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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Continuum - Recaps of episodes 2 and 3

We realize it’s important to recap shows that other sites ignore, even though we hardly ever do it. But we’ll try to do it for this show. If you don't care for recaps and know what happened, just skip to the "comments" and grades :-)

"Fast Times" What happened: We find out more about Kiera’s technology. It’s mostly in her clothes. She has a sleeve that can taze people, receive pictures, send wireless signals, and start cars. Her clothes can change color and texture. She can type messages on her pants. She also has a recording device implanted into her cortex, and this is how young Alec sees everything Kiera sees. We meet Carlos’ ex, a fellow-cop named Betty. Kiera tells Carlos that although he is hot, Betty will have nothing to worry about from her. Kiera’s lack of a believable identity becomes a problem and she is arrested. Carlos wants to believe Kiera is good, since she saved his life, but his boss thinks she’s working with the terrorists. Kiera and Carlos are riding in a police station elevator when it stops and Kiera falls into him. Smooth, show.

The baddies spend the episode trying to get back to the future. They break into a power company’s substation (killing two in the process) and try to power up their time travelling sphere. This fails, but they take out the electricity in the area. This allows Kiera to taze Carlos with her Sleeve and handcuff Carlos to the elevator. As she leaves, she tells him, essentially “Sometimes I’m going to do crazy things, but you’re just going to have to trust me even though you have absolutely no reason to.” She says this as if it is reasonable. Carlos is freed by his fellow police officers.

Alec figures out that the terrorists are now looking for Simon Fraser, a scientist/inventor who might be able to power up their sphere. Alec pretty much pulls this out of nowhere, showing brilliance we don’t quite believe. The terrorists get to Fraser before Kiera does. Back at the station, Betty tells Carlos that Kiera is making him look like a fool, using him. Thanks, bitch. Betty knows that Kiera is working with a hacker and Carlos tells him to find the hacker’s identity. Betty can’t.

The terrorists take Simon to the local university where they can probably power-up their sphere using a “linear collider” Simon invented. Kiera finds out their location from Simon’s wife and calls Carlos, clueing him in. Kiera goes to the university herself, planning to jump into the time vortex with the terrorists and go home to her family. Yeah, this is episode two, so we knew that wasn’t going to work. Kiera saves Simon though. The sphere bursts, leaving a piece in the university. A shoot-out ensues and the cops show up, but the terrorists all escape.

Kiera is arrested but then released when Alec creates an identity for her: special agent with the federal government. The internet tells the cops they can trust her. We’d think that they’d put in a few calls and talk to Kiera’s actual employers, but they don’t. Even though they know that she might be working with a hacker. Mmhmm. Carlos’ boss asks Kiera to work with him to catch the terrorists and gives Carlos to her as a partner. Kiera sees that the police have collected the piece of sphere that the terrorists are missing. We see some stupid flashback where Kiera tucks her son in and gets grief from her husband about her job.

Comments: One thing we forgot to mention in the pilot post is how the writers of this show lack subtlety. It’s not hard to understand exactly what is going on and the motives of the characters. While this is welcome, we still wish a little more were shown, not told. The dialogue is weak for the most part, but the narrative continues to intrigue. One of the terrorists (the one with the white hair) acts like a little skater girl or something. This show would be a lot better if the terrorists were at all scary, substantial, or charismatic. That’s where the potential for Dumbledores and Professor Snapes were. Once again, we are missing interesting characters. Kiera’s husband looks like an accountant and seems pretty boring. Maybe he’s a bad guy working with terrorists. That would be cool. There are some plot holes starting to show, but the pacing on this show is good enough that we don’t care and want to keep watching.

Episode grade: B-

"Wasting Time" What happened: Protectors climb up stairs, looking for terrorists. A few explosions later and the Protectors bag the “Queen of Hearts.” That was a flashback (forward?). In 2012, Kiera is at her new police station, telling the cops about the terrorists. We finally get them fully named. Travis, ex-special forces. Lucas, arrogant bomb maker played by a horrible actor. Curtis Chen, obviously the Asian guy and ex soldier with aggression issues and psychotic tendencies. Jasmine Garza (the blonde), “weapons, vehicles.” Matthew Kellogg, con artist, social engineer, and liar. Edouard Kagame, the old guy and leader who didn’t make the time jump. Sonya Valentine, the Queen of Hearts and former doctor with a high IQ. We cut to Sonya boning and betraying someone. Terrorists talk about nothing.

Kellogg finds Kiera in a restaurant. He wants to stay in 2012 and says he doesn’t approve of his colleagues’ violent actions. He says he will be in touch and we are left wondering what he actually wants from Kiera. Just cooperation sometimes? Kiera and Carlos visit the morgue and see Sonya’s victim. Sonya removed the pituitary gland, looking for human growth hormones that would be valuable on the black market to athletes. They see another body, that of a Brian Young. Alec's family invites him downstairs for a meeting of anti-corporation people who perceive what’s going to happen in the future. It’s Roland and Julian’s group. Alec thinks they are all full of crap.

One of the terrorists, Travis, is hurt and discusses (with Chen) taking Kellogg out because Kellogg has been breaking ranks and acting weird. Kellogg uses Lucas’ computer to “set that bitch (Kiera) up.” Alec finds out that both of Sonya’s victims donated sperm to the same clinic. Kiera and Carlos obtain their medical records and find out that they both have an identical chromosome that’s tied to pituitary mutation. Sonya can use the pituitary glands to create some sort of super steroid. Kiera starts looking at the clinics records to find more potential victims. This all leads to a set-up by Kellogg at a local college. Carlos and Chen shoot it out and fight. It’s a really long fight scene and Chen wins. Kiera shoots Kellogg in the neck. He gets a welt on it, curses, and leaves. Kiera gets back to Carlos just in time to save him. Cue another long fight scene. Kiera wins and Chen dies.

The terrorists use the steroids on Travis, healing him. Travis and Sonya make out. Kellogg gets home and blames Curtis Chen for everything that went wrong that day. Kellogg has a homing beacon in his bloodstream, planted by Kiera’s shot, that will last 24 hours. Carlos lies about who killed Chen to take the heat off of Kiera, which makes no sense and could get them both into more trouble than it’s worth. Kiera’s suit was damaged in the fight, so she can’t track Kellogg. Alec helps her out and Kiera goes to the terrorists’ stolen home. She finds Kellogg abandoned and tied up. They should have left a bomb on the front porch or something, the morons. Kellogg: “Hey, don’t you love how I gave you Curtis Chen? Also, wanna bone?” Kiera turns this generous offer down, but she unties him. We go back to the flashforward as Kiera remembers Sonya planting an explosive for the cops. She yells for Kellogg to run and they jump in the pool right as Sonya’s current device explodes. We guess the terrorists aren’t such morons after all. That’s nice. Kiera steals the sphere piece from the police station.

In Betty news, Betty compliments Kiera's hair and brings Carlos/Kiera coffee. We've decided she is useless and we hate her.

Comments: Someone actually utters the words, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” lending credence to our opinion that the script writers are bad with lines. We like Kellogg and the Queen of Hearts terrorist. We said before that we wanted the terrorists to be more interesting. Having Kellogg breaking with the other terrorists, wanting to stay, and seeming like a reasonable guy is a good thing. While this episode didn’t move forward much (other than having Chen die), it gave us a better, much-needed look at Liber8. It might have seemed procedural, but this show needed to slow down and develop some people and it did.

Episode grade: B

And with that, we are all caught up on this show.

Friday, June 15, 2012

New show: Continuum (pilot and premise discussion)

In order to give a premise, we spoil the first ten minutes and a few other things about the pilot. But if you don’t know if the show is for you, you should read this anyway to ascertain that.

We watched the pilot of Continuum and will make no jokes about the John Mayer album of the same name. Another Canadian import, this show (recommended to us by a regular commenter) is science fiction set in 2077, a time when democracy has ended and corporations rule. That’s actually pretty believable. Without the constitution’s protection and the people’s will, the corporate dictatorship has removed basic social freedoms and the people are watched closely (like in Orwell’s 1984). A terrorist group (Liber8) wants to reestablish democracy, but the eight members use despicable tactics (causing the collateral deaths of innocents) to further their means. They have been arrested, but they escape and go back in time to 2012.

In 2077, City Protective Services, CPS, are the cops and one of them is Protector Kiera Cameron, a young wife and mother. Kiera is also transported to back in time, and it’s up to her to catch the terrorists and stop them from changing the past. Kiera makes contact with a young nerd, Alec Sadler. She poses as a cop and starts working with a 2012 police department. In 2077, Alec Sadler is the head of the corporation with the technology that sent Kiera back in time, and his old self seems unsurprised by everything going down (smiling as Kiera and the terrorists disappear).

Kiera is played by Rachel Nichols, who we remember as the 21-year-old who tried to have a threesome with Samantha and Richard in Sex and the City. We like her much better years later and as a brunette. She looks a little harsher and less perfect, as the role requires. She’s a cop, not a model. And the hair also makes her look older so we can take her seriously. She’s not nearly as annoying, which means that the actress is more versatile than we had first surmised on S+tC. So far, she’s an appealing lead, reminding us of Kahlan in the Legend of the Seeker series. Some of the other actors are bad, especially the man playing Lucas. He needs to die soon, just for this.

One of the things we don’t like about the show is the fact that we haven’t gotten to see a lot about 2077 so far. Would it have been too much to have a main character working in 2077? This show could have supported two coexisting storylines, one in the past and one in the future, and two main characters. That way, we would have gotten to compare and contrast the times, government regimes, technology, and culture more. The thing we most want to see is more character development. Sci-fi and fantasy excels at making us care about characters, and so far, we don’t care about the people on this show. They are stock and unoriginal as of the pilot.

We doubt that Kiera’s trip back in time is actually a “one-way ticket.” We like that Kiera has a family back in the future because that adds complications for her. It might stifle any romance in 2012, but we doubt it. Cheating’s common on TV, regrettably. We won’t like a cheating plot, but we do like the tension Kiera experiences in wanting to reunite with her son and husband. Our resident hot guy is Kiera’s fellow 2012 cop, Carlos. We want to know a little more about Alec Sadler. So far, he’s a funny little nerd. We also like that Kiera took a little futuristic technology with her and that the terrorists intend to start a war in 2012.

Entertaining TV sci-fi and decent summer programs are hard to come by, so we appreciate this series for being watchable in both a genre and seasonal drought. We’re digging the premise, female lead, and pacing, so we’re going to catch up and keep watching. It’s a serial, and we eat those up. There are only ten episodes in the first season, after all, and this show might experience a struggle gaining and keeping viewers. It’s not like it’s been advertised enough. Come on, networks. Let people know what shows you are carrying and we will watch them, dangit.

A Stitch in Time: B+

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Game of Thrones - Blackwater, the finale, and season two

Spoilers for season two follow. We finally finished season two of Game of Thrones, a show we usually never get behind on. Oh, Europe trip, ruining our TV lives and yet enriching our real ones. What is with Game of Thrones and having knock-you-on-your-ass penultimate episodes? Last year, they killed Ned Stark in the episode before the finale and this year, they had one of the best, if not the best, battles ever filmed for television. In "Blackwater", Stannis Baratheon attacked King’s Landing and lost due to Tyrion and a late arrival by Tywin Lannister. “These are brave men knocking at our door. Let’s go kill them.” That’s an even better line than, “They may take our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom.” We actually felt bad for Stannis in the moment of his army’s retreat. There was a great Bronn/Tyrion bromance moment too. Keep the love alive, show. We’re digging it.

That episode was so good. It was maybe our favorite of the entire series, possibly because it was so Tyrion centric. It was his first wartime battle and he did admirably, as we knew he would. It’s also unsurprising that Cersei just got drunk and crazy and Joffrey acted like a humungous coward. But Peter. Freaking. Dinklage. We would follow you into any battle. HALF MAN. HALF MAN. It’s about time we got an episode of this show that was so focused on action and a simple plot. So many people actually ship Sansa and The Hound, but Ern does not (Leeard does). We loved The Hound abandoning the battle though. It seemed like the finale was set up to fail, having to follow this episode. But it was good too.

In the finale, "Valar Morghulis", Tyrion wakes up after the battle, wounded, and realizes that Tywin Lannister is getting all the credit for Stannis’ defeat. Tyrion has been replaced as Hand of the King, which is not a good idea. Tywin can’t even keep his horse from pooping all over the throne room floor! Joffrey is still on the iron throne, which is such a travesty. The good news is that Sansa doesn’t have to marry Joffrey now. We feel like Margaery will be better able to handle Joffrey and play the game. She went from Beard to Queen in one season. Of course, she doesn’t yet know what a dick Joffrey is, even though it should be obvious just by looking at him. This may not go well for Margaery, but we are anxious to see her square off against the equally devious Cersei. Run, Sansa. Run. For the last freaking time, leave! But no, she’s staying.

We get to see Brienne and Jaime Lannister is still talking. He starts offering her sex. Three dudes show up and Brienne delivers quite the arse whooping. We’ve been wanting to see that out of her for weeks. We hope you were impressed, Jaime. Meanwhile, Robb tries to talk his mother into letting him marry Talisa (darn this show for constantly changing the names of its women), breaking an oath to a powerful man whose daughter he was supposed to wed. Stannis is with Melisandre, upset that he lost the battle and also killed his brother. He chokes her, and this gets him nowhere. Melisandre is still into Stannis after this and promises him that he will be king. They stare at the fire together and see something. We don’t get to see it. No fair, show.

Theon Greyjoy, thou art the worst. He whines and cries, and we have no sympathy. He makes an unwise decision. Shocker. At least he’s braver than Joffrey, and we credit the Stark upbringing for that. Theon gets bagged by his own men and taken back to his father. Theon’s men stab Maester Luwin as they leave. Are they cousins of Joffrey’s, to be that needlessly douche-y? At King’s Landing, the Eunuch is telling Tyrion that Cersei is responsible for his injury. She sent a man to kill him in the battle. Tyrion has a big scar across his face, but it only serves to make him look more bad ass, in our opinions. He even looks bad ass when he cries. That scene with his ho finally won us over to her.

Good for Robb! He married Talisa, promises and mother be damned. We like to see a guy make an honest woman out of a girl he bones, as well as follow his heart. She’s gonna die though, isn’t she? We finally see Daenerys, but not for long. Good job losing her, Jorah. Arya is making her escape with Mr. Third Person, Jaqen H’ghar. They part and say goodbye. He gives her a coin so that she can find him later, if she needs to, and then he changes into someone else. What a weird (awesome) guy. He’s not hot anymore though, and that’s a shame. Viewers should be wondering how often Jaqen was/will be on this show and yet we don’t get to know it’s him. We see Tonks and HODOR!, who still have the Stark babies. Maester Luwin gets to see that they are alive before he dies. The Maester sends them to The Wall, to Jon. Where on Earth is Jon? Tonks offers to get the Maester high, but he has her kill him instead. Winterfell burns.

Back to Daenerys looking through the sorcerers’ lair for her dragons. This is the best and most exciting thing she’s done all season. She ends up in the snow, without a jacket. She is reunited with her dead husband, and he’s holding a baby. He’d be so hot without that nasty beard. The scene is sweet and lets us know that maybe this is what will await Daeny when and if she finally dies. It’s not real, obviously, and Daeny finds herself back in the lair, in the real world. She finds her dragons and creepy magic dudes with skinny arms. The dragons burn up the magic dudes! She kills the King and gets all the gold! It’s ship-buying time for next season. We see Jon and Ygritte, marching. Swordfight! Dead Leader of the Watch! Poor guy, poor Jon. That’s a real leader, sacrificing himself for Jon like that. Next year, Jon is going to meet the king beyond the wall. Another king. Ugh.

In the last scene, we see the other men of the wall, including Sam, still talking about Gilly. White Walkers, ya’ll. WHITE WALKERS. It’s The Walking Dead meets Game of Thrones. The Walking Thrones! Okay, Game of Dead would probably be a cooler name. Nasty zombie horses and nasty zombies abound. Clearly, the best thing for this show is zombies. Perfect season ending. This season was better than the first one, no? We know the show is mostly bound by the books, but it milks them for all they are worth. We love how magic is slowly creeping into this story. We also got the perfect name for our future boat: The Sea Bitch. Now that this show has ended, we’ll see if Ern can actually get some studying done and Leeard can stop googling pictures like this one. Leeard thinks that's a funny joke, because there's no way she'll stop looking for pictures of those two. Update: This was true. In the last week, Leeard has sent Ern about five more pics like that. Every day.

Blackwater: A+
Valar Morghulis: A
Season two grade: A-

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Pretty Little Liars - Blood is the New Black

Spoilers contained for the last PLL episode.

Ella teaches the girls in school. Emily finds a teeth necklace.

Leeard: Dude! Hedda Gabler! Oh, junior year of high school.
Ern: I don’t think I ever read that. What is it?
Leeard: An Ibsen play.
Ern: I read some Ibsen in high school and didn’t like it.
Leeard: I did. We read a few of his plays.
Ern: That teeth bracelet is creepy. AND AWESOME.
Leeard: I think it’s a necklace, but yeah.

The girls go to the bathroom and accidentally flush the teeth necklace.

Leeard: Ha. Okay, so feel free to make fun of me, but when Aria said, “These things have sensors,” I totally thought she was saying that the toilets had alarms on them, not that it was an automatic flusher.
Ern: So did I!
Leeard: Hahahaha.

Jenna is back. Hanna lies to Caleb again. Aria tells Emily that Ezra will tutor her. Meredith is applying for a job at the local high school.

Leeard: Oh, Jenna, you’re a horrible fake blind girl.
Ern: Stop lying to Caleb, Hanna! He’s perfect. Clue him in.
Leeard: Yes, because clueing people in is a good idea on this show. /sarcasm.
Ern: Last time they clued Caleb in, it was fine. It’s a Caleb exception. Great idea, Aria. Throw another high school girl at Ezra, and one who is arguably prettier than you at that.
Leeard: But a lesbian.
Ern: Ha! I forgot for a moment. *feels like an artard*

Ezra and Aria meet in their car and force us to watch them kiss. Spencer meets Garrett again at the prison. He reveals that Jenna has a secret. We, as viewers, already know what it is.

Leeard: I’m sorry, Aria, what the hell are you wearing? It was like a jumper with layers.
Ern: I actually liked it this time, especially the bottom. And it was a dress. At least she didn’t over-accessorize.
Leeard: That we could see.
Ern: It's cool that the Liars are going to know Jenna isn't blind soon, since the audience knows.
Leeard: Mmmhmmm.

Hanna is visiting Mona again and she brings up Noel Khan. Then Hanna yells at her and Wren throws Hanna out. Ezra and Emily meet. Ezra tells Emily he’s sorry about Maya. Back to Wren and Hanna. Wren acts like a therapist. We don’t care for his outfit and haircut, but we still love him.

Leeard: Heyyyyyyyyy there Mona. Hanna, preach it, girl. Those are some insane earrings, Hanners. Seriously. I usually love everything you wear. Not today.
Ern: Agree. Way to bring up Maya, Ezra. He's so awkward. Who cares if you are sorry?
Leeard: But he's trying to show her he cares. Wren and Hanna. I ship it.
Ern: I want Wren with Spencer, but at this point, I will take him with anyone, even if it does break up my favorite couple. (Caleb/Hanna)

Toby and Spencer talk about Jenna and then make out. Veronica interrupts them, worried about Melissa.

Leeard: Toby, be my boyfriend. Toby, Spencer, have the sexxxxxxxxxxxx.
Ern: I think Spencer is prettier this season. I think she put on about six pounds and it made her face softer.
Leeard: She does look a little less harsh.
Ern: Man, Toby and Spencer are about two episodes from having sex.
Leeard: Thank God! Calm the f*ck down, Mrs. Hastings.

The next day, the girls are at school. Aria finds an earring that Ali found in Aria’s dad’s couch years ago. It’s one of Meredith’s. Aria flashes back to the time she and Ali trashed her dad’s office. Aria tells the girls that the earring is from Ali’s grave.

Leeard: Much better clothing, Hanna. Dammit, Ali is the best.
Ern: Aria's pink hair is the best. I love Goth Aria.
Leeard: This office trashing is awesome.
Ern: Aria! I can't believe she did that! I think I like her now. I love that the earrings are grave earrings. I hope the teeth are really Ali’s.

Emily and Ezra are studying together again. Jenna asks Aria to perform/play music with her and Aria turns her down. Caleb is starting to sniff the lies on Hanna. Veronica finds out that Spencer is visiting the county jail and confronts her, harshly, telling her to stop seeing Garrett. Hanna tells Caleb what’s up. Aria gets a text from A, threatening her about her father.

Leeard: Jenna is so freaking pretty.
Ern: I actually don’t think so. There’s something off about her face. Her forehead is, like, half bulbous.
Leeard: I disagree.
Ern: Once again, Hanna needs to tell Caleb about the Mona visits.
Leeard: Oh, Mrs. Hastings, I miss you being awesome. Like, I understand what she is saying. But still.
Ern: Yeah, that's not the way to talk to Spencer. She needs to reason with her and comfort her and ask her why she's really going there. You don't just shut down smart kids. Good job, Hanna. But I wish Caleb were reacting better. AWWW, he doesn't want Hanna hurt. He's so perfect.
Leeard: He really is.
Ern: I love the way Hanna said, "I'm not gonna have this fight." I loved the line delivery. He's going with Hanna?!! To that creepy place? So. Freaking. Perfect.

Aria tells her dad that she trashed the office. At school, Emily takes a test.

Leeard: I’m not going to like this scene (watching Aria talk to her dad). You SHOULD have called the police, Byron. I will not ever side with Byron on this. Not. Ever. Honestly, if I were Aria in this scene, I’d be a lot farther away from crying and I sure as HELL wouldn’t apologize to Meredith.
Ern: Me neither. He is, and always will be, the worst. Except when he’s fighting the Ezra situation. And helllll no. I would never apologize to Meredith.
Leeard: It’s not even that he’s the worst. It’s that cheating is the worst. If Aria murdered Meredith's cat or something, then she should apologize. And even then maybe not.

Caleb and Hanna visit Mona. Toby gives Spencer Jenna’s eyedrops, and Spencer realizes that Jenna might be able to see. Emily has a flashback to her time in the car right before she was found at Ali’s grave. Jenna was driving the car. Aria apologizes to Meredith, finds out that Meredith is seeing her father again, and returns the earring. Meredith says it isn’t hers.

Ern: What the heck?
Leeard: UNLESS YOU SAY, “I’M SORRY YOU’RE SUCH A B*TCH AND DESERVED EVERYTHING” in which case I would fully support the apology. Do. NOT. Apologize. To. Her. Dammit, Aria. Slap Meredith or something/go crazy again.
Ern: I’m liking Aria a lot better this season. Maybe it's that her fashions are better.
Leeard: I would like her a lot more if she hadn't apologized to Meredith
Ern: I guess it's what she had to do to get along with and placate her dad.
Leeard: I don't care.

Spencer is at the jail to visit Garrett again and sees her mom, Garrett’s new attorney. Wren meets Caleb at the insane asylum while Hanna is in the room with Mona.

Leeard: S*** Wren, shut up.
Ern: Seriously. Poor Caleb will be insecure now.

Ella sees that Emily only filled up half her test earlier that day and fills out the rest for her. Hanna did Mona’s makeup so that she looks a little less crazy. Mona says, “You’re getting them again, aren’t you? The texts.” The conversation is interrupted. Hanna goes and accidentally leaves Mona a pair of tweezers.

Leeard: Ella is the best.
Ern: Hanna needs to stop this. Visiting Mona is getting nowhere.
Leeard: Awww Hanna! Hanna is also the best. Oh, Mona. Ooooooohhhh Mona. Bitch crazy.
Ern: Finally, we get something good out of Mona. Uh oh, tweezers. Think Mona will pluck out all of her eyebrows? That would be great.

Ezra visits Ella and asks about Emily’s test. The girls spy on Jenna in the bathroom and find out she can see when Jenna picks up and inspects the earring Spencer left for her. Bitch can see. Spencer has a plan to use this information. In the last scene, A buys black hoodies and gloves.

Leeard: Ella is the beeeeeeeeeeest! Spencer is wearing a horrible dress, but she is the smartest person. Also, a literal crazy person.

Pretty Little Liars episodes are pretty consistent. If you like one, you’ll like most of them. We should just give them all an A, until quality declines or goes up to an A+. But we have to give grades, because that’s the rule, and this episode dragged out the blind Jenna stuff when they should have found out in the first five minutes.

Episode grade: B+. Extra points for the teeth necklace.

Men in Black 3, Prometheus, Taxi Driver, Haywire, and The Whistleblower

We’ve watched a few movies in the last couple of weeks, some new and some old. None of them are must-sees, but here are our thoughts anyway.

Haywire - This is a by-the-book action movie about a government operative who was betrayed by people inside her organization. The movie exists to have Gina Carano, professional MMA fighter, play the main character. It was really nice to see a believable female fighter play an action lead, for once. One of our pet peeves in entertainment is when a 90-pound woman throws a grown man around. Gina’s moves are appropriate for her size and strength. The plot is too complicated for such a derivative, basic movie. The supporting cast is good and keeps this movie from failing. Gina’s acting isn’t bad, but it’s not believable. You can see her acting. It’s not laughable, but you never forget she’s not the actual character. The best scene comes in the middle, and it’s the one where Gina fights a male character in a hotel room. There’s not enough fighting in this movie. There’s too much talking for a movie that’s only good when there is fighting going on, so the overall experience ends up being kind of “meh.” The climax isn’t as good as the aforementioned fight scene in the middle, so after that scene, the movie kind of fizzles out. 
Movie grade: C+

Whistleblower - This movie is about an American police woman who works for the U.N. in Bosnia and discovers that U.N. peacekeepers are involved in sex trafficking. Rachel Weisz stars as a protagonist with both guts and a heart. She’s a cute little pitbull who will stop at nothing and face any foe or threat to save these girls. What’s good about this movie is that it’s a true story that could spread awareness about the downsides of certain organizations and the growing human trafficking problem. It’s also a gripping story. What stinks is that the script is heavy-handed and clumsy. There is a rape scene that’s disturbing. What’s with our ratings system that gives rape an R or PG-13 rating and a woman orgasming an NC-17? We’d recommend this movie if the subject interests you, or if you like thrillers based on true stories. Otherwise, you can skip it. 
Movie grade: B-

Men in Black III - Neither of us wanted to see this movie and one of us got dragged to it. That blogger was pleasantly surprised. It was hilarious and well-acted. Josh Brolin played a younger version of Tommy Lee Jones, and he was perfectly cast. You don’t have to see the first two movies to enjoy this one on its own, and it’s much better than the second movie (which everyone should just skip). There was even a sweet moment at the end that left moviegoers misty eyed. The 3-D is not necessary, but if you love Andy Warhol, you might be offended. We died laughing when we found out that the bad guy was played by Flight of the Concords’ Jermaine Clement. You also get to see the main Pussycat Doll die in the first scene. That alone might convince the other blogger to see the movie. Emma Thompson rounds out the fun cast. This blogger thinks it will leave you smiling. The other blogger doesn’t think it’s possible that this movie is any good. Movies that exceed expectations are always the best. 
Movie grade: B+ 

Which brings us to two movies that didn’t meet our expectations….

Taxi Driver - It’s taken us a while to get around to seeing this classic, despite the fact that Robert DeNiro was pretty hot when he was younger. His character was unnerving and we felt extremely uncomfortable watching him court his main love interest. This movie is about a mentally ill Vietnam vet, Travis Bickle, who drives a cab around New York City before Guiliani got a hold of it. Travis is appalled at the dirt, misery, and crime in the city, and late in the movie befriends a child prostitute played by a young Jodie Foster. The performances and script are great, but there is too much walking around, driving, and other time wasting in this movie, all set to some weird jazz music. It could have been about 20 minutes shorter for entertainment purposes. There’s no denying it’s a technically good movie though and we actually liked the way it ended. It was just so long and dour. 
Movie grade: B-

Prometheus - We’ve been looking forward to this movie forever and we ended up with a mixed bag. On the one hand, it is just so wonderfully weird. On the other, it doesn’t live up to its nerd potential. The movie set up a bunch of deep themes, good questions, and possibly colorful characters in its first half. The first half was thoughtful, if a little slow, and seemed like it was setting up something mind-blowing and slightly deep. However, the second half was a slasher movie (like the first Alien) that dropped all the themes the first half raised. It was like the movie dropped most of what it picked up and most of the characters and plotlines went nowhere. A huge problem is that we didn’t care about most of the characters. Two great things about this movie are the epic visuals and the action scenes. We would recommend this movie in 3-D, if that’s something you can stand/afford. Everything looks great and the carnage is gripping. We liked the inclusion of both atheist and religious characters. We also liked the opening scene. The best thing about this movie is the android David. David provides both creepiness and comic relief. If he’s not in any sequel they make, we won’t bother to see it. Prometheus doesn’t do anything original and with the talent behind it, it should have. The movie won’t stay with you days later. It’s one of the movie events of the summer, so movie buffs should see it, even if it turned out to be disappointing. If you don’t like sci-fi, don’t see it. We brought a non-nerd and he was miserable. This is a movie you are either going to think is "just okay" or you are going to hate it.
Movie grade: B

Breaking Pointe (eps 1 and 2)

We’re not super into covering reality TV on this blog (though Leeard will be discussing Big Brother when it finally comes back), but this show sounded interesting, so we thought we’d check it out. We love dance and a ballet company seems like it has potential for good drama. Plus guys with hot bods. We’re looking at you, Ronnie. In fact, if you want to get a poster made, we’ll buy it. Unfortunately, the company doesn’t have that much drama so far, the dancers aren’t that interesting, and this seems more like a quiet documentary than a juicy behind-the-scenes reality show.

One interesting thing was Alison tormenting fellow dancer, Rex, who is in love with her. Alison says she’s not in the right place for a relationship now, but let’s get real: that just means that she doesn’t want to be with Rex, for whatever reason. Rex is confessing his love and being pathetic in the club and Alison is just looking away from him, hoping to run away. We think he can do better and that she should end the friendship. She’s known for being direct and she should be direct and honest here.

We like the brothers from the big dancing family (Ronald and Rex). We like the motorcycling dancer, Ronnie, and not just for his body. It’s neat how close he is to his sister. He does seem like an unlikely ballet guy, and we felt bad for him when he didn’t get a principal spot. Ronnie, if you need non-ballerinas to hang out with, we will come buy you a beer. He definitely has a douche-y arrogant side though.  It’s cool how there is so much ranking in ballet. It’s like the military. Ballet is a real labor of love. It hurts your body and especially your feet. The prima ballerina, Christiana, keeps talking about perfection, not just as a dancer, but as a human being. Girl, good luck with that. Perfection just isn’t possible. But we don’t dance ballet, so what do we know?

There is jealousy and cutthroat competition, so this show should be more intense than it is. The pilot even started with contract renewals. If the drama isn’t running high then, when will it be? We like a mature show and don’t necessarily need Flavor of Love catfights…but we need something. We need to like more of the dancers and that would take time. Ern is afraid it will be like The Hills (meaning that nothing will ever happen and girls will just sit around and talk about each other). We want bigger personalities. The girl we liked the best was dropped from the company in the first episode. Beckanne seems like she will be polarizing. She’s good and she knows it, but she might not be the best, so the others are angry at her new opportunities.

Adam, the guy in charge of casting, seems like kind of a creeper. The show will be a favorite for people interested in ballet. Girls hoping to have a dancing career probably should watch it. It’s not trashy. We almost dropped this show because it’s not an A show and we don’t have a lot of time, but we want to watch it a little more. We saw our fingers almost involuntarily hit the “next” button on Hulu to continue onto the second episode, so we want to watch this show, even though we probably shouldn’t pick it up. It’s not a must-watch. We will fight to NOT watch it in the future. But the show might win. That says something in its favor.

Episodes 1 and 2 grade: B

True Blood premiere - Turn! Turn! Turn!

Spoilers contained. Most of it was written while watching the episode (rather than later after we knew everything).

The first season without Alan Ball! Woo hoo! Time for this show to possibly get even crappier than the last two seasons. We forgot how last season ended until the recap. Man, that sucked. No Jesus and Sookie dumping both guys? The only good thing was Tara’s death. We hope that would stick, but we doubt it will. The episode started off cartoonish, with cartoon-y music and Eric speedily cleaning up blood. We don’t like when this show goes cartoon. We like when it’s dark and semi-serious with a few one-liners to lighten the mood.

Then lots of things happened quickly. We liked Eric’s reaction to being dumped (f*ck Sookie) and how quickly the Authorities swarmed on Eric and Bill. Sookie convinced Pam to turn Tara, even though she has half a head and hates vampires. How was she still alive enough to turn?!! Ugh. Now she will never die. We hate death fake-outs so much, even when we like the character. Cue theme song. We love that theme song as much as we hate stupid Tara.

The new girl trying to kill Sam is so beautiful that she’s making Luna look unattractive. Blue eyes with that hair and skin tone? Wowser. Jason is so dumb for letting that Fellowship of the Sun Steve Newlin vampire in. We always knew that guy was gay. “This dog don’t bark that way” is one of the best ways to say “I’m straight” that we ever heard. Jessica bursting in to save Jason was most welcome. We love her. She should be annoying like almost everyone else on this show, but she isn’t.

We like Nora (she’s not a waffler or a spineless jellyfish as far as choosing loyalties), but she and Eric are never going to rival the Lannister twins in incest. They aren’t even real siblings by blood. And does Bill forget his bout of incest a while back? No judging, Mr. Compton. Sookie committed murder and she knows it. She doesn’t even seem to feel bad. We don’t really like that. Sookie is a far cry from the sweet, moral girl she was back in season one. Lafayette is having trouble dealing with what he did to his boyfriend, and he wasn’t even in control of himself when it happened.

We had forgotten about Terry’s just-arrived war buddy. Uh oh…things are going to go down. We’ve been waiting for Terry to snap all series, but we aren’t going to like it, because he’s one of the characters we like. Both Tara and Sookie sure got prettier as they grew up, didn’t they? We wonder how long we are going to have to watch Lafayette mope. We’re sad about Jesus too, but you don’t see us in the bathtub, eyeing pink razors. Alcide was in this episode! Now is the time, Sookie! Get with that. Just don’t tell him what you did to Debbie…Oh man, actually do. We can’t wait until he finds out. He’s going to freak.

Hoyt is being a jerk. We hope he and Jason make up soon and admire Jason for making the first move, even though he IS a girlfriend f*cker. Russell is back in play, because just what this show needs is another character back in play. Sookie tried to tell Alcide about Debbie right off the bat, but Lafayette ruined it. Good girl in refusing his protection. Lafayette is bald now. Okay. Cut to Sam getting tortured. Poor Sam. We meet Martha, a real straight shooter. Cut to Eric and Nora having sex while calling each other brother and sister. Stop it, guys. You’re not Cersei and Jaime, so don’t even try to creep us out on that level. We are desensitized from your HBO sibling show.

“We fight like siblings, but we f*ck like champions” – Eric. Good line. Cut to Queen Jessica, living it up and partying. Go to college, Jessica. It’s fun. Her dress is so short you could see her tampon string, were she human and wearing a tampon. Watching this show is making our minds disgusting. There really is too much sex and nudity. It’s not necessary and borders on porn occasionally. We actually don’t want to see all of that. Just some of it. Terry’s looking stressed with Patrick around. What happened in Iraq? We guess we’ll find out. We don’t like seeing the usually chill Terry freaking out and hitting people.

Meanwhile, Jessica rocks. We wanted to hear her a little more, because what little singing we got was pretty good. Jason turning down the sorority girl’s sex offer was completely adorable. He has really redeemed himself from season one when we hated him more than even Tara. Cut to the werewolves finding and eating Marcus’ body. That doesn’t even faze us on a show this weird. Cut to Kat doling out passports and stupid names. Eric and Bill had better not be leaving for any significant amount of time. Oh, thank God. The Authorities found them again.

Back to Sookie and Lafayette sitting shiva over Tara’s grave. Pam rises, aggravated, with dirt in her bra. And Tara is still dead!!!! Praise the TV gods! How unpredictable and awesome! But then. Aw, poop. She rose, attacked Sookie, and the episode ended on one of this show’s usual violent cliffhangers. We liked the song in the credits. At least this episode wasn’t boring and didn’t have a dumb fairy world sequence like last year’s premiere. It’s summer, so beggars can’t be choosers, but seriously. This show is no The Vampire Diaries. For all the sex and nudity in True Blood, it doesn't come close to being as sexy either.

Episode grade: C+

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Mad Men ends its fifth season (Episodes 11-13)

Ladies and germs, this was our favorite season of Mad Men. Maybe it was that I could finally root for Don Draper since he didn’t spend the season philandering and ruining his own life. Maybe it was the dramatic exits. Maybe it was the LSD. Maybe it was the accessible pacing. Maybe it was the humor. Maybe it was the 90s guest stars, including Nickelodeon’s Alex Mack and the WB’s Rory Gilmore. Maybe it was Betty’s fat suit and Sally’s whorish boots. A safe bet is that it was Megan Draper. Or Pete getting punched in the nose. We really can’t decide. This season was fun, deep, and full of great episodes. It's amazing that this was the show Ern once called "soulless." There was a time when we couldn't get through the first season. It took ten episodes to hook us. If season one were anything like season five, it would have taken one hour.

The last three episodes included arguably one if the best episodes of the entire series, "The Other Woman". The theme of “owning/objectification of women” was inspired and well-executed. Having Peggy walk out on Don after he humiliated her was genius and heartbreaking. Their awkward goodbye (that kiss!) was gripping and her smile as she walked onto the elevator, upbeat music starting, healed the wound a little. And then Joan, oh Joan, sleeping with the nasty Jaguar guy… The victory in getting the account was bittersweet (mostly bitter). Actually, it was gross. Don acted like a full human being there, and it was so sad that he didn’t get to Joan before she went through with it. We understand that she wanted to protect and provide for her son. On the bright side, we love Joan as a partner. Not silent. It's hard not to want Don with either Peggy or Joan in the end, even though it would be cliche.

Pete is such a worm, especially when he put the business before Joan’s well being. That’s the definition of greed, according to Ern’s dad: putting money before people. But we really liked the way Pete got into a fight with Rory Gilmore’s husband on the train. That guy is even more of a pig than Pete is and totally deserved it. Maybe that’s why he bothered Pete so much; he’s a future Pete and a mirror. Trudy is gorgeous and if Pete thinks another beautiful woman will make him feel alive, attractive, and happy again, he’s going to stay miserable and pathetic.

Lane’s death was a shocking, grisly moment for the series and we really felt for him in his depression. We aren’t fully sure yet of the repercussions the suicide will have on Don. We’re sure he feels a little lost and responsible. Don acted perfectly toward Lane. It seems like Don’s honor in business is back. That’s one thing we’ve missed about Don Draper during the Megan year: his business mojo and class.

We didn’t like the finale as much as the two episodes that preceded it. It left us with a bad taste in our mouths. It was so morose and repetitive of the season at large. It didn’t leave us with anything new, in other words. It hinted that the show is going to replay the old Don cheating thing and his Dick Whitman issues. Blah blah blah. This season moved things forward for the show and had Don facing old age. Are they going to go back to his mid-life crisis? The finale was too cold and ordinary, but it was still pretty good and it was very Mad Men. It just felt too low-key after the episodes that preceded it. 

The Don/Megan drama now centers completely on her acting career. Megan isn’t going to sit home barefoot and pregnant, but she’s having trouble breaking into the business. Don would rather her go back to creating brilliant advertisements at the firm, but he is forced to back her endeavors up. We were cheered by his eventual casting of Megan in the commercial she wanted, but we are wary that Don might go back to his old ways after the last shot of the season. We really hope he doesn’t. While we would love to see Megan’s freak-out when she catches Don, we really aren’t into cheating or storylines about cheating. It always really bums us out. We will understand if it happens though. It’s true to the character and it would be interesting to see it all play out.

The Other Woman: A+
Commissions and Fees: A
The Phantom: B

Season grade: A

The Glee Project - Casting Special and Individuality

Apparently, this is an “inspiration contest.” Bah haha. Ryan Murphy, get over yourself.  Here’s what we think of the final 14 after one special on how they were selected and the first episode of season two (Individuality). For the most part, they are really great. In fact, we wish they would just replace nearly the entire cast of Glee with these newbies. Keep Lea Michele and add in these 14, haha. We saw some people in the casting special with fantastic voices (and that one guy with the sweet dance moves) who might have been passed over in favor of Very Special People, which brings us to a significant complaint about The Glee Project.

What still sucks about this show is that the character is going to be based on the winner’s actual identity/persona so Ryan Murphy doesn’t actually have to write up a person. This is ridiculous and makes this less a talent competition and more of a contest to see who is the most interesting and special (read: gay, a social outcast, or handicapped). We don’t think this is a good twist for the reality show and it doesn’t make for a good addition on Glee. We think they should just find another actor. For the most part though, we love this show.

Our favorites so far: 
Dani, 23, from Orlando, Florida - Dani is one of those lesbians who looks like Justin Beiber (Ern originally wrote that she was "kind of" like that, but since "Lesbian who looks and sounds like the Biebs" was basically Dani's gimmick on America's Got Talent, there's no "kind of" about it). But she is likeable and seems so happy to be there. We also like her singing voice. We are excited to have a potential gay character on Glee that we might actually really like. (Well, Ern likes Kurt and Leah likes Blaine. But we don’t really like them.) She’s also a more believable lesbian than Santana and Brittany.

Lily Mae Harrington, 18, from Cape Cod, Massachusetts - We included her full name because “Lily Mae” is the name of the black maid who raised Ern’s dad. Yep, like on The Help. Ern comes from a family of Southerners. In memory of Lily Mae, Ern is now rooting for this contestant. Besides, the fat girl (Hannah) was robbed last time. ROBBED. It’s time for a bigger girl to win the spot on Glee. She started crying when she first saw Lea Michele, which is something we can respect. If we saw Lea Michele, we would start yelling at her to sing. We agree with Lea that Lily Mae is really beautiful. Heck, even without the name, she might be our favorite. We don’t like that she said she had a better voice than the other girls, because that’s debatable and her "Anything Goes" was a little pitchy. It’s a pretty good voice though.

Mario, 24, from Lanham, Maryland - He instantly said that he was “cute.” Then he said he was blind and that explained it. Ba-dum-ching, we’re going to hell. He’s so talented though, and all of the other castmates thought he was a ringer for top 14. He has a good voice, and we really hope he can rap. The show needs a rapping black guy, frankly. We are really impressed that he can play piano, dance, and learn choreography. His tragic backstory, eight siblings, good grandma, and classical training should put him over the top. We like how happy and laid back he seems, too. 

Shanna, 21, from Auburn, Alabama - Cute southern accent and a really good voice. She’s too much of a belter, but she’s not yelling so much that you can’t hear that she has something special underneath. We were shocked that Lea Michele couldn’t hit the last note in "Defying Gravity" four years ago, because it really isn’t all that high, but her advice was interesting. It’s true that you can work up to things with the voice. Lea’s mentoring will go a long way toward disproving the rumors that she’s a bitch. The stuff with Shanna's drug addict mom is interesting too. We like that she is wise enough to know when to limit contact. Leeard really wants to like Shanna, but she looks and sounds so much like Jessica Tyler (Jenna from Degrassi) that it's distracting.

Maxfield, 22, from Nashville, Tennessee - Big music town, Nashville. We had high hopes for Max because of this, but he just started singing six months ago and that’s not great. He was the first elimination. Dang, he was cute and sweet! Too bad he wasn’t born with a shriveled arm or something. Then Max might have stayed. A shriveled gay arm would be the best thing to have. How do you make a shriveled arm gay? He could cover it with rainbow tattoos or something. Kids, think about it.

Aylin, 19, from Chicago, Illinois - We agree with her that there are plenty of hot guys this season. Yayyy. She’s a flirtatious, Turkish Muslim who likes to be sexy. One of us likes her, even though she doesn’t want to play nice. She’s funny. She looks a little older than 19 at times, which isn’t good for someone trying to play high school. We see the spunk they are talking about, and her last chance performance was pretty flawless. It wasn’t as good as Lea Michele’s (admittedly over-autotuned) cover of "Without You", but it was pitch-perfect and clear. 

Nellie, 19, from Tacoma, Washington - Well, she seemed grateful. That's never a bad thing. We like her voice. It’s cool and unique, but still technically good. We’re anxious to see and hear (mostly hear) more. She's got a cool look and seems mysterious so far, since we really don't know that much about her. She is going to have to stand out more if she is going to win...and remain on our list of favorites. But who are we kidding? Our faves never win. 

We don't know how we feel about these ones yet:

Michael age 18 from Chicago, Illinois - Man, people are really representing Chicago this season. He needs “time to figure out who he is,” which is really all we know about him at this point. He's pretty cute, obviously, and that can't hurt. Leeard is a fan of any cute guy who loves math.

Blake, 19, from Miami, Florida - This guy seems kind of sensitive and kind of unintelligent, but that’s just a first impression. We’re pretty sure Aylin could get him, toy with him, have her fun, and then throw him back, easily. We hope a little he and Dani are the final two so that they can stand next to each other with the same Beiber hair. Get a new haircut, bro. That one is so five years ago.

Taryn, 22, from Detroit Michigan - If you think this is the girl Ryan Murphy is tapping to fill Mercedes' shoes, you would be wrong. She's not much of a power-soprano belter. But her voice is pretty good. We feel for her in missing her mom. We love our moms too. We also feel for her in her struggle against her nerves. Nerves are crazy and hard to control. Even if you are intellectually secure, your body might still shake. We hope she gets over them, but she's probably going home soon.

Charlie, 22, from Chicago,  Illinois - This is the guy with mild Autism and ADHD. He seems fine to us. His brain is just going to work a little differently from other adults and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It takes all types. He has been cool so far, if a little forgettable. He rose quickly as a leader on the show, making choreography for the challenge number. He's going to need to show us more talent along with that big, hyper personality. He's got likeability factor. Now he just needs to let us hear him sing. 

The ones we aren't digging:

Abraham, 24, from Queens, New York/San Diego, California- He let us know right off the bat that he thought he was “unique and talented,” which is never good on reality TV. Show, don’t tell. America hates when people speak well of themselves. You have to love his name though. His presence in our lives would present numerous opportunities for us to make the lame joke, "Where's Isaac?" He doesn’t have one of the show’s strongest voices or one of the most likeable personalities. We haven't heard much of a backstory yet either. Really, what we are looking for is talent, and his Adam Levine wannabe voice just isn't cutting it for us so far.

Ali, 24, from New York City - Great, just what we need. A blonde Artie. Ali is the contestant in a wheelchair. Artie needs a new girlfriend, after all. We guess. She reminds us of a real life Rachel Berry, the way she talks and enunciates and is really ambitious. We don’t like her voice though. She sounds like a human version of a Chihuahua. It’s so thin and plug-your-ears annoying. It doesn't blend well with other voices either. We do like her chair moves and attitude though. A small part of us is rooting for her. If we liked her voice, she'd be in the favorites category.

Tyler, 21, from Boca Raton, Florida - This diva is going to be Alex 2.0, we just know it. This guy is transgendered. It’s getting to where you have to be big boned, have some sort of physical disability, or be gay in order to get Ryan Murphy’s attention. We’re surprised one person doesn’t have Down’s Syndrome. (Oh, you just KNOW that's coming next season.) To Tyler’s credit, we would have NO IDEA that he used to be a girl. That’s a dude, no question. When he was a girl, he was pretty too, which is impressive and shocking because of how much he looks like a guy now. He can’t sing though and he’s a real whiner. He had too many excuses the first week and overuses the word “like.” Out of the bottom three, he was our pick to go home, not Maxfield. But we see why Ryan is interested in writing a transgendered storyline where a singer is struggling with his voice changing due to testosterone. Maybe Tyler will change our minds. They are always open. 

Who's your favorite so far?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Pretty Little Liars - It Happened That Night recap, review, and chat

Spoilers from the PLL premiere ahead.

The premiere takes place five months after the finale. Garrett is in jail because of Jenna and Mona is still in the crazy pen.

Leeard: God, I’ve missed this show. Thank GOODNESS Maya is dead.
Ern: Poor Emily though. I don’t like seeing her cry.
Leeard: Do you think the Liars know Jenna is blind?
Ern: No. Jenna will save that until the creepiest possible moment.

The girls are having a sleepover and filling us in on their summer doings. Aria got into photography (of course she did. That’s what all pretentious youngsters do when they go full-on hipster with no actual talent), Emily built houses in Haiti, Hanna took cooking classes (basically, she took it easy and stayed home to bang Caleb. No judgment at all.), and Spencer was a full-time student at Hollis college.

Leeard: ARIA'S HAIR!?!?! SPENCER'S HAIR!!!!!!!!!!!!! HANNA'S HAIR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ern: They look great, as usual.
Leeard: For serious. I wish I could pull off Hanna’s hair.
Ern: I’ve tried. It was unsuccessful.
Leeard: Yeah, I know it wouldn’t work for me.
Ern: I’ve tried just about every haircut. Not the mullet. Guess which haircuts work on me? NONE OF THEM.
Leeard: Emily’s hair works for me. I just need to grow it out.

As the girls talk, it becomes clear that Emily is an alcoholic now.

Leeard: Aw, Ems. God, I hate sad Emily.
Ern: Me too. It’s bumming me out. Maya is NOT work becoming an alchy for.
Leeard: WORD. Emily is too good for this.

The Liars go to sleep and wake up later to find Emily gone. Emily is standing in front of Alison’s dug-up, empty grave with a shovel. It occurs to us that this is a great way to start season two. We are already into the action and it is indeed creepy.

Leeard: HA! I was seriously going to tell them to check the graveyard, but I thought she was just going to be sitting at Maya’s grave. That f***ing shovel. Whaaaaaat is Ems doing?

Emily appears to still be drunk and out of it. She doesn’t remember anything. She slumps down against a grave and goes to sleep. Spencer finds out that someone snuck into the house and called Emily on Spencer’s cell phone, possibly luring her outside. Hanna and Aria see Lucas running around. He gets in his car and drives away. The Liars wipe the prints off the shovel (and bury it) and get rid of Emily’s clothing. Spencer worries that they might have been seen and could be framed for body theft. We find out that Melissa is in Philadelphia and with that, the Liars wipe her off the suspect list.

Leeard: Ha. I like how “were there any witnesses?” is Spencer’s first question.

They briefly discuss going to the cops and telling them what happened, but the Liars decide to (surprise!) lie about that night if cops come sniffing around.

Ern: Yes, girls. Go to the cops.
Leeard: Meh. Whenever they went to the cops in season one, it bit them in the ass.
Ern: That’s true, but at this point, it would be the smart and likely thing to do, since A is gone.
Leeard: They know someone broke into the house and used Spence’s phone to call Emily and they know someone led Emily to the graveyard.
Ern: They don’t know this someone is as savvy as the old A though. The cops might be able to nip the copycat in the bud.
Leeard: Yeah, but they probably don’t really trust the cops so much.

Aria wakes up on Ezra’s couch. Ezra tells Aria that Maya had found some of Alison’s stuff. Ezra sets up an anniversary date.

Ern: Ugh, Ezra.
Leeard: Oh, his shorts. Maya was and continues to be the worst and she’s DEAD.
Ern:  Aria seems older and more confident, and it's making this relationship less creepy.
Leeard: Mmhmm. It’s the hair.
Ern: It is. She could pull off any hair though.
Leeard: Ugh, that’s true.
Ern: Okay, enough making out. It’s still a little gross, show.

Ashley and Hanna are shopping together. Hanna puts on a large, chunky necklace and rejects her mom’s dress choice. Veronica Hastings and Ashley chat about the missing body, saying that the prosecution in Garrett’s case ordered the body exhumed before it was stolen. Spencer tells Hanna that Toby has been living in a loft and comes to Spencer’s every morning to shower. Lucky girl.

Leeard: Is Hanna still shoplifting?
Ern: I hope not. I hate that scheist.
Leeard: Um, hey Hanna, I could never pull off that look, but you are rocking it. Ditto Spencer.

Hanna tells Spencer that she has an appointment with Anne, the therapist and leaves the store, putting the chunky necklace back at the last second.

Leeard: WHY ARE YOU STILL SEEING DR. SULLIVAN?!?! Ha, good girl.
Ern: Yayyy, no shoplifting.

Hanna lied to Spencer and is actually visiting Zombie Mona, who just stares off into space the whole time Hanna talks about fashion or whatever.

Ern: Hanna is such a good friend. I would never visit Mona!
Leeard: She really is. And I hope this means she isn’t still seeing Anne.
Ern: I think it does.
Leeard: Good.

We see Emily grieving Maya and her mother trying to comfort her, to no avail. Hanna tells Zombie Mona that she is there for herself, in order to understand why Zombie Mona could have come to hate her so much or something. Ummm, maybe because Zombie Mona is cray-cray? Who cares why she hated you, Hanna? We’d be more concerned if someone so unstable and evil liked you.

Leeard: I’m glad Hanna is doing this for herself.

Hanna exits Zombie Mona’s room and runs into Dr. Wren, certified British hottie and future love of Spencer’s life (sorry Toby). He is volunteering. We see Mona’s eyes, watching the two talk through the crack in the doorway.

Ern: WREN. I love you.
Leeard: Um, HEY CREEPY MONA. <3 you girl

Back at the Hastings home, Spencer is watching Toby get dressed. They kiss and she basically proposes sex, but Toby turns her around so that she can’t see his naked upper half. He knows that she normally wants to wait. God knows why. Someone calls Spencer and she ignores it, looking worried none-the-less.

Leeard: Oooooooh Toby.
Ern: Shirtless, as we like him.
Leeard: Mmmhmm, get it girl. No! Don’t put clothes on, Toby!
Ern: Aw, Toby is such a nice guy.

At school, Caleb and Hanna talk, adorably.

Ern: Caleb!
Leeard: They are so freaking adorable together.
Ern: This may be my favorite current TV romance.
Leeard: It’s definitely not mine, but I do love them.
Ern: What’s yours?
Leeard: There are a few.
Ern: Liiiike?
Leeard: Well, there are a few I can’t tell you, because they’d be spoilers of shows you need to watch. But Jane/Brad from Happy Endings. Shawn/Juliet from Psych. Sam/Andy from Rookie Blue. Hanna and Caleb have a healthy teenage relationship though, and I really appreciate that.

Aria and Spencer discuss creepy Lucas, Jenna who is out of town, and the person dressed as Black Swan at the party last season. Aria goes to the bathroom, goes into a stall, tries to lock the malfunctioning lock, sees someone dressed the way A used to dress, and has a panic attack. Spencer and Hanna enter to comfort her. It’s not that scary, but the show acts like it’s scary.

Leeard: Oh, Aria.
Ern: She looked so young in that scene.
Leeard: The fear makes her look young. Man, I feel really bad for Aria.
Ern: I love Spencer.
Leeard: “Bitch crazy” cements my love for Spence.
Ern: She and Hanna have the best lines.
Leeard: They really do.

At the Hastings house, Spencer assures Veronica that Melissa will bounce back soon, because she is a Hastings. Spencer ignores another mysterious phone call and leaves the house. At the Montgomery house, Ella and Aria bond. We find out that the Montgomery parents have split, and one of the significant issues between the two was Ella’s acceptance of Ezra. Ella assures Aria that the divorce is not Aria’s fault. Aria thanks her mother for letting her be herself. Ern thinks that gives Ella the worst parent of the year award. Seriously. Leeard disagrees; at least one parent needs to be open to their relationship (if not supportive) or Aria would've done something drastic like run away with Ezra. At a coffee shop, Toby meets Emily and they talk.

Leeard: Awww, yay! Toby and Emily are still friends. He needs a haircut.
Ern: Yeah, his hair is hideous.

Spencer goes to Mona’s scary hotel and tromps around the woods for a while. Someone follows her. She goes into Mona’s old room, whips out a laptop, and starts working on something. When the phone rings, Spencer answers it, finally, and says, “I’m listening.” She sounds very bad ass. At the Marin house, Caleb asks Hanna about her therapy and describes their relationship as “intimate,” which Hanna thinks is kinda gay. Caleb spits out his version of “no homo” right before Hanna gets a call from someone named “R.S.” She tells Caleb it’s Spencer, but it turns out to be Wren, asking for Hanna’s Mona-visiting alias, Miss Rivers. He tells Hanna that Mona is showing progress due to Hanna’s visits.

Leeard: Watcha doin’ Spence?
Ern:  Being weird, as usual. It wouldn't surprise me if she turns out to be the real A and all the crazy stuff that happens to HER is in her head as she torments the others
Leeard: That would be pretty awesome
Ern: I would hate it. It hate the "main character was crazy the whole time" plot twist. I think it's lazy and only marginally less disappointing than the "it was all a dream" explanation. It's been done to death by better things (Fight Club). They should end it.
Leeard: I mean, Spencer is arguably NOT the main character. She’s the BEST character. I think they could pull it off. I’m not saying I want them to, but I think that if they went there, they could find a way to make it satisfying.
Ern: Even if it was pulled off beyond perfectly, I would be sad.
Leeard: Me too, but if it was done well, I would be okay with it. I love the way Wren says “progress.”

The cops finally call and the Liars all stop by the station to lie. The cops buy it…for now. Ezra and Ella meet, and Ella is cold. She gives Ezra the face that we would give the entire relationship, and it is amazing. The expression says, “I actually hate you. I just don’t want my daughter to hate me.” The next day, Hanna visits Mona (who smiles and acts a little more responsive) and we see what Mona sees. Mona sees Alison sitting behind Hanna.

Leeard: Ha. I love you, Crazy Mona.

Spencer visits her mysterious caller, Garrett, in prison. He maintains that he was framed, asks Spencer to get Veronica to be his lawyer, and tells Spencer that he knows who took the body.

Ern: Do you believe Garrett? I think I do.
Leeard: Oh yeah, I believe him.

Emily is jogging when she sees a car. She has a memory of the trunk and convertible top opening and gets a text that says, “I bet you remember me.” The car drives away and Emily is clearly freaked out. That night, Emily remembers being in a convertible and tells the Liars.

Leeard: Wha da fa?

When the Liars wonder if A is back and out of the loony bin, Hanna confesses that she’s been visiting Mona in secret. Mona is still locked up, but it seems that things are starting again. Spencer takes the Liars back to Creepy Hotel and shows them her laptop where she has been recreating the contents of Mona’s lair from memory. The girls confess to Emily that they came back to the hotel room the morning after Maya’s death and found Mona’s lair completely cleaned out. Emily thinks the cops did it, but the girls note that if Mona’s stuff was found by the police, Ashley Marin would be in jail for stealing and Ezra would be in trouble for boinking children. They realize that someone helped A and suspect the Black Swan. The girls hear their vehicle alarm going off and run out of Mona’s room.

Leeard: Aaaaaaaand this is why they didn’t want to go to the police. Love you girls so much. F*ck, don’t leave the computer.

All the car doors are open, including the trunk door. Inside the car, covering the dash and seats, are pictures of the Liars standing at Alison’s empty grave. The Liars get a text: "Mona played with dolls, I play with body parts. Game on, bitches. - A" Oh, it’s on.

Leeard: Oh man. This show is the best show of all the shows.
Ern: It’s happening again. Muah haha.
LeearD: So, suspect No. 1: Lucas. Right?
Ern: You mean Red Herring No. 1. I think the real A this time is Melissa.
Leeard: Yeah, I mean that he is someone they will think is A this season, but he’s not the real one.
Ern: That was a good premiere. Grade?
Leeard: A. Maybe A-. But A.

Overall, there was a lot of clarification and exposition, and the middle was a little uneventful, but the episode moved swiftly, set a lot up, and entertained. This recap/review/chat took Ern, like, an hour to make and compile, so we hope you enjoyed it, lol.

Episode grade: A