Friday, August 06, 2010

The Countdown Reaches the Top 10

We are more than halfway through the summer-long countdown of the Best Episodes of the Season.  This week, there are three episodes with some pretty profound moments.  You know the kind -- the ones  you have to rewind your DVR to watch a few times before what just transpired sinks in.  But before we get to them, we have to go over the rules for the countdown. We ended up with 28 incredible episodes that demonstrate the diversity and quality of the current television state. The shows and their episodes are from both NETWORK and CABLE television. All episodes aired between June 2009 and June 2010. Each episode that made the final list moved us in some way; either by making us laugh out loud, cry our eyes out or just left us with that "wow" feeling that stays with you for a few days. So basically, it's completely subjective! Since this is a summer-long countdown to the number 1 episode, PTR will reveal a few each week all summer. So, be sure to tune in every Friday to find out which episodes are on the countdown! Today, we're going to take a look at numbers 12-10.

12: "Let's Get it Ahn" - In Plain Sight
This was the momentous episode when we all discovered that the feelings we thought we were crazy for thinking Marshall had for Mary were, in fact, very real.  It started with his strange reaction (as in, not happy) to her exciting news about her engagement.  Then, Marshall gave Mary back the ring (which, in a very funny side story had gotten stuck on his finger when he tried it on -- don't ask). He looked defeated, disappointed and like someone had just ripped out his heart and stomped all over it. It was as if giving back her ring made the engagement real and sealed their fate as nothing more than partners.  Perhaps, that's a reality Marshall wasn't prepared to face. His speech to her at the end was so touching, and I noticed how he couldn't look her in the eye even when he told her that he loved her (he wanted it to come across in a friendly/partner way, but we all knew what he meant -- including Mary). It was pretty shocking!  Todd Rundgren's "Torch Song" at the end pretty much summed it up: "I will carry my torch for you" and "When you break somebody's heart."  But, we weren't the only ones realizing Marshall's true feelings in this one.  Mary definitely began to piece things together when Marshall made that speech. It was actually more of what he didn't say and how that danced across his face when he finished speaking. That sad, defeated, heart-broken look wasn't lost on Mary, and she seemed to have a sad look of her own. Even considering more recent events, though, I'm not sure Mary and Marshall should be anything other than partners.  But keeping the possibility alive, that got its start in this stellar outing from last season, doesn't seem like a bad idea to me.  Written by David Maples.

11: "The Bishop Revival" - Fringe
This intriguing mystery took us back to WWII and Nazi Germany.  But it started in the present at a very happy event that suddenly turned very tragic: a wedding.  The groom's family was Jewish -- all descendants of a Holocaust survivor on his father's side.  That connection caused all of them to suffocate from the inside out in, to quote Walter, "a room full of air."  But only the groom's paternal family perished, meaning someone had specifically targeted them with a very specific toxin.  As the case progressed, and another group was targeted (this time those with brown eyes), Walter recognized the signature on the deadly formula: his father's!  Apparently, Grandpa Bishop was a Nazi scientist who fled Germany and spied for the Allies.  In his research, he hypothesized a formula in which certain traits or types of people could be singled out and killed.  But who was using it with modern science and how did he get it?  After a false start involving Peter selling his grandfather's old books, the team found the evil mastermind behind the experiments.  When they got to the perpetrator's residence, Walter almost succumbed to a trap with a toxin designed to kill him.  Thankfully, Olivia's quick thinking saved his life.  So, Walter engineered the formula to kill only the killer.  What made this episode even more intriguing was the way it didn't wrap up everything at the end.  We were left with one very fascinating mystery: Who exactly was the killer?  The Holocaust survivor recognized him at the wedding even uttering, "It can't be!"  And at the end of the hour, we saw him in one of Walter's old photos of his father.  I wonder if there's an Walternate Sr. in the other universe who could provide some answers?  After all, this is the show that boasts "endless impossibilities," so you never know!  Written by Glen Whitman and Robert Chiappetta and directed by Adam Davidson.

10: "The Last Drive-In"/"Bullet" - Cold Case
There wasn't a single thing wrong with this 2-parter, but there was a lot right about it starting with guest star Susanna Thompson as FBI Agent Diane Yates.  I'll admit that Yates was tough to take at first.  She pushed her way into PPD's files after sweet-talking Stillman about the good old times.  She refused to let any of them know why she was interested in what seemed to be a simple cold case.  She hit on Valens after implying that he and Lil were hittin' the sheets.  And, she took the lead with her pushy, warm-and-fuzzy style during the interviews.  Things changed when Lil did her own research and caught on to Yates's investigation.  The two started to morph into teammates instead of opponents and that's when the case blew wide open.  A seemingly simple mugging/murder in the park suddenly became the latest incident in a sniper's sick game.  Yates had a hunch and she confirmed it with ballistics and then the entire crew was looking into possible victims from the last 20 years.  The only thing linking the victims was a connection between a potential suspect and his financial situation.  Then things started falling into place, and Lil and Yates went to the Poconos to speak with a witness.  In a shocking turn of events, the witness was shot (sniper style) right in front of them as they got out of the car.  They entered the suspect's cellar and another shocker unfolded as they found a body and discovered that the dog tags had their suspect's name on them.  Cut to the suspect's son hitching a ride with a sniper rifle on a secluded mountain road.  In the second hour, things took a more urgent turn when the gang discovered a new victim. It seemed their sniper was starting his killing spree anew -- shooting everyone who wronged him the same way he killed those who wronged his father.  Things came to a head when they tracked him down in his basement and Yates had to make a decision: kill an unarmed murderer or slap cuffs on him and let the judicial system decide his fate. Thanks to Lil, she chose the latter.  This edge-of-your-seat thrill ride reminded us of everything that was right about this show.  Written by Elwood Reid (Part I) and Christopher Silber (Part II) and directed by Chris Fisher (Part I) and John Showalter (Part II).  Screencap courtesy KathrynMorrisUK.

So, there's a look #12-10 on the countdown. What do you think? Do you agree? Disagree? Leave a comment with your thoughts. You can also view previous entries by clicking the "Best Episodes" label below.  And be sure to tune in next Friday when PTR reveals the next episodes on the countdown!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have to agree about " The Last Drivein and Bullet," but I also though it was written pretty well.

Too bad there wasn't any closure to this series.

Sad really, I did really like this episode.