12.8.19

Criminal Minds 1003: A Thousand Suns


The episode opens on a plane, which is weirdly full of actors with speaking parts! Seriously, like six different people get lines! It's amazing! Anyhow, the plane's wifi goes out and it starts shaking like a leaf - will a killer cause a plane crash this week, immediately jumping to the second-highest body count of all of their quarries other than Frank?

The answer is yes! There's a plane crash out in a field in Colorado! It's such an important case that when JJ and Jennifer get a call from Penelope, they're told to head straight to the plane, rather than into the office! Which is something you'd think they would do more often, considering how frequently they call people at 2AM with a case. It's nice to see them belatedly smartening up, though.

So, why on earth would the team need to work on this case? Aren't crashes the NTSB's bailiwick? Well, it seems that someone on the ground thought they saw a streak of light going towards the plane, which might have been a surface-to-air missile, and the team is supposed to profile the mass-murderer!

Yeah, that's pretty tenuous. If someone had immediately claimed credit for the attack, I'd see getting the FBI and BSU involved immediately, but a witness seeing light? Such a stretch. What are they going to do, stand in a field and check to see if the light is still there?

Miraculously, one of the pilots has survived the crash! So that gives the team someone to interview after the credits! Again, that's the kind of thing that might have been of interest to them, but they shouldn't have been called in until he showed up.

11.8.19

Criminal Minds 1002: Burn

The episode opens with a 'previously on' about the time Reid almost got killed in a hospital room and Garcia shot the guy who was going to kill him! Is it time for her to start PTSDing? Probably. I'm more interested in whether we're going to be checking in on the Matchmaker this week, or if they'll make us wait a few episodes.

The episode opens with a Green Mile situation, as a killer is being brought to the death chamber while a priest gives her the last rites! I say her, because of the way she's walking. It turns out Derek is there in the audience to watch the execution - but who is being strapped into the electric chair? Her head is hooded, so we have no idea! Then the audience starts chanting that they should just kill the guy already rather than, you know, strapping him into the chair so that his body doesn't flop around, and I realize that this must be a dream sequence, which is proven when the hood comes off and it's Penelope!

Yeah, PTSDing pretty hard. So Greg tells her to go take some vacation while Xander covers for her, but doesn't mention the pretty vital suggestion that she get some therapy. Although maybe she's already in mandatory therapy, so it's not worth mentioning. I mean, she killed a guy while getting a government paycheck, I don't know how you'd avoid therapy after that.

Okay, it turns out that she didn't kill the guy, just injured him. She's obsessed with Death Row because that's what the guy got sentenced to! It seems that after being arrested for attempted murder, he confessed to all the other murders he committed for the cop conspiracy, and now he's going to be executed!

It seems Penelope blames herself, and is super-guilty about being responsible for a man's death! A man she shot to save her friend's life, remember. Yup, she's been trying to get him off death row, and now she's going to go to Texas to apologize to the guy in person for getting him killed.

Yes, this is a storyline about Garcia feeling guilty about a paid assassin being sentenced to death because of the murders he committed. Oy.

Xander shows up to present the case! Two guys were killed in Seattle! One strangled, the other run over by a car - but the same killer may be involved, since they had mouth injuries unrelated to their deaths! The team wonders if it could be multiple killers, since the guys were different races, or if it's a case of a guy just figuring out the best method for murder! Greg assumes that if the guy is finding himself, that could mean another murder is imminent - because the concept of a cooling-off period doesn't exist in this world, and all killers are spree killers.

Then it's over to Seattle, where the killer - an Asian man wearing crazy goggles, drowns a black guy in a tub, to reinforce the 'crosses racial lines' thing! Also, the killer is hearing voices, but I can't make out what they're saying.

Maybe it's in a foreign language? In any event, I'm sure we'll find out what's going on after the credits!

Criminal Minds 1001: X

(Check out Profiling Criminal Minds - The Internet's most popular Criminal Minds Podcast!)

We open in Bakersfield, California, the site of a famous food riot massacre! Also one of my favorite TV shows. But neither of those facts are relevant to the kid we see running down a hillside towards an abandoned shack!



I've got to assume that this is a location that somebody found, but if it was built by the production crew they did an incredible job for something that's just going to be in a few seconds of the episode! The kid continues wandering around the collapsing buildings, tossing rocks out of boredom - isn't this the kind of 'kids getting into trouble' that video game consoles were designed to solve?

Luckily the kid isn't killed - but his curiosity is rewarded by a lifetime of nightmares, as he stumbles across a human torso! Which, you know, ick.

Then we immediately cut to the killer's hideout, where he's cleaning a knife. The legs are lying nearby. We don't get any info about the arms or head. I'm going to guess what I always do in situations like this: Cannabilly?

We're then introduced to our newest cast member, Jennifer Love Hewitt, playing what I assume is an FBI Agent working undercover, trying to win the trust of a sleazy creep in a bar! She succeeds, and he leads her to his office, where he keeps all of his child pornography! She calls in backup, and he's arrested without incident! Which burns her identity in that circle of child-pornographers, I guess? They make it clear that she's been hanging out with the guy online, and only just now met him in person, so I suppose it's a persona she used just for him? Perhaps I've been watching too much Wiseguy, but now I find it odd when cops on television are all like 'Boom! I was a cop all along!' when they could probably get more done by building up a criminal persona that they use over and over again.

Over at Quantico, the rest of the team wonders exactly who Jennifer is as she heads into Greg's office. For his part, Greg immediately offers her a job - it seems that her undercover work is extremely well thought-of, and he's sure that will make her a great addition to the team! Not sure why, but their last team member was a linguist, so it's not like she could do much worse!

The show then hangs a lantern on its own preposterous timelines, having Jennifer comment that, while she takes months to bring a crook down, Greg and Co. catch a serial killer every week - how do they do it?

That seems like a weird timeline for her, though - is she just working on one case at a time? This latest guy was arrested after months of online correspondence and one meeting. Wouldn't she be juggling a few guys like that? Or was she just working for fifteen minutes a day the past three months?

They have a quick conversation about why the killer might be removing limbs and heads, but it's just theories, so it doesn't come to much. The one useful idea - it's possible he's keeping the limbs, so they should check into sales of chemicals used to preserve human bodies! That's a really good idea, team! Sad that it feels like such a rare accomplishment.

Joe also humiliates himself a little, suggesting that the guy is 'going for a record' by killing three people in the last month. Joe, unless the record you're talking about is 'lowest kill frequency killer in the history of the show' please shut your mouth.

Then we head over to Bakersfield, where a guy we have to assume is the killer, because why else cut to him right now, is seeing his son off for the morning trip to school! The son gets into a minivan, which is either a carpool, or the ex-wife/mother, but we're given no indication of which.

That's not the headline, however, no, the headline is that the killer is Gay Jack from Dawson's Creek!



Yup, it's Greg's one-show-removed brother-in-law!

Anyhow, Jack heads out to the tool shed and pulls out a mysterious footlocker. Oh, and a freeze-frame reveals that he's wearing his wedding ring, so I guess he's a widower and that was just a car pool? Inside the foot locker is a whole leg, which suggests that he's not using it correctly. Although that's really the least of his crimes.

He puts the leg in his lap and strokes it, really getting into his fetish. What could have caused such a bizarre mental break?

Hopefully we'll find out after the credits!


25.7.19

Programme 53 (25-Feb-78)

Cover:

Another story cover, this one picking up the whole ‘clone impersonates Dan’ storyline. Personally, I’m still hoping that it’s going to take a Phillip K. Dick kinda twist and it’ll turn out that we’ve been watching the clone, who genuinely thinks he’s Dan. Will this prove to be the case? Find out as the review continues! Although, based on the plot as we see it on this page, with Dan making a sudden course change, there’s no way that’s the real guy.

(also, is that closeup based on a real-life model? It seems weirdly detailed and unlike Dave Gibbons’ normal style.)

17.7.19

Programme 50 (4-February-78)

Cover:

So the cliffhanger was resolved on the cover on the next issue. Daring stratagem, Dan Dare. What is this ‘Space Cruiser’ of which they speak? I’ve never heard of such a film!

10.5.19

Programme 49 (28-January-78)

Cover:
This whole ‘cover story’ thing isn’t going to continue after Dan Dare’s storyline wraps up, is it? Because it would kind of suck if it didn’t.

25.4.19

Flesh... The Game!

As promised, here's a PDF featuring the full-resolution images of the Flesh Game, along with the rules!

Simply print out the images, sized so they'll fit on a standard playing card (or cut bristol board). Paste the images to the cards on top of the faces so that you'll be unable to identify which card is which when placed face-down.

Then you're ready to play a game of Flesh!

9.3.19

Programme 46 (7-Jan-78)

Cover:

Well, that’s a horse of a different colour. It seems 32 pages wasn’t enough this time around, and they had to expand the first story to the cover. It’s pretty common to keep things going right to the back cover, but this is just strange.

I’m not an enemy of strangeness, though, and the space-crucifixions are just a striking image. Also, I like the weird alien face on that rightmost corpse.

And hey, look, there’s going to be another game!

Programme 45 (31-December-77)

Cover:

Well, I’m guessing that’s officially it for Supercovers. Sad, isn’t it? I know Supercovers had their highs and lows, but it was an extra story every single week for six months, and they were certainly fun while they lasted.

But yeah, largely they weren’t great.

12.1.19

Programme 42 (10-December-77)

Cover:

Alien zoo? Alien casino? Shrunken-down people? Who can say?

Programme 41 (3-December-77)

Cover:

Ah, monsters who enjoy humans as food. Does a more solid sci-fi premise exist anywhere?

Programme 40 (26-November-77)

Cover:I know what the secret of the Microverse is. It’s that it was drawn by Kevin O’Neill. And then ripped off by Marvel.

9.1.19

Programme 39 (19-November-77)

Cover:
Is it just me, or are the SuperCovers quickly becoming the best part of this comic? Not their stories of course, which invariably disappoint, but the covers themselves are just wonderful.

Although I’ve got to ask – just what is that Alien looking at?

Programme 38 (12-November-77)

Programme 38 (12-Nov-77)

Cover:

It’s a rock that’s also a dragon. In space. If you don’t understand why that’s great, then what the hell are you doing here? There aren’t any words you could have mistyped that would have brought you to ‘Vardulon.com’.