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Human Target—The Return of Baptiste, Survivor: Nicaragua—Episode 13, and The Mentalist—Jolly Red Elf

11.December.2010

My take on Human Target‘s The Return of Baptiste, Survivor: Nicaragua‘s 13th episode, and The Mentalist‘s Jolly Red Elf.

EPISODE 4: The Return of Baptiste

Episodes that give us a glimpse into the life of Chance before he became, uh, Chance, are episodes worth watching, especially if you’re a hardcore fan of Human Target. This week’s episode is just that, when Chance, in the course of helping Ilsa find her childhood friend, journalist Susan Connors, realizes that the best option is to enlist the help of his archenemy (only because he killed Katherine Walters), the notorious Baptiste.

THE GOOD

—Winston and Guerrero finally agreeing on something. Funny as hell!

—Lennie James. Guy gets around doesn’t he? First he’s Lightman’s old pal in Lie To Me, then he’s practically Chance’s brother from the time they were under the Old Man’s wing. I won’t be surprised if he appears in an episode of House sooner or later. Oh, and Baptiste not reneging on his word? Nice.

—Classic Winston-Guerrero exchange:

Winston: What are you doing? I did that an hour ago, it doesn’t work.

(system initializes)

Guerrero: You loosened the lid for me.

—Classic Winston-Ilsa exchange:

Ilsa: He’s right, it’s a terrible idea.

Winston (imitating Ilsa’s British accent): I played poker with Rummy, what happened to that?

THE BAD

—No Ames? What the hell? I’m officially confused as to whether or not Janet Montgomery is part of the main cast. I mean, her name keeps appearing and disappearing in the opening credits! And then Ilsa tells us that Ames went back East, clear her head of that heist debacle? Seriously?

—Too bad we only saw Susan Connors (Wendy Glenn) in a few scenes. She’s smoking!

—The execution in this episode is kind of off:

1. Chance not paying for the poncho-like thing he covered Baptiste with;

2. Chance telling Susan they have to find the goon’s knife when it’s on his belt in plain sight;

3. the rear window of the jeep they stole wasn’t completely shattered when they just exited Cervantes’ lair, but when the bad guys catch up to them the window is completely gone;

4. Capt. Montoya not knowing the difference between the real Capt. Harmen’s voice and Guerrero’s; and

5. the bad guys shooting at the military barricade and not hitting a single soldier (even when there were soldiers right in the line of fire).

THE VERDICT

I give The Return of Baptiste a 6 out of 10.

Episode 13: Not Sure Where I Stand

In the aftermath of Purple Kelly and NaOnka’s exit via quitting, the seven remaining castaways vie for the six remaining spots when they vote out one of their own.

STATUS REPORT

Alliances: Chase, Holly, Jane, Sash in the middle, and then Benry, Dan, Fabio (though the last three probably weren’t really an alliance per se, considering they were too willing to turn on each other and  we didn’t really see the three of them talking about being an alliance)

Reward Winner: Chase, who took Holly and Jane with him

Immunity Winner: Sash, after beating Benry and Fabio in the puzzle round of the challenge

Jury Members: Alina, Marty, Brenda, and QUITTERS NaOnka and Purple Kelly

Voted out: Benry

Immunity Idols: Sash (from Marty) and Chase (from NaOnka) with one each

Potentially on the chopping block next week (in no particular order):

Jane, Fabio, Dan

Episodes to go: 2, December 15 and 19

THE GOOD

—Benry out. I like Fabio over him. Benry’s a really weird guy (at least based on the interviews) with a really weird nickname. Sometimes he’s really nice, and then the next moment he’s saying offensive stuff about someone. He’s really overstayed in the game.

—Dan still in the running for the million. A lot of viewers hate that he’s still in the game, but not me. I’d like to see him get to the end, because I want to see how the jury will vote. If they vote for him and he ends up winning, then Survivor is going to have a big problem. They’ll have to think of something to make things a lot more interesting without appearing to be trying too hard. Because, if contestants keep winning despite doing close to nothing all season long, then there’s something wrong with how the game is being played.

—Probst introducing NaOnka and Purple Kelly as our two quitters. Ha!

—I’m stoked for next week’s reward challenge with threat of execution, whatever that means!

I’m thinking they’re going to do a reward and/or immunity challenge, with the six remaining castaways split into two teams of three, and the group that loses will suffer some sort of penalty or something, could be elimination at the worst (This could be their solution to Dan’s uselessness!).

THE BAD

—I really like Chase, but he really is dumb more often than not. First, allying with Brenda for no other reason except he’s attracted to her; then bringing Holly and Jane with him on the reward; and then trusting Sash’s word? I mean, seriously, man. The only wise thing he’s done all-season-long was when he came to his senses and decided to vote out Brenda, which he did right in the nick of time, by the way.

—NaOnka smiling at tribal. That could very well be the first time I’ve seen her smile all season long. And yep, that’s a Bad for me. She’s probably smiling because she’s still on TV except she doesn’t have to compete while shivering cold and starving like crazy.

—Is it just me or was the whole episode a snore? Well, except maybe for Jane crying over the dead chicken, seeing NaOnka and Purple Kelly on the jury (which almost made me curse out loud), and seeing Benry’s torch snuffed (smuffed, eh, Nay?). Everything else in the episode—the overload of strategizing back at camp, the really boring challenges (both reward and immunity), and Sash’s interviews—sucked.

THE VERDICT

I give Not Sure Where I Stand a 5 out of 10.

Episode 10: Jolly Red Elf

In The Mentalist’s Christmas-themed episode, Lisbon and her team investigate the death of the head of the National Society of Authentic Santas; while J.J. LaRoche (guest star Pruitt Taylor Vince), head of CBI’s Professional Standards Unit, begins the investigation on the Todd Johnson incident that occurred inside the CBI two days earlier. Gregory Itzin reprises his role as former CBI Director, Virgil Minelli.

THE GOOD

—Minelli is back in the picture again, and as Jane’s secret, back channel source no less.

—LaRoche. His no-nonsense approach is going to get results. Hopefully it’s Red John-related. Hopefully, he doesn’t get killed by Red John if it is connected to him. Plus, Pruitt Taylor Vince’s portrayal of an internal affairs guy is quite believable.

—Great Jisbon banter:

Jane: So you took the whole Santa revelation badly, huh?

Lisbon: Crushed my heart like a cigarette.

Jane: Explains why you’re still looking for magic in your life.

—I half-expected a cliffhanger ending where Jane opens LaRoche’s suspect list and finds someone he knows. I’m glad they decided not to rush into it and just showed Jane walking on the beach away from May and Minelli, especially since the show is not going to have new episodes anytime soon.

THE BAD

—I thought Rigsby’s question to LaRoche during the briefing was out of character. He was a member of an arson investigation unit before he joined the CBI, was he not? He’s supposed to know how to investigate fire-related crimes. I mean, I’d understand if Van Pelt or Cho had asked the question and not him. Could it be that Rigsby was the one who torched cop killer Todd Johnson?

—On that note, what kind of holding cell has no surveillance camera monitoring it at all times when a suspect is in it?

—Whoa whoa whoa. You get Angela Gots on your show and you give her just one scene? Though, I could have lived with it if in that one scene she made out with Amanda Righetti.

—Is it just me or were Cho, Rigsby, Van Pelt, and Hightower given very few lines this episode? I think the only time we saw or heard Hightower was when she introduced LaRoche at the briefing.

THE VERDICT

I give Jolly Red Elf a 6 out of 10.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. kent j permalink
    18.December.2010 10:24 pm

    You thought Pruitt Taylor Vince was believable? Who wants Believeable? I Want INTERESTING. Please. He was boring, boring, boring. I love the guy. Usually he steals every scene he is in. He looked like a bored actor going through the motions.
    He was just plain bad. And frankly i don’t even buy believable.

    • 19.December.2010 7:17 am

      Before anything else, thanks for taking the time to comment.

      I also love Pruitt Taylor Vince, and yep, I think he was believable as LaRoche. Sure, he looked like a bored actor going through the motions, but I think it’s the character you’re seeing, not the actor himself. I mean, you said it, PTV usually does steal every scene he’s in, and so you’ve got to keep in mind that the actor is THAT good. He’s being who he’s supposed to be—at least according to the writers’ intentions (those guys have something up their sleeves, I’m sure).

      Consider: PTV is playing the head of an internal affairs unit, so he’s supposed to be this calm, collected, never-screams-at-the-top-of-his-lungs type of guy who moves with exacting precision and is calculated and methodical in his approach to, well, everything. He’s been that guy, playing everything close to the vest (keeping the green lighter in his pocket and keeping it off the evidence list), putting in everything case-related in his little notepad, and doing the legwork himself (he said he would bring the lighter to the FBI himself; following Jane out in the field to interview him, twice).

      Also, the head of an internal affairs unit has probably seen and heard it all, so he’s supposed to be pretty stoic to the point of looking bored as he goes about in his business. Besides, IA guys are supposed to not have a lot of friends within their own organization, right? Probably because their co-workers assume that IA guys, because of the function they perform, think they’re better than everybody else, at least in the workplace. So LaRoche’s skin has got to be made of thick alligator skin by now.

      But hey, we both want INTERESTING, kent j. I mean, ‘The Mentalist’ has certainly become boring in itself (maybe just for me, since all I watch the show for are the Red John-related scenes that never fail to send a chill up my spine and make me check all the locks in our house) that inserting “bored” characters only makes the show a tad more intolerable.

      I say let’s watch what happens with the LaRoche story arc. I’m just hoping the writers aren’t planning to pull another Bosco this time around.

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