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Spoilers abound!

NCIS: Original Flavor

- Tim is looking very smokin' lately. Just sayin'.

- That whole bomb scene = <3. Tim and Tony's little "Look, don't die, okay?" bit is perfect. I love the proud look Gibbs gives Tim when he digs in his heals and then makes with the calm banter after the bomb does not go boom. I also love that the bomb not going boom was actually an accident.

- I love that Ziva quietly, competently sums up the sketchy side of this show's approach to civil rights. For me, it's one of those moments that makes the entire show turn on a dime, just by virtue of acknowledging that they are aware of exactly what they're doing, and what it means in a larger context. For the record, Ziva remains one of my favorite female characters ever. I think this is largely because who she is is not defined by her gender, while still being influenced by it. She's written as a person (which is still a hell of a lot rarer than it should be) and for all that they may have some issues with their characterization of certain personality types of women, when the NCIS writers are on, they are on.

- Speaking of those issues, though: OMG whoever it is in the writing room that has decided that Gibbs goes for "feisty" women, please stop. Just, stop. You keep writing these characters to be foils to Gibbs, which is great in theory, and their actions are really commendable, for the most part, and yet... Every last one of them makes me want to smack them a good one upside the head for a large percentage of their screen time. Jenny, Lt. Mann, and now Lawyer Lady Whose Name I Am Too Lazy to Look Up... All of them. Lawyer Lady is smart! She is tenacious! She is calling everybody on their bullshit! I should be rooting for her really hard and yet still with the slapping urge. I think what it comes down to is that she suffers from the same crappy writing that her predecessors did, with the thing where she isn't allowed to acknowledge her mistakes or doubts, and where her motivations are less about people than principle. They keep trying to write women who are a match for Gibbs, and they get the ass-kicking mentality down okay, but they leave out the vulnerability that makes Gibbs interesting. (Well, except for Lt. Mann, who kind of had the opposite problem, to me. She was solid on paper, but came off as really more bluster than badass in practice. *shrug* YMMV, of course.)

We don't like Gibbs just because he tells the rules to go fuck off when he feels it's necessary; we like him because he is singularly motivated by doing what he feels is right. We also, and this is the important part, like that he takes every failure very, very hard. He's an arrogant son of a bitch, in his own way, but it isn't about ego, and it isn't all that he is. He has depth.

I want Lawyer Lady to have acknowledged that doing things the way she wanted them to could have lead to many deaths. (Because, seriously, that could have gone down very, very ugly, even with them chucking civil liberties by the wayside for a little while. They all got lucky, several times over.) I want her to be torn by the results of playing by the rules, but absolutely clear that the alternative is worse. I want her to be as clearly motivated by moral code as Gibbs, rather than reliant on this weird dogma.

There is so much room to work with the general outline of her. It would be amazing if they could introduce a character who is both completely against our crew and still one of the good guys. I would love a foil for him who champions the importance of the law, who holds it up as not just a mess that gets in the way, but a protective force. I would adore a clever, adversarial relationship that I can buy leading to more. I want someone real, instead of someone plucky. It's kind of sad that they keep reinventing the exact same wheel.

What confuses me is that these characters seem to be created to be wrong in the face of Gibbs' rightness, but they also feel like they're supposed to be sympathetic, or at least incredibly alluring. I get the sense that whoever is behind this actually really likes these women, and expects the audience to as well, but takes that part for granted. Stop assuming I'm on board with the love, here. Show them being awesome, okay?

"Feisty" does not mean you have to be forceful and wrong, show. Write me a character that is confident and driven and not played as a caricature, and then we'll talk. I know you can do it. Ziva and Abby are proof of this.

Um. I'm done ranting now.





And now for something completely different:  NCIS: LA

- Wow. They really do play up the gay more and more all the time, don't they? *blinks*

- We now know that G Callen has a healthy gag reflex. I... You know, the jokes just write themselves. For extra bonus fun, watch Sam's (or LL Cool J's - I can't really tell if that was breaking character or not) face during that whole scene. He clearly finds this hilarious.

- Can we have more of Sam in danger and Callen silently losing his shit while pretending not to be losing his shit, please? Because that was a little bit of awesome. The question about the vaccinations was great, and the conversation with Kensi was nicely played.

- Speaking of that conversation: I love that the ghost of Dom was there, and that his name was never mentioned. I don't know whether that was played as written or whether Daniela Ruah is just that good, but somebody deserves kudos.

- And speaking of Dom: The start of this episode seems to imply that they are going to eventually have another agent join the mix. I'm really hoping they're smart enough not to do that, since the whole point of ditching Dom was that they had more cast members than they knew what to do with. *sigh*

- "We've been together longer than most married couples in this town." More and more all the time, folks.

- I have noticed it before, but is anybody else amused by the fact that this version of LA must be the size of a postage stamp, given how fast everybody gets from Point A to Point B? I mean, I know they're a super secret agency offshoot with really cool toys, but I didn't know they had Star Trek-style transporter tech. (And now I kind of want to see the scene where Hettie reveals that one to the crew. Sam's technojoy would be beautiful.)

- What's that flying through the foodcourt? Is it a bird? A plane? No, it's a giant Seal-shaped mother hen! SuperSam to the rescue! *g*






White Collar

- Eee. This entire episode made me squeak with squeaky joy.

- June! Hi, June! You are so cool, and I love it every time you show up.

- Breakfast! That whole scene is grin-worthy, from the total lack of respect for the door to the fact that Elizabeth just calmly offers a bowl. I love that Peter drops the grumbling in about half a second when Neal turns serious, because Peter totally knows when to play with Neal and when to listen.

- I love Elizabeth's giggle attack at Peter having to break out the Mad Flirting Skillz. I love that I honestly thought they were going to go the insecure jealous wife route, and then they took a left turn at Albuquerque. I'm a little less amused that they did eventually go there, but the sweetness of the Peter-picks-up-El scene wins me back again.

- I love Mozzie being quiet and a little heartbroken when things go wrong.

- HighAsAKite!Neal is unadulteratedly adorable and hilarious. He sings! He talks to inanimate objects! He never did pick up that scotch he ordered in the tennis club scene, and it's totally my personal canon that Neal keeps a very, very tight rein on his use of inhibition-lowering substances, because he knows what he's like drunk and it just never ends well. There is table dancing and karaeoke, people. It's not... well, okay, it is a pretty sight, but there are cameras in phones now and blackmail is a dirty thing.

- Peter freaking out with worry just about made the ep for me. Even if we didn't get the super panic that the promo promised (and wow, that's a lot of accidental alliteration), I'm kind of thrilled with the way it went. They have code words! The fact that Neal might go back to prison isn't just a disappointment anymore. Peter's way beyond that stage, and into actual fear.

- Elizabeth continues to be awesome. Full stop.

- And then there was the "No, really, you're kind of it for me" confession in the board room and the Head Pet of Helpless Affection and I uttered actual obscenities of glee. I am not in the least surprised that Peter would break the law for Neal, but Neal clearly is, and just... aw. Seriously, this show. *squishes*
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July 2012

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