Review - Pretty Little Liars S04E15

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This week's episode had the Liars decoding Alison's diary but little did they know that the A -Team is closer than they think. In a race against time, the Liars must find Alison before A does. 

 Aria has been playing house with Ezra while Jake's away. WHY ARIA?! Ezra gave her a key to a cabin where they can meet up in secret. 

Emily either dreamed about Alison or she was there in her bedroom. You never really know but objects like the diary had been moved. Is it just me or is Emily's story like just getting more boring?

The Liars eventually find that Ali's diary or 'creative non-fiction' journal captures stories of their shared past including a tale about 'The Cradle Snatcher'. Apparently, Aria's little brother Mike got lucky with Hanna years ago and she was too ashamed to share. 

It's all about reading between the lines and that's exactly what Aria did. The clue leads them to a bed and breakfast that the Montgomery's use to holiday at. Unfortunately, the car fails to help the Liars reach their location and they end up stranded in the woods (This seems to happen way too much). Aria tells her friends that an uncle owns a cabin nearby (Ezra's secret cabin* more like it) which was not the brightest idea and the diary is stolen. 

Hanna has been depressed since Caleb's last visit before he returned to Ravenswood. I sense a new love for Hanna on the horizon with Travis whom we met back in 'Bring Down the Hoe' episode. He saves the day which only makes him a greater candidate to win Hanna's heart after Caleb ditched her a ghost.

 Toby uncovers the truth about his mother's death with the help of Mr Hastings. According to the real records, Mrs Cavanaugh fell from the roof by accident but then again can you really trust facts given in Pretty Little Liars right?

Is Ezra really A or is he just helping A to protect Aria? Since the writers unveiled his involvement in Ravenswood, the constant focus on his creepiness begs me to question the whole situation. 

Next Tuesday: Jake returns which can only mean one thing, move over Ezra and make room for the other guy. The Liars try to beat A to Alison's hiding spot and will we finally find out why she was so afraid to return home?

Review by Jessica Tisdell


REVIEW - The Big Bang Theory - S07E09 - ‘The Thanksgiving Decoupling’

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It’s Thanksgiving this week on The Big Bang Theory and all of the gang have been invited to spend it at the Wolowitz household with Howard’s mother and Bernadette’s father.

Sheldon does not want to spend Thanksgiving with the Wolowitz clan (and makes some racially insensitive jokes likening himself to a slave, being forced to do something he does not want too… These were just, uh, I don’t want to even get started. Sure Sheldon can be ignorant of many things, but this was just too far. Quit with these jokes already.), and Penny tries to cheer him up by telling him stories about Thanksgivings spent in unlikely places that turned out to be enjoyable. She recounts the Thanksgiving she spent with Zack three years ago (you remember Zack, the guy who thought the others were going to blow up the moon?) in Vegas when they got “fake” married. 

… What?! Turns out Penny has been married to Zack for the past three years, and neither of them realised it was a real marriage. Obviously Leonard is pretty upset since Penny agreed to marry Zack (albeit in an inebriated state), but has always turned Leonard down when he asked. This leads to a few pretty heated moments between Leonard and Penny, compounded by Zack’s sudden reappearance to sign the divorce papers.

When I first heard the title of this week’s episode, I feared there was going to be a break-up. I’m not going to lie, I thought it would be Leonard and Penny. As soon as I heard about the Penny and Zack thing though, I breathed a sigh of relief, thinking, ‘oh, that’s the break-up’, but then Leonard and Penny start fighting, and Zack shows up again, reluctant to sign the papers… This was an interesting curveball to throw into the Leonard and Penny saga, and I’m sure it caught many of us off guard, so hats off to the writers for keeping the Leonard and Penny drama interesting (at least for one week anyway).

Meanwhile, Bernadette’s father seems as reluctant as Sheldon is to spend Thanksgiving in the Wolowitz house, and tries to tune everything out by drinking beer and watching football. Sheldon, who grew up watching football under the tutelage of his father, makes a comment about one of the plays. This intrigues Mr Rostenkowski, who asks Sheldon about his childhood and knowledge of football. Sheldon tells Mr Rostenkowski about his father and his subsequent death, who feels sorry for Sheldon and they begin to bond. This upsets Howard greatly, because his father abandoned him when he was eight, and has yet been unable to bond with Mr Rostenkowski. The other two begin to pick on Howard, so he turns to the one person who can stick up for him, Bernadette…

This story was quite sweet to start off with… until of course I realised it was just being used as a vehicle to get Sheldon drunk and make further inappropriate comments to those around him. Sigh. Sitcoms don’t have to be laugh a minute all of the time, sometimes they can just have ‘aww’ moments, something The Big Bang Theory has struggled with for a while. They got it perfectly right last season when Howard rediscovered an old letter his father sent him, but they haven’t been able to find this balance again since. I am optimistic that they can though.

Overall this was quite an interesting episode, with a couple of stories I don’t think we would have seen coming. Sure there was the classic shouting of Mrs Wolowitz, off-screen, whenever someone mentioned food, to remind us of the classic show, and a bit about Raj, Bernadette and Amy cooking for Thanksgiving that never really seemed to go anywhere (which made the episode seem a bit off-kilter), but it made for a solid episode.

Review by Heather Bale.


REVIEW - The Big Bang Theory - S07E07 - ‘The Proton Displacement’

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This week’s episode of The Big Bang Theory sees the return of guest star Bob Newhart as Doctor Arthur Jeffries a.k.a. Professor Proton.

Whilst stocking up at a pharmacy Amy, Leonard and Sheldon run into Professor Proton. This prompts Proton to contact Leonard to read over a paper he has written. Sheldon is offended that Proton did not ask him, and Amy tentatively suggests the reason for this is that Sheldon is annoying. Sheldon goes to Proton’s house to apologise, but Proton still refuses to collaborate with him. Sheldon decides to collaborate with another TV scientist, Bill Nye, as a form of revenge. After flaunting Nye in front of Leonard and Proton, Proton asks Leonard a big question (one Leonard has struggled with on many occasions): why does he put up with Sheldon?

Bob Newhart does a brilliant job in his role as Professor Proton - there’s a reason he’s a comic legend! - so it was good to see him back again. What I loved most about this storyline though was Leonard’s justification for being friends with Sheldon. Leonard, more than anyone, has difficulty dealing with Sheldon’s, err, ‘quirks’, so it was good to finally hear him admit why he continues to ‘put up with’ Sheldon.

Raj is going to have a “girls night” with Amy, Bernadette and Penny to make jewellery. Howard does not have any other plans, so he joins in as well. He is dismissive of Raj’s idea of glue and beads to make jewellery, suggesting instead that he bring a soldiering iron from work. Raj is clearly annoyed with Howard for crashing girls night, but does not say anything. When Howard shows up to the next girls night, Raj can’t take it anymore and lashes out at Howard. Howard does not understand why Raj does not want him there, and Raj explains why.

Hurrah for Raj finally standing up for himself! I was so happy to hear him say “I am comfortable with my masculinity” - it seems he is as over the ‘Raj is a girl’ jokes as much as I am! Just because Raj does not conform to a traditional model of masculinity does not make him any less of a man (or a homosexual), so good on him for sticking up for himself to Howard (the perpetrator of the majority of these jokes). Though these jokes are slightly hypocritical coming from Howard who himself does not conform to a traditional model of masculinity either… though I guess it makes him feel better about himself by making fun of others… Anyway, I loved Raj’s reason for hanging with the girls/this storyline overall, and I hope that he continues to hang with them for a long time to come!

One of the only complaints I have about this storyline was a small joke about Penny being too stupid to use glue. I know compared to the rest of the characters in this show Penny may be the least intelligent (in some ways, not in all), but this was just too over the top. As ‘stupid’ as Penny may seem sometimes, I struggle to believe that she is that stupid. I know it was just thrown in for a cheap laugh, but still…

Next week will mark the return of another guest star: Lucy (whether this is a permanent return is still unclear), another character who is accepting of Raj and his particular model of masculinity. And guess what? I can’t wait!

Review by Heather Bale.


REVIEW - American Horror Story: Coven - S03E04 - 'Fearful Pranks Ensue'

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Race hate is the vein which seems to pump evil through the heart of this season of American Horror Story.  Episode four opens in 1961 where a young black schoolboy is killed and hung in the trees on his first day of school by ignorant, old, white men.  I found this a particularly stressful scene and certainly one of the most powerful yet. It seems the most terrifying to watch are the ones which replicate real incidents in history.

Then the creepy opening credits roll on this Halloween spectacular and we are sent to butler Spalding’s room.  This maniac butler has wall to wall china dolls and likes to hum along and sip tea from a toy tea set.  Not unsettling at all!  He is disturbed from his macabre high tea by a crash and a noise. Heading downstairs he witnesses the moment where Fiona Goode takes the life of her perceived competitor, Madison.  If only that man could speak!  He could, many years ago... who took his tongue? We find out here.

The private moment between Spalding and Goode is disturbed by more noises, this time the painful wails of Queenie.  Queenie’s sexual encounter with the voodoo Minotaur turned into a vicious attack and she is very near death.  Can Fiona and Claudia save her?  Will Delphine finally understand her wrongs in previous lifetimes, and how will the witches retaliate to this attack?

The Coven is in disarray and all the witches seem to have muchos problemos in their private lives: Nan has lost contact with Madison and believes she is dead; Madison is rolled up in a carpet awaiting disposal; Claudia has a husband who appears to be the Craigslist killer; and Zoe has lost her Fraken-boyfriend.  

Madam Delphine's resurrection seems to have sparked a war that has Zombie’s descending on the house.  They are meant to be the evil undead but too much TV as a kid in the 80’s means that I found myself humming ‘Thriller’ when they came out of the graves and half expected a bit of a zombie dance off!

A great Halloween episode.  Can’t wait to see which creepy road these storylines take us to next.

Review by JoAnn Duff.


REVIEW - How I Met Your Mother - S09E08 - 'The Lighthouse'

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In this episode all of the little things the season has been setting up start to pay off. A time jump has occurred (they finally went to sleep!) and it is now Saturday morning (everything that has happened in the season so far occurred on Friday).

Ted wants to go to the lighthouse near Farhampton. This is considered a very romantic location by the nosy receptionist (last seen in episode two), who does not want Ted going alone. Lily, frustrated with Marshall’s recent revelation to her, tells Ted to stop trying to find the one and “settle” for Cassie (the woman he met in episode six). Ted reluctantly takes Cassie to the lighthouse, despite all of the warning signs telling him not to.

Although not much time was spent on this plot line, the little gem of a flash forward we are given at the end of the episode made it worthwhile. I won’t say exactly what happened, but I will tell you it featured the mother!

Marshall and Daphne stay the night in Ted’s childhood home with his mother and stepfather (Clint) because of bad weather. Clint decides Marshall and Daphne need some conflict resolution and stows himself away in the back of their car until an opportune moment presents itself. Clint quickly drives Daphne and Marshall up the wall with his guitar, singing, and attempts at conflict resolution. Marshall and Daphne do indeed have some issues between them, but will Clint’s presence help or hinder these issues?

Barney wants his mum (Loretta) and Robin to stop fighting, and Loretta agrees to put it behind them if Robin is willing to as well. Of course Robin is not willing and shows up to breakfast in Loretta’s favourite blouse (which Robin won from her in a poker game in episode five). This just leads to an escalating war between Loretta and Robin, with Barney once again caught in the middle. In the heat of one of their arguments, Robin reveals something personal about herself to Loretta. Loretta is understandably shocked, and questions Barney’s decision to marry Robin. Can Loretta handle this new bit of information, and how will it affect her relationship with Robin?

This seemed like a pretty average episode of How I Met Your Mother… until the last two minutes clearly placed it on the good side of average. It was nice to see ‘old’ characters and plot lines resurface (and in some cases, be resolved), so I guess this new format isn’t that bad, but we are still quite a while away from the wedding…

Review by Heather Bale.


REVIEW - American Horror Story: Coven - S03E03 - 'Burn, Witch, Burn!'

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Coven is cranking up the creep in episode three.  This episode is full of flashbacks, flash-forwards and a nod to Psycho.  I wonder if there is a reference to a classic thriller in every episode?

Madame Delphine is still coming to terms with her 180 year slumber. As a heartless, evil bitch who enjoys slicing slaves to pass the time, she really is struggling with the present day.  Her reaction to seeing Obama as a black President would be funny if it wasn’t so disturbing.

Kyle the Franken-boyfriend is also a real mess.  Half monster, half boy, he is being healed very slowly by Misty Day in the swamps.  Poor Misty is lonely with only the swamp creatures and an old radio for company and quickly becomes overly attached to Zoe and Kyle.  She tells Zoe “ You can’t be your best self until you find your tribe.”  I think she has found ‘her tribe’.

The healing power of swamp mud, some Fleetwood Mac classics and enchanting spells from kooky Misty Day soon have Kyle’s scars disappearing.  Zoe seems to make yet another huge mistake by thinking it is the best idea in the world to send undead Kyle back to his mother.  In American Horror Story this is never a safe bet, and both Misty and Kyle are not too pleased with the decision. It’s soon revealed that prior to being dismembered in a bus crash poor Kyle suffered a Norman Bates style relationship with his mother.  Some kids just never have a chance.

Flash-back to Fiona Goode and her rise to become Supreme, flash forward to her failing body and grip on power.  Just when you think she is ready to succumb and hand over her reign there is a knife, a slit throat, and a dead witch.

After establishing the main characters, episode three really cements the main plotlines.  Cannot wait to watch episode four, but it will have to be watched in the daylight!

Review by JoAnn Duff.


REVIEW - American Horror Story: Coven - S03E02 - 'Fearful Pranks'

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The opening scene of episode two is a nod to ‘Deliverance’. Misty Day, a young girl suspected of witchcraft and burned at the stake, is still living in the swamps where she was murdered.  She has the power to bring the dead back to life and has no time for the cruel gator haters who receive a taste of their own medicine.

Zoe Benson on the other hand may be a good witch, maybe even the next Supreme, but she is absolutely useless at keeping secrets. She tells the police who come knocking on the door that they are all witches before they have even had the time to take a sip of tea.  If Zoe is to survive then she needs to get smart, close ranks with her fellow witches and  protect each other.  Luckily Fiona Goode is on hand to take control of the situation.

Madison shows the first sign of any kindness (well, a creepy, witchy kindness) by placing a spell in a morgue and creating a Frankenstein boyfriend for Zoe.  Is it better off to be dead, or alive but at the whim of these young, rebellious witches?

Luckily Fiona Goode, the Supreme, is on hand again and in no mood to let this situation escalate.  She is also pretty good at harbouring secrets of her own by keeping the resurrected Madam Delphine La Laurie stashed away in her quarters.  

Already we begin to see that Fiona is desperate to hold onto the witchcraft crown for a little longer and to be young and beautiful forever.  She can feel the age creeping up every time she looks in the mirror and it will be interesting watching her connive, trick and take what she wants and needs to desperately retain her youth and beauty.

Angela Basset’s character the Voodoo Queen is fully introduced in this episode, just as beautiful as she was in the 1700’s.  She returns with her Minotaur lover from episode one and are preparing for a battle in the darkness.

Oh and did you know?… Stevie Nicks is a white witch?!

Review by JoAnn Duff.