Obviously we have to start with this line, spoken by Randall to Monroe before the title crawl: "I could have gone to Governor Affleck in California." This is the future, people — after being snubbed for Best Director at the 2013 Academy Awards, Hollywood icon Ben Affleck hunkered down, preparing for the inevitable blackout. And when it came? He was READY. Harnessing his network of powerful friends, like Matt Damon and Alan Arkin, and putting his creative goodwill to work, Affleck quickly gained in strength. And even the people who would oppose him — I mean they were just rooting for the guy, you know? Good for him finding another career that really suited him.
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But enough about Affleck, who won't be a featured character until at least the halfway point of Season 2. Last night's installment, "Ghosts," sent our ragtag group of rebels in multiple directions as they realized the need to TAKE THE FIGHT TO MONROE, or whatever tag next year's promos decide to run with. Lovers/fighters Miles and Nora hit Virginia to try and recruit one of Miles' old militia colleagues. On the home front, Rachel finally divulged a bit about the origins of the Blackout as their base* was infiltrated by her old boss, Randall.
*Echo Base. The Empire Strikes Back. Come on!
The part of Virginia we visited last night seemed like it had its s**t together! Very Woodbury on The Walking Dead vibe, minus the not-so-secretly psychopathic town leader. Hell, there were hand-painted signs everywhere and nerds to yell "hey, Shakespeare!" at while you're strolling the street. Even a library, which is where Miles found his buddy, Jim Hudson. Now, you don't expect to see Malik Yoba ("Yul Brenner" in the classic Cool Runnings) just hanging around stupid books, but this was his cover — "Henry Beamus." And Henry Beamus was married. Why any woman would believe that "Henry Beamus" could be a real name/person I have no idea, but "Henry" had nevertheless found happiness — something he'd prefer for Miles to not blow up (figuratively or literally, as is often the case on Revolution.
Within moments, Miles learned that he'd accidentally led a group of militia to the town and well shoot, man we're probably gonna have to sword fight our way out of this! Hats off to the choreography team who puts these together. Where the gun battles on this show often devolve into confusing sprays of bullets, each sword fight has felt fast, vicious, and logical. The only time I truly believe Miles as the "ultimate badass" we're constantly told he is? When they guy's got a sword in his hand, taking on a squad of militia.
Miles, Nora and Jim of course emerged victorious…but not without Jim's wife discovering his true identify (when he stabbed some guy to death in front of her, oops), and leaving him. "You ruined my life, Miles. Again." But by some combination of Miles' endless rogue charm and the realization that there was nothing else left for him in town, Jim decided to saddle up. Good choice, pal! Loads of sword fighting adventures ahead with quips aplenty from your old buddy, Miles.
Because the worst thing in the world would be to slow down for ten minutes and give us a walk-and-talk of the rebel camp or learn anything about our characters, Charlie's group came under almost immediate attack. How? THOSE DAMN PENDANTS. Turns out they can be accessed remotely, specifically accessed by Randall — who used the two in Rachel's possession to track her whereabouts. Why? Because Rachel was not merely a scientist, like she was on LOST, but a high-ranking developer of whatever "weapon" it was that may have (definitely) triggered the Blackout in the first place. She was working with her husband at the Department of Defense. Randall was her boss. Most of which spilled out of Rachel and into the ears of Charlie and Aaron while they evaded (and of course eventually escaped) the attacking militia. Once upon a time Randall was probably a decent guy. But the death of his soldier son, stationed in Kabul, reinforced his desire to "get the weapon built" and finally, in a still mysterious scene, order the it be executed. What is the weapon, exactly? What was its aim? 42 being a limited number of minutes in which to tell all this story, we got only hints. "There's this place," Rachel finally relented to Aaron. "It's called The Tower." And roll your eyes, snark it up (I sure do) but hey — there are worse shows to emulate than LOST. There are certainly storytelling lessons Revolution could still take to heart.
Let's backtrack a minute to look at one of the more interesting snippets of the episode, and maybe the series thus far. Randall had found his target, Rachel, and as he lead her to their fleet of trucks he told her with as many specifics as can be given at this moment what he wanted to do with a renewed power source. "Let's make this a better world, by putting power in the hands of the few." He summarizes what human beings had done with power up until the Blackout. "We just used it to wage war and kill each other." And now, starting over…maybe we can make a better world? I don't agree with him — and we're not meant to — but there's a thoughtfulness here, a sense of what this Blackout has actually meant to people and structures, that until this point I don't think had been raised. I like helicopter explosions. I like bras (and this "family" show seems weirdly willing to help me out!). I like mythology, even when it's LOST-lite. But any show dealing with BIG QUESTIONS has to be prepared to explore what they actually mean. "Ghosts" felt like a good start in that direction.
What did you think? Excited to finally hear the origins of the Blackout next week? Or bracing yourself for the inevitable disappointment of finding out two God figures tripped over an earth-shaped light switch as they were playing chess, and are still stumbling around trying to flip it back? Man, that would be a wacky season finale.
Follow Henning on Twitter @HenningFog
[PHOTO CREDIT: Brownie Harris/NBC]
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This week’s edition of Leanne’s Spoiler List features five fabulous shows that will make you giggle with excitement and gasp from all the amazing moments that will soon flood your TV screens. Are you ready to return to Westeros?! The stars of Game of Thrones revealed why the ladies are kicking ass and taking control in Season 3, while Revolution's Tracy Spiridakos shed light on all the upcoming darkness and drama in her quest for revenge.
The Middle’s starlet Eden Sher revealed details on tonight’s episode and her elaborate thoughts on a classic SNL character, while Stefania Owen teased that love is in the air on The Carrie Diaries. Plus, I’ve snagged details on tonight’s one-of-a-kind and twitter-friendly event to honor Pysch’s 100th episode. This week’s list is packed to the brim with spoilers so grab a spoon and dig in to the deliciousness!
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1. Game of Thrones: Ladies Night Is in Westeros!
Though many of you reading this may swoon over the lads of Game of Thrones (Robb Stark, Jaime Lannister, sexy bastard Jon Snow, other sexy bastard Gendry, Theon Greyjoy...), the boys aren't part of the only game in this realm — old gods and the new be damned!
We've seen the first four episodes of Season 3, (subtle brag intended) and we think you'll be cheering for the ladies in no time. Newest apple of Joffrey's eye, Margaery Tyrell (former queen-to-be of Renly before he was killed off by a creepy vagina-cloud-monster), has taken quite well to life in King's Landing, and will definitely be a dynamic force to be reckoned with this season.
But it turns out that even an evil Queen Regent who effed her brother to create you can play the jealous mom card. Apparently Cersei, mother to the intolerable boy king, is none too happy with Joffrey's newest romantic development. Especially since — now, take a seat — Joffrey actually LIKES Margaery! (Wait a second, he likes anyone? Ever? Nope!). Cersei's newest distraction is actually a nice break (at least for now) for everyone's favorite ginger-potential-princess-turned-terrified-noble-prisoner.
Sansa isn't a girl anymore (and not yet a woman…), so she's learning a thing or two about the politics of noble relations under Margaery's tutelage. "Margaery and Sansa have a relationship which I think is very much a forced friendship," Sophie Turner, who plays the lovely Sansa, tells Hollywood.com.
"But a true friendship that is very sincere. It’s done for political reasons... for a good end result for the Tyrells and also Sansa. Margaery treats Sansa like a little sister and she educates her, and it’s lovely. It’s a really nice relationship.” But what will she teach her, you ask? "It’s nice to see her going from a chess piece to a player," Turner teased. Yikes! Watch out, Joffrey!
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2.The Carrie Diaries: Hamsters and Hotties
You all already know how much I adore this show, so I’ll keep my gushing to a minimum this week. Carrie is the perfect pre-Sex and The City teen and Sebastian is so hot it almost hurts my eyes, but without a doubt my favorite ‘80s lady is definitely the fiercly independent little sister with a big attitude, Dorrit. So you can imagine my delight when I got the chance to talk with the lovely Stefania Owen last week about Dorrit’s budding love life.
We saw a few weeks ago that Dorrit — in her quest to find Carrie the perfect birthday present — also found a little something for herself: A dark-haired jean jacket-wearing, music store-working hunk named Miller. Although we haven’t seen much from him since, in next week’s episode “A First Time For Everything” Dorrit will turn to an unexpected character for relationship advice: Donna LaDonna! That’s right, while Carrie is out contemplating on going all the way with Sebastian, Dorrit is looking to Connecticut’s biggest skank with a heart of gold for advice on how to handle her first serious relationship with Miller.
“He is the opposite of Sebastian,” Owen explains. “And I think that’s what the writers wanted to have so that you have that contrast.” The 15-year-old actress says that she was eager to watch Dorrit mature through a relationship. “I had a feeling it was coming, but I was surprised and excited — I’m also excited to see how it turns out,” she said.
Dorrit’s relationship status (figuratively speaking of course) is not the only thing that’s going to change for the young Bradshaw — her dark wardrobe will also start to warm up! “The look does change as the episodes go on, and it’s for certain reasons," Owen teases. “Dorrit always changes — one minute she’s the worst child you could ever dream of, but in other moments she’s almost the more responsible child.”
And speaking of changes, here’s the type of question that keeps me up at night: Where the heck did Morrissey the hamster go?! "That’s what I asked!” she says. “I’m really sad because the hamster disappeared and never came back. I thought there would be so many great little scenes between Dorrit and the hamster, but I guess the hamster disappeared. Dorrit wasn’t the best owner I guess.” You’ll always have a special place in our hearts Morrissey!
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3. Revolution: RIP And Revenge
Sorry if there are any typos in this blurb, (yes, that’s the super fancy name I call these things) but you have to bear with me here: I can't seem to see my computer screen clearly through my tears. How heartbreaking was that death on Monday's Revolution? After spending the first half of the season trekking across America to save her brother, Charlie and the rest of the Matheson group of good guys watched in horror as Danny saved the day by blowing up Monroe's locket of power only to get shot and killed himself. RIP, Danny, I'll miss your bright blue eyes and shiny blonde hair!
Renewed with purpose, Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos) now blames Monroe for her brother's death and will do anything to make him pay... even if that means killing him herself. "She is driven to make things right, but she doesn't want to lose her humanity in light of all the things that have happened — that's her inner struggle," Spiridakos tells Hollywood.com. "She definitely continues to be even more badass than before, but will she continue to keep that heart that she's always had. That's her journey."
And Charlie won't be alone in her quest. Exec producer Eric Kripke revealed that taking down Monroe is now the focus of the second half of the season. "It’s really about facing down General Monroe," Kripke tells Hollywood.com. "If the first half of the season was just, 'Find the brother!', that was just the prologue to a much larger story, which is 'Take down the adversary!' The big bad of the season is General Monroe."
The rest of the season is going to be one big fast-paced war movie, according to Kripke. "We’re really able to get into that story now, where it’s these rebels who want to bring back the United States up against the evil empire which is the Monroe Republic," Kripke says. "But how do they do it in a way that lets them stick together as a family? Because, it’s a family show. It’s really about how the bonds of family and love and loyalty can overcome any obstacle, and can they stick together in the midst of this overwhelming and frought situation." They're already down two Matheson family members, let's hope they come out of this war with no more casualties!
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4. The Middle: Sue vs. Superstar!
If your middle name was the exact same as your first name, would you want it to be permanently displayed on your drivers license as a forever reminder of déjà vu? Yeah, me neither! So that’s exactly what Sue Sue Heck is hoping to change in tonight’s all-new episode of The Middle. Eden Sher — the fabulous 21-year-old who brings Sue Heck’s overly enthusiastic personality to life — told me that she has a lot of hilarious moments in tonight’s episode, “The Name.”
“It’s a lot of me popping in and out of scenes, suggesting names, and asking if those names are good, so I got to be a fun punch line,” Sher explains. “A lot of the names that — of course — Sue spoke in seriousness were hilarious, and that was really fun.” When I asked her to reveal some of these giggle-worthy names Sher was coy, saying, “I will say that when she gets fed up and she can’t decide she just picks a name at random in this baby book, one of them is Sue — she lands on Sue.”
While Sue is busy trying to find the perfect middle name, fans can get excited to see one of the world’s most perfect actresses grace their TV screens. That’s right, the legendary SNL vet Molly Shannon, is back in the Heck household to reprise her role of neat-freak Janet. While Shannon has perfected countless of characters over the years, my ultimate favorite has and always will be Miss Mary Katherine Gallagher.
Of course I had to ask the hard-hitting journalistic question: “What do you think would happen if Sue and Mary Katherine ever met?” And I was pleasantly surprised to learn that this is something that has crossed Sher’s mind countless times! “Don’t worry I’ve thought about this!” Sher boasted. “I feel like at first they would be like great friends and they would get a long and be very silly, but I actually think that Sue would eventually be so annoyed with Mary Katherine Gallagher,” she said. “I think they might be a little bit too similar and they don’t see the little things about themselves — like the overly enthusiastic things — that nobody else cares about. I think they might get a little peeved with each other.”
There you have it TV lovers! If Sue Heck and Mary Katherine Gallagher ever ended up in the same room together, their combined enthusiasm would be too much for the two superstars to handle. Now we can all feel like we’ve learned something today!
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5. Psych: The 100th Episode!
Oh hey all you little Psych-o’s out there! Guess what? Tonight is Pysch’s 100th episode and the powers that be at USA Network are shaking things up for Gus and Shawn’s exciting milestone. For the first time ever you — yes even you with that cute shirt on! — have the power to determine the ending to tonight’s epically awesome episode, “100 Clues.”
I’ve already seen the episode and here’s what you need to know: The one-hour special was definitely inspired by the classic 1985 film (and now board game) Clue, because Sean and Gus are invited to a mysterious party in a historic mansion. The party is thrown by Billy Lips, a rock icon who Shawn send to prison five year ago for murder. Yikes!
When a deadly crime is committed five potential and very eccentric suspects emerge: The butler, the Groupie, the Manager, the Author, and the Host. (Unfortunately Mrs. Peacock was MIA from this episode — she was always my favorite character to play!) But who did it? That’s up to you!
Fans on both coasts will have to work together to help Shawn and Gus determine who’s to blame for the night’s events. You can cast your votes for one of the five suspects on psych.usanetwork.com or Tweet your choices using a custom hashtag for each possible culprit (#PsychButlerDDit, #PsychGroupieDDit, #PsychManagerDDit, #PsychAuthorDDit and #PsychHostDDit) Sounds like a lot of freakin fun to me! Who do you think will commit tonight’s crime? Shout out your speculations in the comments below!
How excited are you for Game of Thrones to premiere on Sunday? Who would you rather be friends with: Mary Kathering Gallagher or Sue Heck? Were you sobbing after Monday night’s episode of Revolution? Tell me everything in the comments below!
Follow Leanne on Twitter @LeanneAguilera
—Additional reporting by Alicia Lutes, Sydney Bucksbaum and Shaunna Murphy
[Photo Credit: Keith Bernstein/HBO; Brownie Harris/NBC; Alan Zenuk/USA; Michael Asnell/ABC; Patrick Harbron/The CW]
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S9E5: The season may have started on an impressive high note considering the unpredictable talents of Mr. Kutcher, but after last week's episode, we're losing our faith. Gone was the newfound energy, the character twists that were turning Two and a Half Men into a brand new show. Instead, we got same old same old with Walden devolving into a wooden knock-off of Charlie Harper.
Can Ashton redeem himself? Can the comedic actor find a consistent groove? There's only one way to find out: The scorecard! Here's the breakdown:
One Charlie Sheen Head (1 - 10 Points): Ashton, you were in this episode.
Two Charlie Sheen Heads (11 - 20 Points): Ashton, you landed a few jokes, but we can't stop thinking about good ol' Charlie.
Three Charlie Sheen Heads (21 - 30 Points): Ashton, you earned tonight's laugh track. Solid.
Four Charlie Sheen Heads (31 - 40 Points): Ashton, we're impressed. You've surpassed Sheen-level kookiness.
Five Charlie Sheen Heads (41 - 50 Points): Ashton, you're scaring us with classic levels of comedy. Charlie who?
That's that, now on with the third round of the Ashton Kutcher Two and a Half Men scorecard!
"A Giant Cat Holding Churro"
1. "This is not historically accurate. Medieval bakers did not dress like Chef Boyardee"
Two and a Half Men may have a new star front and center in its ads, but that doesn't mean Ashton's going to be in the spotlight of every episode. This time around, he was a supporting character through and through, alley-ooping jokes to Alan who finds himself struggling to make his relationship with Lyndsey work. After a sexless night in, Alan joins Walden, who's spending his evening learning to drink (aka sniffing whiskey). The two stumble upon a soft core porn that stars a vaguely familiar lady named Cinnamon. Yup, it's Lyndsey—and while Alan does his freak out thing, Walden casually heads upstairs to blow off some steam.
Personally, I like Ashton/Walden when he's in full clown mode, so consider me underwhelmed by more of the deadpan, lovestruck act. Let's hope Walden gets back with Bridget sooner than later—maybe he'll come alive.
2. "I already know how to have sex. How do you make buttermilk biscuits? That's the real mystery."
For being a self-made billionaire, Walden really has no attention span for anyone or anything. One minute he'll be talking relationships with Alan, the next he'll be blurting out new life goals he conjured up after watching Skinemax movies. For me, Two and a Half Men suffers from its Alan-centric episodes (I can only take too much whining and self-depricating jabs), so Walden's odd foray into cooking, at the least, mellowed the scene out.
Maybe deadpan Walden does serve a purpose, but if they're going to keep that side of the character around, the show should pair them up more often. It's like the episodes have to be about one character or another. Pair them up!
3. "Berta is making my head into a dream catcher!"
The prayer I had at the beginning of the episode is later answered in an obvious, but admittedly enjoyable fashion. Alan returns from spilling his darkest secrets to Lyndsey to find Walden and Berta in outer space, thanks to the redheaded maid's "secret brownie recipe." I have a special place in my heart for Dude, Where's My Car? and watching Ashton flex his pot humor muscles tickled my funny bone. The funniest joke of the episode was just watching Walden repeat the word "Snapple" over and over and over again. Simple, maybe a little cheap, but very funny.
4. "Alan, have a brownie! They're mmm mmm good."
OK, this is the Ashton I permanently want on the show. Walden scarfs down a few more pot brownies and comes up with an ingenious idea to make Alan happy: Throw a party with a Malibu College volleyball team! The oddest part is that Ashton plays this version of the character like a younger, hipper version of Jeff Bridges' The Dude from The Big Lebowski. Maybe that's sacrilege, but walking around with big sunglasses, free flowing shirts and a half-awake swagger, I couldn't help be reminded of the end all be all of stoner characters. He's just cool. Plus, he convinces six gorgeous co-eds to cover Alan with whipped cream, so he's good friend too.
5. "Are you having some sort of party in there?" "No, it's just a bunch of stoned girls dancing."
The episode ends with Lyndsey arriving at Walden's doorstep, and the party animal being just aware enough to conceal Alan by throwing him off the edge of the deck. Ashton carries this episode with physical comedy, an aspect of the show has really worked in his favor in the past. Loose the mumbling, introvert Walden—I like the one that robot walks back and forth while high out of his mind, while still coming off as the most charming guy in the room.
Walden manages to fend off Lyndsey for another day, but Alan, in true Alan fashion, screws it all up. Well, at least Walden probably got some action.
Total Points: 23 - Three Charlie Sheen Heads!
OK, Ashton. You have me back for a little while longer. While the blank stares and mumbling one-liners continue to pop up, a lively Walden appeared on tonight's episode and helped realize Ashton's full potential on Men. The show is strongest when Alan and Walden are paired together—and tonight was the evidence.