Speechless–Season 2, Episode 5 (N-I-Nightmares on D-I-DiMeo S-Street)

This episode was this year’s Halloween episode and departed from the usual DiMeo unique costuming and focused more on old candy giving almost each family member nightmares.

The premise of the episode is established when JJ, Ray and Dylan search for the Halloween candy and find old candy in a duct, only for Jimmy and Maya to tell them that they just came home from buying the candy.

JJ has the first nightmare as he is the first to binge eat the candy. He ends up being possessed by an evil spirit when his communication board is replaced with Ouija board. “Evil JJ” ends up causing trouble as JJ enjoys being the bad guy and throughout the subplot, the evil spirit ends up empathising with the family and the challenges they face with JJ’s disability. Overall I found this subplot executed well, technically speaking, I also found it cheesy and preachy.

Dylan is the next to eat the duct candy and falls asleep as she’s watching Freaky Friday, which leads to her nightmare about her and Ray swapping bodies. Their bodies are swapped after Ray and Dylan (mostly Dylan) take candy and a bowl that the candy is in (which later has their faces moulded into it) when they are out trick-or-treating. Like Freaky Friday, both of them have to get through the day as each other–Ray points out that Dylan really needs glasses and enjoys the benefits of her coolness and lack of homework, whilst Dylan goes crazy and desperately wants to switch back but Ray refuses. Ray (Dylan) is then institutionalised after she reveals the truth and no-one believes her. Overall this subplot was humorous and executed better than the JJ subplot, however the ending was a little cheesy.

Throughout the episode, Jimmy keeps moving up their escape room reservation, which Kenneth hasn’t been invited to. The escape room providers seem to know the DiMeos and even recreated the living room for a couple of the escape rooms, so to me it was obvious that Kenneth was behind it all. This nightmare actually turned out to be Ray’s. While I felt the escape rooms themselves were well executed, I felt this subplot or nightmare was too predictable.

The episode ends with Ray waking up revealing he only ate what was given to the trick-or-treaters and Kenneth realising he had been giving out the duct candy, and that Maya and Jimmy ate it and tried to kiss him…only for Kenneth to wake up in the hot tub. This reveals that the events of the episode were all a nightmare of Kenneth’s and it has inspired him to create a Benjamin Button-Michael Jackson costume for his Halloween party.

Overall while this episode was well structured and the nightmares technically well executed, I felt it was undermined by its cheesiness and the “it was all dream” cliche.

 

 

Stray Observations:

-Kenneth came up with 10 Michael Jackson’s to be at his Halloween party and owns three out of the 10 outfits.

-Whilst trying to find the Halloween candy, Ray finds his hidden presents from last Christmas and Dylan finds Jimmy’s Law & Order audition tape.

-Lafayette High School offers exorcism services.

-According to Principal Miller, the online certificates a person can get to perform a wedding ceremony also cover exorcisms.

-Evil JJ couldn’t be stopped because the school is too accessible.

-Ray (in Dylan’s body) had time to get a detailed tattoo on Dylan’s arm saying “I’m Dylan, body swapping isn’t real”.

Best one liners and interactions:

  • “What question do you think I asked that this is answering?” (Maya to Kenneth on his explanation of his Michael Jackson costumes)
  • “You can cancel my plans but you can’t cancel my costume!” (Kenneth to Maya when she gives him a weird look about his first costume change)
  • “Kenneth you better have a good reason for defenestrating Joyce!” (Maya to Kenneth when evil JJ throws Joyce out the window)
  • “Full disclosure–due to a mishap involving a Ouija board that could’ve happened to anyone…JJ may be under the control of an evil spirit.” (Kenneth explaining the Joyce-window incident to Maya)
  • “I need a new communication board for my son right away. The one he’s currently using seems to have invited some sort of dark force into his person.” (Maya on the phone to the insurance company explaining the need for a new communication board)
  • “That’s for comparing my eyes to a nebula” (a random football player to Dylan (in Ray’s body) after Ray sent Taylor a love note that was CC’d to the football team).
  • “Aaah! And Pluto’s a dog!” (Dylan in Ray’s body on the argument Ray’s astronomy club is having about whether Pluto is a planet)
  • “I love being Dylan!” “We know dear, you don’t have to say that everyday” (Ray in Dylan’s body and Mr Powers after he is given one of her tests back)
  • “Honey I think I’m woke!” (Jimmy to an offscreen Maya after talking to Dylan in Ray’s body).
  • “What am I wearing?” (Dylan to Ray during the body swap when she sees him in a romper whilst in her body)
  • “Switch back now or I will shave your eyebrow!” (Dylan to Ray whilst in his body)
Advertisements

Speechless–Season 2, Episode 4 (T-R-Training D-A-Day)

This was another solid episode with complementary A, B and C stories, but this one was slightly better as it was more profound and touching.

The A story of Maya and Kenneth training the staff Principal Miller can’t fire to be aides, is a follow-up from the second episode. At first the staff don’t care about becoming aides but behind the scenes, Kenneth convinces them otherwise and just after Maya gives on them, she witnesses them not giving up doing one of the near-impossible tasks she asks of them. With the theme of Stripes playing in the background, they are whipped into shape and ready to meet their students. I loved that each staff member found the right student for them, however I felt it was a little too easy. Nevertheless I enjoyed the A story and found it touching.

The B story is actually what kicks off the episode with Jimmy attempt to give Ray “The Talk” whilst driving, which ends up with them going to Italian Ice, the zoo and the US-Mexico border before Jimmy manages to do so. When Maya finds out about it, she points out that Jimmy is yet to do the same with JJ, so he takes him camping to do it. While they’re there, Jimmy is patronising towards JJ, until he accidentally finds himself trapped in an outhouse. JJ proves himself to Jimmy by going off by himself to get help and successfully managing to do so. Rather than having “The Talk”, as JJ has found out about sex via the internet, they have a heart-to-heart as JJ asks Jimmy whether he’d really be able to get married and have a family one day.

It is through this heart-to-heart that Jimmy reveals that he can’t see it for JJ but also admits that it doesn’t mean it won’t happen, as he points out JJ’s other achievements. Like the A story, the B story ends on a touching moment and was enjoyable, with the highlight being JJ happily screaming down the hill and the ranger running after him to stop him going any further, and complimenting him on how awesome that was.

The C story wasn’t as touching as the A and B stories but it did provide some humorous moments. Dylan discovers that Ray is being picked on by another student, Brandon, in quite unusual ways, and while Dylan offers to stand up for him, she actually ends up joining forces with Brandon. Although they have fun together, Brandon eventually gets bored and starts picking on other people. Dylan is sad as she likes him and Ray tries to cheer her up by letting himself get bullied by him, only for Dylan to push him into his own locker, but Ray is glad “she’s back”. Overall this subplot was humorous and provided some nice sibling moments between Dylan and Ray, however I wouldn’t say it was a strong one.

Overall this was a solid episode with a great amount of touching moments.

 

Best one liner:

  • “Fart on him you’re scaring me!” (Dylan to Brandon when he becomes complacent towards picking on Ray)

Speechless–Season 2, Episode 3 (J-J’s D-R-Dream)

This episode was solid as it had A, B and C stories that complemented each other.

The A story was Ray digging his own grave with Taylor as he felt the need to establish how much they have in common, by telling her he established a charity in JJ’s name. Throughout the episode, JJ tries to throw him under the bus as Ray did this without his knowledge, however he later decides that Ray needs a win (or at least fail on his own terms). The family eventually comes together to throw a last minute benefit where Ray wins an award and decides to really establish the charity. Whether anything comes from this remains to be seen, but this subplot was played out well and had a solid ending.

The B story of Jimmy trying to find and use his inner Maya as he has been promoted to manager was minor but hilarious. I actually enjoyed this subplot as Maya was encouraging Jimmy to reach his full potential rather than JJ for a change. Although Maya’s style doesn’t suit Jimmy, he did find a way to be the assertive boss which suited him. The scenes of luggage golf and Maya being turned on by Jimmy’s assertiveness were hilarious.

The C story of Dylan needing space from Kenneth was even smaller than the B story, however it was hilarious and sweet. Like Dylan, I wondered how Kenneth was able to sneak away from her so quickly, and I did enjoy this subplot as interactions between the two of them are rare.

Overall this was a solid episode with great subplots.

 

Stray Observations:

-Both Ray and Taylor celebrate their “100th dayeth anniversary”, Taylor even brought/made glasses to mark the occasion.

-Apparently Maya threatens doctors with a group of angry special needs mums to hurl peaches at their offices.

 

Best one liners:

  • “This might be the gas leak talking but I think he’s moonwalk has gotten sharp.” (Jimmy on Ray)
  • “I’m a coward…you’re not safe with me.” (Joyce to JJ after Dylan scares her and she ducks behind him)
  • “I’ve got to ask you something…where the hell am I, what is JJ’s Dream, and can a brother get some food?!” (Kenneth to Dylan)

Speechless–Season 2, Episode 2 (F-I-First S-E-Second F-I-First Day)

After kicking off the season with JJ coming home from camp, it’s only natural for this episode to revolve around the school year starting and what that means.

The name of the episode comes from Maya’s declaration that it’s the First Second First Day of school–The first day of school, the second first day at the same school that the DiMeo kids have experienced. JJ and Kenneth start off the day having what Kenneth calls a “sartorial stand off”–they can’t wear the same clothes but Kenneth also wants their clothes to tell a story. Dylan spends the morning retracing her steps to find her backpack, which she eventually finds on top of a curtain rod. Whilst Ray is proud of his ultimate bragging right–a girlfriend that goes to another school and a video to prove it. Whilst Jimmy is excited that he’ll be able to take an uninterrupted shower once the kids are at school.

Once the kids are at school, that’s when things get interesting. Principal Miller introduces Maya to this year’s lot of special needs parents and she imparts their wisdom on them and tries to help them by telling them to be like her, however this backfires when all of their requests are rejected and she risks losing Kenneth. Dylan is asked to show a new girl around only to discover she doesn’t know where anything is and she doesn’t have any friends, as she thought she would have moved away again.

Meanwhile, just as Jimmy is starting to take his long awaited uninterrupted shower, the water pressure decreases which leads him to discover that Dylan is running through the sprinkler in the backyard. Jimmy takes her back to school, only for him to see her later at the mall, which leads to her confiding in him how lonely she is. He tells her that they won’t be moving again and to embrace making new friends. I enjoyed this moment between them as interactions, letting alone bonding moments between them are very rare.

On a smaller note, JJ and Kenneth have a disagreement as Kenneth claims he can’t really date due to his job, however JJ finds out he was lying and confronts him. Kenneth makes a valid point for needing boundaries and separation, however JJ makes an equally valid point that he doesn’t have any boundaries or privacy from Kenneth as he is dependent on him. This leads to a heartbreaking-turned-hilarious moment between them and JJ’s Spanish teacher, when JJ covers for Kenneth when he admits his feelings for her and she rejects him.

At the end of the episode, Maya finds a solution to her problem when Principal Miller tells her she pays a bunch of staff she can’t fire heaps of money to do nothing, by coming with the idea to turn them into aides.

Overall this was a solid episode.

 

Stray Observations:

-Kenneth goes by the alias “Hot Tub Hercules” on Google Personals.

-Dylan is apparently outraged and disappointed by the fact that the school doesn’t have a Trogett Center for Media and the Humanities.

 

Best one liner:

  • “That hostage-style video is going to work!” (Maya to Ray on his video starring Taylor, proving that she is exists and is really his girlfriend)

Speechless–Season 2 Premiere (W-E-We’re B-A-Back!)

The last season ended with JJ going off to camp, a camp for kids for disabilities, for the first time and what they meant for the family. In the Season 2 premiere, we see what this means.

The episode kicks off in typical DiMeo style with Dylan insulting Ray about his relationship with Taylor in his sleep, only for him to wake up and they both discover the fumigator tent surrounding the house. The four of them rush outside and Skype with JJ, who informs them that he has accomplished so many things purely because disability is no excuse at the camp. This gets the episode really up and running as each family member decides to make changes by not using JJ as an excuse.

Maya changes by keeping a schedule, Jimmy changes by getting work on time and Dylan by getting a summer job, and Ray doesn’t change at all, however the rest of the family’s ability to change means Ray has nothing to criticise and therefore no purpose, which means he starts to go mad. His hair starts greying, his skin goes pale, his eyes surrounded by dark circles, and by the time JJ arrives home, he needs a cane to walk. I found Ray’s breakdown hilarious, but it was also good to see minor character development with the entire family.

When JJ arrives home, Dylan finds a note from Alexa, a deaf girl from camp, declaring her feelings for him and asking him for her first kiss. This leads to the family abandoned their new found good habits to go on a spontaneous trip to find Alexa so JJ can kiss her. In typical DiMeo style, there are constant bumps in the road (no pun intended but so good) along the way, which leads to JJ admitting to Maya he feels he holds them all back, which leads to the most loving and heartful mother-son speech I’ve ever heard, which also sums up the DiMeo family dynamic:

“You taught us to be spontaneous, to drop everything when it matters. You did it the first day you came, and you did it yesterday. I’ll tell you it’s my favourite part of who we are. You make us, us.”

I loved that JJ finally got his first kiss and his happily ever after, which shows progress for him romantically as he was turned down by Clare last season.

I found the running gag of Jimmy’s refusal to fill the tank to be funny but not entirely hilarious, nevertheless when he finally relents so the family can see the Grand Canyon was a good pay off. I also enjoyed the final moments of the episode where it’s revealed that Taylor was also having a similar breakdown to Ray over the current perfect state of their relationship, maybe Ray will also have his own success with love after constantly being rejected.

Overall this was a solid season premiere and I’m looking forward to reviewing the second season of this spectacular ground breaking sitcom.

 

Stray Observations:

-Kenneth’s song pointing out the DiMeo’s flaws was hilarious enough itself, but the fact that he had already written it and was ready to sing it at a moment’s notice was even funnier.

-JJ can now sit up on his own for 20 seconds, an improvement over 10.

 

Charmed (Reboot)–Season 1, Episode 11 (Witch Perfect)

This episode is different to the previous two as the stakes were lowered.

The episode kicks off in Athens where a mysterious man goes into an antique store and find an ancient pitch pipe, when he plays it he unleashes a black-green magical being who possesses him. It then cuts to Maggie and Mel walking upstairs with Harry’s breakfast whilst Mel sings “Walking on Sunshine”, as she is auditioning to join the college A Capella group later that day. Macy also tells Maggie and Mel about what Galvin found and naturally they take it badly.

When Maggie is auditioning, it is revealed that the mystery man is Mr Miranda, the Director of the A Capella group. Throughout the episode, the group is seen rehearsing a sombre version of a Lauren Hill song, something pointed out by Effie and Lucy. When Effie demands a solo, the mysterious demon steals her soul and kills her, and Maggie finds out about the demon when she touches the pitch pipe around Mr Miranda’s neck and hears Effie’s screams for help. After telling her sisters and Harry about it, they discover the pitch pipe belongs to sirens, and Maggie tries to cast a spell to get the siren out of Mr Miranda, however he reveals he is the maestro of the sirens. When Galvin and Macy realises it’s the arrangement of the music not the music itself that is affecting the audience, Maggie gets the group to do a mash-up to shock the audience awake and Galvin plays the pipe three times to release the trapped souls.

Meanwhile, Macy and Maggie are reading letters that their parents wrote to each other, which reveal they have always been in love but doesn’t answer the question of why they broke up. The letters also reveal that Macy was brought back from the dead, a shocking twist that is bound to be a compelling story arc in future episodes. Also Harry is still healing from his torture in Tartarus, is writing down his memories of being a mortal and tells Charity that he feels he can’t be the sisters’ whitelighter anymore. Also Niko tells Mel about Jada’s loved ones concern over her behaviour and joining a cult, Mel reveals this to Jada and the latter says it must be her parents doing, hopefully more of this is explored in future episodes. Mel also tells Jada she was sent to the Elders to be a part of Sarcana and Jada tells her she knew, or at least suspected.

Overall I felt this episode was a bit of a hit-and-miss, I felt the maestro and pitch-pipe A story was too absurd, even for a show about magic, I felt there should have been more of a focus on Harry’s healing and trying to find his son, as well as the relationship between Macy and Maggie’s parents.

 

Stray Observations:

-Macy and Maggie’s father died in 2016.

-When Macy was 10 years old, Mel was 7 and Maggie was a baby.

-I believe Galvin assisting the sisters marks the first time in both series that a mortal has assisted the sisters on a vanquish.

-The title parodies the title of the film trilogy, Pitch Perfect. Chrissie Fit (Effie) starred in the second and third films.

 

Best one liners:

-Galvin was the king of the one liners in this episode:

  • “Is that why you’re stress juicing?” (Galvin to Macy on her juicing whilst venting about Mel’s and Maggie’s reaction to Macy’s news)
  • “Is it creepy that I know exactly when Maggie was conceived?” (Galvin to Macy whilst reading her parents’ letters)

Charmed (Reboot)–Season 1, Episode 10 (Keep Calm and Harry On)

The previous episode and the mid-season finale ended on a high note and a few bombshells—Maggie found out Parker is a demon, Galvin found out Macy and her sisters are witches, and Hunter dragged Harry down with him into Tartarus. So when an episode and a mid-season finale ends on a such a high note, I wondered where the show would go from there.

The episode kicks off with a robbery in England in the past where it’s revealed the robber was Harry, only for another reveal to show he is being tortured in Tartarus with fake memories (or we so think). When he is tortured with another memory, this time with him being stabbed in prison, and Harry comes to finding the subsequent scar, it’s revealed the memories are real and we are given an insight into Harry’s life before he died.

In the meantime, the sisters are trying to free Harry mostly by themselves as the Elders (sans Charity) are refusing to help, whilst Maggie is trying to get over her heartbreak. Mel asks Jada for assistance and observes the Sarcana treating one of their own with Hellflame over the torture she was subjected to. It is then Jada reveals that they could possibly try freeing Harry via Dante, the guard to the gateway of Tartarus. Mel then comes up with the idea of giving Dante the Harbinger of Hell in exchange for Harry’s freedom, this is a callback to Episode 4 where Charity unwittingly switched paint cans with Alastair. Charity finally discovers this after Mel gives the empty can to Dante and he angrily punishes them for it by throwing Maggie into Tartarus. I found that Maggie and Harry eventually finding each other in Tartarus and Harry trying to help her and offering to suffer instead of her, to be the highlight of the episode as Evans’ and Jeffery’s acting chops were on display, and Harry’s and Maggie’s whitelighter-witch love for each other is shown. The final torture inflicted on Harry shows he had a son who apparently died.

Harry and Maggie are set free before the Harbinger of Hell can be thrown into Tartarus as Alastair shows up when he discovers Mel stole the paint can, and tries to kill them. Maggie, angered at Alastair’s bating of her and criticism of her passive powers, helps to create a forcefield to protect her and the sisters from Alastair’s fire throwing. Although he gets away, they manage to scare him out of town.

Throughout the episode, there are smaller moments that help them come to a resolution and develop the characters. It was good to see Parker, Macy and Mel interact and work together, however the fact that he didn’t defend himself against Maggie’s accusations of him selling them out was a bit of a hit-and-miss. I also enjoyed seeing Galvin absorbing the reality of Macy and the sister as a witch and trying to assist them with getting files from Julia’s office to find out more about her, Parker and Alastair. I also found Maggie’s efforts to magically erase her pain to be another hit-and-miss as I could see the consequences of the spell coming from a mile away.

The episode ends with another twist and the beginning of another possibly story arc with Mel filmed giving Jada the hellframe she stole from Alastair by Niko. It raises the question of what Niko is up to and what she will bring to the story and the show with her memories of Mel being erased back in Episode 4. The twist comes with Galvin showing Macy Julia’s files on her and the sisters which reveal that Macy and Maggie share a father and Mel is in fact the half-sister, again this raises the question on what this does for the story and show. Another twist is that Harry’s son is still alive.

Overall this was a solid episode with Evans’ and Jeffery’s acting chops on show with the true conclusion of the Harbinger and Tartarus story arcs, character development with Harry, progression with the Sarcana story arc, and a new story arc starting with the first appearance of Niko since her memories were erased.

 

Stray Observations:

-The memories of Harry’s past present a huge continuity problem—Harry stated in an earlier episode that he died in 1920, yet the memories are set in either the 40s or 50s.

-A week has passed since the events of the previous episode.

-Galvin is the first mortal to find out that the sisters are witches and unlike mortals in the original series, he accepted it.

-Apparently Alastair and Julie have some sort of separation agreement that is strict on him mesmerising her.