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Contributor: John Keegan

Written by Gabrielle Stanton
Directed by Nick Copus

The attention turns back to the personal relationships in this episode, as Oliver continues to firm up his resources. Dig also gets some much needed additional background exploration, and Oliver’s time on the island gets a bit more complex than expected. It’s something of a transitional episode of “Arrow”, but that’s not necessary a bad thing.

“Trust but Verify” is a common enough turn of phrase, especially in today’s cynical society. Or, as I’ve often had to put it, “In God We Trust…all others bring data”! We are often fooled and diminished by our assumptions and how they lead us astray, and it doesn’t take much for someone to take advantage of that tendency by providing limited information, playing on trust.

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Mirrored from Critical Myth.

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Contributor: Gregg Wright

Written by Joe Henderson
Directed by Paul Holahan

After a somewhat underwhelming mid-season finale, with a reveal that was about as heavily-telegraphed as a reveal can be, “White Collar” returns and picks up at the very moment where it left off. “White Collar” serves as an important counterweight in my TV viewing roster to all the grim, unrelenting shows such as “Breaking Bad” and “Game of Thrones”, as well as the more tonally-varied shows like “Fringe” and “Supernatural”. “White Collar” offers charming characters, a perpetually-pleasant setting, and just enough character development and serialized-storytelling to keep it all from feeling disposable.

“Family Business” is a satisfying packaging of everything I like about the show: the humor, the undercover work, the emotional depth, and the intrigue of the long-term mystery. Much of the episode is wisely dedicated to Neal’s emotional turmoil over re-connecting with his father, who he had been led to believe was a dirty cop and a cop killer. I’ve always liked this aspect of Neal’s background: that Neal had purposefully rebelled against his father by becoming a con man, ironically becoming more like the criminal that his father really was.

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Mirrored from Critical Myth.

Contributor: John Keegan

Written by Nancy Won
Directed by Adam Kane

With the new status quo more or less established in the season premiere, it was time for the writers to start exploring the ramifications of those changes. And sure enough, that’s exactly what they accomplish in this episode. Each character gets a solid plot thread that introduces some of the major challenges they will be facing as the latest season arc evolves.

One of the great things about “Being Human” is the relatively tight continuity. Very little is ever wasted. After the ugly confrontation with Connor and Brynn last season, who would have expected their father to come calling, looking for vengeance? That’s not good news, especially since Connor’s head is mounted on a vampire den wall, and Brynn is trapped in a woefully underwhelming NBC show.

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Mirrored from Critical Myth.

Contributor: John Keegan

Written by J. H. Wyman
Directed by J. H. Wyman

Bringing a trilogy of episodes to a solid conclusion is a difficult task. Also bringing a full season arc to its natural and fitting conclusion is even more difficult. Wrapping up an entire five-season series at the exact same time is well nigh impossible. And yet, “Fringe” has come to its final conclusion with one of the finest examples of a series finale in recent memory.

As a disclaimer, I will openly admit that this is not a perfect example of storytelling. The episode does have its flaws. The hand-waving explanation for Walter’s disappearance from the timeline, as well as the absence of any real exploration of how Peter and Olivia would meet without September’s interference of Walternate’s experiments in Alt-Fringe, could be a show-stopper for some. But often a masterpiece is notable for how it transcends its flaws, and delivers better on its promises than a technically proficient 9/10 ever could.

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Mirrored from Critical Myth.

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Contributor: Bronzethumb

Written by Jeff King
Directed by Jon Cassar

The first episode of “Continuum” came out of the gate strong, moved fast and defied expectations of what a show about a cop from the future would be like. The second episode continues this trend and moves with the kind of sure footing that a lot of shows don’t find until much further into their run — it’s not perfect, but it’s damn hard to figure out what they could be doing better at this point in its life.

Following on from the first episode, “Fast Times” sees Kiera continuing her mission to stop the time travelling Liber8 terrorists with Alec’s help, only to be hamstrung in the opening minutes of the episode when her cover as a Portland cop is blown by Chief Dillon and she has to work against Carlos and the VPD. Meanwhile, a schism forms within Liber8 when one member, Kellog, wants to stay and wage their war in 2012 while the rest plan to help Lucas’ experiments with rebuilding their time device and returning to the 2070s.

Right off the bat, the “Continuum” writers deserve no small amount of praise for cutting to the chase: both the possibility of returning to the future and the notion of Kiera’s flimsy cover identity being blown are obvious story points that would need to be dealt with eventually, but most shows would push those back, stringing out these possibilities until a season finale or some-such and using this first episode after the pilot to establish a basic formula. Instead, this episode dives right into these issues, and all their character and plot implications, and lets them drive the story. The closest thing to a formula that develops is Kiera using Alec’s resources and her future knowledge to figure out what Liber8 is up to, but it doesn’t feel that way in the slightest. This fast pace adds to the realism of the characters (and therefore the show) because they’re immediately trying to do what people would immediately try and do.

The only real drawback to this is that by pulling the trigger on a “can we get back to the future?” story so early in the series, they rob the climax of a lot of its suspense because the audience knows they’re not going to make it; if they did, there’d be no show. But that failure is immediately spun off into new storytelling possibilities and little Chekhovian nuggets of plot to be picked up later. Exactly what Liber8′s ultimate goal is gets discussed, leading to the schism. Kiera not only has to figure out how to establish herself in 2012, but she has to contend with having killed whatever trust Carlos, Dillon and the rest of the VCP had in her. These things and more directly play into how the story unfolds and there’s every indication they’ll continue to play into future episodes.

In the premiere, it felt like Alec got the best showing of the main trio of characters. In “Fast Times”, Kiera and Carlos get far more room to shine and their actors get a bigger variety of material to work with. Victor Webster came across as bland and dull in the previous episode as Carlos, but here he gets to wear his detective hat a bit more often and interact with a few more characters, and much more personality comes out as a result. His rapport with Rachel Nichols is great — and better still, there’s a distinct lack of romantic tension, hopefully purposeful, because with Kiera’s family waiting back in 2077 it wouldn’t seem right for there to be a big will-they-or-won’t-they storyline between these two.

And speaking of Rachel Nichols, she also gives a better and more varied performance than what she did in the premiere, which — given that she was quite excellent in the premiere — is really saying something. The Kiera Cameron of the teaser was almost a whole different character, young and green and with a totally different attitude towards police work, a night and day difference from the tough officer trapped in 2012, and the credit goes entirely to Nichols for the performance. She also got a chance to play some more comedic moments, such as figuring out how to open and drive a car, in addition to the familiar shades of stern cop and distraught wife/parent. The only scene of hers that felt like a let-down was at the very end, but that was less from performance than hammy, cliché-ridden scripting that had executive meddling (of the “can you just sum it all up for us?” variety) stamped all over it.

All of this doesn’t touch on the quality of the special effects, or the (mostly) solid script, or the genuine sense of malice and danger that the villains exude, or the veins of blue collar that permeate the tone of the police department compared to some of the very slick cop procedurals on the air right now, or a dozen other little things. The presentation is outstanding, the characters are engaging and one comes away from the episode wanting to know what will happen next: it’s a feat that it manages all this in only the second episode, and if the next eight instalments continue to unfold to such a high standard, “Continuum” might just usurp some geeky bigwigs when it comes to what’s the best genre show on TV right now.

Score: 8/10

Mirrored from Critical Myth.

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The Critical Myth Crew says farewell to one of their favorite shows as Fringe comes to its conclusion. As one might expect, there are a ton of spoilers for the series and the finale, so be forewarned! Recorded 19 Jan 2013.

Listen to Critical Myth on VOG Network! Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (7PM Eastern/4PM Pacific), with an encore marathon on Saturdays (12PM Eastern/9AM Pacific).

Opening theme provided by The Oceanic Six. A huge thanks to Alex, Luke, and Jason!

The podcast is on iTunes, and you can add this feed to the client of your choice:

http://entil2001.com/blog5/?feed=podcast

Want to leave some feedback? You can leave a comment here on the site or our Facebook page, or you can also record your comment and send it to us by E-mail at feedback@criticalmyth.com.

Mirrored from Critical Myth.

Contributor: Bronzethumb

Written by Stephen Cochrane
Directed by Steve Dimarco

After a shaky start to the season, “SubterrFaenean” feels like a much better premiere and makes a better promise to the audience that good things are coming. It feels a lot more like the better episodes of seasons one and two, balancing the fun characters, an interesting A-plot and a deepening of both the Fae mythology and the ongoing plotlines. For the first time since mid-season two, “Lost Girl” seems like it’s back on track.

A friend from Kenzi’s past is one of many humans that have been snatched by an unknown group of Fae, leading Bo and Kenzi deep into the sewers to find those responsible and rescue the missing humans. Dyson tries to help, but his attempts at investigating are stymied by politics and policies within the police department, and by Tamsin, his new Dark Fae partner. Tamsin is determined to nail Bo for attacking citizens of the Dark, and soon it becomes apparent that despite her own ignorance, Bo isn’t as innocent as she thinks.

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Mirrored from Critical Myth.

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Contributor: J.M.

Written by Sam Ernst and Jim Dunn
Directed by Shawn Piller

Well, after a weaker transitional episode, the writers pulled out all the stops, laid waste to the status quo, and drastically altered the landscape for the fourth season of “Haven” after the breakneck-paced season finale. All season I have been critical of the execution of the Skinwalker/Bolt Gun Killer plot, and very disappointed with a lack of follow up on the anti-Troubled sentiment following the death of the Rev in the second season finale. But I have to give credit to the writers for setting up the answers to the Troubles and then actually delivering on them, but still leaving a lot more information out there to be discovered.

The episode begins with a conversation with Agent Howard. The revelations he gives are in line with what has been shown to the viewer’s already: he represents the manifestation of the Barn, Audrey’s caretaker while she stays in the Barn to keep the Troubles at bay. The Barn itself is not just a barn, but some kind of amplifier for her non-Trouble, which keeps them at bay but she has to come out every 27 years to recharge on love. This is recognized by nearly everyone in the situation as a band-aid solution, and much of the episode is devoted to the mad scramble to find some way out of the fact that has apparently gone on for hundreds of years: Audrey has to go into the Barn, to die, and come back to keep the Troubles at bay.

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Review #3921: Haven 3.12: “Reunion”

Contributor: J.M.

Written by Gabrielle Stanton
Directed by Lee Rose

While not originally planned as a two part episode, because of the Sandy Hook shooting, Syfy pushed back “Reunion” to air with the season finale. While I don’t really want to speak to the politics of the decision, the decision to push it back didn’t really hurt the story at all. In a lot of ways it actually made more sense to air these two episodes together as it really moved the skinwalker storyline to its conclusion.

In a lot of ways the Skinwalker storyline covered some of the execution problems that have been around this season. Characters can act strangely, lack chemistry, and make fundamental mistakes and it all boils down to the fact that they are being impersonated by Skinwalker. While if you think about it a little too hard, it still becomes hard to believe that someone who has had to deal with this Trouble for at least one additional cycle made a lot of mistakes, but it is not a deal breaker by any stretch. Ultimately, the reveal of the actual identity of the Skinwalker propels the story towards its final conclusion.

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Contributor: Gregg Wright

Written by Howard Overman
Directed by Justin Molotnikov

One of the most prominent central themes of “Merlin” (particularly in the previous season) has been the contrast between Arthur and his more ruthless father, Uther Pendragon. The show has made the point rather well that Arthur is a better man and a better ruler than his father ever was, but it has also made the point that there’s still plenty of room for improvement for Arthur. “The Death Song of Uther Pendragon” takes the threat of Arthur’s Bane and puts it at center stage. The result is a strong stand-alone episode, but one that feels weakened by its enslavement to the episodic structure of the show.

At the very least, it’s great to see Anthony Stewart Head back. I was disappointed to see him leave the show, so I appreciate that he was willing to make a brief return. I always thought that his departure was extremely premature. This episode attempts to resolve that dangling thread, and it does so about as well as any single episode could. But I’m disappointed that this wasn’t expanded into a multi-episode story arc. The resolution would have been a lot more meaningful if more time could have been spent building up to it.

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Mirrored from Critical Myth.

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