Saturday, October 28, 2017

REVIEW: FOX's 'Ghosted,' 'The Last Man on Earth' and 'The Gifted' (October 22-28)

Various reviews from FOX shows for October 22-28, 2017:

FOX's Ghosted - Episode 1.04 "Lockdown"
FOX's The Last Man on Earth - Episode 4.04 "Wisconsin"
FOX's The Gifted - Episode 1.04 "eXit Strategy"

In 2017, it's impossible to watch every scripted show out there. There are over 450 of them. It's even more impossible to even provide adequate coverage of some of them. Great shows slip through the cracks. Some shows take awhile to figure themselves out. So as a way for me to provide more coverage of various shows, I'll just be writing some paragraph reviews of the various shows that aired new episodes on FOX from October 22-28, 2017. Enjoy!

Ghosted - "Lockdown"
LaFrey's boss, Director Romslo, puts the whole office on lockdown when a deadly amphibious creature escapes in the Bureau Underground, giving Max and Leroy only 30 minutes to eliminate the threat. The creature's first victim is everyone's favorite coworker, Bob. Unbeknownst to the team, the water boy is locked in the building with them. Amidst the chaos, Leroy starts to suspect that Annie has a crush on Max. Written by Sean Clements and directed by Rob Schrab

"Lockdown" features more guest stars than any previous episode of the show - with Beck Bennett being the only one who actually gets to do something interesting. And yet, it's the most successful outing so far because it keeps the focus on its main cast members as they are locked in the same situation together. They are all dealing with the same exact thing which helps make this episode feel more unified than the episodes that came before it. Sure, it was a little predictable what was going to happen to Bob. He's never been seen before but he's everyone's favorite co-worker at the Bureau Underground. They talk him up just so it's amusing when he is quickly killed afterwards. His death kicks this whole story into motion. It's a story complicated by some miscommunications. LaFrey's story with Jace, the water delivery guy, never really gets going. Meanwhile, Leroy and Annie hit the Dublin creature much more than once with bullets. So, there should have been more than two creatures terrorizing the office. And yet, the show still does enough to keep things simple and concise. The tension is raised with the characters needing to rely on each other in order to survive. Their teamwork is highlighted in a way that makes everyone stand out. Sure, Barry is a little too clingy and desperate to be included. That could be amusing. It's just too forced right now - as is the romantic angst between Max and Annie. But the conclusion with Max and Leroy going in for a one man job with Lafrey then putting the second creature in the microwave is some pretty solid comedic beats. A-

The Last Man on Earth - "Wisconsin"
Carol panics when Todd and Melissa leave for their honeymoon and Erica and Gail decide to live on their own for awhile. She and Tandy devise the ultimate plan to convince everyone it's safer to stick together. Written by Matt Marshall and directed by Jennifer Arnold

The season so far has been defined by the gang traveling to Mexico and meeting up with new guest stars. That's perfectly fine as well. It's been an amusing start to the season. But this episode reminds the audience of just how strong its core ensemble is. It brings the focus and attention back to the six main characters. Of course, should the audience be worried about where Jasper disappears to after hanging out with Tandy? He's not seen at all after that. But he's not all that essential to the second half of this episode either. This is an effective story for the show because it highlights whether or not these people still need to live together. They've endured so much together. They've survived together. They are stronger when they are together. But is some distance capable of being a good thing? The end of the episode suggests that it isn't. No one is willing to live in the hospital with Carol and Tandy. But they do all admit that it would be better to live together. It will always mean that they'll be a part of each other's lives and that life will be more complicated as a result. Living apart was a return to normalcy for them. They were no longer running away from a madman or pending nuclear disaster. Instead, they just got to live simple lives. Carol needs more than that. Through an almost tragedy with Todd, the group is able to come together again. This show has such immense life-or-death stakes to it. It's a plot point it goes to numerous times. And yet, things still resonated in an emotionally uncertainty way as soon as Todd was suffering his heart attack. The pacing was all there to suggest no one would take him seriously. But that safe word saves his life. The group rallies together and it's a nice hopeful moment to end on that brings the focus of the season back to these six characters in such a strong way. A-

The Gifted - "eXit Strategy"
When the mutants devise a plan to take down Sentinel Services, Eclipse seeks out an old friend from his dark past in order to obtain some useful information. Lauren and Andy attempt to combine their powers in order to help the group. Written by Meredith Lavender & Marcie Ulin and directed by Karen Gaviola

Right now, Emma Dumont is the only actor giving an interesting and compelling performance on this show. It's so easy to invest in Polaris and her struggle for survival. With all of the other main characters, there's a lack of urgency or desire to care about them. The family drama with the Struckers is just lame and boring. Reed does get a solid moment in realizing that he used to be a bad guy but just because he is aware of that and has mutant children doesn't immediately make him an ally. But the rest is pretty boring. The love triangle between Thunderbird, Blink and Dreamer is just awkwardly executed and really forced. The cartel stuff with Eclipse could be interesting. It forces him into a morally compromising decision to save Polaris. That highlights one of the bigger issues of the show. Yes, it's being smart in showing the systemic issues of the various institutions that are failed the mutants. That allegory is strong and can be played opposite real-life issues. But it's not a strong enough hook for the main narrative. This episode should be the most thrilling and climatic one of the season so far because the mutants are successfully able to rescue Reed and Polaris. And yeah, it is a thrilling sequence that does reach that conclusion. It's not a pointless cliffhanger that will be resolved next week. But I'm not quite sure what happens next. Is there any reason for these characters to continue together now that their main objective is over? And will I ultimately care about them continuing to act together based on whatever that twist is going to be? This show needs a strong central villain. I imagine that's what Garret Dillahunt is going to be eventually. But right now, there's just not a strong enough reason to be invested. B-