Good morning, afternoon, or evening (or 3am Internet clicking time) my television junkie friends. This week was one of the raddest in television, all my favorite shows delivering excitement, wonder, curious happenings, and some damn fine acting. Well, almost all my shows delivered, with one exception. We’ll get to that first, after I remind everyone how good Mad Men was, and how Game of Thrones is still thundering along. Let’s dive in (to disappointment first!).
This week’s installment of Californication would have been passable and maybe even fun if it had occurred maybe in the second or third season. Almost nothing happened of any note, besides Levon losing his virginity to a hooker and Charlie Runkle getting puked on (the target being his junk, of course). As would be expected, Karen was against the choice to utilize a hooker’s services to pop a cherry, while Levon called Hank the best dad ever (wasn’t Moody at some point trying to be an actual good parent?). Basically, the writers have all but forgotten about Becca, unsuccessfully trying to allude to her via one passed over comment by Karen, and left us with the disturbing, socially unacceptable, completely awful second child. Levon is almost unwatchable, the success of his antics showing Hank in a bad light, and making the audience seriously considering pulling all optimism out from the series.
In contrast, New Girl was fairly brilliant. In an effort to highlight the weirdness between Nick and Jess post breakup, the writers sent the poor characters on a cruise together (a brilliant, drunken investment in romantic futures), the rest of the gang tagging along. The weirdness was delicious, as was Schmidt trying to force a romantic moment with Cece (of course every boat must have a violinist). The highlights, though, were Winston and Coach, the former because of how weird he keeps getting (“Shame, shame, I know your name!”), and the latter because of a wonderfully performed fear of boats (Damon Wayans, Jr., you comedic genius). Watch the episode for clever writing, tragic adorableness, and weird confessions from each character (and that part where they all get trapped in their suite). That’s good television.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was epic, and left us with a whole lotta questions. This week, the gang tried to hunt down Garrett and Ward, and the audience was given a bit of Ward’s crazy backstory (dude was left in the woods and became evil). After some old school spying, the gang figured out Garrett was the first Deathlok, and in need of the miracle chemical that brought back Skye and Coulson before his organs failed. So, finally, some real high stakes television from Joss Whedon and his team, all neatly packaged in 45 minutes of suspenseful cat and mouse, the survival of certain characters left completely up in the air in a way only Whedon knows how to do (I won’t say who might have bitten the dust, but it’d be super depressing if the best scene in the entire episode ended how I think it did). With the season finale next week, Coulson and his team will be on our minds till what television ads often call a shocking conclusion.
And after all that, Elementary was pretty damn good. At the beginning, it was revealed Mycroft had been working for MI6 the whole time, Joan super upset at all the deception. Then, MI6 superiors sent Holmes to solve a murder case, leading to a search for a corpse’s missing arms, a code hidden in a UV ink tattoo, and lots of narrative twists and turns thanks to the involvement of MI6 (only Sherlock would turn down a job with those chaps). Some of the best moments were heated conversations between Holmes and Watson on the subject of her finding her own place (Jonny Lee Miller has never played tense better) and Sherlock realizing the whole thing was an even bigger framing scheme than previously imagined. And the scene in which Sherlock revealed this news to Watson and his brother: awkward in the best way possible.
See you all next week for more television. Here’s hoping only Californication continues to cheat its audience.