The Next Day: The Tapes Edition

Welcome to the first installment of a new feature here at TheAvod: The Next Day! What is the purpose of this feature, you ask? Simple - as I'm sure most cineastes are aware, horror movies only have one ending - the monster gets away - despite the fact that studies have conclusively proven that everyone hates open-ended horror movies. The plague of open-endedness went so far as to drive producers to alter the TV version of 'The Thing', adding a blatant 'the monster gets away' ending to the film's famous ambiguous one.

This assumption that all horror films must be so rigidly formulaic has caused the people who make them to grow incredibly lazy when constructing their narratives, ending every film by tacking on the 'and then the killer got away with it' resolution even when the facts presented in the film in no way allow for the possibility of that happening.

The ridiculous part is that there's no need for this ending - if a situation with believable characters is crafted with enough skill, it's scary enough when they wind up getting killed by a monster. The experience of watching that happen is what people go to horror movies for - not to have the filmmaker - at the supposed 'end' of the story - announce "And the creature is still out there... maybe standing right behind you... right now!" It's as if somehow William Castle became the template for every horror filmmaker's career.

So the methodology of this feature is as follows: I establish the facts of the plot, relate the film's ending, and then explain what would have logically happened next - despite the film's claims or implications.

Now our Inaugural Film: The Tapes!


Criminal Minds 618: Lauren

It's part 2, folks, which opens with Emily arriving at an Irish Pub in Boston! Which certainly suggests that the show isn't going to be too concerned with explaining how Doyle escaped the city-wide dragnet of law enforcement officers from five different agencies who all knew his name and face. It seems that this pub is the selfsame one that an undercover Emily met Doyle at eight years ago!

They were introduced by that famous weaselly character actor on the left, who was something of a fixer at the time, it seems. She showed up one day, looking for 'Valhalla', which naturally led her to Doyle. What exactly had Doyle done to warrant this kind of huge multi-agency attention all those years ago? I'm sure it will be explained when Emily goes to talk to the fixer, who's fallen on hard times since the flashback.

Meanwhile, back at the office, the team (apparently not noticing that Emily's been gone for hours) finally looks over Emily's information from Cia, which includes a list of all of the cover names of the people working on the Doyle case, save for Emily's which has been left off. All of the cover names start with LR, though, which is enough of a clue to make Reid remember Emily talking about Lauren Reynolds on the phone a few weeks earlier!

In case you're wondering, that is officially the first time Reid's photographic memory actually helped them with a clue that couldn't be figured out any other way. It only took them nearly seven years for it to come in handy!

Now that they realize she's missing, Joe is able to intuit that Emily must have been keeping her involvement with Doyle a secret in order to protect them - no one bothers to question how stupid this premise is, however - especially because Doyle has demonstrated no ability to get to any of them. At the height of his power since escaping prison Doyle has had three gun-toting henchmen on his side. Now he's presumably down to just two. What chance would they have against the combined might of the FBI and DC police?

Instead of discussing how ridiculous Emily's stupidity has been, the team decides to use their normal tricks to find Doyle - they'll profile him as the killer and Emily as the victim! They'll even bring in a terror specialist and friend of Emily's to work the case... JJ! Ah, it's good to have her back. Although, given how frequently profiling fails to help them catch anyone, I don't much like their chances of success.

Back in Boston Emily confronts the fixer, demanding to know how many people Doyle has working for him. The fixer suggests it's just 15-20, local mob thugs and ex-IRA goons with a few rifles between them. If this is true, it's a threat that should have been established a while ago. More importantly, it's reason enough for Emily to bring in the authorities - after all, she's not some manner of Jason Statham, does she really think there's a chance that she'll get past more than a dozen armed guys?

The fixer offers to tell Emily where Doyle is, but she just replies that she already knows (information that could be shared with the FBI's SWAT units, perchance?), and shoots the fixer in the head. Seriously, that happens.

Good work? I'm not even sure how I'm supposed to respond to this reckless murdering, especially as it's accomplishing nothing but endangering her own life and the lives of her friends further. Also deafening her, since she just fired a gun in a tiny soundproofed space.

Okay, it's time for a blast from the past, as JJ lays out the case information! It seems Emily used to work for the CIA, as part of a group tasked with 'profiling' terrorists. And all the members of her team are being killed off - including Angus, who was apparently murdered with his family in Brussels seven days earlier, and we just never heard about it.

Why wasn't he in hiding? He knew Doyle was coming for him, and it's not that hard to do. Just go somewhere and don't tell anyone you're there. Unless your pursuer has the resources of a governmental intelligence service (and Doyle doesn't) , there's basically no way to find you.

Oh, and apparently Cia's name was spelled Tsia. Which is just nuts. I'm not saying you're not allowed to have that name, I'm just saying the show should have put it in print for me much earlier so I didn't think I was going crazy by hearing the nonsense assemblage of letters 'Cia'. It seems the only surviving members of the team are Prentiss and Sebastian Roche! They also learn that Emily had an affair with Doyle as part of his cover which, along with the dead child they still don't know about, probably has quite a bit to do with his hurt feelings.


TheAvod marvels at the decline of Eric Roberts.

Seriously, how does someone as talented as Eric Roberts wind up appearing in people's terrible home movies? What kind of sense does that make?

Find out by right-clicking here to download the episode!

Okay, there aren't any answers. Just us marveling at the awfulness.

The Ninety-Seventh-Greatest Panel in the History of Comics

Ah, ill-defined superpowers - you're the crutch of all great writers. Wait, is 'great' the word I was looking for there?


Criminal Minds 617: Valhalla

It's finally happening! After a few episodes of buildup we're actually doing the all-Emily episode. So let's get to it!

While Emily travels on the subway, constantly glancing over her shoulder, looking for evidence of Doyle's goons, an Italian-speaking gentleman returns home, commenting on the heavy storm that's about to hit the area. There is a suspicious silence from his family when he calls upstairs to them. Equally sinister happenings are transpiring in another family's house, where a woman readying herself for a night on the town hears a thump (which silences her husband) in the other room before all the lights are killed.

Soon afterwards both families are killed by men is needlessly creepy masks!

  Oh, and for the record, that needlessly creepy man is apparently killing a woman by suffocating her with a towel pulled taut across her face.

Which is a few degrees below plausible.

Emily's okay, though - as she naps on the subway, Sebastian and Cia arrive to chat with her. She lets them know that she's seen Doyle, and they're surprised - as am I. Why didn't she mention that she was going out to meet him last week? There was literally nothing stopping him from killing her.

She also maintains her position that she doesn't want to tell her team about this whole situation because it's 'her fight'. So Emily's plan is try to catch an internationally wanted criminal herself, rather than using the full resources of the United States government - which, it's important to remember - are at her disposal. The only possible explanation for this behaviour is that she did something so awful (mass murder/treason) in capturing Doyle the first time that if her government found out about it she'd be sent to jail forever.

Of course that's completely inconsistent with everything we know about Emily as a character, so that can't be it.

Oh, and then literally seconds after saying that by working together they'll be able to get rid of Doyle, Emily hops off the subway, leaving Sebastian and Cia behind. Oy.

Okay, the next afternoon the team is running down the cases - two families dead in two house fires on the same night! The husband and wife were suffocated and then their house blown up - a gas leak operating as an explanation for both unusual circumstances. The other case is a little more puzzling, as the police are assuming that the man killed his wife and child and then shot himself, since his own gun was used in the crime.

Few things...

1 - Apparently all three were shot in the forehead. Who shoots himself in the forehead? Wouldn't you have to pull the trigger with your thumb?

2 - Check out the murder weapon:

It has a silencer. I assume that Doyle's people killed this guy because of some involvement in espionage, but even if he was shady, would he really have a silencer lying around the house? And if he didn't have one, how could the killers have possibly have brought a silencer that would fit his gun?

3 - If he killed his family and then himself, how did the house get set on fire?

Alright, back to the show - where it's revealed that I was hasty in my complaint!

The husband actually was shot in the temple - Greg was just mistaken when he said forehead earlier. Compounding his mistake, Greg then wins this week's Prentiss Award as he attempts to put a ticking clock on the episode's plot:

So you're saying he has to kill in the next 72 hours, or what happens? Wouldn't it actually be easier for him to kill during this storm? I mean, he murders whole families, and during an apocalyptic storm they're guaranteed to be home, and the police will be unable to respond to any calls. Yeah, that made less than no sense, Greg.

Garcia then confronts Emily about her constantly being late, assuming that she's finally found herself a fella. Emily shuts her down in a surprisingly brusque way, which I can only assume will make Garcia even more curious... after the opening credits!


The Ninety-Sixth-Greatest Panel in the History of Comics

(click to bigify!)

Yes, I know this is a great page, rather than panel, but I was so captivated by all the playful little quirks that I couldn't help but share. Be sure to click on it so that you can make out all the minor details!

TheAvod Gets Animated!

Yup, it's another animated theme show on theAvod, this time addressing another DC product, a questionable movie tie-in, and a fantastically bizarre racing movie! Which is the best of the three? Find out by right-clicking here to download it!


Criminal Minds 616: Coda

More clip packages this week - prominently featuring Angus MacFayden. Will this be the week he finally returns? I certainly hope so! Before all that, let's just focus on the plot of this week's episode, which concerns an autistic boy who tickles the ivories while footage of the various team members starting their day plays onscreen. Most notable is Reid's clip, which features him carrying a book on migraines! So that storyline is chugging along nicely. As is Emily's plot, which continues apace with her discovery that her car is suspiciously unlocked in her building's garage - as usual, she doesn't tell anyone about it, nor ask for any help. No, she just uses a remote car starter to turn the engine over, confident that sending a good ten feet away from a car will be sufficient to protect her from an explosion.

While the autistic boy plays away, a gun wielding lower-class scumbag enters his home, threatens his parents with a gun, and then shoots at least one of them, splattering blood all over the place! How do we know he's lower class? He's wearing a fishing vest and jeans, which, along with pickup trucks, are fairly strong bits of visual shorthand TV producers love. Then the boy walks to school on his own, shocking everyone standing out in the yard when the see the blood all over him.

On her way in to work Emily pauses for a meeting with 'Cia' (? - that's what she seems to say) and Sebastian Roche, so that they can compare notes about the fact that Doyle is coming to murder them. The scene establishes that they know absolutely nothing - and we saw Doyle get to America last week, so we're way ahead of the characters on this - and that they're not great at secret meetings. The first part of the plan - have everyone use a specific set of disposable cell phones for a three-way call, then throw them out - is good enough, although the security of cellphones leaves something to be desired. The rest of the execution is just terrible. Even though they know full well that two of the team members are known to Doyle - Emily was undercover with him and he just murdered Cia's fiancee - they talk on their cellphones while standing and sitting just twenty feet from each other. Since two of them are already known to Doyle, why are they pretending not to know each other while making their conversation less secure by having it over a cell phone? If Doyle (or his operative) was watching from a car or building nearby, he'd see two of the people he's looking for in one place - whether they were talking to each other or not, that's going to draw close attention. And probably draw their attention to everyone else using cellphones in the immediate vicinity.

It's rule number one of spycraft, which fiction can never seem to remember - if you're afraid of the person you're meeting, you meet in a public place. If you're afraid of third parties, you meet in private. Wouldn't literally any random room anywhere in the city have been a better place for this meeting?

Okay, plot time - the team needs to go down to Louisiana to interview the autistic witness, since his parents have disappeared, and he's their only lead! Before we get to the credits, I've got to ask: how can he be their only lead? Unless he lives in a farmhouse with a half-mile of clearance on either side, I really feel like there should have been plenty of witnesses to this crime. The kidnapper fired a gun in a house, then somehow got at least one badly-injured person/corpse out to his pickup truck while keeping control of a presumably uninjured second victim. All of this happened at around 7AM, before school starts, when everyone is just getting their day going. If there are any neighbours at all, how are there not multiple descriptions of this guy?

Hey, maybe I'm getting ahead of myself, and they are farmers. Let's find out after the opening credits!


TheAvod Theme Show!

Check it out, folks - theAvod finally got around to watching all Asylum movies (on purpose)!How did it go? Find out by right-clicking here to download the episode!

The Ninety-Fifth-Greatest Panel in the History of Comics

Yeah, this one kind of speaks for itself, doesn't it?


The Dumbest Thing Ever Said on Castle

Let that sink in for a second. Now set aside the fact that in the 'original' version Red Riding Hood does, in fact, die, and just look at Kate's bizarre retelling of the story.

Red Riding Hood kills the wolf? Has anyone ever heard of a version of the tale where that happens before this clip? More importantly, her version lacks any kind of internal consistency. What kind of a wolf is this that it survived being gutted and having a woman pulled out of it?

And how much of a victory would it be for Red Riding Hood to smother the life out of a dying animal, somehow barely beating out its own blood loss in a race with the woodsman to be credited for causing its death?


Criminal Minds 615: Today I Do

The episode opens with a lengthy recap of Emily's plotline, which suggests that this is going to be an ongoing thing - which I couldn't be happier about! So, now that she knows that a murderer is out to get her will she take the necessary steps to prevent her own death? We can only hope!

Things begin in earnest with Emily calling a friend in Paris to warn her that Doyle (the evil Irishman) has escaped prison. Then things get super questionable, as the friend assures Emily that there is no danger since everyone thinks that 'Lauren Reynolds' (presumably Emily's alias when undercover) died in a car accident. The friend also isn't worried about her own safety, since only Emily ever met Doyle face to face. For some reason Emily accepts this reassurance and gets off the phone.

Why on earth would she do this? Here's the thing - last episode ended with (and this episode's clip package featured) Emily getting a mysterious gift from Doyle. So Doyle obviously not only knows who Emily really is, but he's tracked down her unlisted address. For some reason she chooses not to share this information with her teammates, putting their lives in danger. With even more danger created by the fact that those two teammates just got engaged, which would add a layer of tragedy to their deaths.

In the office Reid overhears the end of the call and asks about the alias, which gives Emily the opportunity to lie incredibly unconvincingly. Then the briefing starts - a woman has been kidnapped, and her car left in a mall parking lot, just like another woman (who turned up dead) some months earlier! The really strange part - overnight bags were found in the vehicles, meaning that the women had been planning on taking a trip when they disappeared. Oh, and the first victim's hands and feet were smashed for some reason.

Then there's a shot of the victim, chained to a bed while wearing pink pajamas, freaking out as someone is coming into the room. Is she doomed? Probably not, since characters in 'captivity' episodes tend to get rescued, but let's find out together, after the credits!

Speaking of the credits, Rachel Nichols has been added to them. So yeah, despite her being gone for two weeks after making zero impression, she's now a full-fledged member of the cast. Yay?


The Ninety-Fourth-Greatest Panel in the History of Comics

Now that's journalistic instincts I can respect. He's going looking for murderers on Demon Hill solely because of its name. The great part about this story?

That's right - the other character finds his reasoning as shoddy as the reader must!

I mean, it turns out he was right, but the important thing is that he made his decision based on no useful evidence!


Criminal Minds 614: Sense Memory

Another LA episode! Which means their Asian cop body will be back, please? Before we get to the police response, however, it's time for a teaser kill! This one involves a cab driver talking about how the stench of filth pervades the disgusting modern world. At first it seems like we're in for a Bickle-style vigilante, until the man reveals that he was talking about a literal 'smell' by taking out a small bottle and soothing himself with a whiff from it.

 A woman then asks for a cab ride, which he refuses to give (off-duty, you see) right up until he smells her, and decides that she too must become one of his victims! Will he use her corpse to make more perfume? I'm guessing yes, since it's likely that the writers of this episode have seen 'Perfume'.

Anyhoo, it's time to check in with Emily, who's apparently on her way home after getting that bad news from Angus MacFayden last week involving their mutual enemy escaping from a Russian prison. She goes inside and gets an envelope out of a safe - it contains files, passports, a memory key and a CD. Is Emily a double-agent? No, apparently she's a former spy, who used to work on some kind of an international team with Angus, a woman I've never seen before, and Sebastien Roche! So yay! More guest stars!

She flashes back to a scene where the villain who prison-broke looked on from a villa while she was escorted into a towncar by men in suits. Did he figure out she was undercover and then try to have her killed, but then she escaped, and now he's back to finish the job? That's more of a prediction than a question, actually.

There's a brief tense moment when she notices that her cat was recently outside in the rain, having used a window she didn't remember leaving open. After confirming that it was her catsitter that was responsible, she's a little less frightened, but then a mysterious phone call goes and kills that, so she puts glass things on every window and a table by the door, so that if anyone tries to get into her apartment she'll be scared into waking up.

Then she decides to spend all night in a chair pointed at the front door, gun in hand. Which is a much better way to ensure her safety than by bringing in whatever agency she worked for, or her friends at the FBI. Or, you know, spending the night literally anywhere but her apartment.