Gotham GIF and a Graf: The Joke’s on Us
Spoiler alert: This post contains spoilers for last night’s episode of Gotham.
Well, we didn’t see that coming. Shortly after Gotham introduced Jerome Valeska (Cameron Monaghan) last season—and almost immediately after he let out his first laugh—people began speculating that this guy might be the show’s Joker. (Just look at that face and try to say they were wrong for thinking that.) That theory got completely ethered last night when Jerome, after taking over a children’s hospital fundraiser for some Bad Guy Gun Play Theater (above), got stabbed in the neck by villain-posing-as-hero Theo Galavan (James Frain). Sorry Jerome, looks like you’re not going to be a maniacal supervillian after all.
The first season of Rick and Morty sneakily had two finales: one that broke the fourth wall and referenced the end of the season, and another one that teased a larger part of the multiverse within the show that co-creators Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon never intended to revisit. Which is why it’s hard to pin down last night’s second season finale “The Wedding Squanchers.” Over the course of this second batch of 10 episodes, Rick (Roiland) has attempted suicide in the wake of romantic rejection, begged his grandson to shoot him, and now abandoned his family to turn himself in as a space prisoner after his best friend is gunned down by his wife-turned-government-agent (see above). Is this the new status quo that will pick up, as Mr. Poopybutthole states in the post-credits scene, “in like a year and a half, or longer” when the show returns? Rick and Morty has a slippery relationship to its own continuity, and it’s not a serialized story beyond a few recurring characters—like Bird Person (also above), who first appeared in last year’s finale—so it’s not quite clear whether this will get waved off at the start of next season, or if it will be a part of the ongoing story. There’s a cliffhanger in terms of Rick’s fate and another about what will happen to the Smiths now that Earth is a part of this Galactic Federation. All that could heavily influence what happens in Season 3, but—as that post-credits scene demonstrates—when it comes to fan expectations or narrative demands of the genre, Roiland and Harmon just don’t give a squanch. And that’s what makes R&M great.
The second episode of The Muppets was once again troublingly focused on Miss Piggy’s physical appearance and her happiness as it directly relates to her romantic prospects. But there were plenty of bright spots—and the episode eventually pulled out of the dive by reinforcing that Piggy is at her best when she’s a solo act who doesn’t need to share the spotlight with anyone else. Here are this week’s Muppet Power Rankings (last week’s are here):
Anyone who tries to fight the insufferable Josh Groban deserves a spot on the rankings. Instead of mumbling around his new younger pig girlfriend or snapping at other crew members, this week Kermit sees how Piggy’s new relationship changes her into something she doesn’t want to be. His confrontation with Groban (“Out of my way dork!”) ends in a great talking head interview with Piggy, who cuts the crooner loose for being a jerk in Crazy Stupid Love.
4. Reza Aslan
As far as celebrity cameos go, Zealot author Reza Aslan is pretty low-key, especially when compared to Groban or Laurence Fishburne. But as the only talk-show guest of the night, he disputes Miss Piggy’s hilarious (and possibly Parks and Rec-influenced) assertion that libraries make millions lending out books for free and have had it too good. He’s got the best reaction shot of the episode.
3. Fozzie Bear
Coming in strong for another week is Fozzie, who occupies the B-plot once again as he frets about going to a party at Jay Leno’s house. Fozzie can’t catch a break, but he’s at the center of funny scenes involving people who normally aren’t very funny on sitcoms, so that’s a plus.
The bumbling blue creature hasn’t gotten too many featured moments in the first two episodes of The Muppets, but at least this week he gets one runner that pays off. In the cold open, he teases Fozzie about junk emails, referencing one he ignored about his mother being stuck overseas—even though she’s on a cruise in South America.
1. Bobo the Bear
The lovable, imposing bear and production designer is just trying to sell some Girl Scout cookies to get his daughter a mountain bike. But the staff, so concerned with finding Piggy a date and then trying to save the show from the doldrums, isn’t paying much attention. It gets so dire that The Newsman swoops in and steals Bobo’s potential customers before fleeing in fear. But Bobo gets many of the episodes best lines, and eventually wins out thanks to Scooter’s helpful hint that perhaps Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem would spend big on snacks.
As Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. came to a close last season, Daisy (aka Skye aka eventually probably Quake aka Chloe Bennet IRL) was coming to grips with her status as an Inhuman. Now as the new season starts and other Inhumans are having their DNA switched on by the Terrigen crystals that ended up in a bunch of fish oil tablets (just go with it), she’s helping S.H.I.E.L.D. help them come to grips with their newfound genetic powers. It’s the perfect job for her, really. But lest you think she’s settled down and/or softened, she hasn’t. After rescuing new Inhuman Joey (Juan Pablo Raba) he makes the mistake of calling her the “greeting party” and Mack (Henry Simmons) “the muscle.” This is, as Mack points out, quite the opposite. Long live badass Skye/Daisy/whoever!
Much like Rachel Berry never really could blend in with the chorus on Glee, it was obviously only a matter of time before we learned that Lea Michele’s newest Ryan Murphy creation, Hester Ulrich, would never just play second chair crazy on Scream Queens. Emma Roberts’ impeccably vicious Chanel Oberlin has been the star thus far, but Ms. Michele started her takeover in earnest last night as she was transformed into Chanel #6. The ultra-outcast Hester is disarmingly uncomfortable all cinched up in that complete torso brace, but without the hardware there is nothing left to hide Hester’s raw and awkward ambition. Michele’s keen ability to overact while staying within the confines of her character brought a hilarious mechanized quality to Hester as she sashayed into her life as a Chanel, calling her new master “Mommy” and insisting that the severe bodily pain incurred by ditching the back brace is all worth it as long as she gets to hold the Kappa president’s hair back during “Purge Nights.” We thought Chanel #5’s declaration about being “Eiffel Towered” by two frat bros and calling her sorority sisters “gashes” was going to be the highlight of the night. But Hester Ulrich’s “Yesssss” over becoming Chanel’s new hair-holder stole the show and says everything we feel about the new best way to spend our Tuesday nights.
The second season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine ended with a cliffhanger that separated the beloved Captain Holt from his detective squad and left everyone else on edge waiting for a new captain to appear. Picking up where last season left off, Peralta (Andy Samberg) and Santiago (Melissa Fumero) are working through their feelings for each other, getting made fun of, and deciding how to proceed. The romantic tension wasn’t ever that compelling, and the show is much better when focusing on workplace antics instead of delving into schmaltz. They’re going for it—and that’s great—but if that becomes the focus of the show instead of background detail, that’ll be a shame. Much, much better is the predicament Holt (Andre Braugher) finds himself in with NYPD Public Relations, promoted by his nemesis into a job he’s never supposed to escape from. But Gina (Chelsea Peretti) is once again an episode MVP inspiring Holt not to give up, which leads to yet another fantastic Holt one-liner as he gets ready to deliver a community engagement speech to a gaggle of children who just want to meet the NYPD’s new pigeon mascot. It’s unclear whether the third season will bring Holt back to the Nine-Nine anytime soon, but Braugher and Peretti play off each other so well that it’s not a bad thing to keep the ensemble separated at least for an episode or two.
Last night’s Masters of Sex season finale began with Bill Masters (Michael Sheen) on the ropes. (It was a dream or a vision or something.) After a season of, as his wife Libby (Caitlin FitzGerald) put it “spinning a million plates all the time,” everything in his life has come crashing down. Virginia (Lizzy Caplan) is taking off with Dan Logan (Josh Charles) and leaving him behind. The police are investigating him for prostitution for giving rent money to one of the sex surrogates in his study and for showing an anatomy book to one of his son’s classmates. (The 1960s, everyone!) And the aforementioned problems are now putting his new book with Virginia in jeopardy. He thinks he can fix it—because he’s Bill and he has a huge ego—but no matter how fast he moves he cannot outrun (or outsmart) his life. So when Libby, who thankfully has been given more and more agency throughout the season, asks him “When is it gonna stop?” he has no answer. (The answer, as the rest of us learned, came at the conclusion of the episode.) See you next season, Masters of Sex!
Continue reading here: