Monthly Archives: May 2012

Snow White and the Huntsman, A Long but Interesting Journey

After seeing the first trailer for Snow White and the Huntsman my interest was piqued. It was dark, and visually compelling, complete with an evil-eyed Charlize Theron as the Queen. Rounding out the cast was Chris Hemsworth (aka Thor) and Kristen Stewart – most notoriously known for her role as angst riddled Bella Swan in the Twilight film series. I’m a huge fan of Theron and Hemwsorth – not so much of Stewart but I decided to take my chances.

Last night I had the good fortune to attend an early screening of the film, and the trailers were true to the film’s character. Very dark, at times even somewhat grotesque (when Theron crawls from the black ooze was particularly stomach turning), the Queen’s costumes, her castle, her magic – all very well done. Visually this movie stuns and accurately creates a world for this good versus evil battle to take place. They give Stewart very few lines in the first hour of the film, which actually kind of worked for me and Chris Hemsworth was endearing, even comical at times as the drunken Huntsman sent into the words after Snow White.

Of course, after finding Snow White successfully the Huntsman discovers via the Queen’s super creepy brother Finn, (Sam Spruell, who I thought at first was Paul Bettany) that in fact the Queen lied to him and wouldn’t give him what he asked for. Why didn’t Finn wait until after the Huntsman had handed over Snow White to tell him that? Good question.

After shaking off the Queen’s men, the Huntsman agrees help get Snow White to the last of her belated father’s army. The Huntsman and Snow White flee the forest and start towards their destination. This is where the movie started to wane for me. First, when the Huntsman started getting smacked around by a troll and Snow White is able to calm it down with a scream and a dreamy look – give me a break! This, I assume is attributed to her ‘power’ as the embodiment of all things ‘good,’ a fact that was belaboured a little too hard for me.

I really liked when they went to the village that was full of scarred women and children and the reason why, and meeting up with the dwarves was a cute and interesting encounter – particularly when one dwarf was Bob Hoskins and another, Nick Frost (aka Ed, from Shaun of the Dead) – but the journey seemed long and some points unnecessary. When Snow White wakes up and follows the weird CGI baby creature things (I don’t even know what to call them, they creeped me right out) to this CGI big antlered animal, it was drawn out and pointless especially given what transpires next. It just seemed like they had to keep telling us over and over how Snow White was good, how she was going to heal the kingdom because her character wasn’t given enough to do to prove it or enough dialogue to truly prove it – which wasn’t even Stewart’s fault.

I liked the addition of William working his way back to his childhood friend and possible love and how that all unfolded. But it was confusing as to who Snow White is supposed to be in love with: William or the Huntsman. She kisses William (or so she thinks) at one point, but the Huntsman’s tear-filled speech and the subsequent result, made me wonder who heart really belonged to – which is a resolution we don’t get and I wish we had.

Snow White’s speech to unite the people and bring them to battle against the queen didn’t hold much weight; it wasn’t impressive and didn’t feel as emotional as Stewart was trying to make it be. It didn’t move me the way Hemsworth’s earlier speech did.

But never the less, the battle was interesting and full of action, but the final draw between the Queen and Show White wasn’t as exciting or even as fun to watch as I hoped it would be. I also didn’t really understand the back story of the blood spells binding the two women and being able to undo it, it just seemed kind of glossed over without much detail.

The end also lacked luster, Stewart is crowned the Queen while William and the Huntsman (in the background) look on, what does it mean, now that both men seem to be in love with her? We never find out, she also looks a bit unsure under that crown, which didn’t seem to inspire much confidence. As they slowly (painfully slowly) panned out and faded to black for the end of the film, I honestly kept expecting something more to happen. It just didn’t seem like a proper finish, I wanted more resolution.

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Rookie Blue Returns to the World of Complicated Relationships

Thursday night marked the return of the members of Fifteen Division and Andy’s return from a three-month suspension on Rookie Blue. Missy Peregrym from Stick It, Gregory Smith from Everwood – what’s not to love? I have such a soft spot for the family-like atmosphere this Toronto police series creates. With characters like: Oliver Shaw – the father type, Chris Diaz – cute but naïve with a boy scout complex, rule breaking, rough around the edges but surprisingly sweet – Sam Swarek, I could go on and on.

The series’ third season started with the introduction of a new rookie – former soldier turned cop, Nick Collins. We found out quickly he has a former relationship with tough talking Gale Peck. So far we know Collins’ spent four years at war and is  quiet but obviously brave, after he jumped forty feet in the water to pursue the suspected child abductor.

William Shatner guest starred, playing the abducted girl’s grandfather who had been looking for her since he lost her at a fair seven years earlier. There was also a small cameo by Joey Jeremiah himself (Pat Mastroianni) as an unsuspecting neighbour who attempted to help the girl by taking her to the local hospital.

The season premiere episode felt like returning to the world of old friends, with new cases, new haircuts the same can-do attitude. So far we know Andy’s suspension has been lifted and Tracy is looking to make detective and is still dating current detective, Jerry Barber. What we don’t know is the story of Nick and Gale’s past, their relationship or why they didn’t get married in Las Vegas.

We also have yet to see Detective Luke Callaghan who broke Andy’s heart by cheating on her last season. He’s been working elsewhere, but I can’t help but wonder how long that will last as I haven’t seen any Internet buzz to suggest that he will be leaving the series (except for his stint on the recently cancelled series Alcatraz). I think it’s safe to say we’ll be seeing Detective Callaghan again soon to complicate Andy’s life further.

Speaking of Andy, she and Sam have been estranged for three months and despite his hurt feelings about it and despite their individual suspensions, it looks like their romance is very much back on – much to the relief of viewers everywhere, I’m sure. I’m a little confused why it seems they should be able to be together in the workplace now that they’ve both been found guilty of jeopardizing an investigation due to their relationship, but I’m not exactly up on the rules of suspension and romance on the police force. How long will they last this time around? I guess we’ll have to watch and find out.

What did you think of the series premiere of Rookie Blue? Should Sam and Andy stay together? Will Gale and Nick reunite? Will Diaz find someone new?

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New Girl: An Odd Choice of Finale

I have to say, I didn’t love the season finale of New Girl. I was expecting to – I love this show and the characters. I couldn’t wait to see how they ended things off for their first season. But after watching and thinking about it last night, I was disappointed.
 
For starters, what’s going on with Schmidt and Cece? I get Schmidt feeling insecure and being jealous about Cece’s job especially after what he saw on set, by why undo so quickly what they spent the duration of this season building together? And why be jealous over the text message he saw? That text was lame, not sexy or even funny so why doesn’t he trust her? Also, Schmidt trying to ‘White Fang’ her was kind of funny in theory, but when he actually tried it with Cece it felt awkward and uncomfortable. I liked that Cece recognized right away what he was trying to pull and asked outright why he was pushing her away, but I didn’t like how she walked away and they left it unresolved – did they really break up? Why tear down a good thing fans have been rooting for all season?
 
I also didn’t understand Winston’s sudden, inexplicable fear of the dark. If they were really going to work this storyline in the finale, they should have alluded to it before. It felt random and like an excuse to give Winston something to do in the background, they should have given him something more substantial, especially when we’ve seen firsthand how funny he can be.
 
Then there’s Nick and Jess. I understood Jess trying to keep the roommates together and snubbing their potential Nick replacement. “Neil” (Thomas Lennon) seemed like a strange but interesting guy, they should have given him more to do. I also understood Nick’s hesitation to take his belongings to the new apartment – clearly he was ambivalent that he’d made the right decision about Caroline. But things in the desert got confusing.
 
When Nick and Jess encounter the coyote, her ‘meep meep’ noises were funny, but when she decided to ‘take on’ the coyote and started howling at it – that just seemed ridiculous and crazy to me – who would ever do that? I appreciated how she told Nick to move into Caroline if he thought it was the right thing to do.  But when she said she’d be ok because she’d met him – I didn’t get that. I felt like they were trying to push the romantic undertones between these two further. While I’m all for that, because I’d love to see Nick and Jess together one day – it just struck me as an odd comment, especially when she didn’t explain it any further.

Of course there were some things I liked about this episode as well, particularly the continuity: when Remy the weird landlord popped up to say he’d miss Nick’s smell, when Schmidt gave Nick the Godfather ‘Fredo kiss,’  when Schmidt talked about all of the things he’d get fixed around the apartment when Nick was gone, all really well done.

I also really liked them all dancing (rather terribly) in their rooms at the end. It was a happy moment to have Nick back, and a testament to how much they like and need each other. I’m really not sure where things will go with Schmidt and Cece next season and if Caroline, who was also underused in this episode, is really gone for good. But I know this; my Tuesday nights won’t be the same until New Girl returns.

The Avengers: Better Than I Bargained For

Well played, Avengers. well played. This weekend I joined the swarms of ticket holders to experience the full hype of the Avengers. As someone with more of a preference for DC, particularly Batman, my interest in this film was mild – but superheroes are always fun to watch no matter who they are and Joss Whedon has proved his awesomeness via Buffy numerous times before. I have to admit; walking out of the theatre I realized how much I liked it. In fact, I’m already planning to see it again. This is definitely a film with a lot going on.

First we have the reappearance of Loki (Tom Hiddleston) on Earth, the evil adopted brother of Thor who was presumed dead by his family. Alas, he is alive and wonderfully evil as ever, hell bent on taking over the Earth and enslaving the humans. Basically he’s feeling inadequate next to his hunky brother. As Loki quickly wreaks havoc on Earth, turning Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard) and Clinton Barton (Jeremy Renner) into his man slaves, they break out of the lab stealing the tesseract, which opens the portal between earth and space.

Cobie Smulders, our beloved Robin, from How I Met Your Mother was simply not given enough to do in this role as a member of SHIELD who tries to stop them, but as the SHIELD headquarters starts to implode in a particularly awe-striking sequence, the bad guys get away as they often do. Samuel L. Jackson aka Nick Fury decides the threat they are facing is so great, it’s time to rally up the superheroes. With the help of Natasha Romanoff also known as Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), they rally the troops: Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), and a new version of the Hulk in Mark Ruffalo – whose subtle yet understated performance particularly impressed me. He’s soft spoken and appears almost delicate, but that scene where he slams his fist down on the table made me jump at his edge, the hardness, the ever so slight indication of the bubbling rage he is always carrying with him – he was awesome. My only question about the Hulk was, why did he attack Scarlett Johansson (his first incident in over a year) on the plane and then have the sense of mind to cooperate and help them later on?

As Iron Man, Captain America and Black Widow seek out Loki and eventually capture him, Thor shows up literally falling from the sky – to join the party. After some disagreements between Iron Man and Thor, they all return to the giant SHIELD invisible plane/submarine to figure things out, while Loki is locked up super tight.

One of the things I liked most about this film was it’s ability to poke fun at itself, and this of course has to be attributed to Joss Whedon and his particularly sassy style. Robert Downey Jr. fired off the best lines continuously throughout the film. Comments about Legolas, schwarma, and his own brilliance are just a few that come to mind. Other things like Hulk – smash and the Hulk flicking Thor away with a flick of his finger brought back a sense of a humour that is prevalent in the context of comic books, and allows for the movie – while full of dramatic fight sequences and flaring tempers – to also allow a laugh from time to time.

Loki is an excellent, cunning villain. Both in dialect and expression, he is diabolical but in a way that you almost admire his determination. Ruthless, unafraid to hurt anyone in his path, including his own brother and suffering from some serious bouts of over confidence and crazy mouth – I just can’t say enough about him as a villain. My biggest and perhaps only complaint about this movie though, is that crazy horn helmet they make Loki wear multiple times. Could he look any more ridiculous? When he came on screen wearing it, I actually had to physically cover my mouth to contain my laughter. Talk about some interesting wardrobe!

Things start to go awry aboard the SHIELD plane; Loki escapes and as the portal between Earth and space is open, in comes the alien army to the streets of Manhattan.

Barton’s turn to the dark side due to Loki’s scepter spell made Jeremy Renner a formidable villain. He really worked his knowledge and cunning to gain the upper hand over his former friends and cause quite a bit of destruction in his wake. His fight scene with Scarlett Johansson was one of the most interesting in the film and he still managed to come off as likable and sensitive when he recovers from his injuries and realigns with the Avengers. The relationship between him and Romanoff seemed genuine, playing the soft side as well as his physical strengths; frankly I could have watched him shoot those awesome arrows off of that rooftop all day long. The guy is hardcore, tough and owned that part.

Of course the Earth was saved, as we knew it would be, but Loki still lives and I’m hopeful we’ll see him again. But there were a lot of awesome fight scenes and clever dialogue that got us there, and that’s what made Avengers such an enjoyable ride – it’s so damn entertaining – which begs the question, will they make a sequel? The scene that popped up during the credits seems to indicate yes, the Avengers will be forced to battle Thanos next. Interestingly, Alexis Dernoff is credited with that role. He was Wesley in Joss Whedon’s Buffy and spinoff, Angel. So will Joss Whedon be back? If not, will it be as good? Without him, I seriously wonder if the sequel would be as well done as this one.

Was the Avengers everything you expected? Did it live up to the hype? Will you see it again?

The Five Year Engagement Gets Real

Warning, spoilers ahead!

The Five Year Engagement wasn’t what I expected.  As a newly married person with only one anniversary under my belt, I thought the film would focus on the horrors and pitfalls of the wedding planning process: pleasing everyone, cost, details, etc. Basically I expected it to be in the same vein as Bridesmaids, but with its own voice of course. But what it actually dealt with was change and challenge in relationships, of course peppered with hilarious comedic moments, but the heart of the film was rather poignant and somewhat serious.

The film starts off with Tom (Jason Segel) and Violet (Emily Blunt) getting engaged. They live in San Francisco where Tom is a Chef and Violet is anxiously awaiting replies from Universities where she can teach. After being denied by her first choice, she is accepted at the University of Michigan….which means she has to move to Michigan. They decide to postpone their wedding plans and they pack up for Michigan. Tom quits his job at a popular restaurant and agrees to stick it out for two years in the cold winters until Violet’s career can take her elsewhere…or at least that’s the plan.

Once in their new life, Tom struggles professionally and personally. Working as a sandwich maker at a popular deli and hunting in the woods with some hilarious oddball friends in his off time, he begins to lose his sense of self, becoming unhappy and resentful which in turn strains his relationship with Violet. This strain continues when Violet is offered to stay in Michigan for another 3 years, derailing wedding plans once again. Every time they postpone the wedding further, a grandparent seems to die – initially I found this funny, but after the first couple, I started to find it morbid.

Also, in a weird but hilarious twist, Tom becomes increasingly obsessed with hunting – serving venison meat and hanging deer in his back shed while sporting a yeti -like appearance. Meanwhile Violet is thriving work wise and warming up to her co-workers, especially Winton (Rhys Ifans). They strike up a close friendship that immediately made me suspicious of his intentions.

A few weeks later, Tom and Violet make another half-hearted attempt at wedding planning in which they decide to just roll with their situation: rehearsal dinner and wedding reception at pork restaurant, a previously canceled, Japanese wedding cake, etc. Things are looking grim for the starry-eyed couple we met at the beginning of the film who met one night by chance at a ‘make your own super hero’ New Year’s Eve party. She dressed as Princess Diana (because she doesn’t require a super power) and he as a self made ‘Super Bunny’ in a pink bunny costume.

At the rehearsal dinner, Violet confesses Winton kissed her a few weeks earlier and things unravel. Tom pursues Winton, not realizing Winton is taekwondo trained and apparently able to do parkour over fences – he eventually retreats. Tom is feeling low and happens upon a fellow co-worker from the deli which leads to one of the weirdest encounters I’ve ever seen. I wouldn’t call it sexual and I wouldn’t call it romantic, I’d just call it weirdness with egg salad that I will never unsee.

After sleeping pants less and drunk in the cold, Tom wakes in the hospital sans one toe and a crying Violet by his side. They part ways, and Tom moves back to San Francisco. While I understand why this was necessary to the story of Tom and Violet’s relationship, the next few scenes made me kind of mad. About a year later, Violet is seeing Winton and Tom is dating a 23 year old ditzy girl named Audrey. Frankly, I couldn’t understand why being with Audrey benefited Tom at all.  They didn’t seem to have similar interests or a particularly satisfying sex life. it just seemed sort of lazy. I understand why Violet gravitated towards Winton as well, but personally I think I’d always feel a bit guilty towards Tom for her initial encounter with Winton while she was still with him, but I guess that’s just me.

It takes convincing from Tom’s parents and the death of yet another grandparent, this time Violet’s – for Tom to travel to the funeral to see her. She is happy to see him as well, having recently learned she was only advancing to an Associate Professor position due to her relationship with Winton. Not cool, Winton!

Tom and Violet happily reunite but as she is supposed to return to Michigan and he is now running a successful taco business via ambulance turned restaurant, they find themselves with only a few weeks together. On the day Violet is set to go to the airport, they both unknowingly have planned to re-propose to each to her. To me, this was the sweetest and best part of the film. Their ability to say yes to each other once again and the spontaneous wedding sequence to follow. Violet set up an elaborate sequence of choices: tuxes, band, type of officiant, etc. and they finally get married.

As the central issue for this couple was largely based around living location, I was surprised that they didn’t explain exactly how Tom and Violet would manage their living problem. It seemed to me Violet would have to go back to Michigan, and Tom could open up a restaurant there? Surely the ambulance taco stand idea wouldn’t fare as well in the land of low temperatures? But I’d like to see how it was resolved, because that’s the problem they’ve been trying to solve for the duration of the film.

Despite the more serious content, there was a great deal of laughs in this movie – largely attributed to Chris Pratt’s character Alex, Tom’s best friend and Chris Parnell as hunting friend, house wife and sweater maker, Bill – who was one of my favourite characters. Emily Blunt was lovely and likable – I really felt for her character and the problems she was facing. Jason Segel continues to impress with his comedy and his ability to strike a chord but showing a more serious side -but I must admit I’m bias where he is concerned. I thought this was a really good film, the problems and feelings of the characters were more complicated and real than I had anticipated.

The Avengers are Coming …with Batman?

In just over a week the highly anticipated super hero collective, the Avengers will be released in theatres. It is expected to make a killing at the box office, boasting the super hero celebrities we’ve grown to love from their individual franchises: Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, etc. They’re coming together to save the world and people are excited. I have to admit, having seen Thor and Iron Man 1 and 2 – I have my doubts. These are big stars with big characters and big stories who will have to vie for screen time, how will it turn out? My faith was somewhat restored by the director, the man all of us nerds love – Joss Whedon. Obviously famous for the Buffy series which is still beloved to this day, I think I speak for a lot of comic book/super hero fans when I say that he seems to understand us and frankly, who couldn’t benefit from a few hours of escapism? I’m sure I will enjoy Robert Downey Jr.’s sassy dialogue, Chris Hemsworth’s hearty laugh and pretty face and I’m sure guys everywhere will love Scarlett Johansson in tight black leather. However, none of these details are the reason that I will rush to the theatre on May 4th. My loyalty and attention will belong to another, the Dark Knight.

The internet became a buzz late last week with rumours that were later confirmed: there will be a new Dark Knight Rises trailer that airs before the Avengers. Now sure, I was interested in seeing the Avengers eventually, at some point – but dangle some Dark Knight in front of my face and I will surely be there. Despite the conflicting companies: DC vs Marvel, Warner Brothers vs Sony – I think this is an incredibly smart move and one that will mutually benefit all of these companies all around. Loyal Dark Knight fans will flock to the theatres to see the trailer and therefore give the Avengers and even bigger opening weekend than anticipated. Subsequently, hardcore Avengers fans who may be living under a rock and not seen the incredible trailers release so far for Rises, will get a change to be persuaded to see that as well . But I mean, come on – does anyone really need to be persuaded at this point?

Director Christopher Nolan restored the Batman franchise to me, the way it always should have been. Always a fan of the 90’s cartoon series but less so of the films (particularly Batman Forever and Batman and Robin, ick) – Batman Begins was like a breath of fresh air into my nerdy universe. Seeing it multiple times in theatres and wearing into my DVD copy, I differ from others whose favourite has become the Dark Knight. For me, Begins opened us up to a new world and told re-told the story of Batman’s origins in a visually stunning and compelling way. Not to say that Dark Knight wasn’t amazing – it obviously was. Heath Ledger’s performance of the joker was beyond what anyone anticipated and his acclaim was much deserved. Even as I go back and watch it now it amazes me how completely he becomes the Joker. Tom Hardy will have some prolific shoes to fill as the new villain in Gotham City, Bane.  I like both Hardy and his fellow co-stars, Anne Hathaway and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as actors and it only increases my intrigue that they have been cast in this film.

Which brings me back to my original point: combining the Avengers release with the new Dark Knight Rises trailer is genius. Yes, I will go see the Avengers just for that reason, but I’m sure I will enjoy the Avengers on some level as well. I wasn’t a fan of the acting or dialogue of Thor and I liked the first Iron Man film much more than the second. But I like Loki as a villain, I like Jeremy Renner and I also really like how Robert Downey Jr. portrays Tony Stark, so this could still be a good film. I don’t know if it will be the great film that everyone is anticipating, but I’m sure there will be a lot of ass kicking, both on screen and at the box office.

Don’t Trust the B**** in Apartment 23 and the Return of James Van Der Beek to Our Hearts

Two episodes into the Bitch in Apartment 23 and I’m still not sure what to make of it.

The show centers around Chloe the aforementioned ‘bitch’ and seemingly proud to be. So far we know she’s previously swindled many a roommate out of their rent money before they find her too difficult to live with and leave and has an affinity for foreign pills. But we don’t really know yet what drives her to behave this way. Then there’s June, the doe-eyed, naïve new roommate who’s recently found her fiancée to be a cheater and lost the high paying real estate job she moved to New York for when the company went bust. Licking her wounds, working at a local coffee house and living with Chloe has certainly thrown off June’s hyper vigilant ‘life plan.’

The girls get off to a rocky start: the real cost of the rent, the selling of Chloe’s furniture, and Chloe’s sass and off colour remarks. But never the less, Chloe seems to have taken a shining to June and genuinely tries to help her out. She reveals the cheating ways of June’s fiancée and sets her up on a date with her own Dad. Helpful, right? While June has made it clear she doesn’t want Chloe’s help or trust her, but you can tell she’s starting to wane a little. Perhaps this will be the start of a best friendship? Could be. I’m interested to see where this show will go; will June strike up a friendship with James Vanderbeek as well? Speaking of the Beek…

I think we can all agree that James Van Der Beek is an extremely valuable asset to this show. Frankly, without him I probably wouldn’t have started watching it. But as a former Creek fanatic (and there are many of us out there), I tuned in to see him parody himself in ridiculous and hilarious ways.

I was loving this week’s mention of James VDB’s hatred of James Franco and hope that this recurs in future episodes although I doubt we’d get Franco on himself, but you never know, right? So far we’ve had an energy drink commercial, a teaching job at NYU and a poetry reading to occupy the former Dawson’s time – what crazy antics will he get into next? And how many more times will we see him recite lines from the Dawson’s Creek script? Many more I hope, simply hilarious. I applaud his ability to laugh at himself and have fun with it.

With only two  episodes having aired I do feel this show and the girls themselves are a bit all over the place, but to be fair we haven’t had a lot of opportunity to dive into June and Chloe and what makes them tick.  So it will be very interesting to see the characters and the story develop further.

However, in its short airing Apartment 23 has certainly already made great strides at being outrageous:  Chloe having sex on June’s birthday cake, June fooling around with Chloe’s father, Chloe’s supposed ‘mean’ mother is a sweet woman in a wheel chair. A lot of the time I find myself thinking ‘I can’t believe they just did that!’ – But how long can we go for shock value before we need more? Dive into real character development?

And what about the girl who lives down the hall that is obsessed with Chloe? We already know she was naïve roommate number 4 way back when, but why the obsession? I’d like to know more about her. Then there’s creepy window leering Eli, the health inspector with the blow up doll girlfriend, what’s his story? Will he ever come out from behind that window pane? This show still has work to do in character depth and story longevity, but I am certainly intrigued.

What do you think so far? Are you as happy as I am to have Dawson back in our weekly lives?

Once Upon A Time: Finding Love in A Strange Place

What an intriguing episode of Once Upon A Time this week! In “Skin Deep” we meet Belle, whose kingdom is in trouble due to ogres. She and her father (a King) have reached out to the only person who can help them – Rumpelstiltskin. In his creepy and cavalier way he tells the King he can help them if the King is willing to give up his daughter to be Rumpel’s caretaker/slave for life. Oh Disney. Belle boldly accepts Rumpel’s offer much to the dismay of her father and fiancée, Gaston.

In Storybrooke, Mr. Gold confronts a florist (Belle’s father) who his late on his payment and promptly repossesses his work van while Regina looks on suspiciously. Mary Margaret and David sit in separate booths at the coffee shop, struggling to be together but be apart at the same time. Emma joins Mary who reveals that Henry is doing well but misses Emma who is struggling with her separation from Henry. Emma is called away on official business and after a stand off with guns at the ready, Mr. Gold tells Emma he has been robbed by the florist – but doesn’t need her help. Never one to back down, Emma says she will find him and return Mr. Gold’s items.

Later that day Emma returns what she think is everything to Mr. Gold but hasn’t yet found the florist on the run. Mr. Gold is scornful, Emma hasn’t found the one item he was actually looking for – but won’t say what it is. Emma continues her search for the florist not knowing it’s too late; Mr. Gold has him bound and gagged in the back of his van.

At the coffee shop Ruby, Ashley and a reluctant Mary Margaret decide to have a girl’s night for Valentines Day while David buys two Valentine’s Day cards, one for his wife and one for his mistress. Mr. Gold muses over David’s two purchases while he himself buys himself a rope and duct tape, never a good sign, commenting that he is a ‘difficult man to love.’

In Fairytale at the home of Rumpelstiltskin, Belle’s room is a dungeon but she seems to take it in stride as she cleans about the castle in a rather pleasant mood given the sacrifices and hardships she’s faced. She chats pleasantly to Rumpel as he spins his gold and doesn’t seem put off by his demeanor or his appearance. He reveals he used to have a wife and son but lost both, although we <em>still</em> don’t know what became of Rumpel’s son since we last saw him. I can’t wait to find out! Belle reassures Rumpel he is not a monster and does not need to cover all the mirrors in his home. Shortly after, Gaston shows up at Rumpel’s door but before he can get many words in Rumpel promptly turns him into a rose, which he gives to a smiling and unsuspecting Belle.

During another Belle/Rumpel heart to heart Rumpel questions her decision to work for him forever and her engagement to Gaston. She admits the marriage to Gaston was arranged and she didn’t love him but that she also wanted to be brave and be the hero for her friends and family, which so many women in her kingdom seldom get to be (go Belle!) After a particularly close moment Rumpel tells her to go to town and collect more straw, admitting that he doesn’t expect her to return into his custody.

On the road to town who should Belle happen to meet but the Evil Queen! The Queen decides to walk with her and after a short conversation tricks Belle into admitting she has feelings for her ‘master’ but that something ‘evil has taken root in him.’ The Queen gleefully provides Belle with the solution  “true loves kiss would break any curse” the Queen says wisely – and if this is true, why wasn’t the Storybrooke curse lifted when Mary Margaret and David kissed? Aren’t they supposed to be a representation of true love as well?

Belle returns to Rumpel with this in mind and eventually they kiss, we see his face start to get ‘cured’ and he looks as Mr. Gold does now. When she comments that its “working ” Rumpel becomes enraged and wants to know who told her about lifting the curse. A shocked and confused Belle stumbles, admitting she doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He strides across the room, uncovers a mirror and starts yelling at it furiously – apparently the Queen is accessible through all mirrors? Or just this one? We’re not sure. Then he rounds on Belle accusing of being aligned with the Queen or wanting to defeat ‘the monster’ herself. He locks her up in the dungeon again.

Mr. Gold takes the captured florist to the cabin where we once saw the rainy romantic David and Mary Margaret exchange. He starts beating on the florist with his cane wanting to know where his missing item is and who told him to take it. The florist seems dumbfounded about these questions and as Mr. Gold grows more angry he starts saying “she’s gone, you were her father,” which made me wonder if Mr. Gold remembers Fairy Tale life as I’ve previously suspected. Emma comes in eventually and breaks up the scene, arresting Mr. Gold.

At ‘girls night’ Ashley’s workaholic boyfriend and father of her child shows up and proposes on his break from work. She happily accepts despite her complaints that they never have time for one another – I’m not sure how marrying him will change that, but never the less. Mary Margaret looks on in angst, feeling that her current version of love isn’t what she bargained for. She leaves and runs into David who gives her the Valentines card meant for Kathryn that said I ‘woof ‘ you, yuck. She tells him to go home to his wife and he says he’ll find a way for them to be together. Is it just me? Why can’t he just leave his wife? Why is that so hard? Eventually he gives Mary the right card before heading off. Anyone else dying to know what it says? I hope we get to see it!

In Fairy Tale, Mr. Gold lets Belle go free. She calls him a coward no matter how thick his skin. He says he loves his power more than her and she says he will regret it and all he’ll have left is the chipped teacup she accidentally chipped earlier.

In his jail cell at the Sheriff’s office, Emma offers half of her sandwich as her ‘favour’ owed to Mr. Gold. He responds snidely he hasn’t forgotten and will ask for much more when the time comes. Regina comes in with Henry and asks for 30 minutes alone with Mr. Gold in exchange, Emma can have 30 minutes alone with Henry. Emma considers but then flees with her son, which I could NOT believe – she’s the Sheriff for goodness sake! Completely unacceptable behavior if you ask me, but I can let it go because what happened next was awesome!

Regina tells Mr. Gold she has what he wants, she convinced the florist to steal it from him, for her if he’ll answer only one question – what is his name. Mr. Gold plays it coy at first, pretending not to know what she’s asking before he says the word I was hoping to hear – Rumpelstiltskin! I knew he knew! Upon hearing this, Regina returns the same chipped teacup that Belle chipped in Fairy Tale, calling Regina ‘your majesty’ and assures her that she will not be more powerful than him, but she seems less than convinced. Of course that’s what has come between them! I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before! The battle for power, I can’t wait to see it in action! But does Regina hold the upper hand?

In Fairy Tale the Queen pays Rumpelstiltskin a visit and reveals that once released Belle went home only to be shunned by her father for her involvement with Rumpel. After being tortured she eventually, allegedly – jumped to her death, somehow I didn’t believe it.

We close in Storybrooke where Regina brings a rose to what looks like a mental hospital. In the depths of it Regina visits a nurse who reveals the patient has had no visitors now, or ever. Inside, of course is poor Belle. Twist! Alive! Is she crazy? Is she hurt? We don’t know.

What will happen when/if Mr. Gold finds out? Where is the stranger? Why haven’t we seen more of him? Who else is ready to see the battle for ultimate power?

Big Bang Theory: Cooper vs. Kripke: Office Edition

A battle of the wills between Kripke and Sheldon was the forefront of this week’s episode, “The Rothman Disintegration.” Due to Professor Rothman’s descent into madness (and nakedness) the boys muse over his forcible retirement and speculate who will get the new office. No sooner does Sheldon calls dibs do they enter to find the lovable dirt bag, Barry Kripke measuring the new office for his own use. We also see one of many instances where Professor Rothman hangs around naked (always shown from the waist up) this time sporting a snazzy hat.

Meanwhile, Penny gets a visit from a very excited Amy who has a large-sized gift for her. Amy explains the gift is a thank you for helping her come out of her shell, becoming a ‘hipster’ etc. Much to Penny’s horror the gift is a large painting of herself and Amy. This thing is huge! Even more unfortunate, Amy brought the tools to hang it immediately!

Back at the university, Kripke and Sheldon harass President Siebert in the men’s room in what can only be called a battle of no boundaries. After a few awkward exchanges in which Sheldon tells us more than we ever wanted to know about a rectal exam, Siebert tells the guys to settle the argument between them because he doesn’t care – nor would I. Again, I’m delighted that Joshua Malina has been brought in as President Siebert, I hope we see more of him to come!

At Penny’s place, Bernadette and Penny discuss the big, ugly painting. Bernadette calls it ‘enormous, unsettling’ and makes several comments about how Penny is portrayed to look rather manly. They try to come up with an excuse that will subdue Amy, but come up short.

At the guy’s apartment Raj is annoyed. He ordered a hand crafted Harry Potter wand off E-Bay which turned out to be just a stick someone sent him in the mail. I’d love to be the owner of a hand crafted Harry Potter wand, so I felt Raj’s nerd pain particularly on that one.  Kripke comes to the apartment and he and Sheldon discuss how to settle the office argument. Many options are considered including: rock, scissors, paper, lizard, Spock. To watch Sheldon explain the game is nothing short of genius. Not only that, but Kripke goaded him into explaining it twice, not only was this so amusing – it just proves even further how talented Jim Parsons is.

Eventually Sheldon and Kripke decide to compete in sports because they equally suck athletically.  The guys accompany them to what looks like a school gym and proceed to watch Sheldon and Kripke attempt one on one basketball. This whole scene was hilarious, particularly when they both slowly hit the wall or ‘ran out of room.’ After a while they attempt to score baskets by use of trampoline and even that doesn’t work. Leonard offers mocking comments from the sidelines before deciding whoever can bounce a basketball the highest gets the office. They proceed and Sheldon wins. I really though Kripke would put up a further fight for the remainder of the episode, but this is the last we see of him.

At Penny’s the three girls are watching <em>Grease</em> because Amy was never allowed to see it, her mother didn’t want her to join a ‘gang.’ They talk more about the painting and as Amy leaves, Penny moves it out of sight only to have Amy return a moment later, asking to borrow <em>Grease</em> on DVD, as one does. She notices the painting has been moved and is instantly heartbroken. She takes the painting back from Penny and heads home in despair.

Later, the guys head over to see Sheldon in his new office. Sheldon is at his wits end, looking particularly stressed out. There is an issue with the thermostat (the control for it is in someone else’s office) a mocking bird singing out of tune and wind chimes out side his window while the Geology department makes noise above him. The guys suggest he give the office up to Kripke if he doesn’t like it, but Sheldon refuses.

Penny goes to Amy’s apartment to apologize. I almost thought they were going to come to a resolution that meant the painting went away, but alas, in desperation Penny lies that Bernadette was jealous that the painting was just of the two of them. Amy basically and unexpectedly says a big ‘screw it’ to Bernadette’s feelings and affirms that she and Penny are ‘the cooler ones’ before heading back to Penny’s to re-hang the hideous painting.  Once they’ve re-hung it, Amy confesses originally they were nude in the painting and makes some awkward comments about sponges and soapy water. Why does Amy always have to take it so far? What’s the point of her comments getting creepy like that, all the time?

We close with Leonard hearing Sheldon’s cries for help, entering Sheldon’s new office only to find Sheldon’s head stuck in a previously discussed, hole in the wall. Leonard is amused and assures Sheldon he is going for help, but proceeds to start taking pictures, and I assume tweeting about it. Well played, Leonard.

All and all a strong episode, the bulk of which relied heavily on Sheldon and he did not disappoint. However, we saw no interactions between any of the show’s couples nor did we even see the girls and guys in the same room together during this episode, what’s up with that? We only heard a few short lines from Howard as well, I missed him! What did you guys think of “The Rothman Integration”?

Big Bang Theory: Sheldon Cooper Takes A Vacation

Sheldon on vacation, what could go wrong? Quite a bit, actually and we watched it all unfold on last night’s Big Bang Theory, “The Vacation Solution.”

We find the guys at their usual lunch table, chatting away about physics mad libs when they are approached by  President Siebert played by the underused and very talented,  Joshua Malina (if you’re not already following him on Twitter, you should be – it’s nothing short of hilarious). Despite Sheldon’s insistence he doesn’t need or want a vacation, Siebert tells him he has no choice. Flash forward to Monday morning, Leonard is driving to work rocking out to the Black Eyed Peas, which was odd but also so funny it had me laughing out loud. Of course his private rock-out was interrupted when Sheldon revealed himself hidden in the backseat, hoping to sneak into work. Leonard turned the car around, having none of it.

Later that night at the apartment  the girls are at Penny’s helping Bernadette put together her wedding invitations (written in Klingon on the back) where Bernadette reveals her father is insistent she and Howard have a pre-nuptual agreement – since she makes much more money than him and she isn’t sure how to approach the subject.

Meanwhile, across the hall the guys are giving Sheldon vacation suggestions but Sheldon shoots down every idea. He even rejects Hawaii when he explains it was where “the disappointing ending of Lost was filmed.” Zing. During this exchange Raj inadvertently admits he massaged Howard’s neck the night before while Howard played X-Box – what the what? And Sheldon patronizes Howard, explaining who famous scientist was (even though Howard already knew). It’s been a while since we’ve experienced Sheldon introducing Walowitz as “not a doctor” and abusing his profession, it was a bit of a throwback and good consistency.

Eventually, gossip spreads throughout the group as it usually does. Penny tells Leonard about the pre-nuptial agreement where they share a cute exchange about how Penny thinks of a future with Leonard until she “has a glass of wine and it passes.” I also really liked Leonard’s clever retort that if Penny were famous he wouldn’t want a pre-nup because if she cheats “Leonard gots to get paid.” Their relationship seems more playful this time around, less whining from Leonard which is nice. I also thought this was a cute side note in the episode; could their relationship be more serious this time around? It’ll be interesting to see.

For his vacation plans, Sheldon finally decides to spend time in the lab with Amy. This was a particularly strong episode for Amy to me, because she pushed back when Sheldon tried to challenge her and proved she knew more than he assumed he knew about biology. Giving Sheldon menial tasks like beaker washing and counting, all of which he apparently didn’t do right – only proved further how arrogant Sheldon is and how unwilling he is to admit he doesn’t know everything about everything (or in this case, biology). Frustrated by Sheldon, Amy finally offers him up the chance to cut into the brain, where he begins “trembling with confidence” only to somehow accidentally cut his thumb and pass out.

Back at the university lunch table sans Sheldon, Leonard tells Raj and Howard about Bernadette wanting the pre-nup, figuring it’s best to give Howard fair warning. When discussing what to do Raj offered the advice he apparently always yells at the TV while watching the Bachelor; “follow your heart.” Raj is the best, you never know what he’s going to say and I’m always intrigued to find out. Now if only they’d let him talk to go girls without alcohol…but I digress.

Howard takes the news calmly, saying he has his own assets to protect: rare comics, a burial plot next to his mother near Mr. Roper from Three’s Company, etc.

At the Cheesecake Factory, Sheldon finds Howard at the bar drinking a martini while Sheldon orders a Pina Colada without rum, they sure know how to party. Penny approaches them and chastises them both for their alleged problems. She tells Howard that women everywhere had a meeting about it and he will never find someone as sweet and lovely as Bernadette and tells Sheldon that Amy wants an apology for his behaviour.

To draw things to a close, Sheldon goes back to Amy’s lab and despite Sheldon’s attempts to avoid apologizing Amy pushes him to mutter what seemed to be a genuine “sorry.” I think this could actually be the only time Sheldon has ever apologized for anything – am I wrong?

Finally on the Howard and Bernadette front, we find them reconciling during a car ride. Howard offers to speak to Bernadette’s dad about the pre-nup, which is when Bernadette reveals a lot of scary things about the former cop with what sounds like anger issues.

Will we meet Bernadette’s Dad? Who should play him? Will Howard sign the pre-nup? Will they get married? Until next time!