COWARD was the first arc in Ed Brubaker’s Criminal series, in which a smart crook best known for his ability to slip away from the crime without getting caught reluctantly signs on for a multimillion dollar heist with a pair of crooked cops: He knows they’ll double-cross him, but he’s convinced he can out think them … Very good noir, with a relatively ethical protagonist finding himself irreversibly on the slippery slope to destruction.
THE SINNERS closed out the five-arc run, with hitman Tracy Lawless and his boss increasingly at odds over Lawless’ reluctance to kill innocent people. So it seems like a good idea when the boss agrees to end their relationship once Tracy finds out who’s taking out men who should be untouchable. Only when you throw in the Triads, teen vigilantes and Tracy’s affair with the boss’s wife, things start to go horribly wrong … Doesn’t really wrap up much, though that may be because I haven’t read the two middle volumes yet.
SHARPE’S ENEMY has Sharpe and a French officer joining forces to stop an international gang of deserters encamped in a mountain village in Spain, which also holds the officer’s wife and Sharpe’s loathsome foe Obadial Hakewsill. Significant in the overall series for removing Sharpe’s wife (a much bigger figure here than in the books) and introducing Ducot, the French spymaster who would become Sharpe’s running foe for several more episodes. The brief glimpse of Sharpe’s daughter here makes me wonder if Cornwell will ever follow up the series with a “next generation.” “I swear, someday we’ll reach the moon with one of these rockets.”
DOCTOR WHO: The Keys of Marinus is a first Doctor arc in which the Doctor, Susan, Barbara and Ian criss-cross the planet Marinus to collect the keys to a device that imposes law and order on the inhabitants’ mind (generally presented as a good thing, something it’s hard to imagine saying today). This is an excellent series, particularly one utopian city that turns out to be a trap (which was obvious, but not the form of the trap). “You are much more than machines——the human body is the most flexible device in the world!”
BIG BANG THEORY Season Four was a great deal of fun, mostly due to Mayim Balik as Amy, Sheldon’s sort-of girlfriend and Penny’s new sort-of bosom buddy——Balik’s deadpan delivery of Amy’s line (being almost as rationalist as Sheldon) is absolutely hysterical (having her and the other women bond as a group is also entertaining). I won’t be catching Season Five until it hits Netflix next year, I imagine, but I look forward to it.