A Look at Gotham- Season 1, Episode 21: “The Anvil or the Hammer”

Let’s wrap up this Ogre storyline here.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Barbara at Jason's apartment

The episode begins in Jason’s apartment.  Apparently he and Barbara were busy for awhile, as they only got one hour of sleep last night.  Barbara is ready to leave for the day, but Jason insists that she stay.  She’s not won over by Jason’s charms and thinks that he’s just pretending.  Jason, though, says that he isn’t.  He believes that Barbara is the woman he searched for all this time.  She should at least stay for breakfast.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Barbara tries to escape

No go.  Barbara attempts to leave the apartment, but Jason puts a sack over her head, insisting that they must now do this the hard way.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Leslie checks on Jim's condition

At GCPD, Leslie checks in on Jim, who is still frantically trying to find Barbara.  It’s affecting his mood, as he hasn’t slept or eaten in awhile.  He blames himself for this because, while he was busy being concerned about Leslie, he never thought of Barbara.  Whatever happens to her is on him.

Lucky for Jim, Bullock brings in a perp who claims to know the Ogre.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Nygma brings in a suitcase of body parts

Elsewhere in the GCPD, Nygma hauls in suitcases of Dougherty’s body parts into the precinct and into his work space.  After all, if there’s no body, there’s no crime.  Why would any part of him think this was a good idea?

The Anvil or the Hammer- Bullock and Gordon question Jake, played by Zachary Infante, about The Ogre

Bullock and Gordon speak with the perp, Jake, played by Zachary Infante, about the Ogre.  He doesn’t recognize any of the sketches and doesn’t have anything else to provide when Bullock and Gordon mention that the recent kidnapped woman is a person of interest to the GCPD.  However, he wants to know what this woman would be worth in a monetary amount.  Gordon tells Bullock that he’s about to violate policy on interrogation techniques, which prompts Bullock to walk out of the room.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Bullock and Gordon talk about The Foxglove

Moments later, Gordon emerges and reveals that Jake was a barman at a brothel called The Foxglove.  Apparently, this Ogre fellow was a regular, but Jake didn’t provide a location.  Rather, he couldn’t, because, as Bullock points out, the Foxglove is a high class place.  You have to know someone to gain entrance.  Thus, Gordon plans to go to Penguin again, against Bullock’s words about getting too deep.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Jason and Barbara in the play room

Back at Jason’s apartment, he tells Barbara that his first victim was the hardest, but it wasn’t her fault.  She just wasn’t ready or the right one.  But this strengthened Jason’s resolve to not stop until he found his soul mate, who he may have found in Barbara.  It could be her, but Jason needs her help.  The two can start again.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Alfred and Bruce discuss Reggie's death

Alfred delivers Bruce a letter, but he doesn’t open it just yet.  Instead, Bruce asks Alfred if he needs company to help him identify Reggie, but Alfred decides to go it alone.  He finds the idea of his old friend committing suicide just plain odd.  Bruce considers whether it may have been due to drinking- wasn’t he using drugs?- but Alfred remembers that Reggie was a legend.  He could be drunk and walk a tightrope.  In the end, it doesn’t matter.  Alfred just wants to give his friend a proper send-off.  Any send-off would be better than the one that Bruce and Selina gave.

When Alfred leaves, Bruce opens the letter.  Inside is Bunderslaw’s key and a note from Selina, warning him to be careful.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Butch at Lidia's bar

Butch inspects Lidia’s bar before planting a few hidden guns.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Jim comes to Penguin for information about the Foxglove

He then reports to Penguin that all Connor and his men have to do is find them.  The big day has almost arrived.  However, in enters Jim, who wants to discuss The Foxglove and a potential invitation.  Penguin, though, finds this relationship of theirs to be a bit one-sided.  All Gordon can promise Penguin is a second favor, but then he gets aggressive and pulls his gun, telling the two that they have no idea who he is.  Fine.  Penguin promises to help, but Gordon owes him a big favor.  I wonder why Penguin doesn’t just go ahead and take advantage of this situation.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Bruce pulls the fire alarm at Wayne Enterprises

Bruce gets a tour of Wayne Enterprises and receives a lowdown of the Physical Operations Department, which handles logistics for the corporation and manages properties.  When Bruce asks about how to find the restroom, he makes his way toward it before then pulling the fire alarm.  Future detective and master of stealth, right here.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Jim gets Harvey an invitation to The Foxglove

Back at GCPD, Gordon reports to Bullock that The Foxglove is in the old Klondike Building on Mayflower.  He could only secure one ticket, though, and figures that Bullock could go in as a john, find something to bust the folks on, and then the two could squeeze them until someone talks.  And lucky for Bullock, he has a few spare suits to wear thanks to Alvarez busting a guy smuggling some Italian suits.  Who does that?

The Anvil or the Hammer- Jason shows Barbara the photos of his past victims

Back with Ogre, Jason tells Barbara that she needs some time to think and accept this as real.  Oh, and the room is soundproof, so no one can hear her scream.  When he removes the gag, she spits in his face instead.  He had to know that was coming.  His hands are shaking, which didn’t happen with his past victims.  Deep down, he knew that the others weren’t the one for him.

He gives Barbara a glass of water and promises to chain her to the ceiling and gut her if she tries to escape.  He then shows her the photos of his past victims, saying that sometimes you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your true love.  He promises to set her free.  After all, she’s the one.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Bruce checks Bunderslaw's safe

Bruce gets to Bunderslaw’s office and checks the safe with the key, but finds nothing inside.  When the alarm finally stops, Bruce hears the door opening.  Bunderslaw enters and tells Bruce that he’s been expecting him ever since Selina borrowed his key.  He even canceled his trip.  Now first, it’s important to note that Bunderslaw offers Bruce a cookie.  Bunderslaw always took one when he had a chance as a boy.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Bunderslaw talks to Bruce about his parents

Anyway, Bunderslaw says that he hired Reggie in order to see what Bruce knew, but he never intended any harm to come his way.  He told the board that Bruce was a special case and needed to hear the talk early: when members of the Wayne family reach a certain age, the business is explained to them.  Yes, Wayne Enterprises commits crimes, but they’re a multinational corporation operating in hundreds of jurisdictions.  The company would subvert all of them if it meant profits.

But you know what?  Thomas Wayne was the same as Bruce: he came in with some files and demanded justice at first, but then he changed his mind.  He learned the reality of the business, as his father before him did.  Bruce doesn’t believe this, but Bunderslaw wants Bruce to be able to live the life that his parents wanted.  Just reconsider this.  Before Bruce leaves, he takes a cookie.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Lucius Fox, played by Chris Chalk, speaks with Bruce about Thomas Wayne

At the elevator, Bruce receives a few words from Lucius Fox, played by Chris Chalk.  There are cameras everywhere, so he needs to be careful about what he says.  He knows because he installed them himself.  Thomas Wayne, he says, was a good man and a true Stoic that kept his best self hidden.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Miss Kringle asks Nygma for some files

Nygma still hasn’t realized that keeping the body parts in the GCPD is a bad idea, so he’s still dealing with them when Kringle pops by for the Hendricks case files.  Nygma says that the body parts are from an accidental death due to an industrial saw at a sheet metal factory.  He had to think up all of that.  Kringle isn’t sure how Nygma can even be in such a job with so much death all around him, but Nygma believes that you must have a sense of humor.  Kringle then asks him about whether he’s seen Officer Dougherty since the two were supposed to have dinner last night.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Penguin and Connor talk about Maroni's planned execution

Connor and Penguin have one last talk about the plan to kill Maroni, though Connor isn’t a plan of Penguin having him say one final thing to a man before he dies.  On a side-note, I sort of agree.  That’s the kind of thing that a Bond villain would do.  But anyway, Connor wonders how Penguin would know that Maroni will even choose to come by Lidia’s on this exact day.  It’s a bit of a gamble, but Penguin’s been keeping up with the news.  Someone just got out of prison.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Tommy Bones, played by James Andrew O'Connor, reunites with Maroni

This someone is hitman Tommy Bones, played by James Andrew O’Connor, who stops by Lidia’s and reunites with Maroni’s after nine long years.

Bullock arrives at The Foxglove.  The place is…

The Anvil or the Hammer- Bullock at The Foxglove

…well, to be blunt, weird as shit.  He looks pretty uneasy as he makes his way toward the stage.  Then Lucy, played by April Yvette Thompson, welcomes the audience and then brings on Ingrid and Gareth.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Bullock watches a performance on stage

We don’t see what takes place on stage, but it’s enough to creep Bullock out the point where he drops his cover and takes out his badge.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Jason asks Barbara who she wants him to kill

Back at Mr. Ogre’s, Barbara awakens, but she’s still upset for being there.  Jason promises to kill someone for her in order to make her see the truth- she just needs to give him a name.  She’s spent her life trying to kill it, but she can’t.  It’s too strong.  Right now, Jason wants to set her free since she doesn’t know what it’s like to live without fear.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Gordon shows Jason's sketch to The Foxglove owner

Jim shows up at The Foxglove and, when the owner refuses to cooperate, threatens to call The Gazette and have them send over a reporter.  They’ll perp walk all of the clients in front of the camera.  She tells him to talk to Sally.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Bullock and Gordon speak with Sally, played by Tonya Glanz

So Jim and Harvey do just that.  Sally, played by Tonya Glanz, recognizes the sketch, but she has personal experience, as evidenced by the scar on her face.  Jason was sweet at first.  When she got into his car, he pulled a hood over her head, tied her wrists, and took her to his apartment.  She didn’t know why he let her go, though.  This incident took place nine years ago- one year before the very first murder.  As for why Sally didn’t go to the police?  Well, turns out that she did, but she is a hooker and we’re talking about a rich guy with no name.

The two ask for any specific details on the building.  All Sally remembers is that the elevator opened into the apartment and she could see out into the city.  The building itself was in midtown and she remembers seeing a neon sign on the building across the street.  However, Sally only remembers the last four letters: O-Y-A-L.  Bullock figures it out: the Gotham Royal Hotel on 10th and Gainsly.  Sally asks Gordon not to arrest Jason, but to kill him.  He agrees.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Connor shows up to give Madre Di Dios to Maroni

Back at Lidia’s, Connor enters with a gift from Falcone: Madre Di Dios: Maroni’s favorite.  Oh, so that’s how we’re bringing back up that connection.  He then delivers the message: it wasn’t easy for Falcone to decide to kill Maroni, but business is business.  Unfortunately, the guns don’t work.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Maroni gives Connor a final message for Falcone

Maroni now has his own message to deliver: let Falcone know that he messed up, but Falcone is now coming for him.  Except Connor won’t be delivering that message.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Butch tells Penguin that Maroni's execution didn't work out

Back at the club, Butch informs Penguin about the failed plan.  Turns out that Penguin isn’t upset and isn’t planning to leave town.  Hell, he already knew that Connor would fail because he took the firing pins out of the guns- a spin on something he learned from Maroni.  Even if Maroni died, Penguin would still be under Falcone’s thumb, and he’s grown intolerable of being in that position.  Penguin wants Maroni alive and out for blood.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Nygma sticks his fingers in Tom's skull

Nygma is still tooling around with Dougherty’s body, specifically his skull.  It must be a slow day at the GCPD if this is all he’s done.  He’s contemplating the best way that Dougherty can say goodbye…maybe a letter?  Well, whatever the option, Nygma takes a hammer to Dougherty’s skull.  You show that skull.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Gordon and Bullock investigate James' apartment and find his play room, phone rings

Gordon and Bullock show up at Jason’s apartment to find no one there.  However, even in the fun room, Gordon knows that Barbara was there because he can still smell her perfume.  Bullock tells Jim to prepare for the possibility that they may not find her, but Jim says that’s not an option.  The phone rings- it’s Jason.  He lets Gordon that Barbara doesn’t need his protection and never did.

When Jason hangs up, the detectives try to decipher the noise, which they figure was a train horn and Jason going over a bridge.  The nearest bridge with train tracks is Whitecross, which is upstate.  And you know who lives upstate?

The Anvil or the Hammer- Jason points a gun at Barbara's parents

Barbara’s parents, who are held hostage by Jason.  He lets them know that their daughter has finally awaken.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Jim finds Barbara and Barbara's dead parents

Gordon and Bullock later arrive and find the parents still on the couch, dead.  Barbara comes out and asks Jim why he’s there.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Jason and Jim fight

Jason, meanwhile, manages to get the drop on Bullock by pushing him down a flight of stairs.  He then confronts Gordon and a fight breaks out, but Jason soon holds a knife to Barbara’s throat.  He tells Jim that if he cared, he never would have come after Barbara because Jason loved her more.  However, Bullock quickly recovers and distracts Jason long enough for Jim to put a bullet in his head.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Bruce tells Alfred the truth about Reggie

At Wayne Manor, Alfred doesn’t want to repeat the details of seeing Reggie.  Bruce admits that he’s been lying about everything: finding Selina, why he took Selina to the ball, and her pushing him to his death.  He doesn’t believe that his father would choose to stay quiet, even if good men have secrets.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Leslie sees Jim's bandaged hand

Back at GCPD, Leslie admits that she likes Gordon’s sense of mission.  Jim, though he was afraid that Leslie would die, would still protect her first again over Barbara.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Nygma checks in on Miss Kringle

Nygma enters the records annex just as Kringle reads a letter from Dougherty.  She’s not pleased with it or how she always ends up dating the creeps, but Nygma tells her that sometimes you have to read between the lines.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Connor's head in the box

As Falcone receives Connor’s head in a package…

The Anvil or the Hammer- Maroni goes to war

Maroni and his men to go war.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Captain Essen reports to the team that mob war has broken out

Captain Essen reports to the precinct that there have been three separate attacks on Falcone’s businesses in different parts of town.  Everyone’s leave has been canceled and all units have been called into active duty.  They’re in a shooting war.

“The Anvil and the Hammer” was okay.  Nothing great, but it managed to undo the interesting relationship we had with Jason and Barbara.

The Anvil or the Hammer- A stunned Barbara sees Jason's photos

The fact that Jason was intrigued by her self-doubt and his desire to bring out the real was an interesting idea, but a lot of potential story threads go unexplored or are undone by this final episode in the arc.  And we could have a complex look at Barbara’s psychology, but we don’t get that.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Barbara

I mean, it’s safe to assume that Barbara as a character is disliked by a lot of Gotham’s viewers.  I understand the reasons, but I would put blame on the writing, as the writers do not seem to know what to do with her.  For example, she chose to have her parents killed.  We’ve only met them once prior to this and still know next to nothing about her backstory, so what in the blinking blue blazes would cause her to mark her parents for death?

The Anvil or the Hammer- Barbara after seeing Jason killed

Again, exploring this decision would help us get in Barbara’s head and learn more about what makes her tick, but Jim and Harvey don’t even bother to ask why Jason targeted Barbara’s parents.  This isn’t like Barbara targeted some random person we’ve never met and have no investment, but I’d argue that we have little to no investment in her parents since we’ve only met them once prior, and that was their introduction.  Will this come back up in discussion?  I doubt it since the encounter is glossed over once Jim gets back to Leslie.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Jason holds a knife at Barbara's throat

It’s also strange that Jason would make repeated threats to kill Barbara when he decided against killing her in the first place because he was intrigued by her.  I understand that he’s trying to keep her in place, but if you’re going to threaten to kill her after you decide against killing her, that sort of makes the first decision pointless because Jason could have killed her at any time.  Now it just feels like forced…well, I won’t call it drama because it wasn’t dramatic, but a way to fill up time.

This is unfortunate because while I get the viewers’ complaints about Barbara, I think something meaningful could be done with her character if she’s written well.  As is, I’m guessing her character will fade into obscurity again, only to pop up when the writers need her on-screen for some reason.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Nygma bashes Tom's skull

All of the stuff with Nygma borders on ridiculous…no, it is ridiculous what he’s doing here.  I can’t believe he’d do something as foolish as bring Dougherty’s body parts into the GCPD.  Dump them into the sea.  No one would care enough to look.  Instead, he just fools around with the body parts for no other reason, I think, than to give us some immediate follow-up to his actions.  But we don’t need that so soon.  Let him think about his actions and see how this affects his psychology.

Some have said that this is Nygma’s first step toward becoming The Riddler, but I disagree.  First off, it’s one murder and we’ve still yet to learn much about Nygma aside from the fact that he’s odd.  Why is he odd, though?  Why is he so into riddles?  And why come to the conclusion that this specific action will lead him to being The Riddler?  The Riddler is an intellectual.  His power and ability comes from his mind, not his ability to stab you.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Penguin smirks in triumph

Sticking with villains, Penguin should really just capitalize on Gordon’s favors.  He’s letting himself get pushed around by Maroni, Falcone, and Gordon, yet he says that he’s sick of it.  Well, do something about it, then.  Setting up Falcone and Maroni to war against each other has been done before, so we’re not exploring new territory here, either.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Bullock breaks character and reveals he's a detective

If we’re done with The Ogre storyline, I’m at least happy we won’t have any more Fifty Shades of Gotham nonsense.  Good to see that something even managed to freak out Bullock.

The Anvil or the Hammer- Bruce puts photo of his father on the wall

As with Bruce, I’m glad he opened up to Alfred, as it keeps their friendship open and transparent.  That and there’s no real reason to keep it from Alfred since Reggie was his friend.  I doubt Bruce will stay the course and just fall in line.  This is Bruce Wayne we’re talking about.  He’ll keep digging until he finds something.  One of the previews had him and Alfred discovering some hidden entrance in Wayne Manor.  Hopefully it’s not a Batcave.

So we’re back to the mob war.  Hopefully we get something like “Penguin’s Umbrella” caliber of writing, but we’ll see.

Also, I didn’t see a single anvil in this entire episode.

A Look at Veep- Season 4, Episode 3: “Data”

And you wonder why Americans aren’t all that worried about privacy.  In this week’s “Data,” Team Selina deals with matters of privacy in light of a government data breach.  But don’t worry.  The culprits- I mean, the scapegoats, are caught before they can flee to Russia.

Data- Selina discusses the Families First bill during an interview

The episode begins on Good Thursday with Selina discussing the Families First bill during an interview.  This bill, the President says, will help children in need, such as the young girl who contracted HIV through breast milk, but still wants to be a ballerina.  It’s always good to have examples, you know?  Makes you seem more personable.

Data- Dan, Mike, Ben, and Bill need to figure out about the data leak on Jennifer Graham

Unfortunately, Selina couldn’t have picked a worse example because the town where the previously mentioned girl, named Jennifer Graham, lives now knows her identity and word has spread.  Dan, Ben, Mike and Bill now need to figure out how the team had access to the medical records, but for the love of God, do not tell Selina because she’ll lose her shit.

Data- Catherine brings an article about her vaping to Selina

Selina, though, already has her hands full with Catherine, whose personal life is still being invaded by the press.  There’s even an article in a newspaper that includes a photo of her vaping, not smoking, but vaping.  Catherine feels that her private life should be kept just that– private.  There’s even a photoshopped image that shows what Selina and Catherine will look like when Selina has completed her term.  Selina…almost looks the same, but Catherine, well…

Data- What eight years of Presidency would do to the Meyers

…does not.

Data- Mike takes questions from the press about whether Selina will make a statement on Jennifer Graham’s private information

Mike, meanwhile, deals with the press’ questions about whether Selina will make a statement on Jennifer Graham’s private information.  Selina, not briefed on any of this, enters the room and asks the journalists to give Catherine some personal space.  However, one of the journalists asks Selina if that same privacy should be afforded an eight-year-old girl with HIV.  Where did HIV come from?  Well, Mike says that it may have started when a guy fucked a monkey.

Data- Selina learns about the data breach

Selina then learns about the data breach: medical and social security records were hacked by a member of the campaign team and used in the Families First press pack.  It would make sense to just admit that, but instead, Selina tasks the team with finding a scapegoat to fire since it’d be impossible to identify the responsible party.  After all, the press will need a culprit.

Data- Catherine and Selina have lunch

Catherine and Selina have lunch, with Catherine still reeling over the press’ invasion of her privacy.  But hey, the honeymoon period is over.  Even still, Selina isn’t spared from ridicule, as The Onion ran an article implying she’d only be president for a few months.  Given the nature of this show and Selina’s stellar track record as Vice President, I tend to agree with The Onion.

Data- Sue tells Mike to fix this situation

As Jennifer Graham’s father speaks out about the lack of privacy, Sue informs Mike that various associations and organizations slowly cut their support for the Families First bill.  Gary wonders why the press is only focusing on the negative.  After all, Selina is working to make children’s lives better.  Sue tells Mike to take care of this.

Data- Jonah and Richard speak with a salesman, played by Dakin Matthews

Over at a warehouse, Richard and Jonah meet with a pleasant salesman, played by Dakin Matthews, who doesn’t give a shit what the two pick for their fireworks display, but does want you to know that he’s got a giant grudge against Gerald Ford.  I want this guy to return.

Data- Mike tells Amy that Vice President Doyle will be walking out to “Every Breath You Take” by The Police

Next up is a Meyer campaign rally over in Towson, Maryland.  Mike pulls Amy aside to inform her that Vice President Doyle will be walking out to “Every Breath You Take” by The Police.  That, by itself, isn’t the problem.  The issue is that the song could be interpreted as being about spying since every line apparently ends with “I’ll be watching you.”  I’ve never listened to this song before, so I’ll just take Mike’s word on that.

Data- Jonah asks Richard if Doyle's music can be changed without messing with the light show

Team Selina tells Jonah to change Doyle’s music, but Jonah is reluctant since the music is timed to a lightshow.  He eventually decides to go with “Eye of the Tiger” instead, at Richard’s suggestion, but “Every Breath You Take” ends up playing anyway.  Richard just blames Windows 8 since he’s used to using a Mac.  The goof ends up trending on Twitter, with the hash tag #EveryLittleThingSheDoesIsTragic.  Given Selina’s past goofs, I can’t imagine this being the first time that Twitter has gone after her.

Data- Selina addresses the press about the Jennifer Graham situation

After the rally, Amy informs Selina that the campaign is losing microdonors and will soon be down to nanodonors who want to be removed from the database because they fear it isn’t secure.  When a journalist mentions that Jennifer Graham’s aunt said that only an unfit mother would be immune to her niece’s suffering, Selina decides to just give an on-camera statement to the press about Jennifer Graham.  She admits that she had no knowledge of the data breach, but takes full responsibility for it and vows to hold someone accountable for this.

Data- Fireworks go off while Selina addresses the press

Problem is that fireworks go off behind her. Very mixed messaging.

Dan has found a scapegoat in the random female White House staffer whose name no one knows.  After all, she was in the writers’ room for the Joint Session address and was at the campaign rally.  Side-note, Kent isn’t fully on board with this since he actually likes the staffer and even sees splashes of himself in her.  He then instantly regrets saying that.  I love the writers for this show.

Data- Dan speaks with Leigh Patterson, played by Jessie Ennis

So Dan delivers the bad news to the staffer, who we can finally identify as Leigh Patterson, played by Jessie Ennis, who can’t stay even if she cries.  She’s talking to a guy who once broke off an engagement in Applebees and then ordered dessert.

Data- Dan tells Selina that he plans to fire Jonah

However, come Easter Monday, the story still has not gone away.  Leigh wasn’t very high up the chain of command, so the press isn’t satisfied with her firing.  I doubt anyone would be, to be honest.  Anyway, Dan announces that he’s been prepping Jonah for this moment and plans to link him with every other campaign screw-up.  Plus, he has an inherently guilty face, like a surprised masturbator.  Selina is on board with this.  All Dan needs is a bus long enough to run over Jonah.

Data- Dan watched Teddy grope Jonah's balls

But when Dan tries to fire Jonah, he witnesses Teddy grope Jonah’s balls, which are apparently so big that they’re practically tits.  This, in a rare moment of human decency for Veep, prompts Dan to call this out as sexual harassment.  But this is pushed aside when Richard arrives with Jonah’s sandwich and asks if Jonah is being fired for the ‘campaign data thing.’  It’s revealed that Selina’s “I Care” mailer deliberately targeted recently bereft parents.  Someone from the campaign used child mortality data from the same federal data breach that identified Jennifer Graham.

Data- Selina tells Catherine to drop the anti-bullying campaign

Catherine wants to get involved with an anti-bullying campaign, but Selina won’t allow her.  It’s not that Selina ever bullied Catherine, it’s that Catherine was bullied because of Selina.  Catherine is adamant about doing this, prompting Selina to threaten taking away their Hawaii trip for Thanksgiving.  Who the hell visits Hawaii for Thanksgiving, by the way?

Anyway, Dan and Amy enter and deliver the news to Selina.  Using stolen government data is a federal crime and someone could go to jail.  In short, they’re fucked.  To stop the press’ onslaught, though, the team decides there needs to be a major resignation.  Oh, and Mike learns that the second breach came from a student volunteer who is no longer present.  Ben volunteers to fall onto the sword for Selina.

Data- Dan wants to know whose getting fired, leaves a gap for Ben

In the men’s room, Dan stands right next to Ben despite the whole ‘leave a gap’ rule.  There are rules in the men’s room, you know.  Ben reveals that he’s volunteering himself to be fired and makes Dan promise to not reveal this until there’s been an official statement from Selina.

Data- Dan tells the team that Ben is being fired

At the Easter Egg Roll, Dan immediately spills about Ben’s upcoming resignation, though Mike believed that Dan was referring to the man in the Easter Bunny costume at first.

Data- Dan learns that he's the one being fired

However, Kent pulls Dan aside and reveals that not only has Selina changed her mind about Ben, she’s decided that Dan will resign instead.  After all, he has a guilty look.  When Dan instead threatens to reveal the use of federal data to target bereaved families for the campaign flyers, Ben…well, let me just repost what he said:

“You listen to me you little fucking turd’s assistant, you don’t threaten this administration, because we will fucking destroy you. We’ll skin you like a squirrel, clean you out like a dirty fucking chimney, and wear you like a glove puppet with my fingers sticking out your dead, fucking eyeballs.”

Though Kent can’t endorse that message, he does acknowledge it.

Data- Aide delivers a new statement to Mike about Dan's firing

A staffer manages to reach Mike just in time as he then delivers word of the new firing of Dan Egan.

As Dan packs up his things, Jonah promises to lead him away from the press.

Data- Jonah leads Dan right to the press

Wait, never mind.

And people here thought the Edward Snowden situation wouldn’t go away from the news cycle.  “Data” is another great episode and another example of how the tiniest thing to come out of Team Selina can turn into something huge.  Granted, using federal data to target bereft parents is not small potatoes and someone should be held accountable, but the fun came out of watching the team flounder as they tried to solve this.

Watching this episode- or pretty much any episode of Veep– is like watching a snowball grow larger as it rolls down a hill.  Or, to use an example close to this episode, it’s like watching an exploding gas station in a Michael Bay movie: things are going to get worse before they get…well, worse since things rarely get better in Veep.  Selina has the best of intentions with her Families First bill, but there’s no way she could have known about the data breach.

But like posting something on the internet- which isn’t just Alta Vista and the Star Wars kid anymore- once you put it out there, it’s out there for good.  No amount of undo or backspace will save you there.

Because Veep has often been about turning politics on its head, it’s fun to watch these people struggle to nail someone to the wall, even when they don’t know where to start or who to blame.

Data- Leigh learns that she's being fired

It’s unfortunate that Leigh was the first to be fired and I do hope she reappears, as her random appearances did make me laugh.

Data- Dan is reamed out by Ben

But Dan ultimately getting the axe was a bit satisfying to me- particularly of how smug he was when getting rid of Leigh- because he’s been so busy prepping Jonah for this that he forgot to cover his own ass.  And wouldn’t you know it?  He makes Jonah and Richard promise not to reveal the truth about the data breach, but then, after Ben makes him promise not to tell that he’s resigning, he goes and blabs to the team, only to learn that he’s the one being removed.  It’s unfortunate for Dan, but he kind of deserves it.  Then again, I doubt this is the last we’ll see of him.  He may not return in the same capacity, but I’m sure he’ll return.

Data- Dan sees Teddy grope Jonah

Again, though, I do appreciate that he had a moment of human decency to him when he called out Teddy’s sexual harassment of Jonah, even though the moment evaporated when Richard arrived.

Data- Bill asks Mike if he smiled at the idea of Bill being fired

However, as Dan falls, Bill Ericsson continues to rise, as we learn that he’s the one who suggested to Selina that Dan be fired.  Ericsson is very calculated with his moves and knows about the incompetency of Team Selina.  Hell, he’s the one who suggested during his first meet with Selina that she get rid of Amy, Dan, Gary, and Mike.  I doubt she’ll dump Gary since the two look to be back on good terms- boob brush and nonfunctioning banana aside- but he had a point and he’s slowly working his way up the totem pole of Selina’s inner circle.

Like the previous episode dealing with her popularity, “Data” touched upon what the children of politicians endure when their lives are out in the open.  Catherine can’t live a normal life because she’ll be scrutinized, criticized, and analyzed by any and every news outlet out there.  That’s the nature of the business: you want news, but you want to try something more sociable, so you check in on the lives of the First Kids.

Data- Catherine doesn't want attention from the press

But Catherine doesn’t want any of that attention.  More than that, any attempts to make herself seem more relatable bring her into conflict with her own mother because Selina thinks people will think she bullied Catherine.  Catherine won’t have that privacy, though.  She was already the Vice President’s daughter, and now that Selina is the President, her private life will shrink even more.  At the very least, I give her credit for at least trying to be personable, even if Selina tries to stop her.

As with many episodes, the jokes and funny lines don’t stop coming on Veep, whether it’s Mike talking about how HIV first came about, the one kid’s reaction to Selina being the President, or the man in the Easter Bunny costume talking about how he’d seen his friend blown to pieces by an IED in Afghanistan…that sounds horrible when I say it.  Veep is funny, but it can get pretty damn dark in no time.

Data- Kent sees splashes of himself in Leigh

Though another standout had to be Kent’s defense of Leigh when he talks about seeing splashes of himself in her…until he instantly recognizes what he said before then regretting that phrase.

“Data” was another fun episode and showed how much we value our privacy.  I hope our real life politicians handled data breaches a bit better than Selina Meyer did, though.  There’s also been a major change in Team Selina’s staff with Dan’s firing and Leigh being removed.  Again, I hope these two do return.  But I learned something this week: if I come down with a disease or illness, I must do everything in my power to make sure the President never learns this.

A Look at Orphan Black- Season 3, Episode 2: “Transitory Sacrifices of Crisis”

It’s an episode about mangoes and drug dealings.  Now I’m hungry.

Transitory Sacrifices of Crisis- Rudy makes out with a woman

The episode begins with Rudy getting hot and heavy with a woman who thought he was Special Forces, meaning he should have a penthouse.  The woman had already been fooled before by a man who said he was SWAT, but it turned out that he just sold horse feed for a living.  Just as things start to get steamy…

Transitory Sacrifices of Crisis- Seth joins Rudy in the bedroom

…in enters Seth.  After all, the two were taught to share.

Transitory Sacrifices of Crisis- Cal shows Sarah and Kira his new place

Sarah meets up with Cal and briefs him on what’s been happening.  Delphine is currently in Europe to take care of Rachel’s business, and while Sarah needs to help her sisters, Cal has something to show her and Kira: he got himself a house.  Though Cal may not be able to afford it for the time being, it’s a nice set-up, I’ll say that much.

Transitory Sacrifices of Crisis- Diagnostic tests

Rudy and Seth receive a visit for some diagnostic tests and to receive their extraction order.  Though the clones say they aren’t done with business yet, none of them has the original sample.  The order is to clean up and clear out.

Transitory Sacrifices of Crisis- Scott checks Cosima's health

Scott comes by Felix’s place to also run some tests, but on Cosima, who is getting much better each day.  Her numbers are good, but Scott is unable to explain why.  Cosima needs to get back to the lab, but Scott doesn’t trust Dr. Nealon.  True as that is, he’s still a brilliant geneticist.  Plus, there’s a meeting scheduled.  As for Cosima, a new day means a new phone.

Transitory Sacrifices of Crisis- Donnie wants Alison to fist him

Alison, meanwhile, is ever confident that she could defeat Marci Coates in the upcoming race.  Nay, she’s confident that she could beat her like a French meringue.  Donnie agrees, but they’re still strapped for cash.  Running a political campaign won’t be cheap and the two can’t sell the house when there’s still a corpse in the garage.  Still, Team Hendrix is in for the long haul.

Transitory Sacrifices of Crisis- Ramon tells Alison that he's going to college and stopping his business

Then Ramon enters the scene.  Wouldn’t you know?  Soccer moms are pretty good for clients.  However, Ramon is getting out of the business soon since he’s going to college.  Ah, Mrs. Alison Hendrix smells herself an opportunity.

Transitory Sacrifices of Crisis- Art calls Sarah

A game of indoor field hockey between Sarah, Cal, and Kira is interrupted when Sarah receives a phone call from Art-er, Detective Bell, as he prefers.  Two days in and he’s questioning the job because a woman came in complaining about an incident last night at hotel.  When Art saw a photo of the suspects, who look very much like the Prolethean Mark, he immediately had to take the case.

Transitory Sacrifices of Crisis- Helena being waterboarded

Then we see Helena being waterboarded in a very uncomfortable scene.  However, the stress tests soon stop and Helena is properly introduced to Dr. Virginia Coady, played by Kyra Harper.

Transitory Sacrifices of Crisis- Felix talks with Mrs. S

Felix checks in on Mrs. S., who still feels that she’s lost Sarah after selling out Helena.  Felix has a clean call for her, though, so she can contact her dodgy friends that can set things in motion.  Even though S doesn’t want to, Felix reminds her that she doesn’t get to sit out this one.

Transitory Sacrifices of Crisis- Dr. Nealon talks with Scott and Cosima about the Duncans and the Castor clones

Scott and Cosima meet with Dr. Nealon, whose first item of business is the missing Castor clone.  What would solve this entire situation for them is the original genome, but thanks to the Duncans, that precious material is now lost.  See, Leda started as a military experiment under their guidance.  When the military shut down the Duncans, DYAD recruited them.  They brought the Leda genome along with them, but they sourced genetic donors for two lines: a male and a female subject.

Duncan never did mention the male clones.  As far as the original donors, though, the Duncans took that to their graves.  Everyone thought that Castor died on the vine, but both the Leda and Castor originals are lost.

Transitory Sacrifices of Crisis- Sarah pretends to be Beth in order to get information

As Art continues to talk with the victim, Sarah joins in and introduces herself as Detective Beth Childs and needs to ask a few follow-up questions on what happened.  According to the woman, when she tried to leave, Rudy looked as if he was angry for Seth.  The clones then went through her ID, wrote down her information, and took a piece of her hair.

Art, naturally, isn’t a fan of Sarah’s random interference- and probably for assuming Beth’s identity again- but Sarah is just grasping at straws to find any information about Helena’s disappearance.  The woman also said that the two had the same tattoo: a two headed horse on the left forearm.

Transitory Sacrifices of Crisis- Alison and Donnie meet with Ramon

So Alison and Donnie meet up with Ramon to discuss buying his business: inventory, client list, you name it.  That way, they can keep the business running while Ramon makes something of himself at college.  That said, Ramon wonders whether Alison even has the stones for this kind of work.  But, as Alison reminds Ramon, a lot of the clients are in her circle…

Rudy calls Seth to tell him that he knows he’s been glitching.  Seth tries to play it off, but Rudy saw him glitching.  It’s not getting better, too.  It’s time to finish the job.  Rudy starts off by heading to Felix’s place.

During another clone call, Cosima reports on some research about Castor.  According to the myth, Castor was a warrior horseman, which would fit with what Cal found.  The horse tattoo is a sort of black ops insignia, which goes along with the pattern found with Castor clones: they’re purpose raised and untraceable- the perfect ghost soldiers.

Still no clear reason on why they took the woman’s hair, but a follicle alone would be a bona-fide gold mine.  While this doesn’t get Sarah closer to Helena, there is still the option of going to Mrs. S., since she can get her in touch with Paul.  They may be the problem, but they’re also the best lead right now.

Transitory Sacrifices of Crisis- Helena's exam about mangoes

Now it’s time for Helena’s diagnostic exam, but she just wants to know about the damned mangoes.  Never mind whether all mangoes are cheap.  Where are these mangoes?  When Helena provokes one of the Castor clones, the scorpion warns are against it, stating that they’ll never get any mangoes that way.

Transitory Sacrifices of Crisis- Dr. Virginia Coady, played by Kyra Harper, speaks with Helena

Dr. Coady takes Helena for a walk outdoors.  Helena learns that the Castor clones came to Coady when they were young.  The irony of it?  She never even wanted kids.  Next thing, she had more than she could count.  She informs Helena of how she got there: her family sold her out and decided that she was expendable, but Helena doesn’t believe that.  She can believe this, though: Coady doesn’t think that she’s expendable.  She’s overcome so much and it’s time to find out how.

Transitory Sacrifices of Crisis- Sarah comes to Mrs. S. for help

Sarah shows up at S’s place for Paul, but it turns out that he’s gone dark since he got what he wanted.  S tells Sarah to take Kira away, but Sarah obviously isn’t going to take the advice of the woman who sold out Helena.  That’s a decision that S will have to live with, but Kira shouldn’t have to since that wasn’t her fault.  S is as lost as Sarah is, but she knows that you don’t fight in these conditions- you run.

Back in London, when Sarah was young, the forces against S’s group grew beyond their grasp, so she did what any mother would have done: she gathered her children and left.

Transitory Sacrifices of Crisis- Ramon shows Donnie and Alison his drug stash

Ramon shows Alison and Donnie his collection, which, at street value, runs for $80,000.  Raw cost would only be 25, but he’s built up goodwill.  Alison is willing to pay for it all and 32 for the works, until Donnie correctly reminds her that they don’t have the money for this!  However, as Alison points out, this isn’t just much needed income.  It’s also a constituent list.  She may have just found her voter base and expects them to be very loyal.

Transitory Sacrifices of Crisis- Paul shows up at Cal's place

Cal gets a surprise visit from Paul, who wants to know why Sarah was in Marion Bowles’ basement yesterday.  This conversation really isn’t all that important in the grand scheme of the episode, but Paul brings up that Cal is a person of interest and has a past of designing weapons and war profiteering.  As far as Helena’s presence, though, the deal was cut to buy Sarah some time and space.  If she keeps on coming, things will be bad for everyone involved.

Kira and Sarah are staying at Felix’s for now.  As they prepare a bath- missing Cal’s phone call in the process- they also receive an unexpected surprise.

Transitory Sacrifices of Crisis- Rudy holds Kira hostage

There’s Rudy in the fort.  He takes Kira hostage and demands to know if Duncan shared any of his research with Sarah.

Transitory Sacrifices of Crisis- Cal runs into Seth downstairs and finds him glitching out

At the same time, Cal enters downstairs and runs into Seth, who is instructed to keep Cal distracted, but he starts glitching out again.

Transitory Sacrifices of Crisis- Rudy shoots Seth

Rudy, hearing the noise, leaves Sarah and Kira to deal with Seth.  He puts Seth out of his misery with two bullets, and then leaves.  Cal lives to see another day.

Transitory Sacrifices of Crisis- Sarah says goodbye to Kira

It’s decided that Cal will take Kira with him to Iceland.  S’s people will get them out of the country.  Until then, Cal isn’t to be in touch with his contacts.

So what happens now?  They find Helena and finish this shit.

Transitory Sacrifices of Crisis- Mark burns off his tattoo

Elsewhere, Grace heads to the bathroom door to check on Mark.  He’s fine.  He’s just busy burning off his tattoo.  Ouch.

“Transitory Sacrifices of Crisis” doesn’t really take us forward as far as the Save Helena storyline is concerned, but it does give us a bit of information about the Castor clones without giving away everything.  I appreciate that, even though we’re still learning about these male clones, the show doesn’t spell out all of the details through some long monologue.  Instead, we get it in pieces, whether it’s Cosima researching Castor as a warrior or Dr. Nealon explaining some background on Castor to Cosima and Scott.

Transitory Sacrifices of Crisis- Sarah tells Art that she's grasping at straws to find out about Helena

Like Sarah pointed out, she and the rest of the clones are as in the dark about Castor as we are, so we get to learn about these male clones alongside them, which makes this feel more like a mystery to me.  Like Sarah taking on Beth’s identity to get more information on Rudy and Seth, she’s just making whatever move she can in order to learn something.

Transitory Sacrifices of Crisis- Seth glitches out

The Castor clones, from what I can grasp, are a lot more militant than the Leda clones.  Their personalities do still differ.  We see that Rudy is the more dominant of the clones and knows how to keep himself under and in control, while Seth- like Cosima- suffers from a sort of disease as a result of the testing.  We didn’t get to spend much time with these two to learn how long Seth has been dealing with this, but given how he told Rudy that his condition got worse indicates that he’s been enduring this for quite some time.

Transitory Sacrifices of Crisis- Kira as a hostage again

As far as everything else goes, I’m fine with Kira being taken out of the picture for now because, quite honestly, she’s been used as the hostage far too often and I’m hoping the writers find better ways for villains to get Sarah to talk other than holding her daughter hostage.  More than that, Sarah wouldn’t constantly have to worry about her daughter’s safety because she’ll presumably be out of the country soon.

Again, the confrontation between Paul and Cal didn’t add much to the episode.  Paul gave Sarah a warning, which he’s done plenty of times before.  We get the little bit of information about Cal’s past, but it just felt like Paul taking a shot at him and nothing else, even if it’s true.  I do have to wonder why Cal expected Sarah to eventually settle down, given how much of her life has been spent on the move.

Transitory Sacrifices of Crisis- Cosima and Scott speak with Dr. Nealon

I am glad that Cosima is getting better and that it looks like she and Scott may have something to do with investigating the original donor information.  It’s a nice little side project for them.

Transitory Sacrifices of Crisis- Alison finds a loyal voter base

But I’m probably more interested in Alison’s storyline if she’s going to become a drug dealer.  Granted, this is easily something you’d expect from Weeds, but Alison is no Mary Louise Parker and looks to have little to no idea what she’s getting into since she doesn’t readily have the funds for this.  Still, it looks like it could be entertaining enough for her to try and buy votes through selling drugs of all things, given her straight-laced attitude.

Full disclosure: Alison is my least favorite of the clones we’ve been introduced to so far.  I’ve never really been a fan of her as a character because of how unhinged she is, but this storyline, without having any bearing on the main plot, does have my attention.

Transitory Sacrifices of Crisis- Helena after being waterboarded

And Helena, like the premiere, has the worst time of the clones in this episode.  The waterboarding sequence was uncomfortable to watch and made even worse because she’s in a helpless situation.  Like the other clones, she doesn’t know much about what’s going on now, but she can’t do much about her situation right now.

So this episode raised some questions that I’m sure will be explained down the line.  On theplus side, it thinned out the cast by removing Cal and Kira for now, gave Alison and Donnie a pretty fun looking storyline, and gave us a bit more information about the Castor clones.

But really, where are these mangoes?

A Look at Gotham- Season 1, Episode 20: “Under the Knife”

Continuing along from “Beasts of Prey,” Gordon and Bullock keep searching for the mysterious Ogre, who happens to find a new potential interest.  Please note, I said interest, not victim.  At least, not for the moment.

Under the Knife- Bruce and Selina argue about Reggie's death

The episode begins with Bruce and Selina arguing about Selina pushing Reggie out the window.  They need to keep moving, though, as cops are at the scene.  Bruce is angry that Selina took it that far when Reggie told them what they needed to know.  True as that is, Selina reminds Bruce that Reggie would have told his boss and he did try to kill them.  That and he stabbed Alfred.  As far as Selina is concerned, she saved Bruce’s life because he didn’t have the guts to kill Reggie himself.

Selina then tells Bruce that it’s his job to find out what Bunderslaw’s next plan is, not hers.  But then Bruce reminds Selina that Bunderslaw could come after either of them.  The man has a safe in his office, as does every senior executive that works at Wayne Enterprises.  If Bunderslaw has any secrets, he’ll keep them in a convenient safe.  Oh, and it opens with a key.  I assume no one at Wayne Enterprises could be bothered to remember a combination.  If Bruce can find a way to get Selina close, she should be able to retrieve it.

Under the Knife- Nygma stabs watermelons

Nygma stabs watermelons.  Why?  Because Nygma wills it, I guess, but he’s actually doing some testing and finds that the punctures on the test subjects are consistent with those on the victim, indicating that the killer is right handed.  Gordon enters to know Thompkins’ whereabouts, but she already went home.

Under the Knife- Leslie finds a cat

We then cut to Thompkins’ bath interrupted by an unexpected guest.  She grabs a knife, readying herself for a surprise attack, but only finds a cat under her bed.

Under the Knife- Leslie talks with Gordon about the killings

Oh, and she accidentally clocks Gordon.  At least he decided to check in on her.  He briefs her about the case, The Ogre’s targets, and how Loeb intentionally gave him this investigation.  Bullock knows a cop, for example, who came home and found his wife’s throat had been cut.  Gordon can either give up and potentially let a killer go free or he can keep going and someone he loves could be hurt.  He won’t leave and Thompkins won’t leave Gotham, either.

Luckily, Jason may have found a new playmate in Barbara…

Under the Knife- Jason at Barbara's place

When the two head to Barbara’s place, she offers Jason a drink.  He’s surprised to learn that Barbara not only doesn’t have a boyfriend, but also that she’s not the cheating type.  Barbara is insulted by these accusations.  Quite frankly, is a bus hit her tomorrow, she doesn’t think that anyone would care.  Once Jason saw the real her, he would run screaming, just like everyone else.  This intrigues Jason.

Under the Knife- Penguin speaks with a hitman named Connor, played by Clark Carmichael

At the night club, Penguin speaks with a hitman named Connor, played by Clark Carmichael, whose crew is the best at gunning and knifing in the city, as illustrated with their hit on Councilman Klein.  Penguin is in need of some help with killing Don Maroni and his lieutenants.  Connor balks at the proposition since that’s playing with fire.  Plus, Penguin hasn’t gotten Falcone on board with this, despite claiming that he will soon.

Connor rejects the offer, so Penguin tempts him.  Does he like always being number two?  Falcone always enlists Victor Zsasz on every new contract, but if Connor presents him with the body of Falcone’s enemy, then that could all change.  Connor considers the offer.  The two will talk details tomorrow.

Under the Knife- Bullock introduces Gordon to Detective Ben Mueller, played by Laurence Mason

Bullock introduces Gordon to Detective Ben Mueller, played by Laurence Mason.  Eight years ago, Mueller investigated the murder of a woman named Julie Kemble: The Ogre’s first victim.  Mueller dropped the investigation and, since then, there have been 11 more murders.  The two figure that The Ogre’s pattern of killing the loved ones of cops that investigate him had to have started with Mueller, and it did.  Mueller still has a daughter, but each one of the victims was someone else’s daughter.  Valid point, I will give them that.

Something on Mueller’s old investigation notes had been scratched out.  He had been doing background on the dead girl when someone told him that she was a nurse for a private medical clinic uptown on Grant and 80th.

Under the Knife- Nygma finds Kringle and Officer Dougherty in the middle of something

Nygma enters the records annex and finds Kringle and Officer Dougherty in the middle of something.  Dougherty soon leaves and Nygma requests some forensic evidence from old murders, on Gordon’s request.  However, Nygma’s attention goes to the bruises on Kringle’s body.  He asks if Dougherty did it, but she tells him to keep out of it.

Under the Knife- Bruce tells Alfred that he plans to attend the Wayne Enterprises Charity Ball

Meanwhile, at Wayne Manor, Bruce tells Alfred that he plans to attend the Wayne Enterprises Charity Ball.  All the senior management will be there, so it would be good for people to see that a Wayne is still at the head of the company.  Bruce then asks Alfred if he ever had to kill people while in the army and whether it was necessary.  Alfred responds that, sometimes, it was.

Alfred intends to attend the ball as well, but Bruce tells him to stay home so he can continue his recovery.  After all, there will be hundreds of people there and Alfred won’t let Bruce walk into the vipers’ nest alone.  Luckily, Bruce won’t be alone, as he’s invited Selina Kyle.  Huh.  Alfred figures that Bruce is a young man and Selina is a very pretty young girl.  Bruce makes it clear that it’s not like that, but doubles back when he realizes that the alternative would mean admitting why he’s inviting Selina in the first place.  Alfred will at least wait in the car if Bruce needs anything.

Under the Knife- Gordon and Bullock meet with Dr. Darren Cushman, played by Michael McCormick

At the aforementioned medical clinic, Gordon and Bullock meet with Dr. Darren Cushman, played by Michael McCormick.  Dr. Cushman is familiar with Julie Kemble, but she had only just started working there before her murder.  She’d been recommended by a patient, and Cushman won’t give up the name due to confidentiality.  Looks like the detectives are gonna need a warrant.

Under the Knife- Car rushes toward Gordon and Bullock

As the two head out, though, Gordon spots a car in an alley- the same car that was in front of the precinct.  The driver turns on the car and rushes toward two, but they manage to evade it.

Under the Knife- Gordon and Bullock tell Captain Essen what happened

Back at GCPD, they inform Essen about what happened.  She wants them to be completely sure that this is the guy they want.  Though Gordon didn’t see his face, he’s sure that it’s the same man.  An officer informs Gordon that he has an urgent call, which turns out to be Jason.  No point in tracing this call, though, as Jason won’t be long.  Gordon gives Jason one chance to turn himself in, but Jason mocks the positive press that Gordon has been receiving as the “rising star of the GCPD.”  If Gordon stays the course, Jason will kill someone that he loves.  This is Gordon’s only warning.

Gordon isn’t deterred.  Since Jason is used to intimidating cops, the officers have to show that they’re not afraid of him.  And how?

Under the Knife- Gordon holds a press conference about The Ogre killings

With a very public press conference with Jim calling out The Ogre’s killings.  GCPD will be providing the names and photos of all of the victims.  If anyone has information, Gordon asks them to please call.

Under the Knife- Selina receives gifts from Bruce

So Selina and Barbara learn that they’ll both be attending the Wayne charity ball.  As they both realize this, Selina receives a delivery of many dresses and items she can use to transform herself for this occasion.  I honestly don’t know why Bruce is sending Selina so much when he knows that she isn’t that kind of girl.

Good news for Bullock and Gordon: they receive their warrant from Judge Harkness.  The recommendation for Kemble came from a Miss Constance van Groot.  Van Groot, as it turns out, is one of Gotham’s oldest families.

Under the Knife- Penguin finds Maroni sweet talking his mother

Over at the night club, Penguin has good news that Connor and his crew are on board, but Butch has some bad news: Maroni and his crew are at the club right now and Maroni himself is sweet-talking with Penguin’s mom.  Though Penguin tries to break this up, Maroni has Oswald take a seat instead.

Bruce goes to Barbara’s and picks up Selina, who looks like an actual doll.  Surprisingly, her hair remained unchanged.

Under the Knife- Gordon and Bullock cut down Jacob Skolimski, played by Daniel Davis

Gordon and Bullock check out the van Groot mansion and find a man trying to hang himself.  The detectives cut him down before he expires.  Gordon remains with him and Bullock checks upstairs, but he makes a grim discovery and calls out to Jim.

Under the Knife- Miss Constance van Groot's decomposed body

He arrives and finds the decomposed body of Miss Constance van Groot.

under the Knife- Bullock and Gordon talk to Jacob

The man’s name is Jacob Skolimski, played by Daniel Davis.  Though he isn’t talking, Gordon and Bullock figure that he was Constance van Groot’s butler.  If he tried to kill himself, that must mean he knew the detectives were close, so he must be in touch with his son.  According to Alvarez, though, there’s nothing in the system on the son.  The two have to make Jacob talk.

But he won’t.  He claims to not know anything about his son committing these murders.  His son made one mistake, but nothing after that.

Under the Knife- Bruce and Selina talk about Reggie's death again

At the charity ball, Bruce and Selina dance.  Bruce wants to talk about what happened last night with Reggie and how it can never happen again.  Even if Selina says that he doesn’t have the guts, and even if Bruce wanted to kill Reggie, he admits that there is a line that he won’t cross.  Selina, however, would, if given a second chance, and she wouldn’t lose any sleep over it.  The two eventually spot Bunderslaw.

Under the Knife- Nygma confronts Officer Dougherty with a riddle about love

Nygma confronts Officer Dougherty with a riddle: I can start a war or end one.  I can give you the strength of heroes or leave you powerless.  I might be snared with a glance, but no force can compel me to stay.  What am I?

The answer is love.  And Miss Kringle has given her love to him, but Dougherty hurts her in return.  However, Dougherty reminds Nygma that some women need a firm hand, maybe double for someone like Kringle.  Nygma hasn’t been with a woman, so not like he can relate, either.  Though Nygma says that he won’t let Dougherty hurt Kringle, he’s not in a position to do anything yet.

Under the Knife- Jacob talks about his son

Jacob starts talking to the detectives.  Miss van Groot kept herself sealed off from the world, but she doted on Jacob’s son and treated him as her own.  With the mother out of the picture, he started thinking that he was van Groot’s secret son.  Jacob tried to tell his son that this wasn’t true, but he’d already conjured up this fantasy and Miss van Groot kept leading him.  Ten years ago, the son confronts her, demands she acknowledge him, and that he be included in her will.  She laughed it off as a big joke, which led the son to kill her.

He called his father to let him know that the police would be coming, but Jacob still hasn’t seen his son since the day he killed Miss van Groot.  When the detectives tell Jacob that his son has been seducing and killing women for almost a decade, he laughs.  You ever hear of a face only a mother could love?  Jacob shows the detectives two pictures.  This could mean that the detectives have been chasing the wrong person the entire time.

Under the Knife- Jim goes back to Dr. Cushman

Jim goes back to Dr. Cushman, who is shown a photo of the man.  Though he doesn’t have to talk, Gordon just asks him to nod if he ever operated on this man.  He did.

Under the Knife- Jason's original face

Oh, and that’s the face.  Sheesh.  Maybe this guy should have been Harvey Dent, but then he’d technically already be Two-Face.

Under the Knife- Maroni talks to Gertrude about Oswald's darker side

Over at the nightclub, just as things are starting to wrap up, Maroni has a question for Gertrude: is she pretending that her son is only a nightclub owner or is she really that stupid?  Maroni tells Gertrude all about her cold-blooded psychopath of a son who has killed before and is now playing his own mother for a fool.  Penguin tries to downplay this, but Maroni’s tactics work and Gertrude passes out.  His job accomplished, Maroni leaves.

Under the Knife- Barbara and Jason dance

At the ball, Barbara and Jason dance.  He’s not on the list, but he did make a generous $10,000 donation.  If Barbara didn’t show up, though, he’d have just made a generous donation…and be short $10,000.  But he feels a connection to Barbara, as someone once told him that one would ever love him.  He knows what it’s like to be one person on the inside and have the world see another.  Jason lived like that and it almost destroyed him.  Who he is now is a product of his own creation.  He can bring that same life out in Barbara, who is tired of hiding.

Under the Knife- Bruce introduces himself Sid Bunderslaw, played by Michael Potts

Bruce introduces himself Sid Bunderslaw, played by Michael Potts, who is the Director of Physical Operations at Wayne Enterprises, which is a dull position, in his words.  Bruce keeps Sid talking while giving Selina enough time to swipe Sid’s keys, check his box, and return them just as Sid leaves.  Side-note, hey, another alumni from The Wire.

Under the Knife- Nygma stabs Dougherty

Outside Miss Kringle’s home, Nygma confronts Dougherty.  He tells the officer to leave Kringle alone and that he needs to leave Gotham tonight.  When that doesn’t work, Nygma stabs Dougherty over and over and over again.  The light flashes are a bit much.

Under the Knife- Gertrude wants to know the truth about Oswald

All right, then.  Oswald makes some tea.  He tries to blow off Maroni’s talk as nonsense, but it’s too deep in his mother’s head to just go away now.  Gertrude is no country bumpkin with hay in her brains.  That’s a funny sentence.  She wants to know if her son has done things he shouldn’t.  Is he really a murderer?  Oswald is simply a nightclub owner.  As Gertrude goes to rest, Oswald answers the door.  A man delivers flowers, courtesy of Maroni, but Oswald gives the delivery man a message to give Maroni: he’s a dead man.

Under the Knife- Penguin kills the messenger

But no.  Oswald would rather deliver the message himself.

Under the Knife- Essen, Gordon, and Bullock learn the name of the killer is Jason Skolimski

The detectives learn the name of their killer is Jason Skolimski, but there’s neither a Jason Skolimski nor a Jason von Groot in the system.  After being rejected, Jason went and got himself a new face.  Essen and Bullock press Gordon to see if Jason said anything key on the phone that they may have missed.

It hits Gordon: Jason talked about the press’ discussion of the GCPD’s rising star.  The article included a photo of him at a charity gala, but Gordon wasn’t alone in that picture.

Under the Knife- Gordon shows Selina the crappy sketch

So he heads to Barbara’s and finds Selina there.  Though she’s not a fan of the crappy sketch Gordon presents, she confirms that this is the man that she last saw with Barbara.  And where is Barbara?

Under the Knife- Barbara in Jason's play room

At Jason’s place with his many toys.

So we’re at the second installment of The Ogre storyline and we do get some plot progression, at the very least.  Gordon, being the upstanding officer that he is, won’t buckle in the face of Jason’s threat or show any hesitation since Commissioner Loeb shoved this case on him.  Credit where it’s due, that is consistent with his character, as he wants to stay true to his promise of cleaning up Gotham City.

And even if that means putting his loved ones in harm’s way, Gordon won’t turn a blind eye to a serial killer because he’d be no different than the other officers who ignored The Ogre’s murders.

Under the Knife- Barbara considers Jason's approach to life

Let’s talk The Ogre for a second, though.  Well, more like The Ogre and Barbara.  It’s no secret that a number of fans dislike Barbara and I understand why, but if I can give the show any credit, this may be the most interesting she’s been in awhile, if at all.  Jason originally planned to kill her because he thought that she had a connection to Jim Gordon.  When she said they were broken up and that she wasn’t the cheating type- I guess she’s blocking out Montoya for now- Jason got a look at Barbara’s pity and self-doubt.

Under the Knife- Barbara talks about how no one would miss her if she was hit by a bus

She talks of how no one would miss her if she died the next day- which I think doubles as a statement on viewer’s criticism of her character- and how the true her would scare away others.  Rather than wanting to kill Barbara, Jason sees a lot of himself in her.  There’s some mutual interest because they know what it’s like to face rejection.  In that, Jason hopes he can bring out a new side of Barbara, the same way he’s done for himself.  At the very least, there’s someone out there who is similar to Barbara and I can sort of accept this a lot more than I can accept the idea that Jim and Barbara were once a couple.

I’m not sure I accept the idea that Barbara would let Selina stay at her place to the point that she calls her a roommate, though.  Also, where the hell was Ivy?  I mean, she wasn’t even mentioned, but we know that Selina and Ivy both made their way into Barbara’s home.  The fact that neither of them brought her up confused me.

Under the Knife- Bruce talks about Selina crossing a line with murder

And while I can believe that Selina is more willing to kill than Bruce, I’m not fully sold on this idea of Selina being a cold hearted killer with no remorse at such a young age.  Also, I think it’s way too early for Bruce to start talking about his no-killing code.  The kid hasn’t even fallen into a cave and seen a bat yet.  We’ve already seen him develop an interest in vigilantes, which I still think is too soon, but give it some time before he starts getting into the philosophy he’ll stick to in his later years.  It’s also a random point to bring it up.  He saw his parents murdered before him, so why not make his no-killing vow right there?

Batman Returns- Bruce and Selina dance

Dark Knight Rises- Bruce and Selina dance

Under the Knife- Bruce and Selina dance again

Also, I think this is the third time I’ve seen Bruce and Selina dance at a ball.  At least they weren’t wearing masks.

Under the Knife- Maroni sweet talking Gertrude

Given how this is a pre-Batman universe, it’s safe to assume that neither Maroni nor Penguin will die.  However, it’s very clever of Maroni to get under Penguin’s skin by getting at his mother.  Gertrude may be Oswald’s number, but Maroni knows more about Penguin’s intimate and violent activities, so this is a good way to potentially drive a wedge between the two of them.

Under the Knife- Nygma laughs after stabbing Dougherty

As for Nygma, we’re watching his slow unraveling.  It doesn’t appear he’s gone off the deep end yet, but we’ve known since the beginning that this man has a dark side to him.  I do hope he’s smart about what to do with the body and evidence, though.  After all, he does work in forensics.

So here’s to “Under the Knife” making Barbara a tad bit interesting.  No Fish Mooney this week, which was a plus, and the villain stuff with Nygma, as well as Penguin and Maroni, wasn’t too bad.  Nothing extraordinary, but a step above last week’s episode.

A Look at Veep- Season 4, Episode 2: “East Wing”

Who knew a painting could cause so much controversy?

East Wing- Mike addresses the press

The episode begins with Mike delivering a press briefing.  Selina will soon be hosting her first state visit to the Prime Minister of Israel and preparation is underway.  As the Vice President’s staff watches, they can’t help but notice that Mike has dyed his moustache.  Teddy calls it vanity.  Mike calls it Tangerine Dream.  I’m personally not a fan of either.

At the conference, one journalist notes that President Meyer is serving her 33rd day in office, officially meaning she has outlived William Henry Harrison.  You know, the war hero who gave his oath of office in the cold and without much protection.  He died of pneumonia soon after that.

East Wing- Team Selina observes The Man Who Shits Triangles painting

In the Roosevelt Room, Team Selina plans to allow Selina to have time to speak on her Families First bill.  However, there’s a concern regarding some of the White House artwork, particularly a piece of art that Ben refers to as The Man Who Shits Triangles.  Now that’s a funny name.  Oh, and you know who happens to be absent from this campaign strategy session?

East Wing- Amy and Richard stuck in traffic

The campaign manager, Amy, who is stuck in traffic with Richard.  She does keep in touch with the team by texting Dan and letting him know that she’s a latté.  Easy mistake to make.  She tries virtually calling into the meeting, but the connection is shit.  Commendable effort on Amy’s part, but not the smartest of ideas.

East Wing- Amy's frozen face

However, we do get a freeze frame of her surprised face when she manages to hear that Selina is bringing in Bill Ericsson because she needs a steady hand….it’s a funny face.

East Wing- Kent shows Selina what the nation thinks of Catherine

Kent, after asking Catherine to leave the room, brings up a matter of national security: Everybody Hates Catherine.  I mean, not everybody, but Kent ran a poll and the results show that the First Daughter has a low likability index.  Selina is initially upset that Kent would run a poll on her daughter’s popularity…but then she sees the numbers.  They stink.  No one wants to break the news to Catherine, but Kent has a knack for this, so he decides to take the task.  I’d say that’s taking one for the team, but this can’t really be that difficult of a task.

East Wing- Gary sends back the cake

Then Gary enters and tells everyone that it’s a special day- Ben’s birthday.  There’s no cake, though.  I mean, there is, but Gary has the chefs move it away just when they’re close to the room.

East Wing- Teddy taps Jonah

Elsewhere, Teddy managed to do Jonah a solid.  On his advice, the Vice President will ask Jonah to be in the Families First talks with Dan.  So though Jonah is elated that Teddy made his day and possibly ruined Jonah’s, his day may have possibly been ruined when Teddy gives him another scrotum tap.  Sorry, several taps.

East Wing- Gary speaks with White House social secretary Patty, played Michaela Watkins

Gary takes it upon himself to plan for the upcoming dinner, and the cost matters not to him.  While preparing, he gets a surprise visit from his favorite White House social secretary, Patty, played by Michaela Watkins.  All these orders, though, are coming from his group, not necessarily Selina, and that includes swapping out the painting.

East Wing- Bill gives Amy a friendly hello in an unfriendly way

Amy finally arrives and is unable to have an audience with Selina at the moment, but she does have a run-in with Bill Ericsson.  He now has a very specific title, but a wide brief: eliminate weaknesses.  He’s the new Director of Communications.  Oh, and he bids Amy a friendly hello, but in an unfriendly way.  Hello.

East Wing- Selina is briefed on the crazy triangles painting

So Selina has a very brief Press Spray with the Prime Minister of Israel, Mike and Jim let Selina know about that removed crazy triangles looking piece of artwork: turns out it was the only work of an art by a Native American artist in the building.  Now what are the odds of that?  Native Americans are taking it as a slight.  Selina tells them to have Ericsson deliver a statement that the painting was removed to be cleaned.

East Wing- Random staffer, who is that

Per the random staffer who no one knows, Selina also receives some points of departure for the possible agreements on the scale-down of blockades.  This staffer technically does have a name, but she just hasn’t been identified yet.  As of now, everyone still doesn’t know who the hell she is.

East Wing- Kent breaks the news to Catherine that America doesn’t like her

Kent breaks the news to Catherine that America doesn’t like her.  Well, there’s a perception that she’s unlikable, anyway.  Kent suggests changing the narrative so Catherine’s frown can turn into the inverse of a frown.  You know, like a smile.  Customary shortcuts to public affirmation are military service or childbirth, but Catherine won’t go with either of those.

East Wing- Dan and Jonah speak with Congressman Owen Pierce, played by Paul Fitzgerald

Dan isn’t a fan of Jonah coming with him in these meetings.  The two first sit down with Congressman Owen Pierce, played by Paul Fitzgerald, to discuss the Families First bill, specifically the pre-K program for low-income families.  Pierce’s constituents just want the money to be spent wisely.  Dan agrees, which is why they’re investing in education.  Hell, don’t even think of them as kids, but little start-ups.  There’s something inherently awful about that.

Anyway, Pierce knows all about economics.  He keeps a box of coupons so he remembers to be economical, even though some of the coupons are expired.  Pierce’s time has been taken up by his sessions on the Rules’ Committee.  Jonah correctly figures that Pierce would support the bill in principle, but is worried that an escalation of cost wouldn’t go well with his House colleagues.  Dan tries to take control by inviting Pierce to bowl at the White House bowling alley tomorrow night.

East Wing- Jim says no

Mike tries to console Jim by asking him to tell the press that Bill Ericsson is taking his job.  It would sound more amicable that way.  Jim considers it for a moment, places his hand on Mike’s shoulder, and responds with a very warm no.

East Wing- Selina negotiates peace while Ben receives notes about the painting crisis

Selina, meanwhile, tries to get some actual presidential stuff done and is on the verge of brokering a peace deal, but everyone can’t help but notice that Ben is receiving note after note about the painting.  She goes to Ben and tells him to let tell Sacheen Littlefeather to get off the rag and get over it.  And she never said that.  You know how Selina has such a way with words.

East Wing- Mike briefs the press on the status of the painting

So at a press briefing, Mike explains to the journalists that the painting wasn’t removed, but taken out to be cleaned.  It was just a preemptive cleaning, much like a juice cleanse.  Holy hell, I’m just glad that Mike didn’t say something along the lines of juice cleansing.  That line went over my head the first time I heard it, but I didn’t give it some thought until the second viewing and saw Ericsson’s reaction to it.  Anyway, other paintings will be cleansed.  No, wiped.  No…cleaned.

East Wing- Gary tells Sue and Amy that he spent a lot of money on the State Dinner

A frightened Gary comes to Sue and admits to her and Amy that he’s responsible for moving the painting.  It’s worse than that.  He wanted this dinner to be nice, so he spent a lot of money.  It’s not as easy as just telling her, but Amy tells him that his inner child needs to grow an outer man.

Neither he nor anyone else is able to get a word through to an overwhelmed Selina, not even mystery staffer girl with the GDP figures.  Those go to Kent, who now wants the GDP figures.  No, Selina’s priority is that the office needs a lot more butt-ugly Native American paintings because the first butt-ugly one was removed by some jerkoff with a hair ball for a brain.

East Wing- Dan and Jonah speak with speak with Congresswoman Angstrom, played by Amy Wilson

Back to the continuing adventures of Dan and Jonah, who speak with Congresswoman Angstrom, played by Amy Wilson.  Jonah’s proposal is a minimum and a safety check on all providers.  Wilson, though, is concerned by the fact that, within the bill, Title 2, Section 3 and Title 8, Section 5, contradict each other.  And do you really think that either Dan or Jonah actually read the bill?  That’d be like asking whether all of Congress reads the bills they force through for the sake of passage.

So instead, Jonah asks if Wilson likes Martin Scorsese because there will be a private screening of his new film at the White House.  And he’ll be there, too.  Of course, Jonah just assumes that because this is Martin Scorsese, he’ll have a new film coming out this year.  It’s understandable.  It’d be like wondering whether Meryl Streep will appear in a new film this year, and I believe she is, but don’t quote me on that.

When Wilson is called away by one of her staffers, Dan tells Jonah that he can’t lie about stuff like that.  Jonah stands his ground.  After all, he has to go to about this all on his own, while Dan at least has a staff.  He wants a staff.  The confrontation almost gets physical when Jonah threatens to reveal that Dan was the one who planted the Danny Chung torture rumors.

Wilson returns.  There are a lot of Navajo in her district and this painting news is escalating.  She’ll have to postpone.

East Wing- Selina wants to see Catherine's smile

As the First Lady and her daughter get their hair done, Selina asks to see Catherine’s new smile.  It looks happy, but the trick is she just needs to pretend she is.  I feel that can apply beyond politics.

East Wing- Dan gives Richard to Jonah to help out Amy

Back at the White House, final preparations are being made for the dinner.  Dan figures out a way to get eager Richard off of Amy’s back, so he gives him to Jonah.  Richard is ecstatic about being able to work at the White House.  Amy owes Dan one.  Otherwise, he wouldn’t have done it.

East Wing- Reviewing Gary's expenses

One hour to the State Dinner, some of the team reviews the expenses on the event.  It’s as if Gary wanted to max out America, if such a thing is possible, given our national debt.  Selina doesn’t know now and she may not need to since she already has a full plate.  Nonetheless, someone has to tell her, and given that Selina actually likes Bill, he has no intention of talking.

East Wing- State Dinner

It’s finally time for the dinner in the White House State Dining Room.  Selina slowly learns from word of mouth about how much Gary spent on the dinner.  Imagine Elton John on a day he feels fat.  I assume that’s a good comparison.  The press kept sniffing after the stink about the painting, which was also Gary’s doing.  Even though Selina has achieved something as big as a peace deal with Israel, she is now sharing headline news with a painting because of Gary.

When Selina addresses the crowd, she speaks about the power of hope and how it can outlast the power of hatred.  Hope can build, but for it to grow, you first need trust.

East Wing- Selina finds Gary hiding

So Selina pursues Gary and corners him in an office.  His hiding space could have been better.  He tries to explain himself, but she goes on the offensive and calls him unimportant.  He has suckered onto her like a car window Garfield.

East Wing- Gary stands his ground, tells Selina that she's wrong

But Gary does not back down.  In fact, he tells Selina that she’s wrong.  He is her calendar, Google and Wilson the volleyball.  He’s broken his body and allowed himself to be laughed at and humiliated, but he’s happy to do it.  Most of the time, Selina doesn’t even know that he exists, but he is fucking everything to her.  She’ll never be able to find someone who did what he did.

Oh, did he mean Labor Day, which he promised to never mention?  After that heated moment, the two apologize for their choice of words, but it’s good to clear the air.  They then bond over light sponge cake.

The episode comes to a close with Selina meeting with some Native Americans and looking at their art, while Catherine tries her hand at being likable to some scouts.  Also, South Korea wants to know if Selina would like a baby elephant.  No words to that, really.

In a rare show of competence, “East Wing” actually has Selina Meyer, the President, manage to achieve something, which is virtually unheard of, especially on this show.  One of the strength of Veep’s humor, I feel, is watching these characters trying their damndest to get something done without any screw-ups or hiccups.  More often than not, that doesn’t happen, but when they do manage to accomplish something, it’s noteworthy.  Consider, brokering peace in the Middle East isn’t small potatoes.  It is, to quote our gaffe worthy Vice President, Joe Biden, it’s a big, fucking deal.

East Wing- Negotiating while notes are passed about the painting

But it’s not the biggest deal this week.  Dealing with the painting turns into a politically correct mess as Selina and her team scramble to explain and justify the removal of the painting that none of them even liked.  It’s incredible that so much focus and attention goes to this painting in the first place and that everyone, from the politicians to the press, would devote their time to that instead of peace agreements.  Such is the screwy, political world that is Veep.

East Wing- Mike misuses the word cleanse

So Team Selina has to tiptoe its way out of a mess, but they can’t help but let one or two offensive lines slip by, such as Mike trying to describe the process of cleaning the paintings without using terms like cleansed or wiped.  Much like in the real world of politics, it’s impossible to make everyone happy.

You can’t please one side without pissing off another, and Selina confronted this head-on with last season’s “The Choice.”  No one in her inner circle is fond of the painting, but it’s an uphill battle to explain why they had it removed when they learn it was done by the only Native American artist in the building.  I’m willing to bet they didn’t even know they had one up until this point.

For the sake of referencing TV Tropes, you know how people get sidetracked by analogies?  Well, here, we have people sidetracked by the painting.  The painting is not the most important thing in the world right now and chances are that the peace arrangements will be more significant in the long run, but the painting is priority because you don’t want to piss off the Native Americans when you’re technically still occupying their land.  It leads to that awkward and uncomfortably true humor that Veep excels at so well.

But this is just one part of a larger, excellent episode.  Veep has always delivered great dialogue, but this episode stood out to me because the lines were so good, but you don’t have time to process them all before another comes your way.  It’s the little things like Ben needing a shirt because this isn’t Die Hard, Kent needing to ask Selina for something before being handed GDP figures he didn’t ask for, Amy telling Gary to grow a pair, Catherine learning about how unpopular she is, each scene had a funny or memorable line to me.

East Wing- Kent discusses Catherine's low popularity

That extends to the social commentary Veep throws in whenever it can.  Kent’s polling of Catherine and her being so unlikable mirror the amount of attention and scrutiny that pundits and even everyday folks give to the First Family’s children.  Do they even need to have so much attention and be brought out like props?  Not necessarily, though politicians do like to show off their family to prove to voters that they’re just like them.  That doesn’t always work and bringing out the family can feel more like a stunt than genuine love, but I appreciate that Veep touched upon this.  And Catherine being such a blank slate made her the perfect target for such undeserved hatred and scorn.  Hopefully she has another moment to assert herself.

East Wing- Jonah after Teddy taps him

And hopefully Jonah has a moment to just assert himself at all.  His moment with Teddy this week was possibly even more uncomfortable than their first encounter, but Timothy Simons played it completely straight when Teddy gave Jonah’s sack several love taps.  I mean, this is sexual harassment, right?  But then, this is also Jonah, who is the butt of almost every joke on Veep.  These scenes are as awkward as they are fun to watch and I hope there are more of them.  Not just for the awkward stuff.  At the very least, he has an aide now with an eager to please Richard.

East Wing- Bill Ericsson's unfriendly hello

So Amy doesn’t have Richard on her back, but she will probably still have to put up with Ericsson.  The unfriendly hello was a highlight for me, made better by Diedrich Bader’s delivery.

East Wing- Selina and Gary make up over cake

And now let’s get to what is easily the episode’s most memorable scene to me.  Gary and Selina have one of the more interesting relationships of Team Selina.  He’s literally at her beck and call for any and every reason and Selina is glad to accept his aid.  He’s done more good than bad and has put himself on the front line for Selina, time and time again, without asking for much in return.  I get the feeling that their relationship had been building to this point.

East Wing- Gary is Selina's calendar, Google and Wilson the volleyball

Even if he called out his boss, Gary has a point: he’s been humiliated and marginalized by so many people, and even Selina herself, but he comes in every day to help in any way that he can.  Despite Selina becoming the President and his role being minimized, Gary remained fiercely loyal.  He wants to stay relevant in Selina’s life, even when she has 99 other problems on her hands.  He is her calendar, Google, and Wilson the volleyball, even if Selina doesn’t want to admit it.

East Wing- Selina's stunned silence

And when Gary throws out the line about Selina finding someone else to do what he did, and she doesn’t have an immediate response, she realizes that he’s right.  Gary won’t abandon Selina because he’s done so much for her already.  We don’t know what this whole Labor Day incident is, but chances are it involved another instance of Gary proving his fierce devotion to Selina.  He’s a central part of Selina’s political and personal life and may even know more intimate details about Selina than she herself does.  Hell, he knew Catherine’s birthday when Selina did not.

I’m glad that Gary didn’t hold anything back or let himself be bullied around by Selina.  This is something he’s been holding onto for a long time.  It’s a visceral scene that made me feel uncomfortable for how harsh Gary and Selina spoke to one another.

East Wing- Gary asks Selina if she can find someone else who did what he did

It’s a testament to the incredible performances and chemistry between Tony Hale and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.  It’s too soon to tell and this could be very presumptuous, but if either Hale or Dreyfus ends up being nominated again for Veep, my best guess is that their Emmy nomination clip will be from this scene.  It was a fantastic moment to wrap up another fantastic episode of Veep.

A Look at Orphan Black- Season 3 Premiere: “The Weight of This Combination”

I’ll be frank: Orphan Black is a series I only got into a few months ago thanks to a recommendation by a good friend.  As such, I’ve been playing catch-up since last fall.  Now that I’m caught up, I thought I’d give it a crack.  Granted, I’m not as well versed on this series- or any series, really- as fans and followers of the show are, so my analyses and critiques may have some faults, but that’s the case with everything I write, if I’m honest.  Anyway, let’s jump into the Season Three premiere: “The Weight of This Combination.”

The Weight of This Combination- Helena's dream sequence

The season begins with, appropriately, a box…or, rather, a very pregnant Helena opening a box while at her baby shower.  It’s a very joyous occasion and nothing could possibly ruin this moment.  Felix is cooking some ox liver- why?- Alison whipped up some desserts and Cosima is even better thanks to the miracle of science.

The Weight of This Combination- Scorpion crawls out of Helena's clothes

Yeah, enough of this gooey shit.  The light hearted mood suddenly gets dark and unpleasant, like an Andrew Lloyd Weber musical.  A scorpion suddenly makes its way toward her…

The Weight of This Combination- Helena wakes up in a box and finds a scorpion at her side

…and we cut back to reality where Helena finds herself trapped in a box.  She has no way of knowing exactly where she is, but at least the scorpion is still there to keep her company.  Helena remembers the scorpion, right?  Though Helena has been taken away from her sestras, no one ever said this journey would be easy.

The Weight of This Combination- Doctors extract pencil from Rachel's eye

After we see some doctors extract the pencil from Rachel’s eye…

The Weight of This Combination- Felix, Kira, and Sarah at Shite Beach when Delphine arrives

Meanwhile, Sarah, Felix, and Kira revisit Shite Beach- Felix’s name, not mine.  Though Felix is concerned about the new male clones, Sarah is convinced that Marion is handling this, even though Marion is already covering for them in Europe.

The Weight of This Combination- Delphine in need of Sarah

Then Delphine arrives and is in need of Sarah.  Until three weeks ago, she and others didn’t even know that Project Castor existed.  They were a myth, but now they’re a bomb and shockwaves are coming.  Sarah doesn’t consider any of this her problem, but Delphine thinks otherwise.  There are outside and inside threats to Leda.

Delphine shows how DYAD managed to track down this particular clone.  She shows Sarah some surveillance footage of one clone meeting a Krystal Goderitch on an elevator.  Oh, it gets better.  Another of the male clones showed up at the building.  Luckily, the security team managed to intercept the clones as they were forcing Krystal into the trunk of a car.  She survived.

The clones are still a threat, though, as one managed to kill two members of the security team, while the other clone escaped.  There’s still no indication as to what they want and the captured clone hasn’t given as much as his name.  He does agree to speak to Sarah and Sarah only, though.  Not that Sarah has anything else to do right now.

The Weight of This Combination- Sarah speaks with one of the male clones

So Sarah meets the clone, who is convinced that Sarah is made of ‘the good stuff,’ not like Krystal.  The clone can’t say out loud what he wants, though, because the walls have ears.  He warns Sarah against trusting DYAD, but Sarah responds that she only trusts her sisters.  Ah, right, it’s a family affair.  The clone doesn’t get under Sarah’s skin until he starts talking about Felix, Mrs. S and Kira, prompting her to lunge forward and threaten him with death.

Then we get the first of many conference calls with Sarah checking in on the others.  Felix is playing host to Kira and Cosima, who is feeling much better than the last time we saw her, Alison is busy at a soccer game, and Helena is nowhere to be seen.  Sarah tells Felix to meet her at Mrs. S’s place so they can talk.  Sarah wants to find Helena, but Delphine hasn’t got time for that because of a more urgent matter: Topside is sending an investigator to DYAD to assess the security risks Sarah and the rest of Clone Club.

Sarah doosn’t see this as her problem- everyone’s got their own problems this week- but Delphine counters that it is.  The investigator coming is a cleaner.  He cannot find out what happened to Rachel, so that means Sarah is gonna have to play Rachel.  That should be fun.

The Weight of This Combination- Alison speaks with Marci Coates, played by Amanda Brugel

Alison, meanwhile, loads the soccer players onto the bus, where she gets a run-in with Marci Coates, played by Amanda Brugel.  So what’s Marci want?  Well, it’s election season and she wants to be able to count on Alison to support her for the position of school trustee, even though she’s the incumbent and probably won’t have any competition.

Alison cuts Marci’s sweet talk short when she brings up the fact that Marci plans to tinker with electoral boundaries, which would take Bailey Downs out of the Glendale School District.  That would mean Alison’s kids would have to change schools, and chances are no parent would like a sudden change like that.  Hence, Alison plans to run against Marci.  How fun.

The Weight of This Combination- Donnie tells Alison that he finally told Susan Teller what’s what and called her a bitch

So if this is good news, we need some bad news to even out the equation.  Donnie arrives with a box of stuff.  He finally told Susan Teller what’s what and called her a bitch.  And work took the keys to his Taurus.  Whoops.

The Weight of This Combination- Mrs. S fights with one of the clones

Mrs. S. arrives at home.  Sensing something is amiss, she grabs a knife.  She’s proven right when she’s attacked by one of the male clones.

The clone tries to jog S’s memory and she soon recognizes him as a Castor.  The clone knows that Professor Ethan Duncan was here recently.  S isn’t happy.  Major Dierden agreed that Project Castor would leave S and her family out of this, but the clone isn’t here under Dierden’s orders.  The clone is too late for Duncan, though.  He went into DYAD and cared for it for so little that he died.  So what about his research?  Well, it must still be at DYAD.

The Weight of This Combination- Delphine asks Dr. Nealon about Rachel

Delphine checks in on Rachel, who is still recovering.  Dr. Nealon tells Delphine that Rachel’s eye was lost and she sustained some trauma to the frontal lobe.  It’s too soon to talk about impairment.  Then Delphine tells the doctor that Topside is sending Ferdinand, who lands in three hours.  Nealon isn’t too surprised since Topside took action on Project Lead before.  There was an incident in 2006- Helsinki.  Well, that’s why Delphine is here: to make sure that doesn’t happen again.

The doctor warns Delphine that Sarah mustn’t know about Helsinki.  Not even Rachel knows.  Delphine just hopes that she can count on Nealon to put Leda about its individuals.  Neither of them can avoid to play favorites right now, anyway.

The Weight of This Combination- Sarah and Felix help Mrs. S after her attack, Mrs. S. tells what happened to Helena

Felix and Sarah find Mrs. S.  They are just not having a good day with now two male clones out there.  S then drops the major bombshell that she was responsible for trading Helena to Paul in exchange for Marion acquiring Castor information.  Needless to say that Sarah is pissed.  She storms off in a huff.  Felix, once again caught in the middle of a nasty situation, gives pursuit, but he also makes sure to get S to a hospital, so he decides to call Benjamin.

The Weight of This Combination- Kira and Cosima talk

Kira drops a doll on its face.  That doll did nothing to her.  Cosima asks if Kira remembers when she woke her up to read her that story.  Cosima had a dream where she was way above and she could see below.  Then she came back to Kira.  She doesn’t have words for what she’s trying to say, but Kira spells it out pretty bluntly Cosima came back so Delphine could make her better with Kira’s stem cells.

The Weight of This Combination- Delphine visits Cosima

Delphine shows up at the door with only a minute to talk.  She needs Sarah, but she’s not there.  The Rachel problem is very critical, so she needs her help.  Delphine is taking over some of Rachel’s duties, so she won’t be able to work with Cosima and Scott for awhile.  Delphine is keeping her promise to love all of Clone Club’s sisters equally, but for that to happen, she and Cosima can be no more.  Everyone has their part to play, but Cosima’s is to cure.  True as that is, the two part on sad terms.

The Weight of This Combination- Alison and Donnie go over their financial situation

You know who else is sad?  Alison and Donnie as they work through their financial situation.  They have one mortgage payment, but Donnie doesn’t want to go through their retirement fund.  It’s not all bad.  Donnie has a bit of cash left over from his time as a monitor, but he has a suggestion: Alison can work with her mother again part time at Bubbles.  Ha.  Alison will dig ditches, but she won’t go back to that.  Besides, she has to think about the upcoming school trustee race.  But before that, she gets a phone call from Delphine.

The Weight of This Combination- Sarah still pissed about Mrs. S selling out Helena

Sarah is still livid about S’s betrayal.  Felix reminds her that she can’t take everyone under her wing, but the alternative would be to abandon S, like everyone else has done her entire life.  Then Delphine calls Sarah.  Though Sarah could just say no, she realizes that Delphine may be able to help her with Helena.

The Weight of this Combination- Felix helps Sarah with Rachel's wardrobe

So it’s time for Sarah to do a complete image makeover into Rachel.  Ferdinand knows Rachel, but this is Delphine’s meeting, so hopefully Sarah won’t have to do much.  Delphine agrees to help with Helena, but they need to get through this inquisition first.  Ferdinand can’t sense that anything is amiss or the plan could go south.

The Weight of This Combination- Cosima shows Scott the book on Dr. Moreau from Duncan

Scott checks in on Cosima.  Between the soldier clones and lesbian drama- a deadly combination, mind you- he doesn’t know that he wants to work on super secret shit anymore.  Fair enough.  But then Cosima shows Scott the book on Dr. Moreau from Duncan.  When Scott finds the code that could be the key on unlocking the rest of synthetic sequences, he can’t really jump off the project just yet.  Until the two can decipher this, though, no one else, not even the rest of Clone Club or Delphine, need to know.

The Weight of This Combination- Sarah and Delphine meet with Ferdinand, played by James Frain

When the transformation is complete, Sarah and Delphine meet with Ferdinand, played by James Frain.  Oh hey, it’s Franklin from True BloodRachel claims that she’s between flights and tries to leave, but Ferdinand is in need of them both.  Well, shit.  In light of the Castor revelation, Topside has engaged Ferdinand to conduct a DYAD security review.  Marion has held a living, breathing Castor subject in her basement for three weeks without reporting it, even if she needed it for genetic confirmation.  The only ones aware of this are Delphine, Dr. Nealon, and Rachel.

Paul Dierden appears to have been the Castor mole.  He may have gotten close to Rachel, but Dr. Leekie put him there in the first place.  Rachel did consent to him, though.  There’s more, as Rachel brings up that Castor has kidnapped Helena, Sarah Manning’s maternal twin.  Ferdinand is aware that Sarah is being held captive and would like to speak with her himself.  Delphine reluctantly agrees to take Ferdinand to Rachel.

The Weight of This Combination- Ferdinand speaks with Sarah, played by Alison

Now Alison gets into the role-playing as she steps into Sarah’s role for a moment.  Ferdinand seems convinced, but he needs to do some extra examination.  He insists that this is important.  In all her unmonitored wanderings through their murky history, has Sarah ever met a male clone?  She insists that she hasn’t met any male clones- just her sisters.  Ferdinand makes use of a pair of gloves when he fondles Sarah and notes that she was supposed to be recovering from surgery.

When Sarah begins to protest, Rachel strikes her.  This may be my favorite moment of the episode so far.

Delphine needs a word with Ferdinand.  She explains that they had to postpone the oophorectomy.  Ferdinand reminds the two that their objective is to isolate Sarah’s fecundity ASAP.  Why wait?  Delphine’s response is that they can’t remove the ovaries of a woman who is ovulating.  It’s inconvenient, but at least she’s contained.  No risk to topside.  Ferdinand orders Sarah be returned to her cell, but he needs a word with Rachel: he knows that she’s lying about flying anywhere tonight.

Ferdinand can’t believe that Sarah Manning, Rachel’s nemesis, is still drawing breath, and he worries that Rachel could have cold feet.  After all, things are already in motion, but Rachel knows that Sarah’s biology is too unique to waste.  As is Helena’s.  They need to locate her, though Ferdinand would much rather discuss Helsinki.  He’ll come to her place tonight.

The Weight of This Combination- Guards watch male clone work out

The security guards watch one of the male clones do workout in the nude.  Why is this important?  Well, it isn’t right now, but it will be in a while.

Now it’s time for conference call number two.  The clones realize that they can’t rely on anybody but each other since Helena isn’t a priority for Delphine.  Then Ferdinand arrives at the door.

The Weight of This Combination- Delphine messes with Rachel

Delphine gets to have a bit of fun when Rachel awakens.  She isn’t completely there and struggles to get out a complete sentence or thought.  She gets a bit of extra motivation when Delphine presses on her injured eye socket.  Ouch.  Delphine promises to completely erase her unless she tells what she’s planning with Ferdinand.  Oh, and Rachel knows about Helsinki after all.

The Weight of This Combination- Rachel and Ferdinand talk

Since this version of Rachel doesn’t know Ferdinand’s drink of choice, she whips up something new instead.  Fair enough.  He demands to know why Rachel hasn’t been returning his calls, but it’s to keep up appearances.  Once again, Sarah tries to turn the conversation to Helena, but Ferdinand notices that Rachel isn’t herself.  While it’s entirely possible that Rachel slept with her monitor, Ferdinand thinks that he was her bitch instead.  Rachel responds by sticking her foot on Ferdinand’s crotch.  Huh.

Okay, enough foreplay.  Rachel wants Ferdinand to consider a prisoner swap with Castor.  Ferdinand gets up in a huff and insists that this has nothing to do with Castor, but Helsinki instead.  After all, Rachel wanted this!  She also said that Marion is too soft and that if they don’t act, her sisters could expose Topside.  There are other options, but Ferdinand thinks that it’s too late.  He advises Rachel to be strong.  The Helsinki girls were eradicated in 24 hours- six clones and 32 collateral.  As soon as she has Sarah’s ovaries, Rachel needs to put her down for good.

If Cosima is inducted tomorrow, she’ll deteriorate rapidly.  As for Alison Hendrix, that’s already underway.  The family is to be chloroformed, followed by a house fire.

The Weight of This Combination- Alison works out while the phone rings

Sarah takes a moment to make an emergency call to Alison, but in true television fashion, Alison is too distracted by something making too much noise to drown out the phone.

Ferdinand interrupts when he enters the bathroom and smells something amiss.  If she’s not careful, Helsinki will swallow her, too, and then she won’t get what she wants.  Rachel just wants her sisters spared.  No, Ferdinand says, what Rachel wants is a child.  Just remember Kira.

The Weight of This Combination- Rachel chokes Ferdinand

This leads to the two getting some hot and heavy action on with Rachel strangling Ferdinand with his own belt, but not remembering the safe word.  It helps to write down that kind of thing.

The Weight of This Combination- Delphine has leverage with Ferdinand

Delphine enters not to join in, but to remind Ferdinand that he’s not there to screw the product, but to conduct a security review.  Apparently, you can’t have both.  He is to report that DYAD is secure and that clones are self-aware now.  He knows how leverage works.

So yeah, Rachel was going to eliminate the clones.  Sarah’s still only in this to find Helena, and Delphine is counting on that.  She still agrees to help, but until she finds out what Castor really is, she wants Sarah to stand down.  Don’t try anything else.

The Weight of This Combination- Helena is freed from box number one

Meanwhile, Helena is finally freed from box number one.

The Weight of This Combination- Clone kills security guard

Also, the incarcerated clone is freed by another when the security guard mesmerized with him is killed by another clone.  Perhaps these guys should have found something else other than watch a clone that can’t escape his imprisonment.

If I can think of a key word for this episode, it would be trust.  Or lack thereof, I should say.  As the details of Helsinki and Rachel’s plan unravel, Sarah and the rest of the clones realize that they can’t fully trust everyone around them.  They’ve been fooled before and they’ve been hurt by the people they trusted, as we see with both Cosima and Delphine’s break-up, or Sarah’s stinging reaction when Mrs. S reveals that she sold out Helena.

The Weight of This Combination- Cosima says that the clone can't depend on anyone but themselves

But going beyond that, we see that the clones may not even be able to fully trust each other, either, at least not with everything.  Like Delphine said, they each have different roles to play, but that doesn’t mean they need to be a part of everyone else’s story.  Cosima and Scott have the chance at unlocking the rest of the genetic code, but their plans could be sidetracked if others are let into the fray.  Cosima says on the conference that the clones can’t rely on anybody but themselves, which is proving true here.

The Weight of This Combination- Cosima learns that Delphine is breaking up with her

That said, the scene where Cosima and Delphine end their relationship was sad to see, if only because the two did make each other happy.  Here’s hoping that Cosima finds happiness in cracking this code.

The Weight of This Combination- Delphine in control

But let’s stay with Delphine, who had quite a bit of fun this week.  She managed to get Ferdinand off of her back after she conveniently caught him with Sarah, but she also got to become Rachel and screw around with the real Rachel, who still isn’t all in there yet.  I wouldn’t say this makes Delphine unlikable or villainous since this is Rachel that we’re talking about, but the scene where Delphine pressed on Rachel’s face was just damn brutal to watch.  I’m curious how quickly it will take Rachel to make a recovery.

The Weight of This Combination- Sarah reacts to Mrs. S's betrayal

Meanwhile, if anyone is having a shitty week, it’s Sarah, not just with having to twist Delphine’s arm to get help with Helena, but learning about Mrs. S’s betrayal.  True, it wasn’t S’s decision to make, but like Felix said, Sarah shouldn’t have to feel like she has to take everyone under her wing.  She can’t solve all of the clones’ individual problems and she shouldn’t have to try.  Yes, they are her family and we’ve seen time and time again that she’ll do anything to protect them, but she can’t tackle every obstacle herself.  I mean, that’s why you have clones in the first place.  Multitasking, you know.

The Weight of This Combination- Sarah as Rachel

At the very least, she did a convincing job as Rachel.  I know that Maslany gets a lot of credit for the great job she does with each performance and she deserves every bit of it, but it’s all about the little details and nuances.  When Sarah becomes Rachel, Maslany’s performance is similar, but not exactly the same as how she portrays Rachel by herself.  If Ferdinand were more meticulous, he may have caught on, but that’s just how good of a job Sarah was at playing Rachel without fully becoming Rachel.

The Weight of This Combination- Sarah strikes Alison

Plus, even in the name of protection, she hit Alison, and I don’t like Alison.

The Weight of This Combination- Helena in pure bliss

Poor Helena, though.  She has the most tragic of circumstances, I think, even though we don’t see her that much in this episode.  We get a glimpse of the life and motherhood she’d like to have and, indeed, wouldn’t it be nice to be that happy and carefree?  But no, she’s locked away in a box with a scorpion as her only friend.  Well, at least it didn’t sting her, as far as I know.

There’s a lot of setup in this episode that is sure to play out for the rest of the season: what’s the end game for the male clones?  Is this the last time that Ferdinand will discuss Helsinki?  Given that he’s being leveraged, I doubt it.  Will Alison win the race for school trustee?  Who will ultimately rescue Helena?

“The Weight of This Combination” was an effective continuation of the series.  The stakes are becoming increasingly higher and while I wish I had more of a reason to care about the male clones right now- as their plot isn’t particularly interesting to me right now- everything else more than made up for that.  But if this episode taught me anything, it’s to always remember the safe word when your significant other is choking you.  That’s important.

A Look at The Walking Dead #140: “Life and Death”

The Walking Dead #140- Cover

The Walking Dead #140: “Life and Death,” continues to open up the world that Kirkman expanded upon in the previous issue.  However, with the ongoing situation at The Hilltop, Carl traveling with Lydia and the rest of The Whisperers, and a surprise change of events in Alexandria, we’re building up to will probably be some hairy situations.  Ever since Negan’s defeat at the end of All Out War, society has slowly rebuilt itself.  As far as we know, there haven’t been any serious conflicts comparable to All Out War, but we could be building towards one.

The Walking Dead #140- Gregory questioned on how he tried to poison Maggie

Continuing with Maggie’s troubles at The Hilltop, she finds herself in a somewhat tricky predicament on how to deal with Gregory.  He tried to poison her, but Maggie isn’t completely sure how to make an example out of him- at least, not at first.  Gregory is quite the slimy and tricky individual when it comes to fanning flames.  He’s never really been a fan of Maggie’s leadership and has been the one to try and incite everyone against her.  Rather than own up to his attempted coup, he cowers behind lies.  Again, I have to wonder how someone like Gregory was once in charge or how some of these folks wanted him to be the next leader.

This puts Maggie in a difficult place because she hasn’t had to make the same number or level of difficult decisions that Rick has.  She wants to follow the example he set by keeping Negan alive- even though that may end up biting everyone in the ass down the line- and wants to stick to this no killing code.  However, as Jesus correctly points out, Gregory is a different sort of creature than Negan.

The Walking Dead #123- Negan prepares for an assault on the Hilltop

With Negan, what you see is just what you get.  He will always put himself on the frontline and make his presence known.  If he needs or wants something done, he could do it himself.  Sure, he had The Saviors at his beck and call, but Negan was a leader who took the charge when necessary.

The Walking Dead #140- Jesus and Maggie talk about Gregory

Gregory, on the other hand, may have the potential to be a great leader, but he cowers behind others.  If he was so hell bent on getting rid of Maggie, he could just do it himself.  Instead, he takes a more manipulative approach by trying to turn some of the Hilltop residents against her.  All Gregory needed was the right and ripe opportunity, which he got when Carl retaliated against the local boys who attacked him and Sophia.  When that happened, all the citizens needed was a little push.  My hope is just that, should Maggie go through with this, Gregory doesn’t become a martyr since some of the folks on The Hilltop do respect him.

The Walking Dead #140- Maggie tells Jesus that Gregory has to die

I like how much of an advisory role Jesus now has.  We know he’s a bona-fide ass kicker, but he’s also sort of the anti Dale.  Instead of suggesting the most peaceful or diplomatic situation, he recognizes the severity of a situation for what it is and will advocate force when necessary.  He’s proven to be vital when Maggie may start to second guess herself.  She needs to put her full focus and attention on the current situation.

ThE Walking Dead #140- Carl with The Whisperers

Unfortunately, this means abandoning the search for Carl, who we don’t get to see a lot of, but we do get a glimpse of The Whisperers’ territory.  It’s simplistic, but the numbers are vast from what we see and they appear very civilized.  Though the numbers don’t seem to be as great as we’d previously heard, there are plenty of members who probably could have overtaken The Hilltop if they wanted.

The Walking Dead #140- Rick and Michonne talk

Briefly on Rick and Michonne, as their conversation kicks off the issue and picks up directly from the end of the previous one.  Michonne still talks about the life she deserves to have, which isn’t one of happiness.  She’s not wallowing in pity, but she isn’t embracing the current lot that life has given her- a second chance.

The Distance- Michonne believes Aaron

It’s the flip of what Michonne is going through right now on the television series, as she was the one pushing the group to take Aaron’s advice and head toward the Alexandria Safe Zone.  She believed that the group needed this, which they did.  Here, it’s the opposite.  Oh, and I did like the banter between Rick and Michonne.  It’s nice to have the two interacting again.

The Walking Dead #140- Negan is ordered back into his cell

Now, as for this ending- Robert Kirkman once again throws in another curveball.  So Negan gets cleaned up a bit.  Okay, that’s fine, but then the lock on the cell is off and the man is free.  I don’t know how that happens without someone noticing, given how on guard Andrea and the others were when cleaning down Negan.  Though I’m sure Rick would be aghast that Negan was even let out at all.  Now, however, he’s apparently free.

The Walking Dad #140- Negan is free

I’m sure this will be explained in future issues, but for the moment, it’s an interesting twist since Negan is still probably just as much of a threat now as he was before.  No, he doesn’t have The Saviors with him, but his presence alone is intimidating and everyone in the Safe Zone is fully aware of what he can do.  What will Negan do?  Was it internal sabotage that got him out?  We’ll see.