The Race: Week Five

THE RACE: WEEK FIVE (October 21st-27th)

Monday

Beauty and the Beast (9/8c, CW) – Much to my dismay, I missed most of this ep due to a scheduling conflict. Lacking the help of my trusty VCR, I had to rely on the last 15 minutes to piece together what I’d missed, and it looks like I missed A LOT. Vincent apparently physically assaulted Cat, and she covered it up. Cat took a lie detector test and used extreme measures (antiperspirant on her FOREHEAD???) to protect Vincent. He returned the favor by faking a memory of the two of them and taking advantage of Cat’s excitement over said memory to weasel information out of her for his own agenda. Vincent rescuing Cat from atop the elevator while having a REAL flashback of their past was a powerful, breathtaking moment – but his end-of-ep sincerity was too little, too late. Considering everything he’s been putting her through lately, Cat was right to close the door – er – window on him. SCORE: Withheld until I can see the whole ep.

Castle (10/9c, ABC) – Best episode of Castle EVER? Maybe not, but it came darn close! I love, love, love (imagine fifty more “love”s tossed in there) time travel stories, and this one was sublime. I was riveted the whole episode, cherishing each new thrilling development, while simultaneously dreading the end of the ep, when the mundane “rational” explanation for everything would be revealed. But Castle outdid itself in a way I never expected – they left the ending OPEN. They let us believe that maybe these guys WERE time-travelers. They allowed – even encouraged! – us keep believing in wonky futuristic scanners, twisty-turny timelines, and Castle and Beckett married one day with three kids. It was dramatic, exciting, fun, and yes, a little bit chilling, too (when Beckett spilled the coffee at the end…**shiver**). This ep was a ride, and I didn’t want to get off. SCORE: 9/10

Tuesday

Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD (8/7c, ABC) – Scheduling conflict strikes again! Missed the first half, and apparently some majorly important stuff happened in those thirty minutes. This really is a show you can’t afford to miss a moment of – not if you want to have a clue what’s happening – and I found that out the hard way. As to what I DID see: Skye’s betrayal of the group hurt, but it seems she was betrayed, too. Scorch was a blast (literally) and the stuff about naming him earned several chuckles. The ending with Skye and Coulson was powerful and emotional, and I could only imagine how much more gripping it would have been if I’d seen the whole ep and knew the full context. As it was, I can only guess that this was one of the best episodes yet. SCORE: Withheld until I can see the ep in its entirety.

Supernatural (9/8c, CW) – Oh, poor Cass! Poor, poor, POOR Cass! Supernatural has always been a show that exemplifies the “show, don’t tell” storytelling technique, and this ep was a prime example. Every moment of Castiel’s homeless, cold, hungry, desperate misery was documented onscreen in painful detail, until I was shivering in the rain right along with him. Castiel’s relief at finally having a safe place to stay with food and friends filled me with warmth, as though I’d just eaten a hearty bowl of soup after spending hours out in the bitter wind. Dean kicking Cass out at the end was so utterly brutal. I wanted to cry. I can only hope the show understands that not allowing Castiel to stay at the batcave does NOT have to equal abandoning him. I was shouting at the screen in those last moments: “Give him your car, Dean! Give him some money, give him some food, give him keys to a hunting cabin somewhere! Call Garth to come protect him!” Bonus points given for pure emotionality, Cass getting “deflowered,” the sheer CREEPINESS of Sam unknowingly being inhabited by another creature, Jared rocking dual performances as Sam and Zeke, clever use of a TV evangelist character, and Zeke bringing Cass back to life. Points deducted for: continuing last year’s trend of making a class of once-mysterious and elusive creatures (Reapers) fully corporeal and dreadfully ordinary. They were SO much cooler when you had to be dead/dying/out-of-body to even see them. SCORE: 8.75/10

Chicago Fire (10/9c, NBC) – And the firehouse drama continues. My heart shatters every time I look at Shay. I give the show major credit for not quickly wrapping up the fallout from her devastating experience in the previous episode. I’m so glad New Guy (sorry, I haven’t learned his name yet) gave Shay some much-needed advice, but I’m not sure she’ll take it to heart. I don’t trust the photographer-lady Shay is hooking up with, and I have a feeling that camera will come back to haunt her. As far as Zoya’s green-card issues go – can’t blame a girl for trying! Who could resist falling for Severide? (Not me!) Matt’s doing great with the boys (kudos to the show for writing some realistic bonding scenes), and Mills’ Freudian slip made me cringe and cover my face. The Chief’s health news was very unexpected, and I couldn’t help but wonder how much of a role it played in his decision to retire. Also: Benny Severide as the new chief??? Can we say “BAD IDEA”? I await his reign with equal parts anticipation and dread. How is it possible to be charismatic and slimy at the same time? Somehow, Benny pulls it off. SCORE: 7/10

Thursday

Elementary (10/9c, CBS) – When Sherlock’s bored, you know there’s bound to be trouble! Loved him and Watson fishing for potential murder victims at the morgue. The platypus skull was cute, and Sherlock being the one who slept with Joan’s friend was downright HILARIOUS. Definitely my favorite twist of the episode. The case portion of the ep was a fun road trip with lots of dead ends and u-turns, but I am and always will be a “character girl,” so, as usual, Joan and Sherlock’s personal stories were what held my attention. SCORE: 6.5/10

Friday

Grimm (9/8c, NBC) – The end of last season was very slightly re-written – and for good reason. Last year’s finale basically had all of Nick’s friends diving into a car and ditching him to the tune of, “Nick’s a Grimm, he can take care of himself!” I thought that was pretty lame, so I’m happy the show chose a different route – even if it meant fudging the writing a bit. Here we had Nick’s buddies use the car as a means of searching the container yard. Rather than ditching Nick, they were trying to find him (while mowing down a few zombies in the process). As usual, this ep included several laugh-out-loud moments courtesy of Monroe, some hard-core action (do NOT mess with zombie-Nick), and the show’s trademark gross-out gore (dismembered hands and feet, anyone?). All in all, a fun one. They almost always are. 🙂 SCORE: 7/10

Sunday

The Mentalist (10/9c, CBS) – Welcome back, Creepy Ray! Welcome back, Visualize! The case of the empty-room struggle and the stretchy-band murder weapon disposal were cool, but they took a back seat to the more intriguing story of Cho’s love-interest-turned-stalker-turned-spy-turned-Red John-victim. (Try saying that three times fast). That lady definitely kept me guessing until the end. I’m sorry she got murdered, but at least she was able to convey some useful info. I don’t know how the team can assume that RJ was actually the one who hired the girl, though. He could have sent a minion to hire (and kill) her. Also, did anyone else think she was just repeatedly pointing to the location of the tattoo, rather than attempting to draw the actual image in blood? Then again, Jane’s instincts are better than mine, so the tatt probably IS three dots. Ray’s warning near the end seemed very dire – I thought he might be dead before the end of the ep, but it didn’t happen. Bonus points given for: Cho and Rigsby’s cute little fruitbowl scene, several satisfyingly complex mysteries, and a heart-pounding, edge-of-the-seat ending. Points deducted for: Cho’s sloppy questioning of the PI Lady. When’s my favorite interrogator going to learn to stop feeding information to the people he’s questioning??? You don’t say, “Who hired you? Visualize?” You just say, “Tell me who hired you. NOW.” Grrrrrr. SCORE: 7.5/10

And the winner is…Castle, for an exquisitely-delivered time-travel roller-coaster that made my fangirl heart swoon. Supernatural noses into a close second for continuing to deliver the kind of sharp, Kripke-quality eps that made me fall in love with this show in the first place. Kudos!

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The Race: Week Four

THE RACE: WEEK 4 (October 14-20)

Monday

Beauty and the Beast (9/8c, CW) – Poor Cat! Vincent unties her, sleeps with her, and then ties her back up! How insulting. I don’t think she should’ve done the horizontal tango with him – at this point, they are essentially strangers. She must be REALLY desperate to jog his memory. Too bad it backfired on her. Vincent – if it’s even really him – seems attentive to Cat at times, yet completely indifferent to her at others. Huh. His violent freak-out at the end was well-done. I felt genuinely scared for Cat. I like how Vincent’s mission this time was to save someone, rather than commit another murder. Keeping the focus on Vincent (and whatever he’s up to each episode) is working well, and deleting the case-of-the-week element has definitely helped tighten up the show. Not sure what to make of Gabe right now. He appears to be sincere in his desire to help both Cat and Vincent, but I don’t think I can ever completely trust him. Looking forward to seeing how this new alliance works out. SCORE: 7/10

Castle (10/9c, ABC) – Castle as a hostage negotiator = awesome. This one had a good storyline. The stakes were high – especially whenever Castle was with the gunwoman – yet the trademark humor was present as well (“Cheeseburgers!”). The guest star was engaging and sympathetic. I fully bought her performance as a troubled, desperate woman, and I’m glad Castle and Co. were able to clear her name. As an added bonus, Beckett got her job back at the end of the ep. I just hope the show keeps up that sparkly-fresh feeling it established in the opening eps, and doesn’t fall back into a rut now that Beckett’s got her old position back. SCORE: 7.5/10

Tuesday

Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD (8/7c, ABC) – That eyeball thingy was bad-@$$!  During the surgery scene, I actually had to turn away from the screen – multiple times. Ewwwwww! But the good kind of “ew.” Like Sam’s eye getting scooped out on Supernatural. Great stuff. Aside from the heart-pumping action, we once again got to look deeper at Coulson and Skye, as well as some new characters. Bonus points given for the creepy dudes in red masks. A highly entertaining, well-balanced ep. SCORE: 8/10

Supernatural (9/8c, CW) – Cool restoration of Abaddon’s body! Also, I like her plan to have demons inhabiting soldiers and behaving like warriors. Seems like a smart move on her part. In contrast, bringing Crowley back to the Bat Cave seemed like a stupid move, especially given that Kevin is staying there. Wouldn’t one of Bobby or Rufus’ remote cabins have been more appropriate? If those weren’t viable, then at least Sam and Dean should have made sure Kev could not access Crowley. The King of Hell was able to play with Kevin far too easily. Also, Sam and Dean didn’t seem well enough prepared for walking into a demon trap – I fully expected Ezekiel to pop out and save the day, and sure enough, he did. Major points given, though, for how ragged Zeke’s wings looked when he emerged, Jared’s utterly convincing performance a the angel in Sam’s body, and Dean’s long-overdue speech to Kevin (just wish I knew if Dean really meant it…). Points deducted for Dean not even asking about their hunter friend who got killed, and no one making any attempt to bury/pay respects to the guy’s body. The whole group just sort of drove off in a happy mood, like the guy never even existed. This is not like Sam and Dean at all. Also, Tiger Mommy might be alive, and no one’s going to look for her? Shame on you, Dean! SCORE: 7.5/10

Chicago Fire (10/9c, NBC) – Talk about a raw and gripping episode. The show took brutally painful subject matter, and did it justice. My heart broke for Shay. I wished for her to confide in Severide, rather than letting the guilt eat her alive. Great exploration of how small, seemingly innocent gestures from one person can have a huge impact on another. I also like how Severide’s and Shay’s storylines paralleled one another, with each character trying to talk someone down, and neither one succeeding. The conclusion of the arsonist arc paled a little in comparison to the power of Shay and Dawson’s story. The contrast in how the two women handled the trauma was well-done and believable (though I kinda hate the way Dawson basically laid the blame on Leslie). Hated to see them fighting, when they normally get along so well. Loved the twist of Dawson’s scummy date actually being an undercover cop. SCORE: 8.5/10

Thursday

Elementary (10/9c, CBS) – Verrrry interesting storyline. Great glimpse into Sean – ahem – Sherlock’s boarding school days. The well-crafted plot-twists took a backseat to the emotional tales of three people who had suffered terrible abuse. Young Sherlock found his calling through correspondence with a killer, who eventually found her redemption by protecting another killer. Wildly complex, yet very satisfying. Bonus points for Sherlock’s warning to the murderer at the end, the scene where Sherlock confided in Watson, and Watson’s super-sleuthing with regards to the tattoo. SCORE: 8/10

Sunday

The Mentalist (10/9c, CBS) – Okay, my bad – the FBI guy’s name is Reed(e) Smith, not Agent Reid (guess I had Criminal Minds on the brain last week). I vaguely remember him from early Season Five. I think he was going to have a bigger role last year – possibly some type of romance with Lisbon? – but I guess the writers dropped that storyline. They dropped Cho’s rapid-response team/Tamsen romance storyline last year, too (or at least woefully underused it). Anyway, for the most part I had forgotten all about Agent Smith, until he popped up as one of the Red John suspects. I’m digging him now, though – he does clueless well, and evil even better. Tyger, tyger! Great to finally know Kirkland’s backstory, even if it meant losing the character. I’m assuming his twin was identical, and that’s why he kept asking suspects, “Do you know who I am? Have you ever seen me before?” Not sure why he killed the guy in the hospital last year, though – couldn’t Kirkland have used that guy to find Red John? Also, why did Kirkland assume his brother died? Red John has given people new identities before…In any case, this ep was exciting, informative, and all the better for not being bogged down by an unrelated case-of-the-week. Bonus points awarded for: Jane and Lisbon’s contrasting views on whether the fake suspects should be protected (when she said, “That’s the difference between you and me,” and Jane just smiled…so cute!), Rigs and Van Pelt’s newlywed subplot, concrete confirmation of Red John’s law enforcement network, a Minelli mention (yay!), and the return of Hightower (double yay!). Points deducted for: severe Cho neglect. SCORE: 8/10

And the winner is…

Chicago Fire, for a shocking, painful, and – above all – memorable episode.

The Race: Week Three

THE RACE: WEEK 3 (October 7-13)

Monday

Beauty and the Beast (9/8c, CW) – The Beast is back…but he doesn’t remember anything – even Cat! Cool way to create fresh tension and distance between two characters who arguably got together too early in Season One. I’m a sucker for amnesia storylines, but I’m not even convinced the guy we just met is actually the REAL Vincent. Why would his scar be gone? Maybe it’s the X-Files fangirl in me, but I think I smell a clone. Can’t wait to see what surprises await on this new season with a new showrunner! SCORE: 7/10

Castle (10/9c, ABC) – The excitement from the high-drama, two-part opener has waned somewhat as we return to regular procedural episodes. A fairly run-of-the-mill ep which still found creative ways to explore how Beckett and Castle are navigating their new relationship. Kudos to Castle for getting the DC apartment! Kudos to Beckett for not letting that girl get thrown to the Russian mafia wolves! My only wish: that Beckett had chosen to leave the job, rather than getting fired. SCORE: 6.5/10

Tuesday

Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD (8/7c, ABC) – Top-notch effects, as ever, but that’s old news. This is the episode where I started to get attached to the characters. I felt genuine compassion for Skye, and Coulson is fast becoming more endearing than he ever was in the movies. I get a sense of his gentle-yet-strong spirit, and his deep devotion to his mission and those working under him. Oh, and did I mention that Fitz-Simmons are completely adorkable? SCORE: 7.5/10

Supernatural (9/8c, CW) – I was on the edge of my seat before the premiere even started, mostly due to the fact that we almost couldn’t get the station to tune in. Thankfully, the television gods were smiling upon me, the rabbit ears tilted into position at exactly the right moment, and I sat back for an absolutely phenomenal episode of Supernatural. Loved the battle taking place inside Sam, as well as the one out in the real world. Loved Castiel’s subplot, and Dean’s extremely controversial choice to let an angel inhabit Sam. Arguably the least acceptable thing Dean has ever done to save Sam, and yet I totally bought it. Not out-of-character at all. Last season, much of the conflict between Sam and Dean stemmed from Sam’s OOC actions (not looking for Dean in Purgatory). Here, we have REAL conflict based on Dean’s IC actions. SOOOOO much better. If I didn’t know otherwise, I’d say Kripke was back. I truly cannot wait to see how this incredibly complicated storyline plays out. SCORE: 9/10

Chicago Fire (10/9c, NBC) – Another great installment. Points added for the intense confrontations with Hadley, the return of Severide’s difficult daddy, the bonding between Matt and the boys, and Molly’s Bar’s silent partner rearing his ugly head once more. Major points deducted, though, for the spoonful of cinnamon storyline. I cannot bring myself to believe any firefighter would even consider doing that “challenge,” much less promoting it on his webcast. SCORE: 6/10

Thursday

Elementary (10/9c, CBS) – Looks like EVERYONE is out to get Sherlock and Watson. Scary how fast a bunch of hackers can turn one’s life into a digital hell. The case was well-paced and fun, but, as usual, one of the quiet moments near the end is what makes this ep shine. Joan: “I shouldn’t be the only one who knows you.” Awwwwwww. Extra points for: Sherlock’s emotional reaction to Moriarty’s letter, Watson’s ever-sharpening sluething skills, and the mental image of Sherlock with a shoe on his head. SCORE: 7/10

Sunday

The Mentalist (10/9c, CBS) – The case-of-the-week plot: so-so. Benjamin in his little glasses: beyond adorable. Rigsby’s proposal: awesome! Van/Rigs wedding: Felt too quick. They should have been engaged for a few eps before we saw them tie the knot. Now I feel like something bad’s going to happen to one or both of them in the near future. I hate that feeling! One thing I did LOVE about the wedding, though: the other character’s reactions. Lisbon looked near tears. Jane was actually IN tears, so torn between great happiness and great sorrow that he couldn’t even bear to be in the room. And then there’s Cho, looking at his WATCH! LOL! Only Cho… 🙂 The Red John stuff was handled nicely, too – the Sheriff played it just right. You could tell the actor was having oodles of fun with the role. I like how they tested him to see if he was afraid of heights, even though Sophie said that might not be what RJ was actually afraid of. I wonder what the official name is for fear of birds? 🙂 Points added for Grace’s heartfelt speech to the bride-to-be, Jane’s thrilling rooftop adventure, and a happy wedding for two very deserving agents. SCORE: 8/10

And the winner is…

Supernatural! It went above and beyond all expectations, and delivered the kind of quality we haven’t seen in a looooong time. A+++++++++++++

The Race: Week Two

THE RACE: WEEK 2 (September 30-October 6)

Monday

Castle (10/9c, ABC) – Another dynamite ep. I’m probably alone in this, but I actually like it when this show does dramatic storylines as opposed to its usual comedic fare. Just like when Beckett was standing on that bomb last season, this one had me hooked. With Castle’s life on the line, I could feel the desperation of the agents scrambling to save him, the creeping concerns of his uninformed family, and Castle and Beckett’s own angst as the situation slipped steadily out of their control. Put all that together with a genuinely heartbreaking, totally believable case, and you’ve got a stellar episode of Castle. SCORE: 8.5/10

Tuesday

Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD (8/7c, ABC) – Still high-quality, with electrifying special FX. Not quite as funny as the pilot, but very entertaining. I wasn’t sure how this show would work without superheroes, but it seems to be chugging along just fine. Totally digging the all the movie references and tie-ins, from exploding people (as seen in Iron Man 3) to mentions of the Tesseract. And I can’t believe they actually got Samuel L. Jackson on there – that was awesome! SCORE: 7/10

Chicago Fire (10/9c, NBC) – Oodles more firehouse drama. I don’t know how they pack so much into each episode! The last thing Matt needs is the added responsibility of two troubled, traumatized young boys, and yet that’s what he got. That’s the way life works sometimes. Renee’s baby was, indeed, the product of a one-night stand. My heart broke a bit for her and Severide. He said earlier that it didn’t change anything between them if the baby wasn’t his, but clearly it did – she walked out, and he didn’t stop her. Oh, and to make things worse for everybody, Hadley, the prankster jerk from Season One, may be the arsonist targeting the firehouse. He sure didn’t deny it, did he? And what is up with Gabriella’s new love interest? Is she taking a break from heroes to fall for a bad guy? Much like CBS’ The Good Wife, Chicago Fire continues to effortlessly juggle numerous characters and plotlines without missing a beat. SCORE: 8/10

Thursday

Elementary (10/9c, CBS) – Very nice B Plot about Watson and the man she accidentally killed. I like the way Sherlock handled it, and the way Watson eventually played her hand. The ending moment between them was sweet. These two characters may not share that magic Jane/Lisbon or Mulder/Scully onscreen chemistry, but in quiet moments, when genuine affections are revealed, this relationship works. SCORE: 7/10

Sunday

The Mentalist (10/9c, CBS) – The hunt continues! I was pretty shocked that Red John left Lisbon there. I thought for sure he’d kidnapped her, and that we’d be going into a fast-paced end-game, climaxing with a Red John/Jane showdown. It seems, though, that the writers want to have a little more fun first. By painting Lisbon’s face like that, I think RJ was playing with Jane – warning our favorite mentalist that Lisbon will be dead before all this is over. Red John marked Lisbon as a future victim, and Jane was suitably freaked. His voice broke as he asked for water, and his hands shook as he desperately washed the blood from Lisbon’s face. A+ acting, A+ creep factor. This whole episode was definitely one of the eeriest Mentalist episodes to date, from Lisbon’s super-scary, blood-drenched nightmare to the numerous interactions she and Jane had with various suspects. Oh, and don’t forget about poor Sophie’s HEAD in the oven. Blech! I actually really loved how they used her as the source of Red John’s inside info – it was something I never thought of in all my theorizing, and it fits really well. I just wish her death had been more than a footnote, though. She was really important to Jane – she saved his life. Haffner whistling “Jimmy Crack Corn” certainly gave me a shudder, but I wouldn’t call him a particularly talented whistler – just average. And what is up with Bertram, the Sheriff, and Agent Reid holding a super-secret meeting? Maybe there is something to that “He is Many” idea after all. SCORE: 8.5/10

This week’s winner: A two-way tie between Castle and The Mentalist, who both brought their A games with top-notch performances and plots.

The Race: Week One

Fall is one of my absolute favorite times of year. Veteran TV series’ are awakening from their summer slumbers right in time to meet a pack of bright-eyed newbie shows, all pushing and shoving to achieve the coveted status of “hit.” Some of those poor fledglings won’t make it. Some will be cancelled unjustly – others, deservedly so. Some old favorites will fizzle and fade, while others will shine more brightly than ever.

But new or old, comedy or drama, sci-fi or police procedural, they’ll all have a fair chance to win over my fangirl heart. As the race heats up, no one could be more excited than I am to see which show will come out on top.

THE RACE: WEEK 1 (September 23-29)

Monday

Castle (10/9c, ABC) – Very strong opener, especially considering last season’s slightly under-whelming finale. (I ship Caskett as much as the next person, but a full ep of them talking to other people about their relationship status didn’t do it for me.) That said, this one worked. Beckett’s new job and the shifted dynamic between her and Castle gave the show a fresh feel. I like them as an engaged couple. Watching them not be able to investigate together was as frustrating for the viewers as it was for the characters. Kudos to the writers for realistically tackling the challenges associated with this complicated  long-distance relationship. Add in a whopper of a cliffhanger, and you’ve got a pretty flippin’ great episode. SCORE: 8/10

Tuesday

Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD (NEW) (8/7c, ABC) – Coulson lives! Been looking forward to this show since I first heard about it, and it didn’t disappoint. Likeable characters, a cool plot, plenty of super-charged action, and Joss Whedon’s typical quirky humor (I’m STILL giggling about that whole “poop with knives sticking out of it” thing). Half a point gets knocked off for a few unclear editing/writing moments, but overall it was a high-quality premiere, and I will definitely watch again. SCORE: 7.5/10

Chicago Fire (10/9c, NBC) – Smokin’ hot, as ever! So glad this one landed a great timeslot following The Voice – I always love it when a network recognizes and rewards quality. Chicago Fire has been must-see TV in our house since midway through Season One, the quality hasn’t slipped a bit in Season Two. The cast is beautiful and talented, and the storylines are engaging. I care about all of the characters on here, not just a few – and that’s rare for a such a large-cast show. This season’s opener picked up right where we left off, with even more complications emerging: An arsonist targeting Severide? And Renee’s baby might not even be his?? Meanwhile Game Day is trouncing Molly’s, Matt just got a load of unneeded guilt dumped on him (he DID buy drinks for those ladies), Gabriella and Shay both have romantic woes, Mills might still be thinking about trading uniforms, there’s a snitch in the firehouse, and Mouch is running for Union Prez. I’d say we’re in for a ride this season. SCORE: 8/10

Thursday

Elementary (10/9c, CBS) – Solid opener. The characters of Lestrade and Mycroft were different than I expected – in a good way. It felt realistic and complicated. I liked the dynamics each character shared with Sherlock. Bonus points given for a cool plot involving a dissolved plastic gun, the nice London scenery, and the part where Mycroft blew up Sherlock’s stuff. Interesting at the end to see Sherlock concerned about Lestrade. Watson: “Welcome to what it feels like to care about an addict.” Well said, Joan! SCORE: 7.5/10

Sunday

The Mentalist (10/9c, CBS) – Picking up right where we left off, on the trail of the ever-elusive Red John. It hurts to see Jane so frustrated! It hurts Lisbon, too – I can tell. She seemed pretty darn freaked out that Jane didn’t seem to know his next move. No excuse for her to betray his confidence, though – telling Van Pelt about the suspect list was SO NOT COOL. I kinda hate that the writers had Lisbon do that…Also kinda hate that the writers had her walk right into a situation that practically had neon signs all around it, flashing, “TRAP! TRAP! TRAP!” She’s smarter than that – and a better cop. If the Red John set-up would have been even a teensy bit less obvious, I could have forgiven the writers, but that was blatant to the point of unrealistic. That said, though, I did adore all the “alone time” Jane and Lisbon shared – even going out of town together, just the two of them! – and the serious Red John discussions between them. The writers are making Jane and Lisbon more like equals, rather than the parent/child dynamic they sometimes shared in the past. Not sure if the show is setting them up to be romantic partners or not, but if so, the writers are on the right track. Mega-points added for the pervading creepiness of the RJ investigation, a nifty stand-alone mystery, and the HUGE cliffhanger ending. Red John has Lisbon???? OH NOES!!! SCORE: 7/10

This week’s winner: The Mentalist, by a nose! Castle and Chicago Fire swoop in to take second and third. Despite not scoring the highest, The Mentalist storyline is one we’ve been waiting to see since the show began. It seems like they’re finally going to wrap up the Red John thing – something they should have done three years ago. I may not agree with every twist and turn, but I sure am thrilled that the writers are biting the bullet and putting it all out there. Here’s hoping they don’t hold back!

Dark Markets and New Stuff!

I am always eager to pass along anything that might help new writers get published, so I was especially giddy when one of my group members pointed me in the direction of Dark Markets. It’s a market database specifically for all manner of horror and dark fiction, and as a bonus, it’s completely free-to-use. I’ve only had a couple minutes to poke around the site, but the layout is beautiful, and the listings seem really up-to-date. If you’re a writer of creepy-crawly tales, this might be the perfect place to find potential homes for your work.

In other, semi-related news, I’m hoping to compile all the links I’ve shared thus far into a single, user-friendly list. Knowing how things go around here, it’ll probably take a while, but in the end you’ll be able to quickly locate any link I’ve mentioned in any of my posts without having to slog through a slew of old blog entries. Sound good?

In other-other news, I’m introducing a new series of weekly TV reviews called The Race. Instead of focusing in-depth on only my top two shows, I’ll be taking a brief look at all of my favorites, declaring a new “winner” each week. Be on the lookout for short reviews of The Mentalist, Supernatural, Elementary, Castle, Beauty and the Beast, Nikita, Chicago Fire, and Grimm, among others. At the end of the season, only one show will be crowned Best Overall.

One more thing to look forward to on ATHF: Fiction Recommendations! I’m just brimming with awesome fan fiction and original fiction to share, all written by extremely talented authors. I only recommend the best, so I hope you’ll take the time to read the pieces featured here. 🙂

All the best to my fellow fans and authors! Thanks for reading!

-Gretchen