So ... we're pretty sure he's not a robot?
This week's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. promised us answers, and I was silly enough to believe them. To be fair, we did get some answers, just not all.
Turns out Centipede's as curious about Coulson's resurrection as we are – and they act accordingly. Raina gets him attached to a device that looks something like an MRI machine, and Coulson finally starts to remember things the way they really were. The beautiful masseuse from his memory? A surgeon. The handsome attendant? Dr. Streiten (AKA Ron Glass. AKA Shepherd Book). And if that weren't jarring enough, we get a wide shot that shows a robot-like device (this one more akin to a sewing machine than an MRI machine) jabbing in and out of his brain. Was it rewriting his memories? Copying them? Rewiring synapses? We just don't know. But what we do know is this: Coulson is in agony, presumably mentally and physically; he says, "Please let me die" over and over and over (and the effect is quite chilling). But before we're able to find out more, Skye saves him and disengages him from the machine.
We get our second taste of "answers" when Coulson ambushes Dr. Streiten in his car. Streiten feels obligated to explain to the best of his abilities: apparently, Coulson was dead for days (not minutes or seconds), and it took seven morally questionable operations to get him back. Fury apparently "shook heaven and earth" and what Coulson went through was "ungodly" – should we be reading into this, or is Streiten just a religious man? After all was said and done, Coulson was left without a will to live (or as Streiten ominously refers to him, "that ... thing you'd become"), and it was up to S.H.I.E.L.D. to rewrite his memories.
This episode may have us asking even more questions than before: why was Nick Fury so desperate to keep Coulson alive? Seven operations on someone already dead for days goes further than your average friendship, doesn't it? And just what was "that ... thing" that Coulson became? Someone who wished he signed a DNR or something more?
We might have to wait all season to find out.
So New Girl has had its second flashback episode (now it's time to do an Alternate Universe/what if? episode!) How did the recent "Clavado En Un Bar" stack up against last season's "Virgins?"
Well, I had high hopes when I saw the promo images of Winston's whimsical leopard-dyed hair, but his basketball story didn't quite deliver. It had trademark Winston-delusion (he called his career-ending injury a "decision"), but there's no way it could beat the story of his tryst with Mysteria.
Clavado En Un Bar: 0, Virgins: 1
Schmidt started as a candy striper (or, as Nick lovingly referred to "a 300 pound wall of peppermint bark"), but realized volunteering wasn't the way to get girls. So he began selling Christmas trees – and not long after, a Christmas tree mogul happened to die on his watch, and his last words? "You can take it with you." Together, these two experiences lead Schmidt to become the materialistic man he is today.
A charmingly Schmidt-appropriate tale, but his lube disaster with Elizabeth had more panache (and quite a bit more physical comedy).
Clavado En Un Bar: 0, Virgins: 2
Coach had less of a story: he yelled advice from the sidelines of a basketball court so well that he earned his nickname. As he sagely puts it, "Sometimes, the call comes from inside the house."
By default: Clavado En Un Bar: 1, Virgins: 2
We catch our first glimpse of Law School Nick: he transforms from Dreadlock Nick to Super Preppy Nick (preppy to the point that Schmidt compliments his scarf). Eventually, he finds himself studying at the bar – when the bartender literally falls asleep on the job, he realizes he's found his calling.
This story's got a twist, though: at the end of the episode, Nick reveals that he passed the bar exam, but became a bartender anyway. Interesting...what does this portend for Future Nick?
For that nugget of character development? Clavado En Un Bar: 2, Virgins: 2
For some reason, her first job was at an ultra-ritzy day school (complete with blazers, horses, and "an ethnic gay bully"). On her first day, she bonds with an adorably picked on kid – a sweet story, until the gang finds that said adorable child is now wanted on 53 counts of embezzlement.
That said, her awkward feminist prom date/crying tryst at the park/deflowerment-via-hot-fireman wins.
Clavado En Un Bar: 2, Virgins: 3
We already know how she became a model, but we do get a completely adorable flashback of her as "Jess' first student." Oh, and she gets a career change – looks like she's joining Nick at the bar.
Adorable children vs. Mick Jagger? Tie: Clavado En Un Bar: 2, Virgins 3
Winner: Virgins! "Clavado En Un Bar" was no slouch, though: it was one of the strongest episodes of the season (it certainly has one of the best Nick/Jess moments in recent memory) – maybe New Girl's in for a renaissance in this second half of its third season? Let's hope so!
Let's play a little hocus-pocus, and try to guess what Jennifer Lawrence here will wear to the Golden Globes. What do we know?
* First and foremost, she's a Dior girl. She's worn Dior for most, if not all, of her major film premieres and award shows for over a year now. And specifically? Last year, her Golden Globes dress came from Dior Fall 2012 Couture – so perhaps we'll see something from Dior Fall 2013 Couture this year? For later awards shows, she's more likely to go with the spring show – her SAG Awards dress and stunning Oscars gown from last year's shows both came from Dior Spring 2013 Couture.
* And let's look at her in comparison to other Dior girls: you don't see her wearing the ethereal, wood nymph looks that Natalie Portman goes for, nor do you see her wearing the bold, high contrast gowns that Marion Cotillard favors. No, she tends to go for something with clean lines. Maybe a huge skirt here and there, but she has a generally classic, if not outright vintage, aesthetic. Many of her red carpet appearances go one of two ways – body-con and clingy or simple and tailored; and you're not likely to see her in any wacky prints.
* We also know that she can kill it in red.
Based on the above, here's my forecast for the Golden Globes:
Dress # 1 looks like her Catching Fire Los Angeles premiere gown got married to last year's Golden Globes confection – and I love the spiky (slightly punky) detailing on the neckline. Dress # 2 is a bit of a departure from her usual collaborations with Dior, but we know that Ms. Mystique here can rock slinky dress like this, no problem. Plus, can you really go wrong when sequins are involved? (Don't answer that, please). As for dress #3, it's another one quite close to last year's dress, but the tiers add some extra interest – and the defined waist and corset-like bodice would look divine on her.
What do you think Jen should wear to the Golden Globes? Let us know in the comments!
With the Bennet girls all married, it's time to turn to Mr. Darcy's little sis, Georgiana. Georgiana (sly girl) is the object of affection for not one, but two suitors. And one of her suitors is Colonel Fitzwilliam! Ignore the slightly incestuous weirdness (not only is he her second cousin; he raised her); it still makes for some fun drama.
…And here's where we depart from the books a bit. There's the mysterious ghost of Mrs. Riley (she likes to show up wherever there's trouble), a mysterious lady finely dressed in red that has taken to hissing at people, babies born out of wedlock (gasp!), and the corpse of Mr. Denny (yes, that Mr. Denny) which happens to sport some serious head trauma. Put that all together, and you've got a rollicking whodunit.
Your favorite fictional characters!
First off, it's a welcome chance to be reunited with some of our favorite fictional characters. Without all of the murders and ghosts going around, Darcy and Elizabeth seem just as well-matched as you'd hope them to be. Plus, Lydia (played by ever-adorable Doctor Who actress Jenna Coleman) and Mrs. Bennet are just as obnoxious as ever (especially when they're in each other's company) and Lizzie and Mr. Bennet continue be one of the sweetest Regency era father-daughter duos ever.
It's really all you could want from your TV: Elizabeth Bennet Darcy + ghosts + murder mystery = awesome.
When MayWard first came onto the scene (a suggestive open hotel room door in the very last moments of the Thor: The Dark World tie-in episode, "The Well," was our first introduction to the relationship), SHIELD fans were shocked. What about SkyeWard? SHIELD's been nudging them together since their first meeting (and subsequent flirtatious banter) way back in the pilot, after all.
I have to admit, I was worried. Agents Ward and May share similar shortcomings: both are the strong and silent type, and as follows, both tend towards stoic to a fault. What could a relationship between the two of them yield but more stone-faced silence?
But instead of being the least communicative couple ever (though they may be high up on the list), their relationship has only sought to bring May and Ward out of their respective comfort zones. In the mid season finale, we saw their first argument – May reprimanded Ward for protecting her during battle. He replied that the move was tactical, not emotional. This brief exchange gave us a little window into their respective psyches – and it showed us that they might be becoming more than the casual fling that that first open hotel room door seemed to hint at.
And in the most recent episode, we got a couple more touches of insight (in the midst of an episode largely featuring Skye finally being a badass and Coulson finding answers surrounding his resurrection). At one point, Ward tells Skye, "No one knows what's in May's head except May." (Dare we call that a touch exasperated?). In a later exchange, May ruefully tells Ward, "You don't have to assume the worst of me" – again, very telling in regards to their relationship: I'm excited to see where it goes.
And hey, it's always a pleasure to see a May-December relationship flipped from the young-lady-older-man norm (though Ming Na could pass for 35, at least).
Columbia Pictures via Everett Collection
Why aren't we hearing more about Amy Adams? She was stone-cold phenomenal in American Hustle. The buzz surrounding Jennifer Lawrence has been huge, and this isn't to say it wasn't merited, I'm just surprised that Adams doesn't seem to be garnering as much hype or nominations. While Lawrence is nominated in the supporting actress category in all the big award shows so far, it looks like Adams got snubbed by SAG. And actors usually know what's up! Guess it is a tough category, what with Judi Dench, Meryl Streep, Emma Thompson, Cate Blanchett, and Sandra Bullock all in the running.
I don't want to say who I'd want to bump (shh, it's Meryl Streep), but the fact of the matter is, Adams played Sydney Prosser/Edith Greensly to a T. If Lawrence's big scene is the bathroom showdown/spiteful kiss, Adams' MVP moment is the deployment of her Irving (Christian Bale) and DiMaso (Bradley Cooper) scam-within-a-scam. She slips from Sydney to Edith (and American accent to affected British accent) instant-to-instant as easily as if it were one of her generously besequined slinky gowns, leaving us (and Irving) breathless and dizzy. As she explains that she will con DiMaso we can't quite be sure if she's conning Irving, DiMaso, or both – she keeps everyone on their toes, that's for certain. She also brings a beautiful depth to Sydney: Sydney's acid stares at Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence) are tempered with a surprising sense of sadness and longing.
Oh, and let's not forget: the Sydney/Rosalyn kiss was her brainchild. So we have her to thank for that.
Fox Searchlight via Everett
We've got quite the crop of best supporting actress nominees, this year, haven't we? Let's review:
Jennifer Lawrence in American Hustle
Girl showed off her comedic chops, as well as some pretty terrifying behavior that caused the vast majority of reviews to refer to her character Rosalyn as a "loose cannon."
June Squibb in Nebraska
An acid tongue if we ever saw one: Squibb's Kate is on par with Rosalyn in the poison department. What sets Kate apart, though, is her completely irreverent and matter-of-fact – all with the air of the unintentional – meanness.
Sally Hawkins in Blue Jasmine
Another great performance: she's especially wonderful when Louis C.K. breaks her heart over the phone. Talented as she may be, in a movie dominated by Cate Blanchett at the top of her game, it's hard for a sister (literally) to catch a break.
Lupita Nyong'o in Twelve Years A Slave
Nyong'o breaks your heart just about every single time she's on screen. From making corn husk doll families in the fields to begging Solomon (Chiwetel Ejiofor) to end her life, she's completely magnetic.
Julia Roberts in August: Osage County
My professional (ha!) opinion? Meh. Tables will be flipped if she walks away with the trophy.
The obvious frontrunner is Jennifer Lawrence: she's received rave reviews, and she might just be the brightest star in Hollywood right now, with no sign of dimming. She's also got the added advantage of pretty much sweeping all the awards last year with another David O. Russell collaboration, Silver Linings Playbook.
While the game may favor Lawrence (or possibly Roberts – ick!), I'm personally rooting for newcomer Lupita Nyong'o. As electric as Lawrence was in American Hustle, the fact of the matter is, Nyong'o delivered a stronger performance. We'll see what the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has to say.
Either way, something tells me Nyong'o's here to stay: considerable acting prowess aside, she's the darling of too many fashion aficionados to go anywhere anytime soon.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D has been off the air far too long for our tastes: we can hardly wait for the mid-season premiere, and here's a few reasons why.
* First of all, the mid-season finale seriously left us hanging. Is Mike Peterson (J. August Richards) alive? Is Coulson alive?
* That is, if he was ever alive in the first place: the trailer hints that we'll finally find out what happened to Coulson (currently, the most popular theory is of the Life Model Decoy variety). Alone, I wouldn't necessarily think the show would deliver on this, but the fact that Ron Glass (who cameo'd as Coulson's doctor in the pilot) is returning is very, very telling.
* Judging from the image above, we're going to see Skye getting in on some of the action on the show. Our favorite agent-in-training may finally be earning her stripes on the field!
* Speaking of Skye: did any of yall see this clip of Agent May betraying her?
What do you think? A red herring? Or the truth? Either May's finally come to the end of her rope with Skye (who is arguably SHIELD's most obnoxious main player), or it's a case of pushing her away to save her. Either way, it's sure to provide some good ol' fashioned character-driven conflict.
* From the past few episodes, we've been treated with little doses of MayWard, which has actually proven to be beneficial in terms of character development to both parties involved; I loved their little scene together last week – May chewing Ward out for protecting her, and Ward brushing it off as a tactical decision was pitch-perfect. (Though I still ship Skimmons even more).
Since "F.Z.Z.T," the show has been on a decided upswing, and with a bit of luck, the second half of the season will continue to deliver stronger and stronger content. Buffy, we've got you in our sights!
Weinstein Company via Everett Collection
I was really looking forward to August: Osage County. Really looking forward to it. The Pulitzer prize-winning, Tracy Letts-penned play was amazing on the stage, on the page – logic would dictate that it would be just as breathtaking on the big screen, especially with its all-star cast.
Performances that positively spewed hate were tempered by no sense of connection or love. In a family drama like this, love (no matter how masked or warped), is essential. Without this component, the film felt one-dimensional a good deal more of the time than it should have with its award-winning pedigree.
Even worse, the characters didn't even seem like they were inhabiting the same space; they didn't talk to each other; instead, they monologued their hearts out for the sake of the audience. Sounds oblique, but there was a certain sense of reality that was missing. Maybe everyone just had their shiny statuettes in their sights – it seemed like the focus was off.
Another key player that was almost completely non-existent? A sense of humor. Though the play is by no means light-hearted (with a suicide, infidelity, incest, cancer, pill-addictions, attempted statutory rape, and mother-daughter hate all-around, say hello to a little thing called black comedy), it was laugh-out-loud funny. The film? Not so much: in fact, it went so far in the other direction that it was pretty aggressively un-funny.
August: Osage County had "Oscar Bait" scrawled all over it in capital letters, and it's already garnering nominations like nobody's business, but does it deserve it? A few moments shine (the first scene in particular), but the film overall lacked the magic of the play.
So here's how it went: Sherlock was actually attached to a bungee cord when he had his infamous fall. He stopped inches from the ground, and was able to crash through the window of the hospital where Molly stood waiting – and they shared a passionate kiss before he made quite the exit, his coat billowing behind him. The body on the ground? Moriarty's corpse, fitted with a perfect replica of Sherlock's face, blue contacts, and a good dousing of fake blood. Oh, and John? Hypnotized by Derren Brown, to allow Sherlock's crew enough time to get everything in place.
But alas, no, we were being trolled. Or rather, playfully poked fun at – I'm sure even that outlandish explanation of the mechanizations behind the fall was not quite as convoluted as other fan theories that have been circulating the Internet for almost two years now. Touché indeed, Mark Gatiss: it's a rather rude awakening when we find that Theory #1 came courtesy of Sherlock's favorite resident idiot, Philip Anderson (who, like John, has grown some spectacularly awful facial hair).
Midway through the episode, we're treated to Theory #2, which might be even more awesome than the first: Sherlock made his last call to John, as Moriarty giggled by his side, and a dummy wearing his coat took the fall. After it's done? Sherlock and Moriarty stare meaningfully into each other's eyes for what seems like hours before going in for a kiss.
Delightful, but at this point I started to lose faith that we would get an explanation at all. (Wouldn't that have been awful?). But no, we're finally treated to the full plan, and it was actually very close to some of the most common (and well-thought out) theories out there.
* Molly did provide the body. Moriarty had used a Sherlock lookalike and killed him, leaving him handily in the morgue for later staged deaths.
* The "Keep your eyes on me" really was a clue – assuring that John wouldn't see that just out of his eyesight, a large balloon was being inflated to catch Sherlock.
* Cherry on top: that rubber ball that was a key player in almost every single fan theory? Turned out to be exactly the clue we thought it was.
Despite a sense of vindication from fans who got it all right, I think Anderson spoke (and was indeed, meant to speak) for us all when he said, "Bit ... disappointed." Finding the truth after a year plus of outlandish theories was bound to be a deflating event. But Gatiss (who penned the episode) made up for what he knew would be something of a letdown by paying homage to the fans and their (our?) ever-vast imaginations. Trolling at its very best.