Supernatural Season Two Episode One – Recap and Review

 BY ANTHONY MEDINA

**This episode originally aired in September 2006. If you are unfamiliar with the series, be aware this review contains spoilers.**

“Oh, I don’t wanna trap you. I wanna make a deal.”  John Winchester

It might have been easy to simply coast on the momentum built from the season one finale, but “In my time of dying” raises the bar yet again for this increasingly strong CW show.

We open with our heroes unconscious on the side of the road as a demon approaches to finish the job. Sam (Jared Padalecki) regains consciousness just in time and uses the Colt to chase the demon away. They end up in the hospital where Dean (Jensen Ackles) remains unconscious and in critical condition. Sam and his father John (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) discuss their options and argue about whether or not to immediately go after the Yellow Eyed Demon.

Meanwhile, we discover that Dean has become separated from his body and wanders the halls as a ghost. And that’s when he runs into the Reaper who has come to help his spirit move on.

She gives him the choice of passing into the afterlife (whatever that may be) or remaining on Earth as a wandering spirit, exactly the type of supernatural creature he dedicated his life to fighting. This was one of the most powerful scenes in the episode and Jensen Ackles does a great job as he portrays Dean’s realization that every spirit he’s ever fought must have struggled with this same choice.

Yet, before Dean can make his decision, we cut to John who has decided to take matters into his own hands. He summons the Yellow Eyed Demon and proposes a trade for his son’s life. And after some negotiating, the Demon accepts.

Dean wakes up moments later with no recollection of what occurred. Sam and John have a suspiciously pleasant exchange before Sam is sent to get a coffee. John whispers a secret into Dean’s ear and leaves with a teary goodbye. Finally, we follow Sam returning the room only to find John collapsed on the floor, dead.

A father sacrificing himself for his children, I’d compare it to the first season of Game of Thrones, but comparing a CW show (no matter how much I like it) to the HBO mega series might make the universe implode. So I’ll just say that even though they handled his death well and sent him out like a hero. It’s going to be tough getting through the rest of the series without him. Jeffrey Dean Morgan did a great job with the character of John Winchester and he will be greatly missed. Although, if any show were to lend itself to the re-emergence of a dead character, it would be Supernatural.

Thinking Man Rating: 15 Thumbs Up

**Be aware the Thinking Man rating system is based on awesomeness and should be disregarded if you are not now, or have never been, awesome.**

 

Nikita Season 1 Finale – Recap and Review

BY ANTHONY MEDINA

**This episode originally aired in May 2011. If you are unfamiliar with the series, be aware this review contains spoilers.**

“You ask me what I want? I want what every other American wants right about now, job security.” – Percy Rose

It was a fitting end to the first season of this shockingly well done CW show. “Pandora” manages to successfully conclude each characters story arc, while raising new questions for the future and even throwing a few more twists our way just to keep us on our toes.

As the episode opens our heroes find themselves in some unfortunate situations.

Alex (Lyndsy Fonseca) has a kill chip in her brain and must obey Division’s orders (or must she?)

Nikita (Maggie Q.) was shot and killed by Alex (or was she?)

And Michael (Shane West) is locked in a Division prison and can’t escape (or can he?)

No, no, and yes.

Meanwhile, Fletcher (Noah Bean) is in the heart of the CIA helping to decrypt a blackbox he believes will expose Division’s plan to attack the government. Unfortunately, Percy (Xander Berkeley) is smarter than the average bear and rigged the device to release a toxic gas designed to kill the director of the CIA. In doing so, he can blackmail Oversight to put a puppet in the vacated seat and thus gain control of the 37 billion dollar CIA budget. A nifty plan to be sure. And I must say, there’s nothing quite like watching Percy gloat when he has the most powerful people in the country at his mercy. He may be a psychopath, but he’s a badass psychopath.

Not to worry though, the Nikita crew is on their way to save the day, hurray I say!

We learn that Alex faked Nikita’s death and Nikita recovers just in time to storm the CIA and pull everyone out of the room as the gas is released. When Percy learns of Alex’s betrayal he orders Amanda (Melinda Clarke) to activate her kill chip. Amanda complies but immediately revives her with a shot of adrenaline. It turns out Amanda is planning a coup against Percy and she lets Alex go as her first act of open defiance. Michael manages to escape Division with the help of his old friend Birkhoff (Aaron Stanford) allowing him to neutralize Percy and reunite with Nikita. Good guys win!

This was a great ending to a great season. The few criticism I would have would be that some of the twists were fairly predictable and the survival of our heroes depended largely on other characters acting uncharacteristically. But all that is overshadowed by the copious amounts of awesome that burst out of every scene. This is by far the best show the CW has produced in a long time, Bravo I say.

Finale

Thinking Man Rating: 12 Thumbs Up

Season 1

Thinking Man Rating: 15 Thumbs Up

**Be aware the Thinking Man rating system is based on awesomeness and should be disregarded if you are not now, or have never been, awesome.**

Hart of Dixie Season 1 Finale – Recap and Review

BY ANTHONY MEDINA

**This episode originally aired in May 2012. If you are unfamiliar with the series, be aware this review contains spoilers.**

“Believe me, a storm is coming.” – Lavon Hayes

Well, it was quite the year for Dr. Zoe Hart (Rachel Bilson), and the town of Blue Bell. But at long last “The Big Day” is finally here. The town has been transformed and everyone is lining up to watch George Tucker (Scott Porter) and Lemon Breeland (Jamie King) finally tie the knot. But Tom Long’s knee is tingling which can only mean one thing, the storm is coming…

So here’s what you have to know going into the season finale:

Wade loves Zoe, Zoe loves George, George loves Lemon, and Lemon loves Lavon. But Lavon also loves Lemon, and Lemon loves George, and George loves Zoe, and as it turns out Zoe loves Wade too. Oh, what a tangled web we weave. AND this all takes place in Alabama, so I assume season 2 will reveal half these people are related (Zing!).

With this love pentagon in play the question we’re all/none of us are wondering is who Zoe will choose. Will she go with her first choice option A:

“The Golden Boy” George Tucker, town lawyer and overall nice guy (hate this guy)

Or her backup option B:

“The Badboy” Wade Kinsella (Wilson Bethel), town bartender and overall slacker (hate this guy)

The choice is nearly taken from her since George is getting married to another woman. Even with the storm hitting the town, George does everything he can to salvage the wedding by moving it indoors. Unfortunately, he moves everything into an old fire station with a leaky and collapsing roof. Despite his best efforts he knows it’s not going to happen. And the truth is, he really doesn’t want it too. He finds Lemon and calls off the wedding once and for all telling her he’s in love with Zoe Hart. Lemon gives him a well earned punch in the face (which I enjoyed) and off he goes to tell Zoe they can finally be together.

But Zoe has been going through her own little crisis. As the storm hits she gets trapped in a barn with Wade for hours. And as we all know, there’s nothing more erotic then the smell wet goats and farm equipment. So naturally they end up together at her place just in time for George to knock on the door and confess his love for Zoe.

Despite my jaded and cynical view of humanity, I have soft spot in my heart for this little bit of CW fluff. As I’ve said in the past, Rachel Bilson is far too cute to hate. So if you like watching southern folk fight over which pretty gal gets to be with which pretty guy, this show is for you.

Season 1

Thinking Man Rating: 5 Thumbs Up

Finale

Thinking Man Rating: 4 Thumbs Up

**Be aware the Thinking Man rating system is based on awesomeness and should be disregarded if you are not now, or have never been, awesome.**

 

Nikita Pilot – Recap and Review

(Playing Catch-Up With The CW Dept:)

BY ANTHONY MEDINA

**This episode originally aired in September 2010. If you are unfamiliar with the series, be aware this review contains spoilers.**

“Three years ago I escaped, and have been hunted ever since. I was the first recruit to get out. I’m going to make certain I’m not the last.” – Nikita

Sexy women, rogue assassins AND an interesting story?

Count me in.

We open on Nikita (Maggie Q.), a highly trained assassin, typing away at her computer. The voiceover informs us that she has spent the last three years in hiding but is now resurfacing to wage all-out war against Division, a covert government organization that recruits its agents through kidnapping and extortion. This means fighting and killing many of her former colleagues and friends, including the Head of Division, Percy (Xander Berkeley), his second in command and Nikita’s former trainer, Michael (Shane West), and Birkhoff (Aaron Stanford) Division’s resident computer genius.

We then drop in on two masked bandits robbing a drugstore. When the owner resists, he is killed. One of the thieves escapes. The other, a teen junkie named Alex (Lyndsy Fonseca), is arrested. Soon afterward, Division comes calling, taking her to a training center where Michael explains that as far as the rest of the world knows she is now dead. She must give herself over to the agency, and in return they will give her a new life as an elite secret agent. Sounds great, but there’s one little catch. Alex later discovers that if she fails the training or in her missions she’ll be killed.

As the episode continues, we intercut between Nikita and Alex, seeing the process of shaping a new recruit and the challenge of eliminating a veteran agent. Through Nikita, we learn more about the reasons for her crusade. Through Alex, we see the various levels of training that shape a young assassin. More than combat skills are involved. There’s also a charm and beauty school run by Amanda (Melinda Clarke), a master manipulator, interrogator, and psychologist who has the potential to be the most interesting yet terrifying character in the series.

The episode ends with a twist: The discovery that Alex, the young new recruit, is Nikita’s inside operative. And that Nikita was the second masked bandit that shot the drug store owner.

Okay, so this show is awesome. Yes, the sexy secret agent thing has been done. But the pilot provides a nice balance of cool action, engaging characters and enough story depth to provide a solid foundation for the future. This is the CW, so there’s the occasional cheesy line and overacted scene, but if you’re in the mood for sexy women with guns AND an interesting story, do yourself a favor and check this show out.

Thinking Man Rating: 11 Thumbs Up

**Be aware the Thinking Man rating system is based on awesomeness and should be disregarded if you are not now, or have never been, awesome.**

 

Hart of Dixie Pilot – Recap and Review

By Anthony Medina

**This episode originally aired in September 2011. If you are unfamiliar with the series, be aware this review contains spoilers.**

“Could you get me a venti soy latte so I don’t fatigue?” – Dr. Zoe Hart

Ever find yourself wishing the OC would come back on the air?

Didn’t think so. But like it or not, Summer Roberts has made her triumphant return as a big city doctor in a small town practice. Her name may be Zoe now, but we all know it’s really Summer under that stethoscope. Can I get an Amen?

No? Well, alright then.

We open on a bus headed towards Blue Bell Alabama. The voice over introduces us to Dr. Zoe Hart (Rachel Bilson), a wannabe cardiothoracic surgeon, who has left her old life behind and is moving to the Heart of Dixie (get it?!) to work in a private practice. We’re given a flashback to her graduation ceremony, where she proudly delivers the commencement address. Afterwards, a kindly and somewhat creepy old man approaches and offers her a job as a general practitioner in Blue Bell. She politely turns it down and explains she already has her plans figured out. She has an amazing boyfriend and is well on her way to becoming a kickass heart surgeon. But just as everything is coming together, everything falls apart. Her longtime boyfriend breaks up with her and she’s denied her fellowship because she views patients as puzzles and not people. With her plans in ruin, she decides to take up the kindly (or was it creepy?) old man’s offer and moves to Alabama.

When she reaches Blue Bell, we’re introduced to a slew of colorful characters. From a good looking lawyer, to a former football star turned mayor. There’s even a high strung Southern Bell that clashes almost immediately with our fancy New York girl. Some stuff happens, then other stuff happens. Everyone hates her so she decides to leave. Then, she finds out the creepy (or was it kindly?) old man was really her long lost father, so she stays. And then it’s over.

Now, I’m sure many of you out there think you know what this show is all about before even watching a single scene. Some cutsie little dramedy without one ounce of originality or depth. Well, to you cynical TV watchers out there, I have only one thing to say! Obviously, you’re absolutely right. But, that doesn’t mean this an automatic “skip”.

I’m not so naive as to pretend this show is some little gem you’ll all love. From a purely objective point of view, this show is below average in just about every category. The acting is mediocre, the fish out of water angle is trite and uninteresting, the dialogue is embarrassingly corny and every joke is basically “HEY, I’M NOT FROM HERE!” But, with that being said, Rachel Bilson is too damn cute to hate. Subjective and superficial praise to be sure, but I calls em like I see em.

If you’re able to give yourself into this show, it will basically cradle you in its arms, pat your head, and tell you everything is going to be alright. It’s a fluffy white cloud with no real substance. But what can I say, it has a certain charm I just can’t ignore.

This show is everything I was worried it would be, but I didn’t come away hating it. It’s sweet and utterly predictable. There are worse things you could do with an hour.