NCIS: Los Angeles – Expiration Date

Sahib? Seriously? I suppose the scriptwriters for this week’s NCIS: Los Angeles wanted to appear to be genuine. I just wonder whether having their returning Gurkha character address white people as sahib was the best way to do it.

But, he was very charming, and they were right to have him return. (Interestingly IMdB has not listed the actor. They have one of the other Gurkhas instead. One Gurkha is much the same as the next one…)

Gurkha, Deeks and Kensi

Did we really want to see Kensi and Deeks in bed? Perhaps it’s the beginning of the end.

Now, I liked this episode, much as I have liked nearly all LA episodes this season. But when you stop and think, there were an awful lot of deaths (perfectly all right, it seems) ‘in return for’ having Sam Hanna survive. LA tends to be very bloody. Maybe this week was no worse than average. Could be I just started to count the bodies.

(Photo © CBS)

Ambassadors

It’s been a busy week. As Bookwitch I’ve travelled to Edinburgh three days running. Were it not for that, I’d have attempted to get myself invited to the Grandmother’s neighbour’s flat last Thursday.

This 90+ gentleman was about to be visited by the Russian Ambassador, and he had asked the Grandmother to be present. I believe there was some medal that was to be handed over to the neighbour, and at first I thought it unlikely that the real Ambassador would make a house call like that.

But then I remembered that when I was about 16, the then Soviet Ambassador called in at my school. That seemed quite natural at the time, so why not now, if an elderly man was to be honoured?

And only hours before this medal presentation, I managed to squeeze in the week’s NCIS, before dropping off with exhaustion. OK, so they shouldn’t say bad or fictional things about a real Russian Ambassador, which I assume is why they have someone slightly more junior as a recurring sometimes bad and sometimes good character.

But I think of him as the Ambassador, and I’m sure he was referred to as such in one of this season’s episodes. I might have to watch again, just to check. (I’ve been trying to, actually. Just seem to run out of time, which is why I am barely halfway through my private repeats.)

NCIS – We Build, We Fight

Wow! Again.

This was one strong episode from a strong season of NCISs. Directed by Rocky Carroll, no less. Apparently the man is difficult to work with, or so he thought.

We Build, We Fight

Interesting plot about a gay marine, which I believe the cast felt strongly about. And it shows. Plenty of homophobic characters as you’d expect, and very nicely dealt with. After the teary end to the story about our dead hero, I felt we were due something to cheer us up, and I was right.

Baby Palmer and admirers

It was a baby we needed. Palmer and Mrs Palmer (give the woman a cheese burger!) finally have a little baby Palmer. Even Gibbs smiled.

They had better not kill Hollis Mann off! Lovely to see her back. Not so lovely when you think about Gibbs and his reaction to her presence. Ducky would appear to be on the right track.

Hollis Mann

(This is the only kind of visit to autopsy that I will tolerate from Hollis Mann.)

(Photos © CBS)

Fortitude

When we last saw Sarah Lund, she and her jumper were on the way to Iceland. Whatever else you might say about Sky’s Fortitude, we now know they have arrived, in some kind of Ice Land. Actually, not the jumper. There appears to be a jumper embargo for Sofie Gråbøl this time round.

As Governor of Fortitude, the strangest fantasy Nordic outpost you could imagine, she is a little disappointing. Though not as disappointing as many of the others. I suppose it’s what you get when Americans jump on a bandwagon that has already left, and mostly also arrived. They write what they admire, or at least what they hope will win them viewers, but which they know very little about. They seem to know the Nordic countries and their peoples much like fans of The Killing and Borgen reckon themselves to be fluent in Danish.

Fortitude

It was beautifully filmed, and they have an interesting collection of actors, ready to pretend – or not – to be Nordics. Some are, and are acting in their non-native English. Most of the others are native English speakers, but not in the slightest Scandinavian. There is sex, and drinking, and saunas. We ‘know’ this is the way of us Scandis. And it is, but perhaps not quite like this.

I almost liked the detective from the Met in London, American though he was. Can’t say I liked any of the other characters. It is possible to like both criminals and stupid people; just not these ones. Michael Gambon’s old and drunken cancer sufferer was perhaps the closest to feeling real, which I put down to Michael being a terrific actor.

When I wasn’t wincing, I found I couldn’t get Virus au Paradis out of my head. I do hope it’s not bird flu, or mammoth flu. With a bit of luck all the gruesomeness will be mere crime and human greed, with a bit of stupidity thrown in.

I don’t know whether I want to watch more of Fortitude. I have no curiosity regarding the what or the why or the who, and because I didn’t like them much, I won’t even want to visit an old friend, even one who is boring. But we’ll see how I feel next week.

(Actually, a few brownie points to Richard Dormer for being more of an obnoxious Danish policeman than most Danes.)

Goodbye, Demis

I was boarding with the Gs in 1977, when Demis Roussos turned up on television one night. That was the difference between Sweden and the UK; you would actually get famous people just popping up on the screen here.

Never a big fan, I had, nevertheless, been a fan, and had an LP or two. I can no longer remember what my favourite tracks were, because for some reason Demis became one of those who were eventually purged from my collection. I don’t know why. It’s not even as if getting rid of a few LPs gave me all that much more space.

He was a bit unusual. Perhaps that was it.

Anyway, there we were, eating dinner with the television on in the background. Mrs G exclaimed when she saw him enter the stage. She was someone who knew when something was amiss in the Messiah, and she knew that Dr Hook were playing locally (when I moaned about missing them), but she had not come across Demis.

‘Just wait until he starts to sing,’ I said.

Yeah, I don’t think either Mr or Mrs G expected what they heard. But you know, with hindsight, he was all right. If you ignore his [lack of] dress sense.

The Imitation Game

I was glad to see they still offered screenings of The Imitation Game this week. I’d stopped being too busy and I’d also decided to temporarily pause my Keira Knightley boycott and actually go and see this film about Alan Turing. I was a afraid it’d be as upsetting as the television programme a while back, but it was more uplifting than depressing, despite poor Turing’s fate.

The Imitation Game

There were things about Bletchley and Enigma I hadn’t actually known before, and it was good to see the story in a different light from the last ones. Benedict Cumberbatch was spot on as Alan Turing. Most of the time. They’d done a fine job of getting the aspie aspects of his personality right, except for when they hadn’t.

You don’t have someone as literal as that, and then make them reply to a heavy bit of sarcasm as though they are neurotypical. I also suspect that Benedict is a capable dancer, and I wouldn’t expect Turing to have been. He was reluctant for a reason. And all that hugging!

The Imitation Game

Nice to have both Allen Leech and Matthew Goode in there, but making them mathematical geniuses is stretching credibility somewhat. Even KK made for a likelier mathematician.

The Imitation Game

Alex Lawther was fabulous as the young Turing; giving us a perfect background to understand where he was coming from.

Very touching, and the kind of film I would see again.

(Just don’t get me started on the train rolling stock…)

NCIS – Check

So, from comedy to tragedy in just over forty minutes.

Gibbs

Too much coincidence, even for an episode based on too much coincidence. Two ex-wives. I didn’t much like the latest one. And from a time point of view, it didn’t make much sense. But it’s fiction.

What I think I object to most, is that once you’ve seen this, it’ll be hard to watch again, and never in the same way. And it will be harder to watch certain older episodes again, too.

Gibbs

It’ll be interesting to see what others think, and where the script writers go from here. This season’s running theme is obviously going to continue. We’ve had long term adversaries before. This one is more inexplicable.

(Photos © CBS)