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Castle Review: An Epidemic of Evil?

@SueAnn: The kidnapping is starting to get old. At least Castle's comment lampshaded it a bit. And the CIA will end up as the bad guys; they always are. Well, almost always. Covert Affairs portrays them in a more balanced light. And Chaos was fun. I also like how the math genius feels guilt for having helped the CIA affect the course of other nations, but seems fine with having had something to do with the Arab Spring, which has claimed over 30,000 lives so far. (Not passing judgement, just saying that his hands are stained either way.) Still, I was happy with the episode. If any of these event had occurred on a more solid procedural, such as Criminal Minds, I'd be having fits. But this is part comedy, so it's allowed. Now, if the linchpin turns out to be a government cut-back on environmental regulations resulting in climate catastrophe in America's wheat basket, I'm not sure I'll be able to watch any more.

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Decent. I'm also sick of the extended flashback trope. It can be used to good advantage on occasion, but it's getting to be redundant. Especially when it starts with a scene the audience knows without a doubt is not what it seems. Essentially, all it did was telegraph the fact that the rest of the team was about to make a last-minute rescue. I'm also sick to death of "bromance." Is it possible to cleanse the language of this ridiculous word? Other than that, it was a solid episode. I did, however, know that Diane would be involved in some nefarious fashion -- that actress always is. Of course, her partner often plays untrustworthy characters, but in his case it sometimes turns out to be a mistake and he ends up being innocent after all. She, on the other hand, is pretty well always guilty. (And no, I don't remember these actors' names.)

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I admit, I got nervous when I saw what they were doing. Way too much potential for excess sentimentality. But they pulled it off. Since everyone has said everything else, I'll just mention two of my favourite moments. The one was Ari and Vance calmly playing chess together. The other was Shannon saying that if she and Kelly hadn't been killed, Gibbs would never have joined NIS -- which, of course, is what it was called when he joined. I won't put it up as one of the top five episodes (in a series like this, there are too many contenders for that), but it's definitely one for a "Best Of" CD set. And maybe Gibbs will smile more now. He used to, back in the beginning. They were generally when nobody was looking, but they brought him alive.

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Some flaws, yes. But the fun was worth it. I wonder what techniques the voice/accent coaches gave. Talking fast, definitely. Also a kind of clipped speech. Speaking from higher in the throat or mouth, I think, But of course, as soon as I saw the photos of the burned bodies I knew Vera and Joe weren't really dead. If the death doesn't happen on screen, or if the bodies are unrecognisable, they ain't dead. I did, however, think that the old Joe and Vera would be played by Castle and Kate made up to look old. Several quibbles, but I think the most serious was Kate's refusal to charge them with murder. Not that I think she should, but she essentially played judge and jury, which a cop isn't supposed to do. This was somewhat annoying because she had a perfectly legal out: lack of evidence. You can't convict merely on a confession, and there was no existing evidence that could prove what had happened.

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CSI Review: Farewell to Catherine

Thanks, Jim. Rules to remember: "The perp is always introduced in the first half", and "Unseen deaths didn't happen." I wanted to like this episode. I've had a crush on Marg Helgenberger since Tommyknockers. But there were too many obstacles. I can see cleaning up forensic evidence, but repairing walls and picture frames? Why? And don't the paint and spackle cans interfere during gun fights? Final scene: as it opened, I said to my wife, "King Kong on cocaine." It was predictable sentimentality, but it provided a nice reference to the first episode. (I always thought it was wrong to kill Holly Gibbs. An inexperienced member would have allowed natural exposition, rather than seasoned pros saying things like, "Use Luminol to make blood traces glow.") Farewell scene: either too short or too long. The lack of build-up made it unreal. Drop it, or give it legs. Speaking of legs, goodbye Catherine. I'm going to miss yours.

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CSI Review: Know When To Walk Away

@JimG: I know what you mean -- but to me it looked too much like they were saying, "We know that you don't trust deaths that don't occur on screen, so we're showing you this to 'prove' it to you, but still allowing us to do an end run and bring her/them back." Tell you what. If I'm wrong, then I owe you 100 Internet dollars.

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CSI Review: Know When To Walk Away

Laura's not dead. The FBI guy might be. But Laura's not dead. And while I don't know how, she may well be less innocent than we believe her to be. If the cops hadn't been blaring their sirens as they approached her cousin's house, thereby warning any bad guys they were coming, they may well have discovered Laura in the process of killing the couple. Maybe not. But still. I don't trust deaths off screen. If you don't see them die, they're not dead. Maybe her husband wants her out of the way, but not dead. Or maybe she's wrapped up in stuff and throwing up some kind of smoke screen. (No, I don't know how that would work, and it doesn't really make sense -- but I learned long ago not to use normal-life deductions for crime dramas.)

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@rationalgal -- Thanks for the information, and I'm much relieved. I can see the temptation to have Jane be Red John, but it would definitely feel like a cheat, and the idea has been done enough that the writers couldn't even make much of a claim to originality.

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Really upped their game last night, didn't they? And I'm open to Diedre's suggestion. This episode was something quite different. The Mentaist's normal, light-hearted music replaced with a suspenseful, rhythmic and very low-key sound track. And I loved the way they played with the "He Closes the Medicine Cabinet Mirror and SUDDENLY THERE'S A FACE" trope. More impressive, however, were the scenes shot from slightly odd perspectives, during which the actors either remained still, or moved with abnormal slowness. The resulting creep factor is surprisingly effective. Enough so that, the next time a a small, mild-mannered, balding, middle class man asks me if I'd like something to drink, it will take significant will-power not to make a run for the rear exit. There is a general lack of resolution to this episode, quite apart from the Red John issue. It begins with a strong and fascinating focus on the sudden and intense mentor/student relationship between Jane and Lisbon, then drops it without a trace before the show is half over. There was nothing unintentional about that. And what effect will the re-emergence of Red John have on Jane's legal status? Double Jeopardy protects him from being tried twice for the same murder, but would it apply when the victim's identity was mistaken? Especially when the victim's identity was the very foundation for the original acquittal? This episode shows a darker and more complex nature, not only to the show's story-lines and quality of writing, but also to its overall presentation. It shows us that the creators of The Mentalist may be willing to go further than we expected. So now I'm starting to seriously wonder: Would they dare end this series with Jane being Red John?

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I'm with you on the Lisbon/Jane thing, student of trivia. This show is refreshing in that its male and female leads are not one of those "secretly longing for each other but unable to consummate their desires because of what it might do to their professional relationship" things. It's not that I don't enjoy Bones and Castle, but The Mentalist provides a refreshing break. Not every story is a love story.

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