Thursday, February 19, 2015

'The Mentalist' Finale -- Why Am I So Disappointed?

"The Mentalist" fans have been waiting for Patrick Jane to find happiness from the very beginning, and we all hoped it might be with Teresa Lisbon. So when the series finale ended [SPOILER ALERT] with a wedding and baby news, many longtime fans were ecstatic. While I was pleased to have a happily-ever-after with no painful twist for our lovely duo, it still didn't strike me as a worthy ending to seven seasons of romantic tension.
For one thing, that romantic tension seems to have slipped away in this final season. Way back in 2010, I was deeply moved by a moment when Jane and Lisbon merely touched hands. There was a huge well of emotion in Jane back then, and Lisbon seemed this perfect steady and compassionate soul that could meet all that emotion unflinchingly.

When the writers finally allowed our couple to be an actual couple, they decided to make them as chaste as possible. Suddenly Jane and Lisbon were sitting on park benches and smiling sweetly at each other, like a teenage couple in a wholesome 1950s TV show. The chemistry between them seemed totally zapped, their romantic moments always a little awkward. When we got to the big reveal that Lisbon was pregnant, I actually for a moment wondered how that had happened.

The first half of the finale, and the pursuit of a serial killer, was entertaining in a vacuum. At this point it didn't seem right to dredge up the past so keenly, with Jane as a faux psychic drawing out the killer, which once again turned out to be an extremely dangerous idea. Though I didn't appreciate the heavy-handed parallels to the start of the series, it was good to see Jane being the resourceful, insanely clever and calm Jane we know so well.

When the serial killer somehow survived a GINORMOUS EXPLOSION AND FIREBALLS, though, things got a bit ridiculous. They at least gave him some serious burns on one side of his body, but he strolled around town buying supplies, with no one reacting particularly strongly. When Jane and Lisbon discovered that the killer was still alive, they decided to trick him by GOING TO A REMOTE LOCATION and ditching all of the FBI protection, and friends and family Lisbon invited to their wedding. Um, okay.

Of course, they end up catching the killer and then go on their merry, marrying way. Somehow they get all the wedding guests over to Jane's new creepy shack in the woods, to celebrate amongst the weeds and mosquitoes. Magically they got a mansion-sized dance floor and electricity for twinkling lights into the middle of nowhere in time for the reception. Never mind all the catering and lovely flowers that Abbott paid for back at his gorgeous home. It's only money, right?

If they'd wanted to illustrate Jane's carefree nature and Lisbon's willingness to go along, I would have rather they eloped to some lovely island paradise and got married on the beach. They could have had a party with their friends either before or after they wed, in order to give us that joyful reunion. And the serial killer should have stayed blown up; all that faux drama just got in the way of the happy ending.

And there were some definite happy moments. Cho helping Lisbon pick out a wedding dress seemed sweet but crazy at first, until we realized he was the perfect person to give a truthful, straight-to-the-point opinion. The deadpan delivery of determinations like "snow cone" just made it all the funnier.

I'm totally blaming him for the bad dress she ended up with, though. We've seen Lisbon be va-va-voom before, and something a little more dramatic would have suited her better. This get-up seemed plain and kind of dumpy, and I don't know what was up with that netted headpiece.

We should forgive our fave stoic agent, however. Cho was also great with Wylie, literally smacking some sense into him and asking the kid to stay on instead of hiding in some new desk job. A Cho-led FBI force with Wylie on board--we would totally watch that spin-off show.

All in all I'm happy that Jane and Lisbon are together, but I sure would have loved something that resonated with deeper emotions. But considering the tears and cheers I've seen on Twitter, maybe I'm just too cynical.

What did you think of the series finale, "Mentalist" fans? Loved every minute, or did you feel a bit let down as well?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

'Gotham' -- We Want to Eat This Jim / Leslie Pairing with a Spoon

Jim Gordon Ben McKenzie Dr. Leslie Thompkins Morena Baccarin snuggle canoodling Gotham
Seriously. Look at them. They're adorable.

When "Gotham" first appeared on TV, I lamented two things about the show's lead. One was the fact that the show wasn't making full use of actor Ben McKenzie's good-guy aura and warmth, and two, that Jim Gordon's girlfriend Barbara (Erin Richards) wasn't worthy. As the season has progressed, the series has better found its tone and given us a likable hero--and an awesome new girlfriend.

Dr. Leslie Thompkins (Morena Baccarin) had some lovely flirtations back in Arkham, but we couldn't quite enjoy it because we weren't sure if she was a psychopath or not. (Just a minor issue.) Now that those suspicions are hopefully out of the way, we get an interesting, feisty partner for Jim to contend with. And now that she's the chief medical examiner, they get to flirt every day at work, too.

Jim Gordon smile happy Gotham Blind Fortune Teller episode pics screengrabs

It's tough not to love the interactions between these two. They are practically beaming at one another, wonderfully conveying that giddy feeling you have when you begin a relationship with someone and you can't believe how well it's going. Jim keeps trying to be all gruff and manly and stoic, but Leslie continues to surprise him in all sorts of ways. This turns him into a grinning, "aw shucks" pile of adorableness that is delightful to watch.

In "The Blind Fortune Teller," Leslie invites Jim on a date to the circus. He thinks it's a weird idea, but he dives in and ends up totally enjoying himself.

Jim Gordon Dr. Leslie Thompkins Gotham date circus

Of course no date in Gotham can be normal. A fight breaks out between the dueling families of the circus, out of which we'll eventually get Batman's boy wonder Robin. But for now, there's an altercation...and what turns out is also a solve.

(Check out: Why FOX's 'Gotham' Deserves A Season 2)

Leslie turns out to be very helpful to the cause, since the performers are more willing to open up to doctors than cops. She convinces Jim that she can do even more, and he keeps her involved throughout all the steps of the case. Even when she decides to follow up a lead from the circus psychic.

This is the only part that worries me. The fact that Leslie is interested in Jim's work, in solving crimes, is a good thing. She can be an integral part of his life. That's what Barbara claimed she wanted but then totally balked at. But Leslie seems a little crazily invested, to the point of only letting Jim have two bites of her home-cooked dinner before dragging him into the woods to follow a hunch.

I'm not sure if "Gotham" is just making her quirky, or if they're setting this couple up to fail so Barbara can work her way back in. Please no. So far that doesn't seem to be the case, as drug-addled Babs can't even rise to the level of street kids--who advise her to dress classy for her "accidental" meeting with Jim. "Like you've just gone sailing," Cat and Ivy suggest.

Leslie Jim make-out session kissing passionately Gotham Ben McKenzie Morena Baccarin blue dress gray suit pics

Maybe Barbara's been sailing in a cocktail dress and stiletto heels, who knows. But she gets an eyeful of Jim/Leslie canoodling that quickly squashes any idea to woo him back, no matter what she's wearing.

And we get an eyeful as well, and it's good stuff. Jim and Leslie make for a very affectionate, playful, and sexy couple. Please please please let us have more of this in "Gotham."

Gotham Leslie laugh Morena Baccarin Jim smile Ben McKenzie

Gotham Blind Fortune Teller Leslie Jim hold hands

Lovey dovey Jim Gordon Ben McKenzie loving eyes smile pics

Morena Baccarin Ben McKenzie Leslie Jim kiss snogging make out pics photos images screencaps


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