Welcome to Last Night on TV, our daily column that looks back at what happened on television the night before. If we’re going to stay up all night and watch TV, we might as well talk about it the next day.
Last night on TV, Alisha fights alongside the Legends of Tomorrow, Neil is convinced that a Game of Thrones alum is stealing You, Me and The Apocalypse, and Chris works through Top Chef and Portlandia.
Legends of Tomorrow
Alisha Grauso: Last night’s episode of Legends of Tomorrow, “White Knights,” was perhaps the weakest episode so far in terms of narrative, but it was the set up to what may very well be the strongest episode yet next week. I can’t figure out yet if this show is good, or simply entertaining. But the answer to that question doesn’t matter much because the first few episodes have just been so much fun.
This episode admittedly felt disjointed. The opening scene showed great promise – the whole team finally working together as a well-oiled machine. Of course, as we’ve already seen from the first few episodes, it was a team competence that was to be short-lived, and the mission turned disastrous as usual. Soon, it was back to small groupings working together within the team. The showrunners appear to still be figuring out which character pairings work, and it’s understandable, but it’s getting frustrating to so rarely see the team all together – that is, after all, why we tune in, right?
As always, Captain Cold stole the show. At the moment, this is as much his series as Rip Hunter’s, the de facto leader of the team. Wentworth Miller plays him with an overabundance of charm and snark, turning every scene he’s in into a steal. The writers clearly have the most fun writing his character, which is both a strength and a detriment to the rest of the show. He’s by far gotten the most development and is turning into a really strong character, but as a result, the development and personalities of the rest have flagged behind. You have to hope that will be remedied as the season progresses, but it’s also a possibility that with an ensemble cast this big, there will only be a few characters that truly jump out at you on screen and the rest never get fleshed out as they could.
I’m not 100% sold on the strength of this show yet, but if they can figure out how to balance a cast this large, it should be something to entertain for a while.
You, Me and The Apocalypse
Neil Miller: Is former Game of Thrones schemer Joel Fry stealing this show?
That’s a thought I couldn’t escape through much of this week’s You, Me and The Apocalypse. It could be said that like the show at-large, “Still Stuff Worth Fighting For” was meant to be a showcase for Rob Lowe as a line-crossing, pervy (but not in that way) priest. And this episode featured a cameo from Nick Offerman as a country bumpkin who likes to wear women’s clothing. Yet I can’t shake the fact that Joel Fry, as sidekick to our most central (hero?) is the most energetic and engaging character in a show full of moving pieces. The swans gag alone made this episode entertaining.
It is the abundance of moving parts that appear to be weighing You, Me and The Apocalypse down a bit. The show’s creatives appear intent upon giving a handsome amount of screen time to every one of the 15 characters who will eventually end up in that survival bunker, plus a bunch of other random diversions along the way. It’s no surprise that it’s starting to feel like it’s dragging its feet.
The good news is that there are some characters within this universe with whom we still want to fight. Now that we know Jamie’s daughter might be the second coming, his quest to find his wife, the daughter he’s never met and his crazy mother remains interesting. The same goes for Father Jude and Celine. What will they do with this girl? And while we know she makes it into the bunker, what will become of our favorite Catholic investigators? It’s still too early to pass judgment on You, Me and The Apocalypse, but I’m still interested in some of its characters. A little focus could go a long way, but perhaps things will become clear as the miniseries enters its important middle episodes. Plus, what’s going on with the bubble lady?
Christopher Campbell: Last week, I complained about feeling an emptiness with an episode of Top Chef having no Judge’s Table. Unless it’s the finale, I don’t want a cliffhanger on a cooking show. This week, fortunately, they filled me back up. Yet while I felt satisfied with many things that happened with the conclusion of this year’s two-part, lunch and dinner service Restaurant Wars, especially the choice for who went home (delusional, pompous ass Phillip), I’m still surprised there wasn’t a more complete and balanced meal as far as the critiques went.
The judges – Tom, Padma, Gail and guest Bill Chait – ate and experienced a lot throughout the four dining sessions. I understand that the Judge’s Table segment can’t be very long, but it was unfortunate they didn’t discuss more, particularly the favorable elements of losing team District L.A.’s efforts. They probably did tell Jeremy and Kwame that they made some delicious food, too, and that footage was just edited out. And when later conversing among themselves the judges did address the two chefs’ being evened out in their various contributions, but it just looked like they were pounding the team with so much focus on the negatives. I guess there were major disasters. That strawberry dish looked like something a child would make while unsupervised and ice cream free at a sundae bar.
Actually, there were two more issues with District L.A. – well, specifically again with Phillip – that I wish the judges had brought up. One was his behavior doing the front-of-house role. They recognized the “insane” idea of the cocktail “magic show” at the host’s stand, but (maybe they didn’t get a confirmation about this) they should have called him out on trying to promote his own local restaurants to the Restaurant Wars diners. Maybe that’s not against any rules on the show, but he needs to be taught a lesson in tact. The other issue I feel should be a rule breaker. Phillip got some waiter or busboy or someone to help in the kitchen cutting strawberries. There’s no way that’s permissible.
To be sure that I’m not also focusing on the negatives, here’s some great parts: Isaac getting his first, much deserved win; and the judges’ commentary throughout their dining experiences. Gail is the MVP, in part for her making me now crave savory monkey bread (I didn’t even know many people knew of monkey bread) and – — wait for it – her delivery on the crudo trend. I love when they have fun, even if some of it is kind of mean, during their immediate reaction moments. This time it didn’t seem to be because they’d had a lot to drink (though they were poured a whole lot of alcohol at District L.A.). Maybe there was more time for that stuff to be included in this episode because there was no Quickfire Challenge or the shopping, planning, waking up and other usual filler. It was a real benefit to at least the second half of a two-parter.
Christopher Campbell: This week’s off-continuity episode had the season’s first real must-share bit. No, I’m not talking about the Glenn Danzig guest appearance, though that was also amazing. I mean the opener, a fake commercial for a best of CD from BWOW, the supposed group responsible for every TV drama (and one documentary serial) theme song featuring heavy slide guitar, slap bass and extra percussion instruments (I think Fred was alluding to a vibraslap specifically) to represent skulls and such. The “twangy, stripped down, sensual” sounds mixed with lyrics about doing bad things to or with others. Heard at the beginning of shows like True Blood, True Detective, The Jinx, and maybe coming soon in an alternate universe, Alabama Dirty Grit. I was laughing too hard during this two-part sketch.
I also laughed too much during the one about how there are too many places to listen to music now and it’s all confusing where to find everything, and we need to just go back to that one CD that’s been in the car for 10 years. Confession: mine is probably still Counting Crows’ “August and Everything After.” I know. I thought Fred and Carrie were actually going to name it. It would have been next, right after The Cranberries. That segment went a little longer than necessary, though. The record player part wasn’t as funny.
The running plot of the goths going to the beach was okay overall, but their car rental segment was really funny, mostly thanks to Jillian Bell, and yes Danzig’s part with the colorful beach attire options was great. I wish he had put on some bright Billabong, though.
Finally, the phone charger sketch was kind of brilliant, not just for how relatable the situation was but because deaf comedy (not def comedy) is never done like that, just to be acted out in sign language for no significant or at least no specified reason. And now you probably know how to sign “that’s my charger” in case you ever need to.
What did you watch last night?