A Week in TV / A Week in TV - May 2012

A Week in TV (7th May – 13th May 2012)

We’re firmly into the May Sweeps period now and as such, this week was full of big finales and a whole heap of renewal/cancellation news. If you remember a while back, I posted a set of predictions as to what shows I thought would be renewed or otherwise. A lot of those predictions were inaccurate, as I expected Nikita to be cancelled and The Secret Circle to be renewed, and both things happened the opposite way (yay for Nikita!). Unexpectedly, all of the shows I still watch on a regular basis have been renewed, with the shows I wisely chose to discontinue watching have been cancelled, such as Alcatraz, Ringer and as mentioned earlier, The Secret Circle. N0ne of these cancellations were unexpected, given their ratings and critical failure, yet this period of the TV season can still be utterly brutal.

Alas, we shall now get down to the what we’re here for!

CASTLE – ALWAYS

Castle enjoyed its season finale this week and boy did it deliver. ‘Always’ is easily the best episode of the season, which has been up and down for the entirety, which delivered on numerous fronts but one that comes to mind more than any other. I’m sure you know what that is but we’ll get to that in a moment.

This week, we return to the ongoing mystery surrounding Johanna Beckett’s murder several years ago, as well as Kate Beckett’s almost-murder at the end of season three. There’s a man on the loose who is responsible for shooting her and Kate wants him, even though it puts her at a considerable risk of being killed by those who were behind her mother’s death. Castle has been steering her away from the investigation for some time, not wanting her to be killed as a consequence, but she’s determined to bring the man down and Castle cannot stand by and watch her kill herself. After nearly being thrown off of a roof by the same man she’s been hunting, she realizes what she wants in life – Castle.

Yes, after four years and endless ‘moments’ between them, Castle and Beckett have finally gotten down to it! I feared that it wouldn’t happen, that one of them would rebuff the other and we’d have to spend another entire season of ‘will they, won’t they?’ but my fears were promptly destroyed as they fell into each other’s arms, with a wonderful piece of music playing in the background. I swear that I almost did an audible whoop of joy when it happened.  Putting them together now felt like the perfect time to do it; it was neither too early nor too late, although continuing into season five without them together would’ve been a problem. The show’s foundations almost rest on the partnership between these two characters, and the ongoing relationship between them has been a part of those foundations for some time. Now that they’re finally together in a romantic manner, the show’s dynamics will change, and I hope to its advantage. Bones partnered its two main characters after six years and it’s worked out rather good, so I can only hope Castle benefits in the same way.

Overall, season 4 of Castle has been a mixed bag; there have been some wonderful episodes, some average ones and some that weren’t really worth bothering with at all. Compared to season three, and two to a lesser extent, season four is more of a back-step than a forward one. That being said, if there has been one consistently good aspect of the season, it has been the characters. They are what makes this show what it is and that hasn’t wavered once. In fact, they may have even improved. With this new relationship off to a fine start, season five is looking more and more compelling as time slowly trudges on. September, hurry up now. I beg of you.

THE VAMPIRE DIARIES – THE DEPARTED

In the second of this week’s noticeable finales, we take a trip over to Mystic Falls and the season finale of The Vampire Diaries. Much of the season’s second half has been repetitive and tedious but the game was finally upped during the finale. The story actually moved on beyond what it’s been stationary at for such a long time and season four is now looking simply too far away for its own good.

This week, things aren’t going well for Elena; she’s in hospital after suffering from a head injury last week, which neither human nor vampire saw fit to have her checked out for because they’re simply idiots. Not only that, her life is in danger from the originals, who are angry at vampire-Alaric killing Klaus and killing her is the only way to rid themselves of that same problem. Alaric wants her to keep her away from said originals in order to preserve himself and if that wasn’t bad enough, she goes off the road with Matt and drowns. But not to fear, her earlier hospital stint unknowingly supplied her with vampire blood and she ends the episode waking up in transition mode.

Phew, that’s quite a lot for the poor girl in one episode, is it not? The decision to turn her into a vampire isn’t unexpected, but perhaps so this early on in the show’s life. Such a drastic change in dynamic could easily have been reserved for the show’s future conclusion. I don’t expect the transition to complete, however. TVD likes to employ the use of magic to cure any plot development that may offer much in the way of change so I expect the transition to be expunged in season four, unfortunately. Turning Elena would be interesting for all of the characters involved, but I don’t think it’ll happen properly this early on.

Despite a strong finale on the whole, it wasn’t without its issues. Klaus is dead, or is he? No sooner do we see a stake put in his heart whilst he lays immobile in his coffin, a bit of magic (once again) transfers him into Tyler’s body, and he’s now walking around in secret. I’ve said before that I don’t dislike Klaus or Joseph Morgan, who plays him, but if we have to sit through another whole season of the gang trying, and failing, to find ways of killing him, I may have to scream loudly. If they want to keep him around, fine, just don’t give us endless episodes featuring the same turn of events repeated ad infinitum. I would rather the character be dead than have him repeatedly tarnished with such a plot.

Season three of TVD has been average at best. The first half was great but then the second half kicked in and things quickly went downhill. The last few weeks have picked up in quality but the majority of the latter half hasn’t been of the same quality. It doesn’t help that this season has directly proceeded season two, which was excellent from beginning to end. The finale looks as though it may be offering up some significant changes in story but whether the show will uphold them when it returns in September is still a mystery.

Also, I didn’t mention Elena’s ‘choice’ of brother this week because as far as I’m concerned, that choice has now been made redundant. If she does indeed become a vampire, she’ll remember things regarding Damon that may make her regret choosing Stefan and her emotions will be heightened, meaning she will inevitably continue to fret between which one is right for her.

FRINGE – BRAVE NEW WORLD PT. 2

Now that is how you do a season finale, people! Fringe ended its fourth season with a bang, as it concluded the plot to such an extent that this could have served as the series finale if that was to be required. Luckily it wasn’t, and with a final season ahead to wrap up everything, watching this finale was made even more sweet with that knowledge in mind.

After last week’s first part of the finale, this week’s events kick off with Walter ‘captured’ with Bell, as the universes begin to collapse. Olivia’s cortexiphan abilities are spiraling out of control and it’s being caused by Bell activating her in order to power the universal destruction. As things begin to get grim, Walter, in a scene that made me literally open my mouth wide, puts a bullet in Olivia’s head to stop the collapse from happening. She’s loaded with cortexiphan, however, and so the wound heals itself once the bullet is out. Not only that, she discovers that she is pregnant as the team gathers for, what could easily have been, the show’s concluding scene. The finale scene, which looks as though it was added once the renewal was announced, was of September warning Walter that the ‘others are coming’.

Fringe always gets its finales to be truly fantastic episodes that stand out among the crowd and this one was no different. There has been no greater enemy than William Bell, whose mind is as genius as Walter’s, and no greater threat than the collapse of two entire universes. Walter putting a bullet in Olivia’s head surprised me, although it shouldn’t really have been a shock considering the regenerative properties of cortexiphan, as we were shown last week. That being said, the lovely scene with the team in the hospital, surrounding Olivia and Peter as they achieve happiness for once in their lives, made it all worthwhile. They’ve got a long journey ahead of them though…

It’s pretty clear that the observer’s warning at the end refers to the impending invasion of the rest of his kind, as teased in episode 4.19 with the future scenario all mapped out. Season five may or may not take place entirely in the future but working towards that goal is definitely in order. They’ve got 13 episodes remaining to wrap up everything that needs to be concluded and I have every confidence that they’ll do a brilliant job of it. It’s sad that Fringe is coming to an end but I’m glad it’s been given the chance to.

Season four has, overall, been pretty strong. It started off strangely, with Peter’s absence and then return into an altered timeline, but it became stronger as time progressed. Not as strong as season three, I would say, but definitely a highlight of my continued TV viewing. It’ll be a sad and bittersweet final season and I’ll be gutted when it finally concludes but I am assured in the knowledge that Fringe has, and will continue to be, one of the finest shows to appear on TV in recent years.

Plus, how COOL was that scene with Olivia deflecting the bullets intended for the observer? But don’t mention the scene with the horrific eye convulsions. It makes me shudder to recall it.

 

So, that’s it for this week’s post. As always, your thoughts and opinions are welcomed in the comment box below. Discussing TV with others is as enjoyable as writing about it, after all. I expect next week’s post to be finale-heavy as well, given that Person of Interest, Nikita and Once Upon a Time all have their finales this week. Then we have the House series finale the week after, which is going to be a viewing highlight for sure and hopefully for the right reasons. May Sweeps is a good time to be a TV fan but it’s also horribly tense, but we still love it nevertheless.

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