Monday, December 22, 2014

C- Finale And A+ Start

TigerBlog has resisted for the last 12 weeks the temptation to write about "Homeland."

Season 1? The best season of any show in television history, at least according to TigerBlog. Each week was more gripping than the one before it, each character was perfect - and perfectly flawed. Each plot twist made the show even better.

It all led to a season finale that was excruciatingly dramatic and tense, and when it was over, TB felt like he been holed up in a bunker with Brody and his suicide bomb vest.

So could that be equaled in Season 2? TigerBlog thought it was still really good, even if it didn't measure up exactly to Season 1.

Season 3? It got away from itself, largely because it didn't get rid of Brody soon enough. That was the show's big mistake from last season, letting Brody and Carrie be the centerpiece the entire time.

Don't read the next sentence if you haven't seen the show and want to watch it:

If it had killed him off in the fourth or fifth episode instead of the 12th, it would have been much better off.


TigerBlog had no idea what to expect from Season 4. For that matter, he wasn't even sure he was going to watch it, though he eventually gave in to it.

And then a funny thing happened. "Homeland" reinvented itself, got rid of many of its characters - TigerBlog was pretty much alone in thinking that Dana Brody was a great character - changed its locale and completely revamped the storyline.

And guess what? It was a great season, reaching heights not seen since Season 1 in Weeks 9 and 10 of the current run. In fact, those two episodes probably rank in the top five of all-time "Homeland" episodes, which is saying quite a bit.

Last week's episode wasn't on par with the two before it, but it seemed to do a good job of setting up the season finale. TigerBlog assumed it would be set in Pakistan or Afghanistan and center around Carrie and Quinn as they and they alone chased down Haqqani.

Uh, nope. That's not what it was at all.

In fact, the season finale was the tamest episode in "Homeland's" four-year run. It resolved nothing. It was very cerebral. It went down paths that it didn't need to go, and it took forever to get there.

Maybe it did a good job of setting up next season. That's about the best thing you can say about it.

TigerBlog was annoyed by the last episode. He wants to know what happened to the evil Pakistani lady who was in on it with Haqqani. He wants to know what happened to Quinn's bomb. Why did he give up so easily? How did he get out? When did Carrie get home?

Now he knows nothing of those things and won't at least for 10 months or so.

He gives Season 4 a B+. It had a strong, solid A until it got a C- on the final.

While TigerBlog is handing out grades, he'll give the Princeton women's basketball team a number grade. How about 100?

Or should that be 104?  Whatever, it adds up to an A+ ... to this point.

Princeton is now 13-0 after its weekend wins over Portland State and Monmouth, with seven of its last eight wins by at least 30 points and 12 of its 13 wins by double figures. To say the Tigers have been impressive to date is a huge understatement.

The Portland State game was a little different though. This time, for the first time in program history, Princeton reached triple digits, with a 104-33 win.

And the Tigers could have scored 150 if they wanted to, as no starter played more than 23 minutes. And what did Portland State do two days later? Defeated Columbia 71-66.

The women's basketball team had reached at least 90 points 12 times in the last five-plus seasons, including a high of 99 two seasons ago against Yale. Never before had the Tigers gotten to 100.

The men's team last did so against Yale in 1971, which is a long time ago. The next chance, by the way, to end that streak is tonight, when the Tigers host Liberty at 7 in the final home game of 2014. The last game of the calendar year for the men is New Year's Eve day at Wake Forest, so the Tigers have two cracks left in 2014 to get to 100.

In all, the Princeton men have reached 100 points 12 times, with a high of 118 in the 1965 NCAA tournament third-place game against Wichita State.

Only one Princeton player played in more than half of those 12 games, having appeared in seven games in which the Tigers reached at least 100 points. Any guesses? TigerBlog will give you a few paragraphs.

In the meantime, back at the women's basketball team, Princeton plays Hartford and then probably a pretty good Fordham team at Fordham's tournament next Monday and Tuesday and then Hampton on Jan. 5 in Virginia.

The Ivy opener is part of a doubleheader at Jadwin Gym against Penn. The Tigers have a long way to go until they can hope to reclaim the Ivy League championship that they won for four straight years before losing it to Penn a year ago.

Still, Princeton is off to the best start in Ivy women's basketball history and has looked great in every way. Can this be a special season? Yes. Is that etched in stone? No, especially with the target that Princeton has on its collective back in every league game.

Oh, and the answer to the trivia question?

Gary Walters played in seven of those 12 games. Don't tell him though. It'll just go to his head.

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