Sailing into the Sunset

Below Deck Mediterranean | Bravo | Season 5 Episode 20: A Mighty Wind

It’s season finale time for a truly tumultuous season of Below Deck Mediterranean The Saga of Rob and Jess!

Rob tells first mate David he’s in for the crossing. Later, he says it would be a great opportunity for him in order to see if he wants to continue in yachting (and to be away from Jess).

Sandy lets Malia drive the yacht for the final trip back to port, and Tom stops by the wheelhouse to see Malia in action.

Bugsy takes the guests’ breakfast orders while Jess does laundry. In an interview, Bugsy says she’s proud of the interior, and she thinks they’ve come a long way. She thinks there’s an expiration date on working in yachting, but she’s not settling down any time soon. On the flip side, Aesha says she thinks she’s done with yachting; she’s spent so much time serving other people and now it’s time to focus on her.

Alex says the deck team has had its ups and downs but Malia has been a great bosun. I think that’s true – there’s been relatively little issues or drama with the deck team, aside from Rob’s distraction. The editors make it seem like the last docking could go horribly wrong, but it doesn’t; Malia and crew guide the ship into port one last time.

The guests disembark, thank the crew, and leave. The crew has its final tip meeting, and Sandy says the interior killed it; the last tip is $20,000! Sandy also hands out “awards” in which she thanks each member of the team and rates them on The Beaufort Scale (from 1 – 12): that relates¬†wind speed¬†to observed conditions at sea or on land (via Wikipedia). She explains why they got their respective ratings, and it was a nice way to end the charter season. Afterwards, Jess talks to Sandy and thanks her for encouraging her.

Everyone gets to work cleaning; Malia asks Rob if he’s leaving with a girlfriend, but he says he doesn’t know. The crew gets ready for their final night out; Jess asks Rob if they’re “good” and he says they are, but Jess says they can be single for that night. #Communication? In the cab ride over, Rob and Jess go in separate cars, but everyone discusses them on the way to dinner. At the dinner table things get awkward quickly when Jess doesn’t want to sit opposite Rob.

Sandy talks to Tom, who kinda apologizes for being a jerk. Sandy basically says she knows how yacht chefs are. Everyone seems to be having fun except Jess, and the crew even gets to dance with some dancers at the restaurant. In an interview, Sandy says she loved the crew, despite the Kiko and Hannah situations; Sandy leaves the yachties after dinner.

The gang heads out to a club, where Jess tells Rob he’s completely “cold-shouldered” her. He says everything is always his fault… they sit down and continue discussing things. He says she was the one who said they could be single that night; she says nothing she ever does will make him happy. As the rest of the crew celebrates, Rob tells Jess she can go to Bali without him; she gets upset and walks off.

As a (really ripped) fire dancer performs for the crew, Bugsy goes after Jess, who’s in the bathroom – which is behind a false bookcase. Very cool, but very odd in this setting. Inside the club, the yachties run into the charter guests that just left the yacht! Rob chats up Hannah, who tells him he has a beautiful soul while Jess gets angry and vents to Malia. Jess says Rob’s ignoring her while going after Hannah, while Alex and Bugsy make out, and Tom and Malia are their usual PDA-tastic selves. The former charter guests leave, and the yachties leave shortly after.

The girls go in one cab, and the boys in the other; Jess cries and says she loves Rob and doesn’t want to cry over him. The boys discuss things and Alex tells Rob not to let Jess tell him what to do. And they’re all very drunk at this point, so no one will remember any of it, I’m sure. In any case, Malia tells Rob she thinks Jess really loves him, but they’re on different wavelengths at the moment.

Jess says she doesn’t know what Rob wants from her, so he can be single. And they’re still sharing a 2 foot cabin, somehow. The next morning Rob and Jess speak, and he tells her he’s doing the crossing; she says he’s “damaging” to her. She cries and asks him for a hug; she asks him not to do the crossing and not to “run from this.” He says he has a ticket to Bali and he has 2 days to decide what he’s doing… Rob says they should pack and just get off the boat; he kisses Jess as they go about packing things up.

Alex is the first to leave the boat, and he says he had a great experience. Bugsy sweetly kisses him goodbye and he takes off. Rob says his goodbyes, and Jess leaves with him; they hold hands and kiss once they’re off the boat. We learn that Rob did in fact go to Bali with Jess instead of doing the crossing. But in real time we know they’re not together (spoiler alert, to no one at all).

Aesha is next to leave, and happy to go home. Bugsy is next to go, and Sandy says it was a pleasure having her back. Malia and Tom are the last ones on the boat, and Tom says it was a pleasure working with Sandy (um, when?!). Anyway, Malia thanks Sandy for the opportunity to be her bosun, and Tom and Malia head out.

Sandy says this was the hardest season she’s had, but she’s so grateful to have the opportunity to work with everyone this season.

And that’s a wrap (almost) on Below Deck Mediterranean! There will be a 2-part reunion over the next few weeks, but I for one am happy the season is over. It really was the Rob and Jess show for most of the season, but there was so much drama and the most turnover I can remember on any season of any reality show! It was a crazy season, and there were some interesting guests and lots of drama – a lot of which was fake (thanks editors!). But what would a Below Deck show be without a little delusion? M

Winning When it Counts?

Big Brother: All Stars | CBS | Week 10 Nominations

The season of Big Brother: All Stars is starting to wind down, as we’re left with five players in the game. Who kept the most pumpkins in his/her basket to claim one of the final HoH titles of the season?

In the DR, Christmas says she’ll nominate Nicole and Cody if she wins, with Cody being her ultimate target. Cody says if Memphis wins, he’s going on the block; so things aren’t looking great for the Jersey boy. Memphis says he wants Nicole out because he’s not aligned with her (in any of his alliances).

Everyone initially has trouble with the HoH competition, in which they have to get “pumpkins” (dodge balls) to stay in their “baskets” while going over balance beams. The issue is that the “baskets” are extremely flat, so any movement on the balance beam sends the “pumpkins” flying all over; if any of the “pumpkins” hit the ground they have to start all over again.

Oh, Brother.

Christmas seems to get a rhythm going, and Memphis figures out a system as well. Nicole is doing ok, and Enzo is a complete disaster.

Christmas gets down to 2 “pumpkins” left, when one of the smaller balls falls out of her “basket”, and she has to start over again.

Memphis gets down to 2 “pumpkins” left, when one of his smaller balls falls out of his “basket”, and he has to start over again.

Nicole is now in the lead, and only needs 1 more “pumpkin” to win the competition. She says she can “taste Victor’s letter” if she wins, and she places the last “pumpkin” in her “basket”. She slowly lowers her balance beam and hits the button to win the competition and become HoH – her first competition win of the season.

Christmas gets upset and starts crying; she tells Nicole she’s sad because she was so close to winning and couldn’t. Nicole walks away, but laughs and says “they’re sad because I won,” which I found a little strange…

In the DR, Enzo says Nicole is going to do some of his dirty work because he’s aligned with everyone else in the house; Cody has similar thoughts later.

Memphis thinks he’s good with Cody, Enzo and Christmas, but Cody says he’ll turn on Memphis but “yes” him to death. In the DR, Nicole says she’ll come after Memphis, who nominated her, and Christmas, who tried to flip the vote on her. In the DR, Cody says Nicole taking a shot at Memphis is great for his (and Enzo’s) game.

Christmas accidentally walks in on Enzo in the bathroom, which marks the second time we’ve seen that happen this season – the first time it was Nicole. I never noticed before (and it’s hard to see in the picture) but the bathroom seems to have a lock with a green indicator on the front. Are they not allowed to lock that door?

The players go see Nicole’s HoH room, and she reads her letter from fiance and former Big Brother player and Amazing Race partner Victor; she reads it and gets very happy – she does not, in fact, taste it.

Christmas talks with Nicole, and Nicole basically tells her she’s going to nominate her. She doesn’t want Christmas to go home; however, Cody and Enzo have never done anything to her, so she has no reason to nominate them. Christmas tells her Cody is the biggest target because he’s good at comps and the jury loves him. Right on cue, Cody comes to talk to Nicole and Christmas leaves. Nicole and Cody discuss everything Christmas just said, and Cody turns his attention to getting Christmas out over Memphis. Nicole says Cody’s BB life is in her hands, and asks if he’ll vote how she wants him to vote.

Memphis, Enzo, Cody and Christmas discuss Enzo’s “foot stalker,” and I do not want to repeat the details of this conversation. Moving on…

Memphis goes to talk to Nicole to try to make a deal; in the DR Memphis says she’d be crazy not to accept his deal to vote with her and not use the veto. In the DR, Nicole says his deal is terrible.

One more time, Christmas walks in on Enzo in the bathroom.

At the nomination ceremony, surprising no one, Nicole nominates Memphis and Christmas for eviction. So unless either nominee wins the veto, Cody and Enzo are sitting pretty this week. Christmas and Memphis are good at competitions though, so it’s entirely possible that one of them could win, forcing Nicole to turn on her alliance (well, Enzo, really). Either way it would be good to get Memphis out of the house. We also learn that the veto comp will be the much loved BB Comics competition, finally! Again, not sure who to root for here, so I guess I’ll stick with Cody or the Meow Meow, for now. M

Only the Good Die Young

The Boys | Amazon Prime Video | S2 E8: What I Know

We’ve arrived at the season 2 finale of The Boys. It’s been gross and violent, boring and thrilling, and very head-splattering. How could this season possibly end? [Major spoilers for The Boys follow].

We open with a Vought sponsored PSA: Homelander and a sheriff talk about school safety and what do if a Super Villain attacks; it includes an armed teacher and kids using their school supplies as weapons as they wait for dispatched Super Hero. It’s very matter of fact, as if it was for fire or drug safety.

The Boys (1)

Mallory and Victoria Neuman are talking to Defense Secretary Robert Singer (Jim Beaver), who tells them the president is declaring a state of emergency and authorizing the use of Compound V by law enforcement and first responders after the events at the courthouse.

Outside the underground lair, Starlight says goodbye to Donna and makes sure she follows a plan to stay safe. Donna gives her a gold cross and says she doesn’t care if she wears it – she just wants her to have it; they hug and Donna heads off.

Underground, Frenchie is demonstrating an EMP weapon aimed at taking out Stormfront when Starlight and Hughie join them. Starlight offers to testify about Vought, but MM says escaped convicts’ testimonies don’t mean much. She comes up with a plan and asks for a day before The Boys go nuts on Vought, and grabs Hughie to go with her.

The Boys watching Billy & Becca

It seems Mrs. Butcher has taken to fleeing from her idyllic yet fake suburban home, as we see Becca hiding in a wooded area while people search for her. She shows up at the storefront of the underground lair and tells Butcher that Homelander took Ryan.

The Boys get some food and a drink for Becca and say they’ve heard a lot about her. Butcher tells her to stay while he does a little digging; he promises to find Ryan for her.

Starlight and Hughie

Starlight and Hughie are driving and she asks him what the deal is with his love of Billy Joel. Starlight says Butcher is right; they’ve tried taking down Vought the legal way but it’s never worked. She asks Hughie why he helped her at Vought, and why he didn’t give up on her; he says he would never give up on her.

They go to Maeve’s apartment; Starlight asks Maeve to testify against Vought, Homelander, and everything else but Maeve’s not interested. Maeve says she’s done enough for Starlight by saving her life; nothing ever changes, and she’s tired. She yells at Starlight to take Hughie and leave, and they go.

On the drive back, Starlight shows Hughie her cross, and complains about her mother; she apologizes to Hughie, who tells her his mother isn’t dead (!). She left them when Hughie was six years old; she and Hughie had dance parties and that’s where his love of Billy Joel came from. As they’re talking A-Train shows up in the back seat of their car; Hughie pulls over and they all get out. A-Train gives Starlight a file folder and says they’re even; he says he wants back into The Seven and he needs Stormfront gone.

Elsewhere

Butcher phone, now with Siri.

Alastair Adana and Stan Edgar share a meal and discuss The Deep and A-Train coming back to The Seven. Stan says Stormfront has issues with A-Train and he has to indulge her for the time being, so he cannot come back; he is open to The Deep returning, though.

As he leaves the meeting with Alastair, Edgar gets a phone call from Butcher. Later, Butcher meets Edgar at an otherwise empty restaurant. Butcher says that Ryan is a contingency plan, and that plan doesn’t work if Homelander is playing dad to Ryan but Butcher can fix that for Edgar.

Edgar tells Butcher the situation is just business, and he’ll do whatever’s best for Vought, no matter what Stormfront does, or who she hates. Butcher says he can get Ryan away from Homelander, and when he does Edgar can come get him – and do a better job of hiding him; however, Becca isn’t part of the deal. Butcher says to find Ryan a new mother, because he’s taking his wife back; he tells Edgar to tell Becca keeping them apart is the only way to keep Ryan safe from Homelander. Stan agrees and the men shake on it.

The Supes

Homelander watches a news report in the Vought conference room, and Stormfront joins him. He asks about Black Noir, and she says he’s unresponsive; he may have brain damage but it’s “hard to tell.”

They join Ryan, who’s hanging out with Ashley. Ryan wants to call Becca, but Stormfront asks if he wants to go on a field trip – to Planet Vought (a Planet Hollywood type restaurant). Homelander and Stormfront are besieged by fans, and Ryan gets freaked out at the crowd. He tells Homelander he wants his mom, and Homelander takes Ryan and flies off.

Father of the year #not

At his cabin, Homelander waits outside while Ryan is inside; Stormfront flies to the cabin and tells Homelander to just talk to his son. They go inside and Ryan apologizes; Homelander says he felt the same way when he first encountered a crowd, and he flew away and cried his eyes out. He tells Ryan he’ll help him figure things out because he loves him. It’s a bonding moment.

Later, Homelander is teaching Ryan how to use his heat vision (to melt a Deep action figure!), but he can’t seem to use his powers. Homelander tells Ryan to imagine someone he hates, but Ryan says he doesn’t really hate anyone. Stormfront tells Ryan bad guys want to hurt them because of the color of their skin, and they need people like Ryan to fight on their side. Heavy for a little kid!

The Boys (2)

Butcher goes back to the underground lair, and tells Becca he knows where Ryan is – in a cabin upstate. Hughie is back and tells Butcher how great Becca is; then he shows Butcher what he and Starlight brought back with them. Butcher says the folder from A-Train is a jackpot and it will do nicely. Butcher tells The Boys that getting back Ryan is his job, but they’re not having it; they all prepare to go to war.

Butcher makes a promise

They grab weapons as Hughie takes pictures of some things in A-Train’s folder and shoots off an e-mail with the subject “Stormfront is a Nazi.” Becca grabs a gun and tells Butcher she’s coming with them; she says she likes his friend, especially Hughie, because he’s “good for” Butcher. She asks him to promise he’ll get Ryan back to her because he can’t grow up like Homelander did. He swears to her, on Lenny’s soul, that he will.

Kimiko asks Frenchie what happens if she freezes again when she sees Stormfront; he says she can take care of herself and when the time comes, she’ll know what to do.

Speaking of… Stormfront gets an alert on her phone, gets upset and flies off. She goes to Vought Tower, where newscasts are reporting her Nazi past, including her marriage to Frederick Vought. The Boys see her leave and spring into action.

Endgame (1)

As Homelander and Ryan are watching the news, they hear a deafening sound and Homelander goes out to investigate. He flies off, leaving Ryan, and Butcher and Becca drive to the cabin. They go in and Becca puts headphones on Ryan and the three leave. Meanwhile, Homelander finds the source of the sound – dozens of Vought speakers – and destroys it.

Butcher brings Becca and Ryan back to where The Boys are waiting. He tells MM to get Becca and Ryan to Mallory so she can get them somewhere safe. Becca asks what’s going on and Butcher tells her he cut a deal with Edgar to take Ryan but he couldn’t go through with it.

Vought soldiers come into the cabin looking for Butcher and Ryan as Homelander returns and asks where Ryan is. He kills a soldier and yells his question again…

Are you laughing at me?

Butcher tells Becca to raise Ryan right; they have a tearful goodbye as she gets back in the car with MM and Ryan. As they’re driving away, though, Stormfront arrives and attacks the car, sending it flying and flipping over. Butcher runs to the car as Stormfront marches towards Starlight and The Boys.

MM and Becca get out of the car as Butcher runs up and they get Ryan out; MM tells them to run and they’ll hold off Stormfront.

As Stormfront and Starlight argue, Kimiko has a moment of clarity and starts to laugh. She motions to Frenchie and explains exactly what she plans to do to Stormfront, as Starlight, Stormfront and Kimiko start fighting. Stormfront destroys the EMP device with an electrical explosion, and Kimiko attacks her; the two wrestle the ground but Stormfront gets the upper hand and snaps Kimiko’s neck.

Watching the ladies work

Hughie, MM and Frenchie all shoot Stormfront but the bullets don’t phase her; she sends bolts of electricity towards them, knocking them back. Starlight attacks, but Stormfront knocks her down. Maeve then joins the fight as Kimiko un-snaps (?) her neck and gets back up. Maeve, Kimiko and Starlight then all attack Stormfront as Frenchie, Hughie and MM look on. Stormfront is beaten up but flies off.

Homelander comes out of the cabin, covered in blood, as Stormfront flies to the woods to intercept Butcher, Becca and Ryan. Stormfront shoots Butcher back, but Becca stabs Stormfront in the eye. Stormfront attacks Becca; Butcher tries shooting the Supe then hitting her with a crowbar. Ryan gets upset and his eyes start glowing red and the screen goes white…

We then see Butcher on the ground and when he gets up, he sees a bloody Stormfront on the ground speaking German; her legs and arms are burned off and half her face is also burned. Ryan is crying and apologizes to his mom as we see Becca lying on the ground against a tree, bleeding from her neck. Butcher runs over as Ryan apologizes; Butcher yells for help as Becca tells him “it’s not his fault,” “he’s good,” and to promise he’ll keep him safe. Becca dies in front of him as he cries and kisses her head; Ryan is sobbing and apologizing as Butcher looks over. He grabs the crowbar as Homelander flies down to where they are. Stormfront continues to speak German as Homelander asks Ryan if he “did this.” Ryan says he didn’t mean to, and Homelander calls him over to him, but Ryan stands behind Butcher.

Finally taking control

Homelander laughs and says Ryan is his; he asks Butcher if he’s going to save the one who killed his wife. Butcher says he “promised”, and as Homelander starts walking towards them, Maeve arrives and tells Homelander to stop. She tells Homelander he’s going to let them go, stop hunting Starlight, and leave her and Elena alone or she will release the cell phone footage from the plane.

He says if she does that, he’ll destroy everything and everyone; Maeve says that’s fine as long as no one ever loves him again. He hears crowds chanting his name as Butcher picks up Ryan and walks away.

Endgame (2)

At a press conference, Stan Edgar blames the Washington head-explodey attack solely on Stormfront , as we see Starlight (in her old uniform) with Homelander and Maeve on stage next to him. Edgar says the release of Compound V has been put on hold.

Homelander takes the mic and says Maeve and Starlight neutralized Stormfront, who is being held in an undisclosed location. He apologizes to Starlight for being wrongfully accused, welcomes her back to the team, and assures the public that Stormfront will be punished.

The Deep and A-Train are watching the press conference and Alastair joins them. He tells them someone stole private data regarding Stormfront; Alastair knows it was A-Train. He says Vought needs to take a firm anti-Nazi stance right now, so Alastair spoke to Stan Edgar and A-Train is back in The Seven. Since there was only one slot, though, there’s no room for The Deep. The Deep gets angry for signing over his bank account and everything he had over to the church in exchange for getting back in The Seven; he curses Fresca and leaves.

Hughie meets Starlight in the park and notices she’s wearing the gold cross; she says if Billy Butcher can do the right thing “then there’s got to be some kind of higher power.” He asks her if it’s safe to go back to Vought, but she says she doesn’t know; she just needs to be there. They kiss, and Hughie says he’s going to try to be less clingy – but not with her. They kiss again, and she asks what he was referring to when he said he’d be less clingy…

So that’s a ‘yes’, then?

Butcher and Ryan are sitting by a body of water, and Ryan tells him he’s scared. Butcher takes a St. Christopher medal necklace from his neck and gives it to Ryan; he said it belonged to Becca, who will help keep him safe. Mallory arrives with some black SUVs, and Ryan gets into one and they drive away.

Butcher tells Mallory that Vought will want him back, but she says to let her handle them. She tells him all the charges against him and The Boys have been dropped (even the crimes they did commit – handy!), so he’s a free man. She says the White House is opening an Office of Supe affairs, headed by Victoria Neuman. Victoria is giving Mallory some off the books funding for a secret team to keep tabs on the Supes, if he’s interested…

Postgame

MM goes back home and gets a warm welcome from his daughter; Frenchie and Kimiko leave the underground lair for some dancing.

More than meets the eye

Homelander says he can do “whatever he wants” as he stands on a building, with no pants on, erm, masturbating.

Alastair calls Victoria and congratulates her on the Office of Supe Affairs; she says she knows it was his intel that took down Stormfront. He says he has enough dirt to ruin a dozen Supes and Stan Egdar if she’s willing to expedite his church’s tax exempt status. She says it’s a small price to pay as they hang up.

As he opens a can of Fresca, Alastair’s head explodes; we then see Victoria standing outside his office, using her powers (!).

Victoria goes to her office, where Hughie is waiting. She says she doesn’t know how to repay him; he says she can repay him with a job. He wants to fight Vought – the right way – and since he never fit in with The Boys, it’s time for him to stand on his own two feet. She asks him when he can start and closes her door.

The Wrap Up

So that’s a wrap on season 2! What a roller coaster of a season; deaths, lots of heads exploding, violence and gore, and lots of C words. Overall, if I had to give the season a letter grade, I’d give it a solid B- to B. For me, it was a good season but there were too many storylines that didn’t go anywhere, or were just unnecessary. I think I’ll do another post on The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of season 2 since so very much happened in this finale (and this is becoming a novel length recap). What this episode did do well is perfectly set up the already-greenlit-by-Amazon season 3, and I’m anxious to see where The Boys and The Supes go from here with all the new info revealed in the finale. What does a (kinda) government sanctioned Boys team look like, potentially without Hughie? Will Homelander actually go along with Maeve’s blackmail and back off? And what, oh what, is Victoria’s end goal? This show has single handedly taken the super hero genre and flipped it on its head, then blew up its head, leaving a bloody stump. Who could ask for anything more? M

Dough Nuts

The Great British Baking Show | Netflix | W3: Bread Week

It’s bread week in the tent, and this relatively new challenge in the The Great British Baking Show usually makes for some interesting creations. Baking a cake or cookies is an intricate process, but proving* dough for bread is a whole different challenge entirely.

*In cooking, proofing (also called proving) is a step in the preparation of yeast bread and other baked goods where the dough is allowed to rest and rise a final time before baking. During this rest period, yeast ferments the dough and produces gases, thereby leavening the dough (via Wikipedia)

Before the baking, a writer’s note: This show is called The Great British Bake Off in the UK, but because Pillsbury owns the trademark for the term “Bake Off” in the United States, they changed the title to “Baking Show.”

For the first time since watching this series on Netflix, I noticed how they do the introduction for the US audience: if you watch closely, this week it’s exceptionally clear that Noel and Matt both say “Welcome to The Great British Bake Off,” but the audio is dubbed over at the end to say “Baking Show.” I foolishly thought they just filmed the intro twice, and never noticed this bit of great British trickery! End of note.

Most bakers are nervous about these challenges, as they are not experienced in making bread. Let’s see how things turn out!

Marc has a buttermilk mishap

Signature Challenge

The bakers must make two loaves of soda bread – one sweet and one savory – and a butter to go with them. Prue says she’s expecting lots of cheese, herbs and nuts, and it would be nice to see someone using something different.

Careful what you wish for, Prue… Rowan’s breads have Italian sausage, olives, capers – and polenta?! Peter uses black pudding (no comment) and ginger beer, and Hermine uses smoked salmon and Gruyere cheese.

When they’re done baking, the bakers tap the bottoms of the loaves to make sure they’re hollow inside – pro tip!

Here’s how some turned out:

Salmon + bread = handshake!

Most bakers do well with this challenge, though some breads come out more cake-like, according to Paul; however, Rowan’s Italian-inspired breads didn’t hit the mark.

Hermine’s soda breads earn her this season’s second Hollywood Handshake TM – he says he thinks her breads are very special. #TheFeels.

Technical Challenge

Paul’s advice for his challenge? “You need to get your timings right.” Helpful. This could apply to any situation, in any scenario, really. I wonder how often the bakers even listen to the “advice” because it’s never particularly useful… anyway…

The goal of the Technical Challenge

The challenge is to bake six rainbow colored bagels, and very few of the bakers have made bagels before, let alone with five different colored doughs.

The bakers all have different techniques on twisting, rolling and preparing their rainbow dough, but they all actually seem to be very successful in creating bagel-looking forms of dough. When they prove and then boil, things start to fall apart.

The bakers put their boiled dough in the oven to bake, with a wide array of varying results. Some are very thin, others very flat, and some are over-proved (according to Paul). Overall the bakers got the colors and flavors, but the consistency and shapes are all over the place. Rowan comes in last place; in the top three are Mark in third, Marc in second, and Linda in first.

Over the rainbow

Showstopper Challenge

For the final bread week challenge, Paul and Prue ask the bakers to create – in 3 hours and 30 minutes – a bread plaque, representing a celebration of the thing for which they are most grateful.

The plans are very ambitious; Hermine attempts to make brioche and focaccia to depict her road trips to France. Lottie plans to make her house, in bread, while Peter uses stencils to make the Edinbugh skyline. It’s a good thing they get to practice this type of bake (though seeing them try to do this with no practice at all might be hilarious television), though even with practice many of the bakers have trouble with steps along the way.

The bakers finish their bread plaques, and some are sights to behold! Here are a few of the finished products:

Hermine and Sura get positive comments from the judges; Laura and Peter are less successful. Marc’s Dharma Wheel was impressive all around; when you consider that every one of these constructions was made of bread, it’s impressive to me when any detail comes through – in bread!

Matt announces the week’s star baker is Marc! His Dharma Wheel looked incredible, and according to the judges tasted great as well. Noel announces that the person leaving the tent will be Rowan – who has had a rough go of it for the past few challenges.

So bread week, as usual, was tough for the bakers – though some managed to make some great creations. I think they should just chuck this gimmick; it was a novel idea when it started, but to me it still seems out of place in this competition. I know bread is baked and it’s a Baking Show, and it can’t always be about cake and cookies, but does anyone – the judges, the bakers, the audience, Noel – really enjoy bread week? Let’s leave the savory and the bread out of the baking competition; we could all use more sweet things on TV, right? M

And Then There Were Five

Big Brother: All Stars | CBS | Week 9 Eviction

Will Christmas (jingle, jingle) be evicted, or will Tyler be headed off to jury?

Cody says he’s now gunning for Tyler; Nicole, Enzo and Cody talk in the HoH room, and they agree that Tyler has to go – even though Christmas is acting “too happy.”

Memphis tells Tyler he’s leaning towards evicting him because he’s a big threat in competitions. Tyler tells Cody this, and they discuss what would happen if Christmas stayed in the game…

Later, Memphis and Cody chat and they think they would both have a hard time competing against Tyler; Memphis says if he wins HoH, Christmas will go up on the block. In the DR, Cody says he knows Memphis is lying because he knows (thanks to Enzo) that Memphis created a separate Wise Guys alliance with Christmas.

Memphis talks to Enzo to try to keep the Wise Guy alliance going, and tells him if he wins HoH he’s going to go after Christmas and Nicole. Enzo runs to Cody and tells him all of this, and they discuss Memphis playing all sides of the house. So again the target moves to Christmas, since evicting her would mean there would be one less person on Memphis’ side in the house.

Over in the jury house, Ian welcomes Da’Vonne and they talk about their various alliances; Ian realizes Dani was basically running things in the house. Day discusses Nicole and how she flipped the vote and then lied to her; she says Janelle was right about Nicole – don’t ever doubt Janelle, people!

On triple eviction night, Kevin joins the jury house, followed by David and then a very bitter and upset Dani. The next day the jury members watch the events leading up to, and including, the triple eviction (with Otev’s groovy veto, where David took the $10,000); they realize Enzo flipped and voted out David instead of Nicole. Dani says she feels more betrayed than she ever did in the game, and that she’s heartbroken; she thinks Cody is playing the best game all around, even though she feels the most betrayed by him.

At the current eviction, only Enzo, Nicole and Memphis are voting, and they all vote to evict Tyler. In his exit interview, Tyler says ultimately everyone just saw him as a threat, and he thinks Nicole is Cody’s #1. They discuss David and how he told Da’Vonne about his alliance with Tyler, as well as how when Tyler got stressed and upset in the game, he made some errors that ultimately led to his eviction. His final thoughts are how there were so many alliances going on; he’s right! I don’t know how the players even keep the alliances straight because everyone is seemingly in an alliance with everyone else.

Get the balls in the… baskets?

This week’s HoH competition is called “Stashing Pumpkins”, and the houseguests have to transfer all their pumpkins (aka orange dodge balls), to baskets on the other side of balance beams. If any pumpkins fall out of the basket, or if they fall off the beam, they’ll have to reset and start over again.

And this looks like torture, since the “baskets” are quite flat, and not at all basket shaped!

So the final five is set: Memphis, Christmas, Cody, Enzo and Nicole. I can’t say I’m rooting for any of these people, since Tyler was the last person I was hoping would make it to the end of the game. If Memphis or Christmas win HoH, I think Cody and Nicole are in trouble. If Nicole or Enzo win, Memphis and Christmas are in trouble. All in all, though, the Meow Meow is actually looking to be safe no matter what. Expect the unexpected?! M

Photo Finish

Big Brother: All Stars | CBS | Week 9 POV

Time for another veto competition in the Big Brother house! Tyler and Christmas have done well in comps, so it’s entirely possible that Cody will have to nominate a third person.

Nicole is happy with Cody’s nominations, since Tyler and Christmas tried to evict her. She talks to Cody, who tells her if someone comes down, Memphis will go up in that person’s place; he’s leaning towards Christmas being his ultimate target.

Tyler and Christmas talk; as Christmas says, they swung and missed, so now she has to do whatever she can to salvage her game – even if that means turning on Tyler. He’s said the same, so they will definitely turn on each other to stay in the house.

In the DR, Enzo says he’s too good at this game, since he flipped on Tyler and Christmas and got them on the block. Later, he talks to Tyler, and tries to make him think he’s still on his side.

Christmas talks to Cody, and says she’s not taking the nomination personally (even though she starts to cry while talking to him). In the DR, she says maybe if she cries Cody will see Tyler as a bigger target. Odd logic? In the DR Cody says her crying changes nothing.

Memphis and Tyler talk about their respective parents and how their fathers both passed away; Memphis says he processed the grief from losing his father when he had a son. He tells Tyler he wonders what his dad would think of Big Brother; Tyler says he watched the show with his father. Tyler gets emotional in the DR thinking about his connection to his father and Big Brother; it seems to motivate him to play harder to stay in the house.

Christmas asks Memphis what the odds are of Enzo going up on the block as a replacement; she says she thinks Cody will put Memphis up next to her if Tyler comes down. In the DR Memphis says he’s sure he’s not going up because of his deal with Cody…

In the DR, Tyler says Enzo is his only option for someone to turn to; he tells Enzo about The Committee, and says they wanted Enzo evicted during the triple eviction. Tyler says he didn’t target Enzo and that’s why he’s still in the game; but in the DR, Enzo says he already knew about The Committee because Cody told him about it. Twist!! Tyler does his best, but Enzo isn’t buying it.

Enzo was baffled… but he wasn’t the only one

Everyone competes in the veto competition – “Snapshot Shuffle.” In the backyard, each player has to take big photos of evicted houseguests and put them in chronological order, with a maximum time of 25 minutes. They have to look at each picture and look for clues as to which came earlier in a fictional day at a baseball game: Bayleigh has a hot dog in various states of being eaten, Keesha has a glass of beer in various states of being drunk, Da’Vonne has a box of popcorn that’s all over the place, etc.

All the houseguests have trouble, but Cody and Christmas seem to be better than the others. When the results are revealed, Christmas put the photos in order in about 12 minutes, Tyler and Enzo timed out, Cody finished in about 5 minutes (!), Nicole in about 7 minutes, and Memphis in about 8 minutes. So Cody wins the golden power of veto!

In the HoH room after the comp, Enzo tells Cody that Tyler told him about The Committee; Cody says he wasn’t targeting Tyler, but after that, he may have to rethink things. Later, Cody and Enzo have a conversation about the origins of certain phrases (I didn’t catch the nonsense they were talking, personally), much to Nicole’s delight.

Tyler talks to Cody and tries to convince him to take him off the block and replace him with Memphis; Tyler basically says if he goes, Cody is the next biggest target.

At the veto meeting, Cody (of course) doesn’t use the veto, and either Tyler or Christmas will be the next all star to join the jury. I think Cody was right to target Christmas before Tyler, because at least Tyler has a good relationship with Cody, and Tyler will be a vote against Memphis. With so few people left in the house, though, one vote could flip things again – we’ll just have to see what Enzo decides to do on Thursday night! M

Anything But Zen

Big Brother: All Stars | CBS | Week 9 Nominations

After the first ever triple eviction from the Big Brother house, The Committee will finally have to start turning on each other, and maybe this game can finally kick into a higher gear.

Memphis starts things off by saying The Committee officially came to an end with Dani’s eviction. Nicole is extremely relieved but also scared about losing an ally in Dani. On the other end of the spectrum, Christmas is thrilled to have survived the triple eviction.

We then see what happened (quite a lot!) leading up to and in between all the competitions for the triple eviction: Memphis didn’t meet with anyone, and nominated Nicole and David. Later, after she wins the veto, he tells Christmas not to change the nominations.

Christmas talks to Tyler, who doesn’t want to vote out David; Tyler wants to take a shot at Nicole, but Christmas decides not to use the veto. Christmas, Enzo and Tyler discuss flipping the vote to evict Nicole, but don’t want to make Memphis angry; Christmas and Tyler vote for Nicole, but Enzo flips his flip and votes out David. Nicole gets angry about getting two votes and pulls Enzo aside to ask him if anyone tried to get him to vote her out; he immediately throws Christmas and Tyler under the bus and tells Nicole they voted for her.

In the DR, Enzo says he didn’t want to evict Nicole (because she is close with Cody) and now Nicole owes him, so it was the best move for his game. Ultimately, he might be right, but it’s terrible that he could have evicted her and didn’t, especially with all his “MAKE SOME MOVES” talk…

Dani tells Nicole that Christmas and Tyler have a final two deal, and Christmas realizes there’s now a target on her back. Tyler gets upset and in the DR says it’s the first time he’s ever been on the wrong side of a vote, so he needs to win HoH. When he does, nominates Dani and Nicole to get one of them out.

After Tyler wins the veto, he tells Nicole that Dani is his target. Cody tells Dani he’s voting to keep her, but he’s obviously closer to Nicole. Enzo says the same, and then schemes with Cody to get Tyler and Christmas on the block together.

After Dani is voted out, Tyler talks to Nicole again and apologizes; in the DR Nicole says she doesn’t believe anything Tyler says, and she has to win the next HoH competition.

Yoga has never been so stressful

Tyler hosts the competition – “Namaste Off the Block” – in the “BB Yoga Studio.” The 5 houseguests competing have to dress in costumes then press 3 buttons (and keep them pressed) as they undress out of the costumes. If they let go of 1 button, their clocks will run 10x as fast; letting go of 2 buttons will make the clock run 30x as fast, and letting go of all 3 will make it run 60x as fast. Whoever has the most time on their clock after each round will be eliminated.

Christmas is eliminated first, then Nicole, and then Enzo, leaving Cody and Memphis competing for the title. Cody pulls out the win, and Tyler and Christmas are (rightfully) worried that they’re going up on the block.

Later, Cody tells Enzo he’s going to put up Tyler and Christmas; if one of them wins the veto, he’ll put up Memphis. Memphis tells Christmas not to worry because Nicole is on everyone’s radar and Tyler is a real threat.

It’s like, you know

Christmas has an excruciating conversation with Cody, in which Cody says “like” 34 times (it’s Big Brother – you can bet there was a “Like” counter). In a later conversation, Christmas also says “like” a ton of times #JustSaying.

In the DR, Nicole says that there’s a clear line between the final six: Memphis, Christmas and Tyler vs. Nicole, Enzo and Cody. Later, in the DR and when talking to Cody, Enzo says he needs Nicole to do something in the game.

Tyler tries to smooth things over with Cody for flipping and voting for David; in the DR he says he’ll even flip and cut Christmas loose (!) to stay in the game. Cody tells Tyler he loves him and he won’t let Tyler go home on his HoH.

Christmas also talks to Cody, but this doesn’t do anything to dissuade Cody; he ultimately nominates Tyler and Christmas for eviction.

Three (or four) weeks too late, but now the players are working to break up some duos and alliances in the house. Since The Committee is over, things may start to get interesting. Tyler or Christmas could actually win the veto, and Cody would have to put up Memphis – and there’s a good argument for getting him out of the house before either Tyler or Christmas, because he’s arguably a bigger threat. It’s hard to root for any of these people at this point because the season’s been pretty boring, but I’m looking forward to seeing the jury members and their reactions Da’Vonne’s reactions to how these supposed all stars have been playing the game. M

Bringing the Ship Home

Below Deck Mediterranean | Bravo | Season 5 Episode 19: The Bali is in Your Court

Back with the crew of The Wellington on this last charter! Last we saw Jess, she was fuming about Aesha touching her boyfriend (Is that the right term for him? It’s what I’m going with!) Rob’s bum, and we pick up with an angry Jess cleaning cabins.

Rob and Aesha join the guests on their excursion ashore, and in an interview, Rob says he didn’t even notice Aesha touched him; and he would have – because he has a sensitive bum. Don’t we all? Once they get to land, Rob continues talking to charter guest Hannah, as Malia heads back to The Wellington from dropping everyone off.

Jess tells Bugsy about GrabGate, and she says she needs to just cool off; in an interview, Bugsy says she’s just speechless. Later, Bugsy tells Malia what happened and that she was afraid of Jess. Probably smart! Malia then tells basically everyone else on the boat.

Aesha and Rob share some ice cream, and Aesha says in an interview it’s nice to spend time with Rob away from Jess (on a friend level).

Back on the boat, Bugsy tells Jess she should probably talk to Aesha one on one, away from everyone and just sort it out. Bugsy is not only great at being a Chief Stew, but she just has the most common sense, and always tackles things head on.

In an interview, Jess says she doesn’t think she has anger issues (and she probably doesn’t – but she definitely has serious jealousy issues.)

Bugsy picks up a bunch of wireless headphones for the guests as they’re going to have a “DJ Party” (I think she means “Silent Disco” but we’ll see…)

In an interview, Tom says he’s not happy about how he’s been acting (ya think?!) and he’s worried Malia will see him negatively. Bugsy interrupts Tom’s break when the guests get back to the boat, because they’re hungy… Tom goes back to the galley from his cabin, curses under his breath and gets some snacks ready for the guests. I’m sorry, but he did he know when the guests were off the boat? Take a break when they leave! Work smarter, is the moral of the story.

Tom makes a salad that has bacon, and one of the guests sends is back, because she doesn’t eat bacon; the rest of the snacks seem to go over well. Tom goes for a break again, and they take Sandy’s advice and write on a whiteboard in the galley that Tom is on a break.

Jess goes into the galley when Aesha is there, and Aesha tries talking to her, but Jess just kind of ignores her… until she says she has to get something off her chest…

Jess says Aesha’s hand went to “grabbing [Rob’s] ass”, and Aesha says she didn’t even realize she did it; he was wearing a backpack so she just put his arm where it could go. Aesha also says if someone touched her boyfriend’s ass, she wouldn’t even care; but she does apologize to Jess because Jess obviously does care.

Aesha’s energy is so positive, and Jess’ is so negative – it’s really a crazy polar opposite situation. Bugsy says she’s exhausted with Jess, and I can’t even believe she’s tolerated this situation for this long!

Jess and Rob spend some time on deck (while Jess should have been clearing plates, apparently), and they talk about Jess’ reaction to GrabGate. Rob asks her what she would do if they were out somewhere and someone approached him (a valid question!). He asks her if he’s allowed to be friendly towards Aesha, and she tells him he can (but basically she’s going to feel how she feels). He tells her he can’t do jealousy, and that it’s too much… as they are talking some guests walk by as Bugsy is searching for Jess and calling her on the radio.

Rob says he wants “fun and free”, and Jess says he and Aesha would be a great match. Bugsy continues to call Jess on the radio as she has a little breakdown and heads to her cabin. She finally tracks Jess down and talks to her about not checking out for the final charter. It’s obvious, but in an interview, Jess says all she cares about is Rob.

Meanwhile, Rob talks to Sandy in her office, about what’s going on with Jess. He says he wants to pursue a career in yachting, and he should talk to first mate David. In an interview, Sandy says she’s seen this type of thing before and she’s there to be supportive. Later, Rob does talk to David about learning more about yachting and how he can join him for more experience.

After his chat with Sandy, Malia talks to Rob about Jess and basically warns him about her. She says if she’s acting this way on a yacht full of people (with cameras rolling), how will she act when it’s just the two of them?

Tom actually smiles in an interview, because he’s happy it’s the last dinner of the season. At the last dinner, Malia is once again in the galley with Bugsy and Aesha running food. Everything starts out well enough… until the main dish is served, and one of the guests doesn’t eat beef. Aesha brings the dish back to Tom, and he seemingly has to scramble to come up with a replacement protein. He finds a piece of chicken, quickly prepares it, and asks Aesha to apologize profusely; she does, and the guest jokes about Tom getting his act together. Crisis averted!

The guests change into pajamas and head up to their party; Bugsy and Aesha follow in their PJs. The guests all get their headphones and the party is indeed a silent disco – which looks super weird. Fun, but odd. The guests all have a great time, at least.

Rob and Jess are frosty to each other, as he helps her clean cabins; the next morning they flat out argue. Jess says Rob is blowing things out of proportion; she says she’s ‘scared to love him anymore’, and he says that’s on her. He walks over to David’s cabin and tells him “he’s in” for going with him for more yachting experience, essentially ditching Jess and Bali.

Next week is the season finale (Already! But at the same time it’s been a long season…). The saga of Jess and Rob will come to its conclusion, and I can only hope we get some forward momentum with Bugsy and Alex (and Malia and Tom just go away, but something tells me there will be much more PDAs instead). There was so much drama this season, and it will be nice to tie it up in a bow and send it down the river Med. M

Captain’s Log

– Aesha calls her friend and talks about the Jess situation; her friends says Jess is a weirdo, and that basically sums things up.

– Malia and Alex take the guests on a tender cruise, and they all joke about Alex has been courting Bugsy all season. #Awkward!

– Rob runs into Aesha and apologizes for “what happened,” while Aesha apologizes too… and neither of them did anything wrong!

Hold On to Your Heads

The Boys | Amazon Prime Video | Season 2 Episode 7:
Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker

Can the penultimate episode of The Boys season 2 top last week’s crazy, over the top, exposition and fight heavy spectacle?

The Supes

We see through the eyes of college student Tommy Patterson how the public is receiving the constant barrage of news about Vought, Supes, and potential Supe terrorists, with Stormfront at the forefront. Tommy is reading articles, listening to newscasts, and taking in every word; he gets paranoid that a local shop owner who he regularly interacts with, named Kuldeep Singh, is a Supe terrorist and shoots him dead.

Stormfront and Homelander addressing the crowd

Homelander and Stormfront address a rally and say they don’t condone what happened to Kuldeep; they say they need more Supes to deal with the threat of Supe terrorists. Homelander calls out Starlight for being a mole within The Seven; he says she’s been apprehended and can’t hurt anyone else.

After the rally, Homelander tells Stormfront it’s a mistake keeping Starlight alive; he says he underestimated her once and won’t again. Stormfront says she’s a common enemy that can unite their cause; she watches a baby in the crowd and says it reminds her of her daughter, 80 years ago.

The two Supes visit Becca and Ryan, and Homelander introduces Stormfront to his son. Stormfront says Ryan is special, as he is the first natural born super hero. Homelander tells them he wants them all to be family, and will be visiting more, since he wants Ryan to get to know Stormfront.

Later, Ryan shows Stormfront a video of his Lego reenactment of “The Blind Side,” and says he’s also done “Dances With Wolves” and “Terms of Endearment.” Stormfront asks Ryan if he’s into anything that other kids are into, like Pewdiepie. She tells him he’s old enough to have sleepovers and go to baseball games and go to Voughtland, where Homelander has his own roller coaster. Becca gets annoyed and talks to Homelander outside; he tells her he was raised the same way and that Ryan needs to see the outside world in order not to panic and mess him up. Becca says Ryan is different because he has a mother; she says what’s best for him is to be with her – she begs him to let her raise Ryan and he reluctantly agrees.

Becca is making dinner and goes to look for Ryan; he’s outside with Homelander and Stormfront and when he sees her, Ryan calls her a liar. He says they flew him up to see the neighborhood and it’s all fake; Homelander says he deserved to know the truth. Ryan gets angry and says he hates Becca; he runs to Homelander and with Stormfront they fly off, leaving Becca.

The Boys

Lamplighter meets with Congresswoman Victoria Neuman (in Grace’s house?) about his role in Sage Grove while The Boys hang out, with Mallory. Victoria tells Mallory that Lamplighter will be a good witness for the Vought hearings, but he’s not enough. She says she’s going to need more info about what was going on at the facility, and Mallory says they might know someone who can provide that – and that they’ll have to trust each other.

The Boys watch Victoria leave, and Mallory tells Frenchie to keep Victoria alive – and not to abandon his post this time. He responds with a “Oui, madame.”

Hughie tells Butcher he’s going with them, but Butcher tells him to stay and watch Lamplighter; as they’re getting ready to leave, Butcher gets a phone call – from his mother, Connie (Lesley Nicol). After declining the first call, he answers the phone and she says she’s in New York. He said she shouldn’t have spent the money, and as he’s talking Connie tells him his father is dead. She says she needs to see him “right now.”

Hughie joins Lamplighter, who is watching some Supe XXX DVDs, and Lamplighter says he’s dead if he goes and testifies; he says he was a prodigy and now he feels useless. Hughie tells him he thought he found what he was meant to do with Butcher and The Boys, but he’s terrible at his new job.

Star-witness Jonah

MM and Mallory drive to a gated estate; when they pull up Mallory asks for “Jonah”, and someone on an intercom says he’s not taking visitors. When she says who she is, the gates open and they drive through to the house. They are led inside and meet Jonah Vogelbaum (John Doman). MM asks him what he knows about Sage Grove, but he says he doesn’t know anything. Grace says Vought f***ed him, and now he can do the same to them… if he testifies. Ultimately, he says some things are “more important than the right thing” and MM and Grace leave. She tells him to go back to his wife and daughter – she can get them all to Nicaragua; she tells him to go and never look back, and that she wishes she had.

Frenchie and Kimiko are keeping watch over Victoria, and he recounts cooking with his mama; he again asks her to teach him her sign language so they can talk, and she teaches him how to sign “gun.”

Starlight

Donna meets Starlight at a coffee shop, and tells her she never left town. Starlight tells her mom that she feels stupid; the good guys don’t win, and it’s all for money. She gets upset that she’s in the middle of it all, alone. Donna tells her she’s not alone and they could take a vacation; she says she already cleared it with Ashley, not knowing Starlight was hiding from Vought. As they talk, a smoke grenade comes flying through the shop’s window, and Black Noir comes through and attacks and knocks Starlight out.

Starlight wakes up in a dark, secure room, where she’s obviously being held.

Hughie and Lamplighter

Hughie sees Homelander’s rally and learns that Starlight has been captured; he tries to call Butcher but can’t get through. Lamplighter says she’s probably in “42-D”, a Supe proof cell in Vought Tower. Hughie asks Lamplighter to show him how to get in and help Starlight and Lamplighter agrees.

Lamplighter shows Hughie a secret entrance in which he used to sneak college girls into Vought Tower; at an elevator, he uses a hand-scanning panel, and he still has security access to the building.

They arrive at 42-D, and go through the halls; they’re actually at the conference room in front of which are the statues of The Seven. Lamplighter sees his statue has been replaced (with Starlight), and in the conference room, he sets himself ablaze, killing him. Hughie (grossly) severs Lamplighter’s hand for the security panels.

Lamplighter’s fire sets off the fire alarm and the sprinklers come on; an emergency light in Starlight’s cell gives her the juice she needs to regain some of her powers, so she blasts open the door to her cell. As she’s walking down the hallway, Black Noir grabs her and throws her through the conference room wall, where she sees Lamplighter’s body. The two fight; he beats her up and is strangling her when Maeve grabs him off of her and stuffs an Almond Joy in his mouth. She tells Starlight he has a tree nut allergy, and kicks away his Epi-pen, leaving him gasping on the floor.

Starlight tells Maeve to come with her, but Maeve shakes her head and leaves.

Hughie runs back the way he came and hears someone asking for help so he unlocks a door with Lamplighter’s hand and Donna comes out and joins him. They meet up with Starlight; she asks him what he’s doing there and he smiles. Awwww. Severed hand in, well, hand, he says he knows the way out…

Butcher

Butcher meets Connie at her hotel, and she leads him out to a terrace where his father, Sam (oh, hi, John Noble!) is waiting. He turns to leave but Connie convinces him to stay. Sam says he just wants to talk, and Butcher says he’ll give him 2 minutes. Sam says he knows he hasn’t been the perfect father; he says he never got a chance to say goodbye to Lenny, but Butcher says he’s the reason Lenny is dead.

Papa Butcher

Sam says you have to choose to sink or swim, and Lenny chose to sink. He said he was hard on his sons but it just made Butcher fearless and tough. We learn Lenny committed suicide, and Butcher ran off to join the special forces. When Sam says Butcher abandoned Lenny, he attacks his father; Connie breaks them up and Butcher leaves.

Butcher is in a bar drinking when MM calls him and tells him about Vogelbaum; he says he’ll “take care of it.”

Butcher shows up at Jonah’s house and the two men chat about Homelander when he was a boy; Jonah says when he was around 5 or 6 he was very sweet. Butcher says Jonah kept Becca away from him for all those years, and for that he’s going to kill Jonah’s daughter, his sons and their families, unless he helps him.

Mama Butcher

The Boys (and Starlight) go back to Grace’s house; she is on the phone with Butcher and says Hughie let their star witness burn himself, and Starlight thanks him. Butcher says he has it sorted, and goes to meet him mom at a coffee shop. She says Sam is at the airport, and she didn’t mean for it to go so badly. She says he only has a few months to live, so Butcher won’t have to see him again. She thought when Butcher saw how helpless his father was, he would let his anger go. Butcher hugs his mother and she leaves.

Back in the underground lair, The Boys, Starlight (and Donna) watch the hearings. Jonah is introduced, and comes into the courtroom, as Maeve, Stormfront and Homelander look on.

As soon as he is sworn in, the speaker conducting the hearing head explodes; as everyone is in shock, Jonah’s head explodes, followed by several others. The court is in pandemonium and Hughie asks “What do we do now?”

Elsewhere

Elena tells Maeve she’s going to stay with her sister; she gets upset about the plane footage, and says she wonders what else Maeve has done. She says she’s not blaming Maeve, but she needs time; Maeve flips the dining room table and sends it flying. She tells Elena “this is the real [her]”, and Elena says she knows, and she’s sorry.

Later, Ashley goes to Maeve’s apartment looking for her and finds her in bed with two men. Ashley says they need Elena to proudly sit behind Maeve at the hearings, but Maeve tells her Elena is gone.

At a party, The Deep is having fun with wife Cassandra. A-Train shows up and gives him a goldfish as a gift, and apology for being mean to him. We learn it’s a birthday party for Alastair Adana, who comes over and talks to them. He says he has a meeting with Stan Edgar, and Vought “needs” A-Train and The Deep. He asks what they think of Eagle the Archer, who The Deep likes, but turns on him when Alastair says he’s persona non grata.

The Deep and A-Train watch a news report on Eagle, who says he wouldn’t cut his mom out of his life; when he refused the church leaked a video of his partner dressed as a deer, that Eagle hunted and mounted…

The Wrap Up

So one episode to go in the season (how time flies!) and this literal head-popping episode surely sets up a battle between The Boys and The Supes. Who’s popping all these heads, and how? And why?! What’s Homelander going to do with Ryan now that he’s Super Dad? What’s Stormfront’s real interest in Ryan? Is Black Noir dead? Hopefully we’ll get some answers and an epic showdown to cap off a crazy, super, second season. M

Cookie Lover’s Dream

The Great British Baking Show | Netflix | W2: Biscuit Week

It’s cookie time in the tent as biscuit week kicks off (with a snap!).

Signature Challenge

The bakers have 2 hours to create Florentines, which must be dipped, decorated and/or coated in chocolate. Prue explains that Florentines usually have nuts and dried fruit bound together with caramel. #Mouthwatering!

Fun fact: in the UK, raisins made from green grapes are called “sultanas.” I call all raisins “disgusting.” Moving on…

Several bakers use mango in their Florentines; there are square cookies, cookies with edible flowers, lots of raisins, and even some airbrushed decorations.

Prue worried about Mark’s very large nuts (I really don’t think she meant the double entendre, but that’s how it was received, with a laugh from everyone). Here’s how some turned out:

Much to Lottie’s surprise

Paul and Prue were happy with most of the Florentines, though some didn’t have enough cookie-snap. Lottie’s cookies impressed Paul – who said he couldn’t find a fault with them – earning Lottie the first Hollywood Handshake TM of the season!

Technical Challenge

Prue sets the challenge, in which the bakers must make 12 hand-shaped coconut macaroons – six of which must be drizzled and filled with chocolate, and six must be piped with mango curd. They have 1 hour and 45 minutes to do so.

Prue says macaroons are trickier than they sound, because there are a lot of things that could go wrong, and the bakers must be precise to get the right textures all around.

How they should turn out

The bakers start making their mango curds with their pared down instructions, and most seem to get it right. They move on to processing the coconut to shape their cookies; they pipe the coconut onto six rounds on rice paper (for the six mango cookies), and flatten some more coconut onto six more rounds, for the chocolate ones.

As the instructions just say to “bake”, the bakers wing it and chuck their cookies into their ovens. Don’t you just love these technical challenges? They’re supposed to be golden brown, but most of the bakers seem to have trouble getting them completely baked.

How they did turn out

The judges critique the macaroons and ultimately most were under baked. When they are ranked, Mak came in third, Mark came in second, and Dave came in first. This was a struggle for most, and Rowan came in last place.

Showstopper Challenge

The final challenge is to create a 3D cookie table setting from a memorable meal each baker has had. What does that even mean? As Matt says, they need to use cookie dough in order to make cookies that “deceive the eye into thinking they’re teapots, or cups or knives, etc.” They have 4 hours to complete the challenge, and this sounds near impossible (even though they do get to practice).

Prue says she wants the bakers to use their dough “as a clay” to mold their creations. Even with actual clay, this would be incredibly difficult. Adding in the fact they need to make these sculptures taste good and actually keep their shape? Good luck!

Indeed, each baker has a ton of work to do. Some bakers struggle to get their cookies out of their molds, and even Paul admits this is a tricky challenge. Some bakers come up with some amazing designs, others aren’t so successful. Delightfully British Prue tells Rowan “it’s not [his] best,” and she knows he can do more. On the flip side, she and Paul both love Peter’s Scottish cranachan – a mix of oatmeal, whiskey (!) raspberries, honey and cream. We know Prue loves boozy desserts!

Here’s are some of the finished products:

After some deliberation, Noel announces Dave is the Star Baker for the week! Matt then announces the baker going home for their biscuits is Mak (to Rowan’s relief).

Noel being Noel

So after week 2, Dave and Peter seem to be leading the pack, while Rowan is having a hard time of things. More importantly, everyone seems to having such a great time on this show – the contestants seem happier and more giggly, and I think that’s because of Matt Lucas’ jokey energy. He certainly makes Noel laugh, and they seem to be getting along quite well and feeding off each other’s goofiness.

Truly, how can you not smile at an adult man wearing a knitted sweater with a giant smiley face? M