Friday tellybox, 16 October 2015

Once more, I am faced with the horrible fact that, aside from Doctor Who, I have barely had any tellybox time. Woe, wail, gnash teeth etc. I’m behind on…a lot of things. So many. One day, I’ll have time to actually sit down and catch up on some stuff, which will be magical.

Despite that, I’m setting up my DVR to record Supergirl on Monday, because I’ve been looking forward to it forever. My dad goes home at the weekend, so my time to do things like reading and watching telly and relaxing may finally go back to normal. Woo!

(I love my dad, never doubt that. He’s the person who got me interested in SFF in all its many flavours. But when people visit me, I like to spend time with them, which cuts down on all the other things I would normally do and everything gets a wee bit backed up and chaotic around here.)

Therefore, this week’s two things are the only two things I watched, rather than the things I had the most to say about or the things that I loved best.

Spoilers under the cut.

Blindspot 1.03: Eight Slim Grins

Yeah, I’m behind. Which is sad, because I saw the trailer for the latest episode and my heart skipped a little beat because it has Ebola. I love a good infectious disease. Er, I probably shouldn’t say that too loudly, right?

Anyway, the episode I actually watched was pretty good. The jewelry store heist plot was definitely background story to the main arcs, which probably says a lot about the plot-of-the-week part of the show. That side really needs to get stronger, because I’m finding it hard to remember what happened two days after watching.

The main arcs, though, were great. They did things I didn’t expect. Most importantly, Weller told Jane about the missing girl and her potential connection to her. I was expecting him to keep that from her for a lot longer, potentially until they needed a big mid-season cliffhanger. But no, they had him respect her enough to tell her and make sure she was there when the DNA results came back. That’s refreshing.

We finally got another little hint at Bethany Mayfair’s  plot, and damn, I’m intrigued. Super intrigued. Marianne Jean-Baptiste is going to get some great stuff if they keep this plot going. Please let her get some amazing plots out of this, okay? Who is the fourth person who knew about whatever she and the senator are trying to hide?

And who is the man that was killed in Jane’s apartment? Who shouldn’t she trust? Who/what is Orion?

The show is still uneven in places. Its weekly plots are largely forgettable ten minutes later, which isn’t good, but the main threads are intriguing. Jaime Alexander is terrific and compelling to watch, the forensics scientist is lovely, and Marianne Jean-Baptiste is riveting whenever she’s on the screen, but the other characters are still too thin for me to feel anything about. But it’s only episode three and they’ve now got a full season order, so there’s time to fix those issues and flesh out the other characters. The show is continuing to grab my attention sufficiently to stay tuned, and most shows take a few episodes to get properly bedded in. I’m glad this one will get that time.

Agents of SHIELD 3.03: A Wanted (In)Human

So far, I’m thoroughly enjoying this season. It’s fantastic seeing Daisy learn to lead, be confident in who she is, and generally be fearless and wonderful. Chloe Bennett plays her so well, allowing the character’s strength to show through without turning her into a Melinda May substitute.

And speaking of Melinda…it felt so good to see her back in the saddle, kicking ass and being her amazing self. It’s surprising me how much I’m enjoying her interactions with Hunter. And I laughed at the subtitles on the scene with Hunter and his mate getting drunk, because while it was supposed to be a funny callback to Melinda’s comment on the way Hunter speaks, those subtitles might have been pretty handy for anyone outside the UK. I mean, I’ve seen people complaining that Fitz is incomprehensible (such a mild Scottish accent), so I have no doubt that Hunter going full London wide boy was going to be a foreign language for some.

I have enough trouble being understood in Canada with my Home Counties accent.

So far this season, despite the threats and dangers, it feels like they’re going for a more fun vibe than they had last year. I’m enjoying that. I have no doubt that we’re going to get our hearts broken later, but right now, the fun feeling is pretty nice.

There were two parts in this episode that I thought were particularly interesting. Firstly, Fitz and Simmons. Her reaction and trauma from months on another planet were beautifully done (good work, Elizabeth Henstridge) and felt very right for that character. And the way Fitz tried to take care of her was great. He got it wrong initially, and he did the sensible thing: he talked to someone and figured out a different way. It felt like they were going for a sharp contrast with the early parts of last season, where Simmons tried to help Fitz and couldn’t get it right. Showing characters learning from mistakes–theirs, others–and trying again is something that we rarely see on genre shows, so it’s lovely each time I see it.

The other element that fascinated me was Coulson and the deal he made with the ATCU. The depth of care he has for Daisy has been shown on multiple occasions, so it doesn’t surprise me that, forced to pick between Daisy and Lincoln, he would pick the woman he’s been mentoring and nurturing. Their relationship is one of the elements that I love about the show: a father-daughter relationship that is allowed to be strong and healthy, even though there’s no blood connection.

There were no good choices in the situation Coulson was given, so he made the one he would regret the least. Lincoln is an unknown element for him. Daisy is not.

Making a choice like that isn’t out of character for him. He’s done it before. As much as he’s the sweet guy who geeks out over invisible planes and secret doors, he’s also been an agent for his entire adult life, and he knows that sometimes there are no good choices, only ones you can stand to live with. It’s often easy to want characters we like to be infallible and perfect, which makes it hard to watch one do something we don’t like.

His decision to work with the ATCU is clearly going to bite them on the ass later, but it also felt very in character and a pleasant change. As Coulson said, he’s gone up against people before (Talbot, the other SHIELD, and the list goes on) and fought over who gets to be the good guys, and everyone loses. It’s refreshing to see him, and the show, try a new thing.

AoS has fallen slightly into the same bucket as Doctor Who for me: a show that I love and have to work hard to find problems with a lot of the episodes. My objectivity isn’t what it would be with a lot of other shows.

I’m trying to feel guilty about that, but I really, really can’t.

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