American Idol: Season 15, Episodes 15 & 16

If you thought American Idol was finally going to give the public the power to express their feelings about the contestants, you were only half-right. With 14 hopefuls remaining, this week the batch had to be cut down to the Top 10, and judges Harry Connick Jr, Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban already made a selection for us.

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Episode 15
From 14 to 10 in just a couple of hours. The judges had picked 4 contestants for us, although all 14 had rehearsed a song for this night. Why keep them in the dark until the last moment? Just to get their reactions on camera? Due to the short show; no time for 14 songs? Probably a little of both. The jury reveal their choices for the Top 10: Dalton Rapattoni, Olivia Rox, Trent Harmon and La’Porsha Renae. I agree for 3/4.

Bottle Episode
The left over 10 sing their favorite songs from the competition so far. Another odd decision. They all give good performances, but why rehash what they’d already done? I surely hope they won’t have to do it again in one of the live shows, like they usually do. If Idol were scripted (and, by the way, who said it isn’t?), this would be called a ‘bottle episode’. No new songs, no guests, no eliminations, no drama, no surprises.

Episode 16
Fortunately, Idol takes a ruthless revenge on itself, the day after. Cutting down the field to 10 isn’t the main course. It actually goes by rather early and quickly. Manny Torres, Thomas Stringfellow, Jenn Blosil and Jeneve Rose Mitchell are out. If it shows one thing, it’s America doesn’t appreciate off-beatness as much as I’d hoped. Jenn and Jeneve deserved a place in the Top 10. O well, there can only be one winner anyway. La’Porsha Renae. Did I just say La’Porsha Renae? Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Shaky, Melodramatic, Stiff
So, the eliminations are taken off stage, Kelly Clarkson joins the judges and then we’ve still got an hour and a half to go. The Top 10 is going to perform, but why? Apparently, next week two of them are going to be sent home, and the voting has already started. It’s time for the contestants to bring their A game. Olivia Rox must have the worst taste in music of all potential Idols. This week she’s singing ‘Unconditionally’ by Katy Perry. It doesn’t get more melodramatic than this. Gianna Isabella’s showing once more that she doesn’t belong here. Jennifer calls her performance shaky. I’d call it all over the place. Lee Jean does, well, Lee Jean. Playing and singing flawlessly, but it’s starting to get a bit stiff. Man. Guitar. We get it. Hopefully he’ll incorporate a bit more ‘show’ in the weeks to come.

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#TEAMLAPORSHA
Avalon Young has a similar problem. Like Jean, you know what you’re going to get with her, and it’s good. Nice. But it’s not enough. Dalton Rapattoni comes out swinging, like the one man Green Day that he is. Also, even though the judges wouldn’t quite agree with me, Tristan McIntosh does a great job. I finally know, now she’s got her hair straightened, who she reminds me of. Amy Santiago. Mackenzie Bourg decided to do another Ed Sheeran tune, and anyone doing an Ed Sheeran tune doesn’t get my vote, period. But then, the real contenders show up. Starting with an amazing performance by La’Porsha Renae. Now, that is floodgate material right there. She’s got the ability to pour her heart and soul into the lyrics. I dare you to keep a dry face when you watch her.

Emotional As Ever
It’s hard to follow Powerhouse Renae, but Sonika Vaid tries and succeeds. She’s a bit too mesmerised by the cameras, circling around her, but other than that, she does a fine job. Closer of the night is Trent Harmon, who naturally draws you in. He and Dalton are singing in a different league, what the men are concerned. You know what you’re going to get with Lee Jean, Mackenzie Bourg, Dalton Rapattoni and Trent Harmon, but the difference is, what you’re getting with the latter two is surprise, instead of the same old thing slightly altered. After Kelly Clarkson has been an absolutely great and delightful guest-judge, she has the final say, with her song ‘Piece by Piece’. If you had any tears left in the tank, you don’t anymore. American Idol proves it may soon be television-retired, but the show’s as energized, highly moving and emotional as ever.

Join Or Die – or – The Poor Man’s QI

After his comedy pilot The King of 7B didn’t get picked up to series, Craig Ferguson returned to his old love. Hosting a late night talkshow. Albeit in a different form, on an unusual channel: The History Channel. It’s called Join or Die and apart from an audience and a comfortable set, it needs minutes.

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Delightful Cocktail
In December 2014, Craig Ferguson quit his Late Late Show, leaving a big hole in the late night/early morning schedule. As entertaining as his shoe filler James Corden is, Ferguson’s delightful cocktail of philosophy, absurdism and conversations instead of prefab interviews, was a breath of fresh air and a true successor has yet to emerge. When gay robot skeleton Geoffrey Peterson (Josh Robert Thompson) came on the scene, things got even more out of control, which only made the show better.

Quiz Talk
Because Ferguson got his big break on The Drew Carey Show, it wasn’t such a strange move to go back to sitcom land. For some reason, ABC didn’t think the pilot of The King of 7B was funny enough and decided to abandon the project. The History Channel jumped in and contracted Ferguson for a 22 episode season order of Join or Die. An historical, half hour talkshow slash quiz show.

Bleak Gimmick
The quiz show part of the equation might’ve looked like a good idea. The BBC has been pairing science and history with a panel and a bunch of interesting questions for years in Stephen Fry’s marvellous QI. Compared to that show, Join or Die is a rather bleak gimmick. The first episode features ‘History’s Biggest Political Blunder’. Ferguson, Jimmy Kimmel, Jen D’Angelo and Howard Bragman discuss which of the 6 nominees should take home the prize; Rod Blagojevich, Herman ‘pizza delivery man’ Cain, Eliot Spitzer, Larry Craig, Christine ‘not a witch’ O’Donnell or Dick ‘trigger happy’ Cheney. In the second episode, Chris Hardwick, Jordan Carlos and Bob Pflugfelder shed their lights on ‘History’s Worst Medical Advice’.

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Canned
Ferguson’s a terrific host, and even has a monologue at the beginning of the show à la late night, but the laugh track is obvious and annoying. In some of the shots, we see a couple of heads in front of the camera, to create the illusion of a studio audience, but I’m positive there’s nobody in the studio other than a few interns. It’s 2016, people. Why do the History Channel executives still think we’re happy listening to canned laughter? Whoever becomes President of the United States coming November, I hope (s)he will pass a bill that prohibits laugh tracks. Seriously. I know there are many who believe Friends (10 seasons) wouldn’t have been the phenomenon that it was, if they had left out all the knee slapping, but come on. The Office (9 seasons) did alright without it.

20 Minute Segment
Anyway. Join or Die is a nice get-together of people who try to decide what is the best or worst particular thing in history. But that’s all it is. I’d hoped for a more intellectual approach, to be honest. Less guests, more depth. Now it’s basically just a late night talkshow segment, stretched out to 20 minutes. Maybe, if they’d gone for an hour an episode, there’d be more time to philosophize, reflect and get more personal, too.

Green As Can Be
One more thing: the set is a bit awkward. It’s like a living room, but a living room stripped of any form of personality. Besides, the 6 options are projected behind the guests, so they have to look over to the side, to a different screen. Ferguson even has to turn around to see it. This just looks silly. In short, The History Channel is obviously as green as can be when it comes to a late night-like show. Still, Ferguson’s a great host and there are a lot of laughs, but he deserves a better format and environment.

American Idol: Season 15, Episodes 13 & 14

The second half of the Top 24 tries to make an impression on judges Harry Connick Jr, Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban. First solo, the day after with people who know what it’s like to compete inside the pressure-cooker that is American Idol.

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Episode 13: Solo Round
Who’s ‘in it to win it’? Judging by the song choices in the Solo Round, only a handful. The majority of the contestants either wants to save the big performances and dito songs for the live shows, or they really don’t know what they’re doing. Shelbie Z kicks off episode 13, with Gretchen Wilson’s ‘Work Hard, Play Harder’. It showcases Z’s toughness, but not much else. There’s neither a climax nor a high note, nor something to get the crowd excited. The same goes for Manny Torres, who just wants to have a good time on stage. He’s energetic, optimistic, and it’s fun to watch his personality, however, why in the world would you pick ‘Adventure of a Lifetime’ by Coldplay? That’s elevator music, Manny. At least it’s uptempo. Something ‘Let it Go’ by James Bay isn’t. Kory Wheeler plays the piano while singing, and I get the feeling his singing suffers from it. Amelia Eisenhauer starts off Avicii’s ‘Wake Me Up’ slow, and I wish she would’ve stayed in ballad territory. It was the wrong choice to switch to uptempo; it all goes downhill from there.

Sorry, I’ll Be, Runaway
Jenn Blosil sings ‘Sorry’ by Justin Bieber. Picking a Bieber song should disqualify you. Same goes for Coldplay, Ed Sheeran and Demi Lovato. Jenn does turn it into a pretty piano ballad, though. It’s a ‘breath of fresh air’, according to Harry, but ‘out of tune’. C.J. Johnson pulls out Edwin McCain’s ‘I’ll Be’ and sounds hoarse. His pitch is all over the place, too. Keith and Jennifer were listening to something else, because they thought it was a ‘great vocal’. No, it wasn’t. And who thought it’d be a good idea to let the man with the guitar, perform without a guitar? Lee Jean does have his guitar with him on stage. Unfortunately, I can’t hear him playing it. Idol has the tendency to put the contestants’ instruments way back into the mix. He plays a very professional version of Ed Sheeran’s ‘Runaway’, as if he’s been doing it for years.

You Know When You’ve Been Daltonized
Trent Harmon is outdoing himself every time. His take on ‘What Are You Listening To’ by Chris Stapleton is pitch perfect. He’s got tremendous timing as well. Harry wasn’t on the edge of his seat, but hey, that’s Harry. Tristan McIntosh sings Carrie Underwood’s ‘Good Girl’, and wants to make us believe she’s a bad girl. I’m not convinced. She’s got a great voice, but she should pick a song closer to home. Adam Lasher, with his 28 years, looks like a mentor; not a contestant. He’s a bit ‘wishy washy’ with ‘Black and Gold’ by Sam Sparro. The first real performance of the night comes from Dalton Rapattoni. You’ve got to have balls, taking Billy Idol’s ‘Rebel Yell’ and turning it into a brooding ballad. In other words: completely daltonize it. Awesome. Closing the night, is Olivia Rox with Demi Lovato’s ‘Confident’. Is it good? Yes. Do I like it? No. But is it good? Absolutely. It’s just that the song is more of an idea than an actual song, and I can’t get past Olivia’s lack of charisma.

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Episode 14
In the next episode, the Idol alumni show up to pay it forward. Chris Daughtry (season 5), Jordin Sparks (season 6), Constantine Maroulis (season 4), David Cook (season 7), Kellie Pickler (season 5) and Haley Heinhart (season 10). Daughtry is paired with Lee Jean to sing his song ‘Home’, making the latter look like a baby. A baby who holds his own, because of his powerful voice. He does ‘Higher Ground’ by Stevie Wonder, together with Dalton Rapattoni. Not quite a daltonization this time. They’re jumping across the stage like two fireballs, nothing more. Kellie Pickler and Amelia Eisenhauer do a great version of ‘Suds in the Bucket’ by Sara Evans. There’s rhythm, flair and Amelia’s secret weapon; the violin. When Tristan McIntosh sings a duet with Pickler, it’s clear who the 15 year old is. The lack of experience is obvious. Could be due to the song choice, though. Pickler’s own ‘Best Days of your Life’ is just a godawful tune.

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The Alternative Rock Version of Simon & Garfunkel and the Perfect Tim Burton Couple
David Cook shares the stage with C.J. Johnson, singing Collective Soul’s ‘The World I Know’. It looks like they’ve been doing this for ages together, like an alternative rock version of Simon & Garfunkel. Cook also takes Olivia Rox under his wings. Their voices match each other perfectly, but there’s no show. Rox keeps on looking like a flower coming out of a concrete floor; lost on stage. Constantine Maroulis gets his quirk on (as if he needs any help with that) with Jenn Blosil, singing ‘My Funny Valentine’ by Frank Sinatra. They’re the perfect Tim Burton couple. The man in black and his white haired bride. It’s a ‘shouting match’, according to Harry, but Keith ‘loved it’. So did I. Maroulis goes even more theatrical when he and Shelbie Z take on Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. A 90 second version of the 6 minute classic? It’s possible. However, it lost more than just 4 and a half minutes. It lost the judges. Keith: ‘Nothing pulled me in.’ Harry: ‘You didn’t seem to have a point of view.’

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Bennie, Elvis, To Love Somebody
Haley Reinhart flew in to do one of my favorite cover songs of all time, her version of ‘Bennie and the Jets’. Unfortunately, Kory Wheeler doesn’t add anything to it. He’s just not a performer. He’s the guy in the corner of an office party. The shy nephew playing bass in a wedding band. Haley’s duet with Adam Lasher goes a lot better. Two voices, one guitar and an Elvis song; that’s all you really need. ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’ is pretty, sweet, intimate, although Adam does stay a bit stiff. Jordin Sparks and Manny Torres sing ‘No Air’. Manny leaves his ‘fun side’ at the door, and tries to dig deep to put a little heartbreak into the song. He only half-succeeds. His eyes may feign hurt, his smile stays on. Best pair of the night: Jordin and Trent Harmon. Their ‘To Love Somebody’ by the Bee Gees is just amazing.

Safe
Just like last week, only 7 go through: Lee Jean. Olivia Rox. Jenn Blosil. Dalton Rapattoni. Manny Torres. Tristan McIntosh. Then, a long pause. The last one to continue in the competition… I swear, if Trent Harmon wasn’t picked, I would’ve stopped watching. Judging by the performances of Tristan and Amelia Eisenhauer, I would’ve chosen the last one. So do we have the final 10 now? Can we start the live shows already? Yes and no. We still have 4 contestants to eliminate. Next week, the public decides who’s going to pack their bags.

Double Switch Of The Con Man

Saul Goodman AKA Jimmy McGill is back, in the season 2 opener of Better Call Saul, called ‘Switch’. And a switch it is. And then it is not.

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Locked In
Like ‘Uno’, Saul’s pilot episode, ‘Switch’ starts with a black and white montage of what we can only assume is a flash-post-Breaking-Bad-forward. Creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould haven’t forgotten about Jimmy’s (Bob Odenkirk) Heisenberg-absent future. It’s a grey one. Jimmy’s working at a mall, takes out the trash after closing hours (accompanied by the song ‘Funny How Time Slips Away’ by Billy Walker), but accidentally locks himself up in the dumpster basement. There’s one way out: an exit door, with a sign that says: ‘Notice: Emergency Exit Only! If you exit this door you will activate the alarm, and the police will be notified. If you must exit and the’ – that’s as far as it goes. It’s possible that the warning’s just a precaution and no (silent) alarm will be tripped. However, it’s clear Jimmy doesn’t want to run the risk of encountering police. So he stays put. It’s a quarter past nine. It’s only until a quarter to midnight that he’s released by the cleaning guy. By that time, he’s engraved his initials in the wall. ’S.G. was here’. Or is it ‘J.G. was here’? It’s nice to get a look into the future, but I’m afraid that’s all it is. Nice. Better Call Saul is, above all else, a prequel story.

Out
Jimmy’s been offered the job at law firm Davis & Maine. A huge opportunity to break into the serious lawyer business, but he wavers. It’s not exactly clear why. I guess it’s because he just loves conning people too much. He also wonders if Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn) is part of the equation. Are they finally going to happen, now that he’s about to play in the big league? She assures him those are two completely separate issues. The clever thing to say. However, that’s just what Jimmy needed to hear to decline the offer. He’s out. No more law. No more lawyer. Just fun pretending to be somebody else, taking people’s money and taking them for fools.

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Clarity
This means drifting like an 80 year old in the pool and being served on, apparently. He’s done everything that was expected of him. Played by the rules. Now, what does he have to show for it? I’d say a job at a prestigious law firm, but that seems to be a minor detail. Jimmy just wants to live, by… sitting on his ass, drinking cocktails. It’s not long before Kim shows up to ask him what the hell is going on. A midlife crisis? More like midlife clarity, he says.

Perfect Recipe
To show her what he means – because he can’t quite explain it – he cons some stock broker at the bar, and lets Kim play the part of his sister. She’s reluctant at first, but gets into the groove after a while. Free food, not to mention the free (very expensive) tequila – stock man Ken (Kyle Bornheimer, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Agent Carter) insists on paying the cheque -, can do that. Jimmy and Kim exit the bar drunk and exhilarated; the perfect recipe for romance. They end up in bed together. We just get to see the morning after, though.

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Switch #2
Has it been the spur of the moment? Have Jimmy’s feelings finally been returned? My guess is they haven’t. No matter how great it was to brush their teeth together. As Kim leaves to go to work, Jimmy leaves to float around some more in the pool. That’s when it hits him. Cocktails aren’t everything either. He saddles back up, switches again, contacts David & Maine, is not too late, and settles into his new (proper) office.

PLAYUH
There’s not a whole lot of Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks) in the episode, but there is of Daniel Warmolt (Mark Proksch), the guy who’s been hiring him. Daniel’s gotten a bit too sure of himself and thinks he can do the exchanges with Nacho Varga (Michael Mando) by himself. Sure, he can, even without Mike as his backup. But you still don’t want to get too friendly with Nacho, especially with your new PLAYUH licence plate and the car to match it, and your full name in the glove compartment. Before he knows it, Daniel’s house is trashed and his baseball cards are gone. His secret stash, too, most likely. It’s a great role, and we haven’t seen the last of him yet. Check out Talking Saul for more inside information and a sneak peek of next week’s episode.

Back To The Final Destination Of The Groundhog

Hulu, Stephen King and Bad Robot have joined forces, to bring King’s novel ‘11.22.63’ to life. It’s a time travel tale about a guy named Jake Epping, who’s got nothing much going for him in the present. Ergo: the perfect candidate to go back to 1960 and stay there.

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Brutal Murder
The pilot episode, called ‘The Rabbit Hole’, starts with a brutal murder. Why? Because it’s Stephen King, that’s why. We see brief images of the short story Harry Dunning (Leon Rippy, Under the Dome, Alcatraz, Deadwood) wrote, in Jake Epping’s (James Franco) class. It appears to be autobiographical. His father killed everybody in the house, but Harry. This must’ve happened somewhere in the 1960s. Storywise, no coincidence.

Time Portal
Diner owner Al Templeton (Chris Cooper, The Bourne Identity, American Beauty, Adaptation) has got some kind of time portal in the back. Take a few steps in the dark, and you literately fall into good old 1960. It’s just as easy to come back to 2016. There are, however, rules. Apparently, no one from 1960 is able to use the portal to travel to the future. Al can change anything he wants, but once he returns to his own time, everything he did gets erased. To have a lasting effect, he’d need to stay there.

Make Things Right
That lasting effect is what Al’s been trying to achieve. Prevent the Kennedy assassination. Prevent Lee Harvey Oswald from doing what he (allegedly) did. If he can stop whoever fired the gun, JFK would live and the Vietnam War would possibly end much sooner. There’s a chance here to make things right. Unfortunately, Al has come up short. Has been living three years in the past, until November 11, 1963, but couldn’t crack the case. It’s time to recruit somebody else. Preferably a guy who just got divorced: regular customer Jake.

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Danger Danger
You’d think: why just Jake? Why not more people? Would that work? I’d want to know. Why not Jake and Al together? Well, King has thought of everything, because Al’s got cancer and the night before Jake leaves, the diner owner dies. Jake’s on his own. Apart from figuring out who will kill Kennedy – and it looks like there’s a big conspiracy behind it -, danger follows him around wherever he goes: Time itself. One of the other rules is: Time doesn’t like to be messed with, the same way Death didn’t in the Final Destination movies. It’s not just people who come up to Jake, saying he doesn’t ‘belong here’, it’s also cars, fire and chandeliers that are out to get him.

Bloated
It’s one of those typical stuffed King concepts. A lot of different elements brought together, all having a set of rules attached to it. 11.22.63 feels a bit bloated because of that, but it does work. Probably due to the fact that ‘The Rabbit Hole’ has the length of a feature film (as well as an unusually wide for television frame size). It takes its time. The pace is nice. The sixties look great. Cooper’s great. Even Franco’s a likeable guy. He just shouldn’t smile. His smile makes him extremely creepy.

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The First Level
11.22.63 is Back to the Future, Final Destination, Edge of Tomorrow and Groundhog Day rolled into one. Jake’s the time traveling fish out of water, but he always has a way out/back. All he needs to do is go to the place where the (invisible) portal is, and he’s back in 2016. However long he’s been away doesn’t matter. If he returns, only 2 minutes will have passed. Thank you for playing. Game over. Start at the beginning again. I think that’s what the series is going to do. Play the first level a number of times, Groundhog style, until Jake’s met so many people – and fallen in love with a girl – that he doesn’t want to leave. But does he have a chance to live happily ever after, with Time constantly trying to take him out? And what happens if it succeeds? Al failed to mention that little clause in the contract. Anyway, so far so good.

This Is How The Axelrods Roll

In Billions episode 5, ‘The Good Life’, Bobby Axelrod has taken James Hetfield’s advice to ‘just play, man’. That means some x-rated action in the swimming pool, watching Inglourious Basterds, and go on a boat trip to the Galápagos Islands whenever you feel like it.

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Freedom
Everybody’s convinced it’s a midlife crisis of sorts. Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis) lost it. He’s out of the game. Left Wall Street behind. Wants to travel the world, wherever his self designed yacht may take him. Clearly signs the man isn’t thinking clearly. Bobby thinks, knows, it’s got nothing to do with any form of mental breakdown. At the Metallica concert, he tasted freedom. Why work for something you won’t be able to enjoy because you’re working all the time? The 21st century dilemma.

Sell Sell Sell
The woman who flirted with him, before and after the Metallica show, told him you can’t go through life not having seen Citizen Kane. First thing he should do when he gets home, is watch it on the big screen. And so he does. In pieces, because he’s constantly interrupted. Wags (David Costabile) tries to get a read on him, while managing everybody back at the office. He’s told them to sell everything. Slowly, not to scare the market. Now they’ve done that, they’re getting bored. And when competitive people get bored, it won’t be long until Wags has got a full blown rebellion on his hands.

Feeling Good
Bobby’s not saying anything. Doesn’t explain, just tells his right hand man that ‘he’s out’. In a last attempt to keep him from making a mistake, Wendy Rhoades (Maggie Siff) comes over. As his psychologist, he can say anything to her, right? There’s nothing much to say. Bobby’s feeling good. It’s as simple as that. Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti) gets wind of it, through ambitious reporter Michael Dimonda (Sam Gilroy). Bobby’s jumping ship? Then Chuck’s got to act fast.

Meet the Team
Chuck and his team are working around the clock to find dirt on ‘Dollar’ Bill Stearn (Kelly AuCoin), one of the Axe Capital employees. It’s not easy to find something. That gives us time to see who these people actually are. We know Bryan Connerty (Toby Leonard Moore) has found a friend with benefits in Terri McCue (Susan Misner), and Kate Sacher (Condola Rashad) is trying to work her way up the food chain, but that’s about it. The latter’s actually got quite a career in mind. Last stop: White House. She’s got money, too. Her own money. Because she offers Bryan to help him out, as a credit guarantee so he’s able to buy a new house, their relationship deepens a bit. Their scenes together don’t really go anywhere, but it’s nice to see a friendship unfold at the bar. O, and Dale Christo (Frank Harts) used to word ‘dude’. In Chuck’s face. That might come back to haunt him.

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Plunge
Then, out of nowhere, executives of Mundia-Tel are being indicted. Stocks immediately start to plunge. Axe Capital just sold all of its assets in the company. It seems like the whole ‘midlife crisis boat trip’ was another one of Bobby’s smoke screens. Somehow, he’d obtained insider information. Made everybody believe he was going all Galápagos on them. No way. As much as he loved the sense of freedom, he loves the game even more. He arrives back at work like a hero. The cheering doesn’t last long, though. The FBI barges in and takes ‘Dollar’ Bill Stearn in custody. Another win for Chuck. Another sheep taken out of Bobby’s herd.

The Call
Chuck isn’t just into S&M, he’s got a bit of a problem with it. Watching an S&M club from his car, trying to keep himself from going in. He can’t resist the call; that’s what an obsession or addiction’s usually made of. Luckily, he’s got a wife who understands. However, if anyone were to find out, he’s in big trouble. I’ve got a funny feeling that’s exactly what’s going to happen.

Unexplained Phenomenon, Unexplainable Episode

After last week’s goofy entry ‘Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster’, the fourth episode of event season 10 of The X-Files, ‘Home Again’, goes back to the days of Scary Dead(ish) Guys Killing Seemingly Random People.

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Garbage Truck
He kind of looks like Lurch. The guy that steps out of a garbage truck, kills somebody, only to step back into the truck on the wrong side. The side where he’s crushed to death. And then comes back to life. He’s tall, bald, gory and leaves no footprints. Just the occasional green goo on the floor, with worms swirling in it. Yup, this is The X-Files, alright. After his first victim’s pulled to pieces, Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) are asked to come in. Their reputation precedes them. If there’s something spooky in your neighborhood, who you gonna call?

Bandaid
As soon as they enter the crime scene, Scully’s called away by her brother Bill. Her mother suffered a heart attack and has been taken to the hospital. The nurse tells Scully that she’s been asking for Charlie, her estranged son. But she’s in a coma now. Meanwhile, Mulder discovers Banksy-like graffiti, close to where the man was murdered. It may have some significance. When he leaves the building, he finds a bandaid stuck to the sole of his shoe. After analyzing, it’s neither organic nor inorganic. Not alive and not dead either. It’s basically, well, nothing. So it’s not even a bandaid?

Adoption
Mulder visits Scully in the hospital. She’s gotten a hold of Charlie. He talks to their mother over the phone, and she wakes up. Sees Mulder and confuses him with her son, but then slips back into a coma and passes away. Scully’s been thinking about her own son. How she and Mulder had to give him up for adoption. To keep him safe. She’s starting to doubt if they made the right decision.

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Trash Man
Creepy Bandaid Man resurfaces. Two guys have taken down the graffiti piece – an image of the Bandaid Man – to sell it. Not going to happen. In full Ghostbusters II style, the Man steps out of the painting and kills them. Before walking out the door, he signs one of the canvases lying around with ‘Trash Man’. A little while later, he’s at it again. The song ‘Downtown’ by Petula Clark starts to play and, cheerful as that song is, it oddly enough perfectly fits gory horror sequences. It’s a popular song, given it’s used in many other TV shows, such as Glee, iZombie, Mad Men and in the episode ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ of LOST.

Clay
Mulder and Scully get on the trail of a graffiti artist who might know more about the Trash Man. They follow him into an abandoned building. He pulls out a gun, but Scully is still capable of disarming someone just as well as ‘back in the day’. It is, however, 2016, and they don’t run up the stairs anymore – let alone in high heels – so the guy escapes them soon after. They check out the building and find a man in the basement. Sort of a painter/inventor, who says he created the Trash Man. He’s got a whole speech which is pretty hard to follow. There’re flashbacks of Mulder and Scully’s child. There’s a Trash Man model of clay. There’s a lot going on, a lot being half-explained, Scully’s associations that may or may not have anything to do with the story. I do feel we’re going to get to see the 15-year old Mulder/Scully hybrid – probably in the event finale. As in: you don’t show a gun in the first act and never let it go off. As in: you don’t show three dragon eggs and never let them be hatched.