November 24, 2015

SVU #46, I’ll Never Love Again: Dr. Elizabeth Wakefield’s Surefire Cures for Depression

Posted in books tagged , , , , , at 5:09 pm by Jenn

This isn't indicative of depression. Everyone in college looks like this

This isn’t indicative of depression. Everyone in college looks like this

Summary: Never mind that Jessica’s boyfriend died not long ago and she’s barely functioning – Lila thinks she should worry about being kicked out of the Thetas. Jessica’s so far gone that I’m surprised she remembers who the Thetas are. Elizabeth, Denise, and Alex are in favor of Jess being allowed to stay in the sorority, but considering the fact that Alison is the sister leading the charge against her, the odds aren’t in her favor.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth has developed a little crush on the frat guy she danced with at a recent party, but when she has an actual conversation with him, she realizes he’s nowhere near her type. She also meets a guy named Lachlan who she actually has something in common with (they both like Walt Whitman), but she thinks he has a girlfriend. You know this is a weird book when Elizabeth’s the one crushing on various guys. Mostly this means that Liz is getting tired of taking care of Jessica, because it’s taking away time she could be spending flirting.

Elizabeth helps Jessica write a paper about Heidegger for Professor Malika, who pretty much hates Jessica and wants to shame her for being in a class that’s over her head. In the library, Liz runs into Lachlan, who tells her he doesn’t have a girlfriend…but then he sees a picture of Jessica and Nick, mistakes Jess for Liz, and thinks Liz is in a relationship. So much for that. Maybe if Elizabeth were paying attention to her sister instead of flirting, she would realize that Jessica thinks Nick’s ghost is following her, and that a philosophy paper is the last thing she should be worrying about. (For the record, Jess is being followed, but not by a ghost.)

Apparently Jessica has never written a college paper before, because Elizabeth has to tell her how to do it. She uses makeup as a metaphor, telling Jess she needs to put on foundation (i.e., write an outline) before she can put on blush and eyeshadow (i.e., write the thing). Somehow this clicks with Jess, who gets right to work. But because Jessica is two sandwiches short of a picnic, she just plagiarizes stuff and thinks she’s writing it herself.

Liz starts to proofread Jessica’s paper and quickly realizes that she copied pieces of it. But before she can bring it to Jess’ attention, she sees Tom’s editorial (see below) and gets distracted. So Jess turns in the paper and starts feeling better. Elizabeth decides to keep her on that track by having a barbecue at Theta House. When Jessica shows up, wearing clothes she clearly doesn’t care about, the Thetas see that she’s really gone downhill. Not that they come up with any suggestions for ways to help her, of course.

Elizabeth goes for a drive, but the Jeep breaks down and has to be taken to a garage. In the coincidence to beat all coincidences, the mechanic on duty is our old pal Mike McAllery. Liz has apparently forgotten anything bad she ever thought about Mike, because now she wants to catch up with him. Also, she realizes he’s hot. Mike expresses concern over Jess and asks if he can do anything to cheer her up.

Professor Malika summons Jessica to his office so he can tell her how awesome her paper was. He’s impressed that a student at her level would understand such profound concepts and express such well-formed thoughts. In fact, they’re so profound and well-formed that he’s pretty sure she plagiarized them. They’ll need to meet with the dean, and Malika will recommend that Jessica be expelled. To add insult to injury, this is the day Alison decides to let Jessica know that she’s been kicked out of the Thetas.

Elizabeth and Mike’s big plan for helping Jessica deal with her depression is…a picnic. Wow. I bet they spent a whole five minutes coming up with that idea. Elizabeth takes Jess to the beach to surprise her with the picnic and Mike’s presence. Jess mistakes Mike for Nick and breaks down. So the day isn’t off to a good start. It only gets worse when Jess is down through the whole meal and Elizabeth keeps telling her to cheer up. I wouldn’t fault Jess for throwing sand in her sister’s face right now.

Jessica leaves, and Mike tells Elizabeth they should let her be by herself for a while (even though it means she’ll have to find her own way home). Jess walks back to the dorm, stopping at a drugstore on the way. She sees sleeping pills and realizes that they could be the solution to all her problems. Meanwhile, Liz and Mike hang out on the beach, start developing some sort of weird attraction to each other, and kiss.

Jess is seconds away from overdosing on sleeping pills when she realizes that dying is no way to honor Nick. She will just have to get through her depression. In the morning, Liz sees Jessica’s sleeping pills and thinks Jess has killed herself. When Jessica wakes up, she doesn’t even remembering buying them. She gets ready for her meeting with Malika and the dean, but her clock is broken, so she’s late. Not that it matters – Malika has enough evidence of her plagiarism to get her expelled.

A clueless Elizabeth goes out with Mike, then comes home to find out that Jess has been expelled. She blasts Jessica for not fighting harder when she was accused of plagiarism. Jess tells her she’s done dealing with Elizabeth’s concern. Liz is all, “I’ve done all these things for you, to help you get through this!” as if Jessica asked for any of it, or could have benefited from Elizabeth’s form of “help.” Liz finally says that she has more important things to do with her time (like flirting and going out with Jessica’s ex-husband), so from now on, Jessica’s on her own. What a wonderful sister Elizabeth is.

A lot of bad things happen to Tom in this book, which makes me happy. He airs his editorial response to Elizabeth’s sex-is-bad essay, but because he’s a jerk, it’s mostly an attack on Liz for not giving it up. He complains that women have too much power, because they’re allowed to turn down men. He makes a fair point when he says that Liz got mad at him for having a relationship with someone else, but it’s Tom, and I don’t want to give him any points.

Basically, all the girls on campus turn on Tom, thinking he’s sexist (which he is). My only regret is that Elizabeth doesn’t get to see girls shoving him and glaring at him, which would help her realize that she’s much better off without him. Tom also gets in trouble for using WSVU to rail against a woman who done him wrong. When he sees Elizabeth just minutes later, he calls her a “frigid old maid,” which, yes, true, but also, shut up, Tom.

Danny is also having a bad week, but he at least deserves some sympathy, since his amnesiac girlfriend just went to Switzerland and he might never see her again. Danny and Tom go to a bar to drown their sorrows, but Danny gets so drunk that he mistakes a girl there for Isabella and almost gets pummeled by her boyfriend. Tom rescues him, which is the only good thing he does in this book.

Dana and Todd are quickly falling in luuuuuuuv, but they’re so worried about getting hurt that they’re hesitant to go out on a date. Plus, Todd’s still struggling with Gin-Yung’s death, and he’s afraid that going out with someone else would dishonor her memory. After a lot of awkward conversations, they finally go out, and even though the date doesn’t go well, they admit their feelings for each other and start to get it on in the car. How romantic.

Thoughts: Todd thinks Dana is “fabulous.” Take it down a notch, Todd.

Tom: “I’m not on any medication!” Danny: “That’s a decision you might want to rethink.” Danny went back to being awesome all of a sudden.

Elizabeth decides that she needs to tell Ned and Alice what’s going on with Jessica, but she never does. So do Ned and Alice ever check in with their kids? I wouldn’t be surprised if they moved away and didn’t tell their kids where they went.

“You’re so special,” Dana tells Todd as they’re making out. Who talks like that? (Though it reminds me of that time on Gilmore Girls when Logan tells Rory she’s special, and she replies, “Like, ‘stop eating the paste’ special?”

November 22, 2015

The X-Files 2.2, The Host: Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Flukeman!

Posted in TV tagged at 3:07 pm by Jenn

They're going to need a bigger boat

They’re going to need a bigger boat

Summary: On a freighter in the Atlantic Ocean, two miles off the coast of New Jersey, a man finds a toilet overflowing. A man named Dmitri is told to fix it so the ship’s tanks can be purged. When Dmitri goes to check out what’s blocking the system, something pulls him into a tank. Some men try to pull him out, but he’s yanked underwater.

In D.C., Mulder’s still on wiretap duty, trying to entertain himself by flicking sunflower seeds into a cup. Another agent tells him he’s being sent to Newark for a new assignment, at Skinner’s request. As soon as he arrives, he’s given a pair of boots and sent into a sewer. An unidentified, decomposed body has been found there. Mulder tells the local police to have it shipped to Skinner, then returns to D.C. and yells at Skinner for giving him horrible, meaningless assignments. He thinks the body’s a casualty of a gang war, hardly something that requires the FBI’s investigation. Skinner tells him to just do as he’s told.

Mulder then meets up with Scully and confides that he’s thinking of leaving the bureau. She suggests that he ask to be transferred to Quantico, but Mulder knows the bureau is trying to keep them separated. Scully thinks she can ask to do the body’s autopsy so she and Mulder can be on the same case again. Mulder still doesn’t think there’s anything to the case. Scully does get the autopsy assignment, finding a Russian word tattooed on the body. Everything goes normally until a slimy little tentacle pokes out of the body.

Back in Newark, a sanitation worker goes into the sewer to repair a grate. He’s pulled underwater, and when a co-worker pulls him back out, he notices damage to the man’s skin. Mulder comes to see the worker, who complains of a bad taste in his mouth. A doctor tells Mulder that the worker is mostly fine, except for the wound on his back that looks like a bacterial infection. She’s never seen anything like it before. The worker thinks he was attacked by a python or another large snake. The doctor notes that the wound on his back looks like a bite.

Scully calls to tell Mulder that she has information to share with him when he gets back to D.C. Moments later, Mulder gets another call from an unidentified man who tells him he has a friend at the FBI. Mulder heads to Quantico, where Scully shows him the tentacle thing; it’s actually a flatworm, AKA a fluke. Apparently lots of people have them inside their bodies. They can be ingested through poorly cooked food, or contracted through sewage. Scully couldn’t find any other cause of the John Doe’s death.

Mulder shows Scully the sanitation worker’s bite mark, thinking it was from a fluke. Scully notes that the size doesn’t match. Plus, flatworms are parasites and don’t go around attacking people. Mulder thinks back to his phone call, asking Scully not to try to campaign for him to get better assignments or be reassigned at the bureau. Scully has no idea what he’s talking about, promising that she would never betray his confidence.

At home, the sanitation worker still can’t get the bad taste out of his mouth, squeezing out half a tube of toothpaste. In the shower, he starts gagging and spitting out blood. A flatworm crawls out and goes down the drain. At Newark’s sewage processing plant, Mulder asks a man named Ray if he can shed any light on the fluke. Ray isn’t too shocked that a big slug was found in the sewer. Underground, a worker sees something swimming through the sewer and calls Ray. He’s able to trap it, so Mulder and Ray get a nice look at the thing. (Let’s just call it Flukeman, since that’s what everyone always calls it.)

Scully reads up on flatworms, writing up a report on the sanitation worker. She doesn’t think he was attacked by a fluke. Someone slips something under her door, and when Scully goes to check out who it was, no one’s there. The person left Mulder’s favorite source, a tabloid. This one features a story about what happened on the freighter, leading Scully to starts to put the pieces together. Mulder calls to tell her that the fluke she found in Dmitri’s body must have been “the runt of the litter.”

The agents meet up at a psychiatric facility, where Flukeman is being held. Just like a flatworm, it’s genderless. It’s similar to a parasite, but has primate-like physiology. Scully fills Mulder in on Dmitri’s identity, which she confirmed when she translated his tattoo as his name. She shows him the tabloid and encourages him to remember what his caller said about him having a friend in the FBI. She would consider it a great loss if he left the FBI.

Mulder meets with Skinner, who says the paperwork from the case is all in order. Mulder’s surprised that Skinner’s so nonchalant about a killer flatworm. He objects to the idea of running a full psych evaluation on Flukeman, since it’s a monster, not a human. Skinner points out that it killed two people – the sanitation worker is now dead. Mulder notes that if he and Scully had been allowed to work the case, they could have saved the sanitation worker. Skinner agrees that it should have been an X-file, but he has to obey orders just like Mulder does.

Flukeman is transferred to a new facility, but it escapes its restraints and vanishes from the back of the ambulance. The U.S. marshal driving the ambulance is ready with a shotgun, but not ready enough. Flukeman shoots the marshal with his own gun, then escapes to a nearby Portapotty. Early the next morning, a man arrives to clean it, sucking Flukeman into his truck. Mulder arrives at the sight of the marshal’s death just as the truck leaves. Mulder’s new buddy calls him again, telling him that the X-Files sector must be reinstated.

The police were smart enough to think Flukeman might be hiding in a Portapotty, but they didn’t find it there. Mulder figures out that it could have been sucked into the truck. He goes back to the sewage processing plant, but three trucks from that area have already been there to deposit their loads, so Flukeman could have already come and gone. Ray assures Mulder that if Flukeman was there, it will get trapped there. If it’s not already there, Mulder just needs to wait.

So Mulder waits. Scully calls to tell him that the fluke from Dmitri’s corpse might have been looking for hosts so it can reproduce. Mulder’s figured out that he needs to keep Flukeman from finding a new host. Ray alerts him to an overflow system, and Mulder guesses that Flukeman is going to use it to return to the ocean. The men go down into the sewer, where Ray tries to fix a stuck gate but falls in the water. Looks like Flukeman has a potential new host. Mulder can’t pull Ray out, so he jumps in to find him, giving Flukeman a choice of hosts. But instead of attacking, Flukeman tries to escape. Mulder unsticks the gate and drops it on Flukeman, killing it.

Mulder and Scully meet up again in D.C., and he tells her about his buddy insisting that they reinstate the X-files. Scully reports that Flukeman was a human/flatworm hybrid. It must have been the result of radiation or some other process, not something from nature. Since it originated in Russia, it may have been a result of the Chernobyl disaster. Mulder wonders how many new species are being created every day. I don’t know, but there’s still at least one Flukeman in the sewers in New Jersey…

Thoughts: Scully’s first instinct when she sees the flatworm during the autopsy is to tug on it with forceps. This is why I’m not a medical examiner. My first instinct was “put that thing back where it came from or so help me…”

Mark this episode as Scully’s first use of “Mulder, it’s me.” (And later, Mulder says, “Scully, it’s me,” but it’s not as exciting.)

Mulder had to go to Jersey so many times in this episode. And all he got to see there was gross stuff. Poor guy.

November 21, 2015

BH90210 10.14, I’m Using You ‘Cause I Like You: With Friends Like These…

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , at 11:02 am by Jenn

Driving Miss Crazy

Driving Miss Crazy

Summary: Matt’s been using his suspension from practicing law to work out a lot. David and Donna, both single now, have been spending time together but would like Matt to introduce them to new love interests. Kelly asks Matt to give legal advice to a janitor named Everardo who lost his job after being injured. Dylan and Gina go to a club opening that’s apparently a big event (Jennifer Lopez is there). Dylan and Josie make eyes at each other, but he assures Gina that he doesn’t care about her. They get their picture taken together for the paper, and Gina gets mad when Dylan says their status is “unknown.”

The next day, Gina complains to Donna and Kelly about Dylan’s behavior. Donna mentions that the boutique’s lease is almost up, so she and Kelly need to discuss resigning. Then she tells Gina to feel free to set her up with someone. A guy named Jerry comes in to use the phone, and Donna seems interested, so all Gina has to do to help is hand over Donna’s phone number. Janet interviews nannies while Steve, David, and Matt work on an alien-autopsy story for the Beverly Beat. After the candidate, Darby, leaves, Janet says she’s not getting the job because she’s too cute. Steve quickly guesses that Janet worries that he’ll fool around with Darby.

Kelly makes Dylan talk to her at the Peach Pit, telling him that Donna and David want to go up to the Hollywood sign. Dylan would rather be anywhere else right now. Kelly’s chased off when Gina arrives and shows Dylan that their picture in the paper might lead to a job as a spokesperson. She wants to hang out at the After Dark, even though they might not be alone. Matt meets with Everardo, warning that he only has two days before the statue of limitations runs out on his case. Since Matt’s still on suspension, he can’t take the case. Everardo’s upset that no lawyers are helping him.

Jerry stands Donna up, so she returns home to talk to Kelly about the boutique’s lease. She can tell Kelly isn’t that enthusiastic about staying on at the store. She remembers how the two of them and Brenda tried so hard to get matching schedules their junior year of high school. Now it looks like Kelly and Donna will be going separate ways again. But they’re still looking forward to the future, since there are still good things to come. And they’ve been friends for so long that they know they’ll stay in each other’s lives.

Janet and Steve interview another nanny, this one old enough to be a grandmother. Janet loves her, but soon changes her attitude when the woman talks about smudging the nursery to keep out demons. Steve doesn’t think they have time to look at more résumés, so Janet reluctantly agrees to hire Darby. David lands a date with a lawyer named Chrissy (Donna’s awestruck), which just makes Donna’s non-date with Jerry hurt even more. Jerry turns up with an excuse for why he stood Donna up, but she doesn’t want to hear it. David encourages her to give Jerry a second chance.

Kelly tells Matt that she’s leaving the boutique, and though she appreciates Donna’s support, she doesn’t know what to do with her life. Matt admits that he’s taking Everardo’s case despite his suspension. Kelly thinks she should go back to the boutique so they have some security. Matt’s like, “No, everything’s fine! Nothing will go wrong!” Gina and Dylan go out with Noah, Josie, and Shane, but things quickly get tense when Dylan bans Josie from doing drugs in their limo. Josie sprays everyone with champagne instead.

At the After Dark, Noah avoids David, who’s there with Chrissy. Gina whines that she doesn’t want to go in while she’s all wet, so Dylan gives the driver $1,000 to let them borrow the limo for a joyride. Donna and Jerry are off to a good start, but he pauses the date to take a call. Gina tells Dylan that his and Noah’s friends are just using him because he has money. Dylan doesn’t care – he’s sick of everyone else criticizing him all the time. His new friends don’t expect anything from him. The limo gets pulled over, and when the cops check it out, they find Josie’s cocaine and arrest Dylan and Gina.

The next day, Chrissy visits Matt to tell him that David told her he took Everardo’s case. Matt tries to downplay his involvement, but Chrissy knows better. She’s on the Bar Association’s ethics committee, and she doesn’t want to have to report him. Dylan and Gina have been at the police station all night, and since Matt’s on suspension, they don’t currently have a lawyer. A cop offers to go easy on them if they give him the name of their coke-using friend, who’s been trafficking. Dylan asks for an hour.

Steve and Janet meet with Darby at the Peach Pit, trying to get her to loosen up and stop calling them Mr. and Mrs. Sanders. It turns out she went to CU. She meets Noah, and the two of them are immediately attracted to each other. Steve pulls Noah aside to try to get him to keep his distance from Darby. Noah calms him down, though Steve has some rules for appropriate dating behavior. Darby tells Janet that she’s a little nervous about the date, so Janet reminds her that she doesn’t have to do anything she doesn’t want to.

Dylan goes to the After Dark to yell at Noah for hanging out with drug dealers. Noah gives up Josie’s name, revealing that Dylan slept with her. Kelly’s heard about the arrest and expresses concern, but Dylan doesn’t want to hear it. Later, Matt meets Kelly at the boutique, having successfully gotten Everardo a settlement. He hears a message from Donna mentioning that Kelly has put her name on the boutique’s lease after all. Now she’s locked in for three more years. She admits that she got cold feet about leaving. Matt urges her to stop seeing change as a bad thing.

Donna goes on another date with Jerry, but a romantic dance is interrupted by a woman slapping him and accusing him of cheating. It turns out Jerry’s married. Donna gives him a couple of slaps herself. The Bar Association has been notified that Matt represented Everardo, so he’s going to be reported. His suspension is upped, but Matt doesn’t seem to care. Kelly tells him her discomfort with how everyone in her group of friends is growing up and changing. She knows that clinging to the boutique is her way of trying to keep something the same, and she needs to let go.

David and Donna are back to being single; he doesn’t want to date the woman who ratted out Matt. But it looks like they’re having enough fun just hanging out with each other. Steve and Janet are pleased with Darby, and already feel like she’s part of the family. Darby’s on her date with Noah, and having a great time. He offers to take her home in the limo, and I don’t think he’s going to stick to Steve’s instructions to keep his hands to himself. Dylan lets Gina know that the charges against them have been dropped, but that doesn’t make her happy. Thanks to a news article about their arrests, Gina’s job offer has been rescinded.

Dylan heads to his own suite, where Shane’s waiting for him. He knows Dylan gave the police Josie’s name. Steve’s still up when Noah and Darby’s limo finally makes it to the Walshes’ house two hours past when Darby was supposed to be home. And yeah, they hooked up. After Darby goes upstairs, Noah tells Steve that she likes to use chocolate and whipped cream during sex. She was also on CU’s gymnastics team. That reminds Steve of a girl he hooked up with in college. Hey, guess what? That was Darby. Ruh-roh!

Thoughts: Ian Ziering directed this episode. Good for him.

The reminiscing in this episode makes me think that at this point they knew the show wouldn’t be coming back for another season.

Do Steve and Janet really need a live-in nanny?

Donna: “I noticed you forgot to date it next to your signature, so I fudged it myself. Is that illegal?” This episode has all kinds of rule-breakers.

November 17, 2015

SVT #42, Jessica’s Secret: (Not) Seeing Red

Posted in books tagged at 5:32 pm by Jenn

Whoever drew that magazine cover wasn't even trying

Whoever drew that magazine cover wasn’t even trying

Summary: Elizabeth Wakefield has just started her period. Try not to get too excited. She’s already enthusiastic enough for everyone. She’s happier than a woman at the end of a pregnancy scare. She also assumes that, since they’re identical twins, Jessica has gotten hers as well. Jess goes along with this, not wanting to feel left out of the period party. Jessica, enjoy it while you can. You’re on the cusp of 40 years of torture. There’s some wackiness with pad-buying, but it’s dumb, so let’s move on.

Alice is super-excited that her little girls are now women (no, Alice, they’re still 12, and even when they’re actually adults, they’ll still act like children). She thinks they’re now mature enough to go to San Diego on their own to visit their cousin Robin. The girls haven’t seen her for a while, since her family just got back from living in France for a year. They think Robin will be ultra-sophisticated now, having lived in ultra-sophisticated Europe around all the ultra-sophisticated fashion.

The twins pick out some new clothes for the trip, and to celebrate their womanhood, or whatever. But with Jessica growing more and more despondent over her lack of period, she takes it out on Elizabeth, making fun of her babyish blouse (which she previously said looked nice). Elizabeth doesn’t get why Jess is being a jerk all of a sudden. Alice is less than helpful, just telling Liz that the girls are both going through changes. So that makes it okay for Jess to be a jerk?

The twins head to San Diego and learn that Robin has definitely changed over the past year. She dresses like a New York artist (or at least how a preteen thinks a New York artist would dress) and claims to smoke and have a 16-year-old boyfriend. Oh, but the twins can’t meet him, since he’s away for the weekend. How conveeeeeenient. Robin is being courted by a Unicorn-like group called the Jaguars, who wear matching silver bracelets to show how cool they are. She’s eagerly awaiting word on her initiation.

Robin’s parents let her have a sleepover and invite all the Jaguars. She also has to invite Becky, her ex-best friend, who is definitely not popular or cool. Robin has barely spoken to her since moving back from France, since the Jaguars are much more important people to be seen with. Poor Becky has to walk into a party full of chic, hip girls she knows don’t like her. Elizabeth is the only one who’s nice to her. The Jaguars are more focused on giving Robin her initiation task: She has to go to her supposed boyfriend’s house just before midnight and get him to drive her to the park to meet the other girls.

Robin drags Jessica along with her while the Jaguars go to the park. Elizabeth and Becky stay behind, wondering why Robin wants to be friends with a bunch of jerks. Robin admits to Jess that John isn’t really her boyfriend, which is good, because she’s 12 and he’s 16. The girls make it into the house but come across a big dog that chases them outside. Then they learn that they were in the wrong house anyway. Womp womp. Meanwhile, Robin’s little sister, Stacey, wakes up and learns from Elizabeth and Becky that all the other girls left. She gets worried and wakes up her parents to tell them Robin, Jessica, and the Jaguars snuck out.

Jess and Robin are retrieved from the park, and are in major trouble. Robin’s grounded for a month, and Jessica expects that she’ll face a similar punishment back at home. She’s also mad at Elizabeth for telling their aunt and uncle what was going on. Stacey blames herself, since she woke up her parents, but Jess thinks Liz should have kept her mouth shut. On the plus side, Robin realizes that she was horrible to Becky and decides to try to make up with her.

The twins take a bus home, but Jessica gets off at a station to get something to drink. She takes too long and the bus leaves without her. Fortunately, Elizabeth also got off the bus, so they’re stranded together, waiting for the next one to come along. Jess is still mad at Liz, but tells her why, and the two make up. It turns out that Jaguars were huge mean girls and were going to make Robin cut off Becky’s hair while she slept. Robin realized that they were a bad crowd and told them off.

Jessica admits that she hasn’t started her period yet and only pretended she had because Liz started hers. But it’s all okay, because she starts hers at the bus station. There’s a story she can tell her daughters someday.

Thoughts: Ned and Alice in the last book: “No, you can’t go to a chaperoned party.” Ned and Alice in this book: “Yes, you can go to San Diego by yourselves.” Sure.

Every time Robin calls the Jaguars “Jags,” I giggle. I don’t think that’s what the ghostwriter intended.

Becky’s like a more interesting version of Amy. Can we trade them and leave Amy behind in San Diego?

We should also trade Ned and Alice for Aunt Nancy and Uncle Kirk. They actually parent their kids.

November 15, 2015

The X-Files 2.1, Little Green Men: Message Received

Posted in TV tagged , , at 2:15 pm by Jenn

That can't be good for his eyesight

That can’t be good for his eyesight

Summary: Gaze! Gaze at the cosmos while Mulder tells us about two spacecrafts being launched from Florida in 1977. One, Voyager 1, carried a message of greeting and music. 13 years later, it passed Neptune’s orbit and was never seen again. No messages were received back from the universe, and no further messages have been sent since.

In 1992, NASA launched a project in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, sending out microwaves. A senator terminated the project the next year. “I wanted to believe, but the tools have been taken away,” Mulder says – the X-Files sector has been shut down. In Puerto Rico, a printer starts printing, and the message from Voyager 1 plays. Message received.

In a hotel in D.C., Mulder listens to wiretap surveillance. If the pile of sunflower-seed shells on the floor is any indication, he’s been there a while. Scully’s at the FBI Academy in Quantico, showing students how to perform autopsies. She takes a moment to think about the man she’s about to cut open, and how many mysteries are left in his brain. One of the students notes that she sounds “spooky.”

The former partners run into each other at FBI headquarters, but Mulder doesn’t want to talk to Scully. He has a new desk now, and notices that a picture of Samantha has been turned face-down. As he leaves the office that night, Scully meets him at his car, telling him that, from a distance, he looked like Deep Throat. Mulder tells her that Deep Throat is definitely dead. He’s come to meet her because the picture’s position was an indication that she wanted to talk.

Mulder thinks it’s dangerous for them to chat, but Scully doesn’t think anyone’s watching them. She only used their secret protocol to summon him because she knew he wouldn’t come otherwise. She wants to make sure he’s all right. Mulder complains about the boring cases he’s been assigned. Scully reminds him that he said before that he would keep investigating, but now he’s given up.

Mulder asks if she’s ever been to the Palomar Observatory in San Diego. George Hale, the man who provided the telescope there, claimed he got the idea from an elf. Scully realizes that Mulder thinks he’s only been seeing elves all his life. “In my case, little green men,” he replies. “Seeing is not enough. I should have something to hold on to.” Without evidence, he has nothing – he learned that from Scully.

Scully thinks Samantha’s abduction should be enough to hold on to. But Mulder is no longer sure that really happened. Scully points out that the telescope was built, elves or not. He can’t give up. Next time they meet, it’ll be out in the open. As she leaves, Mulder sees a sign over a parking space, reserving it for staff of the Watergate Hotel.

In Chilmark, Massachusetts, a little over 20 years earlier, Fox and Samantha Mulder play a game while watching a news report about Watergate. He’s in charge while their parents are next door. Samantha changes the channel on the TV, and Fox yells at her to get out of his life. The lights go out, the house starts to shake, and multicolored lights shine through the windows. The front door slowly opens, illuminating what looks like an alien.

Samantha screams, and Fox sees that she’s levitating in the middle of the room. He rushes to grab a gun but gets distracted by the alien outside. Samantha’s pulled out of the house and everything goes slow-motion as Fox helplessly repeats his sister’s name, unable to help her. In the present, Mulder wakes up from his nightmare. Moments later, someone opens his door and tells him, “We’re going to the Hill.”

Mulder’s taken to see Senator Richard Matheson, who’s listening to the Brandenburg Concerto No. 2. It’s the same piece that was sent out with the Voyager 1. In four-and-a-half billion years, this music will still be traveling out in the universe. Matheson thinks that any other civilization that hears that music will think Earth is a wonderful place. It’s a great choice for first contact.

Mulder apologizes for letting Matheson down after all his support. He thinks they were getting close to something when the X-Files section was shut down, though he doesn’t know what that something was. Matheson starts the music over, writing a note letting Mulder know that someone may be listening. Using the music as a cover, he tells Mulder that he needs to go to Arecibo. He’ll only have 24 hours before “they” come after him.

The next morning, having learned that Mulder has gone off the radar, Skinner asks Scully what she knows. He plays CSM a recording of Scully saying she isn’t up on Mulder’s plans, but she’d be happy to help find him. Skinner thinks she’s telling the truth about not knowing where Mulder is – otherwise, she wouldn’t be so worried about him. CSM offers Skinner a cigarette, which he declines.

In Puerto Rico, Mulder gets a ride to the National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center. He breaks into the control room, which appears to have been abandoned a while ago. But the recording equipment is still working. Scully checks Mulder’s home answering machine, hearing a message from a woman he was supposed to have lunch with. She tries out his computer, guessing his password on the third try. (It’s not SPOOKY or SAMANTHA, but TRUSTNO1.)

As Scully prints out something Mulder was looking at regarding galactic latitude, two agents let themselves in. Scully’s unable to retrieve the printout before they see her. She claims she’s there to feed Mulder’s fish. The agents see the printout but think it’s a computer self-test. Scully spills fish food and uses the discarded printout to clean it up, then slips it into her sleeve.

In Puerto Rico, Mulder heads to the bathroom and is surprised to find a man hiding there. His name is Jorge, and he tells Mulder he saw multicolored lights in the sky. Then my high-school-level Spanish craps out and I don’t catch anything else. Mulder can only figure out that he saw men. Jorge draws him a picture of an alien face.

Scully takes the printout to the Naval Observatory, where a tech tells her that it shows a “wow signal.” In the ’70s, a colleague of his received a signal so strong, he wrote “wow” in the margins. It was intermittent, like Morse code, and seemed to turn itself on. This one is even stronger. It may be from a SETI facility, since some are still active.

Scully checks some flight manifests for the cities that house SETI facilities and finds a George Hale listed on a flight to Arecibo. Jorge checks out the machines in the control room, pressing a red one. “Nojo on the rojo!” Mulder warns. Suddenly the Voyager 1 message starts playing and Jorge panics. He wants to leave, but there’s a storm outside. Mulder turns off the recording and tells Jorge not to be afraid. But Jorge runs outside, and Mulder finds him dead, clearly having seen something frightening.

Scully goes to the airport, where two people are obviously watching her and doing a very bad job of hiding it. She calls Mulder’s home answering machine and recites some letters and numbers, which an agent writes down. She uses the reflective surface on the phone to keep an eye on her stalkers, then slips away when they’re not watching. It doesn’t matter anyway – they think she’s going to St. Croix, not Puerto Rico.

Mulder makes Scully a recording to document his observations of Jorge’s body. He doesn’t see any evidence of lightning strikes or any indications that aliens were responsible for Jorge’s death. All he can tell is that it looks like Jorge was scared to death. “Again, Scully, nothing but evidence, and again, no evidence at all,” Mulder says.

He wonders if the transmissions are coming from aliens or if they’re just part of a hoax. He’s trying to remember what Deep Throat said, to trust no one, but it’s exhausting. Scully’s the only person he can trust, but they’ve been separated. His whole life, he’s only wanted to see Samantha again, and to see the aliens. But he doesn’t know what he would do if that happened.

The building begins to shake, and Mulder sees lights outside. The printer keeps printing the transmission over and over. The audio message is distorted now, as if a tape is slowing down. Mulder replays his recording for Scully, hearing himself say that he should trust no one. “Trust no one,” the audio transmission repeats.

A door blows open and Mulder closes it, moving supplies in front of it. He looks outside and is blinded by a bright light. The door opens and Mulder goes for his gun. He fires over and over, but no bullets come out. When he looks up, he sees the same alien creature he saw in his childhood.

In the morning, Scully finds Mulder unconscious in the control room. “They came,” he says. He thinks he was contacted by the aliens that took Samantha. The printouts and transmissions are proof of contact. They hear noises outside and realize that a retrieval team has arrived. Mulder wants to take Jorge’s body with them, but Scully doesn’t think they can get it out of the country. She wants him to leave the evidence behind and save himself.

Eventually, Mulder has no choice but to take off with Scully and no printouts or recordings. Soldiers shoot at them but miss their getaway vehicle. There’s a crazy car chase, and the agents are able to get away. Scully sees a tape reel on the floor of the car.

Back in D.C., Mulder’s in a lot of trouble. He’s upset that Skinner left him on a surveillance case days after he had enough evidence. Also, Skinner was out of line putting a tap on his phone. CSM informs Mulder that his time is up. Skinner orders him to get out…but he means CSM, not Mulder. Instead of firing Mulder, Skinner sends him back to his surveillance assignment.

Mulder and Scully play the tape reel she found in the car, but there’s nothing on it. Scully thinks a surge during the storm could have erased it. Mulder’s back on the horse, though – even without evidence or the X-Files, he has his work, and he has Scully, and he has himself. She leaves him to complete his surveillance assignment alone.

Thoughts: Nice casting on the younger version of Mulder – he looks a lot like David Duchovny.

Sweaty, Puerto-Rican-temperature hair is not a good look for Mulder. His casual clothes are kind of nice, though.

How has no one gotten sick from CSM’s secondhand smoke? That should be a plot in the revival – a big lawsuit against CSM.

November 14, 2015

BH90210 10.13, Tainted Love: Matt Likes It But He Can’t Put a Ring on It

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 12:39 pm by Jenn

David's expression here is really the only appropriate one

David’s expression here is really the only appropriate one

Summary: Gina brings Matt some coffee, telling him that the boutique workers get it free because a guy who sells it has a crush on Donna. Matt tells her that his client from last week settled, which means Matt will have to return his $15,000. Unfortunately, that’s the money he used to buy Kelly’s engagement ring. He only has $700. Plus, he could be facing fines or even suspension for breaking rules.

At the After Dark, a woman named Josie approaches Dylan, who isn’t in the mood to talk. Noah tries to talk to Donna, who wonders about the new friends he’s hanging out with (one of them is Josie). Kelly checks out a guy on Donna’s behalf, but Donna claims she’s “happily single.” At least now she has more time for hobbies. She’s realized that whenever she’s dating someone, she does the things they like. Now she gets to do the things she likes. Dylan sends over some champagne, supposedly to congratulate Kelly on her engagement. She wonders if he’s really ready to let her go.

The next day, Kelly and Dylan meet up at the Peach Pit before heading to a church to rehearse for Maddy’s baptism. Kelly’s concerned that Dylan won’t take it seriously. She asks what Dylan wanted to tell her before she announced her engagement, but he doesn’t want to talk about it. David goes to the boutique for a fitting and asks about Mark, the coffee guy with a crush on Donna. He’s now giving free coffee to all her friends. David encourages her to go out with him, saying that women can “hibernate” and pass up a great guy. Donna just wants to take her time.

Steve and Janet’s priest runs everyone through the rehearsal, which Dylan isn’t very interested in. He claims he just wants to get out of there because he has an appointment. Janet’s as concerned as Kelly is about him taking the honor seriously. Kelly thinks he’s just upset because she’s engaged to someone else.

Matt tries to collect from some delinquent clients, hiding the task from Kelly. He asks her to work on forgiving Gina. I don’t think he’s ever met Kelly. She wants to discuss possible honeymoon destinations, making him worry about financing everything. Gina goes to the After Dark looking for Dylan, but first encounters Noah doing a body shot off of Josie’s clavicle. Gina tells Dylan that ordinarily she would never ask him for money, but she really needs $15,000. As he writes her a check, she tells him how stupid the baptism sounds. Also, he’s a jerk.

Noah, Josie, and another friend, Shane, crash at David’s house, though Noah was really the only one invited. Noah asks David how Donna’s doing, and whether she’s dating anyone. David says she’s happy and that should be it right now. He also thinks Noah should reevaluate his recent behavior. Gina gives Matt a check (written out by her, not Dylan), saying she cashed in a few bonds. All she wants in exchange are some nice words.

Later, Donna talks to Gina about Maddy’s baptism, which Gina doesn’t plan to attend. She hates the idea of baptisms because Dr. Martin was her godfather, and obviously the role was meaningless. She’s cheered up a little when David shows off the hideous outfit Donna has him trying on. David thinks Donna should go out with Mark so he’ll stop giving out free coffee and wind up going broke. Donna knows from Sex and the City that dating is awful. Then she wonders if she should move on just because Noah is. After some hesitation, Donna asks Mark out.

At the Peach Pit, Steve makes sure that Dylan’s okay with being a godfather alongside Kelly. He reminds Dylan that it’s a lifetime commitment. Dylan reminds him that he’s been very involved so far. Steve points out that he’s done everything with a bad attitude. If he doesn’t do what Steve and Janet expect, or doesn’t take it seriously, they won’t be friends anymore.

Donna and Mark’s date goes pretty well until it suddenly…stops going well. At the After Dark, where Josie and Shane are still hanging out with Noah, Matt pulls Dylan aside to confront him, having figured out that he supplied the $15,000. Dylan figures out that he needs the money because he spent it on Kelly’s ring. He finds it amusing that he financed his ex’s engagement. Matt’s like, “Yeah, well, she’s marrying me, so who really won her?” Dylan decides to distract himself with Josie.

Matt’s client comes by to get his money, but Matt can only give him $6,000 of his own money. The client is less than sympathetic to learn that Matt spent his retainer. Kelly and Dylan meet up to buy a gift for Maddy, but Dylan’s late, so Kelly buys it on his own. Dylan doesn’t like it, so he goes in to get his own present. He also takes the opportunity to mess with Kelly’s mind, talking about her ring and pointing out that Matt’s been acting weird lately.

At the boutique, Donna tells David that her date went fine. David knows better – he had to pay for his drink this morning. Donna isn’t sure what went wrong, until she remembers mentioning that she thinks Bruce Willis is sexy, “even with his receding hairline.” She thinks she hit a nerve with Mark and his own slightly receding hairline.

Kelly finds Matt at the Walshes’ house and asks why Dylan might have brought up her ring. Matt admits to spending the retainer on the ring, and Gina turning to Dylan to pay it back. The client has notified the Bar Association, so Matt could be in trouble. Kelly offers to give back the ring so he can return it and pay back the retainer.

Donna tells Mark that she had a good time on their date, and she doesn’t want a dumb comment to ruin things. “I find bald men very sexy,” she says. “You think I’m going bald?” he replies. He’s taking care of any recession that might be occurring, thank you very much. Mark has her smell some coffee beans, then says he spent seven months living in Zihuatanejo to learn how to make them awesome. Donna thinks they’re too strong, and on the date, she mentioned liking the coffee at the restaurant. He’s really, really offended.

Noah and his friends go to Dylan’s hotel suite, where we learn that Shane is Josie’s brother (in case anyone cares). They invite themselves inside, and Noah tells Dylan that Josie’s totally up for a night of fun with him. Gina arrives to tell Dylan that he should keep his promise to Steve and Janet. She’s starting looking at Maddy’s baptism from her point of view rather than her own. She gives Dylan the cross necklace Dr. Martin gave her at her baptism, suggesting that he give it to Maddy.

Matt takes a check to the Bar Association, so now his client is pleased. The Bar Association, however, isn’t. Matt receives a 30-day suspension, which his practice probably won’t survive. Donna visits Mark again, learning that he’s successful enough to have more than one store. He’s upset that she’s not enthusiastic about his coffee the way he is. Mark has passion for his job. Donna says she has passion for hers, too, but that doesn’t mean she has to have passion for everything. Things are going well when he sees David in Donna’s ridiculous sweater and makes fun of it. Goodbye, Mark. (And goodbye, David’s sweater.)

Noah and his friends party in Dylan’s suite as Dylan looks at Gina’s cross, deciding to be a grown-up. Everyone is already at the church, and Janet knows it’s her and Steve’s own fault for expecting Dylan to be responsible. Matt has given Kelly a new (smaller) ring, and he’s upset that it doesn’t properly reflect their love for each other. Kelly’s fine with it – it shows their willingness to be there for each other.

Dylan finally shows up to perform his godfatherly duties and assure Steve that he’ll do what he’s been asked to do. He makes a speech about how this is an opportunity for him to wipe his slate clean. He promises to always be there for Maddy. Dylan presents her with the necklace, saying it was given to him by a girl who never had a godfather but could have used one. He holds Maddy before she’s baptized, and everyone’s happy. (Except Maddy, who doesn’t appreciate the water.)

Donna goes home to the beach apartment and runs into Noah, who’s moving out his things. They mention that David said they were both happy, though neither really looks it. And then hopefully Noah leaves because he has nothing to do on the show, and Donna and David get back together, because really, what else can we expect?

Thoughts: Josie is played by soap actress Sydney Penny.

’90s music alert: “Don’t Say You Love Me” by M2M.

Dylan, when a woman you’ve just written out a five-figure check to says you’re a jerk, you’re allowed to take back the money. In fact, I would encourage it.

Donna: “I’m an enthusiastic person! Enthusiasm’s my strong suit!” She’s not wrong.

No one seems to care that Janet and Steve’s families don’t attend the baptism.

November 10, 2015

SVU #45, Don’t Let Go: “Jessica Wakefield Is Checking Out”

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , at 5:23 pm by Jenn

This picture has nothing to do with the book

This picture has nothing to do with the book. Way to phone it in, cover illustrator

Summary: Nick = dead. Jessica = sad. Actually, Jessica is more than sad – she’s a combination of devastated and traumatized. All she can think about is Nick, and when she’s not thinking about Nick, she’s paranoid that his killer is going to come after her. Elizabeth is either in denial or a complete idiot (possibly a little of both), because she thinks Jessica just needs to be distracted. She also thinks Jessica needs to keep up with her schoolwork. Jessica’s so far gone that she barely registers that she’s even at school.

Finally Jess tells Elizabeth to leave her alone, and instead of making sure Jess has someone looking after her and making sure she eats and stuff, Elizabeth ditches her. I don’t know what she thinks will happen, but it doesn’t help. Jessica continues to spiral, even thinking she sees Nick on campus. Lila finds her in the midst of her breakdown and tells her she needs to get over Nick. Wow, Lila. It’s been, like, three days. You took forever to get over Tisiano, so shut it.

Jessica goes to Nick’s grave and lies down during a rainstorm, getting all muddy. She thinks she can feel Nick’s spirit, and she decides she needs to do something with her life that would make him proud. Except when she gets ready the next morning, she proves that she’s really losing it – she tries to wash her hair with hand lotion, and she puts lipstick on her cheeks.

A teacher calls her out for not doing well in class, then assigns her a paper on anarchy and death. Jessica’s mind goes back to a dark place, and she loses the tiny grasp she had on her sanity. She ends up at Theta house, where Alison tells her she’s not representing the sorority well, so she’s out. Geez, I knew Alison was horrible, but this seems like a little much. Jessica spends the evening alone in her room, talking to a teddy bear and deciding she’s not going to survive her grief: “Jessica Wakefield is checking out.” But there’s a guy watching her through the window, and he’s optimistic…

Elizabeth is assigned a story on how students at SVU feel about sex. Yes, this is the perfect story for her! She interviews a guy named Chip who ridiculous her for being a virgin. They get in a fight about how she’s uptight and he’ll nail anything that moves. They’re both awful. While I think it’s perfectly fine for Elizabeth to want to wait, she needs to chill out. She can’t expect everyone else in the world to abstain.

Liz decides to show that she can loosen up by going to a frat party and dancing with random guys. Tom’s there, getting drunk to keep his mind off of his problems with Dana and Elizabeth, and he gets into it with a guy Liz is dancing with. Tom and Elizabeth are both so awful that they kind of deserve each other. I just don’t want to have to read about it.

Todd and Dana are becoming friends, and realizing that they have more in common than they thought. He feels uneasy about moving on from both Gin-Yung and Elizabeth, and she feels uncomfortable in general because people think she’s a whore who only goes after Liz’s rejects. I actually feel sorry for Dana in this book, which I think is a first. Dana’s been struggling with her music recently, but when she plays her cello for Todd, she sounds wonderful. Someone got her groove back!

Elizabeth’s article makes Dana feel like a slut some more, but Todd tells her Liz is wrong – everyone is allowed to make his or her own choices about sex, and having it doesn’t make you a bad person. He notes that he had sex, so it’s not like he’s “pure” or whatever. The two of them go on a date, and it goes really well, and they wind up kissing. I’m not a Dana fan, but I’m almost happy for her.

In case you’ve forgotten (heh), Isabella has amnesia. Her parents want to take her to some special facility in Switzerland where there’s apparently a doctor who specializes in…amnesia. I guess. Hey, can he pop over to General Hospital? Because there’s an amnesia story that’s been going on for more than a year, and we’d all like it to get wrapped up. Also, GH loves Swiss clinics. Anyway, Danny wants Isabella to stay in Sweet Valley, so he keeps trying to come up with things she might find familiar.

At first the Riccis agree, putting Isabella up at some fancy hotel and letting Danny visit. But Amnesiac Isabella is like a frightened little baby bunny, and also kind of a jerk about stuff she doesn’t like. Danny does his best, but Isabella doesn’t remember anything, so ultimately her parents take her to Switzerland.

Tom spends the whole book being a jerk to people at WSVU, calling Dana a parasite (and, for all intents and purposes, a slut), and…what’s the opposite of slut-shaming? Prude-shaming? Whatever it is, he does it to Elizabeth. Shut up, Tom.

In the barely-worth-mentioning plot, Nina thinks Bryan’s cheating on her because she found another girl’s name written on his notes. Elizabeth figures he’s sleeping around. We don’t care what you think, Elizabeth.

Thoughts: So where are Ned and Alice? Do they not care that their daughter just lost her boyfriend? Why does Elizabeth think she can handle school? Why doesn’t she encourage Jess to go home and take the semester off? Nothing here makes sense.

“He thinks he’s all that and seventeen bags of chips.” Ghostwriter, please don’t attempt ’90s slang.

Apparently people were still using the word “sanitarium” in 1999.

November 8, 2015

The X-Files 1.24, The Erlenmeyer Flask: Opening Pandora’s Box

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 1:22 pm by Jenn

A face only a mother could love

A face only a mother could love

Summary: A man leads police on a car chase that ends at a waterfront warehouse. The man gets out to run, fighting off the police with their own batons. One officer tases him, then shoots him, but that doesn’t slow him down. The man jumps in the water and disappears, leaving behind some sort of green liquid instead of blood.

It’s Sunday, May 8th, 1994, and Mulder’s awakened by a phone call from Deep Throat. He alerts Mulder to a news report about the car chase and the chasee’s disappearance in Ardis, Maryland. Mulder tapes the report and watches it over and over at FBI headquarters. Scully doesn’t get what he’s looking for. Mulder knows that Deep Throat wouldn’t tell him to watch the news unless there were something important there, though Scully notes that Deep Throat has lied before.

The agents go to the scene to ask about someone from the tape who doesn’t appear to be law enforcement (he doesn’t have a badge). A police officer questions their involvement, since the identity of the fugitive hasn’t been released. They head to an impound lot to check out the fugitive’s car, which was stolen from a rental lot in Gaithersburg. Mulder notices that the car in the lot isn’t the same as the one from the news, which has a caduceus on it. They may be dealing with a doctor.

The agents run the real car’s license plates, wondering why someone led them to the wrong car. The license plate takes them to Dr. Berube at Emgen Corporation in Gaithersburg. Berube’s surprised to learn that his car was ever missing, let alone used for a crime. Scully tries to greet a lab monkey but gets screamed at (both by the monkey and Berube). She decides they don’t have enough to go on, so they should stop working off of anything Deep Throat leads them to. He’s probably just messing with Mulder.

Mulder heads home, but Deep Throat’s waiting there for him, urging him to keep working. Mulder’s on Scully’s side now, announcing that he’s done following Deep Throat’s false leads. Deep Throat says Mulder has become dependent on him, but Mulder thinks it’s the other way around. “You’ve never been closer,” Deep Throat tells him.

At Emgen, the badgeless man visits Berube to ask who he’s been in contact with recently. The man asks about Dr. Secare, but Berube claims not to know who he’s talking about. The man decides to put an end to Berube’s work…and Berube. Meanwhile, the search for the fugitive ends when the rescue crew decides they’re not going to find him. The man is still in the water, and still alive.

The next day, Mulder and Scully are called to Amgen, where Berube’s death has been labeled a suicide. Mulder’s suspicious, of course. Scully reads that Berube was mapping human genes, which makes Mulder even more suspicious. He picks up a flask labeled “purity control” and asks Scully to find out what it contains. Scully hopes it’s not monkey pee.

Mulder goes to Berube’s house, and when no one answers the door, he goes through a window. Scully has the flask tested and learns that it contains a weird type of bacteria. In Berube’s home office, Mulder finds a phone bill showing that Berube made a call to the same person in Ardis every day. He also finds a set of keys that he pockets. As the badgeless man pulls up to the house, preparing to shoot Mulder, Mulder intercepts a phone call meant for Berube. It’s the fugitive, and he needs medical attention from Berube.

Mulder tries to get the fugitive’s location, but a passerby hangs up the phone to call an ambulance. Seconds later, Mulder gets a call from a tech telling him that the number Berube called is for Zeus Storage at 1616 Pandora Street. The fugitive is taken away in an ambulance, but when a paramedic inserts a needle in his chest to release air, something toxic is released instead. The ambulance driver pulls over and the fugitive jumps out.

Mulder lets Scully know that the fugitive is still alive, but his location is unknown. Scully tells him that the bacteria in the flask contain a virus, and it looks like Berube was cloning them. The cells are from a plant, and Scully thinks they were being prepared to be injected in someone. The bacteria date back to a time before humans even existed. At Zeus Storage, Mulder finds a bunch of tanks containing what appear to be humans, or at least creatures that look human.

Scully learns that the bacteria contain base pairs, genes containing nucleotides. There are four building blocks that make up every living thing, but these bacteria have a new base pair. There are fifth and sixth nucleotides that don’t exist anywhere else in nature. In other words, they’re extraterrestrial. Men approach Mulder outside Zeus Storage, so he runs through some alleys to escape them. Scully calls him at home and he tells her to come to Zeus.

When the agents meet up, Scully announces that she was wrong, and Mulder was right to keep investigating. She should know by now that she should trust his instincts. “Why? Nobody else does,” he teases. Scully isn’t sure what to believe, and Mulder warns that it doesn’t matter, because what she’s about to see will blow up her belief system. Except, of course, now there’s nothing there.

Deep Throat joins the agents, telling them that the tanks were probably destroyed. He can’t get any information because there are black organizations within the intelligence community that even he can’t touch. Scully wonders why Berube was killed, like, hello, Scully, he was experimenting with extraterrestrial organisms! Keep up! Deep Throat says Berube was too successful – his work led to the creation of a human/alien hybrid.

Secare was an old friend of Berube’s who was dying of cancer. Thanks to Berube’s work, he recovered, but also developed super-strength and the ability to breathe underwater. Having a hybrid out in the world was a liability, so the government went after him. Scully asks why Deep Throat always gives them so little information but is now telling them a lot. Deep Throat notes that it doesn’t matter – no one will believe them without Secare. Also, he’s done contacting them.

Scully goes to Georgetown to see the scientist who tested the bacteria for her, but the doctor has been killed in a horrible “car accident.” Meanwhile, Mulder goes back to Berube’s house and follows a thumping noise to the attic. Secare is there, but before he can have a chat with Mulder, a gas-mask-clad badgeless man shoots him. Toxic air is released, knocking out Mulder. When he comes to, his phone is ringing, but I don’t think the badgeless man is going to let him answer.

Scully goes to Mulder’s place, where Deep Throat tells her that he’s been gone all night. He doesn’t think Mulder will be killed; he’s too high-profile now. Deep Throat thinks he can get Scully access to a containment facility housing the “original tissue.” The people Mulder’s with may be willing to trade him for it. Scully does get access to the facility, and though she doesn’t have a password, she successfully guesses that it’s “purity control.”

From a container of liquid nitrogen in a cabinet marked “purity control,” Scully retrieves a little alien…thing. It’s half gross, half cute. She takes it to a meeting spot, where Deep Throat tells her the exchange is a go. He made the deal, so he wants to go, but Scully refuses to trust him. Deep Throat tells her that in 1987, a bunch of children were injected with clone DNA from the alien thing. “That’s the kind of people you’re dealing with,” he notes.

Scully wonders why those people are willing to trade the alien for Mulder. Deep Throat says that they have to keep it under wraps; the agents are the only people who can expose it. Scully reluctantly hands over the alien, seeing the badgeless man drive by as she goes back to her car. Deep Throat and the badgeless man get out of their cars to make the exchange, but the only thing the badgeless man gives Deep Throat is a bullet in the chest. Mulder’s dumped out the back of the badgeless man’s van as he drives off. After briefly checking on Mulder (priorities), Scully goes to Deep Throat, who tells her with his dying breath, “Trust no one.”

13 days later, Mulder calls Scully in the middle of the night to tell her that the X-Files section is being shut down on orders from the executive branch. They’re being reassigned to other sections. Mulder won’t give up, though – he can’t, “not as long as the truth is out there.” In a scene similar to the one at the end of the pilot, CSM places the alien in a box in a Pentagon storeroom.

Thoughts: Done with season 1! On to the really weird stuff.

Zeus Storage on Pandora Street? Clever. And a better idea than Pandora Storage, which doesn’t sound very secure.

I believe this is the first episode where Mulder answers a phone call from Scully and she greets him with, “It’s me.”

November 7, 2015

BH90210 10.12, Nine Yolks Whipped Lightly: Five Gold Rings (or Maybe Just One)

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , , , at 1:22 pm by Jenn

What do you mean, maps aren't a good gift?

What do you mean, maps aren’t a good gift?

Summary: Donna takes Gina to the Martins’ house so Dr. Martin can see both of his daughters at the same time. The Martins want to spend Christmas with both of them, but they’re hesitant to let Gina come to their Christmas party. They haven’t figured out how to explain her to their friends. Gina decides to leave, telling Donna to pick a side. Donna says she can’t go against her father, so Gina tells her she’s an only child again.

Dylan and David help Steve and Janet pick out a Christmas tree, an activity Steve’s filming for some reason. David and Dylan hug for the camera to show that they’re friends again. Janet runs into her parents, who are surprised to see that the baby has already been born. They make some civil conversation before the Sosnas leave.

Dylan takes a tree to the community center as Kelly brings over some presents. The two have some awkward talk about when she basically proposed (he finds it funny). A guy comes by to complain to Dylan about the mess some people make whenever they come to the community center for drug-recovery meetings. That just means Dylan has another problem to solve.

Noah wants to take Donna to Paris for Christmas/her birthday, but she’s not over his lies about going to Harvard. She’s also upset that he let his parents make his problems go away with money. At the Beverly Royale, Gina shares her problems with David, who apparently still wants to be friends after that whole…disaster. Felice shows up and offers Gina any amount of money she wants; after all, Dr. Martin has an obligation to her. Gina says no amount of money will make a difference.

Janet tries to make eggnog but can’t get it the way her mother makes it. Steve urges her to reach out to her parents and let them see Maddy. She calls her parents and invites them to dinner the next night. The annoyed neighbor returns to the community center, complaining to Dylan about declining property values. He pours out a bag of trash left in the neighborhood by junkies. The kids should be used to it, since they come from trash. Dylan punches the guy, who threatens to sue. Dylan tells the kids not to use their fists like he just did.

Gina goes to the Martins’ to tell her father she doesn’t want his money or pity. Dr. Martin wants to know what Gina expects from them. They talk about her stepfather, who Gina barely remembers, since she was so young when he died. She tells Dr. Martin that she doesn’t expect anything from him. Matt meets with a client who wants to sue over loss of intellectual property. He pays a $15,000 retainer. Merry Christmas, Matt!

Dylan and Andrew discuss the neighbor at the Peach Pit, as well as Andrew’s decision to cancel the recovery meetings being held there. Kelly shows up in time to pass judgment on Dylan for punching someone in front of the kids. Dylan denies that he’s a role model; he just finances things and hangs out. Kelly says that’s not enough.

The Sosnas come over for dinner, and things go really well. That is, until Steve mentions the wedding and Mr. Sosna decides it’s time to leave. As Dylan tries to find a new location for the recovery meetings, one of the community-center kids, R.J., hits another boy. Dylan realizes that the kids notice him more than he thought. At the beach apartment, Donna wonders if Noah was drunk the night of the accident that killed his girlfriend. Noah’s mad at her for meddling.

The next morning, Donna has breakfast with her parents, telling them that Noah lied to her. Now she wonders if she really knows him, just like she and Gina wonder if they really know her parents. Felice warns her not to develop Gina’s mindset. R.J. wants to play foosball with Dylan, but Dylan would rather talk to him about how hitting is wrong. He urges R.J. to apologize to the kid he hit. Amazingly, R.J. doesn’t tell Dylan to apologize to the guy he hit.

Donna finds Noah at the After Dark and tells him that she knows her parents were under pressure to make a decision, and didn’t necessarily make a good one. Noah and his family did the same thing after Beth died. Donna hopes they can get past this. Steve goes to the Sosnas’ house to confront them for only showing Janet conditional love. He won’t let them treat Maddy the same way. He invites them to stop by the next day, Christmas, but they only get this one last chance.

Kelly and Matt decorate a tree at the beach apartment, disagreeing on whether or not they should use tinsel. They exchange gifts, a book of maps of L.A. and Orange County for him, and a ring for her. After a slight hesitation, Kelly accepts Matt’s marriage proposal. On Christmas morning, Noah serves Donna a birthday breakfast in bed (well, just a croissant with a candle in it), and Kelly shows off her ring. Donna laments that things are changing quickly. She wishes Noah hadn’t been forced to grow up so fast.

Everyone gathers at the Walshes’ house, forgoing a gift exchange between each other and only bringing presents for Maddy. Donna tells Gina that she didn’t go to her parents’ party since she knew Gina wouldn’t be there. Dylan tells Kelly that she was right about his inability to think about consequences before he acts. He thinks they should try their relationship again. Apparently he doesn’t notice the giant diamond on her finger. Matt and Kelly announce their engagement, so Merry Christmas, Dylan.

Donna pulls Kelly out of the room to ask where her engagement leaves Dylan. Kelly admits that she sometimes thinks he could be the one, but it’s too easy for him to walk away. She loves Matt for who he is, not for who he’s trying to be. Gina and David watch Dylan look at his ex longingly. Janet’s parents arrive, and Janet’s touched to learn that Steve drove all the way across town the night before to talk to them. “We’re glad you both found each other,” Mrs. Sosna says.

Noah tells Donna that the accident with Beth was just an accident, but he’s worried that Donna will keep wondering if he was responsible. He thinks she’ll always find something not to trust him over. He’s gotten past the accident, and he doesn’t want to relive it while she deals with it. They’re done. In happier relationship news, Matt’s looking forward to growing old with Kelly.

Dylan watches It’s a Wonderful Life alone at the After Dark, like, at least go to the community center. Noah shows up and almost joins him for a drink, but changes his mind. Gina goes to see Donna, and they discuss how Gina’s world has been shaken, but that doesn’t mean she has to have a sad ending. The sisters seem to be on good terms now – a Christmas miracle!

Thoughts: What made Felice think Gina would respond to her blank-check offer any different than Ray did?

So Dylan just hangs around the community center and doesn’t play with the kids? What’s the point?

Matt’s defense of tinsel: “It’s shiny!” This is why you’re a good law-talkin’ guy, Matt.

What’s with Donna getting dumped on her birthday?

November 3, 2015

SVT #41, The Twins Get Caught: “I’m Twelve Years Old, and They Can’t Tell Me What to Do!”

Posted in books tagged , , , , at 5:32 pm by Jenn

I kind of like Jessica's sweater. I'll see myself out

I kind of like Jessica’s sweater. I’ll see myself out

Summary: Alice’s parents are coming to visit the Wakefields for ten days. The twins will have to share a room so their grandparents can have Jessica’s, which sounds dumb to me, since we know Jessica’s room is a mess, so why not give them Elizabeth’s? Unless this is Ned and Alice’s way of forcing Jess to clean her room. Except I don’t think they deserve that kind of credit. Anyway, Elizabeth thinks her grandparents are super-old and will have trouble doing things like walking and eating regular food. For the record, Grandma and Grandpa Robertson are in their 60s. Shut up, Elizabeth.

There’s a new teen club called the Hangout (which I don’t remember ever being mentioned after this book), and Steven comes home from a night there with a black eye. He explains that some Big Mesa students showed up and started a fight because they were mad about losing a basketball game to Sweet Valley. Steven wasn’t even a target; he was trying to help a kid the Big Mesa guys went after. Ned and Alice decide their kids aren’t allowed to go to the Hangout anymore.

Jessica’s still upset that she’s not allowed to get her ears pierced, but she cheers up when she chats with Todd (making his first appearance of this series), who seems interested in her. She cheers up even more when she finds out that Aaron’s throwing a big party, where Dave Carlquist will be DJing. But oh, no! The party’s at the Hangout! Ned and Alice forbid the twins from going.

Jessica’s outraged: Every sixth-grader at SVMS is going to the party, as are several seventh-graders. This is the party of the year, and she’s not allowed to go. Lighten up, Jess – Lila will have 18 more parties in the next month. Steven tries to help the twins out, telling Ned and Alice that there were plenty of chaperones at the Hangout, and he thinks the fight was a one-time thing. But Ned and Alice are afraid for their precious babies and won’t change their minds.

More furious than ever, Jess has had it. She’s 12 years old, which means she’s practically an adult! She should be able to go where she wants, when she wants! She complains to her grandmother about how she’s not allowed to get her ears pierced. Grandma Robertson says that she herself got her ears pierced at Jessica’s age, and she doesn’t see why Alice is so stubborn about letting Jess do the same. Jess decides that since she’s old enough in her mind to do what she wants, she’ll defy her parents.

A now pierced Jessica is immediately punished…until Grandma Robertson says it’s really her fault that Jess went against her parents’ wishes. She feels like she might have given Jess the idea that she had permission. Yeah, no, that’s not what happened. Jessica was just a brat. But anyway, Ned and Alice decide she doesn’t need to be punished because she didn’t know she was breaking a rule. Once again, horrible parenting by the Wakefields, but I don’t think anyone’s surprised.

Since Jessica got away with breaking one rule, she thinks she can get away with another. Off of a suggestion from Lila, she decides that she and Elizabeth will just sneak out to the party while their parents are out for the evening. Amazingly, Elizabeth goes along with this plan. But the dumb girls don’t use their inside voices, and Grandpa Robertson overhears them plotting to break the rules. He and Grandma Robertson make the twins confess their plans to their parents.

Then Grandma and Grandpa tell Ned and Alice that they’re demonstrating bad parenting, and that the girls should be allowed to go to the party. Ned and Alice decide they’re right, so the twins can go. And no, they’re not punished for planning to sneak out. No one faces any consequences. Jessica gets pierced ears and both twins get to go to the party, where Jess hangs out with Todd. It’s so wonderful to be a Wakefield!

Thoughts: Today in out-of-context amusement: “But all the other Unicorns are getting their ears pierced!”

“Todd didn’t seem to be interested in girls.” YOU GUYS.

“I’m twelve years old, and they can’t tell me what to do!” is, of course, spoken by Jessica. I’ve never heard a more 12-year-old thing come out of her mouth.

Every time Todd talks to Jessica, he mentions Elizabeth. Like, he asks her if they’re at the mall together. He asks if they’re both going to Aaron’s party. I was sure that at the end of the book, Jessica would realize that Todd’s actually interested in Elizabeth. But at the party, he wants to dance with Jess. Weird.

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