MAD MEN 4.5: The Chrysanthemum and the Sword

In an episode that hinged on preconceptions, prejudices, stigmas and more World War II references than you can cram into an expense account, Don pinned the agency’s future on a “Crazy Ivan” wildcard maneuver straight out of a Tom Clancy movie.

The first moment Don (Jon Hamm) realized he had a challenger came when a New York Times reporter asked him for a comment about his self-anointed rival named Ted Chaough (Kevin Rahm) who claimed to be constantly in Don’s rearview. “Never heard of him,” Don sniffed. At the ensuing partners’ meeting, Pete (Vincent Kartheiser) announced he had an inside track on Japanese motorcycle maker Honda – which held over 50 percent of the U.S. market. But Roger (John Slattery) put his foot down, refusing to do business with Pete’s “new yellow buddies.” Bert Cooper (Robert Morse) of all people, tried to remind Roger that the war was over, but Roger stormed out. Don wanted to pursue Honda, and Bert advised keeping Roger out of the loop.
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BURN NOTICE 4.11: Blind Spot

No matter what else went on in this week’s BURN NOTICE – no matter how entertaining it was – the only thing that really mattered was that Jesse Found Out. He knows Michael burned him. Not good. Very, very not good.

The episode began like any other: with Michael (Jeffrey Donovan) and Sam (Bruce Campbell) lying to Jesse (Coby Bell) to get him to do their bidding. Now, granted, their objective also moved Jesse closer to his ultimate goal of stopping the Big Bad, but Jess also has that subsidiary goal of uncovering who burned him. And it was just convenience that pointing Jesse toward John Barrett (Robert Patrick) helped obfuscate Michael’s culpability. Michael and Sam faked up a report citing Barrett as the man behind all the world’s troubles – the man Jesse has been hunting for three years. The trio decided the best approach was a straightforward approach (*snerk*): They called Barrett and offered him the Bible. They knew he would send someone to check it out, so they set up a convincing booby trap using a 55-gallon oil drum, a portable defibrillator and Skype. They caught an errand boy – who turned out to be an active-duty U.S. Army officer. So Barrett was definitely connected!
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MAKE IT OR BREAK IT 2.8: Rock Bottom

Some characters may have bottomed out this week on MAKE IT OR BREAK IT, but it wasn’t for lack of aspiration on Payson’s part and, like all good bad girls, Lauren proved she is never without a plan.

Lauren (Cassie Scerbo) was beyond furious at dad Steve (Anthony Starke). So was Emily (Chelsea Hobbs), who brought him a big chunk of change and vowed to pay back every penny of the rest. Meanwhile, Chloe (Susan Ward) told Lauren she will not keep her and Carter having sex a secret, so either Lauren comes clean, or Chloe will. Cornered, Lauren turned to Carter (Zachary Burr Abel), who resolved to tell her father together. But Lauren always has something up her sleeve: She told Summer (Candice Cameron Bure) that she needs to marry Steve and be her stepmother. Thanks to her determination to pay back Steve, Emily was literally searching the couch cushions for change to pay for the bus. Which was kind of the last straw for her. She railed about carrying the family on her back, and demanded that her mother get another job. Chloe managed to get a word in edgewise to announce that she already secured one. (But we don’t know what it is… hmmm.)
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COVERT AFFAIRS 1.6: Houses of the Holy

Can you believe it? This week’s episode of COVERT AFFAIRS is exactly what I was begging for last week: a mission that did not hinge on Annie screwing up and then recovering!

This week, the agency was searching for another pesky leak – at least I think it’s a different leak than the leak who is feeding information to Liza (Emmanuelle Vaugier). This mole was suspected to be in the Senate Intelligence committee itself. Annie (Piper Perabo) was assigned to investigate Sen. Jarvis (D.W. Moffet), the committee chair. This brought her into contact with his wife, Madeline Jarvis (Lauren Holly), and Ashley Briggs (Anna Camp), the senator’s chief of staff. Turned out the senator was a serial philanderer, and perky, pretty Ashley was his latest fling. So there was plenty of suspicion to go ‘round. As Jai (Sendhil Ramamurthy) pointed out, senators are not supermen. “They’re fallible, just like you and me.”
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RESCUE ME 6.8: Cowboy

Hmm, another new episode of RESCUE ME, another new Tommy? This is getting to be a habit.

Following last week’s night of passion with Janet (Andrea Roth), Tommy (Denis Leary) woke up early and burned some eggs. But what really bothered me was him wearing a Boston Bruins shirt – that’s just something no true New Yorker would be caught dead wearing! Tommy should have been wearing a N.Y. Rangers sweater, but this is a case of Massachusetts-born co-creator Leary throwing his weight around and allowing his own sensibilities to compromise the character. Something else that seemed out of character at first blush? Tommy actually wanted to talk about last night! But of course Janet didn’t. Then Tommy forced the issue. She admitted that she was assuming this meant they were starting over, all “happy, happy sunshine.” He confessed that the sex just happened, but maybe it was the beginning a “recom…commitment…thing.” Surprisingly, she was willing to give it one more shot. (Apparently the memories of the late Connor that were conjured last week were damn powerful.) But this was The Last Time. If it crashes and burns, or if it’s just another one of his empty promises, it will be the last hurtful thing he ever does to her. Janet’s one caveat: zero contact with Sheila. She called him turning to Sheila an emotional betrayal, like a dagger to her heart.
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MAD MEN 4.4: The Rejected

This week’s MAD MEN was all about keeping one’s eyes on the prize, whether it’s a fat corporate account or a little tiny baby. Basically, it addressed what men and especially women want — or, rather, what they wanted back in 1965.

One could be forgiven for forgetting that Pete is part of the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce operation, but Mr. Campbell came back back with a vengeance this week, and it was acceptable. Or, rather, Mmm-mmm good!
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BURN NOTICE 4.10: Hard Time

michael and simonOh, those sneaky powers-that-be at BURN NOTICE! They pulled a bait-and-switch with this episode, teasing viewers with a Simon story that quickly gave way to a case-of-the-week that had nothing to do with Simon. However, on the plus side, BN put an entertaining spin on the all-too-familiar “hero behind bars” scenario.

Sam (Bruce Campbell) needed to protect Juan (John Verea), an old asset who was locked up and marked for death by prison gang, so Michael (Jeffrey Donovan) went inside, posing as Juan’s cellmate. He called on feds Lane and Harris (who still owe him a big favor – or, as we’re discovering, a lot of little ones.) Once inside, the first thing Michael taught viewers was a handy tutorial on the importance of eye contact: make too little of it and you’re seen as a victim; too much, and you become a threat. Michael had the advantage of knowing a hit was coming, so when he recognized players falling into place for the actual attack, he was able to level the playing field a bit by ingeniously fashioning light body armor from the hard covers of big law books. And he made sure the attack took place inside their cell, so the narrow door served a choke point that reduced the effectiveness of the gang’s numbers.
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