Television Blur (3/3/12)

The Walking Dead, “18 Miles Out” – The episode was split into two story-lines: one focusing on Rick and Shane duking it out while trying to release Randall, the kid Rick saved outside of the bar, and one focusing in on the girls back at the barn where Beth wants to commit suicide because of her hopelessness. The action took place during the Rick/Shane scenes as they once again don’t see eye to eye. This time they decide to settle things with their fists until a swarm of walkers are released. Shane barely makes it out alive from the assistance of Rick and Randall. Meanwhile, Lori and Andrea butt heads with their opinion on how to ensure Beth doesn’t kill herself, which ends with Beth cutting herself with broken glass but shallow enough that she’ll survive. Call me crazy, but I’m beginning to go over to the dark side with Shane’s logic. Rick is too indecisive and unable to make tough decisions quickly. Nonetheless, these two dynamic characters are the heart and soul of The Walking Dead.

Luck, episode 5 – Ace and Gus push their buttons with Escalante by calling out his gambling scheme. They order him to throw Leon out and hire the best jockey to ride Pint of Plain. This causes Joey to go into a rage, especially when Ronnie confesses he switched agents. Meanwhile, Marcus sees the doctor and is prescribed Valium. Under the drugs, Marcus confuses his care for Jerry as homosexual feelings, which Jerry laughs off. It’s the most sensitive we’ve seen Marcus all season long, but it shows the relationship between the two railbirds. At the end, Pint of Plain gets injured by a horse shoe during the race and we see another tough character let down his guard with an act of sentiment, Ace petting Pint of Plain.

How I Met Your Mother, “Karma” – This season of HIMYM has been very uneven, with episodes of pure awesomeness and then others that are disposable. “Karma” was an episode in the middle of the spectrum. While the story-line of Barney pursuing Quinn at the strip club was dull and very unfunny, the story-line with Robin feeling captive in Marshall and Lily’s home on Long Island was pretty effective. But what matters is that Ted has become the main character again. Coping with the death of the idea of him and Robin, he tries to fill her room with something to forget her by. The conclusion was important to the progress of the series. Finally with Marshall and Lily back in the city, they don’t have to be excluded from the gang’s shenanigans. But where is Ted going to live?

Smash, “The Cost of Art” – Finally, Karen catches a break this episode and makes some friends in the workshop for Marilyn the Musical. They teach Karen how to become part of the ensemble instead of always standing out, but it’s clear at the end that she’s meant to be a leading lady, not one that blends in with the rest of the cast. Meanwhile, Derek throws a party for a young TV-star, Lyle West (guest star Nick Jonas). The characters begin to understand the situation clearer: Ivy sees Derek for a flirtatious and untrusting boyfriend while Karen finds out that Ivy slept with Derek for the leading part. From the preview of next week’s episode, looks like this is just the beginning rounds of the Ivy vs. Karen match-up.

The River, “Peaches” – What kind of curse will the Magus find them-self with this episode? Well, their engine is shot and they need replacement parts to avoid being stranded on the Amazon River. Luckily for them, there’s another boat in the area. The Exodus and its four-person crew aboard the Magus and they laugh, cheer, and share stories with each other like a group of friends on a camping trip. But they soon find out that the members of the Exodus are ghosts trying to leave their ship by capturing people to replace them by sunrise. Lincoln, Clark and AJ race to save their crew before it’s too late. The episode concentrated a lot on Lena and her search for her father. When she finds him on board of the Exodus, happiness pours from her face, but she’s left with the opposite when she has to leave him on the Exodus along with the other ghosts.

Awake, “Pilot” – This new NBC drama has a lot of potential. The plot is simple yet complexly fascinating: Michael was in a car accident with his wife, Hannah, and son, Rex. He is currently living two realities, one where Rex died from the accident and one where Hannah has died. He is a police detective and in both realities, he has separate cases to solve, different partners, and different shrinks. The dilemma is that he doesn’t know which world is real and which is a dream. Pretty cool, huh? The cop portion of the series seems like it’s going to be very procedural: two intertwining cases every episode where he has these “hunches” because of his other reality. But the best part of the show will be the psychological aspect of Michael dealing with the loss of a loved one. Awake will show how different, or similar, his world ends up being if his wife or son died in that crash.

Parks and Recreation, “Campaign Shake-Up” – The campaign of Leslie Knope has been running quite smoothly the past few weeks, but that all changes in this past week’s episode when Bobby Newport hires a new campaign manager, Jennifer Barkley (Kathryn Hahn). She’s smart, has quick wit, and on top of that she is over-the-top friendly. Time and time again, Jennifer plays Ben and Leslie for a fool, which results in Team Leslie wiping away their recent punk’d spot with alcohol. Meanwhile, to avoid a new hire to fill Leslie’s shoes, the Parks and Rec department have to solve the problem of germs spreading from the water fountain. These were easily the funniest scenes of the episode. I laughed out loud every time someone actually put their mouth around the spout of the fountain. In the end, Ron promoted April. The episode was missing the usual shenanigans that I love from Tom and Andy, but adding Jennifer to the race will add some nice political comedy between both campaigns in upcoming episodes.

The Office, “Test the Store” – For me, this week’s episode of The Office was disappointing. When I’m not falling out of my seat with laughter by the time the opening credits are rolling, I’m already dreading the rest of the episode. Anyway, the Sabre store is opening and Dwight is striving to be the leader that will gain him the VP position. They’re showcasing the Sabre Pyramid and everything falls apart when Ryan flees from his presentation. Meanwhile, in the Scranton parking lot, Andy gets a black eye from protecting Pam from a group of young girls on bikes. Toby gives a self-defense class, but eventually the truth is revealed and Andy is teased mercilessly. Back at the store, Jim fills in for Ryan and impresses the crowd. At the end, Dwight is named VP and celebrates with his usual leg-kick and fist pumps. Again, I wasn’t impressed by the episode at all.

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