Playoff Beards

jiggy

Gaze into the dead eyes of a man whose dreams were just slaughtered in front of him

OK, grab a chair, it’s real talk time.

Playoff beards. That glorious tradition that sets the men apart from the boys. The tradition that lets you know if a team has made it deep into the playoffs. The tradition that lets you know who can pull off a kick ass beard, or those who merely Crosby it up.

beard3

It’s one of the best parts of hockey. Nothing is more primal and rewarding than seeing your team of choice, deep in the playoffs, looking like a bunch of cavemen out on the ice. Cavemen who figured out how to skate. And organize rules about hockey. And turn it into a big business operation. Cavemen, ok??

Here’s the thing though. That tradition? It needs some ground rules. Mostly because of this guy:

USP NHL: ALL STAR GAME-MEDIA DAY S HKN USA TN

And this guy:

beard2

Now, don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with these beards on their own. In fact, they’re god damn glorious. They SHOULD be talking points for people. They SHOULD be talking points for a beat writer with a deadline hammering down his/her door.

“Getting lost in Burns’ beard!” he whispered excitedly to himself. “You’ve done it again Johnston, you’re a god damn genius!” he giggled as he began typing furiously about facial hair.

But they shouldn’t be used for playoff talk. Sorry. Not cool. You need to shave it all off before the playoffs start for it to be a valid playoff beard.

And here’s why. The Stanley Cup? Best trophy in sports. If you’re trying to debate that right now, you’re A) not Canadian B) lying to yourself C) really trying to pump up the value of that trophy you won in high school track.

As such, trying to capture the Cup? Pretty big deal. Look, I get it, Canada values the Stanley Cup higher than any other country. When a baby is born in Canada it’s taken to a cave and shown several helpful videos letting the child know it’s their duty to protect and capture the Stanley Cup, before being doused in holy maple syrup and blessed by the Beaver Pope (it’s a real thing).

But other countries? They have people who want it just as bad. They know the power that Cup gives you (Free Tim Hortons for life). So they will do anything to get it.

Which is why the playoff beard is perhaps the greatest playoff tradition we have. When trying to win the Cup, you put aside everything else. To the point teams stay in god damn hotels while in their home city so they don’t get distracted from their end goal. That’s right, families get tossed aside in pursuit of the Cup. If that isn’t savage as ****, I don’t know what else is.

“Sorry honey, you know you’re not supposed to be calling me tonight, I have more important things to do.”

Which is why tossing hygiene and personal grooming aside is an essential part of the Stanley Cup journey. What, you’re going to miss your kids second birthday but you have time to make sure you’re face is smooth and hairless? Get the hell out of here.

When you go for the Cup, all you should be doing is sitting in a dark room and thinking of all the failures in your life, and realizing that even if you add all of them up, that wouldn’t even come close to losing the Stanley Cup in a game seven situation. Using that fear to fuel you to victory.

Losing a Cup in game seven? It breaks people.

kesler

See that guy? Losing the Cup in game seven turned him into a god damn Duck. A DUCK! That shit’s crazy.

So when players start growing a beard, it’s a symbol of the heavy burden they are undertaking.

This is why when a player like Burns or Thornton pre-grows a beard, it spits in the face of everything the playoffs stand for. Lord of the Rings didn’t start with Gandalf pulling up in a flying tank shouting “where we’re going, we don’t need roads!” and fly straight to the damn mountain. That’s garbage. That’s skipping vital steps. That’s making a mockery of the process.

This is why Thornton and Burns beard talk, save that for the regular season. Have a boring match up between two tanking teams? Sure, dip into the archives and talk about what things might get lost in a beard that big. But the playoffs? Save any beard talk for those that shaved the day the playoffs started. Only those beards are pure playoff beards.

Fact: Sidney Crosby has a better playoff beard than either Thornton or Burns.

I am, however, willing to accept pre-grown beards in one situation. I want a team to commit to the Stanley Cup dream so hard that when they win the Cup, they don’t shave until they lose it.

Think about it, it would be like the Dothraki in Game of Thrones, where they only cut their hair when they’re defeated. Imagine a two time defending Cup team walking around in the regular season, beards down to their chest, showcasing the power of their reign. Then when they finally lose, part of them is happy to cut off that beard, because all beardists know big beards are two parts cool, one part “**** this, I need to shave this off”. The other part of them though? Devastated.

Sure, they look in the mirror and can see their face again. Yes, they can finally eat food and not have it smell in their beard until they shower next. But the beard being gone means they’ve lost the ultimate prize. When they look into the mirror they’ll see themselves again, but they’ll also see the loss of their glory.

They’ll see a loser.

If that doesn’t drive them to want to win again, nothing will.

Savage? You’re god damn right it is. It’s the Stanley ****ing Cup.

Respect the Beard.

Respect the Cup.

 

 

 

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Hunter Shinkaruk trade

BENNING

Let’s start this off with one caveat: Anything can happen in the NHL.

Yes, that might seem like a “get out of jail free card” used by GMs and fans alike who stumble into success (or manage to avoid it, as it were).

But it’s true. Good luck, bad luck, the ever infamous “intangibles”, however you want to define it, things happen in the NHL that we can’t account for. It’s why people have made jobs out of trying to tell people they know what can happen in the future. If you are able to show a talent for recognizing future trends, that’s a huge commodity. It’s why “old school scouts” got jobs (“I played the game, I can recognize the signs of great talent!”) and why advanced stats guys are starting to get hired now (“I wrote an excel sheet formula, it can recognize the signs of great talent!”).

At the end of the day, though, we are still far removed from a future when we all get scanned with a barcode and get tossed into the NHL reject or accept pile before we ever even hit the ice with skates strapped to our feet.

So yes, Markus Granlund could end up being a better player than Hunter Shinkaruk. Yes, Hunter Shinkaruk could still end up being a flop, 100%.

The reason people are getting a bit upset about the trade, is about what it represents. Here is a break down of why people are a bit on edge about the trade:

  • The Canucks are a team that struggles to score, yet they traded away one of their better scoring young players. Many people would rather roll the dice on a high risk high reward type of offensive player over a player that on the surface, looks like his ceiling is limited to a bottom six role.
  • The idea that Shinkaruk couldn’t be here anymore because Baertschi is here feels like a) they’ve already decided Baertschi will forever be better, and b) makes it seem like there is only room for so much skill on a team, which seems quite limiting in scope.
  • Shinkaruk never got a real good look in the NHL. One game, under 10 minutes? Hard to see that as a “fair shot.”
  • Granlund is waiver eligible next year, Shinkaruk is still on his ELC, which means he would not be waiver eligible the next two seasons. If anything, this forces a much tighter timeline on an asset to see if they can make the team.
  • It also means the team has a variety of low end assets who are open to waivers (Vey, Etem). Now, not a lot of people get poached on waivers, but it still seems like adding a problem you didn’t need in the first place.
  • It goes against the idea of a longer rebuild. Getting a player who can “play now” treads dangerously close to the idea that the Canucks feel they can turn things around really quickly, instead of taking their time with younger assets. Not saying this is right or wrong, but just pointing out that people who are fine waiting on a patient rebuild won’t enjoy today’s trade.
  • The Canucks center depth for next season is Henrik, Horvat, Sutter, McCann, Vey, Granlund…Yes, you can plop some of these guys on the wings, which is what they’ll have to do if they want them all to play.
  • If assets are going to be traded, people would rather see defenseman coming back in return. Of course that is easier said than done, and Benning apparently tried looking for d-men. It’s just, living right beside the Edmonton Nightmare rebuild for so many years is a constant reminder of what a rebuild without defense can end up looking like.
  • You have a similar deal that took place with Forsling and Clendening (selling high on Forsling after his World Jr performance) that ended up with an older asset who did nothing of value for the organization. Not every trade is the same (and again, the caveat “anything can happen” applies), but the situation is close enough to bring up memories of a previous trade that seems like a bit of a bust.
  • It’s a team that didn’t manage Corrado as an asset very well, so it does make one lose trust in the team being fully aware of all of the factors surrounding players age, contract status, etc. It basically makes you question if they fully understand all of the options available to them, fair or not.
  • Never underestimate the emotional side of things. You spend two or three years following a draft pick rise through the ranks, only to see him being dealt away during a hot stretch for an unknown? That can be hard to take. It would be like if your Dad finally figured out how to put on the perfect birthday for you, except halfway through the night your mom told you she was divorcing him and then asked you to take a picture with “Uncle Ted” instead.

There are some silver linings if you want to look for them, though. Granlund did have an equivalent season to Shinkaruk during his AHL career at one point (46 points in 52 games in front of all 10 fans during the Abbotsford Heat days). Corey Pronman feels the Canucks came out with a slight win on the trade due to Granlund’s higher defensive awareness.

A lot of it comes down to “would you roll the dice on a higher skill set, riskier chance of making NHL” prospect in Shinkaruk, and “Would you rather have higher roster maneuverability with an ELC player” in Shinkaruk. On my end, I still feel like this is a trade that in no way needed to happen this season. The only reason you do this deal now is if you REALLY wanted Granlund (which doesn’t sound like it from the Canucks end) or if you REALLY think Shinkaruk is just a turd of a player.

I think today’s reaction, if anything, mostly shows a lack of faith in management from many Canucks fans. In a day and age where stats are being recognized more and more, Benning’s “meat and potato” approach is met with many an arched eyebrow.

You have a management squad who claims they “looked at the WAY” Shinkaruk was scoring goals, and came away wondering if that would translate into the NHL, and are looking at underlying factors.

Which at face value, is great. They aren’t just looking at raw numbers, they are digging deeper to make sure this isn’t a Tom Sestito 42 goal situation. But this is also the same team that keeps playing Bartkwoski, who has awful underlying numbers, and is only kind of good if you go based off of raw numbers. So it’s hard to tell what’s spin and what’s actual team philosophy. We end up hearing a lot more about “compete” and “scrum ability” then “great goal scorer” and “high end skill”, which is worrisome for people wanting a skilled team being iced.

Add in a losing season, with rumors of ownership being overly meddlesome, and a team whose direction is really hard to gauge, all taking place in a Canadian market?

You’re going to have some heated discussions about pretty much every decision made.

Again, Benning might be the smartest man in the room. Maybe his vaunted scouting background will pay off. Maybe he was dead on about about Shinkaruk being a flop and Granlund will end up being a player. Maybe it’s just over-reactions from people heavily invested in the team.

It’s just going to take several years before we can figure that out. And in hockey mad Vancouver? That’s a lifetime.

 

The bat flip heard around the world

jb3

I am not a Blue Jays fan. I am enjoying the fact that so many people are happy about the team. I am happy Toronto fans are getting some sporting joy in their lives. I know some fans in Canadian hockey markets can be insufferable (Vancouver included) so I tend to always hope for their hockey teams utter and abject failures at everything they do.

But Toronto hasn’t had many successes in the sporting world lately (It was 4-1!), and it’s baseball, so if any team has to win the World Series, why not be the Canadian team?

So when I watched game 5 between the Rangers and the Blue Jays, I wanted Toronto to win, but it wasn’t going to ruin my day if they didn’t. Then “sports” took over and that insane 7th inning happened.

Before I knew it, I was screaming at the ump. I was screaming at the TV. I was calling people up and explaining to them the travesty I just saw.

“NO, YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND, THE UMP CALLED THE PLAY DEAD. THAT WAS GARBAGE. Mom, I don’t know why you’re not getting this.”

Not because I wanted the Jays to win mind you, but just because I hated the idea of a team losing on such a stupid play. I had become emotionally invested because of this. Now I wanted Toronto to win out of some weird sense of sports justice. It was like all of the times the Canucks had lost on some grievance flashed through my head at once, and now I wanted, nay, NEEDED Toronto to win, so I could regain some trust in sports. So I could go back to believing the Canucks one day might somehow avoid the cruel taunts from the Hockey Gods, and win the Cup.

You see, sports can be a cruel mistress at the best of times. You have an idea of how sports should work, about how your heroes will rise to conquer the evil forces, yet it rarely happens that way. For instance, in 1994, the Canucks team felt like they HAD to win. It was like destiny was on their side. You don’t come down 3-1 in the first round just to lose like that, damn it! Yet there was Mark Messier, dry humping the Stanley Cup, instead of Trevor Linden hosting the Cup and dedicating the win to a young me.

It didn’t make sense that the Canucks lost. It didn’t fit the Hollywood ending in my head. It doesn’t make sense when a big time player doesn’t come through in the clutch. But that is what makes sports so beautiful when everything does line up.

Imagine a world in which your team wins every year. Imagine you’re the Montreal Canadiens in the 70’s, and you’re trading a six pack of Molson for Guy Lafleur, and claiming owernship of anyone that kind of sounds like they have a french name. “Lester Smith? Les is French, we own you now.”

So you win Cup after Cup and establish a dynasty. Sure, it’s awesome to win, but there is something beautiful about the right mixture of losing and winning. The losing makes you appreciate the wins even more.

Which takes us back to the Blue Jays game. It’s the bottom of the seventh inning, and the Blue Jays have to find a way to get back into the game. Toronto looked to be on the brink of another “Toronto” moment.

Suddenly, the Texas Rangers begin dropping balls like Pete Rose had money on the game. Suddenly the game is tied, and Joey Bautista steps up to the plate with two men on.

Again, I am not a Blue Jays guy (Go Red Sox!), but I can admire a franchises marquee player. Yes, Donaldson was the hot fire this year, but Joey Bats has put his time in Toronto. He marked the start of a new belief of “maybe we can win this thing.” He had been there through the hard times, and now he was stepping up to be the hero. It was such an amazing sporting moment because you got to see what would happen in the biggest moment of one of the best Blue Jays of all time.

Part of me watched assuming he would hit a shallow pop fly. But there was a young part of me that watched and thought “No way, this guy is a hero, he’s going to do this.”

Then he swung. Then I screamed with glee.

He came through with one of the most iconic Blue Jays home runs of all time. Then he did the bat flip.

bats

 

That right there was pure emotion. That was a man who had waited his whole life for this moment, coming through just like he always dreamed he would. Just like fans always dreamed he would. That was a man who saw a greasy loss coming his way, yet fought it off and turned things around. Hollywood ending indeed.

That is a perfect sporting moment. This is why I watch sports.

He isn’t pulling a cell phone out of his shoe and making a call while he walks the base path. He isn’t calling his team mates out to go through a 3 minute dance routine they perfected just in case this situation came up. He’s just living in the moment. Which is awesome.

Which is why I find it funny that people are actually getting mad about the bat toss. Some people are upset and felt it was too cocky. That is was “not showing respect” for the game. One guy even suggested Bautista threw the bat at the Rangers dugout.

To those people I say, enjoy it for what it was. Either enjoy the fact a guy came through in the clutch, or enjoy it for the fact that this guy made you so mad, you can’t wait to watch and see if he’ll lose. Don’t try and shoehorn it into some bigger issue, don’t try and bring “it’s about the ethics of baseball” into it.

Think about it this way, while you’re sitting there getting angry about Bautista throwing his bat, think about a little kid racing out onto the field today, asking his/her dad to toss them some pitches so they can “Hit it like Joey Bats.” Watch as kids around baseball parks crank a home run and do a high arcing bat toss, triumphantly proclaiming “BAUTISTA!” There are far better things in the world to get morally angry over than a sports celebration. (If you’re a Rangers fan, or are just sick of the Jays, by all means get super sports angry over it though, that is your right. Just don’t moralize it.)

It was an iconic moment, and we all got to witness it. Whatever side of the fandom you’re on, you just saw a big moment in baseball history.

Look, remember the 1994 Canucks? Remember this god damn guy I mentioned?

1994-rangers-e1273630499506-300x300

I hate that picture. Fucking hate it. It brings up terrible memories of the Rangers beating the Canucks. Of Messier running Linden over by the bench. Of the Canucks scattered on the ice, some of them openly weeping.

But I don’t bemoan Messier cackling with glee and pumping the Cup up and down. I have never once said “You know what Mark, you didn’t respect the game that night. You should have graciously accepted the Cup, then covered it in a towel, then led the crowd in a prayer.”

No, he won the god damn Cup. That was one of the highlights of your career. Enjoy the hell out of it.

You bald sack of garbage.

The point is, sports needs heroes and it needs villains. That’s what makes the game so interesting. So when you choose to get moral outrage over celebrations or in game acts or whatnot, just try and keep it contained in sports. Hate players all you want. I heartily encourage that. There is a lot of fun to be had booing a guy and actively cheering anytime they lose.

Just don’t try and talk about “respect for the game” or any of that other nonsense. This is sports. It’s just a game at the end of the day, so enjoy it for what it is.

It was a god damn bat flip, and it was awesome.

Pulling back on the sports anger

OK, so one of the things I’ve seen recently in sports is the idea of getting mad at “the process”. You know, you see a team do something you feel is stupid, so you get mad at them for it. They make a trade based on an ideology you hate, they draft a player based on metrics you can’t stand, or they waive a player and it drives your asset management radar bonkers.

There is nothing inherently wrong with that. You might not always be right in your assessment. But you have a belief system, and you’re seeing someone go against that. They are metaphorically spitting in your face. It’s like watching the Price is Right and seeing someone make a stupid bid. How can they not see they should have bet a $1?? Use your head, people!

The side effect that comes with this thinking, however, is it makes you the Hulk. The secret is you’re always angry. Even if that trade ends up being amazing because the guy your team dealt broke his legs in a freak ostrich riding accident, even if that guy they drafted ends up eating ooze in a sewer and turns into Teenage Mutant Ninja Virtanen, you can still get mad at “the process”.

“Sure, they lucked out, but my god, those idiots didn’t deserve it.” you exclaim, shouting at the sky. “Can’t they see his OHL scoring rate was so god awful that he should have went in the fifth round??” you scream, spittle covering your monitor.

Now, again, there is nothing wrong with this. Looking at the process, being concerned about future decisions, worrying that the team is going to have to rely on blind luck to get them wins, that’s all valid. The problem is it can drive a man insane.

Which is why I am fine with Corrado and Vey going on waivers today. At least, I won’t react until I see if they get claimed or not. Sure, asset management looks bad in that you’re potentially giving away a 2nd rounder in Vey, and a potential NHL player in Corrado (on a team where defensive depth is questionable), but until that happens, I am going to sit back and not get angry.

If the players get through waivers, awesome! Way to go Benning! You managed to give your young kids a spot on the team to start the season (a spot they earned), and you managed to retain your assets. I don’t care if it was risky, I am going to take this as a win. Because I want to keep my sanity. I need to remember to be a fan sometimes and just be happy with the results once in a while. I don’t want to over analyze every single thing that happens. Sometimes I have to remind myself to pace myself when getting upset about the direction of the team.

Again, for all we know, Vey and Corrado don’t have any takers at all. There is a lot of talent on the waiver wire right now, and every year players get through waivers that people think will get taken for sure.

So until the dust settles, I am just going to sit back and see if Benning the River Boat Gambler has pulled a fast one. I will applaud him if he does. Because you know what? Sometimes it’s fun to just accept the result. Though believe me, I totally understand it if you want to be angry about it. I just don’t have the energy to do it today.

 

Brock Boeser Twitter Analysis

Sure, advanced stats can tell you certain things about a player, but they can’t tell you everything. In order to full understand a hockey prospect, you have to dive into their twitter account. That’s right, this is the first in a series of articles on… Twitalytics.

Brock Boeser Twitacized:

Wrong, sock season is the best season.

Correct, everyone knows pig racing is the only thing that makes them worthwhile.

Pretty god damn neat.

Henrik Sedin is a well known nap disturber. Learn to sleep with a tazer in your hand.

Not good. Not good.

I’m still not over that sweatpants decision, I can’t even analyze this one properly.

OK, you’re a Canuck now, you have to learn to hate the Rangers. It’s going to be hard, but you’ll have to do it.

STOP IT.

Did you wear shorts for this weather? Your attire choice is all over the map!

This isn’t your fault. Disney World is a soulless place meant to trap you, and more importantly, your wallet. Why are there 68 stores, all selling the same things? Why do their turkey legs taste like ham? Why is their futuristic house from 2002??

Yes. That is YOUR puck. Nobody else can touch your puck.

Brad Marchand. Remember this name. Utilize this power on him.

Did…did you watch past season one?

You can buy one in Vancouver one day. For 40 million dollars.

Good. Good.

It’s god damn delicious.

Final Analysis:

Questionable clothing choices, likes the Rangers too much, but enjoys chocolate milk and has a healthy (and well deserved) distrust of Disneyland. Boeser’s TCS (Twitter Cohort Success Model) has him between Torey Krug and Ryan Miller.

How Milan Lucic Will Help the Vancouver Giants

My response to this ridiculous story:

http://thehockeywriters.com/how-evander-kane-will-help-the-manitoba-moose/

The Roxy.

It is the middle of summer of 2013 and I’m walking out of the Roxy in downtown Vancouver with my friend. The night is warm and fresh, like a Subway sandwich straight out of the oven. As we walk and recount the night’s drunken events and check to see if we still have our wallets, my friend stops dead in his tracks, his eyes lasered in on somebody puking on the sidewalk, mumbling as soft as a kittens belly “Do you know who I am?” It is Milan Lucic.

Naturally my friend is excited and wants to approach Lucic to ask him for his autograph but I stop him…I am already starting to sweat from the excessive amounts of E I took earlier and the three Jagerbombs I dropped on the way out in my attempt to impress the girls in the cowboy hats. Lucic is swaying back and forth, puking up a geyser of liquid that would have put Yellowstone Park to shame. He is evidently very “busy” “puking” “up” what looks to be a “combo” of “McDonalds” and “chinese” “food”. I begin to remember 2011, when Lucic was trying his best to injure and main the Vancouver Canucks. I would’ve like to have given Lucic the benefit of the doubt, but I also begin to play out the situation and my reaction if Lucic snubs my friend. What if Lucic pulls a gun? What if he has a knife on him? What if he knows magic? What if he’s recently upgraded his Fire spell to Fire 3? What if he has a magical Unicorn friend named Charlie who just got off a long day of work and is feeling very stabby? Unicorns have horns. Those are sharp.

By the time we reach the bus and begin the trek home, my friend has forgotten all about Lucic, as he has passed out and is non responsive. I nod my head at my friend, answering questions he didn’t ask, as I am still coming down the combination of aspirin and expired milk I shot back when I tried to impress the cute bartender.  Mentally, though, I am still on that sidewalk, holding back my friend from going up to Lucic to ask him who he is.

I drop my friend off near his house, and as he gets off the bus I toss him another apology like I’m Lebron James in the conference Finals. “He was puking” he mumbles as he stumbles off. The bus doors close with me trying to say something but I have nothing. I sit on the bus openly crying over the fact I had to stop my buddy from talking to Lucic because I didn’t know how that athlete would react. Part of wanted to rip back to the Roxy and tell Lucic what I thought of him face to face, but my bus ticket was about to expire and I didn’t have any change on me. In a night full of percocets and hot dogs, there is one thing that has been hammered home by Lucic’ downtown antics: He does not care.

Smarty Pantz King of the Escape Rooms

One of the newer trends hitting BC lately has been that of the escape rooms. The premise is simple, you and some friends get put in a room (or rooms), and have to figure out clues, unlock a bunch of stuff (ie you figure out a characters birthday, that number unlocks a combo lock, then you’re on to the next clue), and escape within the allotted time (usually 45 minutes). Think of it like Saw, except you don’t have to maim or murder anybody to get out.

I have done my fair share of escape rooms, ranging from “hastily put together dry wall rooms” to “decently put together room”, and have for the most part enjoyed them. The two major things all escape rooms need to have in order to be enjoyable are:

Atmosphere

Good puzzles

If you have both of these? You’re golden. If you have one of these? It’s still ok. If you have none of these? Then you’re wasting people’s time.

Case in point, I have been in escape rooms where you had to crawl through lasers to get to the other side of the room without tripping the alarm. It was like Entrapment, except I didn’t look as sexy sliding through the laser beams. That kind of atmosphere was AWESOME. Having your friends scream at you to duck lower, and having healthy debates on whether or not a laser is actually a laser or is in fact a reflection of a laser is a memory I won’t soon forget.

In another Escape Room, the room was basically a bunch of Ikea furniture that I could have sworn they stole from my basement, and a couple of dummy props. In that case, it was not nearly as immersive.

In some rooms, the puzzles flow from beginning to end. One clue leads you to the next which leads you to the next. These are the good rooms. These are the rooms that after you’re out and think about it, it still makes sense.

Some rooms have puzzles that make zero sense. In their attempts to make “hard” rooms, some places just use puzzles that you’d be better off being drunk in order to solve them. “You see, you needed to hop on one foot and hold a mirror to the wall, while closing your left eye. Then you would have seen the squares on the wall, which when added up equal 7, which is of course a famous Brad Pitt movie, which would have then led you to the fire Pitt.”

Of course that is an exaggeration, but some of the “harder” rooms are simply harder because logic has been removed, and instead they offer up puzzles that are truly off the wall. The rooms don’t flow because the creators have tried too hard to be subtle.

Now, after a while all Escape Rooms can kind of feel the same in that there will be boxes to be unlocked, and locks to be unlocked, and then more locks to be unlocked. Some places offer up mechanical rooms (ie you touch an object to another object in the room and the music will change and a door will open) which are a step above locks, but for the most part, you’re going to be solving logic puzzles and opening boxes.

This is where atmosphere becomes so important, because with so many places offering up the same fundamental experience (“Come unlock our stuff!”) atmosphere becomes a huge factor. In other words, places that help draw you into the experience will stand head and shoulders above the other places.

This is where Smarty Pantz comes into play, as they have nailed the atmosphere part of the escape rooms. In all other escape rooms I have done, you show up and sign your waiver, and wait in the lobby. Then the host explains to you the rules (“don’t break our shit, here’s the locks you’ll be working with”) and then they escort you to the room. They sometimes give you a quick speech about the premise of the room (“Somebody died. You need to escape.”), occasionally you get a 30 second video shown in the room, and then you’re off to the races. The lack of story line and purpose is usually very noticeable, so all you’re thinking is “I need to unlock stuff” not “what mystery am I trying to solve”.

At Smarty Pantz, they do things differently. For one, the hosts of the room are in character actors. For example my first time at Smarty Pantz we had a ghost room, and the host came in wearing a safari type costume (hey, ghosts exist in the safari), speaking like the crocodile hunter, asking “Who wants to hunt some ghosts?”. She stayed in character the entire time, setting up the story, and using amusing terms to explain about not touching stuff we shouldn’t be touching (“It would anger the spirits if you touch the outlets.”).

A big aspect of escape rooms is the fact you get two (or three) clues to help you out when you get stuck. In most places, you press a button on the wall, and wait for the host to come get you. I cannot tell you how much this kills the atmosphere of the room. You’re trying to figure out how to get to the next part, time is running out, you ask for help…and wait for the host to come get you. Sometimes through a door you’re trying really hard to get out of. Sometimes it takes several minutes.

In one escape room the person who came in had no idea what the next step was and had to go get somebody else who knew the room better. This was not great.

At Smarty Pantz they give you a walkie talkie, and the host can be reached at any moment. You can talk to them (they will stay in character) and they will give you your two clues when you want, or they will answer questions about if you should touch an object or not (ie thinking of ripping that lamp off the wall? Ask the host, first). This really made it feel like we were trying to escape the room, and luckily for us we had a helpful friend in a van down the block, assisting us when they could. I still talk about the host we had to this day, that was how much of a positive impact she had on our experience.

Another amazing part of Smarty Pantz are the rooms themselves. The set designs in them are top notch, and are by far the best designed and decorated rooms I have experienced. I won’t give anything away with descriptions of the rooms, but I will say they really do match the types of rooms they are supposed to be (so the ghost room was very haunted mansion-esque.)

So if you and some friends (or you and some co-workers) are looking for a fun opportunity to work together (and finally figure out who the smart one in the group is), I highly recommend http://smartypantz.ca/. If you are trying the rooms out for the first time, I suggest doing Morning Never Comes. It’s the easiest room and it really eases you into how escape rooms work.

And remember, don’t touch the outlets. Seriously, it angers the spirits.

Thoughts of the day

OK, so there is one topic that seems to be coming up online a lot in my twitter world, and that is the one of online sexual harassment, most notably in the form of men hitting on women either in a serial fashion or to one person past the line of being harmless flirting.

Deadspin just posted an article detailing a hockey blogger being fired for sexual harassment.

As a man, I don’t know what it’s like to be a woman (shocking, I know). As a result, I often times need to learn things about the other sex from the ladies, so I can better understand a world I don’t fully grasp.

Imagine me as a big stupid animal, and things that are obvious to you, and things you think should be obvious to me, might not always be so blatant to me. I can be a very stupid person at times.

Case in point, when I was younger, I didn’t see the big deal about ladies walking home in the dark. “What’s the big deal? I do it all the time!” young me thought. I laughed off their concerns. I had never lived in the shoes of someone who was scared of being attacked in the dark, or someone who didn’t feel safe walking around Vancouver at night. So as stupid as it may seem, it was honestly a hard concept for me to grasp. I was young and wasn’t very open minded. I tended to think if you didn’t think like me, you must be wrong.

As I’ve grown older, I have of course realized how narrow minded and stupid I was. I have since learned that just because I don’t feel a certain way, doesn’t mean there isn’t merit to how another person feels.

To this day, however, I still sometimes need to learn things and see things from the other side of the gender gap. I do this by talking to other people, or by generally thinking things over in my head, or sometimes by opining on Twitter to get feedback.

The problem with Twitter, however, is that I get the sense if I don’t just start every tweet that talks about sexual harassment with “ALL MEN ARE SCUM AND SHOULD DIE” I will be met with people who get angry with me very quickly.

Case in point, today I tweeted three tweets on the matter:

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My point, from someone who doesn’t really DM people a lot, is that I find it really weird how some people can just make that leap from talking to people about random life, into sexualized conversation. That is what my fake iPhone convo is showcasing. That is honestly how abrupt some dudes are when they jump into sexual talk.

It’s clumsy and in many cases can potentially make women feel uncomfortable. It feels akin to walking into a Chapters, finding a stranger who is reading a book, making small talk for a few minutes about their book, then asking if they’d consider posing nude for you. It can be even worse when it mixes a work environment (aspiring or current writers).

I don’t understand that mindset of being that forward. I don’t understand that mindset of being forward in NORMAL situations. Like, I find it hard to this day to ask people to pay me to write, which is probably why I am still not a full time writer. I find it hard to ask people things in a completely reasonable and normal environment, so it blows me away that some people can just shoot for the moon and ask a girl they barely know to showcase her body to them.

So when I see a story like the one in Deadspin today, I think to myself “That’s super weird” and then I think “out loud” on Twitter about the situation and how odd I find that mindset some guys have. There is a huge difference between flirting in an environment where both parties are open to it, vs hitting up a bunch of girls and aggressively pursuing sexualized talk when it’s not wanted, and it’s honestly a worthy discussion to have in today’s world.

It’s also great to hear people’s viewpoints on this because there are a ton of variables to discuss in stories like this. Online etiquette is probably one of the most heavily debated (and important) topics you can have right now because so much of our lives takes place online.

One response I got, however, was this: (User blurred out because the point of this isn’t to “call” anybody out)

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And this tends to be something that happens far too often on Twitter I find. Instead of telling me why they felt I was wrong or how I could look at it from their point of view, they just aggressively tweet at me. They fall back on “If you can’t see what you did was wrong, it’s not my fault.”

No, it’s not your fault, I agree. But why not talk about it with me to let me see your side of it?I don’t feel that I put up a super macho front on twitter. I don’t go around saying “bitches be crazy” or anything else that might invite the feeling that I am a close minded alpha male. I honestly like to learn about how other people view things because it helps me be more open minded.

Instead, I often times run into these situations, where people just seem angry and don’t want to bother explaining their point or clarifying anything.

Was my tweet meant to be sympathetic? No it was not, it was honestly used purely as an example of the abruptness that some guys can have when crossing the line in chatting. It was used as a hyperbolic conversation to try and create that “Where the fuck did that come from?” feeling people probably get when someone gets too sexual out of nowhere. It was not meant as me having a good laugh at “flirting gone bad”.

Anyways, I guess I just wish people would talk things over instead of just jumping to a “line in the sand” stance. It’s hard to broaden your mind if people on both sides are just rattling their sabres in the air.

On one hand, I understand it’s a topic that effects a lot of women, and there are probably a lot of pent up emotions and experiences tied into sexual harassment. It might seem blase of me to just casually say “just talk to me!’ when it’s such a hot button topic for many ladies.

I also understand what I find “weird” is a situation that can be really uncomfortable for women or be tied into very bad life experiences for women. This is why it helps me to talk to people, to help fill in the gap from “weird”, to me better understanding the situation through other people’s experiences.

On other other hand, just as some random dude on the internet, I would just appreciate it if people told their side of things when they get offended, without jumping into attack mode. And this goes for anything, not just sexual harassment. You hate how I cover hockey? Tell me something constructive. Don’t tell me to eat a bag of nails and die. Explain to me your side of things in a civilized manner, so I can process it and try and learn from it.

I guess I will finish this rant off by saying if you believe strongly in something, sometimes it helps to explain your viewpoint on it, to try and help people understand things better. Not everything has to be a fight and sometimes you will find people who are willing to listen and be open to your point of view.

The Best and Worst of Gotham Episode 10: Make Dick Lovecraft, not war edition

A heads up, episode 10 of Gotham is their mid season break, so I will use that time to catch up on recaps for episodes 7, 8, and 9. If anyone is reading this, leave a comment or discuss Gotham on Twitter with me, it helps keep me motivated to keep writing these!

That being said, I watched tonight’s episode and got all fired up so I decided to recap things out of order. Let’s get down to it!

WORST PORN DIALOGUE IS BACK

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In episode one, I lamented that the writing on the show sometimes strayed towards dialogue you might hear in a porno flick.

“Did anyone order a pizza?”

“That depends….did it come with extra….meat?”

“JIM, WATCH OUT, THAT PIZZA HAS A GUN!”

The show has remained inconsistent in relation to its writing throughout the season so far, but tonight it went back to its roots and really ramped up the adult film factor:

I actually had to physically pause the show when I first saw this scene to give myself a few moments to recover from it.

Not only is Chino (Gordon) delivering the line like he’s in grade 10 drama class, not only is he frowning comically as he delivers his last line, the dialogue itself is just a pile of poop.

It’s like a leprechaun celebrating a victory over somebody asking for a stupid non specific wish.

“I want to the ability to fly!”

*hands over a plane ticket*

“GOTCHA!”

I’m not asking for Breaking Bad levels of writing here, but come on, at least raise the bar above “Debbie Does Gotham” levels.

BEST SIGN IT’S ACTUALLY A PORNO FLICK

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One of the characters in the episode was named Dick Lovecraft.

Dick. Lovecraft.

If you’re in the adult movie business, how is that not a name you would use?

On top of that, he lives in a super clean, super white, super sterile apartment, devoid of pretty much everything but tables, sofas, and beds, ie surfaces you can have sex on.

Dick Lovecraft, noted Gotham pornstar. Still better than Goatman.

WORST CONSISTENCY OF LOGIC

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One of the worst things Gotham does is clumsily write its way through the early parts of the show to get to the end of the show.

What do I mean you ask? Well let’s say Harvey and Gordon have to solve the case of “Why did the chicken cross the road?”

In a normal world, they would discover the chicken crossed the road to reach water, after crossing the road and seeing the chicken was swimming in said water. This would take about five minutes, however, and the show would be over in 10 minutes.

In order to drag things out, they make Gordon and Harvey incredibly fucking stupid. They get blown away by theories that you would think would be common place on the police force.

“Wait….you mean there could have been a SECOND shooter??”

“Hold on, are you telling me, that you can just walk into any store out there and buy a KNIFE right off the shelf??”

Because of their stupidity, it allows them to drag out the episode to the proper length, so they can keep on working towards their over arcing story-line.

In a perfect world, this would be written better by having Gordon and Harvey stumped by actual hard to figure out crimes. Alas, Gotham writers get lazy, throw their hands in the air and say “FUCK IT” and decide that next week Gordon takes thirty minutes to interrogate a coma patient.

Which brings us back to tonight’s episode, where a hired contract killer is hunting down Puss ‘N Boots (who is staying with Lil’ Wayne at the moment), when she happens across a gardener. She kills the gardener, then cuts open his entire fucking chest, so she can put a few dabs of blood on her forehead to pretend she’s be in an accident to gain access to Wayne Manor.

Let’s start off with the batshit insane logic at use here:

1) Why pretend she’s been in an accident? Why not knock on the door and ask for directions? Or a cup of sugar?

2) Or why not knock on the door and shoot Alfred and whomever else answers the door?

3) Or break into the god damn house, like Cat Woman Jr. does every single week? Apparently every window in the damn house is always unlocked.

4) Why cut the gardeners fucking chest open for a tiny bit of blood? Cut his hand or something if you really needed blood that bad, don’t be so dramatic about it.

5) Why not put fake blood on yourself, why even involve the gardener?? Ketchup. Ketchup would have worked.

The worst part comes when the female Jean Claude Van Damme assassin (she was a big fan of slowly moving her legs through the air in this episode) is put in positions where she should, by rights, have just killed Lil’ Wayne and Jim Gordon.

“But why didn’t she kill Jim Gordon and Lil’ Wayne, Wyatt?”

Because, get this, they “weren’t on the contract.”

OK, so was the gardener on the contract then? You had no problem offing him for no reason, so I have to assume the gardener was taken out by someone who hates the idea of grass being cut.

WAIT A MINUTE POISON IVY IT ALL MAKES SENSE NOW.

Sigh.

BEST ALFRED IS QUICKLY BECOMING THE BIGGEST BAD ASS ON THE SHOW

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Early on in the show, back when Alfred was intent upon crushing any and all dreams young Batman had, I was not a fan of Alfred.

He started winning me over when he let Batman kick the shit out of another kid and then basically threatened to let Bruce murder that kid if he ever retaliated.

He won me over more when he not only proved he is a better cop than Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock, he also knows how to use a gun better than either of them. He also shrugs off bullets like they’re mosquito bites.

He made me a fan for life when he randomly punched Female Van Damme on the thinnest of premises that she might be a threat.

To recap, assassin lady shows up at his door pretending to be hurt from a car crash. Puss ‘N Boots and Lil’ Wayne walk down the stairs, Boots sees the lady and her eyes show the tiniest hint of alarm and –

BOOM, ALFRED PUNCHES YOU IN THE FACE.

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There could be plenty of reasons the lady is there. Maybe he’s a case worker trying to find Selina. Maybe she’s a reporter. Selina might just not trust any strangers and could be reacting with suspicion on that premise alone.

Regardless of all of that, Alfred decides the best course of action is probably just to punch the stranger in the face.

In a Gotham where Jim Gordon needs to sit down and plot out a flow chart of whether or not he should use his gun to stop a criminal, it’s nice to know some men in Gotham simply take action where needed.

WORST HARVEY NEEDS TO STOP SCREAMING

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Sometimes Harvey just walks into a room and starts screaming and generally over acting for no real reason. He even managed to drop a “compadre” into this scene because why the hell not.

Relax Donal Logue. You can act withdrawn. I saw you do it in Sons of Anarchy, don’t pretend you don’t have better range than this.

BEST BRUCE WAYNE IS PLAYING THE LONG GAME

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Riddler is not very good with the ladies, and at first glance, Bruce appears to be following suit.

To recap, Selina Kyle has a lady boner for Bruce Wayne, which is shown repeatedly either by her trying to spend a lot of time with him, watching him sleep randomly (super creepy), or by straight up asking him to make out with her.

Bruce responded to her latest request to make out by getting all logical and shit with her and basically calling her out for not being very nice. He turned down an easy make out session, which seems like a stupid move on his part.

Lil’ Wayne, however, is simply playing hard to get, and kind of being a dick, both of which are solid moves in trying to get somebody to like you even more. By the end of the episode Lil’ Wayne has Selina acting nicer, and she gave made the first move and gave him all the kisses, ALL OF THEM.

Game, set, Bruce.

BEST PENGUIN IS PLAYING THE LONG GAME TOO

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Penguin knows who is betraying Falcone, but hasn’t revealed it yet. The long game is always the way to go.

Nothing really new to report on Penguin, but I am enjoying watching him work his way up through the ranks. He’s been one of the bright spots of the first 10 episodes.

In a world without Batman, the bad guys HAVE to carry this show, because Jim sure as shit isn’t holding up his end of the bargain (one of the shows biggest flaws is how little I care about Jim Gordon, much less respect his character).

WORST OVER ACTING BATTLE OF THE HARVEYS

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Move over Donal Logue, you’ve got some company!

The first time we saw Harvey Dent (last episode), he did his best to portray the “Two Face” side of him by randomly screaming WAY over the top at Dick Lovecraft when he thought he was being threatened.

In this episode he didn’t do anything as bad, but he still has a very campy feel to him. On a scale of 1 to Mr. Freeze, he’s settling in at around a 7 on the over acting scale. Reign it in a bit, bud.

BEST WHAT IS THIS MACHINE CALLED, PEASANT?

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BEST ALFRED CONTINUES TO KICK ASS

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Alfred not only shakes down one of Fishes top guys and takes him down with a knife to his throat, he also charms Fish Mooney into helping him find Lil’ Wayne.

Alfred is now on the list of things that are better at being a policeman than Jim Gordon, joining young Batman, a turnip, and day old milk.

BEST POTENTIAL

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Young Poison Ivy made her second appearance on the show and she came off pretty damn unhinged, which is awesome. It’s hard to describe their conversation, but it came off super weird, but fit her character really well.

“Did you make my mother cut her wrists? Somebody did. But not him. How are you doing, you doing ok? I’m doing great, how do I look?”

Just a really odd talking style, but it really made her character seem like she was on the verge of being totally insane.

WORST FIRST ROUND BUST

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If Poison Ivy is a draft pick with untapped potential, Cat Woman is the first round bust who is only sticking around because she was drafted so high and way too much time has been invested in her to let her go without a fight.

Cat Woman is simply the worst cat burglar in Gotham. She gets caught repeatedly by the cops. She kicks open hatches and starts throwing fur coats into the air, so subtly is not her strongest suit. She jumps on top of cars and tries to steal shit directly in front of cops. She wears goggles that serve no purpose except to make her easily identifiable (I had prayed they were night vision goggles, but that dream has died.)

On top of that, she likes to think she’s this amazing street rat that knows how to live on the tough streets of Gotham. You know who a tough street rat is who knows the ins and outs of the streets? God damn Aladdin, that’s who.

Selina Kyle, in comparison, is an idiot. She knows assassins are trying to track her down, so what does she do?

SHE RUNS TO A WELL KNOWN HIDEOUT FOR RUNAWAY KIDS.

It would be like if I was hiding from assassins and I chose Rogers Arena as the place to hide. People will think to god damn look at your favorite spots.

On top of that, she then makes sure to talk to the well known fence of the area, you know, the guy who makes a living off of selling things, people, whatever.

For no reason mind you. Her original plan was to hide out at the flea market until dark, but at one point she decided to randomly sell some of Bruce’s shit to the fence. Why? I don’t know, maybe pigeons? Can we blame pigeons on this one?

WORST CHOKE HOLD

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That’s not a choke hold. She’s kind of pulling on his tie.

Kudos to Chino for selling the shit out of it, though. He sells better than John Cena.

BEST/WORST JIM CONTINUES HIS QUEST TO START UP A FIGHT CLUB

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Funnily enough one of the earlier episodes I haven’t recapped yet involved an actual fight club (which was basically porn for Jim Gordon), but once again Jim shows his hatred of guns.

Question, if a known assassin walks into an apartment (she just recently murdered a gardener that sadly nobody but me cares about) and she is intent upon killing a key witness in the room beside you, what do you do?

Remember, you have no reason to assume she won’t kill you. You are not aware of any fucked up “not on my contract and you aren’t a gardener” logic she may or may not live her life by which would protect you.

Do you a) take cover and shoot her if need be or b) come out in the open, willingly put your gun up in the air, then pray her helper walks by you so you can hit him in the head with your guy and then proceed to have a two on one fight?

If you chose b) then congratulations, you can work for Gotham PD.

BEST PLOT LINE DEVELOPMENT

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As a result of Dick Lovecraft getting killed, the mayor of Gotham needs somebody to take the fall. He has to decide between Harvey Dent or Jim Gordon, and Jim is the obvious choice, especially after Jim tells the mayor to kiss his ass. Politics, Jim, politics.

Regardless, he finds himself being transferred to Arkham Asylum to work as a guard.

This. Is. Awesome.

One, because it gets him out of Gotham PD, which is a shithole full of shit and I hate it there with a burning passion. There are only so many weeks you can watch stupid cops being stupid before you get burnt out.

Two, Arkham Asylum dives deeper into the Gotham world and should provide a ton of options for storyline options.

Three, it breaks up the Harvey and Jim team (for a bit I’m hoping) so I don’t have to see any more montages of them buying lunch.

Four, it’s god damn Arkham Asylum. It’s awesome. I am excited to see where they go with this.

BEST CO WORKER IN THE WORLD

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Riddles heard the news about Jim being transferred, and what is the first thing he does? He offers to write a letter to his boss demanding that Jim get his old job back. Then Nigma shakes off a hand shake and instead hands out a solid man hug, to let Jim know he has his back. He is basically being a kick ass co-worker in an office of people WHO WALKED OUT TO LET YOU DIE WHEN A GANGSTER SHOWED UP.

Jim and Harvey then proceed to basically make jokes about what a weirdo Nigma is when he walks away. Harvey jokes that Nigma should go with Jim. Jim warns Harvey he would miss him. Harvey scoffs at this and assure Jim he wouldn’t.

NIGMA SOLVES ALL OF YOUR CASES. Harvey would be fucked without him. Harvey would be without a job without Riddles. Harvey should be on his hands and knees worshiping the ground Riddler walks on for all he does for his career.

One day Riddler, one day you shall have your revenge…

 

 

 

The Best and Worst of Gotham Episode 6: Goat Man? Yup, Goat Man.

BEST HEADS UP

I don’t know if it’s Gotham fatigue, writing fatigue, or just the fact for some reason I fell in love with Marvels Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and as a result, I only have room in my heart for one set of non super powered heroes, but I have not been feeling Gotham as of late.

So if I come across a bit more down on the episodes, I apologize. I am not being snarky to be edgy or cool, it’s purely just because I found myself not that into the latest episodes.

That being said, there have been some good things in the show, so let’s get this underway, shall we?

WORST BAD GUY

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Goat Man? Uh…

Sometimes I enjoy the bad guy on the show. I still remember fondly those two weirdos who were kidnapping children. Goat Man, though, was just sort of there.

In the end, he served a purpose as he turned out to be nothing more than a tool for the hypnotherapist, but they could have made him more interesting. Maybe he ties a pair of screwdrivers to his head and rams people. Maybe he climbs mountains for no reason. Do something to make him stand out, damn it.

Kudos on him for stealing the Christian Bale Batman voice, though. “I am the spirit of the GOAT. Rrrrrrr *munches on marbles*”

BEST I SEE WHAT YOU’RE DOING

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In this episode we got to see Harvey Bullock 10 years ago. In that flashback he was a young, eager cop who wanted to save the world. Much like Jim Gordon is today.

OH SHIT THEY’RE MORE ALIKE THAN WE THOUGHT.

Anyways, in the flash back, Harvey’s partner, Detective Dix (Yup, that was his name. I assume his first name was Anita, middle name Lotta) plays the grumpy, veteran cop who wants nothing to do with a go get ’em attitude.

OH SHIT HARVEY ENDS UP JUST LIKE THAT GUY.

And now we’ve come full circle.

BEST AT LEAST YOUNG HARVEY USED HIS GOD DAMN GUN

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Jim Gordon in Gotham does not enjoy using guns in situations that warrant them. He could be surrounded by four bad guys carrying swords and he’d throw his gun on the ground and try and attack them with loose baby carrots that were scattered on the floor for some reason.

Young Harvey ran into Goat Man, and after Goat Man randomly talked to Harvey about never dying, Harvey told him to “Come back from this!” (solid death line) and shot the ever loving fuck out of him.

This is how you kill bad guys.

BEST EDWARD NIGMA SHOULD BE KING OF GOTHAM

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For the record, Nigma is not only the best at his job, he is better at everyone else’s job as well. Case in point, the coroner said someone died at 3 am. Nigma knew better, boom, checked the blood coagulation, person died at 1 am. Check mate, Nigma.

Harvey was also having a tough time dealing with the surprise return of a killer he thought was long dead. Nigma asked him if he was ok, to see how he was doing, generally being the nice guy that he always is. Harvey’s response? He screams in his face.

Harvey later asks Nigma to call him when the autopsy is ready to start. Nigma asks him if there is anything in particular he wants him to look out for, Harvey lose his shit again.

Nigma, is the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So they’ll hunt him. Because he can take it. Because he’s not their hero. He’s a silent guardian. A watchful protector. A Riddler.

WORST I JUST DON’T CARE

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I just don’t have it in me to care about Gordon and Barbara’s relationship strife.

I understand rocky relationships are a staple of TV. The whole “will they stay together or won’t they” is a draw a lot of the time. Hell, I wondered if Ross would end up with Rachael just as much as the next guy or gal.

With Jim and Babs, though, I just simply find myself wanting their scenes to end. It’s like a Jannik Hansen breakaway, I just patiently wait for it to end with no payoff, as per usual (for non Vancouver Canucks fans, Jannik Hansen is where dreams go to die when it relates to scoring a goal in the NHL).

One major part of it is how many soul searching conversations do they need to have? Can’t they ever just stay at home and have some dinner and have a few laughs? Play a couple of rock riffs over the scene as one of them loses at Jenga? They never have any fun. At this rate Gordon is going to leave the milk out by accident and Barbara is going to take that as a sign that he never wants kids with her because he wants her milk to go bad.

I think the other part of it is the fact they have zero on screen chemistry. Penguin had more chemistry with Barbara than Gordon does, and he is creepy and gross. Though to be fair, at least he doesn’t randomly drool like Gordon does.

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It also doesn’t help that we know they end up together anyways. Gordon could murder her at one point and I would know he would somehow bring her back to life and marry her zombie corpse, so all of this “will they or won’t they stay together” garbage seems like a waste of time.

There is a time and a place to tinker with back stories (like they are with the villains). Tinkering with their relationship back story by making it rocky is very boring.

I am actually starting to assume they will discover they are brother and sister, which will explain many of the questions I have about them.

WORST MAJOR CRIMES UNIT IS AS BAD AS THE GOTHAM PD

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“Let’s bust Jim Gordon for killing a man!”

“But what’s the worst way we could do it?”

“Find a homeless man who probably isn’t a credible witness, then show him a picture of Gordon only and not utilize a lineup method to ID him, thus ruining our case?”

“SCORE!”

WORST RIDDLER NEEDS TO WORK ON HIS GAME

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Admittedly, the scenes with him and the stereotypical “if only she would let her hair down!” secretary bordered on creepy at times.

If it just ends up as Riddles not reading people properly and not understanding how weird he comes across, then this is kind of awesome. He honestly just wanted to help make her better at her job while trying to get to know her better.

Yes, he could do with less hair smelling. Though part of me thinks he was just smelling her hair to check for toxins that could be poisoning her. He is that good of a guy.

If this ends up with Riddles becoming angry over being jilted at the hands of the ladies, I will get a sad. Riddles has one reason to turn evil, and its name is Harvey Bullock. Don’t stray Riddles down a dark path, you sons of bitches, he’s the only good man in Gotham!

WORST HARVEY IS BLOWN AWAY BY SIMPLE CONCEPTS

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Sometimes in life you are told to “think outside the box.” The idea being, you need to stop thinking of the easy concepts and try and attack from a different angle.

With Harvey, he has trouble thinking inside and outside of the box. Case in point: It took Harvey talking to Lotta Dix, his old partner, to even THINK of the idea that maybe more people might have been in on the killings. It actually made him angry to ponder the idea that more than one person might have been involved in ritual killings.

This is where Gotham fatigue sets in. I know they utilize people reacting to things in a dumb manner to push the plot forward at a pace they want (can’t have Jim and Harvey solving a case in five minutes), but after a while, it just feels like sloppy writing when you have a detective just dumbfounded by simple concepts.

BEST RIDDLER IN YO FACE

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One of the problems Gotham suffers from is not knowing how to be subtle. In the first episode, they practically laid out a power point presentation on which bad guys would be on the show this season.

In this scene, however, I loved it. It is so stupid that it’s kind of awesome. I’d much rather him have a cup with a ? mark on it then them trying to get Riddles to get Harvey to solve a well known riddle at a crime scene.

If they space out their over the top sight gags like this, it comes across better than the machine gun fire way they did it earlier.

Also, for the record, Riddles solved the case and got them the name of the suspect who was the new Goat Killer. Nigma wins again.

WORST JUST USE YOUR GUN JIM

gotham10Jim’s eternal quest to start a new fight club continues as he constantly jumps into fights without utilizing his gun.

You see a man, someone who has already killed people, towering over your partner. Just shoot him in the god damn leg. Hell, shoot him in the back. I know you can do it Jim, you once shot an old man right in the back when he was holding your partner right in front of him, so I know you don’t care about collateral damage.

BEST PENGUINS BATH TIME

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WORST PENGUINS BATH TIME

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BEST WOMAN BEHIND THE MASK

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The hypnotherapist being behind the mask was neat. I liked the fact she was masterminding it. I also liked the actress and how she switched gears the second Harvey figured her out. It was good acting on a show where that sometimes doesn’t happen too often.

Also, Harvey solved a case! He investigated and everything! Go Harvey!

WORST ENOUGH WITH THE GOTHAM PATRIOTISM

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Some people take pride in their city. Some people will go to great lengths to showcase this.

In Gotham, 50% of the population is apparently ready to go to homicidal lengths “for the good of Gotham.” Penguin and Falcone both profess a deep love of Gotham, even though they are inherently evil. Every other episode, the bad guy apparently murders people in order to right the good ship Gotham.

Tonight’s episode, Hypno Toad was killing off rich kids to teach the 1% a lesson about ruining Gotham.

What happened to the good old days when people just wanted money and power for the sake of money and power? Gotham looks like the worlds biggest shit hole yet everyone there loves it to death.

 WORST ROCKY HOMAGE

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The Major Crimes Unit rock solid case against Jim Gordon falls apart when Penguin shows up at Gotham PD.

Gordon, who was just being arrested for the murder of Penguin, based off homeless man’s testimony (I assume Gordon was also accused of flying spaceships into the homeless man’s shopping cart and stealing his eggs), was relieved, while Harvey, who knew they would be in trouble with Falcone due to the fact Popped Collars was still alive, got super angry.

They then went at each other in a Rocky like double knockout motion to end the show on a super cheesy note.

On the plus side, at least they didn’t yell at Nigma.