The TV Obsessed Week In Review: House Of Lies, Once Upon A Time, Criminal Minds

For its third episode, House of Lies continues on the same path–crude jokes, little story, and good acting. I probably won’t say more about the show unless it changes.

Shameless: Frank is surely a bad person, but last night’s episode took it to an extreme, as he denied Dottie a heart she should have had. Then she pays him to essentially kill her, and then he steals from the church. It’s hard to stomach watching Frank each week when we know he deserves a lot worse than he gets. It’s far more interesting to watch a character like Fiona–someone with an actual conscience–grapple with the decisions she makes. And that leads to the return of Steve, plastered in front of a completely unrealistic beach. (Seriously, that was comparable to the boat scene in the pilot of Ringer.)

It kind of feels like Once Upon a Time painted itself into a corner with this week’s episode. In the fairytale world, Snow forgets about the prince at the end of the episode, and as we know they got married at the beginning of the series. So it’s a long way before we reach that point, and when we can figure out more about the spell which sent them to Storybrooke. How much longer do we have to wait?

Sometimes, it’s a good idea to look at the big picture of a show and evaluate where the show is. In Fringe’s case, all we have to look at is the episode number, 9. 9 episodes into the season and the viewers have no clue why things are happening. Peter’s stuck in this alternate place, by himself and with familiar but ultimately different characters. Now he’s trying to get back, but it doesn’t seem like he’ll be getting home anytime soon, what with the new shapeshifters and other roadblocks in the way. So we stuck watching these characters who are different than the ones we watched for three season. But why are watching them? Because the show points out time and time again that they are different, it’s hard to have any attachment for them, knowing they’re part of a bigger plot device. While we get plenty of great scenes in the episode with Peter’s mother and Walternate, it’s hollow knowing something is dreadfully wrong with the position Peter is in. It demands Peter go back to where he belongs and leave behind these characters we’ve known for 9+ episodes.

If you needed confirmation that Grimm resets itself and the end of each episode, look no further than last week’s episode. Following an episode in which Nick gets battered in his own home and sent to the hospital, everyone seems to forget what happened. Juliet is worried about the car parked outside, but it’s no big deal. The main point of the subplot is that she’s curious, not scared or worried or any feelings you’d expect after last week’s episode. The writers don’t do much with her character when she’s the most disposable character on the show, and we end up with half-baked subplots.

After weeks of feel good episodes, Chuck dived back into the angst before its final hurrah four days from now. Sarah remembers nothing–oh noz! There’s going to be a happy ending, of course, but not before serious problem solving. The sad thing is, this arc could have been switched with any number of arcs from earlier in the season. All had the same format–everyone’s happy at the start, major problems in the middle, and back to being happy.

The Mentalist revisited O’Laughlin and gave him a final send off for Grace. We’ll never really know what went on in his head–maybe when Red John is caught–but Van Pelt got the absolution she needed. As for the idea that the necklace has some embedded electronic device, I highly doubt it. It would really cheapen that final scene and the necklace must have been inspected before going into evidence.

The Finder, even airing after American Idol, got very average ratings. Unless its ratings stay perfectly stable at where it is, which is highly unlikely, the show will be canceled. The second episode suffers the same problem as the backdoor pilot, too much Bones. If we want Sweets, we can watch Bones. We know need his psychoanalysis and random comments about Walt.

There’s not much to say about The Office. The pool stuff was okay, but Robert California was insufferable as always. I still don’t get.

The Secret Circle took a big step, allowing Cassie to actually see the events of the infamous fire. And a lot of what she saw contradicted what people told her had happened.

The Vampire Diaries didn’t really have that much going on other than introducing Bonnie’s mother, but the episode ended with Elijah’s return, so I’m happy.

Royal Pains has gone back and forth with Jill and Hank so many times. They like each other but work gets in the way, blah blah blah. Can’t the writers just choose something so we don’t have to watch the same dynamic repeat itself?

As always, the subplots on Criminal Minds are painfully underdeveloped, but the episode was bolstered by the most interesting case in a long time.

Modern Family: The whole deal with Lily cursing was stupid. The words were bleeped out since the writers don’t want to be fined, and the situation was realistic enough. That said, Cam and Mitchell again had the worst plot. Balancing it out, though, were the other two plots–the hilarious doggy suicide and Claire failing during the debate.

Southland’s return was better than Justified’s, in my opinion. Lucy Liu was surprisingly good as a cop, and dash camera video was hard-hitting.

Justified introduced its new batch of villains and gave Winona a great incentive of getting out of town, being held at gunpoint. The loss of Margo Martindale will be big, so we’ll see if the new bad guys can make up for that.

Glee’s proposal episode was horrible–a musical spectacle with all the dumb platitudes one might expect and zero heart.

Castle took a fun turn when they busted into the phone sex place, but the episode took a dark, dumb turn into conspiracy land. Castle simply isn’t good when it’s in plot-heavy, serious mode.

I think it was a mistake to air two episodes of Alcatraz. The first episode had enough mystery and exposition to mask the fact that the show was just another supernatural procedural a la Grimm or Haven. Yeah, we could see the framework of a procedural, but it wasn’t clear whether the writers would proceed in that direction. Then, the second episode aired and it was clear the show would have a procedural format, with each episode focusing on a time-traveled convict. This isn’t bad or anything, especially with the revelation that Rebecca’s grandfather killed her partner, but the procedural idea certainly takes away from the allure of a show about Alcatraz and time travel.

The second season premiere of Being Human was a lot less on the angsty side than I remember, which is probably a good thing, since I like the premiere and how light it felt.

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