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ProWrap: Secrets, Lies, and Discrimination

ProWrap consists of quick reviews of the television shows we don’t cover with full reviews or podcast episodes during the week.

Secrets & Lies – S2E1 – “The Fall” | Sundays at 9pm | ABC

A night of celebration turns tragic when Eric Warner’s (Michael Ealy) wife, Kate (Jordana Brewster), falls to her death at a company party. Enter the world’s most annoying detective, Andrea Cornell (Juliette Lewis), who immediately suspects foul play at Eric’s hands; this based off nothing more than the husband usually did it. Still, once she starts digging she finds Kate had plenty of secrets and the Warner family may have quite a few reasons to tell lies.

(ABC/Mitch Haaseth)

The premiere used flashbacks to effectively shed light on the Warner’s courtship and marriage, as well as reveal the power dynamics within Eric’s family and his company, which was just handed down to him from his father, John (Terry O’Quinn). It’s biggest failing is that it appears Cornell is, once again, trying to arrest the wrong man. That plus her abrasive personality ensures the audience will spend most of the season rooting against her… just like season one. Grade: B ~ ProFan Nina 

(ABC/Mitch Haaseth)

Scream Queens – S2E2 – “Warts and All” | Tuesdays at 9pm | FOX

With the second season set in the hospital, Scream Queens is able to shake things up by introducing a “medical case of the week” like Grey’s Anatomy or ER, but with a lot more laughs and death. This week, Chanel #5 (Abigail Breslin) finds love with a guy (Colton Haynes) suffering from a painful ailment that leaves his entire body covered in warts. He’s hottie underneath so she makes it her personal mission to cure his incurable disease. The real magic this week came with the return of fan favorite Chad Radwell (Glen Powell) and more Denise Hemphill (Niecy Nash), who’s brought in to help Dean Munsch (Jamie Lee Curtis) clear her name. Chad wants Chanel back (why?) and Denise still has her eye on Zayday (Keke Palmer). When Chad discovers his competition (John Stamos) for Chanel’s heart has the hand of a dead serial killer, he thinks his chances against the sexy doctor have drastically improved. Grade: B ~ ProFan Nina

Image: Michael Becker/FOX

This Is Us – S1E2 – “The Big Three” | Tuesdays at 10pm | NBC

After last week’s jaw-dropping twist, no one expected this show to continue its pattern of twists and turns but this week’s ending also had me scraping my jaw off the floor. In the past, we’ve skipped about 8 years forward and Kevin, Kate and Randall (The Big Three) are all struggling with very different issues while mom, Rebecca, is feeling the frustration of parenting on her own since Jack tends to spend his evenings at the bar like every sitcom male in the history of television. In the present day, Kate is supporting Kevin as he tries to quit his television gig without the studio suing him while Randall and his wife, Beth, walk on eggshells around his biological father whom they fear may be doing drugs again.

In this episode the women really stand out. The audience sees Kate’s struggle with weight begins at an early age with her mother feeding her fruit and cottage cheese while her brothers get sugary cereals. And despite Toby’s playful attitude and encouragement as Kate says, “It’s always going to be about the weight.” On the flip side, we see Rebecca go through her own battle about whether she’s doing the right thing with Kate and put her foot down with her husband about supporting her as a parent. If nothing else, this show nails Jack and Rebecca’s love for each other. When Jack promises to step his game up, you believe that he will do whatever it takes to make Rebecca happy. But beyond that, for me the MVP of this episode was Randall’s wife Beth. Her suspicion of William leads her to confront him because as she says, “[Randall’s] vice is his goodness” and he won’t ask William what’s going on. Susan Kelechi Watson kills this scene. Beth’s love for Randall and her fierce need to protect him is on full display and Watson is masterful opposite Ron Cephas-Jones. By the way, if you haven’t been paying attention this is the fourth show for Cephas-Jones this year. He’s also starred in Mr. Robot, as well as The Get Down and Marvel’s Luke Cage on Netflix.

Although I’m hardly surprised that This Is Us has such emotional resonance given the producer’s past shows, I am surprised at how they’ve taken their family drama formula and added this time component to create something wholly new. I have so many questions at the end of every episode and I’m really excited each week for more answers. If this isn’t on your must-watch list, rectify that ASAP. Grade: A ~ ProFan Shanna

(Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

Aftermath | Tuesdays at 9pm | Syfy

As the old adage goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. However it doesn’t hurt if you occasionally put a twist on it. Syfy’s recent premiere of their other end-of-the-world thriller has the right ingredients for a bleak, quasi-biblical take on the end times. The question is whether they’ll be put to good use. If the pace quickens and its leads face more dire scenarios, this new show has every chance to put the fear of God back in you.

Aftermath centers around The Copelands, a nuclear family that appears more prepared than any other human for the oncoming apocalypse. The world is falling apart around them and fast, thanks to a barrage of natural disasters, solar storms, and an extremely contagious disease. Yet this tight knit bunch isn’t entirely fazed by the peculiarities that constantly bombard all of humanity across the globe. The premiere is a slow burn when it comes to introducing each family member and their personal relationships, but what series doesn’t amble at the start? Once Aftermath injects a violent supernatural element into its already grim story line, the family circus finally becomes shook and unsure what to make of their existence now that demons run amok.

The Copelands are lead by Karen (Anne Heche), a former Air Force officer that keeps a pragmatic view of things – while ensuring her kids know how to shoot. Her husband Joshua (James Tupper), a professor that’s versed in multiple disciplines, seeks to find answers about the ongoing destruction through history and myth. The couple come off as cordial at best; there is no melodrama or animus between them. Nevertheless their performances produce an unintended detachment that lingers. Seeing as Karen and Josh mention their opposing skills, careers and beliefs a few times in the pilot, it makes one ponder what connection other than their children brought them together. The three siblings – Matt, Dana and Brianna – are played by clever young actors that display a more convincing rapport among themselves. In turn, the Copeland kids appear as bright, capable teens that can take care of themselves, given the hellish circumstances.

Now that the end has begun, the Copelands must find new purpose in the midst of unadulterated chaos. Hopefully Aftermath will provide a more lasting impression as the season unfolds. Grade: B- ~ ProFan Rex

(Photo by: Eike Schroter/Aftermath ULC/Syfy)

Lethal Weapon – S1E2 – “Surf N Turf” | Wednesdays at 8pm | FOX

This is better than it has any right to be. It’s laugh-out-loud funny at times, and the action is just the right amount of over-the-top: Riggs (Clayne Crawford) saves a woman’s life by jumping off the roof with her and crashing through the window of an apartment across the street. But most surprising is how much heart Lethal Weapon has. Riggs is suddenly healed from his grief just because he’s in a new city with a new partner. He’s still reckless, but this week he realizes that Murtaugh (Damon Wayans) is a good man and a good cop with a family who’d very much appreciate it if he comes home at the end of each shift. Will Riggs find healing as he learns to care about another person again? Keesha Sharp as Trish Murtaugh is a scene-stealer. The one area tends to lag is watching Riggs avoid his mandatory therapy sessions with Cahill (Jordana Brewster). Grade: C+ ~ ProFan Nina

Image: Jordin Althaus/FOX

Designated Survivor – S1E2 – “The First Day” | Wednesdays at 10pm | ABC

President Kirkman’s address to the nation did little to ease fears or raise confidence in his ability to lead. His first day on the job is further complicated by an overzealous and bigoted Governor, who has all the Muslim citizens in Dearborn, Michigan illegally detained and then refuses to recognize Kirkman’s authority. A white lie and a bluff is all it takes for Kirkman to get the Gov to stand down, but not before a police officer beats an unarmed and cuffed Muslim teenager to death. An examination of the undetonated explosive device leads to one terrorist group, but only with 75% certainty; that’s not enough for Kirkman to feel confident in publicly naming them and that only provides more fuel to those who wish to undermine him.

(ABC/Ben Mark Holzberg)

Kirkman learns the Republicans had their own designated survivor, Kimble Hookstraten (Virginia Madsen), who’s a little too helpful to be trusted. If “The First Day” had a failure, it had to be its inability to make you care about Agent Wells’ (Maggie Q) storyline. She’s on the right track and also unconvinced they’re not being lead to falsely accuse a group or nation for the attacks, but her personal connection to the tragedy remains unclear. The real standout this week was Kal Penn’s Seth, who provided a face to the discrimination and mistreatment Muslim Americans face whenever there’s a terrorist attack. Grade: B ~ ProFan Nina

(ABC/Ben Mark Holzberg)

Star Wars Rebels | S3E2 “The Holocrons of Fate” | Saturdays at 8:30pm | Disney XD

Only two episodes into the new season and Rebels has already added another dimension to the classic trilogy’s story arc. “The Holocrons of Fate” marks the return of Darth Maul (voiced by Sam Witwer), who seeks the Sith holocron Ezra from the temple in the season two finale. Of course Maul would have a trick up his sleeve: the Ghost’s crew are his hostages and he’ll release them once the Sith and Jedi holocrons are in his possession.

Naturally, Rebels consistently entertains with its fantastic voice work and slick visuals but the real highlight of the episode are secrets that were partly unveiled during Ezra’s intense experience with The Force. Kanan (Freddie Prinze Jr) introduces the enigmatic Bandu to Ezra; the pair’s issues are handily resolved thanks to the ancient creature’s continued tests that correct the imbalance felt in Jarrus. However it was Bandu’s knowledge of holocrons that piqued Ezra’s interest. Learning that the Jedi and Sith devices could merge and focus the energies of The Force, Ezra then Maul saw their grudging reunion (via ransom) as an opportunity to seek the answers that have escaped them for years.

Although Bridger didn’t any receive clarity about his personal vendetta, he was flooded with a jumble of images… star systems, planets and locations he’d never seen before. Regrettably, Maul’s hatred gave him the concentration needed to remove any doubt from his mind: his greatest enemy yet lives… and he’s shadowing a 13 year old boy who could restore balance to The Force. If there was any question whether Star Wars Rebels wasn’t important in the general scheme of the franchise’s mythology, “Holocrons of Fate” assures viewers that everything is of potential consequence in the Disney series, rippling through Star Wars’ history perhaps as far as the new trilogy currently in production. Grade: A ~ ProFan Rex

You can read full reviews of the shows we covered last week below: 

The Blacklist, Quarry, Quantico, Z Nation, The Strain, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Queen Sugar, Gotham, Atlanta, Pitch

What’s the best thing you watched on TV this week?

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