The Thirty-Second-Greatest Panel in the History of Comics!

When I saw this panel my jaw dropped. So I thought that the experience should be shared with everyone.



Criminal Minds 404: Paradise

Ooh, the episode opens with a trucker barreling down the road in the pouring rain, listening to rock music blaring from his radio - does he keep the music loud to drown out the screams of the people he keeps locked in the back?

Guess not, since he just ran into a car that was parked across the middle of the highway! So they're dealing with a killer who drugs people and then uses trucks as his murder weapon! Clever!

Also, now that 24 is off the air, I have to take my practical stunts where I can get them.

Back at home base the team breaks down the case - it turns out I was wrong, the people are already dead when they're put in the car, the woman raped and tortured, the men beaten to death. With this revelation JJ and Garcia are able to run down similar crimes, and find that there have been a number of similar cases in the past few weeks. Yes, weeks. Because every serial killer is a spree killer in the world of Criminal Minds.

Which brings them to the big question - how is the killer finding his victims? Tow truck ruse like in the hunting humans episode? Seems like this is the perfect place for that 'geographical profiling' thing. After all, if the killer is driving the victims' cars to the various highways where he leaves them for trucks to destroy, then he's got to be within easy walking/biking distance of all of those sites, right? Unless there's a second killer and they take 2 cars - but still, there's going to be a comfort zone situation and... you know what? I have no idea why I'm trying to solve this crime for them. Let's just meet our victims who, according to the timeline, will be tortured for 2 days before being murdered (in the business, they call this 'the ticking clock!).

On the way home after a trip to Reno, a married couple (one of them is William Mapother, of Lost/being related to Tom Cruise fame, and the other is Robin Lively - the Teen Witch!) decides to stop in at a motel to spend the night. After which the plot of the movie Vacancy will likely ensue. Hopefully we won't see too much of the couple - I didn't even like the movie, so I'm doubting that the rip-off is going to offer many improvements.


Criminal Minds 403: Minimal Loss

I'm just going to air the opening seconds of this week's episode, so everyone can share them with me.

A few points here: 1 - I liked the way they got a character to say this week's opening quote within the reality of the show. That's a nice touch. Unless there's another quote after the opening credits, in which case this was just an attempt to make the guy sound as little like an actual reporter covering a siege as possible.

2 - Don't often see loop lines that obvious, huh?

3 - Man, that's one calm and collected cameraman, isn't it? Giant explosion goes off just a few hundred yards away and he doesn't even flinch before zooming in. And such a precise zoom, too...

The show then jumps back three days to let us know that we're covering the Waco story - Reid and Emily are headed in undercover after an anonymous tip let the county know that a crazed religious leader has been molesting the girls at his evil compound. Social workers are supposed to interview the children to investigate the allegations, and for some reason they've called in the FBI to help out. And they're going to need all the help they can get - it turns out the cult leader is Luke Perry!

He's headed back to the Oz well, playing another bible-thumping madman! Although there was a lot more to his Oz character than I'm guessing is going to show up here. Luke allows them to head into the school and interview the potential victim, a creepily pious 15-year-old. She shuts down the whole investigation when she reveals that not only did she not make the phone call, but she's actually married to Luke!

Yeah, her. Ick, right? It seems that it's all legal because her creepy mother gave consent to the marriage! Before we can dig any deeper into the pscyhodrama everyone is rounded up by men with guns - it seems Luke was tipped off by a reporter that the cops were prepping a raid! The cultists immediately start firing on the police - no 'Rules of Engagement'-style open-to-interpretation misunderstandings on this show!

Then, in a move that's so stupid that the woman doing it can't be described as deserving to live any longer, the actual social worker that was covering for Emily and Reid runs up to try and get the cops to stop shooting. By yelling at them. From a room they're currently firing at, and being fired at from. So yeah, she immediately gets hit by a cop's bullet and is killed instantly. Luke gets his men to stop firing so that the police can retreat, proving that he's not all bad, at least.


The Thirty-First-Greatest Panel in the History of Comics!

Come, harken back with me to days of yore-

Those halcyon days when America (in the form of an anthropomorphized avatar) had the necessary moral authority to yell abuse at a manufacturer of poisoned candy. In many ways I would have loved to have lived back then.

Except for all the poisoned candy.


After.Life wasn't well thought out beyond the halfway mark.

Afterlife (that's right, I've abandoned the nonsense clever title spelling immediately) is a story about a dying woman (Christina Ricci) who gets into a car accident and winds up lying on a slab in Liam Neeson's mortuary. Liam patiently explains that he has the special ability to be able to see and communicate with people's souls after they're dead, and over the next three days between her 'waking up' and her funeral, he's going to make her look presentable while also easing her transition into the next life.

Perfectly good premise for a slow-paced, likely pretentious meditation of the grieving process and letting go, right? Well, it would be, except for the twist, which I'll get to after the jump, to protect people who may want to see the - just kidding! Liam's a serial killer who gets off on convincing people that he has magic powers so that they'll voluntarily allow themselves to be buried alive - after which Liam retires to his tiny bedroom and has a good chuckle to himself about the whole thing.


Criminal Minds 402: The Angel Maker

This week's episode opens with a cliche - the blond woman creeping around her empty house, suddenly being scared by movement, but then it turns out that it was just the cat. The show tries to be clever by having the woman acknowledge in dialogue that her situation is cliched, but then it goes and drops in a second one, Myers-style.

Yup, it's the old 'out of focus killer moving soundlessly getting ready to ambush the woman' shot. I don't fault the show for employing classic horror movie tropes, I fault them for thinking that they're better than the tropes, and making jokes that outright claim as much.

The woman is, unsurprisingly, beaten to death with a hammer just a short amount of time later moments later, and then her corpse is violated with a post-mortem rape and stabbing. Ick.

Back in Quantico Greg is getting an MRI - demonstrating a nice acknowledgement by the show that there are major lasting physical repercussions from being within five feet of a huge explosion. He's warned that he should stay away from further loud sounds for a few weeks, lest he be deafened permanently! Greg badgers his way into being put back on the active duty roster, but the scene ends with a note of concern from his doctor, who has to tell him that the phone in his jacket pocket is ringing. Which is a great idea, except that it requires the audience to believe that Greg, a man who's now been living for a few months with a serious degree of hearing loss, wouldn't have already switched the phone's vibrate feature on to compensate.

Once Greg has arrived at the office the start going through the details of the case, but not before Derek takes a moment to tease Reid about his ridiculous haircut:

I also take a moment to mention this seemingly random and unimportant act because it's worth noting that, according to the first episode, Mandy had everyone refer to Reid as 'Doctor Reid' because he looked too young to be an FBI agent, and he wanted to ensure that the man was given the proper respect that his intellect warranted. Now it's four years later, though, and Reid no longer looks too young to be an FBI Agent. He now just looks like an FBI agent with a haircut that's completely inappropriate for an employee of the federal government to be sporting. He's by far the least-appropriately attired member of a team that includes a member who feels comfortable running around in jeans.

While representing the FBI.

Hey, so where were we? Ah, yes, the new crime is a copycat for a serial killer who called himself 'The Angel Maker' - a serial killer who was executed one year to the day before this new crime. Ready for the twist? The semen found on the dead body was an exact DNA match for the Angel Maker! What could possibly explain this development? Let's find out after the opening credits!

(although the only two possible explanations are identical twin or semen smuggled out of death row)


Criminal Minds 401: Mayhem

Yay, Greg's not dead! His ears seem to have blown out (and the show's producers have decided to express that by overlaying a high-pitched whine that actually hurts my ears - great for relatability, bad for my ears), and his British chippie is nowhere to be seen, but at least Greg's not dead. Also, the bomber runs up to him to check if he's okay:

How do we know that this guy's the bomber? Well, let's see... he's a middle-eastern guy within easy walking distance of a bomb that just went off. Criminal Minds just isn't the kind of show that's going to have a non-evil middle-easterner show up to mess with our preconceptions.

Seriously, has this show ever had a middle-eastern person on it that wasn't a terrorist? I mean, I know it's about profiling, I just didn't think they meant 'racial profiling'.

Moving right along, the bomber (whose name is 'Sam') announces that he's already called an ambulance - Greg asks him to call back so that he can tell them the victims of the bombing are FBI agent, which will presumably get them to hurry their asses up.

Greg finds Kate a little further up the road, badly injured - while attempting to treat her he refers to the bomb that went off as 'an IED' - which seems like an odd choice of phrase. What with it being a car-bomb, and all. More to the point, though, they've got to reason to assume that this is a jury-rigged explosive made from artillery shells or salvaged landmines. Really, the only reason to use the term 'IED' is to reinforce a connection between this attack and the kinds of things that happen in Iraq and Afghanistan, which seems like the kind of overly political thinking that people under stress wouldn't do. If Greg were a veteran just back from the war, I'd totally buy him using IED as a synonym for 'bomb'. He's not, though, so it's all kind of a stretch.

Anyhoo, Kate's bleeding badly and will likely die if she doesn't get treatment immediately. There's a hitch, though - the SOP of bombers is to set off a small bomb to injure a few people, then use a bigger one to take out the cops and paramedics who arrive to help.

Ironically, the very orders that Kate put out to save lives may wind up costing her her own!

Also, what do you want to bet that they never explain how someone was able to sneak up to an FBI vehicle parked in front of an FBI building and plant a bomb in it with nobody noticing?


I Hate Indiana Jones: Day 62

Indiana Jones and the Hole-y Plot (Part 4)

Building on the previous article, let's accept, for the sake of argument, that the door used to be open, and then some kind of security system closed it only after the skull was stolen – how did the conquistadores get down to the treasure room in the first place? The only way to open the temple is to let out a huge amount of sand through holes in a rock, which causes a central pillar to descend, which acts as a counterweight moving some outer pillars, which work the mechanism that opens the floor, revealing a staircase that juts out from the wall - for just fifteen seconds. Then the stairs begin sliding back into the wall, but the hole in the roof of the temple doesn’t close again.

So, after the Conquistadores opened the temple with this mechanism, and presumably used some kind of a grappling hook system to get back up again after the stairs had retracted, why did the natives reset it? What possible motivation could the natives have had for doing this? To keep invaders from stealing any further skulls? How could a theoretical invader possibly do that without them already having a skull to open the door? It can’t be to keep outlanders from grabbing all of the antiquities held in the cockpit’s antechamber, because, as isolated kung-fu-monkey-ninjas, they would have no conception of those items’ value.

This rather gaping plot hole grows out of the fact that the audience is never privy to anything approaching a motivation for the natives of the lost valley. Do they want the skull back? If so, why didn’t they grab it? Do they not want it back? If not, why did they docilely let a group of guys carrying the skull climb their pyramid? You can’t tell me their religion didn’t allow them to touch the skull, because they didn’t seem to have a problem burying along with the Conquistadores.

Traps and doors that needed to be reset were commonplace in the other Indiana Jones films, but at least there some sense of purpose could be ascribed to the people who maintained them. The thuggee wanted to ensure that the secret passageway into their underground lair was well-guarded, so they made a crush room. Obviously they’d want to use that passage themselves at some point, so there was also a simple reversing lever. Likewise the Hovitos’ traps would only be effective at keeping people away from their idol – a clear motive – if they were hidden in the walls, so it makes sense that they would sneak in and reset them every time someone wound up stabbed by some light-triggered skewers.

As for the zombie kung-fu monkeymen, because it’s never clear what they want, their actions can never make sense. The fact that those actions are internally inconsistent is just awful icing on a shoddy cake.