Friday, February 3, 2012

Tonight's TV Talk: 'Nikita' and 'Supernatural'...

TV Talk for Friday, February 3rd 2012

Nikita (The CW, 8pm) - S2, Ep13: "Clean Sweep" - It's official. I am so jaded as a television viewer that simply knowing the outcome of an episode (i.e. that they can't all die because they are the majority of the show) makes the journey feel unnecessary to me. I know it's not supposed to be about the outcome but the road to getting there, and for the most part, I can shut off my brain (well, partially) to get invested every time Nikita (Maggie Q) or Alex (Lyndsy Fonseca) or even Michael (Shane West) get themselves into a spot of trouble. Tonight it wasn't them in trouble-- in fact, Amanda (Melinda Clarke) even went so far as to try to team up with Alex because she realized she was the only one she could trust in her mission against Percy (Xander Berkeley) and his mole-- yet I felt calmer than ever before about the most likely outcome. What made this episode still more than worth watching, though, was Percy's equally eerie calm grasp on control as he executed his plan to escape his Hannibal Lecter cage and then attempted to drive a wedge between Nikita and Michael when they had him at gunpoint. Only one cocky bastard could stare down the barrel of two guns and still attempt to turn them against each other, risking that one or both would just get so angry with his words they put a bullet in him to shut him up. Because of this, I have to imagine he had bigger plans for Madeline (Alberta Watson) that just got thwarted because to leave her alive just seemed sloppy. Sure, killing her would have ensured an emotional outburst by Sean (Dillon Casey), but not killing her hand-delivered her to cut a deal with Nikita. I guess it could remain to be seen that Madeline is still really working with Percy, and the deal may be a decoy or diversion of its own. After all, they both want to take down Division, but they're at a point well past being willing to accept each others' allegiance in any shape or form. Personally, I'm also intrigued by this turn with Amanda trying to "out" Alex and working with Ari (Peter Outerbridge) simply because I don't like the idea that Amanda got sloppy due to a personal relationship with Percy. Nor did I like the idea that she was under Madeline's thumb. Maybe Amanda is ruthless; maybe she has terrible, now "woman scorned," intentions, but I like her. And I want her to have another chance-- even if she perhaps doesn't deserve one because she should have been three moves ahead this whole time anyway.

Supernatural (The CW, 9pm) - S7, Ep13: "Slice Girls" - Okay, here's the thing: I'm happy Dean (Jensen Ackles) got to end his dry spell (and even happier than we got to see him shirtless in doing so), but on a larger scale, big picture sort of way, this storyline was ridiculous for him. Or "ridic" as Sara Canning managed to pull off. It is just another notch on the "Dean is getting sloppy" side of things. As Sam (Jared Padalecki) almost inexplicably hones his hunting abilities (inexplicably because he's still fighting knowing what is real and what is not), Dean is backsliding into careless, almost carefree behavior. I smell all of the markers of severe depression-- mostly because of his disinterest in his usual favorite things (even when he slept with Lydia, it was like he was just going through the motions-- and yet I know the show will never deal with them the way Dean needs to in order to get back to his normal, fighting shape. And so, I'm sad for him. Because the more mistakes he makes, the less his brother-- or even potentially Bobby (Jim Beaver) from beyond (I refuse to believe Bobby drank Dean's beer, though; I think that was more an indicator that Dean is drinking so much he didn't even remember downing it on his own)-- can help him. And the end result should be catastrophic. The case that brought the boys to this town was so dark and twisted and serious, and yet, from the jump, Dean brushed it off to go to the local bar. His connection with Lydia (Canning) may have reeked of being under a spell, but what brought him to her in the first place was all him. I want my old Dean back! The one who would have sensed the shifty female cop well before the creepy (though still adorable) talking baby crossed his path. It felt a little unfair to give Dean a daughter only to rip her away from him immediately. Sure, he couldn't connect to her the way he had to Ben (Nicholas Elia)-- lack of time, knowing she was a "thing" from the jump, what have you-- but it was just another reminder of how he'll never have the normal "apple pie" life he tries to hide the fact that he wants so bad. And just another reminder of how this show gives us an interesting complication only to take it away/wrap it up almost too quickly. Emma may have had some of his blood running through her veins, but she still "ate" and then confronted him for the kill. No amount of getting to know him would have solved her genetically-ingrained daddy issues! Still, Ackles turned on the emotions, as if answering my earlier in the evening complaints that when you know an outcome is inevitable it's hard to get invested anyway. Emma may have been saying all of the right things to tug at his heartstrings (my disbelief of them aside), but she had to die-- I knew that simply from the log line of the episode, and Dean knew it, too. But when staring down the "could have been"s and the "may never again actually be"s, he felt again for the first time, probably, since Bobby died. Sure, he's only feeling pain, and that's not great for his mental state, but feeling anything is a start-- and an improvement over alcohol-fueled numbness. I didn't think he'd be able to pull the trigger, so to speak, on his own kid-- "thing" or not-- especially after the guilt he felt over leaving his not-kid Ben and then over killing Sam's childhood friend. In fact, a little part of me was afraid he'd close his eyes and let her kill him, just so it could all be over. Look, he's died before. The show can kill him and then bring him back. It cheapens it every time they bring a character back from the dead, but still. What else is there for Dean at this point but death? It sounds morbid, but it's kind of true. The show has run him into a rut. He said it himself: he's getting too old for drunken one-night stands. He had a taste of a real life recently, and the rest just won't cut it. Yet, he can't just get through these jobs and then get back to that other life-- there will never be another life for him. He seems less and less okay with that every time he loses someone close to him, and he couldn't even must up the energy/interest in arguing with his brother. Remember when he used to take such pleasure in the whole bitch/jerk play-fighting? He's not a young punk kid glad to be playing cowboy anymore. In a lot of ways, Dean's work is done anyway. He taught his brother to be strong; he saved the world (more than once); he literally went to hell and back-- and the search for the Leviathans is proving extremely frustrating and perhaps futile. He's slipping that far into his depression, in my estimation, and it's going to take a lot-- oh, okay, probably just a return from his pal Cas (Misha Collins)-- for him to snap out of it.

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