A Look at Orphan Black- Season 4, Episode 3: “The Stigmata of Progress”

Time to catch up with Rachel and see what she’s been up to in isolation.  Oh, and those gruesome murders Helena committed last season?  What, you didn’t think we were done with that, did you?

The Stigmata of Progress- Ira examines Rachel

The episode begins with Ira examining Rachel’s new eye.  Charlotte thinks the eye looks like Pluto.  Interesting observation.  Charlotte doesn’t feel she’d be bothered by Rachel’s insults.  The eye is still photosensitive, Ira notes but Rachel wonders how he would know that, given how he’s missed three consecutive treatments.  That just reinforces her theory that she’s in isolated territory.

Six weeks have passed without a visit from Professor Duncan.  Rachel taunts Ira, calling him a pale shade of Castor, though he doesn’t have the same antipathy for his siblings as Rachel apparently does for hers.  Rachel knows that Susan is back and watching her, but Ira says no such thing is happening.  She then receives her pigment treatments for her eye to look normal again.  So that’s a thing.

The Stigmata of Progress- Hell-Wizard and Kira play a game

Back at the comic book shop, Hell-Wizard plays a game of what I’m assuming is Dungeons and Dragons with Kira, who is worried about her mother.  She always knows when bad things happen, even though no one tells her.

The Stigmata of Progress- Examining Sarah's mouth

Downstairs, Scott and Cosima examine the worm in Sarah’s mouth.  At the very least, Scott figures that it’s not a tracking device, but it must contain some anesthetic, which is why Sarah never felt it.

The Stigmata of Progress- Rachel's physical therapy

Rachel, not allowed a computer, continues her treatment and physical therapy when Charlotte asks her about Adam’s Rib.  That’s enough of a distraction for Rachel to fall when she looks up and finds Professor Susan with her again.  Rachel wants her to go to hell.  Nice mother/daughter interaction.

The Stigmata of Progress- Mrs. S and Sarah watch the footage

Sarah needs to find Dizzy and settle some matters with Felix.  Mrs. S. wants her to rest and assures her that the family should support Felix if he wants to find his family. Upstairs, Kira then pushes over the game of Dungeons and Dragons because she’s an ass.  Or bored.

The Stigmata of Progress- Donnie checks Alison's mouth for worms

At House Hendrix, Cosima talks Donnie through as he searches Alison’s mouth for a similar worm or research device.  Alison perks up when she learns that this has to do with Neolution.  And this is when the two return to the garage to potentially exhume Dr. Leekie’s body.  Nothing about this is a good idea.

The Stigmata of Progress- Felix introduces Sarah to his sister, Adele, played by Lauren Hammersley

Sarah heads to Felix’s place, but ends up finding some random woman named Adele, played by Lauren Hammersley, who is apparently Felix’s biological sister.  Then Felix enters and clears things up just before Sarah asks if she can speak with him alone.  Felix likes Adele.  And he won’t stop hanging out with his sister because Sarah is suspicious of her being a Neolution plant.  Nor will he drop what he’s doing to play sidekick.

The Stigmata of Progress- Donnie and Helena in the kitchen

Then we get Helena raiding the kitchen in nothing but a towel.  Donnie needs her to watch the kids because he and Alison are working on a project in the garage that no one can enter right now.  Sarah apparently won’t answer her calls, though Helena feels she can help solve problems. Donnie feels that sometimes, Helena’s type of help isn’t needed.  I tend to agree, but she’s at least useful.

The Stigmata of Progress- Sarah goes to Dizzy for information on Neolution

So with no Felix at her side, Sarah goes solo with her investigation, even ignoring a call from S.  She meets up with Dizzy and says that she is M.K.’s sister.  Dizzy isn’t interested at first, but then Sarah shows him the plant in her mouth.  Dizzy heard chatter a few months ago about the technology.  Some theories include biometrics monitor, but Dizzy asks why put such a plant in the jaw where so much can go wrong?

If the monitor was for insulin, you could put it in the thigh, but in the jaw, it’s so much closer to the brain.  Sarah needs to get in touch with M.K., but Dizzy assures Sarah that M.K. will find her.  Right now, Sarah wants to know about the man in the video.  Word is the man is Alonzo Martinez.

The Stigmata of Progress- Rachel, Susan, and Ira dine

Rachel dines with Ira and Susan.  She’s been thinking about why Susan disappeared without a word, and her theory is that the original clone has not been found.  So while Sarah Manning is on the loose, Castor and Leda are alone in a terrarium.  Susan, though, likes that Rachel has spent time with Charlotte, as Charlotte was cloned from her.

Not a viable way to replicate, especially after 400 attempts, but important nonetheless.  That’s when Rachel demands to be left alone.  Susan says that she’s given the world to Rachel, but Rachel’s obsession with Sarah has blinded her.

Though Rachel is still livid that there’s still no cure or original clone in captivity.  Susan strikes back, calling Rachel the biggest disappointment.  Well, at least Rachel got what she want and can now eat alone.

The Stigmata of Progress- Alison and Donnie unearth Leekie's body

Alison and Donnie finally hit pay dirt when the smell hits them hard, like hot garbage juice.

The Stigmata of Progress- Sarah heads to Art's place with information on Martinez

Art continues going through footage of Beth when he gets a visit from Sarah.  She shows him the footage of Martinez and the worm’s defense mechanism as it goes haywire.  Sarah doesn’t know which doctor to go to, but Art will head to the station and find what he can based on Sarah’s information.  He advises her to stay at his place and get some rest.

The Stigmata of Progress- Felix and Adele bond over drinks

Adele and Felix bond over drinks.  Felix asks about their father, who was American and had an affair with a dancer in England.  Felix barely knew his mother, as she died when Felix was young.  After that, he bounced around the foster system until Mrs. S. adopted him.

To Felix, he has a sense of his mother, like he can feel her presence.  As for Adele’s mother, she knew about the affair, but not Felix.  That came out on dad’s deathbed.  Then Adele asks what Felix’s other family thinks about him looking for his roots.  Right now, Felix doesn’t care about that.

The Stigmata of Progress- Sarah gets a phone call from Helena

Sarah watches the footage when she gets a call from Helena, who shares the good news about her having twins.  However, she doesn’t want her twins to grow up like her.  Sarah understands.

The Stigmata of Progress- Detectives Lindstein, played by Kirsten Alter, and Collier, played by Joe Pingue, visit the Hendrix home for questions

The call is interrupted when Helena gets an unexpected visit from two detectives: Lindstein, played by Kirsten Alter, and Collier, played by Joe Pingue.  They’re here to ask about a triple homicide that occurred at a garage a few weeks back.

Helena, now having to masquerade as Alison, welcomes in the detectives just as Donnie heads in and spots the detectives talking with Helena.  Donnie rushes to the garage and tells Alison to abandon the excavation due to the detectives asking about Pouchy’s garage.  Alison, though, tells Donnie to head in and take care of it while she covers up the body.

The Stigmata of Progress- Kira tells Cosima about her dream

S heads out, leaving a dazed Kira to hang out with Cosima.  Kira wakes up from her dream of all the aunts being there with her and Sarah being set on fire because she was changing.  How she changed, Kira doesn’t know.

The Stigmata of Progress- Alison listens as Donnie and Helena talk to detectives

The detectives present material from Alison’s campaign that was found at the scene.  Donnie and Helena deny any involvement or ever meeting anyone from the Pouzihno family, but the detectives still need to know who had access to the campaign materials.  Helena eventually names Alison’s campaign manager: Sarah Stubbs.

She names other members of Alison’s staff, but the biggest support came from Donnie.  That’s enough to convince the detectives for now.  Alison is curious how Helena knew all of this, but hey, she is a trained assassin.

The Stigmata of Progress- Donnie and Alison examine Leekie's body

Anyway, back to digging.  Alison and Donnie unearth Leekie’s decomposed body and find a portion of his cheek cut.  That’s just what they need.

The Stigmata of Progress- Charlotte and Rachel paint

Rachel and Charlotte paint.  Rachel says that they all need to work hard at being a family.  She then asks Charlotte about her courses, this is all a front so the two can share messages on the easel, out of the camera’s view.  Charlotte apparently got Rachel’s message.  But then Charlotte coughs up blood- not the first occurrence.  Charlotte goes back to painting, but Rachel’s face is painted with concern.

The Stigmata of Progress- Art reports to Sarah about Martinez's last location

Back to the footage.  Sarah re-watches Beth confronting Paul when she suddenly gets a call from Art.  Martinez had a local address last year.  Four months ago, he stayed in town for one night and left right after that.  Though he did go to the corner of Queen and Broadview, and there sits a dental clinic that specializes in implants.  Art advises Sarah to check in with him in an hour.

The Stigmata of Progress- Art speaks with Detective Duko

Art then talks with Detective Duko about Duko’s visit with Beth.  He claims that it was out of concern for a fellow officer- even though house calls are uncommon- but seems surprised that Art knew about this.

The Stigmata of Progress- Alison and Donnie tell Cosima about Leekie's body

Alison and Donnie report to Cosima about their finding, with Donnie eventually admitting that he shot Leekie, who has one of those implants in his face.  That’s at least useful for Cosima, and now it’s on her to come pick up the body.

The Stigmata of Progress- Leslie, played by Siobhan Murphy, mistakes Sarah for Beth

Sarah heads to the dental clinic at the address that Art provided and sneaks in back without scheduling an appointment.  Cheater.  One of the dentists, Leslie, played by Siobhan Murphy, mistakes Sarah for Beth, thinking  she is still digging.  Leslie is in a tough spot and signed an NDA, but she still remembers the procedures.  Sarah mentions that the procedure was done to her.  Leslie can remove it, but it could be dangerous.

The Stigmata of Progress- Ferdinand speaks with Mrs. S about Neolution

S calls Benjamin when she gets an unexpected visit from Ferdinand.  He’s concerned because of the investigation into Neolution tech.  Ferdinand proposes a trade, as he knows about bots.  Someone in S’s group has one.  He can help with the Neolution network, but before we learn what he wants, Art calls S to tell her that Sarah has not checked in with him.  He thinks that she could be in trouble.

The Stigmata of Progress- Leslie operates on Sarah

Back at the clinic, Leslie closes up shop for the night when she heads into the back to operate on Sarah.  She begins the procedure and pries open Sarah’s mouth.  She penetrates the device, so if Sarah makes any movement, a burst of tendrils will release a fatal dose of tetrodotoxin.  Lovely.  The doctor tells Beth that she has no idea what she’s getting into, so she called her superiors.

Until then, it’s critical that Sarah not move.  Leslie talks about her orders to keep Beth guessing, but no one told her that Beth would return or that she’s one of the test subjects.  Beth apparently has no idea how lucky she is to be chosen.  Then Ferdinand enters and slashes Leslie across her throat.  Ferdinand learned some news from Rachel: Susan Duncan is alive.

The Stigmata of Progress- Susan tells Rachel about the plan to create a more perfect human being

We then cut to Rachel, who is resting when Susan approaches and says that detachment is her curse.  She doesn’t know how to be with Rachel.  Rachel claims it’s due to abandonment, but hey, both of them are Neolution.  Susan wanted to be her mother, but she had to cut the cord.  Susan advises Rachel to be kind to Ira.

Though Rachel is still upset about being sent away.  She wasn’t supposed to know about Helinski, though.  As it turns out, Rachel is the experiment and everyone needs a purpose in life to serve.  Theirs is in service to control human evolution and create a more perfect human being.

Good luck with that.  “The Stigmata of Progress” does manage to advance the plot with the reintroduction of Ferdinand and Rachel as we continue to delve into the big mystery that is Neolution, but it also allowed for some character development for several characters that all relate through one particular thread: legacy.

The Stigmata of Progress- Rachel upset at her mother

Take Rachel, for example.  She’s upset with her mother for abandoning her and still treating her as some sort of experiment.  But as cold as Rachel has been to other clones, Susan has no problem being just as heartless towards her own daughter.  Sure, parents try to be the bigger person, but not Susan in the instances where she and Rachel clash.

The Stigmata of Progress- Susan and Rachel

Plus, as it turns out, Rachel ends up just being another pawn.  With the plan to create a more perfect human being, Susan shows Rachel that she’s just another cog in a much larger machine that’s going to better society.  Rachel has spent so much time focusing on Sarah and the other clones that, in Susan’s eyes, she’s become distracted from her true purpose.

The Stigmata of Progress- Susan has plans for Rachel

Yet, there’s still an element of regret when Susan tells Rachel that she doesn’t know how to be with her.  After spending so much time away from her daughter, it’s no surprise that the relationship between her and Rachel is so tense.  I’m glad that Rachel’s characterization remains the same and she hasn’t softened due to the alienation from Susan.  In fact, she’s even more upset at being left in the hands of a Castor clone.

The Stigmata of Progress- Charlotte has some blood on her lip

And, of course, Charlotte, who, like Kira, appears to know more than she lets on about the larger picture.  What’s the message?  No idea yet, unless it has to do with Ferdinand, but it does allow for some nice interactions between Charlotte and Rachel.  With her coughing up blood, though, I’m curious what her condition is, given how she seemed fine at the end of last season.

The Stigmata of Progress- Helena does not want her children to be like her

Briefly on Helena, who is also thinking about her legacy.  As Donnie and Alison point out, Helena is a killer.  Since becoming integrated with the other clones and the family as a whole, she’s softened and is now about to have children of her own.  However, she doesn’t want them to be anything like her.

The Stigmata of Progress- Donnie and Helena

I think Helena is growing used to the domestic lifestyle, given how well she bonds with Donnie.  And I don’t think it’s to cause any friction with him and Alison.  She’s helped them a few times and despite how odd they are, she’d do anything to help her sisters.  Plus, she’s not as aimless or unaware of everything going on around her, proving that when, with no problem, she provides the names of several people on Alison’s campaign staff.

Insolvent Phantom of Tomorrow- Bloody Helena emerges

Also, I’m glad we’re addressing the incident at Pouchy’s garage from last season.  Granted, it’s not relevant to the other clones, so there’d be no reason to bring it up except for a conversation-stopper.  Though it’s been a few weeks since it occurred, at least the show followed up on it.  Now the question is whether House Hendrix is in the clear.

The Stigmata of Progress- Adele tells Felix about his parents

What’s unclear right now is Adele.  Sarah has every right to be suspicious, but Felix has just as much right to be upset at her for potentially interfering with the one, true connection he’ll have.  Is it possible that Adele is some sort of spy?  Yeah, sure, but that would be too convenient and contrived.  We’ve seen that scenario plenty of times on television and movies.  Let Adele be genuine and have Felix learn about his past.

The Stigmata of Progress- Felix has a sense of his mother

There’s actual curiosity when he asks about his parents and he looks to have grown to Adele fast, so I wouldn’t want her to be some sort of infiltrator.  Just let her be a character and don’t turn this into some scenario that ends with Sarah being right about Adele’s intentions.  And unlike last time, Felix didn’t reluctantly drop his plans to play Sarah’s sidekick.  Good on him.

The Stigmata of Progress- Sarah learns that Susan Duncan is alive

Not a ton to say about Sarah, though you’ve gotta wonder if it was desperation that made her so willing to trust Leslie getting in her mouth.  If she needed to keep up appearances as Beth, I get that, but Leslie already seemed surprised by this sudden arrival, so you’d think she would have been more questioning of Beth appearing out of nowhere.

The Stigmata of Progress- Leslie talks to Sarah

That’s if Leslie didn’t know that Beth was dead, which I don’t know she wouldn’t, given how she did all this digging a while ago, only to pop up for a surprise dental visit.

“The Stigmata of Progress” did a good job in dealing with characters’ legacies and showing the lengths they’ll go to ensure a better future.

Though Alison, Donnie, and Helena’s plot was fine, it only served to help Sarah’s situation instead of giving them something to do for themselves.  Ferdinand’s return is an interesting wild card and Susan’s plan to create a more perfect human being make for something to look forward to as the season progresses.

A Look at House of Lies- Season 5, Episode 3: “Holacracy”

Pack your bags and prepare yourself, because we’re about to go on a trip.  Not the one you’re thinking of, too.

Holacracy- Marty golfs with Donald Faison

The episode begins on the driving range.  Marty and his partner, Donald Faison, are waiting for the others so they can hit.  After waiting long enough, Donald decides to play at Augusta.  He’s got a tee-time for 8 am tomorrow anyway.  But Marty actually has things to do at his job where he tells people richer than him how to get even richer.

One such man is a client from New Mexico.  Donald suggests that Marty tell him that he’s on the ‘life is too short’ list, but Marty is focusing on the fact that the client is worth $11 billion.  He’s in space, but Marty likes the motherfuckers in space.  That’s why Donald isn’t working with Marty- he needs clients out there so he can extract money.  Sometimes, a gig is just a gig.

Holacracy- Skip shows up on the golf course

And then Skip Galweather arrives, tees up, and takes a shot right down the fairway.  The other people down the fairway don’t matter, Skip says, but they’re important enough to keep Marty waiting on the golf course.  Skip invites Marty to play a round of golf and talk about life, but Marty shoots down the invitation.

Holacracy- Kelsey tells Clyde that she's odd every morning

At Kaan & Associates, Clyde notes that Kelsey is being odd, but she says that she’s odd every morning.  Fair enough.  She tells Clyde that her app, Fruity Face, closed on a seven figure deal.  Doug pops by to mention that Tess has asked for a D&D tutorial.  As a dungeon master, Doug is in a delicate position, but in the real world, Tess is a powerful businesswoman and client.  Kelsey heads off, telling Clyde that they’ll talk later.

Holacracy- Clyde packs up his things as Jeannie claims her office

With Jeannie back at K&A, Clyde packs up and moves out of the office that she’ll now be using.  Clyde doesn’t feel safe with Jeannie since she’s now a workplace predator.  Doug arrives to rub salt into the wound, but the two do hug- proving Doug’s point that two men can hold each other.

Holacracy- Jeannie plays mediator between Grant and Marty

Across the office, Grant Stevens storms into Marty’s domain, livid that he did not have the autonomy within his team that Marty apparently promised.  Somehow, Grant still cashed Marty’s checks because Marty wedged him into a buyout.  He’s considering pulling his people out, but Marty calls such a move stupid, even for Grant.  In fact, Marty doesn’t think that Grant’s people would follow him.  It’s called a contract.

Jeannie tries to play mediator since she knows Grant and Marty have a grudging fondness for one another.  Plus, Jeannie strokes Grant’s ego by saying that Marty apparently sees him as a major leader in the media division moving forward.  This gets Grant’s attention.

Holacracy- Jeannie suggests that Marty bring in Ron Zobel

When Grant leaves, Jeannie lays it out: Marty isn’t a people person.  Not just about Grant Stevens.  She thinks that he needs help because K&A is trying to assimilate eight different companies, but Marty keeps going on the road.  Marty has to land what he can land.  Jeannie just thinks the company would benefit from help.  From who?  Well, the man who just got out of his contract with Denna Altschuler: Ron Zobel.

Marty refuses to bring Zobel into the company.  Zobel might be a great turnaround artist and his loyalties have realigned, but Marty will not have Jeannie blow his shit up on day one.  The answer is no.

Holacracy- Doug and his selfie stick

As the pod heads through the airport- Doug recording it all with a selfie stick, making me hate him instantly- we learn that the COO is a classmate of Marty’s: Yurgen Celebi.  His boss is Sean Chew, who made his first billion at 25 by starting Everyshirt.  This revolutionized fulfillment through, but now he’s into the Holacracy kick: no hierarchy, no bosses.  Celebi thinks this will tank the company.

Holacracy- Marty introduces pod to Yurgen Celebi, played by Malcolm-Jamal Warner

When the pod touches down, Jeannie stating that she doesn’t see the advantages in Holacracy does not go unheard.  There’s a drone overhead.  Speaking through it is Sean Chew, who welcomes the pod inside.  Then Yurgen, played by Malcolm-Jamal Warner, arrives and Marty introduces him to the pod.

Sean has given Yurgen orders to bring the pod directly to him, but Yurgen tells Marty that Holacracy is fucking his shit up.  No bosses, no organization, and anyone can attend any meeting at any time.  Though Yurgen is number two here, he can’t cash out for another two years.  Sean could potentially blow this by then.  Marty assures Yurgen that K&A has his back.

Holacracy- Sean Chew, played by John Cho, gets a read on Marty

Inside, the team meets Sean Chew, played by John Cho, who comes in for a deep hug and can smell Marty’s brilliance.  He tries to get a read on Marty before asking if he ‘groks’ Holacracy, whatever the hell that means.  As Doug begins to explain, Sean starts shooting him with arrows.  Right now, Doug needs to shut the hell up while Sean mind melds with Marty.

So Sean goes on: Holacracy is how the company will evolve as a species.  No boundaries or titles.  To demonstrate, Sean calls on a random employee, Dicky, who works in fulfillment and packs boxes full of shirts.  Sean asks if Dicky is here because he’s attending a meeting at the highest level of the company.  Really, Dicky is allowed to take breaks to attend meetings and the AC is better in this building.

Sean then asks an employee to make sure the AC in the fulfillment center is equal to the AC here.  He also senses Marty’s skepticism.  Marty is here to help promote Everyshirt, but Sean, in return, will help Marty by inculcating him into the philosophy of Holacracy.  If Sean can win over Marty, then he’ll know that he’s on the right track.

Holacracy- Special ceremony

We then cut to some kind of ceremony that’s been practiced for many years: the practice of partaking of the remarkable teaching properties of the ayahuasca.  Whatever you call it, it will take you where you need to go.  Sean then introduces Majo, played by Ellen Karsten, the shaman to the group on their transformational path.

Holacracy- Pod receives ayahuasca

Everyone is welcomed to the spirit realm.  The pod partakes- Jeannie has to be convinced and Marty beckons more than necessary- and soon, people begin to trip the fuck out.  Clyde even turns down a sacred orgasm.  Well, not everyone is tripping.  Marty is just fine.

Holacracy- Marty feels nothing during the time freeze

In fact, he’s so fine that it’s time for a time freeze.  Newsflash: he doesn’t feel a thing.  He’s not getting experienced.  He sees a to-do list, his company, and employees.  Is that his life?  The people tripping out aren’t thinking about the job.  Sean, though, is probably thinking about the job, but not the same way as Marty, so it’s time to close this shit.  He goes to face a wacked-out Sean.

Holacracy- Doug asks members for advice about Tess

Doug, then, asks members if Tess wants a D&D tutorial or a lover.  Majo, meanwhile, cradles a weeping Jeannie, but her breath is fucking with Jeannie’s high.

Holacracy- Clyde calls Kelsey

Clyde somehow manages to call a busy Kelsey to connect with her.  Kelsey, though, gets right to it: she wants to breakup.  And she can do this over the phone while writing code.

Holacracy- Jeannie tells Marty about her third eye

Marty and Sean face off, but Jeannie soon calls him to say how happy she is that she now sees God.  She tries to get a question out, but Marty tells her that he’s not feeling experienced yet.  However, Jeannie sees Marty because she has a God-eye in the center of her forehead.  It sees that Marty has a giant circle around his head, like the mane of a lion.  And then Jeannie vomits while Marty goes off to make a phone call

Holacracy- Clyde asks Dakota, played by Anastacia McPherson, for the sacred orgasm

Clyde goes to Dakota, played by Anastacia McPherson, the woman from before who offered the sacred orgasm, for the offer of sweet love, but Dakota doesn’t recognize the fur man.

Holacracy- Sean the Cobra Lord versus Marty the motherfucking lion

If possible, the episode gets even trippier as Marty and Sean, now Cobra Lord, displays his spirit.  Marty does the same, as he’s a motherfucking lion.  The two battle in a trippy animated sequence.

Holacracy- Marty on board with Holacracy

We then fade into the group, now presumably recovered, meeting while Marty asks what reality is nowadays.  What Marty does know is that he and Sean left their physical bodies and made an agreement on a higher plane.  The company agreed that Holacracy is a noble experiment that’s worth a try.

Doug will head up the Holacracy Transition Advisory Team, Clyde will move Holacracy’s technology, synergy, and integration into the 25th century, while Jeannie and Marty will work close with Sean to advance the vision quest that is Holacracy.   This is a vision quest that will take faith and a fuck load of afterwork.

Holacracy- Yurgen is pissed at Marty

Outside, Yurgen is livid with Marty for fucking him in every hole, but Marty asks Yurgen to think about how much he himself is worth to Sean Chew.  On paper, it’s over a billion dollars.  So if Sean thinks that Holacracy is the shit, the least Yurgen could do is let this play out.  After all, Sean is the Cobra Lord.  Not just anyone knows about the Cobra Lord.

Holacracy- Ron Zobel happy to join Marty's team

Back in Los Angeles, surprise Steven Weber as Ron Zobel is waiting for Marty at K&A.  But then, Ron got Marty’s message about working together and aggressive post-capitalism.  Ron has a few loose ends to tie up in other sectors, but after that, Ron is all for Marty.  Ron also knows about Skip’s offer.  That might have influenced Ron’s decision.  Plus, Marty wouldn’t want his ex-wife walking away with all that money.

Yeah, Monica is apparently the frontrunner, but Ron bets that K&A will blow her right out of the water.  Marty asks Ron if he saved the message.

Holacracy- Doug asks Tess out on a date

Doug goes over D&D with Tess.  Before Doug can ask a question, Tess wonders if it’s about D&D.  It’s not.  Doug asks Tess whether she’d consider going out with him.  Tess is actually kind of into him, so yes, she will go out with him.

Holacracy- Jeannie unwinds on Marty's sofa

Jeannie pops by Marty’s office to confirm whether she saw Ron Zobel.  Apparently Marty hired him.  Jeannie thinks it’s a good call, but her brain also feels like dog shit.  Still an amazing feeling, though.  Jeannie asks whether Marty wants her back at K&A, as she feels very fragile and the ayahuasca has her questioning everything.  Marty says that he’s thrilled, as he can’t do this shit without her.  Good answer.

The episode comes to a close as Marty continues working well into the night.

Holacracy- Cobra fights the lion

Well, this episode was trippy as hell.  It started off pretty standard with the status quo being restored and Jeannie returning to Kaan & Associates, but took a huge detour once we met Sean Chew.  I’m fine with this change of pace because while we’ve seen the pod on wild misadventures before, I don’t think anything has been as out of sight as this one.

If there’s one thing to grab from this episode, it’s that the pod members are taking huge risks.  Or, at least, making minor changes in their decisions, like taking a leap of faith when they’re uncertain of the outcome.

Holacracy- Doug wants to ask Tess out

Like Doug.  He’s treading careful water with Tess because he wants to form a bond, but also maintain the professional relationship with a client.  But instead of beating around the bush for several episodes, he goes right for it, ends up with a date in the process, and learns that Tess is into him.  So Doug is having a good day so far.  Hopefully Sarah doesn’t pop up and blow this for him, but I’ll take any excuse to see Jenny Slate again.

Holacracy- Clyde learns that Kelsey's app sold for seven figures

Clyde, meanwhile, looks like he’s about to hit the single circuit again.  First off, it was nice to see Kelsey again, as I think her character is interesting and smart enough to warrant more than a one-season appearance.  We’re not told everything that’s gone on between Clyde and Kelsey, but their relationship looks like it’s on thin ice.

Holacracy- Kelsey works on code

To be honest, though, Kelsey wanting to end things with Clyde isn’t all that surprising.  Not that she’s lost interest or feelings in him, but her mind is on bigger things.  She just got a seven figure deal on her app and spends time writing code.  This isn’t someone who needs to be bound by a relationship.  That said, I’m curious whether we’ll see what led to the falling out between the two.

Holacracy- Marty fist bumps with Sean

Marty is taking a huge risk by embracing the Holacracy philosophy.  Or, at least, letting Sean think that he is.  Even though Marty found it to be bullshit, his priority isn’t about changing who he is, but closing a deal with the client and getting that afterwork.  He can’t if he and the pod have a clash of ideals with Sean.

Holacracy- Marty realizes that he brought on Ron Zobel

But where he will clash is with Ron Zobel, now that he’s apparently on board.  I do like that the phone call to Zobel wasn’t some giant revelation, as we did see Marty make a phone call during the ceremony.  And it’s a payoff to Marty’s conversation with Jeannie about how he would never bring on Zobel.  And after Steven Weber’s character was killed off on iZombie, I’m glad he’ll hopefully be around here for some time.

Holacracy- Jeannie is frustrated

Jeannie, meanwhile, is having a bit of trouble adjusting to life back at K&A.  Nice to have her back with the pod, but now she and Marty are back to trying not to step on each other’s toes.  I don’t think she’ll be as forward as she was last season, but at the same time, going by the conversation at the end of the episode, I don’t think Marty will always be quick to shut down her suggestions.

Holacracy- Sean the Cobra Lord

As for Everyshirt itself, this is going to be one hell of an interesting client.  Yurgen appeared over Sean’s philosophy until Marty advised him to stay the course.  I’m wondering if Yurgen had ever considered that all- given his net worth- before Marty suggested it.  Either way, I wager Yurgen’s patience will be tested between Sean pushing Holacracy and Marty making sure that he stays on board.

Holacracy- Yurgen thinks about his net worth to Sean

And these are such radically different performances than what I’d expect from John Cho and Malcolm-Jamal Warner that I can’t wait to see them do more with these characters. Even Donald Faison in his brief appearance was a nice surprise.

To reiterate, “Holacracy” was trippy as shit, but damn fun to watch as the pod got experienced.  One of the most visually memorable episodes of the series’ run.  In between all of this, the episode still advanced the character’s storylines as they took risks with their current situations.  Some worked, as we saw with Marty and Doug, some less successful, as we’re seeing with Clyde.

The team is dealing with a challenging client and while they’re on the path to getting that afterwork, we’ll see how long they’re willing to endure Holacracy.

A Look at Veep- Season 5 Premiere: “Morning After”

Welcome back to the unpredictable world of Veep.  In the end of Season Four, the presidential election came to a screeching halt when Selina Meyer won the state of Virginia, which didn’t settle, but tied the number of electoral votes between herself and O’Brien.  But then, all the House races weren’t settled, so this race was far from over. How are things now?  Well, not much better.  This is the “Morning After.”

Morning After- Selina speaks to the nation after election night

The season begins the day after the vote.  Still no decision, but no matter.  As she addresses the nation, Selina Mayer stands in barefaced awe of the nation’s democratic system.  Right.  It’s a tie, but she won the popular vote and the nation only attempted to pick a leader.  She says that the country is not without a leader.  No matter how the nation voted, she is still currently the President.

Morning After- Catherine films her documentary

But when the cameras stop rolling, Selina is still miffed about this rule that prolongs the election and there’s no way she’ll be Tom James’ VP.  Catherine, meanwhile, is filming a documentary about the tie as her thesis.  She didn’t get to pick a thesis her advisor liked because she had that thing last year where she was tired all the time.

Morning After- Selina doesn't care about Catherine's documentary

Like every good mother, Selina doesn’t have time to hear about her daughter’s troubles.  She thinks that Catherine to focus on her minor, dance, but also stop whining like a bitch because she could shatter the bulletproof glass.  Selina gives Catherine full access, but only after she deals with a pressing issue in Yemen.  Four Christian missionaries were burned to death.  Lovely.

Morning After- Mike delivers big, personal news that he and Wendy are adopting a baby

Selina goes to Amy, who has been on the phone with constitutional law experts.  Amy isn’t back yet- just helping out.  She suggests that Selina see a doctor for her stress pimple.  Mike enters with big personal news: he and Wendy are adopting a child from China.  Mike is bad about keeping secrets, so Wendy kept it a secret from him.  Of course Selina doesn’t give a shit about a Chinese baby.

Morning After- Kent has the House results

Kent arrives with the final House results, though.  From this moment forward, Selina is all about the House vote.  Kent suggests direct engagement with individual congressmen, and Selina has to do the one thing that O’Brien can’t do: be the President.  So Selina will be as goddamn presidential as she can, but she should consider moving up the symposium on race.  Not yet for that, though.

Morning After- Ben tells Bill to leave

Bill Ericsson arrives out of nowhere and suggests re-purposing the election Twitter account to a POTUS account so she can speak right to the American people.  Ben shuffles Bill outside of the meeting room to remind him that he’s isn’t welcome since he’s about to be indicted.

Right now, Bill is about as welcome as a swastika-shaped shit in a synagogue.  Oddly specific.  Selina is willing to give Bill full pardon if he surrenders quietly.  And no media for Bill right now.  Neither Ben nor Bill seem to notice Catherine filming in the background.

Morning After- Sue and Mike talk Fitbit information

Mike shows a photo to Sue, who thinks that all pictures of children look alike.  Both Mike and Sue have Fitbit watches, by the way, and Sue is somehow crushing it at a current 12,000 steps to Mike’s 3,000.  The job keeps Sue active.  At doing what, I don’t know.

Morning After- Dan wants to do more news at CNN

At CNN, Dan meets up with Greg to get back on the air, but for that to happen, Dan has to make a name and build a profile for himself.  It doesn’t help that he cratered one week into running Selina’s campaign.  After he’s established himself, he can talk about a career in television.

Morning After- Selina meets Special Agent Marjorie Palmiotti, played by Clea DuVall

Selina’s zit doesn’t look any better.  Also, Chinese hackers bridged an NSA firewall.  But in relevant news, the director of the Secret Service arrives with a new lead agent for her detail.  The team is introduced to Special Agent Marjorie Palmiotti, played by Clea DuVall.

A key requirement for being lead agent is someone who looks like the president, especially from behind, to provide an additional decoy target for any would-be assailants.  Selina doesn’t see it, and the only difference that Gary senses is smell.

Morning After- Team learns of a potential Nevada recount

Ben bursts in, mistaking Marjorie for Selina in the process and thus disproving Selina’s argument, with an election update: Senator O’Brien’s lead over Selina is now less than half a percent.  By Nevada law, that allows for a recount.  If Selina wins a Nevada recount, she wins Nevada’s six electoral votes and, as a result, wins the Presidency.  Now it’s time to put all the focus in Nevada.

Morning After- Selina wants Richard to work as her recount specialist

But, as Richard points out, most of the voting in Nevada is done electronically.  When the Nevada Secretary of State certifies the count, the team will have 72 hours to request a recount.  This, in turn, means that five percent of the precincts will be selected, and if there’s a discrepancy of more than one percent, a full hand recount will be requested.  Yeah, Richard did his doctorate in recount procedures in the West.

Selina, impressed with Richard’s knowledge, immediately makes him her recount specialist.  As a bonus, Jonah now works for him.  O’Brien is prepared to give a press conference about the recount, so Selina rushes to say stuff before him.

Morning After- Richard and Jonah pack their things

Somehow, both Jonah and Richard are upset about Jonah being made to work for Richard.  Jonah equates himself to Harry Potter’s struggles, with Selina as Uncle Dursley.

Morning After- Selina addresses the press while her zit is more pronounced

The team wastes no time in getting some stuff for Selina to say.  As she speaks to the press, Amy, Ben, and Gary can’t help but notice that Selina’s zit is too damn noticeable, as is her butchering of the pronunciation of Nevada.  Also, the Dow starts plummeting due to panic from the recount.  It’s being called Black Wednesday.

Selina soon learns of the horrible news.  O’Brien’s statement says that this caused a blotch on the face of America.  Nothing to do with Selina’s face, but she now wants to see a doctor to examine the fucking soufflé on her face.  Though she does agree to move up the race symposium.

Morning After- Meeting about economy and pinning the blame on Tom James

Team meeting about the economy.  Right now, they need to appoint an economy czar to essentially take the fall.  In other news, Tom James just gave an interview to make sure the absentee ballots are also counted.  Since the military hates Selina, this would lead to move votes for O’Brien.

Selina doesn’t want Tom James deviating, so Amy suggests making him the economy czar.  Also, Selina asks Amy about Candi Caruso, not her, heading up Nevada.  Amy, who thought it would be her, says nothing but glowing things about her.

Morning After- Dan is fired from CNN via text

Back to CNN, Dan wants to make some changes, though Sydney Purcell actually texts, in-person, that Dan is fired.  They’re doubling down on O’Brien, so Dan is about as useless as a 40-year-old woman.  Damn.  Also, Dan doesn’t get fired.  He quibs.  Gotta love auto-correct.

Morning After- Tom James turns down the economy czar position

There’s now a Twitter account for the pimple.  It has more followers than Selina.  The symposium on race is at least set for this afternoon.  Selina speaks with Tom James about Nevada and the market, which is why she wants to offer him the position of economy czar.  Tom turns it down.  He knows that he’d be blamed for the economy disaster.

And there’s a difference between stock market patsy- which this is- and his original wish of Treasury Secretary.  So yeah, Tom respectfully declines.  Selina doesn’t feel respect, but she’s getting the decline.

Morning After- Amy interrupts Selina's interview with Candi

Amy, meanwhile, is bitter about Candi.  Selina doesn’t need her for anything right now.  So she interrupts Selina’s meeting with Candi Caruso, played by Morgan Smith.  Mere seconds later, Sue tells Candi that the position has been filled.  If it’s by Amy, it won’t be filled for long, I’m guessing.  Amy visits Richard to hand off recount tasks to accomplish, only to learn that Jonah recruited Cliff to their team.

Morning After- Selina tells the press that Tom James accepted the position of economy czar

Selina then heads to the Children’s National Medical Center and tells the press that Tom James accepted her offer of economy czar, which is bullshit, but the press doesn’t know that.  Meanwhile, Amy tells Dan to head to Nevada.  After all, she’s offering him a job.  She doesn’t ask him as nice as Candi Caruso.  Mike gloats about his step run to Sue, who then ups him by the flight of stairs she’s climbed.

Morning After- Selina gets a diagnosis regarding her zit

Tom James is livid about Selina saying he took the position, but Selina’s got an appointment.  She meets Dr. Weisglass, played by Andrew Thacher, who tells her that heat is the last thing her face needs in regards to the zit.  Also, stay away from irritants.

Ben and Kent enter with updates regarding the symposium and a mudslide in Idaho.  The governor requests a federal state of emergency, but since Selina lost Idaho in the election, she’s not feeling charitable.

Morning After- Selina meets the white panelists at the symposium on race

As Catherine continues filming her documentary, Team Selina heads to the symposium conference, which is made of almost exclusively White people, some of whom teach at historically black colleges.  Ben asks for some Blacks to be rounded up, but don’t repeat that on the radio.  Hey, you said it, Ben.

Morning After- Mike about to open an emergency door

Mike gets his workout on the stairs, but because he’s bad at reading signs, he opens a nearby door that’s for restricted use.

Morning After- Sue's hands up, don't shoot

As a result, alarms blare and the area is put on lockdown.  Because Sue is black, the guards immediately tell her to put her hands up and almost shoot when she arrives to show some colored representation.

The episode comes to a close as Mike tells the press that Bill Ericsson has been arrested, a pardon is off of the table, and he was apparently responsible for the chaos at the symposium.  These assholes, I swear.  Meanwhile, Team Meyer is headed to Nevada.  Amy, Jonah, Cliff, and Dan arrive at a hotel that’s sold out if you don’t have reservations.  Jonah is left to wait in line and take care of this.

Morning After- Tearing up hope

If you needed a good juxtaposition of words and images to get an accurate depiction of Veep, look no further than the first few seconds: Selina Meyer professing her pride in the democratic system and how she is still the nation’s leader.  Set against this is the clean-up crew dealing with the aftermath of the Meyer-James rally.  Selina delivers a mountain of bullshit while others handle her mess in the background.

Morning After- Lockdown

Five seasons of Veep and the Meyer team is as inept as ever.  No matter how much they try to progress, and everything they think they’re out, someone or something pulls them back into the thick of it.

Morning After- Gary and Selina

But this mess is pretty damn thick because the nation still has not made up its mind on its next leader.  That’s a problem when you’re trying to prove that you and your team are capable of continuing the job that you’ve managed to botch at almost every opportunity.  If there’s one thing Selina Meyer can do, it’s weather a storm.

Morning After- Dan and his sandwich

And with one mess they have to clean, seven others arise.  Despite the largeness of the cast and separate storylines, Veep doesn’t come off as cluttered.  It moves at a brisk pace, gives you just enough of each character’s respective storylines, keeps the jokes going at a rapid pace, and then moves to the next scene.

Morning After- Bill out of nowhere

Despite the departure of Armando Iannucci, Veep’s satire of the political process, right in the middle of one of the most interesting elections with the 2016 race, remains sharp, the barbs and insults are constant, and everyone is as despicable and foul-mouthed as they’ve ever been.  Even more so because of how much is on the line with this recount.

But even with the great writing and performances from everyone across the board, it’s the character’s little ticks and moments that make Veep, for my money, one of the most tightly written comedies on television right now.

Morning After- Kent corrects pronounciation

Whether it’s Gary remedies for Selina’s pimple, Sue somehow outmaneuvering Mike to stay ahead of him on Fitbit, Mike wanting to get in shape for fatherhood, Kent’s constant need to correct people’s pronunciation, Jonah’s reaction to being made Richard’s assistant, or Richard’s very specific expertise in recount procedures in the West, the characters on Veep remain interesting and vibrant.

Five seasons in and I still care about their arcs, even if most of them are terrible people.

Morning After- Selina learns that she needs to win Nevada

Like everything else on Veep, these people can’t catch a break.  Right now, Selina’s political future hinges on a Nevada recount, but she also has to appeal to the minority vote.

Morning After- Symposium on race

In Veep fashion, the symposium ends up being Whiter than the audience at a hockey game and security trains their guns on Sue, thinking she’s the culprit of the alarm.  And in the subsequent press conference, Mike is asked whether Selina cares about Black people.

Morning After- Selina needs Amy's opinion, but not Amy

Selina has next to no control over the administration.  She tries to keep her zit in checked, but it gets worse.  She tries to capitalize on the Nevada recount, but stocks go down out of fear.  I get her need for a fall guy and putting Tom James in that position keeps him distracted since he could end up becoming the President.

Morning After- Tom James does not want to be the economy czar

But this has the potential to backfire.  Since his introduction, the people have loved Tom James and gravitate more towards him than Selina.  If he was somehow blamed for this mess, I’m sure he could talk his way out of an economic crisis and end up looking like the hero.

There’s a lot set up in this premiere.  As mentioned, putting Tom James in charge of the economic crisis keeps him from interfering with Selina, but he could end up being a savior instead of a pariah.

Morning After- Catherine films while Selina insults her hair

And then Selina gave Catherine full access for her documentary.  She’s got to know that could come back to bite her in the ass at some point if she says something damaging or incriminating, which is probably every other sentence.  And very subtle, Catherine is with some of her positioning, as I missed her a few times on the first viewing when she was recording in the background

“Morning After” is a strong return for Veep showed more of the anxiousness coming out of this very close election.  The humor remains strong, the insults piercing, and Team Selina is still trying to make the best out of bad situations, while somehow making them worse.

With Tom James in charge of the economy, Catherine’s documentary, Selina’s security detail, the Nevada recount, and the ever-complex electoral system, Veep’s fifth season is off to a strong start.

And hey, if there are any problems that need fixing, talk to Jonah.

A Look at The Walking Dead: The Alien

The Walking Dead- The Alien- Cover

The Walking Dead: Alien is quite the welcome surprise to the world of The Walking Dead.  Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin’s work here at first might seem like a slice of life within this world that has no impact or connection to the ongoing storyline of The Walking Dead.

And up until the end, it’s just that: showing us the walker outbreak in territory not yet explored in the main series.  Sort of like how, in the world of television, Fear the Walking Dead shows us early reactions to the outbreak compared to when Rick woke up from his coma.

The Walking Dead- The Alien- Claudia and Jeff talk

From what I can tell, we aren’t given much of an indication of when this all takes place compared to the main series. And I’m fine with this comic not spelling out every detail.  But it is a nice change of pace to see other locations affected by the outbreak.

The Walking Dead- The Alien- Jeff tries to save kid

We can at least get a read of the characters we meet.  Jeff is selfless and willing to put himself in harm’s way, even if he’s woefully unprepared or ill-equipped to handle a situation.  So he shows bravery in the face of danger.  Not to the point that he’s willing to lead a group of survivors.

The Walking Dead- The Alien- Claudia saves Jeff

And Claudia reminds me of Michonne and Andrea in that she’s also willing to put herself in danger, but more than capable of holding her own.  She’s got a sense of adventure and has a sense of humor.  But at the same time, she’s quick to run headfirst into a dangerous situation, as seen when she emerges right in the middle of a herd, but is fine because she knows that the walkers are slow.

She’s also not stoic.  Her life during the outbreak and how she’s survived is similar to other survivors and she’s unperturbed by what’s happening since, as she says, Barcelona has been ravaged by plagues before.  Reminded me of Black Widow’s line to Loki in The Avengers when she says that regimes fall every day, but since she’s Russian, she doesn’t weep over that.

The Walking Dead- The Alien- Claudia and Jeff discuss the American government containing the outbreak

Plus, I like how she’s not just lounging around and waiting for the world to either revitalize or tear itself apart.  She has a mission of getting to the United States since the American government has found a way to contain the outbreak.

The Walking Dead- The Alien- Jeff asks Claudia to get a message to his brother, Rick Grimes

And then we get the kicker at the end when we learn that Jeff is Rick’s brother.  It’s a way to give us an emotional connection to him since we’ve followed Rick for so long.  It’s a payoff to a minor mention from the comics.  I forget if it was Rick or Lori who mentioned him, but now we see that, hey, Rick Grimes had some family across the pond.

It’s a bleak ending to know that Jeff will never see his brother again, but that’s the reality of this world.  It’d be cliché if either Jeff survived to reunite with Rick or if Claudia somehow made it all the way from Barcelona to the United States, particularly when she has no idea of where to start looking.

Obviously, it’d be far-fetched if Claudia suddenly showed up in Alexandria to give Rick the news.  It’d be too neat of a wrap-up and this world has already shown that characters aren’t promised happy endings just because we’re attached to them.

With The Walking Dead show on AMC done for the sixth season and us waiting for the next issue of the comic, this was a nice, quick read that helped build out The Walking Dead universe and show how other parts of the world combat the roamer outbreak.  Will we get more of this?  No idea, since it feels like a one-off with no connection to the main story until the end.

But either way, a good, short read that gives you your quick roamer fix.  And that’s all you really need.

A Look at Orphan Black- Season 4, Episode 2: “Transgressive Border Crossing”

It’s time to go back. And forth.  We’re going back and forth.  In light of M.K.’s warning, Sarah and company head back to avoid detection and get to the bottom of this Neolution matter.

Transgressive Border Crossing- Leaving Iceland

The episode begins with Sarah and Kira packing.  Sarah tells Kendall and Mrs. S. about M.K. and how she knew Beth, though S and Kendall find that suspicious.  After all, why would M.K. call at this moment?  S is confident that their tracks are covered, while Kendall thinks the Neolutions are trying to flush them out.  Kira, meanwhile, spots vehicles approaching.

Now it’s time to get into gear.  Sarah tells S that the people approaching cannot find anything, so S pours gasoline around the cabin, lights a match, and heads out as the fire begins to spread.

Transgressive Border Crossing- Arriving at the comic shop front

While Felix, Alison, and Cosima all receiving texts that grab their attention, Sarah and company arrive at their new front, the Rabbit Hole Comics, and meet up with Benjamin.  They unload the stowaways from the truck.  Benjamin will take the others to the safe house and S will catch up later, but Kira wants to meet with Cal.  Sarah tells her that she won’t see him for awhile.  This upsets Kira.

Transgressive Border Crossing- Reuniting with Scott and Cosima

Sarah and S enter the store and meet the Hell-Wizard, played by Calwyn Shurgold, who takes them downstairs, where they reunite with Scott and Cosima.  They get in touch with Alison, who asks how M.K. knew people were coming for Sarah.  After all, Beth never mentioned anyone named M.K.  Alison has no time for Neolutions.

Scott explains that the hideout’s technology is thanks to the Hendrix’s money, Craigslist, and migrating some over from DYAD since, as far as they know, DYAD is out of the clone game.  He tells S that they’re getting close to a cure for Cosima, but there’s still no word on Delphine.  In addition, Sarah hasn’t heard from Felix.

Transgressive Border Crossing- Sarah looks over Beth and Art's case file

To get more information about Neolution, Sarah meets up with Art at the diner.  He hands over a file with the last case he and Beth covered regarding the man with the surgically removed cheek.  Beth and Art were kicked off the case before they could investigate further.  To find out more, though, Art and Sarah will have to do more digging, starting with Beth’s anonymous tipster.  The two decide to visit Beth and Paul’s flat.

Transgressive Border Crossing- Alison speaks with Felix

Meanwhile, while Alison walks in on Felix, who is spray-painting in the buck.  When asked why he hasn’t answered his calls, he tells Alison that he’s in the zone and that family can come to him.  He’s not ready to explain yet what he’s been doing, though Alison tells him that the family will be supportive.

Transgressive Border Crossing- Beth and Detective Duko talk

As Art and Sarah investigate, the episode flashes back to Beth on paid leave as she talks with Detective Duko, who wants to discuss this case.  She tells him about going to Leekie, but Duko isn’t a fan of her doing so much digging.  But such is the story of Beth’s life.  Duko is impressed, but the two have crossed a line and there’s no going back.  He has to protect the people he cares about, and he knows that Beth would do the same.

Transgressive Border Crossing- Donnie and Helena at the hospital

Then we’ve got Donnie and Helena at a hospital.  Helena is playing the part of Donnie’s wife.  Helena explains to the doctor that she’s fine, aside from the tiredness and farting.  Apparently those symptoms are normal.  Huh.  But the farts never happen when she’s having sex with her husband.  Luckily, the doctor tells the two that there are many safe positions they can practice during the pregnancy.

Transgressive Border Crossing- Cosima takes Kendall's blood

Cosima takes Kendall’s blood, telling her that it takes time to develop the right therapy and get the right viral vector.  And she can’t potentially skew the data set of her current gene-therapy trial by going to Kira again.

Transgressive Border Crossing- Art and Sarah find Beth's surveillance equipment

Back at the flat, as we get a brief flashback of Beth shooting up, Art flips through Beth’s Neolution book while Sarah finds Beth’s drug kit.  Art finds a hole drilled into the wall behind a painting.  When the two find a camera, Art suspects it was Paul’s doing, but Sarah believes that Beth did the spying.

Transgressive Border Crossing- Helena learns that she'll be having twins

At the hospital, Helena undergoes an ultrasound as she and Donnie see the baby.  However, guess what?  Helena is having identical twins.

Transgressive Border Crossing- Art and Sarah review Beth's footage

Sarah and Art go through the surveillance footage and stop on Beth pointing her gun at Paul.  Art blames himself, though Sarah tells him that it’s not her fault.  Then, at one point in the footage, Beth is seen talking to a pregnant woman with one white eye.  It’s Trina.  Sarah heads off for more answers.

Transgressive Border Crossing- Sarah tells Felix that they're going out

If Felix painting in the nude wasn’t enough, we get him showering when Sarah drops in out of nowhere.  She wants to grab a drink so they can catch up, though Felix is in no rush to party.  He figured he would catch up with the others tomorrow.  The two head to the Neolution club, where Sarah figures someone must know the pregnant girl from the footage.

Transgressive Border Crossing- Alison and Donnie talk about Helena having kids

Alison, meanwhile, is concerned about Helena having twins.  This is Helena, after all, and while she’s trained to kill, Alison’s rationale is that she and Donnie just committed manslaughter.  There’s apparently a difference.  Helena could throw off Alison’s perfectly meticulous system, though Donnie believes that Helena wants to be just like Alison.

Transgressive Border Crossing- Cosima offers marijuana to Mrs. S

As Cosima tokes up on medicinal marijuana- making her my instant favorite clone of the episode- she asks S to tell her that Delphine was alive.  S, of course can’t confirm that, so she tells Cosima that they’re at war, meaning everything can happen.

Transgressive Border Crossing- Kendall makes Scott swear not to tell anyone that she has leukemia

Kendall, meanwhile, goes over to Scott, who is examining her test results.  Her white blood cell count shows leukemia- she was diagnosed before all of this.  Mrs. S doesn’t know and Kendall doesn’t want Scott talking, either.  After all, Kendall just met her kin.  She doesn’t want a pity party when people figure out that she’s dying.

Transgressive Border Crossing- Felix tells Sarah that he's looking for his birth family

Back at Club Neolution, after Sarah fails to get any leads on Trina, Felix finally tells her what he’s been up to: he’s searching for his birth family.  Sarah tells him that he has a family, but that’s Sarah’s family, not his.  He doesn’t belong with them, but on the dance court.

Transgressive Border Crossing- Dizzy, played by Joel Thomas Hynes, mistakes Sarah for M.K.

But then a man named Dizzy, played by Joel Thomas Hynes, spots Sarah, mistaking her for M.K.  He’s surprised to see her among actual people.  Dizzy shows her footage of a man undergoing an operation.  There’s a worm in his cheek, though, that has a built-in defense mechanism that kills the host.

Dizzy notices M.K.’s odd behavior and soon realizes that this isn’t M.K.  Sarah slips out and calls Felix, but she gets his voicemail.  With an address, she heads off to hopefully meet M.K.  Well, it’s a damn good thing that M.K. decided to text at this exact moment.

Transgressive Border Crossing- Sarah talks with M.K.

She heads to the Sudz & Tumble Laundromat and accidentally interrupts a kid at the arcade machine.  But then, to her surprise, she gets a call from M.K., who expects to hear from Dizzy.  M.K. instructs Sarah to put her other phone in the dryer, in case others are listening.

Sarah now has three minutes to talk.  So M.K. explains that she’s been listening in, which is how she knew Neolution was coming for the family.  But then M.K. decides she can’t talk anymore because what’s coming could kill her, just as it killed Beth.

Transgressive Border Crossing- Beth gives M.K. her gun

Back to the footage, Beth returns home and removes her blonde wig, looking flustered.  We cut to said footage where Beth, hands bloodied, points her gun when she finds M.K. in the home.  It’s been four days since the two spoke.  Beth locks herself in the bathroom and removes the blood that she says isn’t hers, but she can’t find the pills she needs to snort lines.

M.K. wants to help Beth- to the point that she’s been screening her calls and realized that she hasn’t spoken to the other clones- but Beth admits that they can’t fight this anymore.  Beth tells M.K. to stay hidden and hands over her gun.  M.K. pleads for Beth to not leave, so Beth returns, gives M.K. a hug, and tell her to watch the others for her.

Back in the present, M.K. tells Sarah that this was their last encounter- and apparently the night that Beth killed herself.  Sarah asks why Beth jumped, but Beth wouldn’t tell M.K., or Mika, as Beth called her.  It did have to do with the implants, though.  M.K. tells Sarah to hide, but Sarah is done with hiding.  She then spots M.K. from her hiding spot of the car parked right outside the laundromat.  As Sarah heads out, M.K. speeds off.

Transgressive Border Crossing- Sarah restrained, has her mouth checked

When Sarah heads back in, the two cops that Beth and M.K. saw previously surround and restrain her.  They’ve been looking for her, but it’s not who they’re looking for, so one of them checks inside her mouth.  Satisfied, the two leave.

Transgressive Border Crossing- Mrs. S checks Sarah's mouth

Sarah barges into the safe home and asks S if DYAD did anything to her when they had her.  Now more paranoid than normal, she checks Kira’s mouth and then asks for a torch.  She explains about the implants and S does indeed find something moving in Sarah’s mouth.  Well, that’s unfortunate.

So “Transgressive Border Crossing” partially answered my question of whether we’d have something of a dual storyline this season with focus on the present and past.  Beth’s storyline would fill in the gaps while also build out her character.  But given where she ends up by the end of the episode, dressed in what looks to be what she wore at the train station, I doubt we’ll get more of her.  We’ll see.  I can hope.

Transgressive Border Crossing- Beth about to leave

If the show found a way to work more of the past into the plot, great, but Beth is at a low point and it looks like her next stop is taking her own life.

Transgressive Border Crossing- Beth talks with Detective Duko

I think Beth embodied what it meant to be alone.  She’s not cold or distant, from what I can wager, but her bond with the clones isn’t as deep as that of Sarah’s relationship with her family.  Beth surrounds herself with drugs, violence, and angst.  Sure, we’ve seen her communicate with Alison and Cosima, but their talk and mannerisms don’t feel as natural as when Sarah and Cosima reunite.

Transgressive Border Crossing- Felix is looking for his real family

The clones are all each other have, so it’s important to them that they remain close.  No matter how different they are, they’re still a family.  But not Felix.  First, I’m glad to see Felix being given something to do instead of just playing the loyal sidekick.  He’s part of the family by proxy, but he’s not blood related.  Despite his reluctant willingness to help, he has no personal stake because he’s not a real member of the family.

So it’s good to see him being more assertive, pushing against Sarah’s bullshit, and finding out just where he belongs.  At the same time, he doesn’t just shut the clones out completely, as Alison seems to be aware of his hunt.

Transgressive Border Crossing- Alison looks at Helena's ultrasound picture

Speaking of, I get the feeling that Alison might be a tad resentful of Helena for being pregnant.  Keep in mind that most of the clones, Sarah excluded, are fertile.  Helena, meanwhile, is having not one, but two children- something Alison hasn’t been able to do.  More than that, Alison likes everything in order, but Helena’s antics throw off that balance.  It’s not out of spite, but I can see why Alison would be bitter.

Transgressive Border Crossing- Helena's reaction to learning that she's having twins

But going back to family, if you put the clones aside, Alison has that family unit.  Helena, being a trained killer, did not.  She’s slowly gained relationships, strained as they can be, with the clones and beyond that.  She has a chance to produce something that’s her own and the surprise in her eyes when she learns that she’s having twins was a very warm moment.  It felt genuine and wasn’t just played for laughs.

Transgressive Border Crossing- Donnie and Helena learn about the twins

Plus, it’s great to see Donnie and Helena still bonding.

Transgressive Border Crossing- Cosima smokes while missing Delphine

There’s not a ton to say about Cosima this week outside of her still being worried about Delphine and she’s still sick.  What I’m curious about is Scott’s line about DYAD being out of the clone game.  What, they’re just up and gone?  So no one is monitoring the clones or is Scott just overconfident that their DYAD days are behind them?

Transgressive Border Crossing- Art has a key

Meanwhile, I question why Art picks this moment to follow up on the last case he and Beth investigated together.  Within the context of Season One, yes, it would probably be difficult for viewers, myself included, to thrust us into the middle of an investigation when Sarah herself was just getting acclimated to impersonating Beth.  But you’d think that, at some point in his conversations with Sarah, that he’d mention this.

It’s all minor stuff in the end and not like I’m expecting anything to be retconned as a result of spending more time with Beth and uncovering things that weren’t addressed in Season One.  The Neolution plot continues to unravel as Sarah realizes that she’s got something deep inside of her mouth that could be a problem.

The episode did a good job to develop Felix’s individual storyline and set him on his own path, gave us just enough time with the clones, and while it, like the premiere, raises some questions, it still made for a sometimes puzzling, but entertaining episode.

A Look at Gotham- Season 2, Episode 18: “Wrath of the Villains: Pinewood”

Look, everyone.  Barbara’s back.  But wait, she’s not the only one, either.

Pinewood- Barbara at Jim's door

The episode begins right after “Into the Woods” with Barbara telling Jim that she was released from Arkham.  She tells him all about her nightmares, saying that the person who did those horrible things wasn’t her.  Jim, though, would have no problem shooting him after his shitty day.  He questions why Arkham would release her, but Barbara tells him that she had to work through some issues.  She’s now better and totally sane.

Though Jim is happy for her, he still wants her gone and he doesn’t care.  She looks at a nearby photo of a woman named The Lady and wants to help Jim with the Wayne murder case.  No dice.  Barbara’s one request before leaving is for Jim to say her name.  He does, while telling her goodbye, before slamming the door as Bullock arrives with pizza and beer.

Pinewood- Bruce, Lucius, and Alfred in the cave and find out about Karen Jennings

Bruce, meanwhile, has been at the computer all night.  Alfred prepared breakfast and Lucius Fox is more than ready, but Bruce might have found something.  Thomas Wayne was supposed to meet a woman named Karen Jennings about something called Pinewood Farms.

Lucius informs the two that most of the Black-Ops programs at Wayne Enterprises had bland names like that to cover up any nasty business.  Alfred thinks that Bruce is getting ahead of himself.  Based on Karen’s address, she lives somewhere right outside Gotham.  Well, time to go.

Pinewood- Bullock gives Jim some extra weapons

Jim and Bullock go over the Wayne murder case.  Matches Malone worked with two contractors, but the only living one is The Lady, who is now in the wind after she sent assassins after Jim at Galavan’s penthouse.  Someone must know where she is, but they would be professional hitmen.  Bullock suggests that Jim uses GCPD’s available resources, but Jim doesn’t want to have Barnes breathing down his neck.

Also, since Jim doesn’t have a badge, Bullock gives him a few extra weapons before warning him to be careful.  Then we get a montage of Jim Gordon as a one man army interrogating various men as he searches for answers about The Lady.  He finally learns that she might be at a club called Artemis.

Pinewood- Miss Peabody tells Hugo Strange that someone is searching for Karen Jennings

Back at Arkham, Hugo Strange and Miss Peabody watch another reanimation attempt.  Peabody tells Strange that someone in Wayne Enterprises ran a search on Karen Jennings.  She’s got a murderous history and could expose the secrets at Arkham.  But does anybody know what she’s become?

Pinewood- Bruce and Alfred arrive at a cabin in the woods

So Bruce got some help from Alfred after all as the two arrive at a cabin in the woods.  Bruce picks the lock and the two enter to find some claw marks on the table.  Bruce lowers his gun and introduces himself, saying that he just wants to talk.

Pinewood- Karen Jennings, played by Julia Taylor

The woman steps out of the shadows and it turns out to be Karen Jennings, played by Julia Taylor Ross.  She can’t drop her knife because her weapon isn’t a knife.  Or a spoon.  Rather, they’re talons.  Bruce asks Karen if she knows who she is, but she first wants to know how they found her.  He explains the final meeting that Thomas Wayne was meant to have and that he and Alfred weren’t followed.

Karen explains that powerful people will kill Bruce and Alfred due to their digging, but Bruce isn’t afraid to die if it means doing the right thing.  That didn’t work out so well for Thomas Wayne, did it?  Bruce begs for information.

Pinewood- At Artemis club, Barbara wants to help Jim get information from The Lady

Jim visits the Artemis club, where Barbara happens to be a member.  Barbara wants to respect his boundaries, but Artemis is a club for female criminals.  Jim isn’t keen on trusting Barbara to get information for him, but Jim isn’t a cop anymore.  If he goes in guns blazing, The Lady will vanish, but Barbara promises to help.  She wants to help Jim close the door on the past so he can start anew.

For whatever reason, Jim lets Barbara go.  She speaks to The Lady, who eventually recognizes Barbara based on her reputation.

Pinewood- Karen tells Bruce and Alfred about the Pinewood Farms program

Karen explains that she’s lived in the cabin for 10 years since Pinewood Farms- a bioengineering program in Wayne Enterprises.  Karen was an unwilling volunteer since she was at Blackgate.  She was born with a crippled arm, and her father liked booze and beating his deformed daughter.  One night, she fought back, causing her father to fall down the stairs and break his neck.

Not self-defense, mind you, so Karen was sent to Blackgate for murder.  One day, men showed up and told Karen that they would make her arm better.  Instead, they turned her into a monster.  Thomas Wayne didn’t know about this, but he had his suspicions.  When he found out what people did to them, he abolished the program and paid to put the victims in hiding.  Most didn’t survive the experiments, anyway.

Thomas Wayne attempted to warn Karen that the experiments started up again.  Bruce figures that whoever restarted the program must have killed his parents. Karen, though, doesn’t have any names since the men never used their names.  All she can remember is a face.  Bruce wants Karen to take him and Alfred to Pinewood Farms, promising that nothing bad will happen to her.  Bruce, don’t make promises that you can’t keep.

Pinewood- Jim held hostage at Artemis club

Barbara tells The Lady that she got out of Arkham through a simple sob story.  She wants to get into the assassination business, but requires a partner.  Luckily, she has money and The Lady needs her reputation restored.  Jim, meanwhile, sneaks into the Artemis, only to learn that, to no one’s surprise, Barbara has double-crossed him.  Jim wakes up bound with Barbara explaining that she wanted to deliver him to The Lady.

However, The Lady thought this had to do with the men she sent to kill Jim.  But no, it’s about the Wayne murders.  She has no idea who is behind the murders.  She took the contract, but never met the client.  All communication took place over the phone.  However, The Lady mentions that the contact went by a nickname- The Philosopher.  But then Barbara tases The Lady and her one henchwoman.

Pinewood- Alfred, Bruce, and Karen at Pinewood

Alfred, Karen, and Bruce arrive at Pinewood, unaware that they’re being followed.  It’s pretty decrepit inside and Karen is spooked at seeing this familiar equipment.  She says that it’s for the best that Bruce just moves on, indicating that she knew the building was abandoned.  What won’t she explain?  Suddenly, the three are chased, but Karen uses her abilities to kill one of the men.  Police quickly arrive on the scene.  Who alerted them?

Pinewood- Jim is upset that he almost died again

Jim is livid that he was tied to a chair and almost killed again, but Barbara needed The Lady to trust her.  Now, she wants to celebrate having the names, but to Jim, this doesn’t change anything.  Even though she did everything for him, Jim doesn’t know what to believe.  He wants to know why she cares what he thinks.  She says that when she woke up from her coma, she remembered him holding onto her from the church window.

At that moment, Jim saw not the monster, but the real Barbara.  She feels that if Jim could look at her like that again, she’d be okay.  If Barbara wants to be a better person, that’s her choice to make.  Jim can’t make that choice since Barbara did try to kill Leslie.  That he can’t forgive.  This conversation is interrupted when Jim receives a call from Bruce.  He leaves.

Pinewood- Bruce and Alfred are released from holding at GCPD

At GCPD, Bullock releases Alfred, while Barnes wants Jennings moved to Blackgate.  Bruce is released, but he told Barnes the truth.  Barnes didn’t take kindly to that.

Pinewood- Jim, Bruce, and Alfred discuss The Philosopher and breaking Karen out of Blackgate

Bruce then tells Jim at a diner what he and Alfred learned.  Jim mentions The Philosopher and bets this is the man behind the Wayne murders.  Jim wants Lucius Fox to put together a list of names of scientists who worked for Wayne Enterprises over the past 15 years.  Maybe Karen could identify them, but before that, Jim needs to break her out of Blackgate.

Pinewood- Miss Peabody tells Hugo that Karen is being sent to Blackgate

At Arkham, Peabody tells Strange that Karen Jennings is being sent to Blackgate.  Strange doesn’t want her to talk, so he wants to let their sub-zero friend try out his new suit.  Peabody warns Strange that their friend isn’t the same man as before.

Pinewood- Hugo and Ethel visit Victor Fries

Indeed, Peabody and Strange visit Victor Fries, who doesn’t like being locked in a freezer.  Strange offers to take Victor on a field trip.  Victor must like field trips.

Pinewood- Freeing Karen from van headed for Blackgate

As Karen is transferred in a van set for Blackgate, the driver finds a bag of money.  This distraction gives Jim enough time to not knock the driver unconscious, but instead attack the officer in the back with Karen.  Jim, Alfred, and Bruce then take the vehicle and Karen, but at least they leave the officer with the money, so everyone wins.

Pinewood- Plan to get Karen out of the city

The plan is to get Karen out of town and under a new identity, as he promised to keep her safe.  She confirms that The Philosopher ran the program at Pinewood.  Bruce promises that no one will ever hurt Karen again, and she thinks that Bruce sounds like the doctor.  Thomas Wayne did more than rescue Karen from Pinewood.  She was so angry, but Thomas never gave up on her.  He kept reminding her that she wasn’t alone or a monster.

She never knew what a real father should be until Thomas Wayne, which is why she didn’t want Bruce to investigate or see this differently.  Thomas started Pinewood with good intentions, but someone else took advantage of him.  Bruce doesn’t see this as a burden on himself, though.  This is just who he is.

Pinewood- Escape is interrupted by Mr. Freeze

The escape comes to a stop when Jim comes face to face with a new and improved Victor Fries.  Jim and Alfred open fire- not thinking to aim for Victor’s head- and Bruce refuses to leave Karen.  She’s proud of the man Bruce has become, but then she runs right into Victor Fries’ line of fire.  She’s frozen solid and Fries finishes the job by shattering her body.

Pinewood- Butch finds Tabitha with Barbara

Barbara made her way to Tabitha and Butch’s hideout.  Tabitha is glad that Barbara made it home.  Someone has to be.  And this was a scene.

Pinewood- Lucius Fox has information about The Philosopher, who is also Hugo Strange

Back at Wayne Manor, Bruce laments the loss of Karen and places her death on his hands.  Alfred says that it’s because of what Bruce is pursuing.  If Bruce can’t make peace, then he’s not ready and Alfred warns Bruce that there will be others.  Karen is the only one who could identify The Philosopher’s face, so they’re stuck on how to identify him.  Jim tells Alfred to have faith.

Jim tells Bruce that helped because he made a promise.  Lucius Fox enters with information about The Philosopher and presents a photograph from a newsletter.  Next to Thomas Wayne in the photo is Hugo Strange, nicknamed The Philosopher.  So Thomas Wayne’s friend betrayed him?  That’s not right.

Pinewood- Theo Galavan returns

Hugo Strange also laments Karen’s loss.  He learns from Peabody that Jim and Bruce Wayne are working together, so life is about to get very interesting for them.  Just then, they get an alert regarding patient #44.  Downstairs, an inmate wreaks havoc on the guards.  As he kills his final victim, Theo Galavan yells the name Azrael and raises his hands to the sky.

Huh.  For as smart as a man that Hugo Strange seems to be, given how he’s been such a mystery to the main characters, he sort of set himself up to be discovered through some foolish moves.  Not like The Riddler leaving clues to his own crimes.  But for as much as how Indian Hill is largely unknown to Jim and the others, you’d think Strange would want to keep it under wraps for as long as possible.

Pinewood- Barbara holds a knife to Jim's throat

And while a crazy Barbara is preferable to a dull one, having her out of Arkham would naturally make Jim suspicious of why she’s been released.  If anything, I’m grateful that unlike Penguin, Barbara wasn’t neutered of her personality.  She was still a nutjob, but didn’t have any desire to kill Jim.  Rather, it seems like she just wants him to acknowledge her and put the past behind them.

Pinewood- Barbara wants Jim to look at her a certain way

It’s goofy as hell, but really, that’s nothing new for Gotham when it comes to the show’s tone.  A show like this can’t always be taken as serious as it wants the viewers to, so it helps to embrace the silliness once in a while.

Pinewood- Barbara still helping Jim

Barbara is more entertaining when she’s a wild card instead of just playing the supportive girlfriend.  So while Barbara’s double-cross was predictable, this version of her at least holds my attention.  Though that helps that there weren’t too many plots this week.  No Nygma or Penguin, though we did get a rather pointless scene with Butch and Tabitha.

Pinewood- New Victor Fries

But back to Hugo.  The second error would be sending Victor Fries after Karen.  First off, people are going to wonder how and why Victor was reanimated.  Second, of the villains to resurrect, I think it’s too soon to have Victor back on the scene.  His arc wasn’t that long ago in relation to this episode.  And all he does is eliminate Karen, and Hugo could have had anyone do that.

Pinewood- Bruce asks Jim why he's helping them

As far as Bruce, Alfred, and Jim working to rescue Karen goes, the revelation about Hugo Strange being behind all of this is only new knowledge to them.  Given Strange’s involvement with the supposedly toxic waste dump that is Indian Hill, plus the secret experiments, he had to have a hand in the Wayne murders.  At least this is more plausible than the Order of St. Dumas.

Pinewood- Lucius Fox and Alfred speak about Hugo Strange

Arriving at this conclusion doesn’t feel as satisfying as it could because we’ve been down this road several times.  Hell, we just had Bruce confront Matches Malone, thinking that was the end game.  But this isn’t compelling to watch.  And hell, Bruce and Alfred just follow up on leads.  Lucius Fox seems to be doing all the work behind the scenes, so why not give him more to do on-screen?  He at least currently works at Wayne Enterprises.

Pinewood- Jim Gordon gets information

I will say that I do find Jim freelancing and doing his own investigation a change of pace from going back to the dull GCPD.  Without a badge, he doesn’t have to play by Barnes’ playbook, but that also puts him outside the law.  And he chose this route because he feels obligated to help Bruce solve this mystery.  I wouldn’t call him a rogue cop yet, but a man that’s being loose with the rules.

Pinewood- Theo Galavan resurrected, speaks of Azrael

And then there’s the resurrected Theo Galavan, or I guess we should start calling him Azrael now.  Oh, do I have a bit to say about this, but we’ll wait until we get to spend more time with the new and improved Galavan.

So while Gotham wasn’t all over the place with its plot and managed to combine the two storylines towards the end, the reveal of Hugo Strange’s involvement didn’t carry the weight the show wanted it to, given Bruce’s reaction to the revelation.  Meanwhile, all signs now point to Hugo Strange, and with him now resurrecting past villains, maybe now the villains will actually rise and show Gotham City their wrath.

A Look at House of Lies- Season 5, Episode 2: “Game Theory”

Dungeons and Dragons is the best way to form a relationship with new clients.

Game Theory- Marty and Klare post-coitus

The episode begins with Marty and Klare fucking, Klare unable to stop saying the word ‘fuck.’  Every inch of her now feels so depleted, so Marty grabs her a green drink from the kitchen.

Game Theory- Jeremiah introduces Marty to Rita, played by Wanda Sykes

Then, Wanda Sykes surprises him out of nowhere.  This is Rita, and she has been immensely satisfied by Jeremiah.

Game Theory- Klare takes a picture of herself and Marty

Marty heads back to the room and finds Klare taking pictures of herself and Marty when he heads over to her.

Game Theory- Jeannie tells Teddy to not worry

Following this, we cut to Teddy and Jeannie, who tells Teddy that another company, Novax, is about to submit a proposal to the FDA.  Jeannie isn’t worried since people trust Keltroxin and Novax’s new drug won’t change that, even if they might possibly leapfrog Davis-Dexter.  Jeannie stresses that the company will be fine if they continue to innovate, but then Teddy receives a call.

Game Theory- Pod strategizes while Jeannie gets a text from Klare

At the same time, Marty, Clyde, and Doug meet the two, only to find Teddy in a sour mood.  Marty worries that Jeannie doesn’t get how much of a chicken-shit Teddy really is, but that is why Jeannie is softening the target.  After all, Marty should consider the amount of afterwork that will land in his lap when Davis-Dexter shifts to a research-based paradigm.  But if Teddy doesn’t bite, there won’t be any afterwork.

As far as Jeannie sees it, no risk, no reward.  Then Jeannie gets an update from Klare, as Klare’s updates make her think.  Klare is like Buddha, if Buddha’s observations came with sexy observations of himself cresting Runyon Canyon in booty shorts.  Buddha dropped the ball on that.

Game Theory- Mark tells Jeannie that he reported her to Human Resources

The three leave just as Mark enters- and recoils from a kiss- to tell Jeannie that he filed a sexual harassment claim against her.  Apparently he told Human Resources that Jeannie forced him into a sexual relationship.  He’s enjoyed his time with her, but he has to think about his future.  Jeannie reminds Mark that his job is not in jeopardy as long as she’s the Chief Financial Officer, but Mark feels that feeds the corporate monolith.

He reminds Jeannie that he wanted to be a teacher.  This will give him the financial cushion to chase that dream of chasing chemistry to kids.  He’ll be paid off to keep quiet and Jeannie will just have to attend sensitivity training.  The only loser is Davis-Dexter, but they’re evil as fuck and can take the hit.  Jeannie is upset, but Mark tells her that he didn’t have to tell her this.  He didn’t want her to feel blindsided.

Jeannie appreciates how, in theory, this sounds like a good idea, but judging from her reaction, Mark should be able to see how it is far from that.  She wants him to tell HR that he made a mistake because she knows that he is a decent man who understands that this is not right.  Mark is more focused on his potential seven figure payout.  Just then, Human Resources requests Jeannie’s attention.

Game Theory- Jeannie's deposition

We then immediately cut to Jeannie giving a deposition.  She explains that the relationship was consensual, saying that Mark was into what they were doing.  Mark was her boyfriend.  And Jeannie even texted that she liked sucking his cock, hearted his cum, and apparently had Mark watch her masturbate.  Okay, to get to the point, the deposition doesn’t go well, but it’s funny as hell.

Game Theory- Doug introduces Marty and Clyde to Tess Symington, played by Brianna Baker

As the pod has lunch, a familiar face recognizes Doug.  This is Sabretha, and she is a Halfling cleric from the jungle continent of Xen’drik.  The two play in a weekly Dungeons and Dragons game together and Doug is her dungeon master.  Oh, and her real name is Tess Symington, played by Brianna Baker, and she’s new to the game.  Tess heads off as Jeannie joins the group.

While Doug thinks that Tess isn’t much of a player, Clyde looks at the bigger picture.  Green Point is a farm-to-table fast casual company that has had 18 stores in the last five years.  It’s posed for a major expansion and that happens to be Tess Symington’s company.  Doug wants to close this deal himself, but he needs Marty to give him the opportunity.  Good luck with that.  Marty will be joining the game tonight.

Jeannie learns that the pod is aware of the sexual harassment claim.  The harassed has become the harasser.  Jeannie doesn’t know what Mark is thinking.  It’s a fucked up thing, but she believes that Teddy will know it’s bullshit because it’s a giant pain in the ass.

Game Theory- Clyde reports his findings on Davis-Dexter's budget allocations

Over at Kaan & Associates, Doug attempts to walk Marty through filling out a character sheet, but Marty wants to just get to the details.  Doug asks who Marty is, and he is a warlock named Gadric Kedirith.  Doug gets quickly irritated and rips up the profile, then asking Marty not what he is, but who he is.  The best D&D characters, Doug says, are personal extensions of who we are.  He asks Marty to dig deep.

So Marty is dreaming of being the guy who is punching Doug right in the face.  That’s a good place to start, a combative nature.  Just as Marty tells Doug to dial it back a thousand, Clyde joins in with his character: a sneezing dwarf who whistles while he works.  Doug takes offense to this, saying that dwarves are strong fighters and adept at deflecting magic, not like those shitheads that hang out with Snow White.  Okay, then.

Okay, there is a reason Clyde is here.  He dug into Davis-Dexter’s budget allocations.  Their so-called defendable ratio of R&D marketing is not so defendable.  Every department has their hands in R&D’s pockets.  I.T. built a server farm and marketing helped itself to some television spots.  There was also a Hawaiian boondoggle for the sales team and some very ethical doctors.

Davis-Dexter would take a serious public relations hit if this became public knowledge, but, as citizens, the pod has a duty to protect the civic interest.  The pod has found the final piece that makes them undeniable.  Clyde plans to call his friend at the Journal.  He wants Doug to work on a rough deck, as he and Kelsey have tickets to see Tale Impala.  Well, that’s not gonna happen.  Tick-tock, Clyde.

Game Theory- Teddy prepares to give Jeannie her letter of resignation

The next day, Teddy goes to Jeannie about the Journal article.  Jeannie sees this as a great thing because the abuse predates him.  He, therefore, can play the white knight and let the company focus on defeating Novax.  In light of the article, though, Teddy believes that the board will show the wisdom of reallocating its resources.

Just as Jeannie plans to make sure Marty and the pod are on the same page, Teddy hands Jeannie her letter of resignation to ensure an orderly transition.  Even if what Mark said is false, Teddy notes that there’s always a swirl of drama around Jeannie.  She might not have created it, but she opened the door to it.  What’s more, Teddy spoke to Whip Huxton and knows about Jeannie’s end run to the board.  Her fingerprints are all over this leak.

Teddy is no idiot, but Jeannie disagrees with that.  She’s worked her ass off to ensure the company’s financial health and Teddy’s future at the company- neither of which would have happened if she had happened for the Cowardly Lion to mosey down the Yellow Brick Road.  Jeannie needs to pick better metaphors.

She continues, saying that she set Teddy up for success.  He will be lauded as the bold visionary who returned Davis-Dexter to its roots.  Well, now it looks like Teddy won’t have to share the credit.  And he won’t.

Game Theory- Dungeons and Dragons game

Following this, we cut to a D&D game, where Dungeon Master leads the team in a quest to save the princess.  Among the members of the game is Nathaniel, played by Allan McLeod from You’re the Worst.  I love this guy.  The game continues well into the evening until the group finds themselves in an under-furnished home that’s still suffering the ravages perpetrated by the wicked she-bitch, Sarah.

Translation, time for a bathroom break.  Marty makes small talk with Tess and we learn that she wasn’t into D&D as a kid.  Same for Marty, who claims that Doug told him to just check it out for himself.  Tess isn’t falling for the bullshit, though, and asks whether Marty wants to get into her pants or win her business.

Yeah, Marty drops the act.  He’s impressed by what she could pull off at Green Point.  Oddly enough, Tess’ friends have urged her to bring on a big brain consultant.  She doesn’t get that vibe from Marty since he jumped into a river with a full suit of armor on and drowned.  Doug jumps in and piles on Marty, but he turns his attention to Tess.  She’s not 30, yet she owns a company that’s brought in over $100 million in revenue.

Even if Tess sucks at the game, she can kill at business, and Doug knows that.  He tells Tess that there are many good consultants out there, but Marty is a mad genius.  With Marty’s guidance, Tess could end up a billionaire.

Game Theory- Roscoe talks about being a vegetarian

We return to House Kaan.  Jeremiah and Rita are headed to Angeles Crest Highway to watch the meteor shower.  At 11:45 pm.  Roscoe, meanwhile, tells Jeannie that being a vegetarian isn’t enough, given how animals are exploited when their eggs and milk are stolen.  But then, baby Phoebe is still nursing.  Plus, Roscoe would want to consider getting rid of his lipsticks and Vuitton satchel.

Game Theory- Marty comforts Jeannie

At least Marty is in a good mood now that he’s reeled in the client and saved the widow princess.  When Roscoe leaves, Marty tells Jeannie that he might be taking a break from Klare.  Jeannie informs Marty that she’s been fired due to her creating drama.  However, Teddy is still on board with the strategy, so Jeannie doesn’t want Marty to blow the consult because of her.

Jeannie feels like a shit magnet, as if karma is coming back to bite her in the ass.  But Marty says that karma is bullshit.  Hashtag fuck karma and it’s not her fault.  Marty assures Jeannie that everything will be okay.  Touching as this moment is, Jeannie tells Marty that his penis won’t solve this situation, even if it is a vegan cock now.

Game Theory- Pod presentation

The next day, the pod gives their presentation, saying that Davis-Dexter’s patent extension strategy is played out and there aren’t enough drugs in the pipeline to keep re-patenting.  And with the R&D improprieties, the PR backlash makes putting a new line of drugs into the pipeline even more crucial to the company’s long term security.

Kaan & Associates has identified several prospects in development that could be groundbreaking advances in the huge market of food allergy drugs.  By fast tracking these projects, Davis-Dexter’s future growth is all but assured unless someone beats them to the market.

Game Theory- Pod presentation to Novax

It should be noted that we don’t see who is observing this presentation, and that pays off when we see that Marty, Doug, and Clyde are presenting to Novax.  It’s the start of a beautiful friendship.

Game Theory- Marty has good news for Jeannie

Marty later joins Jeannie, who asks for a thank you because he’s a fucking mad warlock genius.  Jeannie heard the pitch to Teddy went well, and it did, but not as well as the pitch did to Novax, who expressed their gratitude with a big check.  Marty tells Jeannie that it’s time to get the fuck out.  The two link arms and leave.

If there’s one thing to say about the pod, it’s that they do indeed know how to create drama.  They’re damn good management consultants, mind you, but there’s no doubt that a storm cloud of potential controversy and spectacle follow their every move.  They’ve all experienced it in one way or another.

Game Theory- Teddy stands up to Jeannie

And right now, Jeannie is in a bit of damage control.  She took the job at Davis-Dexter, but went Teddy and fooled around with a coworker.  Neither of which she thought were vindictive moves, but could be interpreted as power-plays.

Game Theory- Jeannie is frustrated by Mark

Well, less so in her relationship with Mark.  He’s just trying to cash a huge check.  It’s the reverse of what we’re used to when you expect a female coworker to sue or speak out against her male abuser.  In fact, like Marty and Clyde indicated, it’s exactly the reverse of when Jeannie and other women at Galweather took down the Rainmaker.

Game Theory- Jeannie tells Mark that his job isn't in jeopardy as long as she's the CFO

But here, as far as I can tell, Jeannie wasn’t promising Mark a promotion.  The one thing I got from this was she promised Mark that he wouldn’t lose his job as long as she was the CFO.  But that’s her assuming things would go according to plan.

Game Theory- Teddy gives Jeannie her letter of resignation

The same applies to Teddy handing her the letter of resignation.  Jeannie is focused on securing her position, but also fluffing Teddy’s ego.  But going around him undermines that and makes it seem, as Marty said last time, that she’s gunning for Teddy’s job.  But because Jeannie brings drama wherever she goes, Teddy is cutting his losses now.  Plus, she did go around him, so he has motive.

Game Theory- Jeannie thinks that she is a shit magnet

Jeannie sees this as karma for the bad things that she’s done, but she also overestimated how Teddy would react to learning about her power play.  Rather than fold over and let her keep her job, Teddy shows some brass for the good of the company.  And because, again, she was making a move for his job.

Game Theory- Jeannie testifies

And though Jeannie’s cracking right now, her deposition scene was an absolute highlight of the episode, probably of the season.  But while the pod can have a bit of fun at Jeannie’s expense, they still pull through for her by giving Davis-Dexter’s information to their competition.

Game Theory- Pod at Novax

On the other side of things, with Tess as a new client, I like how we got to see more of Doug’s home life in a post-Sarah environment, though he’s clearly still burned by what she did.  We’ve known that Doug is a nerd and there’s no way to better illustrate someone’s nerd credit than Dungeons & Dragons, but it becomes pivotal when we see him and Marty woo over Tess.

Game Theory- Doug and Tess

And while Marty’s approach managed to get Tess talking, it was Doug who pointed out how far Tess had come at such a young age.

Game Theory- Doug persuades Tess to trust Marty

He might not have the consulting as down as Marty, but he knows a smart client and how to appeal to them on his territory through games.  He’s comic relief, but knows his shit.  His approach isn’t as suave, but it’s persuasive enough to land Tess with Kaan & Associates.

So now, with a well-known and wealthy client, here’s hoping for great things going forward with Kaan & Associates.  And if we can ever get more Kristen Bell depositions, I would not object to that.