Monday, June 26, 2017

Fear The Walking Dead, Season Three, Episode Four: 100

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The adage in The Walking Dead universe is that if you don't see a body, the person isn't dead and is likely appear again, if the writers have already invested some time with the character.  When we last saw Daniel, it was last season and he appeared to be lost in the fire at the commune which scattered the cast.  It was easy to believe that Daniel had perished given the ferociousness of the fire but then - we didn't see a body.

Daniel popped back up in the beginning of this season, a possible ally to Strand, who found that his familiar charm had fallen flat.  Now that the audience knows that Daniel is alive, the writers must explain exactly where he has been all of this time and how he has survived. Though this explanation is necessary to reintegrate Daniel into the series, a lot of what happened felt like filler.  Having a filler episode in only the third episode of the season does not bode well.  

One of the defining features of Daniel's character is his guilt.  It's clear that in the course of his life that he has killed many men in the service of his government at the behest of the US government.  He may have been a retired killer turned barber when Travis met him, but he was perhaps better suited for a zombie apocalypse than any other character.  Everyone else had to adjust to what it means to kill for survival and fight for their life, whereas; for Daniel this experience brought about flashbacks.  His break down if anything was a sign of untreated trauma and PTSD.  It's why he fell apart while the others were able to simply shoulder on with surviving in this hard new world.  

Daniel has always had the skills but burdened with the memories of what he has done, his hands are already so soaked in blood that this new world in which killing is no longer problematic simply drove him over the edge.  Despite everything that Daniel has done however, it seems that the universe (read: the writers) are determined that Daniel survive.  Daniel is first saved by a dog when a zombie tries to bite him and then by Efrian, who gives him water and gets Daniel medical treatment for his badly burned leg.  Efrain and Daniel form a duo for a time, scrounging for supplies and giving mercy to walkers. 

Daniel ends up in a much better mental place then when he burned down the compound; however, he still thinks about what he did and worries about the fact that he and Ofelia are seperated.  Finally, when Daniel can no longer hide from what he has done and filled with worry for his daughter, he decides to confess to Efrian.

Daniel makes his way away from Efrain on foot but when he comes up against a zombie, with no weapon to protect himself, Daniel falls to his knees and begins to pray.  Instead of being eaten, he is knocked unconscious when the zombie is struck in the head by lightening.  While it was an awesome scene, I couldn't help but think that the writers were laying on Daniel's temporary plot armor a little to thick.  It's like they decided to do the lightening strike simply because this is something they always wanted to do and thought it would look cool.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Wynonna Earp, Season 2, Episode 3 Gonna Getcha Good

It is time for a homecoming game in Purgatory, apparently in celebration of the only hockey game the high school has ever won. 10 years ago and they’re still celebrating it. That’s kind of faintly tragic.

More tragic is that those old hockey players are dying - starting with one man ripping out his own liver while a creepy guy in  burlap sack looks on and apparent compels him into it. I’ll take Demonic Pact for a 100, Bob

Nedly goes into full on cover-up mode because he doesn’t need the drama around the big game. Much to Nicole’s frustration and attempted shaming. Nedly has no shame at all

Wynonna herself isn’t that focused on this monster either - because she’s obsessing over the ritual she saw last week in the old school. She doesn’t want to focus on little demons and revenants so Black Badge can hit their quota. There’s something big and bad out there she needs to focus on - her ongoing insecurity about Dolls not being there adds to this. There’s something big out there and she doesn’t know what to do about it  - again harking back to the fact she’s not a leader or doesn’t know how to be.

Mercedes is still around though being immensely fun, encouraging the drinking of tequila and lamenting how her parents left os much of their money to the town. She’s also not thrilled with trying to sort out the lives of her younger siblings. She’s still fun and trying to set Wynonna up with Perry, another member of the ill fated hockey team. She agrees to do this mainly so she can try and find out more information about the hockey team

He’s also very very easy on the eyes which helps.

Thought that information on the team thing? Is kind of shoddy writing - Wynonna kind of lasers in on the team, the hockey trophy, ripping our own organs et al right away without any real evidence trail leading her there.

Though she seems to be right to be suspicious of Perry since he skins a rabbit (Hey, they’re in the boonies. Maybe this is lunch. But since he’s in a hotel room I’m sure there’s rules about that. No smoking or vaping and no skinning small game). And at the big, more than a little pathetic meeting to kick off the celebrations of the match he ends up dumping Wynonna, his date, to help another panicking Hockey player who is drunkenly rambling on. Perry definitely seems more interested in silencing the man before she says something he shouldn’t

Doctor Who, Season Ten, Episode Eleven: World Enough and Time

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World Enough and Time is the penultimate episode of this season.  This means that we potentially only have one more episode with our beloved Peter Capaldi as the Doctor, especially given that the season finale is entitled The Doctor Falls. There's also some tension regarding the fate of Bill, given that Pearl Mackie only signed on to be a companion for one season.  Are we going to lose the first LGBT companion and second Black companion after only one season? It's all a bit too much to take my fellow Whovians.  

As much as this season has been about Missy's redemption, it's also been a sort of look back at previous Doctors and previous adventures. This is why the The Mondasian Cybermen are the prefect adversary in World Enough and Time. Unlike the present incarnation which is completely metal, the cybermen are still being established and they still have cloth faces, like they did in the original Doctor Who
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The upgrade is terribly painful and the cybermen scream in pain and one even begs to die.  It's why the next upgrade is to make it so that the cybermen don't care about the pain. We finally know the purpose of the iconic handles.  It made me think quite a bit about when Danny Pink became a cyberman and the pain he complained about. We know that Mondas is pretty much a twin to earth and that when faced with the possibility of the extinction of indigenous people of the occurred, everyone went cyber and now they no longer resembled the beings they used to be. This is a necessary explanation because until now, we had no idea why anyone would willingly choose to become a cyberman. 

Orphan Black, Season Five, Episode Three: Beneath Her Heart

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For much of Orphan Black the Hendrixs have been the comic relief.  While dealing with Neolutionists, Allison has attempted to uphold the facade that she's just another suburban WASP. This means she's taken her kids to soccer games, participated in community theater, volunteered at her church and even run for local office.  Trapped in what many would think of as suburban hell, Allison has always sought to maintain her image and exert power wherever possible.  However, the truth of the matter is that despite everything that's going on, Allison's world is very very small.  At best, she's been a big fish in a tiny pond and in Beneath Her Heart, the realities of Allison's life and past are explored. 

Beneath Her Heart begins with a flashback to the Hendrixs hosting a dinner part with Aynsley and Chad (could there be two more WASP names?) as their guests. It's about as typical as you would expect, with Allison refusing to share her desert recipe while fielding calls from Beth.  It's an early sign of Allison trying to hold her life together, even as the clone world is trying to intervene. Allison is in complete denial and makes it clear that she won't even say the C word. Since we are talking about Allison, the C word of course means clone. 

With the desert finished and the dishes cleared away, the Aynsley and Chad suggest that they shake things up a bit.  This quickly weirds the Hendrixs out because they clearly assume that their friends mean sexually.  It turn out Aynsley and Chad have brought some mushrooms.  Allison is reluctant at first but she takes the plunge, leaving a sober Donnie to watch over his wife and friends.  Of course, as soon as Allison is higher than a kite, this is when Cosima shows up. It seems that Beth thought that meeting another Leda clone would bring Allison on side. This is the first meeting between Cosima and Allison. Because Cosima is just so naturally zen, she realises that Allison is high but doesn't make a big deal out of it. 

Aynsley and Allison end up at the front lawn looking at the stars wrapped in blankets. Allison starts to wonder if her life in suburbia is all there is for her. She actively thinks of all the things that she could have done instead of serving mini pizzas and playing chauffeur to the kids. It's a great reminder of exactly why Aynsley and Allison were friends and why letting Aynsley die continues to haunt her.

In the present, things haven't become any easier for Allison.  Donnie and Allison get a visit from Mr. Frontenac, demanding to know Helena's whereabouts. Frontenac makes it clear that of all the clones, he thinks that Allison is the most expendable.  Cosima is a scientist, Sarah and Helena are both fertile and Helena's unborn twins have shown remarkable abilities to heal themselves.  There's also Kira, who has special skills. Because Allison is supposedly just a housewife, she doesn't have much power or much to barter with as far as Frontenac is concerned. Frontenac makes it clear that Allison had better have a good long think about exactly how valuable she is.

It's time for M.K.'s memorial which Allison watches via skype.  Allison is upset that she was unable to do anything to save MK. The clones decide with everything going on to just take it easy for the day.  Sarah ends up spending time with Felix sulking when Kira makes it clear that she doesn't want her mother to come to Dyad with her. 

With no official clone business to take care of, Allison heads to the Church Fall fair which she is not running this year. It doesn't take long for Allison to have a little run in with Nona Walker, who has been selected to run it.  Naturally, Allison is not down with this at all and so she pours several lorazapam pills into a bottle of ice tea and gives the bottle to Nona, claiming that it's a reconciliation drink. Before Nona can down it however, the minister pops by and starts talking about moving forward. Allison's conscience kicks in and she grabs the bottle before Nona can drink it. 

Allison conscience is picked at again when she runs into Chad and his kids. It seems that Chad blames himself for his wife's death, saying that if Aynsley hadn't kicked him out for cheating, he would have been there to save her.  We all know that Aynsley died because Allison didn't stop the garbage disposal when Aynsley's scarf got stuck in it. Allison also only had an affair with Chad to get back at Aynsley because she thought that Aynsley was her monitor at the time. 

Saturday, June 24, 2017

The Mist, Season 1, Episode 1: Pilot

A brand new show and we open with a guy who knows as much about it as I do since he has amnesia - he’s a soldier (or dressed as one but doesn’t apparently have dog tags) with ID identifying him as Bryan. He also has a dog called Rufus - in case you failed to read these names, Bryan helpfully reads it all around. Whereever he is, it’s pretty beautiful.
t’s the kind of scenery I could stare at for hours. On a HD television. In a centrally heated house with wifi and the ability to order pretentious coffee by the internet.

He wanders around until the Mist comes in - and turns poor Rufus inside out. Literally

Right guys, you’ve all be warned - there will be gore. Though i think the writers may be misreading their audience - most people are going to be way more upset by a mangled dog than they would be by something like, say, a child.

From here we go to a teacher called Eve who is being suspended by the headteacher. Ahem, amnesia bloke in the mountain and butcher mist? Unless Eve is being suspended for turning the class pet into a taxidermy plot, I want to go back to Bryan

Apparently she’s being suspended for teaching sex-ed much to the shock and horror of puritanical parents who want lots more teen pregnancies.

We’re not going to follow the 8,000,000 characters in this series with a brief series of introductions and a complete lack of people being turned outside out.

So we have Eve’s partner Kevin who plays permissive cool parent next to her restrictive controlling protective parent. That would be towards daughter Alex who identifies much more with her dad because he never says no rather than her mother because she always has to be the bad guy (which annoys Eve immensely).

Alex’s friend is Adrian, a bisexual boy who wears eyeliner and has a homophobic father who hasn’t spoken to him in 2 weeks for being a bisexual teen wearing eyeliner and a homophobic mother willing to let that stand. Adrian, in theory, is very socially aware, sadly the writer isn’t and it’s more like he just spouts word salad from social justice sites without context (hey, writers, male privilege exists, wel done for acknowledging it. But the idea that a bisexual man uses male privilege to drool after football players is just bizarre, ignores straight privilege and homophobia. Gay/bi men don’t generally get the privilege of being able to overly list after football players).

Alex has a thing for Jay the Popular Football Player and Jay’s dad is Connor, the sheriff/head of police.He’s not a fun guy.

The Originals, Season Four, Episode Thirteen: The Feast of All Sinners

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It's clear from the ending of this season finale that the writers wanted to write something which could serve as a series finale should The Originals be cancelled. I have to admit that if it were to have ended here, while bittersweet, it would have been nice.  The Mikaelsons may love each other but they are absolutely toxic and dysfunctional together. Apart, they are free to pursue their own goals and passions. 

Always and forever is the vow that has kept the Mikaelson siblings returning to each other over the centuries.  They have occasionally hated each other, sabotaged each others happiness, and even daggered each other from time to time and yet nothing has been able to come between them.  We even spent a good part of the season hearing repeatedly that despite being Klaus's adopted son that Marcel is not a Mikaelson, nor would he ever been good enough to be considered one. 

In order to save Hope, the Mikaelson family must separate forever. The only way to stop The Hollow is to pull her out of Hope and then divide her between the Original siblings.  Since the Hollow is always going to desire to come together again and to rejoin Hope, since Hope is perhaps the most powerful witch who has ever lived, this means that the Mikaelsons must always stay away from each other.  It means that Klaus can never see his daughter again.  As you might imagine, this brings about a shit ton of angst.

With time running short, the Mikaelsons choose now to make peace with each other. Klaus goes to see Marcel and admits that he failed him as a father and that he is not surprised that Marcel turned into a better man than him.  Marcel however is not easily swayed and tells Klaus that he's about one hundred years too late for the mea culpa.  Marcel actually points out the fact that Klaus never thought that he was good enough for Rebekah and not part of the family.  Finally Klaus admits that it isn't that he didn't believe Marcel good enough to be with Rebekah but that he feared that if the Rebekah and Marcel were allowed to be together, that they would stop loving him.  I think this is the most honest Klaus has ever been about his pettiness and toxicity. 

Four vampires are needed and of course, Kol isn't answering his phone. A panicked Freya decides that if they cannot reach Kol, that she will turn herself into a vampire in order to be able to hold The Hollow at bay.  For Freya, it's about not having Hope grow up without a mother the way that she did.  Freya's biggest fear is that on top of losing her siblings that this will cost her Keelin because how could Keelin possibly love her if she becomes the same monster that killed Keelin's parents.  Of course, Keelin is now all in and tells Freya that she will never lose her. Just wow, the Stockholm syndrome is strong here.  It bares repeating that Freya participated in holding Keelin captive, experimenting on her and causing her pain, all for the sake of saving her precious family filled with serial killers.  How can Keelin just over look that?  I suppose it wouldn't be convenient for the authors to admit this fact. Fortunately for Freya, Kol shows up to save his sister from having to go without magic forever. For Kol, this is a pain he doesn't want anyone else to suffer. 

The Originals, Season Four, Episode Twelve: Voodoo Child

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Voodoo Child is the penultimate episode of this fourth season and it quite certainly could have come sooner for me. I don't know how it's possible but it seems to me that the writers have managed to drag out this short season, making it feel twice as long as it is.  Perhaps it's that this universe has reached its expiration date. With The Vampire Diaries finished, it feels as though The Originals, is just grasping at straws, holding onto the former glory of its predecessor.  After all, how many stories are there really to tell about the Mikaelsons? I suppose that I should be thankful that at least this week, the writers didn't resort to another meaningless flashback. No one wants to see either Joseph Morgan or Daniel Gillies in those horrible wigs again.

This season, the main antagonist is The Hollow.  This means that The Originals are once again going up against a powerful witch.  The writers created a werewolf origin story for The Hollow, trying to weave it into the meta. How many times are the Mikaelsons going to come up against witches, angst about how much danger they are in and ultimately end up victorious and perhaps a little more twisted? Perhaps this is why the writers sought to make Hope the one who is supposedly really under threat. The problem with this strategy is that even though Hope is easily the most vulnerable Mikaelson, she is also a child with possibly even more plot amour than Klaus because of it, thus bringing us back to square one.

I will however say that some of the best parts of this season thus far where the scenes Klaus shared with Hope.  I was however disturbed to see Klaus telling Hope about what an evil man he was and how she and she alone brought out goodness in him. What kind of burden is that to place on a child?  Yes, Klaus wants Hope to live but telling her that to stop him from being a serial killing monster with Daddy issues that she has to keep fighting?  It's manipulative and wrong regardless of the impulse behind it.  You just know damn well that this horrible trope will be pulled out repeatedly to remind us all of just how special Hope is to Klaus.

The big dilemma is that The Hollow has taken over Hope's body. Hayley is the only person who can kill the Hollow but of course as long as the Hollow is in Hope's body, there's no way Hayley is going to act no matter how evil The Hollow is. Kudos absolutely have to go to Summer Fontana, who plays Hope, for selling the possession so well.  I've got to say that I'm impressed with how well Fontana has managed to embody The Hollow and make the whole possession truly creepy adding an element of horror to a show that has almost from the beginning been ridiculously cheesy.  I hope that they will continue to give Fontana interesting things to do.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Outcast, Season 2, Episode 4: The One I'd been Waiting For

After last episode, this episode feels much less dramatic and important. Mainly, i think, because this episode is focused on the two people most peripheral to everything actually relevant to this show. Anderson and Aaron.

See Aaron has gone home to his mother Patricia who is desperately happy to see him again and super sad about his burns and above everything, despite, all evidence to the contrary, convinced that Aaron is a good man.

She is, of course, very very wrong and Aaron wants to be dark and evil and he’s already prepared for possession and primed to absorb all the dark shit in the world and all kinds of bad things. Basically he needs all the therapy.

He calls Anderson and taunts him before stabbing his mother, painting an inverted pentagram on the wall, painting his room black and screaming “You’re not my real dad!” before disappearing

His call to Anderson, annoyingly, interrupted the exposition which had Junkyard guy (I Think I need to remember his name soon). Basically the woman he’s buried (and now dug up for their viewing pleasure) was called Helen - and she was the Sidney for the last lot of demons/spirits/aliens/whatever they are who Kyle’s dad duly dealt with because he was totally into the demon slaying. Kyle, however, is furious that his dad wasn’t at home and instead abandoned him and his - I’m going to have to stop you there Kyle. With Aaron running around we are already waaaaaay over our daddy issue quota.

So Anderson gets to Partricia in time to die in his arms, because everyone knows a fridged woman has to die dramatically, preferably in the arms of her love interest and Anderson starts to swear vengeance and make… I was going to say a lot of grief and rage based decisions but, really, Anderson’s decision making isn’t exactly spot on at the best of times.

This involves lots and lots of Anderson trying to hunt down Aaron on his own. The best part of this is Kyle pulling a whole “if we become monsters fighting the monsters then we’ve lost!” speech. I’d repeat it - but doesn’t EVERY half-way dark or gritty series have one or two of these? You know the drill. Also Anderson kind of wants to murder a severely injured and traumatised teenager which, y’know, not great. Anderson is full of fire, brimstone and killing the evil