Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Season 1 Episode 3
“The Sino-Mexican Revelation”
Teleplay by Javier Grillo-Marxuach
Directed by Jeremiah Chechik

Hey, the Sensei Ping they make mention of in the Pilot? It’s Mark Dacascos! With a luchador mask on!
So that’s a neat bit of casting in an episode that was, sadly, not as enjoyable as The Middleman’s first two outings.

There were some pluses, mind.
The nice opening sequence in particular, where we see Wendy’s CrapMobile, a Hruck Bugbear (“the pinnacle of Balkan Cold War engineering”) and get a “Girls On Film” reference.
We also get a glimpse of a Middleman-that-might-have-been, and later on, begin to get a sense of what possible characteristics make for a Middleman candidate.
The promise of those intriguing bits though, doesn’t quite lead to an effective episode.

And it’s not the patently ridiculous plot involving luchadores; that I can get behind 100%. Luchadores are cool.
And the patently fake fight scenes? Like the show’s low-rent CGI, they only serve to heighten The Middleman’s charming B-movie appeal.
It’s the overkill of repetition, whether of characters’ self-descriptive declarations (I hope to be spared of Lacey’s “confrontational, spoken-word performance artist” schtick in subsequent episodes) or descriptions of places of interest (the Booty Chest schtick).
The inexplicable display of various time zones also got old pretty quick in this one.

It saddened me that the mighty monster that is Gree-Joe Marks-Watch wrote this installment. You’d think that the show’s creator would give us the best episodes.
I can only hope that this worked better on the comic book page (due to the teleplay credit, I assume this, like the Pilot, was a script adapted from a particular Middleman comic).
On the small screen, however, it just doesn’t pop.
Even the debut of the MiddleJet didn’t really liven things up.

(Images courtesy of abcfamily.go.com, io9.com, and themiddleblog.livejournal.com.)

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