“Dan and the mother are in a book club? Now there’s a novel twist.” — Gossip Girl
This was a funny episode of GOSSIP GIRL, thanks to lines like the above, and the show’s willingness to take Blair down a peg or two. While she went to great lengths in her quest to become the “consort” to Lord Marcus, she remained unwilling (or unable) to surrender in her battle with Chuck. So fans got to see obsequious Blair and Queen B Blair. Chuck and Blair plotting and manipulating at cross-purposes? That’s how true villains make love — none of this “I’ll bring her pretty flowers” sensitive nonsense. Chuck pulling the rug out from under buddy Nate by offering the family money —that’s the Chuck we love to hate. Chuck banked on Blair not knowing Marcus’ mother (a.k.a. the Duchess). And, thanks to clever plotting (actually, storytelling born of miraculous coincidence…we’d never been told about his parents, so they could have been anyone) he introduced her to the Duchess, providing Blair the chance to put her expensively-shod foot in her mouth — twice. Turned out Catherine (the well-preserved Madchen Amick, once TWIN PEAKS’ battered Shelly) is Marcus’ stepmom — and the older woman Nate is…er, servicing. And Catherine has a sharp tongue, as when she told Blair Marcus would never end up with “a lowly Waldorf.” The look of utter shock on Leighton Meester‘s face was worth the price of admission. And when she spotted Nate and Catherine rolling around on the library floor, Blair’s crying of “Oh, my Effing God!” actually sounded believable. And believe that Blair the Queen B — as in Bitch — is back. Her eyes bore holes in Chuck as she hissed “You lose,” after turning the tables on his plan. Finally, can Dan please get Serena a box of chocolate-covered strawberries every week?
The thing to remember about the second-season premiere of TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES is, it was never the plan for this episode to be a season-opener — that’s just the slot where things got jammed up by the writers’ strike. Rather than return with just a couple of episodes, the-powers-that-be decided to hold the leftovers and add them to the new fall season. But since the last-aired episode ended on a cliff-hanger, they had to use the follow-up episode.
Now, no one expected a chintzy little car bomb to take out Cameron, but it did have the effect of rebooting her programming to its original mission, namely, terminating John Connor. This was bound to happen sooner or later, and on one level I’m glad the producers got the story out of the way. On the other hand, the tale did feel more than a little rushed. Essentially one long chase, the episode ironically opened with too much slow-motion and confusing editing. Eventually, Sarah and John managed to trap Cameron, and in the only scene of real acting in the story, Cam (Summer Glau) begged John not to deactivate her, pleading, “I don’t want to go,” and, “I love you.” She almost had him convinced until she miscalculated with the “love” line. (How ironic for a computer to miscalculate!) John looked like he wanted to believe her, and, yeah, she’s hot, but she is, y’know, a robot. (Naturally, one wonders why SkyNet was churning out terminators that look like cute girls, but apparently even in the future sex sells.) John resisted her ploy and de-chipped her — only to plug her back in instead of destroying her. Apparently, John is the “Terminator Whisperer,” because his puppy-dog eyes (plus a little timely tinkering with a screwdriver) convinced Cam to override her Terminatrix imperative and go back to protecting him. So, will this be the technique that FutureJohn uses to reprogram all the terminators he sends back to protect himself?
The most significant development was the introduction of a new Big Bad, in the form of Shirley Manson, lead singer for the band Garbage. At first she appeared to be a mysterious, hot-tempered Irish woman. Then she revealed herself to be a urinal — that is, a liquid-metal terminator disguised as a urinal. She’s probably a T-1000, but we’ll have to wait to see if she’s a more-advanced T-X. Though it was a surprise to see the upgraded model unveiled in this episode, I knew it was only a matter of time before SkyNet stopped trusting the job to clunky old T-800s and stepped up to the newer models.
ONE TREE HILL took a step backward this week with a dark, sad episode that featured the ugly story of Brooke getting beaten in her store and Grandpa Dan battling Nanny Carrie in the battle of “Why Won’t You Both Just Die?” villains. And then there was the shockingly unnecessarily death… <[p> But let’s start with the best part of the episode: Jamie. I’ve said it before: I loathe precocious child actors, but Jackson Brundage can really bring it. Whether it’s riding in a car seat, measuring his ears or trading rhymes and bustin’ a move with Quentin, Jamie is too cool for school.
Now for the uncool stuff: Brooke was savagely beaten (but was she raped?) by the intruder from last episode. However, as she told Deb, “I’m not gonna cry.” I am sure that was supposed to be some kind of “strong woman” statement, but it was undercut by her lament that she didn’t want to let the press get involved. That comment made her sound petty — almost as if what was really worrying her was the potential for unflattering photographs. She asked Deb to teach her how to use a gun, implying viewers can expect a revenge storyline (in which, I predict, she will stop herself from killing her attacker because he’s “not worth it.”) Peyton had one doozy of a blonde moment when she believed Brooke’s ludicrous story about falling down the stairs on her face. (Seeing this story, I’m inclined to believe the writers fell down the stairs — on their brains!)
In contrast, this was Q’s Best Day Ever: He was finally having fun playing basketball again; Jamie decided to make him a superhero cape; he got an A+ from his tutor, Haley, and told her he wants to have children someday (even a little girl!)…. As the evidence started to mount, I realized there was no way this was going to end well. As soon as he pulled into that lonely gas station, I said, “They are not seriously going to kill Quentin in a random robbery, are they?” They did. And he died. What a terrible waste of a character. It’s true the writers had pretty much derailed his hoop dreams with the hand injury, but there was an opportunity to demonstrate that there is more to life than sports — Nathan cannot let go of his NBA quest, and he and Lucas and Skills not only coach basketball, they constantly hark back to their halcyon days as state champs. Everyone either plays basketball or wishes they did (or cheered for someone who did). Why couldn’t Q have gone to college? From the previews for next episode it appears the rationale was to set up an emotional story about Jamie dealing with death. But there should have been another way (how about letting Grandpa Dan succumb to his alleged heart condition?) I’m also going to predict Q will be buried in his new cape.
My colleague, Mala, called this OTH’s “Jump the Shark” episode, and even though I have only been watching since last season, I’m inclined to agree….