Brain Dump: Blindspot, Shots Fired, Jane the Virgin

A brain dump is a few short takes on TV shows. This time I talk about Blindspot, Shots Fired, and Jane the Virgin.
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Watch This: Archie Panjabi Joins Blindspot

Archie Panjabi signed on as a recurring character for Blindspot season 2. The series stars Jaimie Alexander as a woman completely covered with tattoos who arrives in Times Square in a duffle bag addressed to the FBI.

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Review: Code 46

Code 46 is a British film from 2003 starring Tim Robbins and Samantha Morton in a sci-fi love story set in the “near future.” It recently arrived on Amazon Video and the plot synopsis and trailer pulled me in. Continue reading “Review: Code 46”

Watch This: Trailer for San Andreas

I don’t think I’ve ever paid  money to see a movie starring Dwayne Johnson. That may change. The upcoming disaster movie San Andreas stars Dwayne Johnson as a father and Alexandra Daddario as his daughter. It also features Archie Panjabi, Carla Gugino, Paul Giamatti, Ione Gruffudd and Kylie Minogue.

The film description: “In the aftermath of a massive earthquake in California, a rescue-chopper pilot makes a dangerous journey across the state in order to rescue his estranged daughter.”

As you can see from the trailer, the special effects in the film look awesome. Disaster flicks aren’t my usual genre, but – Archie Panjabi. I don’t think she is going to have a very big part, but it is certainly something different from her role on The Good Wife.

All my life, which is a lotta years, I’ve been hearing that the San Andreas fault was going to crack open and half of California would fall into the sea. That’s what this movie is about.

What do you think? Will you give this thriller a try?

Archie Panjabi as Kalinda Says Goodbye – Really

Kalinda (Archie Panjabi) showed up unexpectedly on The Good Wife “Wanna Partner” episode to say goodbye more properly after her mysterious disappearance a couple of weeks ago.

Ah, Kalinda, Kalinda, Kalinda

I thought a few farewell tweets from her fans (including me) would be fun to see.

 

And Kalinda Just . . . Disappears

When I wrote about what I wanted for the way Kalinda would exit The Good Wife, I knew it would be miles from whatever the writers dreamed up, and it was.

But it was perfect.

Archie Panjabi as Kalinda Sharma
Archie Panjabi as Kalinda Sharma

Kalinda Sharma, played by the wonderful Archie Panjabi, personifies mysterious. She keeps everything carefully guarded and holds her secrets close. That’s the way she departed.

She just left.

No explanations. No obvious goodbyes.

It was perfectly Kalinda.

Well, she may have told Alicia (Julianna Margulies) goodbye. The reason Alicia burst into tears after reading a note from Kalinda at the end of the episode was not clear. Alicia breaking down into tears is extraordinary. I cannot wait to find out what the note said.

Well done writers Michelle King and Robert King!

And, damn it all, I’m really going to miss Kalinda.

I hope any new show Archie Panjabi has lined up is a huge hit and makes us all glad she gave up Kalinda to take the new role.

A Newsy Footnote

Entertainment Weekly says Kalinda will make one final appearance on the show in the season 6 finale, but doesn’t explain if it will be a return visit or what. Much as I’d like to see her hug it out with Alicia, I actually hope for a series of flashbacks. Grey’s Anatomy just used a series of flashbacks to honor Patrick Dempsey’s years on that show. I don’t want The Good Wife to feel like an imitation of that. Yet, while everyone is discussing what happened to Kalinda and why she disappeared, it seems like a perfect time for a series of flashbacks of Kalinda’s prime moments.

3 Reasons Archie Panjabi’s Unforgettable Kalinda Sharma Deserves a Great Send Off

Archie Panjabi sounds ready to hang it up in this tweet.

If I were Archie Panjabi, I’d have mixed emotions about leaving The Good Wife. Archie’s had a landmark role on a great show. Her character Kalinda Sharma on The Good Wife was a cultural pioneer in many ways. Yet Archie Panjabi is making news because she’s leaving The Good Wife before its run is finished.

Lately Kalinda has been stuck away in a minor plot line where she plays a terrified baby sitter for Lamond Bishop (Mike Colter). If she’s left in this powerless spot, she will just fade away. Kalinda can’t just fade away.

Here are my 3 top reasons why she deserves a great send off when she leaves the show at the end of season 6.

1. Kalinda brings the diversity

Kalinda in her leather jacket

Before everyone was trying to score diversity points by having a woman of color in their cast, Archie Panjabi was bringing diversity to The Good Wife. This award winning actress wasn’t stereotyped as some ridiculous ethnic character, she was the investigator for a law firm, a multi-layered, complex woman.

Before Shonda Rhimes had 3 shows, before Orange is the New Black brought a rainbow of characters into stardom, Kalinda was there.

2. Kalinda is bisexual

Kalinda looks at the camera

Kalinda was one of very few bisexual characters on TV for a time, and it was no big deal. It was simply Kalinda. She broke ground for other bi characters to follow.

3. Kalinda is THE MOST BADASS

Kalinda and Alicia have a drink

In a cast full of amazing women including her bosses, one of whom was Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies), Kalinda takes the badass prize every time.

Diane and Kalinda in an office

Kalinda can out-badass her other badass boss, Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski).

Kalinda can find any answer, solve any problem, crack any case in the service of her lawyer bosses. She is brilliant at badass.

And then there’s her badass wardrobe. The leather, the boots. Kalinda Sharma in leather is the iconic badass look. Before Bo (Anna Silk) took leather to sexy heights in Lost Girl, there was Kalinda looking professionally dangerous in leather. Kalinda could stand beside Alicia or Diane in their couture suits and dresses and look like she belonged in an office. She belonged in the office, but she was different: sexier, more dangerous, mysterious. Archie Panjabi owned that leather with her posture, her attitude, her dark-eyed stare.

The Send Off

Creators Michelle King and Robert King have written brilliantly on The Good Wife with an array of complicated characters and pointed plots. I’m hoping they’ve figured out a fantastic way for us to say goodbye to Kalinda – a way that makes us happy she’s leaving and lets the cast give her a lot of love along the way. I hope she has a show or two to take the lead, drive the plot, and finally take her leave for a logical reason.

Lately the names Mulder and Scully have been in the news. Nobody has to explain those names. Everyone knows them. We know who Buffy Summers is. We know who Bette Porter is. We know who Thelma and Louise are. Through some magic of writing and casting, some characters become icons. Archie Panjabi created Kalinda Sharma with such power that she’s reached iconic. Kalinda Sharma is loved by many, and valued by many as a symbol. Kalinda Sharma will not be forgotten.

Many thanks to Michelle and Robert King for writing her to be the badass we love, and many millions of thanks to Archie Panjabi for bringing her to life as an unforgettable character.

She will be missed.

The Fall S2 E4: The Mind is its Own Place

Episode 4 of The Fall begins with the forensics people digging through DS Stella Gibson’s (Gillian Anderson) hotel room. They take her computer and her dream diary to examine for clues. As this is happening, Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan) is reading her diary from the photographs he took. It isn’t even my diary and his intrusion into her dreams makes me feel invaded.

The incubus atop a sleeping woman.
The incubus atop a sleeping woman.

Stella prints out the image Paul installed on her computer as wallpaper. It’s a painting of an incubus atop a sleeping woman. She and her supervisor Jim Burns (John Lynch) assume the figures are meant to be Stella and Paul. Really now, did Allan Cubitt have to pick a painting of an incubus for the bad guy? Because there’s a certain succubus I’m fond of and I don’t want the bad reputation of this incubus spilling over into her Fae world.

Stella shows Burns the CCTV from the hotel of Paul, Stella and Burns entering her room. They realize Paul was in the room for 45 minutes – including the time they were discussing his childhood in a group home. Therefore, he knows they are on to him.

Burns apologizes for his drunken behavior the night before.

Stella talks about her personal diary and her physical needs.
Stella talks about her personal diary and her physical needs.

Stella says, “I nearly made the same mistake as you last night.” She’s referring to her advances to Tanya Reed Smith (Archie Panjabi) but he doesn’t know that. She concludes, “We all have physical, emotional needs that can only be met by interaction with another person. Trick is to ask someone appropriate to meet them.”

Karen Hassan as Annie Brawley in The Fall
Karen Hassan as Annie Brawley

Stella hears the story of how Paul went to a client’s house – Liz Tyler – in season 1 and encouraged a client to report her husband’s abuse. Stella clicks to the fact that Paul is a bereavement counselor. She learns that it was Paul who went to counsel Annie Brawley (Karen Hassan). He’s scheduled to go again.

Stella rushes to the hospital, drags Annie from her room in the nick of time as Paul arrives. Stella and Annie talk after Paul leaves. Annie finally remembers how she saw him the night she thought she lost her driver’s license. She realizes he is the man who attacked her. Now they have him!

The police go talk to Liz Tyler (Séainín Brennan) again about Paul’s advice as a counselor. She’s in a women’s shelter. When they talk to James Tyler (Brian Milligan) he’s belligerent and angry. He thinks Paul Spector had sex with his wife.

Spector’s daughter is missing him terribly. Paul’s wife Sally Ann (Bronagh Waugh) tracks him down at the hospital by opening his mail. He goes off with her to see the kids at a birthday party.

The police have enough evidence now to send in a technical team to put cameras in the Spector’s house. While they are doing it, one of the cops falls through the ceiling of the master bedroom. As Burns puts it – a colossal cock up! To cover up this disaster, Stella tells them to make it look like a pipe broke in the attic so the house floods. The police leave without finishing.

When the Spectors get home from the birthday party, Paul sends the wife and kids to her parents. Their sopping wet house isn’t safe. He suspiciously examines everything in the house. His handwritten journals of all his murders are still there.

There were two odd things about the cop falling through the ceiling. They showed the cop walking around in the attic. It was all 2 x 12 joists – with no insulation. If he had misstepped or fallen, he wouldn’t have broken through those 2 x 12s. A foot might have broken through the ceiling, but not his whole body. Secondly, when Paul found his murder books, they were between the joists above the bed in the master bedroom. They were not in the ceiling in his daughter’s bedroom where he normally put them.

Stella hears about a dead woman found in the woods
Stella hears about a dead woman found in the woods who might be Rose

The police find a body of a woman fitting Rose’s description in the woods. Stella rushes to the scene, filled with guilt. She meets a handsome young officer: DS Tom Anderson (Colin Morgan). Later she asks to have him transferred to her team.

Reed Smith arrives at the crime scene.
Reed Smith arrives at the crime scene.

When Tanya Reed Smith arrives the conversation is businesslike. Stella asks her if she’s okay being the one to examine the body. They both dread finding Rose. Reed Smith says she’s okay to do the exam.

It isn’t Rose. Both Stella and Tanya breath a sigh of relief.

Jamie Dornan as Paul Spector.
Jamie Dornan as Paul Spector.

Katie (Aisling Franciosi), the super-stupid teenage babysitter, thinks she’s in love with Paul. She’s rewriting her diary to give him an alibi for every night of the strangler’s murders.

Paul studies up on Katie’s girlfriend Daisy (Tara Lee).

Paul wants Katie to come to the dark side and do something awful to Daisy. He wants her to learn to take pleasure in other people’s suffering. His pupils are the size of dimes as he talks to her. He’s aroused by the thought of getting her to do something evil.

You want to fall asleep in the room with me? Sure.
You want to fall asleep in the room with me? Sure.

At the end of the long day, Stella goes to Tanya’s office at the morgue. They do not talk about what happened the night before. Stella goes to sleep on the couch in Tanya’s office. Is she waiting for Tanya to finish up so they can leave together? Not clear. Tanya wakes her up to tell her she’s going to change clothes. While she’s changing, Stella wanders into the morgue and stares at the body of the woman they found in the woods. Just then, DS Tom Anderson calls her with the news they found a suicide note. The woman is not one of Paul’s victims.

Tanya finds Stella and asks what she’s doing. The last line of the episode is Stella’s answer, “Wondering where Rose is.”

Gillian Anderson’s performance in this episode is amazingly nuanced. Tiny movements in her expression write emotions in subtle but powerful ways. This character Stella Gibson is a tough cop, calm in every situation. She’s not one to show emotion. But we see it in Gillian Anderson’s face even when Stella Gibson thinks she’s hiding it.

They’re close to catching Paul Spector. I don’t want this story and Stella Gibson’s story to end. She’s a fabulous character and I don’t want her story to end when Paul Spector is caught. I could watch her forever!

The Fall, S2 E3: Beauty Hath Strange Power

Episode 3 of The Fall is patient waiting for the police to gather up enough evidence against Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan) to make an arrest. The police slowly put together clues as the episode plays out. There’s also stark terror at what Paul Spector may do next. For once, an episode isn’t all terrifying: there’s a delightful smile-inducing kissing scene.

There are many spoilers ahead.

Gillian Anderson as Stella Gibson in The Fall
Gillian Anderson as Stella Gibson in The Fall

Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson) is giving all the right orders to find cars Paul has stolen, evidence he’s left behind, witnesses who know his whereabouts. She wants to know everything about Paul Spector’s life, but doesn’t want him arrested because he has Rose Stagg.

We don’t know where Paul stashed Rose and whether he killed her or not. Based on Paul’s long jog out of the woods at the beginning of the episode it doesn’t look good for Rose.

It’s slow going. At least it feels slow – this episode actually takes only one day, but the agony of suspense makes every moment feel like an eternity.

Paul edits some video in his hotel room. It’s a woman pleading, but we don’t know more than that.

Bronagh Waugh as Sally Ann Spector
Bronagh Waugh as Sally Ann Spector gets honest with the cops

The police revisit his wife (Bronagh Waugh). She tells them the babysitter was at her house on the night one of the women was killed and she doesn’t know where her husband was that night.

When the police question the babysitter, Katie (Aisling Franciosi) lies and gives Paul an alibi for the night. She tells them she was there with Paul for hours.

She wants to meet with Paul after she lies for him. This teenager really is a danger to herself. Paul tells her a long meandering lie about how he isn’t the killer but he’s pretending to be. He convinces her that he’s merely playing a game with Stella Gibson, that English bitch of a cop.

Katie wants to help him play the game. She has to sneak into the Spector’s house and photograph herself in his former bathroom mirror. She wears a tee shirt with his police rendered image on it.

Tanya Reed Smith (Archie Panjabi) calls Stella and asks to meet her that night in the bar of Stella’s hotel. Tanya wants to apologize for pushing the issue of the fingernail scratches. She says she was being nosy, not clinical. Stella walks away to respond to a call about Katie, the moronic babysitter, breaking into a house. While she’s gone, a lawyer who knows Prof. Reed Smith approaches the table with two margaritas. Because, as you know, a woman sitting alone in a bar could only be there because she wants a man to join her.

Stella kisses Tanya
Sorry I’m late, but here’s a kiss to make up for the wait.

When Stella returns, she slides into the booth, gives Tanya a couple of kisses, and thanks Mr. Lawyer In A Suit for the drinks as if he were the waiter. When he leaves Stella laughs about getting rid of the guy. Tanya says, “He knows who I am. He probably knows who you are, too.” Stella blows it off. Kissing women in public places is not a big deal for her.

Reed Smith liked the kissing. She likes it enough to start upstairs with Stella. She backs out at the elevator doors and can’t go through with it. Tanya mumbles an excuse about her upbringing and walks away. She’s probably the only person on the planet who would turn down sex with Gillian Anderson Stella Gibson.

Jamie Dornan as Paul Spector in The Fall
Jamie Dornan as Paul Spector in The Fall

While Stella and Tanya kissed in the bar, Paul found a way to get into Stella’s room. He read and photographed her dream journal, fingered her underwear, stroked her silk blouses. Stella comes in and he hides in the closet. He watches her walk around the room.

Burns (John Lynch) arrived – drunk. He talked about some stuff he did in season 1 related to a man named Monroe. His machinations may get him fired. Burns finally acts on his lust for Stella. She says no. He makes a lunge for her. She punches him in the nose.

Stella tends Burns’ bloody nose in the bathroom. Burns tells Stella the investigators learned Paul Spector was once in a group home run by a pedophile. At some point while they are in the bathroom, Paul sneaks out.

Stella tells Burns that female is the basic human form and maleness is a kind of birth defect. LOL. Smiles are so few in this taut drama, they are very welcome when they come.

When she’s finally alone again, Stella sits down to her computer and sees the weirdly sick wallpaper image Paul installed on it. She grabs her gun and searches the room, he’s gone. Nevertheless, she knows he’s been in her space.

Stella reacts to Jamie's message in her diary.
Paul’s message: “Oh, Stella Gibson, how well I know you now.”

Finally she notices her dream journal. Paul wrote a note in saying how well he understood her now that he’d read her diary. So creepy.

Paul and Katie have late night Skype sex from their respective beds. So much for his aversion to harming children. He’s ready to destroy misguided teenaged girls.

Everything about The Fall is masterful. Allan Cubitt’s writing and directing deserves much of the credit, of course. Additionally, the acting is superb from everyone. Gillian Anderson’s performance is sophisticated and quiet, yet manages to radiate power and depth. Jamie Dornan was born in Belfast, which explains his perfect Irish accent, but all the accents are spot on. Dornan has many scenes alone during which Paul plans or watches. He makes Paul Spector scary even when he’s alone. And the music – the music lays like an undertone at the bottom of every scene, pulsing with suspense and dread. It all adds up to one of the best suspense dramas I’ve ever seen.

The Fall, S2 E2: Night Darkens the Street

The tension is unbearable and scary as hell in episode 2 of The Fall. Season 1 was more cerebral. Now the tension is mounting, and the danger has gone way up.

There are spoilers.

Jamie Dornan is terrifying as Paul Spector in The Fall
Jamie Dornan is terrifying as Paul Spector in The Fall

The music, the pace, and Jamie Dornan’s performance as a menacing killer make everything about this episode terrifying. The music is breath-holding, tense, yet pulsing, moving. Who knew the sound of a gong could be so nerve-wracking? Writer and Director Allan Cubitt has created something very scary here.

Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson) wakes from a dream. She’s sleeping on a cot in her office. She writes her dream in a journal.

Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan) takes Rose Stagg (Valene Kane) out of her house after making her write a note to her family. She tries to outsmart him. She tries to fight him. She tries pleading with him. It doesn’t work. He stashes her in the abandoned building he found near his in-laws place.  The one where he tried some funny business with a manikin in season 1.

Stella Gibson is a lap swimmer. She works out that way. If that is really Gillian Anderson swimming laps, she’s an outstanding swimmer.

Detective Superintendent Gibson realizes immediately that Paul has taken Rose when Rose misses an appointment. The look of dread on Gillian Anderson’s face is telling.

Stella’s boss ACC Jim Burns (John Lynch) isn’t convinced they have an abduction on their hands. The police go to the Stagg house and look around. Rose’s little girl tells PC Dani Ferrington (Niamh McGready) about the man who came in the night and taught her the Peter Piper tongue twister. The boss is finally convinced.

Paul is the bereavement counselor for his own escaped victim, Annie Brawley (Karen Hassan). Oh my god! He alone with her in her hospital room. When he realizes she doesn’t recognize him, he actually does a decent job of counseling her. He tells her to think about the future and forget the past. Once they connect the scissors that killed her brother with the guy in her hospital room counseling her, it’s going to get crazy.

The Spector’s former babysitter Katie (Aisling Franciosi) is doing some crazy 16 year-old-shit. She takes the Spector’s daughter Olivia (Sarah Beattie) to attract Paul’s attention. Later she goes to Paul’s sleazy hotel room hoping for some sort of sexual adventure. He does not provide sex, but he is really tempted to strangle her. She’s going to get herself killed the way she’s acting.

Paul won’t have sex with Katie because she’s a child. He actually tells her to think about what she’s doing because every decision has consequences. He doesn’t want his wife to have an abortion because that would be killing a child. He’s got a thing about children, but it doesn’t carry over into the murder of grown women. As Bo Dennis, AKA Lost Girl, might say, “Mommie issues, get in line.”

Stella and pathologist Tanya Reed Smith (Archie Panjabi) realize that by revealing the police sketch of “Peter” to the press, they may have lead the killer straight to Rose. Tanya was friends with Rose before any of this started. They both feel responsible and guilty about Rose’s abduction.

A naked butt right under my nose? Huh?
A naked butt right under my nose? Huh?

Prof. Reed Smith confirms that the scissors they found could be the murder weapon. It’s a hilarious scene to watch when Stella and Tanya discuss the scissors as a possible murder weapon. They’re standing over a nude Joe Brawley on a lab table. They’re looking at the puncture wounds in his back. His bare butt is just inches from Gillian Anderson’s face. It cracked me up, and there are very few scenes in this series that make me smile.

They get a print from the scissors belonging to Paul Spector. Stella finally has a name for the killer. Stella realizes they’ve interviewed him and remembers seeing him in the hallway of the police headquarters.

With Rose missing and the killer’s name in her hand, Stella gets a little frantic to fill in all the blanks that were ignored when they questioned him as a witness in season 1 and when they interviewed his wife. Stella wants everything redone: interviews, checking stories. She’s almost yelling, showing some emotion, losing her cool. Since Stella is a very cool number, this is revealing of her concern for Rose Stagg.

Paul calls her on Rose’s phone. There’s blood on the phone. Stella calls him Peter and doesn’t let on she knows his real name. She reminds him Rose has two children and asks what he’s going to do with her. He answers, “No one can outwit death.” He throws away the phone. He drives away in Rose Stagg’s car and we hear someone making noises in the trunk.