out of jail, a la Neal himself.

Mozzie informs Neal that there’s been a lot of new chatter about the music box. He suggests Neal talk to his former accomplice, Alex . Neal reminds him that Alex has refused to help him as long as he’s still working with the FBI; Mozzie suggests Neal make it worth her while.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Fun With Keywords: Fierce and Nerdy Edition

Time for another look at the search terms used to find my site:

awesome jack coleman
Sure.

"ricardo montalban" "adrian pasdar"
IMDB doesn’t show any projects in which these two classy, suave actors appeared together. Pity -- they would have complemented each other well.

"not watching the olympics"
I’m not either. Mind you, I’m sure I could get sucked into the Olympic drama easily enough -- I just haven’t bothered turning the television on.

"manchurian apricot" recipe -site:wikipedia.org -site:foodista.com -site:bigoven.com -sitejcooks.com -site:cookstr.com -site:allrecipes.com -site:epicurious.com -site:foodnetwork.com -site:recipezaar.comi -site:alanrosenberg.blogspot.com
Any of those sites would be a much, much better place to find recipes using Manchurian apricots than this one.

"fierce and nerdy"
While I like to consider myself both fierce and nerdy, you are probably looking for this excellently-named site.

are seven signs of the apocalypse legit
Depends entirely on whether you classify the Bible as legit. Revelations 5 through 11 are what you’re looking for.

box 500 ultimate force
Tobias Menzies, of Rome and Casino Royale fame.

cheerleaders who are spies
Sounds fabulous. I suspect this is a project either Boy-Morgan or Dan will know all about. Gentlemen?

heroes ali larter bath episode
Watch “Brother’s Keeper” (Volume Five, Episode Nine) and “Acceptance” (Volume Five, Episode Four) for all your Ali Larter bathtime viewing needs.

mohinder paisley shirt
Blinding, isn’t it?

once there was a turkey. but not anymore. not in the charred remains of post-apocalyptic earth.
I have no idea what this is from, but it’s awesome.

no chemistry between ioan gruffudd & jessica alba
Fair enough. Despite my fierce, guilty love for Fantastic Four, I’m not going to argue that these two adorable actors had any mad sparks between them.

on psych what is d'onofrioed mean
what does it mean to be d'onofrioed
In Full Metal Jacket, Vincent D’Onofrio’s character, Private Pyle, was badly beaten with towel-wrapped bars of soap. Hence: D’Onofrioed.

foto pene tom welling
tom welling panis photo
Some yearnings transcend all language barriers. The desire to see pictures of Tom Welling’s wang is apparently one of them. Then again, in the Rig Veda, the Panis were a kind of demon, so maybe that second searcher is looking for something completely different.

what learnings can be absorbed in the show glee
Oh, dear. There are many excellent reasons to watch Glee. “Educational value” is not one of those reasons.

when does chapter six of heros come out?
There’s been no word yet from NBC as to whether Heroes will be renewed for another season. Anything could happen, but after last volume’s dismal ratings, the prognosis is grim.

why doesn't morgan love skulky the turtle wonder any more
Blasphemy! I will always love Skulky the Turtle Wonder, the unchallenged breakout star of Volume Three of Heroes. It’s just Heroes that I don’t love any more, dig?

why was claire evil in the alternate future?
Because they wanted to stick poor Hayden Panettiere in that brunette wig again.

pasdar wanted off heroes sinking ship
Couldn't blame him, if that turns out to be the case. Still, evidence suggests Pasdar was sort of blindsided by getting dismissed from Heroes, at least according to such usually-reliable sources as Nikki Finke at Deadline Hollywood and Ausiello at Entertainment Weekly. And Dawn Olivieri, who played Lydia on the show, said of Pasdar’s dismissal, “I know for a fact that he was surprised with the release because it wasn't really told to him as one would like.”

However, series creator Tim Kring disputed all this in an interview with TV Guide: “We talked openly with Adrian about [his departure] several months ago and have kept him abreast of where his arc was headed—he always knew what was going on,” Kring says. “This is a guy who is much loved by us all, and these disparaging reports about the way things were handled couldn’t be further from the truth.”

So there are a couple contradictory versions of events, with nothing to suggest which, if either, is closer to the truth. For the record, I'd like to hold onto my early impression of the Heroes gang as one happy family, so I hope Kring's version is the truth. If there's anything to suggest Pasdar wanted off of the show, though, I've heard nothing about it.

what happened with mohinder
Excellent question, and I don’t have an answer. Let’s look at the timeline:

Spring 2009: Heroes wraps its third season. Sendhil Ramamurthy heads to London to film It’s a Wonderful Afterlife.

First week of June 2009: Heroes begins production on the fourth season. Sendhil, however, is now in Vancouver, filming his guest appearance on an episode of Psych.

July 18, 2009: Sendhil appears at London Film & Comic Con, sporting a hilarious, monstrous furry beard. According to a report from a convention attendee, he states that: a) he has already done some filming for the new season, and b) the beard is specifically for Heroes.

July 25, 2009: At San Diego Comic Con, Tim Kring is asked a direct question about Mohinder, who does not appear in any of the teasers or promotional materials for the new season. Kring responds thusly: “We're going to be telling less stories per episode," says Tim. "The idea is to tell deeper stories but not as wide stories. It's always been a juggling act with a show like this because it's always been a large cast. We don't have quite as much bouncing around this season as we did in the past." Translation: Don't hold your breath, Mohinder fans.

September, 2009: The fourth season of Heroes premieres. Mohinder does not appear in the first eight episodes. When he finally makes an appearance in an episode airing in mid-November, he has no monstrous furry beard, nor will he have one for the entire remainder of the season. (Also, it turns out Mohinder has been dead for eight weeks, and no one has noticed. Sucks to be Mohinder.)

From September through November, Wendi, the nice Heroes key makeup artist, tweets intermittently on her Twitter account about Sendhil being on set doing some filming.

October 8, 2009: Kristin Dos Santos at E! Online reports that the powers-that-be at Heroes are considering killing off Mohinder, because they feel they’ve exhausted his character (scroll waaaaay down to comment #509).

November 2, 2009: Heroes star Greg Grunberg does a radio interview where he says Sendhil was filming a movie at the beginning of the season, which explains his absence in the first chunk of episodes. This is the first time this has been mentioned publicly, and there are no reports of Sendhil working on any film in 2009 apart from It’s a Wonderful Afterlife. Which is not to say no such movie exists, but if it does, it has never been mentioned in the trades, nor has Sendhil ever referred to it in interviews.

November 30, 2009: The Hollywood Reporter breaks the news that Sendhil has been cast in a new NBC pilot, Rex is Not Your Lawyer.

December 4, 2009: From the website ScreenJunkies:
“Our source tells us that Ramamurthy got a pilot and asked the writers to write him out. They obliged. Everyone loves Sendhil Ramamurthy and his character, but the truth is he didn't have a lot of screen time this season, and the writers felt they shouldn't stand in the way of the actor's future. Look for Mohinder Suresh to make his exeunt in an episode airing in late January.”

December 7, 2009: Sendhil is replaced by Jerry O’Connell in Rex is Not Your Lawyer.

December 15, 2009: Tim Kring says Sendhil was filming a movie during the first part of the season, and thus Heroes was not able to use him as much as they wanted to.

Late December, 2009: Apart from a few final pickup shots in early January, the fourth season of Heroes wraps.

December 28, 2009: Sendhil is cast in the Bollywood film Shor.

Second week of January, 2010: Sendhil arrives in Mumbai for Shor. He spends a couple weeks filming, then heads to Sundance to promote It’s a Wonderful Afterlife in late January.

January 18, 2010: Mohinder makes his final appearance on Heroes for the season, which ends two episodes later.

February, 2009: In a video interview from Sundance, Sendhil clearly states that It’s a Wonderful Afterlife did not conflict with the Heroes production schedule: “It fit exactly in the hiatus between season three and four. It worked out perfectly.”

February 5, 2010: Screen India publishes an interview with Sendhil from Mumbai, in which he says, “I am on a contract for Heroes for three more seasons and they want me to come back. But if that doesn’t work out, there are a couple of things lined up. I am ready to move on after Heroes.

February 15, 2010: Heroes staff writer Oliver Grigsby blogs about the absence of Mohinder in the final episodes of the fourth season: “However, an amazing opportunity came up for the actor so at the last minute we reconstructed the scene so that he leaves. Sendhil Ramamurthy fans should keep an eye out on his imdb page for some upcoming announcements. So while it wasn't ideal for the episode, it was a small price to allow the actor a great opportunity.”

I believe the technical term for all of the above is “clusterfuck.” My endless gratitude to anyone who can come up with a Grand Unified Theory (yes, that’s an incorrect usage of the term, but if Heroes can cheerfully botch physics concepts for their own purposes, as it did in the episode “Strange Attractors," so can I) that reconciles all the above information into a single cohesive theory.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Psych: Death is in the Air

Shawn and Gus find a hung-over courier named Donny Lieberman (Ernie Grunwald) asleep on the couch in their office. He was transporting a cooler for a company named Genutech, but someone swiped it, along with his valuable gold watch, when he got drunk the previous night. The cooler contains something incredibly valuable (Shawn guesses, “The disembodied soul of Marcellus Wallace?”): a vial of the deadly and contagious Thornburg virus.

A woman stumbles around a convenience store, then collapses and dies. Blood streams from her eyes, which is one of the symptoms of the Thornburg virus. When Shawn and Gus join Lassiter and Juliet at the crime scene, Shawn notices the woman is wearing Donny’s watch.

Donny remembers getting drunk with the woman, who turns out to be a hooker named Ginger (cue Shawn and Gus riffing on Gilligan's Island), at the awesome tiki bar in his hotel. All hotels should have a tiki bar. While searching Ginger’s residence, Juliet finds ten grand in an envelope and a key to a hotel room registered under the name Val Kilmer (Shawn: “It’s either an alias, or Val has officially lost it”). Shawn figures someone paid Ginger to steal the virus from Donny, but she accidentally released it before turning it over to the buyer.

Shawn tries to track down the buyer at a local coffee shop. When he sees the broken remains of a vial on the floor, he barricades the door and calls in the CDC, who send in their foremost authority on the Thornburg virus, Dr. Steven Reidman. Dr. Reidman is played by Judd Nelson (sporting a preposterous mustache), and here’s why I love Psych: The USA Network has been relentlessly hyping Nelson’s appearance on the show for the past few weeks with an enthusiasm most shows would reserve for a guest spot by, say, Clooney or Pitt. In the Psych universe, Judd Nelson is a megastar. As well he should be.

Gus and Shawn discover that Genutech, the lab that provided the virus to Donny for transport, is also the primary manufacturer of the cure. Genutech is closing due to lack of funding, so Shawn figures the head of the lab, Dr. Mallon (Cullen Douglas), deliberately released the virus to demonstrate the vital importance of the research done by Genutech. One of Mallon’s lab techs tells Shawn and Gus that the lab shipped three vials, not just one. Ergo, two vials are still unaccounted for. Shawn realizes that Mallon is one of the customers from the coffee shop currently quarantined in the hospital, but Mallon escapes before Lassiter and Juliet can arrest him.

After a manhunt, they find Mallon at the bus station, where Shawn manages to retrieve one of the missing vials. Mallon eludes capture again, but Shawn, Gus and Juliet find him when he returns to the hospital to steal some of the cure for himself. Juliet gets exposed to the last vial of the virus, and Mallon dies because there’s not enough of the cure left to heal him.

Shawn and Lassiter retrieve a stockpile of the cure from Mallon’s lake cabin and return to the hospital to heal Juliet, who, it turns out, isn’t infected after all, all of which is a little convoluted and unnecessary from a narrative standpoint, but hey, it’s Psych! Embrace the convolutions and don’t worry too much about the lack of a streamlined narrative. Juliet’s not-really-near-death experience motivates Shawn to proclaim his love for her. He launches into a long, rambling anecdote, in which he compares Juliet to the prize at the bottom of a cereal box, but chickens out before confessing his true feelings.

Operating under the assumption that any episode guest-starring Judd Nelson is automatically a good episode, this was a good episode.

Pineapple spotting: Several years ago, I attended a star-studded black-tie charity gala honoring Harry Belafonte. During the pre-dinner cocktail hour, I remarked to my date that I’m absolutely terrible at spotting celebrities in real life -- they could walk right in front of me, and I wouldn’t notice. Just as I was saying this, Lea Thompson (who, by the way, would make an awesomely appropriate Psych guest star herself) stepped directly between us on a beeline trajectory towards the hors d’oeuvres table. No, I didn’t notice.

Point being, I’m not the most observant person. I didn’t spot the blasted pineapple. Apparently there were two in this episode. If you want some help narrowing down the location, look here.

Lassiter-based awesomeness: Lassiter explains to Shawn that he knows how to find Lake Victoria, where Mallon’s cabin is located: “I used to practice figure skating there when I was little. I mean ice hockey.”

Awesome Eighties references:
Beverly Hills Cop: After Gus does an impression of Shawn, Shawn replies, “First of all you have to stop using the ‘I’m not falling for no banana in my tailpipe’ voice every time you imitate a white person.”

Shawn explains how he’s enjoying his post-Abigail bachelorhood: “I’m TiVoing Blame it on Rio as we speak.”

At the first mention of the virus, Shawn says, “What does this have to do with Richard Chamberlain?” Gus patiently explains the difference between “Thornburg” and The Thorn Birds.

Cocktail: After placing his drink order (club soda with pineapple), Shawn tells the bartender at the tiki bar, “If you can get ‘The Hippy Hippy Shake’ going, flip a few glasses, and introduce me to Elisabeth Shue, there’s an extra fiver in it for you.”

Back to the Future: The Genutech lab assistant, whom Shawn thinks bears a strong resemblance to Christopher Lloyd (he doesn’t), explains that the lab is being shut down. Shawn asks, “For striking a clock tower with lightning?”

Ghostbusters: Shawn refers to his hazmat suit as a Stay-Puft protective suit.

This one spans more than just the Eighties, really, but it’s too good to leave off the list: After the virus is successfully contained, Gus suggests attending the Sidney J. Furie Film Festival to celebrate: They’re showing Iron Eagle II, Lady Sings the Blues, and Iron Eagle IV. Dr. Reidman pipes in, “If The Taking of Beverly Hills is included, count me in.” (If Ladybugs is included in that lineup, count me in.)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Life Beyond Thunderdome: Solarbabies

My monthly column at Forces of Geek, Life Beyond Thunderdome, is now up. February's cheeseball Eighties movie pick? The 1986 sci-fi classic Solarbabies. Spunky teen orphans on rollerskates in a drought-plagued post-apocalyptic future! What's not to love?

Somewhere out there, Adrian Pasdar is wishing he could buy up and destroy all copies of this deliriously gloppy mess right now.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Fringe: Jacksonville


My Fringe recap is now up at TVgasm. Last new episode until April, folks.

Psych : A Very Juliet Episode

After a couple of slow episodes, it looks like Psych has regained momentum with this week’s extra-entertaining Juliet-heavy installment.

Seven years ago: A young Juliet says goodbye to her boyfriend Scott (Josh Braaten) at Union Station in Los Angeles. She’s returning to school in Miami, so they’ve decided to end their long-distance relationship. They make plans to meet back at the train station in exactly seven years -- if they’re both still single, maybe they’ll try to rekindle their romance.

Present day: Juliet, gussied up in a pretty red dress, waits for Scott with an expectant smile. She waits, and waits, and waits, for hours and hours. This is because Juliet is a cheerful and optimistic soul. Also, because she’s a tiny bit of a doormat.

Back at the station, Juliet abuses police resources to try to track Scott down, until the Chief yells at her to knock it off. Unwilling to let Shawn anywhere near her love life (smart girl, Juliet), she privately asks Gus to help her. Gus promises to keep Shawn out of it, claiming, “You may not know this, but I’m known as The Vault of Secrets.”

So of course, a Jamba Juice-slurping Shawn finds out about it in the very next scene, though Gus refrains from telling him about Scott’s personal connection to Juliet. Shawn cheerfully tells Juliet that he found her missing person -- Scott was murdered four years ago, his car found burned and abandoned in the California desert.

Juliet is crushed by the news. Feeling guilty, Shawn decides to investigate Scott’s unsolved murder. The police files are incomplete, so he uses Agent Lars Ewing’s Treasury Department password (Ewing was Lou Diamond Phillips’s character in a particularly awesome early episode, if you recall) to hack into Federal files, and discovers that Scott was somehow involved with a Los Angeles mobster named J.T. Waring (The Mummy’s Arnold Vosloo), who is currently imprisoned for various offenses, including murder and racketeering (Shawn: “What’s racketeering?” Lassiter: “Nobody knows).

Shawn finds out from Juliet that Scott owned a rare collection of Dumbo figurines. Somebody is (conveniently!) selling the collection on eBay, so Shawn and Gus, on the assumption that Scott’s murderer must be selling his possessions, track down the seller… and discover it’s Scott himself, alive and well and hiding in Witness Protection.

Their discovery of Scott earns them the wrath of federal marshal Daniel Wayne (Craig Sheffer! Good to see you, buddy! There’s someone I haven’t thought about in years!). Scott’s testimony about the murder of Wayne’s partner put Waring in prison for life. Wayne thinks Waring will try to have Scott killed, now that Scott is back out in the open.

Scott, who wants to rekindle his romance with Juliet, refuses to go back into protective custody, so Shawn and Gus visit Waring in prison to convince him not to try to kill Scott anymore. Waring insists he was innocent -- Wayne’s partner was already dead when Scott saw Waring standing over his body -- and agrees to leave Scott alone, provided Shawn and Gus find the real murderer. Shawn thinks Waring is telling the truth. Shawn, in fact, seems to instinctively like Waring. (Shawn: “There’s something very Billy Zaneian about him.” Gus: “You and Billy Zane are the only people who use that term.”)

You know, Shawn’s right -- there is something very Billy Zaneian about Arnold Vosloo:


Shawn, Gus and Scott break into Scott’s old office, where Scott originally saw Waring standing over the dead federal marshal, and recreate the crime scene. The bullet passed cleanly through the victim and was never found, but Shawn finds it embedded in the trunk of a tree outside. Someone starts shooting at them, so they hightail it out of there and return with Lassiter and Juliet… only to discover someone has already dug the bullet out of the tree.

Scott, realizing his life is still in danger, agrees to go back into protective custody. As Agent Wayne leads him away, Shawn notices traces of sap on Wayne’s hands and realizes: a) he dug the bullet out of the tree, and b) he killed his own partner and framed Waring for the crime. Shawn confronts Wayne, and they have a groin-kicking ankle-biting fistfight, which ends when Scott conks Wayne over the head and knocks him out.

With Wayne arrested, Juliet and Scott part once again at the train station, after making plans to meet once more in the same spot in a year.

Pineapple spotting:
Nope. Noooooooo. Not even close.

Gus’s fake name: None. At the maximum-security prison while visiting convicted murderer Waring, Shawn introduces Gus as Burton Guster. Gus squawks, “Now you use my real name?”

Awesome jab at The Mentalist:
(After Gus mocks Shawn’s hand-to-the-forehead faux-psychic gesture)
Shawn: I think it looks pretty sweet when Simon Baker does it.
Gus: Simon Baker doesn’t do it.
Shawn: He doesn’t?
Gus: No.
Shawn: Huh. Well, at least we have that.

Lassiter-based awesomeness: “I want you to listen to me, O’Hara, and believe this, because I mean it from the bottom of my heart: All romance ends in despair. Or death, but mostly despair. Gut-wrenching despair. I hate to say this, but I’m actually happy that this happened, because now you know, and it’s just going to make you a better cop to realize that all people are essentially just out there to destroy any chance of happiness you might’ve had.” Pause. “I feel a hug coming on.”

Awesome Eighties references:
Agent Wayne (to Juliet): Listen, girl: I. Don’t. Care.
Shawn: Tommy Lee Jones. The Fugitive.

Shawn (denying Henry’s claim he wasn’t much help finding Scott): I was on a missing-persons website.
Henry: The band Missing Persons.

Gus: Everything you’ve said in the last two days has been wrong.
Shawn: That’s not true. I was right about Mr. T being an extra in The Blues Brothers.

Juliet (making a Goodfellas reference over a romantic dinner with Scott): When you were in the Program, did you ever order spaghetti marinara and get egg noodles and ketchup instead?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

White Collar: Home Invasion

At the skating rink in Rockefeller Center, following an elaborate and unnecessary series of covert maneuvers involving pickpocketing origami lilies, Neal meets with an attractive young woman named Alex (Gloria Votsis), who appears to be his former accomplice, to ask her about the jewelry box Kate wants. She denies any knowledge of its current whereabouts, though Neal notes that she carries a decorative piece from the box at all times in her purse.

An insider trader whom Peter has been investigating, Aldys Gray, is shot and killed. The woman whom he was with at the time, Pierce Spellman (Sarah Carter), claims a gunman ambushed Gray and escaped out the window. When Neal investigates the crime scene, he determines that Pierce: a) has a forged drivers license, and b) is lying about what happened. Before they can arrest her, she gives the FBI the slip.

Peter lugs a bunch of suitcases into FBI headquarters, explaining that he’s temporarily adrift while the wiring gets upgraded in his home. Elizabeth is staying out of town with her family, but Peter is stuck at a cheap motel. Neal invites him to crash at his place instead, which is the premise for either:
a) a series of wacky Odd Couple-style arguments between fussy, meticulous Neal and sloppy, macho Peter, or:
b) about eight million slash fiction stories.

In Pierce’s purse, which was left at the crime scene, they find a list written in code. Neal uses a Scrabble board to try to crack it. Alex stops by his apartment, furious because she’s just uncovered his connection to the FBI. She accuses him of setting her up by asking about the jewelry box. Downplaying the situation, Neal insists, “I was forced Fed.” Heh. Neal, you’re adorable. Go have a cookie.

Peter’s motel room turns out to be sad, shabby, and occupied by someone else’s angry dog, so Peter decides to avail himself of Neal’s hospitality. He drops by while Alex is still there. Cheerily ignoring Neal’s silent pleas not to tell her the truth about himself, Peter informs her he’s an FBI agent. Alex storms out, but not before moving around Neal’s Scrabble tiles to read “FED.” Meanwhile, Peter makes himself at home by messing around with Neal’s chess set, watching sports, and sweating all over Neal’s exquisite furniture. Yep, they’re going the Odd Couple route.

In the morning, Neal wakes to find his landlady June and Peter having mimosas on the terrace. Hey, Neal wears silk pajamas! This is not a surprise, really. Neal is cranky and surly, perhaps unnecessarily, and gives every indication of already being fed up with his houseguest. (Peter says to June re: crabby Neal, “We should get him a banana or something.”)

At the office, Peter secretly asks Jones to run Alex’s fingerprints from the Scrabble tile she touched. Meanwhile, Neal and Peter crack the code and discover it’s a list of five names. Aldys Gray was the fourth name on the list. The first three men on the list won’t discuss Pierce, but clearly have had some unpleasant dealings with her. The final name turns out to be a chatty, eager trust fund kid /art collector named Dan Pierce, who develops an instant boy-crush on Neal. I like how they make it clear Neal is equally attractive and appealing to men and women, in a friendly and mostly nonsexual sort of way.

With Dan’s help, Peter and Neal discover that Pierce has been trying to steal a series of five fifteenth-century jade elephants. Pierce already has the first three from the first three men on her list, but she didn’t find Aldys Gray’s elephant, nor has she tried to steal Dan’s own elephant yet. Peter’s boss, Hughes, explains that the elephants are the property of the Japanese government and must be recovered to avert an international incident. How do you figure, Hughes? The elephants were apparently stolen decades ago, and the Japanese government has been cool with it thus far -- why would it become a big deal now?

Jones fills Peter in on Alex’s background: She’s a high-end fence with powerful connections, and thus no one Neal should be associating with. Meanwhile, Pierce tries to contact Dan through an online dating service (Dan updated his profile photo to one where he’s wearing a jaunty hat, just like Neal). Dan sets up the date, but Neal shows up to meet Pierce instead. Neal explains that, like her, he’s trying to locate all five elephants. He claims to have two -- Aldys Gray’s and Dan’s -- which he’d like to combine with her three. The elephants are worth vastly more as a complete set -- like Voltron! -- so he suggests they team up and split the profit. Pierce is sold on this idea… until Alex shows up unexpectedly to rant at Neal about how the FBI has been snooping into her background.

Pierce gets spooked and bolts. Neal chases her down, so she yells at a nearby group of men to save her from him. Peter arrives and rescues Neal from a bad beating, but Pierce escapes in the confusion.

Neal is furious with Peter for running Alex’s fingerprints behind his back, especially while staying as a guest in his home, while Peter, less justifiably, is furious with Neal for losing track of Pierce. They squabble, then Neal flounces off in a huff. When he arrives home, he finds a gun-toting Pierce in his living room, demanding that he take her to the remaining elephants. She orders him to remove the tracking device on his ankle. Neal obeys, but first he uses it to spell out “POWER” in Morse code.

Of course Neal knows Morse code. Hey, who doesn’t?

Peter gets Neal’s message and realizes it means he’s taking Pierce to Peter’s house, where the power has been disconnected during the wiring upgrade. Peter and the FBI arrive and storm the house, just as Pierce is preparing to kill Neal. Pierce gets arrested, the elephants get returned to the Japanese government (no international incident necessary! Phew!), and Neal makes arrangements for Peter to stay in a luxury hotel until his home repairs are completed. He’s even taken the liberty of packing Peter’s bags for him. Peter asks him, “Is this because I ran Alex’s prints?” Neal replies, “It’s for so many reasons, Peter.”

And Neal secretly meets with Alex again, who tells him she knows where the jewelry box is, but won’t tell him until he stops working with the FBI.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Psych: Thrill Seekers & Hell Raisers.

There’s even less plot than usual this week, and none of it makes a whopping lot of sense, so let’s get through it fast: While engaging in one of their favorite recreational activities -- cuddling bunnies at the local pet store -- Gus confesses to Shawn that he has a secret girlfriend, Ruby. Upset that Gus has been hiding things from him, Shawn accuses him of getting him “hopped up on bunny love” first to blunt the impact of the news. Gus introduces Shawn to Ruby (The L Word’s Sarah Shahi), who wins immediate points with Shawn for lavishly complimenting his hair and being able to name her favorite Magnum, P.I. episode off the top of her head. Still, Shawn has his reservations about her. This is because: a) Shawn is uncannily observant when it comes to people, and b) Shawn is sort of a jealous butthead.

Shawn and Gus invite themselves along on Ruby’s river rafting excursion with her friends Derek (Reba’s Steve Howey), Jessica (former pro wrestler/actress Stacy Kiebler) and Stu. While going over the rapids, Stu mysteriously disappears. Juliet and Lassiter arrive to investigate his suspected drowning, but Shawn deduces that Stu deliberately jumped out of the boat, faking his own death because he and his shifty business partner, Brian Sampson, had just filed bankruptcy. Shawn suspects Ruby aided in Stu’s escape. Ruby takes Gus into her confidence: Stu was in trouble and asked for her help faking his death. Gus, naturally, spills the beans about this to Shawn.

Later, Brian Sampson’s body is found in the woods, shot to death. Juliet discovers Sampson and Stu were the beneficiaries of each other’s life insurance policies. Suspicion falls on Stu, but then Stu is found in a trailer near Lone Pine, killed by an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Shawn visits the coroner and bribes him with a gift of fuzzy slippers to get some inside dish on Sampson’s autopsy. Sampson was shot in the chest by a Winchester rifle, which is subsequently found in Jessica’s apartment. Jessica, who has noted anger-management issues, is arrested, but Shawn figures out that big-game hunter Derek, who used to date Jessica and thus had a key to her place, is the actual murderer of both Stu and Sampson: He killed Sampson because he thought Stu would be happy with the insurance money, but then Stu objected to the murder, so Derek murdered him to keep him quiet.

While paragliding with Derek, Ruby notices that he has the coordinates for Stu’s trailer in Lone Pine programmed into his GPS and thus was almost certainly the murderer. Derek tries to shove her over the cliff, but Shawn and Gus arrive in time to stop him. Despite Gus’s heroics in saving her (Gus jumps on Derek, clings to him, and paraglides around with him for a while), Ruby decides she and Gus should take a breather on their relationship.

Eh, I don’t know. They’ve got a crackerjack writing staff on this show, but this wasn’t their best effort. I’ve said often enough that the episode plots are kind of beside the whole point of Psych, but they maybe could’ve tried a little harder than this. Still, the script was chock full of the usual quips and bon mots, so points for that.

Pineapple spotting: Nope. I tried, I really did. They faked me out by having a big fruit bowl in the conference room at the police station, but there was no pineapple anywhere to be seen.

Lassiter-based awesomeness: It’s a tie:
--After Stu’s disappearance, Ruby and her friends plead with Lassiter to be honest with them about what he suspects happened. Lassiter replies, “My best guess: The life vest came off when he fell out of the boat. He hit his head against a rock and drowned. We’ll probably find his body in a gully or a spillway somewhere down the river. I just hope we get to him before the birds do.”

--Shawn, Gus and Juliet debate whether they’d resort to cannibalism in the event they became stranded in the mountains somewhere. Lassiter joins the conversation: “I would eat the three of you in the following order: O’Hara, Guster, then Spencer. I’ve also made a list of whose organs I would prefer in the event I need a transplant. I’ve also planned a contingency where I’m the last man on earth and need to choose one person in the department with whom to procreate. Don’t worry. None of you made the list.”

Awesome Eighties references:
--Shawn, on his friendship with Gus: “We’re like Andie and Duckie.”

--Gus, when Shawn mentions that one of Gus’s prior girlfriends was unable to guess the answer to the riddle of the Sphinx: “You only knew that because you saw it on an episode of Superfriends.”

--Ruby’s favorite Magnum, P.I. episode is “Did You See the Sunrise?” Her second favorite: “Did You See the Sunrise? Part 2.”

--Over hamburgers and bourbon at his dad’s house, Shawn proposes they have a Smiths lyric-off. On her way out the door, Ruby says, “We’re starting with ‘The Queen is Dead.’”

--Riffing on the name “Sampson,” Shawn claims it sounds like the name of a dwarf warrior from Willow.

--Shawn tells Gus, “Don’t be the new Meshach Taylor.”

Possible Eighties anachronism:
In the childhood flashback at the start of the episode, young Shawn makes a reference to “extreme sports.” While the origins of the term are murky and possibly date back half a century or more, it probably wasn’t in the everyday vernacular in 1989. Then again, Shawn was an awfully precocious kid, so I’ll let it slide.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

White Collar: Vital Signs

Neal and his landlady June (Diahann Caroll) sit in the park and watch June’s young granddaughter Samantha play soccer with her friends. Neal comments that Samantha doesn’t look sick; June assures him she’s having one of her good days. Samantha, who has an unspecified kidney disease, was just removed from the donor list last week. As sad tinkly music plays on the soundtrack, Neal asks June if there’s anything he can do.

While Elizabeth and Peter sit at their dining room table, savoring their morning coffee, Neal waltzes in through the front door without knocking, plops himself down in a chair, and starts rummaging through their cereal box for the toy inside. “I let myself in, if you don’t mind,” Neal chirps. “I mind,” Peter mutters. I side with Peter here: Neal is beautiful and charming and irrepressible, but that doesn’t mean I want his hands in my cereal box. The toy is a sheriff’s badge, which Neal delightedly pins to the lapel of his impeccable suit before asking Peter for a favor. He explains about June’s granddaughter’s kidney, and says that a woman from a charity approached June offering to find a donor in return for a donation of $100,000. Which is sort of totally illegal. Peter agrees to look into the case. You know, my understanding of the inner workings of the FBI may very well be faulty, but I didn’t realize FBI agents got to pick their own cases from their own pet interests. That’s pretty much how Peter gets all his assignments.

Neal sets up a meeting with Melissa Callaway (Jennifer Ferrin), the charity representative who contacted June about Samantha. As Neal tells Mozzie, the charity is named Hearts Wide Open, which, as Mozzie points out, is a ghastly, horrific name for any charity involving major surgical procedures. Mozzie, posing as June’s financial advisor, distracts Melissa while Neal charms a couple of overly-trusting police offers into letting him into Melissa’s car so he can rifle through her briefcase. He finds an invitation to a charity tennis tournament hosted by the founder of Hearts Wide Open, Dr. Wayne Powell (Kyle Secor).

Neal and Peter, posing as a couple of adorably unconvincing doctors, are turned away at the door of the tournament, but Melissa takes an instant interest in Peter and lets them in. While Peter flirts with Melissa, Neal flirts with Dr. Powell. He claims to be deeply involved with a medical association that gives him access to a vast pool of potential organ donors in India. This piques Dr. Powell’s interest. It seems possible that Neal’s stellar cheekbones also pique Dr. Powell’s interest, but it’s equally possible I’m projecting.

Over an impromptu massage, a deeply uncomfortable Peter gets Melissa to agree to give him access to the Howser Clinic, a prestigious medical clinic closely associated with Hearts Wide Open. The Howser Clinic? If that’s a Doogie Howser joke, I will be duly impressed. If they’d only sealed the deal with a Neil Patrick Harris cameo, it would’ve been perfect. Peter discovers that Dr. Powell himself has advanced kidney disease and has been searching in vain for a perfect donor.

Mozzie and Neal discuss the 1956 Byrne vs. Fischer chess match. Mozzie scouted the Howser Clinic and reports that the security was too comprehensive for him to get a close look, though he also claims he (somehow) saw workers at the clinic frantically throwing away files. Neal calls Peter and discovers the FBI made an official request for the clinic’s records, thus sending the clinic into a tizzy. Neal fondles a chess pawn in a weirdly provocative way and decides he needs to infiltrate the clinic before the records are destroyed. For reasons pertaining to moving the plot right along, he can’t be bothered to fill Peter in on his plan.

Elizabeth finds Melissa’s business card in Peter’s suit pocket. Peter awkwardly explains he had to seduce Melissa as part of his cover, and Elizabeth bursts into a giggle fit. I love Elizabeth.

Neal and Mozzie sneak into the clinic, where Mozzie disguises himself as a janitor and walks off with the discarded files. If only the Howser Clinic had invested in a decent shredder, they could’ve saved themselves some future pain. Neal breaks into Dr. Powell’s office and faxes a list of prospective organ donors to Peter, but he gets caught by security, who drug him and strap him down to a gurney to hold him until Powell arrives. Yeah, this is actually in many ways a weak installment of this excellent series, but I’d argue that any episode featuring Neal in bondage is automatically a good one.

Peter, suspecting Neal is up to something stupid, tracks him down via the electronic monitoring bracelet on his ankle and figures out he’s at the clinic. Elizabeth convinces him to call Melissa and talk her into letting him inside the clinic. At Elizabeth’s prompting, Peter flirts with Melissa and is granted a pass to the clinic, though Elizabeth becomes a little frosty when details slip out about the massage he gave Melissa.

At the clinic, Peter snoops around and finds a druggy and blissed-out Neal, who, even stoned off his gourd, has managed to pick the locks on his restraints. Peter informs Neal he’ll have to go back to prison for breaking into the clinic; Neal agrees to this and soberly tells Peter he’s the only person he trusts in his life. Peter, who is a marshmallow at heart, steals the clinic’s surveillance footage to remove any proof Neal was ever there, then smuggles him out of the building.

Back at the Burke house, Peter examines the records swiped from the clinic, which include a list of wealthy clients willing to pay top-dollar for black-market organs. Only four names are legible on the list of potential donors Neal faxed over, but all four received charity medical assistance from Hearts Wide Open and were then paid a small sum to donate their organs, which were then sold for exorbitant sums to wealthy recipients. The donors aren’t interested in testifying against Dr. Powell, so Neil suggests forcing Powell to produce the funds he embezzled from the clinic by making him think his own kidneys are failing.

An elaborate scheme is launched to give Powell some key symptoms of renal failure: The FBI picks up Powell’s clothes at the dry cleaner and swaps them for a larger size to make Powell think he’s lost weight. They douse his clothes with an irritant to make him think he’s developed a skin infection. They inject his cranberry juice with dye to make him think he’s pissing blood. Yeah, you know, Powell is a scumbag, but I’m unsure of the hilarity involved in the FBI making someone think his kidneys are failing. In any case, Powell grows increasingly panicky, so Neal, still posing as a doctor, assures him he found an exact donor match in India. Powell books a flight, but the FBI intercepts and drugs him.

Powell wakes up in a run-down hospital in what Neal cheerfully informs him is Malanpur, India, after ostensibly losing consciousness from renal failure during his flight. Neal asks for thirty million in exchange for the perfect-match kidney, so Powell gives him access to the account where he stashed the money swindled from the charity. Neal exposes the scam -- Powell has, of course, been in New York all along -- and Peter swoops in and arrests him.

June tells Peter that Samantha is back on the national donor registry (it’s never really explained why she was bumped from the list to begin with), while Peter shares a romantic glass of wine with Elizabeth.

Sort of a dumb episode, really, but it had plenty of cute interaction between Neal and Peter. Still digging it. We'll see where it goes from here.

Fringe: The Bishop Revival

Oh, lordy. There were Nazis on last week's episode of Fringe. Only one Nazi, actually, but he caused plenty of destruction all on his own.

My recap, as ever, is up at TVgasm. Added bonus: Lord of the Rings jokes!