Saturday, January 14, 2017

Beyond, Season One, Episode Three: Ties That Bind

Holden is at Willa's, having no longer been able to deny that things are out of control, after he started the house fire.  Holden just wants it all to stop but we know that Willa has a different agenda.  When Willa pulls out a needle with medicine intended to free Holden's memory he balks and leaves.  I actually cannot blame him for a second. Yeah, things are weird but letting a stranger inject you with something isn't the brightest idea.  

Kevin is driving frantically and gets on the phone to call his wife to warn her that he believes that he is being followed.  Kevin begs her to pack a bag and leave but she is firm about staying exactly where she is.  Kevin's car is hit from behind.

It's pasta night for the Mathews family.  The restaurant brings back warm memories for everyone and the boys joke about how they taught their father a thing are two at the batting cage after every meal there.  For a moment, it's as though nothing has changed for Holden but it's short lived. Diane announces that it's time for Holden to take a highschool equivalency test which quickly sends Tom into a rage.  Tom feels that Diane never allows anyone else to make a decision and argues that she is pushing Holden to move too quickly.  As the argument gets louder and louder, the Holden and Luke become increasingly uncomfortable.  Luke, in frustration, orders his parents to shut up before revealing to Holden that their parents are actually separated.  Tom admits that he has his own apartment now and Diane explains that they thought a functioning family unit would make things easier for Holden, as he tries to adjust to the years he's lost. It turns out that this is too much for Holden and so he grabs his jacket and leaves.  Holden heads to the batting cage, clearly still chasing the positive memories of the past, only to find it locked.  Holden uses a bat to smash repeatedly at the fence which sets off his powers.  A cop stops to see what the disturbance is and Holden flees before he can be questioned. Holden heads back to Willa's and this time he is down with taking the shot. 

The man in the yellow jacket ( yeah they still haven't give this character a name) is having dinner around the television with his family. Things are clearly strained with his wife.  He heads down to the cellar to get another bottle of wine and that is when we see that he has a bloodied Kevin tied up. Things don't look good for Kevin.

Colony, Season Two, Episode One: Eleven Thirteen

It's been awhile since the first season and so I must admit to being lost by the first few minutes of this episode.  At first I thought maybe they have moved forward in time but it turns out that Colony began by actually going back in time - back to before the aliens landed on the earth. The Bowmans are all together and Will's biggest worry is that his partner Devin, has been turned by Armenian mobsters. You see, Devin is buying a house in an expensive area and Will knows damn well that she doesn't make enough money to be able to do so.  

Alan Snyder is having trouble with his divorce and is arguing with his wife. Alan takes a meeting about what he believes to be about the sale of some textbooks but it turns out it's with shady government agents who have different plans for him.  The agents know all about Alan's life, including the fact that he is had been embezzling money from his employer. Rather than being a disaster, this turns out to be a good thing for Alan because the Institute for Global Advancement has big plans for him. 

With the truth of his misdeeds presented to him, Snyder chooses to agree to accompany the men in black. Snyder is taken to a secret location and inside a refrigerated chamber of sorts. Once inside, Snyder has a meeting with a host.  We don't learn what sort of persuasion the Host used but at the end of the meeting, Snyder is all in.  He drives with the men in black to evacuate his daughter and decides to leave his ex wife behind. I guess the divorce was even more bitter than it first appeared. 

At FBI headquarters, Will and Devin are sent in search of one of seven VIP's who have suddenly gone missing. They are forced to break into a house of an engineer when they spy a dead body on the floor. It's Will who notices that they are being watch by CCTV.  It turns out that the engineer has been hiding in a panic room all night. He watched as men broke in and killed his maid and did a quick search of his home.  After some reluctance, the engineer reveals he's on a in case the shit hits the fan list.  Apparently, the government has pre-selected a group of people, who in the event of the end of the world, would be tasked with rebuilding society.  

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Sense8, Season Two, Episode 0: A Christmas Special

Yeah, I know that I am late to this as well but what can I say, the holidays are a busy time.  I certainly couldn't skip talking about it because Sense8 turned out to be my favourite new show of 2016.  I think I've actually binge watched the entire first season two or three times now. It was with a sense of anticipation as I sat down to reacquaint myself with Sun, Lito, Kala, Capheus, Wolfgang, Nomi, Riley and Will.  Last season we watched as the sensates began to connect with each other, their lives in some kind of crises and the Christmas episode showed us some of the fall out of their decisions.

It's been a really long wait for season two and so I suppose the purpose of this episode was to remind the viewers what we loved about Sense8 in the first place, hence the massive group sex scene, the group birthday celebration and of course, the ending moment with Hallelujah. The point of this episode was to drive the plot forward  just a little bit and to act as a tease for what is to come.  On that level, I think it would be fair to say that Sense8 absolutely succeeded, even if at times it felt like season one being rebooted slightly. If anything, it feels sort of like Sense8 offering its fans a new pilot.

There were certainly moments that really struck a chord with me.  As promised, Lito and Fernando's sex pics were released to the public.  Fernando is confronted with it during his lecture when the students begin laughing like children.  Fernando doesn't run from the moment and explains it as, "Art is love made public". It's a beautiful tribute because the pictures of Fernando and Lito are indeed beautiful, even if they do represent the worst sort of violation of privacy.

As expected, Lito being a public figure takes the hit.  There are problems with his agent, he's hounded by the media and then thrown out of his home without warning.  When he finally makes it up to his apartment, he discovers that his possessions have simply been discarded.  Now that he is an out gay man the message is that he is a threat and somehow unclean.  Because of being outed, Lito is moving from a man of privilege to a new problematised identity as that of a gay man.  Lito and Hernando take refuge with Daniela the fetishist. This of course comes once again with Daniela the fetishist masturbating to Lito and Hernando having sex. Filming a woman masturbating is certainly subversive because it allows Daniela the fetishist to own her sexuality in a world that slut shames women for being sexual beings; however, having it occur when Lito and Hernando are having sex is hella problematic. The world may have turned its back on Lito but he learns that his mother has always known he is and has always loved him.  I'm glad that with everything Lito has lost, the writers still gave him a secure foundation to build from. 

Speaking of sex, Kala isn't having any with her new husband Rajan. Just as Wolfie warned, Kala isn't happy in her loveless marriage.  The person she really wants to be with is Wolfie, who while he interacts with her, is clearly keeping his distance given the complications in his own life.  It seems that with his uncle out of the way, there's a void in the crime families in Germany. Wolfie, is tapped to take over but he's reluctant to do so. Clearly, Kala has has an effect on him.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Beyond, Season One, Episode Two: Tempus Fugit

Episode two appears to open just before Holden awakens form his coma.  He is with Willa and she gives him a compass to help guide his way, making it clear that it's time for him to go.  For his part, Holden clearly wants to stay.  Suddenly, who should run by but Kevin.  Clearly, he's a part of what is going on. Suddenly, Willa's face starts to melt and she instructs Holden to run, which he does but in the process runs into the man in the yellow jacket who takes a shot at him. This time when Hold awakens he's in his room.

Proving that Holden cannot catch a break, when he heads downstairs, he finds that the cops waiting to talk to him about events the night before at the bar.  Luke is the first one to pipe up suggesting that Holden doesn't have to talk to the cops if he doesn't want to. As the cops start to question Holden he remembers what happened the night before and stops speaking.  It's Tom, who puts an end to the interrogation, realising that his son is in over his head.

Holden gets Luke to take him back to the bar parking lot to see what evidence remains there.  Holden find a cracks in the ground from where he punched his fist into the cement but doesn't share what the cracks mean with Luke. It's Sunday, so it's time for the brothers to head to church with their mother. Holden isn't even in the church a New York minute before he has an incident. A phone starts to ring, causing Pastor Ian to stop speaking thus drawing the attention of the entire congregation.  It seems that Willa slipped a cell phone into Holden's pocket and she's now calling him.  Holden rejects the call and apologises.  The next time Holden comes to the attention of congregation, it's because he is having visions of the bald man, who is pleading with him to remember. Holden screams out to be left alone, only to find he is back in the church with all of the congregants and not in fact alone with the bald man.

That's enough for Holden and he heads home where he meets with his father Tom, who has a different approach for bringing some normalcy to Holden's life.  It seems that they saved Holden's dirt bike though it needs a little bit of work to get it back on the road.  Tom talks about how tactile they both are and driven to fix things.  Together, father and son get the bike back on the road and after being handed his helmet, Holden takes off for a ride.  For a moment its like the years have slipped away as Holden rides his dirt bike.

Holden doesn't get to enjoy his ride for long because he is quickly followed by a maroon truck, mirroring what happened the night he went into a coma. The driver manages to cut him off and it turns out that it's Kevin. The two head back to their old favourite drinking place and once again we see that more than years now separate the former friends.  Kevin wants to know exactly what Holden is now and doesn't mince about words about the ways in which Holden's awakening has messed with his life. This doesn't exactly inspire confidence in Holden, who is quick to point out that he didn't ask for any of this, before leaving.

Beyond, Season One, Episode One

The premise of Beyond is that a young teenager ends up in a coma and when he awakes after 12 long years, he has mysterious powers.  It's not extremely original and isn't even the only one using a similar concept recently (I'm looking at you OA)  This means that  Beyond is going to really have to something special to hold my attention and thus far, it isn't doing the greatest job.

Young Holden decides to hang out with his friend Kevin.  To ensure that we are reminded that this is happening in small town U.S.A.,  the boys climb up a water tower to talk about their expectations of high school while sharing a pilfered six pack of beer.  This scene is clearly to set the tone for Kevin's innocence in everything which is to come.  The fun doesn't last long because Jeff, who's Kevin's brother shows up and he is a might miffed about the stolen beer. The brothers get into a tussle and after quite a long pause, Holden decides to stick up for his friend by hitting Jeff in the head with his dirt bike helmet.  As you might well imagine, Jeff does not take kindly to being hit, thus forcing Holden, on Kevin's advice, to run for his damn life.

The chase is on. Holden barely manages to stay on the road because he is being hit from behind by the truck which is chasing him.  Having run out of options, Holden rides his dirt bike into the woods to evade his pursuers and promptly smashes into the limb of a tree, before crashing to the ground. When next we see Holden he has clearly grown quite a bit (to pull this off, Burkely Duffield had to go a day or so without shaving.) Okay it's established - it's been some time since we've seen Holden.

Naturally, Holden's mother and father rush to his side to celebrate this miracle. And yes, it's a miracle according to Holden's doctors because not only is Holden awake, he talking, walking, nay running like nothing at all happened to him.  That's enough for Holden's mother to declare that it's time for a jailbreak to bring her sweet baby home.

Once home, Holden is reunited with his younger brother Luke.  Luke is the first one to actively think about how lost Holden must be feeling.  To deal with this, Luke gives Holden an older computer and advises him to check out wikipedia for answers to any questions he might have.  Things we take for granted like the Apple Store are foreign concepts to Holden. For the geeks, this means that Holden's coma had to have started before 2001, because that is when the first Apple Store opened in the U.S. This means that Beyond is happening in 2013.  I wonder if the writers thought about that?

Holden's reunion with his family is awkward yet sweet. We don't spend a great deal of time with it because Holden starts having dreams which appear to be right of Dante's Inferno, featuring a creepy old man.  When Holden awakes from his dream, he finds himself in the same location he crashed his dirt bike all of those years ago and is forced to walk home in naught but his drawers.

At the hospital Holden's doctor arrives at work only to find that someone broke into her office.  We all know what this is about right?

Holden is in need of some new clothes for his now man sized body and so hits the stores with his brother.  This is when Holden sees Willa for the first time.  Willa gets Holden's attention by getting her flirt on and an awkward Holden is given advice on women by his younger brother.  Holden tries to talk pretty but only ends up putting his foot in his mouth.  Willa grabs Holden's hand to seemingly write her number on his arm but instead writes a message warning Holden to trust no one.  The author's worked hard to make this seem ominous but because it was so been there done that, it didn't really make much of an impact.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Emerald City, Season One, Episodes One and Two

Okay, maybe I'm easy but I'm absolutely sold on Emerald City. Who knew that NBC had it in them. They clearly spent some bank to make this a success but I cannot help but wonder why they scheduled this for a Friday night of all nights.

We're all familiar with the 1939 version of the Wizard of Oz.  A sweet young girl sings Somewhere Over the Rainbow, dreaming of other places but when her wish is granted, she's swept up into a tornado and wakes up in Oz. It's not long before she realises that she's not in Kansas anymore and sets off down the yellow brick road in search of the Wizard, so that she can get back home to Auntie Em. The one thing I can absolutely assure you of from the onset is that Emerald City, is no Wizard of Oz. Gone are the shiny fluffy elements, instead replaced by something gritty, darker and filled with political intrigue.

Dorothy is on her way to see her estranged mother when she comes across a crime scene and finds herself staring down the barrel of a cops gun.  A tornado is approaching and so Dorothy hops into the cop car for protection unaware that the police dog is in the back, to ride out the storm.  When Dorothy awakes, she's no longer in Kansas and not at all prepared to deal with the world that she has landed in.  Dorothy's first big mistake is not of her own making.  When she landed, her car apparently killed the Wicked Witch of the East/Mistress of the Eastern Wood.  In the 1939 Wizard of Oz, the death of the wicked witch is a cause célèbre. For our Dorothy,  it stands as a statement of what she is because only a witch can kill a witch. This is important because magic has been outlawed by the Wizard.

Dorothy has landed in a world in which the Wizard rules based on the fact that he saved Oz from the Beast Forever.  He has used this power to sublimate the witches and outlaw magic.  He's clearly not the bumbling salesman.  The one thing that's certain is that the Wizard is smart and he's not afraid to use the witches against each other.  The first example of this is the way that he uses the Mistress of the Eastern Wood to imprison those guilty of performing magic.  This means that no witch is allowed to rise who could present a challenge to him.   In the guise of protecting the people from what they fear, he rules them and thus far, it seems that the witches have been unable to rally against him.

Good Witch of the North/Glinda tries to make nice with the Wizard though the hatred in their actions is barely veiled.  Glinda serves the Wizard by providing him with virginal oracles for his high council. Of course the Wizard has no concern for their virginity and has impregnated one of the oracles.  The power dynamics would indicate that this is not an equal relationship but Emerald City does not spare the time to examine it for long.

Wicked Witch of the West/West looks like she comes straight out of the movie The Craft. It's impossible to watch  Ana Ularu in this role and not think of Fairuza Balk's Nancy Downs. Unlike Glinda, the West doesn't bother to hide her disdain for the Wizard. West snarks about what she views as the Wizard's sexual indiscretions. As an opium addicted madame taunting the Wizard has clearly become a hobby for her.  

When news of Dorothy's arrival in Oz happens, the Wizard is quick to send his trusted guard Eamonn after her, with an order to kill her if she's alive or bury her if she's dead.  The one thing the Wizard does not want is for Dorothy to arrive in Emerald City, which is not a good thing for Dorothy because after being exiled from Emerald City's version of Munchkin Land, she's headed straight for the wizard. It's Ojo who guides her to the border and has no problem informing her that he didn't vote for her to be exiled but for her to be killed. Were it not for Toto (dog in Munchkin language), who is now a German Shepard, Dorothy wouldn't have anything positive around her.

Sleepy Hollow, Season Four, Episode One: Columbia

Crane might as well be headless because the entire premise of the show - two witnesses fighting evil was blown up at the end of last season.  Now it seems that the writers think that a change of location, a new archive of sorts and swapping one WOC for another will save this bloody hot mess. Unfortunately, all it did was make the whole thing seems disconnected because Crane doesn't work without Abby to bounce off of. 

Ichabod is being held captive and questioned about everything that happened in Sleepy Hollow the last three years.  The man is confidant in his actions because with Abbie dead (yes that still hurts to say), no one will be looking for Crane.  It's not long before Crane manages to escape and when he does, he looks over his captors things and finds maps, as well as a drawing of the Lincoln Memorial. 

Crane hoofs it to the Lincoln Memorial to the sound of Superstition, which as it turns out is the best part of this episode. Naturally, upon arrival, hell has broken loose. Diana Thomas, a Homeland Security Agent is there with her partner Eric and they've been attacked by a demon, who apparently broke out of the head of the statue of Lincoln.  Now we know why Lincoln had to wear such a big damn hat. Crane manages to scare off the demon before it can kill Diana but he's too late to help Eric, who lies dead on the ground. Although Diana is thankful to be alive, she turns her weapon on Crane in the hope of getting some answers.  Crane's intent is to go after the demon which Diana finds bizarre even after being attacked by said demon.  Diana becomes distracted for a moment and Crane makes himself scarce. 

Outside, Diana tries to explain what she saw to her supervisor and he's quick to brush off her account because it's filled with a description of all the supernatural things that Diana saw.  He warns Diana that a report like this is a career ender and suggests that she just back off for now because the death of a partner can have a strange effect.

Diana magically manages to track Crane to the place where he was held captive. I say magically because even when the writers explain how it still comes across a pile of steaming shit.  Diana is determined to get answers for what happened and to bring the person who killed Eric to justice. We learn that she is a former marine and a single mother of a young girl.  Diana is still unconvinced about the supernatural stuff but points out a government agency in charge of keep track of strange things. Crane immediately recognizes the organisation as being started by none other than George Washington. 

Together they head off to the offices and Crane is suitably underwhelmed when he arrives. The first person Crane and Diana meet is Jake Wells, who is bursting at the seams excited about meeting Crane. Since it's his job to track supernatural phenomenon, he's been following Crane's trail and his exploits in Sleepy Hollow. Jake even tries to snap a selfie with Crane which he quickly balks at. Yeah, so they got me to laugh at this one but I still don't forgive them for Cranewrecking this show and chasing Behaire off. Where was I? Upon further investigation, Crane finds a set of books which contain the secret history of America. This is where he learns that Abraham Lincoln was killed by a demon who used John Wilkes Booth's body.  To kill time, we get a flash to Lincoln being murdered. The whole thing is just ridiculous.  They figure out that demon will appear at a parade the next day and decide to make some magical bullets to deal with this.  Alex, who works with Jake, isn't sure that she's down with this whole demon thing but making weapons is something she loves to do.

Grimm, Season Six, Episode One: Fugitive

"Maybe this world is another planet's hell."

And thus begins Grimm's finale season.  Unlike previous seasons of Grimm which seemed to get stuck in the Wesen of the week loop a lot, slowing moving along the meta, season six is off to a bang. Hopefully, the writers will continue this pace for the season.  

It's been quite some time since the last episode and so I actually had to watch the opening sequence a few times to be able to properly place where we are on the show.  Bonaparte is dead, killed by Diana who used her daddy dearest as a weapon. Bonaparte never should have laid hands on Adalind.  Diana also took out Renard's lover by smothering her in her own sheets.  Hadrian's Wall is pretty much done in Portland, especially given the death of Misner. Nick used the stick to heal both himself and Eve/Juliet, and in her case, it seems to put her powers on the fritz.

Nick is confused by Bonaparte's death at the hands of Renard, wondering if just perhaps the captain has switched sides.  Renard doesn't move against Nick directly but instead returns to Bonapart's place and has a chat with Adalind about Daddy's little girl.  

The scoobies make their way through the catacombs looking for a way out. When they find one, Rosalee tells Monroe that she doesn't want anyone to know about her pregnancy.  They meet back up with the others and decide that instead of using the exit, they are going back for Nick.  Nick eventually meets up with the gang in the catacombs and manages to act fast enough to stop Trubel from decapitating him. 

At this point, both Renard and Adalind realise that Diana is one freaky little girl and that they need to be wary.  They both know that Black Claw is going to want someone to answer for Bonapart's death and Renard decides that this person should be Nick.  He tells Adalind that she never should have fallen in love with the Grimm. Is it me, or is Renard a touch jealous of Adalind's relationship with Nick? 

Back in the loft, Eve wants to know why she's still alive.  There's a lot of eye contact clearly meant to convey that the characters are concerned about trusting her but they explain to her about the stick which is connected to the keys.  Eve spies her horrible wig and picks it up  but doesn't put it back on, admitting that something's changed.  Please Grimm, if you must bring Juliet back, we don't need a love triangle here.  We only have thirteen episodes, so there's no room for this kind of drama. 

Thus begins the hunt for Nick.  Renard puts out a shot to kill on signt order on Nick with the local PD, after getting several search warrants for places Nick is known to frequent. At this point, I couldn't help but wonder why Renard didn't simply just tell Diana that he needs Nick taken care of? You know damn well that that lavender eyed hell child would have been more than happy to do something special for daddy. 

Thankfully the scoobies are one step ahead of Renard and have already disposed of the bodies, though not without some issues.  When Eve gets close to a body she is caught with a death grip. They went literal with this one folks.  Rosalee reads about what to do in one of her books and then cuts off the corpse's arm, thus freeing Eve.  Why did she need to read that in a book to figure out to cut off the corpse's arm? Shouldn't common sense have kicked in here? Book learning did give us one useful fact: apparently the purpose of a death grip is to drag a pure soul into hell in exchange for a bad one. Ummm, Eve a good soul?  I think not. So yes, more clues that Juliet is coming back or perhaps yet another metamorphosis.  

At the precinct, Franco warns Hank and Wu that Nick had better get gone fast.  In his office, Renard takes a call from Black Claw and he informs them about Bonaparte's death and the role Nick played. Renard is ordered to clean up the mess and reclaim Portland as quickly as possible. Renard looks down at his hand and hallucinates blood and hears Misner's voice. Clearly, Renard isn't operating on all cylinders.  Perhaps this explains his dedication to tracking Nick down rather than working with Nick to protect the hell child.