Friday, March 23, 2018

REVIEW: NBC's 'Timeless,' 'Chicago Med' and 'Superstore' (March 18-23)

Various NBC reviews for March 18-23, 2018:

Timeless - Episode 2.02 "The Darlington 500"
Chicago Med - Episode 3.12 "Born This Way"
Superstore - Episode 3.16 "Target"

In 2018, 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, I'll just be writing some paragraph reviews of the various shows that aired new episodes on NBC from March 18-23, 2018. Enjoy!

Timeless - "The Darlington 500"
Written by Jim Barnes and directed by Olatunde Osunsanmi

This is another solid episode of the show. This season is off to such a strong start. It really has a newfound focus and drive this year - probably fueled by its almost cancellation. This hour also provides a nice change-up to the normal operating procedure of the show. This time Wyatt is the history expert because he is the only one on the team who knows about NASCAR. The team travel back to the 1950s to prevent the Rittenhouse sleeper agent from driving a car armed with a bomb into the crowd with the most influential men of the auto industry. It's a serious mission that poses a number of really intriguing questions. Do the memories that Lucy, Wyatt and Rufus have about past events come from their original histories? Or are they new memories already implanted because of the work of the sleeper agents? It's enough potentially to make the show spiral down a time travel hole of despair. But it remains light on its feet. It's once again fueled by this being such a personal episode for Wyatt. Yes, it adds even more tragedy to his backstory with the reveal that his father was abusive and he left home at 15. But it's not a reveal that Wyatt wallows in while telling his friends. Instead, it's just a way to form a connection in the past that allows the team to get to the race and stop the bomb from detonating. It also just features a really fun car chase sequence that is appropriate for the time period and genre the show is going for here. It's just pure fun that is infectious to see. Of course, it also comes wrapped up with the latest tease of a kiss between Lucy and Wyatt. They are once again interrupted. That's a routine that will get old quickly. Meanwhile, Connor Mason is a little annoying with his idea to go onto a public stage despite Rittenhouse agents still being at large. And Jiya is still having these visions of the future that are coming true but refusing to share them with anyone. That's going to cause problems eventually. Hopefully, it won't become too life-threatening to her or her relationship with Rufus. And lastly, the show only briefly teases the great intellect of the man Carol and Emma saved and brought to the present. He's inspiring to a degree while remaining very cryptic over what the ultimate goal is for Rittenhouse. B+

Chicago Med - "Born This Way"
Written by Jeff Drayer & Daniel Sinclair and directed by Lin Oeding

Dr. Bekker doesn't really exist as her own individual character. She's always been informed by her relationship with Connor. He's basically the only other character she interacts with. As such, it was inevitable that they would hookup. The show put them together right before making them rivals again. Here, it's seen that they did have sex together. But it's more important that they are butting heads at work as they have different opinions about a complicated case. It's mostly a story of her pointing out all the ways Connor's plans could go wrong with him angrily dismissing everything she's saying. It's not a healthy dynamic at all. The audience is probably suppose to pick up on that and understand why Bekker denies Connor's offer to get a drink. It just really feels forced as well because Bekker doesn't exist as an individual. Meanwhile, the show establishing that Sarah's father is actually a sociopath intent on manipulating her into helping him during his deteriorating health is starting to verge on too much trauma and melodrama being flung onto her this season. It's also a story where a lot of things are happening to her without her knowledge. Dr. Charles knows the extent of what's going on but can't warn Sarah about it. That makes it more of a story from his perspective when the focus really should be on Sarah. Elsewhere, it's still weird to see Will as the voice of reason in a medical case. Sure, he's being forceful and refusing to listen to his patient for the longest time. But he's doing it for what he understands to be his legal responsibility in this job. He can't judge his patients - even the ones who want to die because of their heinous thoughts. Meanwhile, the hospital board refusing to shut down the pizza room mostly highlights just how cynical and potentially manipulative this industry can really be. That has true human consequence. That is showcased through a strong story outside the hospital with Choi and Natalie helping a homeless teen deliver a baby. It's all building to the heartbreaking ending of her giving up her daughter for the promise of her having a better life in foster care. It's enough to convince Choi to reach out to his sister - which may be another case of the show piling on the melodrama at this point of the season. B-

Superstore - "Target"
Written by Jonathan Green & Gabe Miller and directed by Daniella Eisman

Superstore feels like a show that could incorporate quite a bit of product placement. It is set in a big box store that could provide promotion for so many different products. As such, it's not surprising to see a more sponsored episode. This episode is all about Target. It mostly operates as an ad for Target and how much better it is compared to Cloud 9. And yet, that clashes with the natural tone of the show. For three seasons, this show has told the audience that big box stores are so impersonal because of the corporations running them that care more about the bottom line than the people. And now, it's turning around and doing an ad for Target that says how great that big corporation is - the pay is higher, the benefits are better, there is daycare, etc. As such, it makes all of the main characters seem very dim for still wanting to work at Cloud 9. The show addresses that somewhat but it doesn't really come together in the end. That basically just makes this forced product integration for no real purpose whatsoever. It's said that Jeff has taken a job as the new manager of this Target. But that's just a lie because he doesn't want people thinking he's unemployed - which everyone does eventually find out in the end. Elsewhere, the show has really been focusing on the potential Jonah-Amy coupling a lot over the last few episodes. And now, it takes a slight break from all of that melodrama. Instead, it focuses on how they have perfectly fine and pleasant chemistry with other people. Kelly has always been positioned as the woman Jonah dates so he can't be together with Amy. But this episode reminds the audience about why Jonah-Kelly work as a couple. Sure, it takes a long time for him to honestly talk about his feelings. But he does get there and still believes it's a good idea to move in together. And then, Amy is similarly being set up with a new guy. The joke of her going on a double date with Dina where she's paired with an old man doesn't land at all. That story just never gets off the ground and finds something funny to say. But it does introduce the idea of Amy having a connection with the water delivery guy. It's a sweet and easy dynamic that should be interesting to see if the show continues to flesh out in the future. C+