Books: Generation Me by Jean M. Twenge, Ph.D.

The subtitle of this book is: Why Today's Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitledand More Miserable Than Ever Before. But that was too much to put in the header. Would've looked clunky.

The subtitle could just as easily have been: The Reason for the Rise in Assholery. Because that's really what we're talking about.

It's the kind of topic that gets blood boiling and tempers flaring. The older generation (Boomers, and possibly some of Gen X) would read this and be like, "Yeah! These kids today! This is everything that's wrong with them!" And Millennials would read it and say, "Yeah! This is all the ways you guys screwed us up and over!" So I guess there's something for everybody at least.

Twenge covers the self-esteem movement, how educators are actively encouraged not to correct mistakes but instead to focus on making kids feel confident and good about themselves. This is the whole everyone-gets-a-trophy thing, which Twenge points out has led not only to very confident young people, but to young people who have expectations of getting rewarded for pretty much doing nothing, and to a rise in narcissism. These kids think the world revolves around them. They think they're stars in their own shows. They all expect to be rich and famous one day because every single one of them has been told he or she is special and unique and can do and be whatever they want to be.

This is a problem for a variety of reasons. As children, these kids throw tantrums when they don't get what they want. (And a lot of them do get what they want from parents trying to avoid said tantrums.) Then they go to college—most young people do these days—and are stymied when they're actually expected to put effort into the work. They are confused when they don't get what they want. And they don't know how to handle it because they haven't been taught to take criticism. In fact, they've seldom if ever been criticized (except possibly by peers, which these kids shrug off because peers have no power and present no obstacles). That's just it: This generation (Gen Me, or Millennials, or whatever you want to call them) aren't used to obstacles. And they haven't been given the tools of logic to re-route when a path is blocked and the GPS has no other suggestions.

It only gets worse when they enter the workforce. They expect to climb the ladder quickly, and they expect their bosses to help them and pat them on the back just like teachers and coaches did in grade school. So once again there is confusion and resentment when that doesn't happen.

I keep saying "this generation" because I'm not 100% sure where I fall in the spectrum. I'm not a Boomer, of course, but I seem to be in that microgeneration between Generation X and Millennials. We're the kids who still played outside and used card catalogues in the library. We had computers, but they weren't so pervasive. And phones still had cords. We carried a quarter when we went out in case we had to call our parents for anything. Cuz, you know, pay phones. That was a thing.

I look back at my youth and realize that, yes, we were told we could be and do anything. My mother told me so often that I "could be president," that one day I burst into tears. "What's wrong?" Mom asked. "I don't want to be president!" I cried. In some ways, having too many options is far worse than having only one or two.

Participation ribbons were a thing, too, but my particular generational slice knew that these ribbons didn't mean anything. We weren't satisfied with them. We didn't walk away with "Participant" and believe we'd done a great job.

Twenge, however, counts herself as one of Generation Me. And she's a few years older than I am, so this created a kind of dissonance for me as I was reading. Twenge used "we" when referring to this generation, and I found that off-putting. I wondered if she did it so as to make it seem less like she was criticizing them. "I'm on your side here," seemed to be the gist.

As for Gen Me being miserable, well, a lot of it has to do with the lack of preparation I mention above. These kids aren't educated, aren't made ready for the real world. Instead they're encouraged to dream big . . . Only to be massively disappointed when they don't immediately become rich and famous, and when they can't afford the houses and cars they feel entitled to. Honestly, my gut reaction is to say, "Get over yourself," but Twenge points out it's not these kids' fault. They've been done a disservice, mostly via that whole self-esteem movement.

Gen Me also doesn't believe there's anything they can do to change things. They don't believe voting makes a difference, and they largely believe things happen to them. Which ends up being a self-fulfilling prophecy because they don't take action. Just as they expect fame and fortune to fall in their laps without working for it. Gen Me is all about what impacts them versus them attempting to make an impact on the world around them. Even if/when they do get rich and famous, it's all about them having a good time versus them using their celebrity as a forum for a better world.

I could go on and on, but it would only be me paraphrasing the book. It's a good book and a thought-provoking one if you find this kind of thing interesting, which I do. Twenge writes in an accessible style, and aside from the bizarre "we," I enjoyed reading Generation Me.


Music: "Trust You" by Rob Thomas

It's catchy and has Ryan Tedder's fingerprints all over it; the song could easily be by OneRepublic. Which I suppose is my major beef with it: it doesn't sound like Rob Thomas.

"Trust You" is fun and upbeat, but it's synthesized all to hell. Not my thing. I like the song, I'll listen to it plenty, but there's nothing about it that says "Rob Thomas" to me. ::shrug::

This seems to be the way music is moving, everything sounding a lot alike . . . There are few distinctive voice left.

See you in July, Rob. xoxo

P.S. At least your stripes are getting better. It's all about the spacing.


Movies: Pitch Perfect 2

Starring: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld
Directed By: Elizabeth Banks
Written By: Kay Cannon, based on characters created by Mickey Rapkin
Universal, 2015
PG-13; 115 minutes
2.5 stars (out of 5)


I really, really enjoyed Pitch Perfect. And I wanted to really, really enjoy Pitch Perfect 2, but I didn't. I didn't hate it, but I didn't especially enjoy it either. So in the end I was disappointed.

I'm aware, of course, there is a bias. I watched Pitch Perfect at home and with little to no expectations attached. I only passingly knew what it was even about. But going into the sequel, I did have expectations. This is the particular curse of sequels to unexpected blockbusters.

Thing is, in the first movie, all the actors looked like they were having a good time. This time they didn't. Anna Kendrick in particular appeared not to want to be there at all. I spent a good portion of the movie trying to decide if she really didn't want to be there, or if that was just the character. But the character was meant to be torn . . . I think? Actually, it wasn't clear, and that's another problem with the movie. Well, that and it wasn't all that funny.

Again, I probably expected too much from the film. But it was very clear very fast that this was exactly the same beats as the first movie. 1. The catastrophic event that lays the group low. Basically, it's a hole they need to dig themselves out of. (In the first film it was the vomiting, this time it was "Muffgate.") 2. The antagonist group. (In the first film, the boys, in this one the Germans.) 3. The sing-off in which things fall apart. 4. The need to change the act/"sound" in order to win. 5. The big win.

In the first movie Beca isn't sure she wants to even be in the group, and this time . . . She's not sure she wants to keep being in the group. Her heart continues to be in producing music. And her relationship this time around is non-existent, merely taken as fact. She's still dating Jesse, but we only see token scenes of them together. Because instead of inspiring her with old film soundtracks, we now have Hailee Steinfeld inspiring Beca's nascent career with her original songs. ("You're my flashlight"? Really? If someone called me that, I would not be flattered.)

Steinfeld plays Emily, a "legacy" Bella because her mother was a Barden Bella as well. But she's kind of (as we say down South) a dip. And even her would-be romance with Benji is perfunctory, all of it playing to the steady beat of plot point, plot point, plot point.

Sure, argue that the first movie was all plot points too, and you wouldn't be wrong. But instead of tweaking or twisting, Pitch Perfect 2 serves up the same exact dish only colder this time. As I mentioned, no one seems especially happy to be there, none of the actors appear to be having a good time. This movie attempts to be funny but lacks joy.

Still, it's done gangbusters at the box office, which means we're probably in for another round. Beca and Fat Amy and the others have graduated, but we still have Emily . . . Just Emily? Really? All the Bellas were in the same class until now? They hadn't recruited any younger students? That seems like poor planning.

Or I could be wrong and some of those people didn't graduate, in which case it's poor writing for being unclear.

Either way, there's a flaw here. Let's just hope whatever they come up with next has a bit more pop. This one felt flat.


Tarot Readings

Yes, I do give readings. You can order one on my Tarot site. I'll be expanding to add Past Life Karma astrology chart readings soon as well.

Please also follow me on Facebook, as I post daily cards and guidance. And on Twitter at @amstartarot


Movies: Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck

I was close to graduating from high school when Kurt Cobain died, and the whole of my reaction to the news was, "Oh. That guy."

Grunge, punk, and metal were not my things, I couldn't identify with those particular feelings*, but in those days one couldn't go very far without hearing something by Nirvana, so I had a passing familiarity with their music. And mostly knew Cobain from t-shirts worn by my classmates.

His is the kind of story that seems made for media: the troubled childhood, the health problems, the superstardom, the eventual crash (weirdly tempered by a semi-happy family life), capped by suicide.

I went into Montage of Heck knowing almost nothing about Cobain except (a) he'd been lead singer and songwriter for Nirvana, (b) he'd married Courtney Love and they'd had a daughter, and (c) he'd killed himself. I probably suspected the drug thing but I'm suspicious by nature and in my experience musicians have bad habits, so I could have been wrong. But I guess I wasn't.

The documentary isn't as cohesive as something more formal, or maybe a biopic, would be. Writer/director Brett Morgen was able to get friends and family members to talk about Cobain, but there's a distinct sense of each of them having created their own narrative, and so I was actively wondering how much of what I was being told was true. Also, any time something is labeled as "authorized," I sort of cock an eye at it; when something gets the official stamp of approval, there's at the very least a bias, and at worst an agenda.

For visuals, besides people sitting on couches, there is a lot of old home videos, and then TV interview clips, and many, many shots of Cobain's journals, his scrawling thoughts, which is the closest we can come now to him speaking for himself. There is also interstitial animation reminiscent of Pink Floyd's The Wall; in fact, Morgen himself stated Montage of Heck would become this generations' The Wall, so the parallel is deliberate.

It was an interesting film, if a bit long; some of the archival footage could have been better edited. And it ends with Cobain's coma in Rome, at which point Courtney Love tells the camera that she'd thought of cheating but hadn't, yet Kurt had apparently known this in some psychic way, hinting that his overdose and the resulting coma was his response to this knowledge. The final legend over a black screen remarks that a month after the incident in Rome, Cobain killed himself. No need, perhaps, to hash that out again since it's so well known. Or maybe the family and friends just didn't want to talk about that part. But the result is an odd juxtaposition that almost draws one to the conclusion Cobain's suicide was Courtney Love's fault, if only because it pulls through the notion that the suicide was a continuation—and full stop—of what happened in Rome. Just sort of bizarre, but then the whole documentary is a bit bizarre. But at the same time, it's the kind of film that does stick with you. It makes an impression.

If anything, I'll have Nirvana stuck in my head for a few days. And I wasn't even a fan.

*For me, and probably for many people, I tend to like music that speaks to my experience or my feelings. Thanks to a pretty happy childhood, the whole anger/rebellion music scene didn't work for me. Guess I've had a "pop/rock" life. (Yes, I realize this makes me supremely uninteresting and there will never be books or movies about me. Sigh.)


Television: Elementary, "A Controlled Descent"

So . . . Holmes' friend Alfredo is kidnapped by his ex-heroin chum Oscar (who still does drugs), ostensibly to force Holmes to help Oscar find his missing sister. Except it's pretty clear from the get-go that Oscar's real intention is to walk Holmes through his history of addiction for whatever reason. Memory lane? Old times' sake?

While Watson, Bell, and Gregson work the angle on finding Alfredo, Holmes accompanies Oscar on this goose chase for Olivia. Honestly, I thought it would turn out there was no Olivia, and I was kind of right. More on that later.

Olivia had been in rehab. In fact, she'd been in the same facility Holmes had been in, so of course they start there. "Brings back memories?" Oscar asks Holmes. Turns out Oscar had used Holmes' standing reservation, made by Holmes' father, for his sister, letting Daddy Holmes pick up the bill. (This will be important later.)

Olivia's rehab roomie gives them a lead, the name of a dealer/druggie, and of course Oscar knows where they're likely to find him: in a particular "shooting gallery." Lead me not into temptation? Actually, Holmes is remarkably resilient, seemingly not even a little bit interested in relapsing, probably because he has priorities. Get the job done, save Alfredo.

While Oscar gets high, Holmes looks for clues and also has the opportunity to swipe a phone and contact Watson. He tells Watson of some debris on Oscar's coat that might indicate the kind of place where Alfredo is being held. He also finds the license of a wealthy man known for his [alleged] ties to picking up junkies and battering them, a couple of which were never seen again. So off Holmes and Oscar go to confront this man.

After some strong-arming, the man admits he had brought Olivia to his apartment and that she'd fought back and robbed him. They're able to contact the car service and find out where she was dropped. And they discover her body; she'd been dead two days of an apparent overdose.

And Oscar knew the whole time.

So, yeah, there kind of was no Olivia after all. It really was all about Oscar trying to drag Holmes down to his level.

But at this point, Watson contacts Holmes to let him know they've found Alfredo and he's okay. So Holmes no longer feels any need to restrain his outrage and gives Oscar a thorough kicking. Apparently Oscar has a lot of medical problems, so it's possible Holmes could have killed him. But we skip ahead three days to learn Holmes isn't speaking; he's just sitting on the roof of the brownstone. I presume there's some paperwork or something, a trial of some kind, but . . . Fuck that, I guess. Holmes would rather mope.

Watson lets Holmes know that his dad has found out about everything. "I don't know how," she says, and I suppose that's because Holmes isn't talking to anyone, so she didn't get the whole story of Pater Holmes' money being used for Olivia's rehab session. I mean, I'm assuming that's how he knows, though he probably has lots of ways of knowing things. In any case, this particular situation has Holmes Sr. coming for a visit "tomorrow," but I'd give it a 50/50 chance we'll actually see him next season. It's just as likely Season 4 will begin some time after said visit, with Holmes and Watson laboring under and/or rebelling against new restrictions from Big Daddy.

It was an okay episode, though it didn't quite hang together psychologically for me. Maybe because I don't see Holmes and Alfredo as particularly close, though I do believe Holmes would still do what was required in order to save Alfredo—or anyone, for that matter. Oscar's fixation on dragging Holmes down . . . I suppose Holmes' holier-than-thou attitude has eaten at Oscar all this time . . . But still, there was something off about the whole thing that I can't quite put my finger on. Logically, I understand, but I wasn't feeling it. And without the closure of seeing Holmes talk to Alfredo after it was over, or seeing Oscar taken into custody or something . . . I don't know. It fell just shy of satisfying.

We'll see what Season 4 brings.


Television: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., "Scars" & "S.O.S. 1 & 2"

Let's just lump all this together, shall we? I mean, I had a lot of thoughts while half-watching all this (because it just isn't interesting enough for me to give it my complete attention). For one thing, it's all very X-Men. Mutants, here known as "Inhumans" versus "Normals" or whatever. Same ol' story. And then, too, they keep trying to twist it as if to surprise us, but nothing does any more. Oh, so Cal isn't so bad after all, and it's Jiaying who is Magneto evil? ::shrug::

The bedrock of the show is a bunch of dysfunctional relationships exacerbated by extenuating circumstances. Like, things that are annoying are made worse by everything else that's happening. A person who is normally high-strung becomes murderous. That kind of thing.

We knew Bobbi would make it, since we knew she and Hunter are being given their own spinoff. And we sort of saw Ward's killing his dog-like, devoted lackey coming, too. Ha ha! He did just what he wanted Bobbi to suffer for! God, he's stupid.

Actually, we're supposed to think of Ward as wily and clever because he needs to be a worthy adversary for next season now that he's the de facto leader of Hydra. (yawn) Are we doing this again?

I suppose the one really interesting bit is that Simmons was swallowed by that thing. And right before her first date with Fitz. What crap timing. Not that there's a good time to be eaten by an alien object, I guess.

Will I watch next season? I don't know. Might depend on what else is on and how full my schedule is. But S.H.I.E.L.D. has definitely fallen from my "must" list. I feel lukewarm about it at best.


Television: Elementary, "Absconded"

Um . . . The death of a bee researcher turns into some story about the kidnapping of a sheikh? Honestly, I lost interest pretty quickly. Like, the bee guy was going on about hive deaths, and then he died, and of course at first the finger was pointed at evil capitalist corporations, but then it turned out that the researcher was involved with a woman who, along with her husband, was luring a apiarist sheikh to the States so they could kidnap him and get a big payday.

Or something like that.

It wasn't very engaging. Which is a shame because I had been thinking it would be nice to see more of the beekeeping. But, you know, with more interesting plot. Points for taking things in a completely different direction, though, I guess.

Meanwhile, Gregson is offered a promotion and asks Watson to investigate the person who would take over his current role. His excuse is that he wants to leave his division in good hands. But really . . . He doesn't want to go. Right? And so of course he turns the promotion down, which doesn't go over well with the brass. I mean, who says "no" to being booted up the ladder? So I suspect we may see repercussions down the line.

I can applaud the effort that is being made to round out the secondary characters, give them more story, add tension from places other than the cases themselves. But so far it feels a bit overt and clumsy. There's very little subtlety in this, which is made all the more obvious by how gently forged the relationship between Holmes and Watson has been. Their interactions remain the best part of the show, so episodes that split them suffer for it. Though I have enjoyed the greater use of Bell, both with Holmes and Watson.

It has just been announced Elementary will be returning for another season. The question remains whether CBS will move it away from Thursday, which is now dominated by ABC.


My Decks

My husband gave me a bunch of Tarot and oracle decks for Mother's Day/our anniversary, and I have this urge to catalogue my collection. I have a cabinet in my office in which I keep my decks and candles and related books. Seems like I'm going to need more space, or at least a better organizational system before long.

Tarot Decks
Alchemy 1977 England Tarot
Daemon Tarot
Fairy Lights Tarot
Fantastical Creatures Tarot
Golden Botticelli Tarot
Guardian Angel Tarot
Harmonious Tarot
Hermetic Tarot
Infinite Visions Tarot
Labyrinth Tarot
Lover's Path Tarot
Manga Tarot
Mystic Dreamer Tarot
Mystic Faerie Tarot
New Orleans Voodoo Tarot
Old English Tarot
Osho Zen Tarot
Pamela Colman Smith Commemorative Rider-Waite Tarot
Paulina Tarot
Quick & Easy Tarot
Raven's Prophecy Tarot
Renaissance Tarot
Romantic Tarot
Shadowscapes Tarot
Sherlock Holmes Tarot
Steampunk Tarot
Tarot Illuminati
Tarot of Delphi
Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery
Tarot Mucha
Universal Fantasy Tarot
Victorian Fairy Tarot
Victorian Romance Tarot
Victorian Steampunk Tarot
X: The Tarot

Enchanted Lenormand
Lenormand Silhouettes
New York Lenormand
Notebook Lenormand
Under the Roses Lenormand

Oracles & Other Cards
Ancient Feminine Wisdom of Goddesses & Heroines
Ascended Masters Oracle
Book of Doors Divination Deck
Chakra Wisdom Oracle Cards
Clow Cards
Color Oracle
Druid Animal Oracle
Enchanted Map Oracle
Energy Oracle Cards
Faeries' Oracle
Fantod Pack
Goddess Guidance Oracle
Gong Hee Fot Choy*
Gypsy Witch Fortune Telling Cards
Karma Cards
Numerology Guidance Cards
Past Life Oracle
Romance Angels Oracle
Sacred World Oracle
Vintage Wisdom Oracle

*The Gong Hee Fot Choy is read with a regular pack of playing cards.

Some of these I use every day. Some I use only when led to. And with so many new decks, I'll be learning . . . Each deck is like meeting a new person and getting used to him or her. Some you take to right away—I bonded with the Botticelli immediately—some take more time, and some you might never feel entirely comfortable with (Hermetic and I never gelled). Just as with people, some you like right away, some take a while to get to know, and some you never quite figure out. But each has its own distinct personality.

I do a Lenormand and Color Oracle reading each morning. Sometimes I'll feel led to draw a Tarot or oracle card for the day, too. I do a weekly Tarot reading at the start of each week as well. And in order to justify my collection, I've been known to give readings to friends and via email; they either choose from my many decks, or I choose one that feels right for the reading.

With so many new cards to play with, you can expect to see some reviews popping up over the next few weeks. But remember, these reviews reflect my preferences; you may have a completely different reaction to any of these decks.


Movies: Avengers: Age of Ultron

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, James Spader, Paul Bettany
Directed By: Joss Whedon
Written By: Joss Whedon, based on the comics by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
Marvel, 2015
PG-13; 141 minutes
3.25 stars (out of 5)


If you're wondering why I haven't blogged about this week's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., it's because I wasn't sure if I needed to see this movie first. So I haven't watched S.H.I.E.L.D. yet.

I can officially say I'm no longer impressed with 20+-minute long action sequences. They all look alike, and we've become so used to them they no longer wow. What would wow? Oh, some actual character development and plot.

Can't say they didn't try. This installment in the ever-growing franchise reveals [spoiler alert!] Hawkeye's (aka Clint Barton's) hidden family, namely a wife and two kids with a third on the way, living on a secluded farm. Also, there was an attempt to create some kind of relationship between Dr. Banner and Natasha. But it's all done so perfunctorily that one gleans no actual emotional gratification from it. It isn't organic or made believable through any growth; it's merely dumped in front of the viewers like a lazy waitress drops your meal in front of you, tells you to "enjoy" in a cigarette-scarred voice, and wanders off without any further interest in you.

Thing is, Joss Whedon is usually very good with character, so I suspect this is a classic tug-of-war between meeting the studio demands and doing what he loves and does best. Unfortunately, this compromise doesn't really work for me. All these movies look and sound the same, and there is little to no progress made from one to the next. Same ol' problems. Same ol' solutions.

It's a wonder the Avengers are allowed to operate at all given the amount of damage they do. It's almost a case of the cure being worse than the disease. A protracted fight between Iron Man and Hulk in the middle of Ultron underscores the point. They weren't even fighting a bad guy, just each other. And I don't see why Iron Man didn't just knock Hulk out in the first place (since that seems to have been what settled things some billions of dollars of damage later).

If you're wondering about the story, well, okay . . . We start, of course, mid-action, with the Avengers raiding a bunker in Sokovia. They're looking for the Chitauri Scepter, and they find it, along with the Wonder Twins Maximoff twins Pietro (Quicksilver) and Wanda (Scarlet Witch). The get the scepter; the Maximoffs go free.

By analyzing and using the scepter's power—which is apparently some kind of code or program?—Tony convinces Bruce to attempt to create an A.I. that will work to defend the world so the Avengers won't have to. But of course that goes pretty damn wrong, and we end up with Ultron (Spader), whose solution for making the world safe is to eliminate the humans. By convincing the Maximoffs that his mission is to end the Avengers, Ultron get them on his side. But (in a completely foreseeable flip), once the Maximoffs understand Ultron's true goal, they side with the Avengers. More fighting . . . And ever more fighting . . . And a little more for good measure . . .

One of Scarlet Witch's powers is mental manipulation. Basically, she gives people nightmarish hallucinations by playing on their fears or past pain. I couldn't help but be reminded of Young Sherlock Holmes and the series of hallucination sequences in that film. Sure, it's one of my favorite movies from when I was a kid, but it's pretty bad when a 2015 movie is reminding me of one from 1985. Maybe that says more about my age than anything else, but it also says something about a lack of fresh ideas. Or at least a lack of fresh ways to implement old ideas.

Meanwhile, you'll notice I didn't even list Chris Hemsworth (Thor) on the header. He's conspicuously absent for a large portion of the film, goes off to take some vision bath . . . A truly bizarre subplot that detracts rather than adds to the movie. We get as much or more of Paul Bettany as a physical incarnation of Jarvis known as Vision (thanks to the Mind Stone or whatever . . . I wonder how excited Bettany was to actually be in the movie? Did he call his mom and say, "I actually get screen time!"?)

In the end, what we seem to be left with is turnover. Captain America and Natasha are still there at Avengers HQ, but Banner has gone AWOL, Tony and Thor have taken off, and Barton has gone home to the farm to redo his dining room. Instead we're left with Vision, Scarlet Witch, Falcon, and War Machine filling the gaps.

I give Ultron a slightly more than middling score because it is still entertaining and well produced. I mean, it does what it's meant to do, I guess. And has lovely Whedonesque moments of humor. Could have used more of those and fewer fight sequences.


Television: Gotham, "All Happy Families Are Alike"

Fish Mooney comes back looking all punk and gives Cat a makeover. Then they fight Maroni and Penguin and none of us cares much because (a) we know Gordon will live, (b) we know Penguin will live, and (c) we know Jada Pinkett Smith is leaving the show. So the end of this fight is more or less a foregone conclusion.

Meanwhile, Leslie wants Barbara to get counseling after the whole Jason thing, but Barbara insists the only person she is willing to talk to is Leslie herself. Already we all know this is a bad idea. The ex and the current girlfriend hashing it out? And it's clear Barbara is unstable. So when she starts talking about how she killed her parents and then pulls a knife on Leslie, well, we can't say we didn't see that coming. It would have been more surprising if it hadn't happened.

Nygma shows [more] signs of cracking up.

And Bruce discovers the Bat Cave.

All pretty basic. One wonders if they'll skip ahead a few years at the start of next season. Otherwise, this is moving at a snail's pace and I can't be bothered.


Television: Elementary, "The Best Way Out Is Always Through"

A federal judge is supposedly murdered by an escaped prisoner.

It was pretty obvious from the moment Holmes, Watson, and Bell visited the prison that the main suspect had never escaped, that she'd in fact been murdered at the prison and reported as escaped. So I spent much of this episode waiting for them to figure it out and trace that thread back to its source.

The rest of the story wasn't all that interesting either. Politics and a fight over which private contractor would run the prison.

There was an attempt to personalize Bell's character by introducing a girlfriend for him, only to have them part when Watson informs him (in turn informed by Holmes) the woman is Internal Affairs working sub rosa. Because we hadn't seen Bell and Shauna's relationship unfold, we had nothing invested in it. Which made his anger at her "deception" appear irrational and overwrought. We're supposed to take it on faith all cops hate IA, I guess. And while we can logically understand Bell feels lied to/betrayed via this sin of omission, it was tough to see it as such a big deal. We weren't, as they say, feeling it.

The episode also featured a bizarre cameo by the Stanley Cup. Like . . . what?