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Archive for October 18th, 2008

Ah, New York, the sixth character in HIMYM world. You have changed so much the last few years… and it doesn’t help that Marshall cannot remember the restaurant he ate the greatest burger. It doesn’t matter that MacLarens has an awesome burger. It’s not that burger. And Marshall’s sudden obsession with it is pretty weird, even for Marshall. Apparently, when the boys moved in to the apartment, Marshall refused to leave for fear of getting mugged. And when he realized NYC is awesome, he found- the burger. And so the love affair began- and ended. He couldn’t find the place again. And ever since, Marshall has been obsessed. Even a helpful stranger gets Marshall’s wrath ( ” I didn’t think about trying the highest rated burger in the Zagatel guide!”). And somehow, Regis gets involved. The place had a signed Regis picture ( but so does every other burger joint in Manhattan). Regis, too, doesn’t remember where this place is, and it’s driving him nuts as well.  As Marshall reminisces, he gives a clue- green door, red neon sign saying burger. Robin says she knows the place, and they go off in search of the place. And there is also a text to Regis- who leaves his new game show to meet them.

Turns out the burger, though, is not the burger. Which allows for a genius Marshall soliloquy about this burger ( which leads to Lily to complain that Marshall got their wedding vows online). Turns out Marshall is struggling. He’s no longer wearing pants. It was fine, until he actually left the apartment… and met Lily to find the burger at some bistro…

The gang takes off to a new place, only to discover it’s been replaced by an ATM for Goliath National Bank ( now owned by Barney’s labyrinth corporation). Turns out Barney got our unemployed Marshall a job at Goliath. It isn’t Marshall’s dream, but it’s a paycheck.  After another ” helpful” ( for a c-note) stranger tells them the place has, in fact, moved.

So they trudge off to the burger place, and this time, success. It is the burger, and it really is that good ( good enough for Barney to think about getting the burger pregnant).

I love Neil Patrick Harris on HIMYM, but the secret weapon of the show has always been Jason Segel. His Marshall is a big, goofy kid with a law degree but a wide eyed idealistic streak which is a rarity on TV now a days. The burger is more than a burger, it’s the last thread Marshall has to his 22 year old self, and all he wants is to be that kid for a minute. Segel, who specialized in geeks with hearts of gold, delivers a great performance. The episode is not as laugh out loud funny, though, as others, and the Regis bit is a clear gimmick. The B story of Goliath National Bank also falls flat. But a solid, guys.

Grade- B

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I’m trying not to die of joy due to recently released spoilers about episode seven. Reid- William Reid… you have some explaining to do…

I guess it’s safe to say that any episode that features Dr. Spencer Reid gets an automatic love note from me, seeing as I adore Matthew Gray Gubler. But the truth is that the Reid focus episodes are among the strongest written of the series. From ” Somebody’s Watching” through to ” Sex Birth And Death”, ” Revelations”, ” Jones”, and ” Elephant’s Memory”, they remain among my favorites.  This one is also high up on my list. Of course, Reid episodes also have some of the strongest unsubs- and some surprisingly great performances. James Vanderbeek gave his single best performance in his life as Tobias in ” Revelations”. Luke Perry proves to be a revelation of a kind in ” Minimal Loss”. As someone who spent way too much time watching the original 90210 as a teen, I never thought much of Perry as an actor. This ( and his creepy turn on L&O SVU earlier this season) proved me wrong. Perry is quite compelling as Benjamin Cyrus. It’s easy to see him as a charismatic wing nut. He is charismatic. And quite scary in his quiet way.

Reid and Prentiss show up in Colorado to interview children with Children’s Services after a call is placed about child molestation and underage marriages. At first, Cyrus is cautiously welcoming, but when he is tipped off about a raid, the heavily armed cult he leads enter a shoot out with state police. This gets the actual child services killed, and Reid and Prentiss are de facto hostages of a cult with heavy duty weaponry and a leader with a deep messianic complex. The team freaks out when the news hits national networks, and they all head to Colorado.

Hotch decides to let Rossi lead the hostage negotiations ( and then a swoon worthy Hotch pissed off moment with the Colorado AG- awesomeness and sexy). Rossi and Hotch present the minimal loss scenario- try to save as many as possible, but they cannot save them all. The team know they not only have to profile the cult, but Prentiss and Reid as well. Rossi begins slowly as to build trust- being told that Prentiss and Reid are alright ease some anxiety momentarily. The one thing I noticed about Perry’s performance at this moment is the eerie calm he exhibits. Some actors miight be inclined to play it rougher and crazier. The thing about Cyrus is that he doesn’t ever appear crazy even when he clearly is a bushel short of a load. He is pleasant, obliging, even while being unco-operative. A tricky balance.

Trust needs to be earned, and Rossi tries his best to get the children out. But Cyrus instead decides to keep the kids as protection, and Reid and Prentiss observe the wine ceremony, the calm of Cyrus, the body language of Jessica, the girl that they were called to interview, and Jessica’s mother, and then the bomb drops. Cyrus announces that they have drank poison, but Rossi, seeing Cyrus’ calm, and Reid, seeing Cyrus’ reaction to the followers fear or anticipation, both call it as a bluff.

One small quibble- Jeff Fahey in a single scene? Indelible in that scene. Wish there had been more. As the former leader of the group, he was astonishing.

Our cult leader was born Charles McGrew, and has a record of child molestation. He was a ” model prisoner” after discovering God. Bad news- child molesters who survive general pop in prisons will never give up. And then the news breaks- there is an undercover FBI agent on the compound. Cyrus points a gun at Reid, who never breaks character, and Prentiss gives herself up. She gets beaten severely, nearly sending Rossi and Hotch over the edge, but Rossi’s rationality and Prentiss’ coded answers prevent the team from going in. Separated, Prentiss and Reid begin their specialties- Prentiss, being tended by the mother, begins to hint that she knows that the mother placed the call, and Reid uses his intellect to get into Cyrus’ good graces. Reid influences Cyrus’ decision making by playing the hostage negotiation handbook against Cyrus, and the bugs planted by the team allow them in on the plan. Rossi holds up his end of the bargain by playing along, and one child is set free. Trust is earned, after all.

Cyrus rounds up those who are not the true believers and frees them. Reid realizes that he needs to get a message out to the team to warn them of when they will go in, and tells Prentiss to wait for that signal. The team uses the food delivery to tell Reid when it happens. Prentiss uses the knowledge of bugs to get a message out to tell her when it will happen. Morgan uses a laser scope to tell her, and Reid gets Hotch’s written message on the food. Prentiss than confronts the mother and tells her that there will be a violent end and the only hope to save her daughter from Cyrus is to listen to her. The mother agrees to help after seeing the men prepping explosives, and gets the women and children out. Reid uses his eidetic memory of the bible to try and stop the insanity, but fails, and gets a couple of slams to the gut as payment for his actions. Fortunately, the team gets in and takes the men out before they can set off the explosives. But Jessica, a true believer, runs back in, and seeing Cyrus dead, she picks up the detonator. Reid and Morgan barely escape as the building explodes in a huge fireball.  After, on the plane, Prentiss makes a point of telling Reid that her beating was not his fault, that it was her choice and she did not regret it.

Overall, one of the best episodes of Criminal Minds in the history of the series. Strong performances by Gubler and Paget Brewster, and stunning ones by Perry and Fahey, make it a keeper.

Grade- A+

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First…

To all Cougars, and you all know who you are.

Please, chill out about the news about DC and the Grammys. I agree with his people not submitting LO and TOML for consideration. TOML is not a song I want him associated with for longer than necessary, and LO would be lost in the eligibility shuffle ( cut off was September 30). Trust me when I say he is doing the right thing, please?

Thank you for not stroking out before I told you all this.

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Sorry- I’ve been exhausted and busy all week. But I will have at least one review up tonight, I swear. Swear swear…

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