American Horror Story Season 6: Finale

Well, that was pretty confusing, but I actually liked it. It was entirely in keeping with the generally snarky attitude of the entire season’s meta approach to televisual media.

We start off the episode with the courtroom proceedings at Lee’s trial and some shameless overacting from the lawyers, as they plead their case. Lee is pronounced “Not Gulity”. Flora, who testified that she witnessed her mother kill her father, was not a believable witness, because she believed in ghosts.

Image result for american horror story finale

We get more backstory on Lee,  but this time told from the point of view of a cheesy MTV: Behind the Music style show called Crack’d, (which was hilarious) and a parody of some type of ConFest, thrown to celebrate the original Roanoke Nightmare, which totally captures the self serving bullshit of the celebrities featured at such events. Each one of the stars of My Roanoke Nightmare are at their obnoxious best, as they showboat to  try to garner as much attention from the audience as possible.  My eyeball rolling didn’t even reach maximum levels during this stage of the proceedings. Clearly the show runners were just getting started.

The episode itself is total crack-meta as it switches from one television genre to another, as shows within shows. From those opening scenes, we move on to a Barbara Walters type of show, with its overwrought and ponderous interviewing style, with Sarah Paulson reprising her role as Lana Winters, the newswoman from Asylum. She is interviewing Lee about  having been found not guilty of killing Mason, and hilariously has  the tables turned on her by Lee. That interview itself turns truly batshit insane when the last of the Polks,  Lot, shows up with a machine gun, and tries to assassinate Lee in the middle of the interview.

Image result for american horror story finale

From there, we get a callback to the last episode with some intrepid spiritchasers, called appropriately enough, Spirit Chasers, visiting the Roanoke House during the Blood Moon. I had as little empathy for these obnoxious twits, as I had sympathy for the ones who died in the last episode. That last group didn’t deserve the horrible things that happened to them, but these guys were warned frequently, they watched the second season of Roanoke, so knew what to expect, and the house itself is cordoned off against trespassers with barbed wire. These assholes chose not to believe any of it, and got themselves (and some hapless policemen) murdered by the Butcher’s followers.

Although, when you think about it, the most common trope of all horror movies is people making stupid decisions, so  the show simply ends as it began. Matt and Shelby find a ramshackle old house in the middle of fucking nowhere and decide that would be a good place to live. The Spirit Chasers make the boneheaded decision to trespass on haunted land, where at least a dozen or more people have died. I don’t even believe in ghosts but, just like in that Stephen King story 1408, I don’t have to believe in ghosts to know that staying overnight, in a place where dozens of people have died horribly, is a good idea.

Image result for american horror story finale/spirit chasers

The spirit chasers meet Lee in the house. She is there hunting Flora. This is the part I find confusing because how did Lee know that’s where Flora would be, and how did Flora get there?  Uber? How did she get inside the house? She’s, like, twelve years old! and the place is surrounded by a  barbed wire fence!  In fact, this moment is so confusing, that when Lee showed up, I thought she and Flora were dead and being reunited as ghosts. I  was disabused of that idea because they showed up on the thermal sensors the spirit chasers were using.

It turns out that Flora came back to the house after her mother’s acquittal, to stay with Priscilla. One of the few truly emotional moments is Lee’s reunion with her daughter, and her utter dedication in protecting her daughter, no matter what. Lee, the ultimate survivor, sacrifices her life to keep her daughter from killing herself, so she can stay behind and protect Priscilla, in Flora’s stead, from The Butcher.

Image result for american horror story finale/spirit chasers

As the house finally burns to the ground, Flora sees the ghosts of her mother, and Priscilla, waving goodbye to her. Lee, as she has stated so many times this season, would indeed do anything for her daughter.

Now, I have read a rather shitty review which focused the episode on Sarah Paulson’s character and I was greatly offended by the writer’s complete inability to give Lee her due as the actual star of this season, instead of focusing their review on a White character from a previous season, who only shows up in the last episode of this one. This season wasn’t about Lana Winters, as her story has already been told, and I didn’t appreciate seeing Lee being reasoned out of her own story. I can see the parallels from Lana’s story to Lee’s, but that’s no excuse to remove Lee’s adaptability, determination, fortitude, and search for love and redemption, via her daughter, as the primary focus of this season.

 

I’m not saying Lee wasn’t a problematic character, but that’s why I liked her. One of my biggest complaints about TV and movies (among many, many, many, complaints) is the lack of unlikable women. She’s the kind of woman who is hard to like, because she’s complicated, and I like  that her complications make sense, and are consistent. She’s not just given random unlikable character traits to make you hate her.  Quite frankly, none of the white people on the show came across as people I would like to get to know. But I’d be friends with Lee, if I could. She seems like the kind of person that, once she lets you in that zone, you’re in there forever. When Lee loves people, she loves them wholly and completely, the way she does Flora. But if you wrong her, or betray her trust, you will soon be experiencing fine dining in Hell.

Image result for my roanoke nightmare house

 

The final scenes of the actual show (and not a show within a show) is a shot of The Butcher, the Blood Moon, and all the police, and emergency service personnel, gathered in the valley below, and completely at The Butcher’s mercy.

Yeah, that’s not gonna end well.

But we knew that when the season began.

Overall, I really liked this season. This is coming from someone who generally hates the overwrought dramedy of Reality TV. I think the seasons have gotten  better and better over time. I enjoyed Freaks and Hotel, but those seasons suffered from a great deal of incoherence, and lack of focus, towards the end, with subplots being introduced that never got follow through. This season remained taut, focused, and nuanced, with a clear thematic goal of parodying Reality TV. I haven’t had this much fun with that sort of mockery since that Cops parody of the X-Files, titled appropriately enough, X-Cops.

And before I go, I have to give a shout out to Adina Porter. The first time I saw her she was playing a witch-con-woman on True Blood, as Tara’s broken, abusive mother. I loved her acting then, and she brings that same sense  of steely fragility to her role as Lee,  although I didn’t immediately make the connection when I saw her. Its funny how she keeps playing these broken widows, desperately  trying to win back their daughter’s love, and she has mastered it. She is an incredible actress that I hope to see even more of after this.

Well, ta-ta til next season, people! I hope you enjoyed this one. Let me know in the comments.

“American Horror Story 6: Chapter 7

Wow! Last night’s episode was a total massacre! Literally!!!

Last episode, we found out that everyone involved in the making of The Return to My Roanoke Nightmare died during the Blood Moon. And with the death of Rory, (Audrey’s much younger husband),  killed by the nurses, to complete the lettering in their favorite word, (MURDER), we were off to the races.

Image result for ahs chapter 7 analysis

When everyone goes upstairs to investigate where Rory has gone, they find a pool of blood, with no body. When Rory gets killed, Sydney, his assistant and cameraman are taken down by Crazy Agnes. I didn’t name her, that’s what the show’s  writers named her, and since I disagree with calling homicidal people crazy, and ableism in general, I’m only calling her Agnes from this time forward. Agnes kills the entire film crew with some kind of hatchet, or cleaver, then goes to the Roanoke house and attacks Shelby. But not before Shelby kills Matt while Dominic just stands and watches.

Image result for ahs chapter 7 analysis

Shelby is saved, from Agnes,  by Dominic, who wrestles Agnes into submission but doesn’t kill her. Earlier that evening Dominic spent  time trying to talk his way back under Shelby’s skirts, (or yoga pants in her case) but had no luck. Shelby is dedicated to reconciling with her ex-husband.

Even though Matt beat Dominic’s ass earlier that evening, he catches this  little episode between the two of them, and tells Dominic to go ahead and tap that because he doesn’t want her. Dominic thinks this is hilarious.

There’s not one of these people that is remotely  likable. Shelby is indecisive and sends mixed messages to everyone. She ‘s a total flake. Matt has no personality at all. Dominic, Audrey, and Monet are just jerks. Agnes is the world’s worst cosplayer, while Lee is the world’s worst TV cop.

Agnes cuts the phone lines to the house, and the film crew are all dead, so no one can call for help. (Remember everyone’s cellphones were taken, and Diana, Sydney’s first assistant died in a car crash.)

Image result for ahs chapter 7 analysis

So characterization is just thrown completely out the window, while characters react to the batshitness that’s happening to them. Although everyone does go from not believing any of it is happening, and thinking Sydney is punking them, to using those stupid little cameras he gave them to film their horrific deaths for posterity.  Everybody films everything. One of the strangest moments is when Audrey films Agnes trying to kill her.

Matt is killed by Shelby. I didn’t see this coming but  he really pissed her off.   When Shelby finds him in flagrante with the Celtic witch, he claims he’s in love with her, and Shelby beats him to death with a tire iron.  Here she is turning down awesome sexual escapades with Dominic (C’mon, you just know he’s a dynamo in the bedroom!) for this fool, only for him to turn around and say he’s in love with the creature responsible for killing everyone. Since Matt never had much character to begin with this isn’t exactly the most surprising event.

I have to note,the show is especially graphic this episode. I don’t imagine those of you with delicate sensibilities have even gotten this far into the season, or are even watching the show, but I’m giving the warning anyway. I’m not a fan of torture porn. I always end up covering my eyes during  especially brutal moments, which means there’s a lot of this episode I didn’t see.I’m just here for the aftermath.

Image result for ahs chapter 7 analysis

Lee, Monet, and Audrey sneak out of the house, via the underground tunnels, to go get help for Shelby, who is suffering from Agnes’ knife wound. They bring their cameras along. They  end up being  attacked by ghosts, find Rory’s body, and are then captured by the Polks, who are out in full stench this evening, because hey! Blood Moon!  Whooowhee!!! In a moment of surreal humor, they season Lee’s leg and chop it off.

 

Yeah see, this is what is meant by White people not being able to cook. You don’t season a haunch before its removed from its host. Really people! Who seasons a chicken leg before cutting it off the chicken? Although, I guess its a good thing that they remembered to use seasoning at all. (It looked like it might’ve been sage, since it was green.) After wards, they force feed the leg jerky to Monet and Audrey. I don’t know where the rest of Lee is, or even if she’s still alive.

In an ironic twist, Agnes gets cleavered by The Butcher, as Shelby and Dominic watch, with horror, from the windows.

There’s really not much plot to this episode. It mostly consisted of illuminating the circumstances in which everybody dies, and filming it all while it happens.

Image result for ahs chapter 7 analysis

So far, Lee, (until we see otherwise), Monet, and Audrey are still among the living. So are Shelby and Dominic. I expect more character revelations to come out of left field, or even a new plot twist, in the next episode.

If you’re wondering why I’m so flippant about the blood and torture during this episode, after watching the Polks season Lee’s leg, it finally completely dawned on me that this is a kind of Horror mockumentary, like those Christopher Guest films, Best in Show, Mascots, (which is hilarious and on Netflix right now), and This is Spinal Tap. I’m not good with humor that hasn’t been spelled out to me, so while I suspected the show was meant to be funny, I wasn’t certain.

My mind tends to have a more literal bent, so unless its clearly spelled out to me that what I’m watching is meant to be funny, I probably won’t see it. Its  not that I don’t have a sense of humor. It just needs to be switched on.  Like a child, my sense of humor isn’t particularly subtle, either. (I get subtle humor, but you have to tell me its subtle first.) So those of you who caught on that this was a parody of Blair Witch shaky-cam, moviemaking styles, I am here right now. (I may be late to the party, but I made it.)

For further, in-depth ideas, read:

http://www.avclub.com/tvclub/effective-american-horror-story-roanoke-turns-subt-244901

I loved this review. It tackles racial issues that were implied at the start of the series, and issues pertaining to privacy and filmmaking. This particular post had me rooting for Lee to be the last survivor. 

American Horror Story Chapter Six

So yeah, the twist is indeed in, as well as the shift in focus of the show. Everything has been shifted about. In the interests of openness I have to admit it o a hatred of most of reality TV. I’ll watch travel and eatery shows, or shows about wilderness survival, with experts in them, and  I’ve even seen a couple of episodes of Naked and Afraid, but that got boring pretty fast. I am however really liking this season of AHS, mostly because it’s not focused so much  on the inane dramas between the characters, but on the actual horror of the situation they’re all in.

Image result for ahs chapter six

The idea that we, and the cast, would be revisiting the Roanoke Nightmare House isn’t the twist though. Sydney, played by my precious cinnamon roll, Cheyenne Jackson, is the creator of the show we just watched in the first five episodes, and his proposal to his television backers is that he should gather together the entire cast, go back to the house, and film the results during the Blood Moon. It turns out that what we were watching for five episodes was a huge hit for Sydney and he wants  to cash in on that, despite what has happened to the cast since then. So ,in chapter six, the show goes completely, full-on meta, and I don’t think what we saw tonight is the last of this season’s surprises.

Now, the show has a tendency to go off focus during the season, as the writers get carried away with their storytelling ideas, and start throwing everything into the plot, just to see if it will stick,or just because they like it. This season, with the exception of a few scenes thrown in just to have some action, or a jump scare, has been kept pretty tightly reined in, so I’ve enjoyed it a lot more than previous ones. Tonight’s episode was kept ion point, as well, making it easy to understand, despite how complicated the plot has actually become.

Image result for ahs chapter six

Since their time at Roanoke, Matt and Shelby have divorced. Matt didn’t care for the fame that came to him because of what happened there, that Shelby called the police on his sister, and accused her of killing her husband, Mason. Yes indeed. That was a dick move on Shelby’s part. Yeah, I don’t like Shelby either. The final straw was when Shelby had an affair with the man who played her husband in the reenactments. His name is Dominic. The actress who played Shelby on the show is actually British, and we get to hear Paulson’s accent, as Audrey, which sounds a bit dodgy. She got married to the actor who played Mott in the last episode, and his name is Monohan. And since he’s so much younger than her ,she’s really super-sensitive about that. I thought it was a scam, on his part, but he seems to genuinely be in love with her.

The actress who played Lee became an alcoholic,  just like the original Lee because she was having trouble dealing with being the public face of the real Lee, who has been accused of killing her husband for the insurance money, and custody of her daughter.  (Angela Bassett’s character is named Monet.) Fans of the show started a petition to have Lee charged with murder, her mother in law is suing for custody of Flora, and everyone treats her with nothing but contempt, including Monet.

Image result for ahs roanoke cast

But the worst result of the show is Kathy Bates character, Agnes, who played Thomasina The Butcher, in the reenactments. That actress had a complete mental breakdown and started believed herself  to actually be The Butcher, running through  he streets of downtown Hollywood with an ax, before she was captured and hospitalized. Sydney serves her with a restraining order after a ring of animal organs are found on the new set of the show. He is hoping she will show up on set anyway becasue that will make for great drama. My precious baby is a complete asshole in this role.

When one of the crew gets killed on set with a chainsaw, Sydney’s assistant quits and drives off in an angry huff. She encounters what appears to be a The Butcher by the side of  the road, but is attacked by someone in her car, too, and she crashes. The notecard for her states that she was missing for six months before they found her car, and her body was never found.

Image result for ahs roanoke

The sixth episode is mostly about the setup, as Sydney lies, cajoles, and coerces all the actual people, and the actors who played ,them into staying at the Roanoke house for several weeks, while they film the entire thing with hidden cameras. And you know it’s going to be explosive because while all the characters have their reason for joining the new cast, they all hate each other.

Matt wants nothing to do with Shelby, who thinks that they might be able to reconcile, during the show. He would love nothing more than to beat the snot out ofDominic, because he slept with his wife. The Shelby actress,Audrey,  is deeply insecure about her marriage, and has nothing but contempt for the real Shelby, as being weak and pathetic. The real Lee  hates the real Shelby. The actress who played Lee, Monet,  hates the actual Lee, and the all actors  have contempt for the actual people they portrayed on the show, laughing and joking about them, whenever they leave the room. Also none of the actors believe in any of the stuff that they say happened to them.

I don’t think this bodes well for non-believers because non-belief won’t save them from what’s happening at Roanoke House.  Like Stephen King’s 1408, what’s happening there isn’t dependent on whether you believe it or not. One of the reasons Shelby, Matt, and Lee survived is because they  simply believed what was happening to them.

Things get off to a rousing start when Lee attacks Shelby, calling her weak and pathetic, just as Audrey does later. Here’s where I have to admit to a certain amount of prejudice towards Shelby myself. As soon as I heard what she did for a living my first thought was that she was a  useless woman, and not someone you want to have in a crisis, but she proved to be okay in that regard. I still don’t like her though.

Later, Matt attacks Dominic and they have a knockdown, drag-out fight, as soon as Dominic steps through the front door. This certainly makes for exciting television for the viewers, but that’s not the point of this episode, because this  isn’t the twist.

It turns out we’re all looking at whatever footage was leftover from a show which never got a chance to air because ,with exception of only one person, the entire cast died.

So we’re really watching final days of everyone involved with the making of My Roanoke Nightmare. And they’re might even be additional twists as the season moves forward.

So yeah,I’m really getting into this. When that note-card appeared onscreen, I got chills. This is awesome!

This Week On Geeking Out

These are the shows I watched this week. Only three of these shows are actual premieres: Channel Zero, Legends of Tomorrow, and Wolf Creek. Aftermath has been on the air for two weeks and the Exorcist has been on the air for about three. Supernatural also aired this week but will get a separate review, along with American Horror Story. I haven’t even tried to review Luke Cage, preferring to let more eloquent writers approach this topic, but I’ll have something o say about it, very spoilerific, by the end of the month, when I think most people have seen it, and somewhere during this time I promised reviews of some of my favorite horror movies.

American Horror Story:

We begin this episode, Chapter Five, with backstory on the Shaker House, that Matt and Shelby bought in episode one. It turns out the original owner has a connection to the fifth season of AHS:Freakshow, with the story of how Phillipe Mott, ancestor to the Motts mentioned in that season, bought the house in 1792. He was a closeted gay man  and a recluse, who eventually got killed by Thomasina and her minions, after he locked his servants in the cellar, when  some of his  prize paintings were vandalized.He screams a lot, even when he’s not actually in  physical pain, and you can see just a touch of the madness of the Mott family that touched them down through the centuries, culminating in Dandy Mott in 1952.

In the present day, we spend most of the episode running around the forest with Matt and Shelby, as they try to escape The Butcher, save Flora, and get repeatedly kidnapped by the Polks, who are Thomasinas aides and abetters. They made a deal with her to protect their family, and provide the sacrifices Thomasina says she needs, to consecrate the land. They escape from the Polks several times that night as the Polks attempt to deliver the two to Thomasina. At one point, since this is during the blood moon, Phillipe Mott comes to their aid. During all of this, Lee is in jail, answering questions about her husband’s death.  I’m still pissed off at Shelby for calling the police on her. That was a total dick move, Shelby! Anyway, Lee is released, and after getting one of Matt’s texts saying Flora is safe, she shows up just in time to give them a ride to freedom.

Thomasina is killed by one of her own people, who turns on her after having tired of all her killing. So it does seem as if this particular chapter of the story is over. Matt and Shelby’s story is wrapped up, Thomasina has been killed again, and Frances Conroy (Yayy!) put in her appearance as Mama Polk. The Polks also turn out to be inbred cannibals, straight out of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, as we find Elias still alive, but missing a limb. When one of the Polks gets sick, they blame him for having rancid flesh and kill him in front of Matt and Shelby.

The episode was especially gory, as we see Elias get his head bashed in, Mott get stabbed through the chest with a wooden pole, and Shelby’s leg is broken by Mama Polk, in a scene straight out of the movie Misery. There are a lot of movie references this season, with a little bit of J-Horror thrown in this episode, when Flora gets snatched by  one of the black haired ghosts of Ju-on, in a pointless scene thrown in just to have action. Thomasina and her followers are a reference to the movie The Wicker Man, where out of town strangers get burned alive by a modern day cult of Celtic worshippers., to consecrate the land. The Amityville Horror, Insidious, and The Hills Have Eyes get a shoutout, as well.

Next week, for episode six of season six, we go behind the scenes of the reality show, as finally, my precious cinnamon bun  Cheyenne Jackson😘, puts in his first appearance this season.  Hopefully, we will see the film crew visit the house in the present, and see what fresh Hell occurs then.

Supergirl:


So yeah, I went  and watched the season premiere of Supergirl, and while I can’t say I’ll ever be a fan, or regularly watch this, I can see it’s appeal to a certain segment of the population, namely very young, white women. Like The Flash, it’s not a bad show, it’s just not to my tastes. It’s a little corny/cheesy in the dialogue area, Flockhart’s character is still an asshole, but gives some of the most excellent career advice I’ve ever heard, and Hoechlin looks really weird (he has a funny face) as Superman, but he’s not bad. I think his pants are waay too tight as Clark Kent,  but okay. Speaking of clothes, I don’t like how Kara and Clark just rip open their shirts when they’re getting into character. I mean, that’s losing a lot of buttons, and as far as I can tell, Kara can’t sew.

Kara is still too young and twitchy for me. Like Flockhart’s character, Cat Grant, I  just want to shake her really hard, sometimes. She’s not a bad character, but she’s wishy-washy when she’s not being Supergirl, and I find women like that highly annoying. I understand why they’re like that, I just don’t like it. On the other hand, I like her relationship with Jimmy, who is really cute, and patient with her, and her relationship with her sister is really cute. I’m glad they’re shown getting along instead of some manufactured drama.  I just wish Kara acted a little more sure of herself, and it wouldn’t make my brain twitch. Nevertheless, she made a couple of command decisions in this episode, as Kara. I didn’t necessarily agree with all of the decisions, but at least she made ’em.

I’ve never been a Supergirl fan, I’ve never even read the books, but I am a huge J’onn Jones fan, though. I got most of his backstory from reading the Justice League books. I can’t articulate why, but I just love this character. Maybe it’s nostalgia for the comic book version. I like the actor who plays him, and I’m sure I’ve seen him somewhere before, but it escapes me, now. Kara’s sister started out pretty boring but became a lot less so when I saw her kicking  ass later in the show. What can I say, I love a good fight sequence. The best ones are like watching good dancing.

In this episode, Kara gets a visit from her cousin, Superman, and their relationship is really cute. Kara seems to get along with everybody. Last year she got a visit from The Flash and they seemed to hit it off pretty well. She’s like “the everysister”. Yet another dropship from Krypton falls out of the sky, delivering who knows what, or who. Superman and JJ don’t get along because JJ is a pragmatic paranoiac, who keeps Kryptonite at his facility, and Supe doesn’t want anything to do with that. Lex Luther has a sister, Alex, and someone has been trying to kill her. Well, really it was just murder attempts all night, really. Everything gets resolved though. Kara breaks up with Jimmy, decides she wants to be a reporter like Clark, and Metallo gets created. I was never impressed by Metallo, in the comic books either, but he looks kinda cool in the show.

I still don’t see me ever being a fan, or regular viewer of this show. It just wasn’t galvanizing for me, but it’s not a bad show, as it has improved a lot since that first episode.  Supergirl, and The Flash, are really kind of middle-of-the-road type characters for me. Watching these shows is like watching Superman’s best budds, when what I really want is to just watch a show about Superman. It’s just not powerful or exciting enough for my tastes.

Although, I might need to watch it again next week, just to be sure.

Channel Zero:


I hate to be a wet blanket but this show needs to step up the scares and mystery if it hopes to keep my attention. It has the feel of the first season of American Horror Story, except with more lackluster acting. I didn’t know what to expect going in. I thought maybe it was an anthology show. It’s not. It’s about yet another guy who goes back  to his old hometown where something tragic occurred to him when he was a child, and finds that maybe it’s starting all over again. It’s one of those slow burn mysteries, where you have not one damn clue what’s happening, except that it involves an old tv show that’s back on the air and is influencing the town’s children, and this show ain’t trying to hard explaining shit. Nor are the questions that arise, compelling enough to keep me watching this every week.

One sure way to get me to not like your show is to torture a child. At one point one kid bullies another kid, breaking his finger, while a bunch of other kids stand around and watch. As someone who always intervened when I saw other kids being bullied, I was enraged by this. (Not just the bullying but the standing around watching it.) Apparently, such scenes are one of my few triggers. Having been on the receiving end of a few of these sessions, as a young girl, I have no shame in confessing that I hate bullies with the passion of a thousand fiery suns, and cannot tolerate watching kids harm each other in movies and tv shows. (One of the reasons I refuse to watch movies like Hunger Games, or Battle Royale.)

I also had the impression, from the  trailers, that it was supposed to be scary, but I wasn’t scared. I was however, very irritated. This was not helped by the acting. There are a lot of awkward pauses, and greetings, and  significant glances with no explanation forthcoming, other than maybe nobody likes Mike.  Mike, the guy who goes back home, is quiet and creepy and not one person has a natural sounding conversation with another person. Everything sounds portentous, and ominous for no particular reason that I could discern. Maybe some of you guys will have better luck and then come back and explain to me what the hell I just watched.

I’ll wait!

Aftermath:

I still haven’t watched this show, but I plan on it. It looks like it might be fun, like The Walking Dead, with added demons. I probably won’t get to it until something goes on hiatus in November. Until then, it’s just sitting on my DVR. For my Non-American readers,  Fall premiere season happens in the space of two months (October and September) and there were a lot of genre shows (a good thirty plus) released this season, at least 5 or 6 of them on Tuesday night, alone. Aftermath airs on the same night as Brooklyn 99, From Dusk Til Dawn, Channel Zero, and Agents of Shield, so my dance card is pretty full, and Aftermath, no matter how interesting it looks, is going to have wait it’s turn.

Legends of Tomorrow:


Okay, I watched this but I don’t have much memory about it. Not that it was bad, just kind of lightweight , I guess. So, now the team isn’t superheroes anymore, but time lords, or travelers, or something, trying to right the various wrongs throughout history, being committed by Damien Darhk, like giving nuclear weapons to the Nazis so they can blow up NY city. That’s all  I managed to get out of this episode beyond Jackson feeling salty for being left on the ship all the time,  Rip Hunter being his usual dickish self in having contingency plans he keeps refusing to tell his crew about, and somewhere in there, Albert Einstein was involved.

I kinda like this show because its mindless good fun. I can knit while watching it as its not something I’m going to get particularly angsty about all week. I like the characters, who are dealing with problems just deep enough to keep them interesting, and of course, I love Firestorm whenever he gets to come out and play.And hey! next week…Vixen! and the Justice Society, who all look pretty awesome, even if I have no idea who they are.

Rip Hunter is still a jerk, though.

Wolf Creek:


As a general rule, I don’t watch serial killer movies, except when I do. Wolf Creek, the TV show, is based on a 2005 movie, which is based on a true story of a family that got lost in the  Australian Outback, and claimed they encountered a serial killer, sort of like in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, another movie I find annoying. (Whew! Thank you run-on sentence gods!) Anyway in the pilot episode, a family gets lost in the Outback and gets attacked by a serial killer. What a surprise! Anyway, I was dubious about watching this because torture-porn is boring, and its difficult to turn lack of character development and torture and killing into a good mini-series. I’ll get back to you guys in this one when I get around to viewing it.

Westworld:


If Westworld is going to cause more questions then answers every time it airs, I can’t keep watching this. Nevertheless, I’m hooked on it, for now. Most of the humans on this show are total assholes, but the robots are kinda cool. Last week we started the story from the Host angle. This week we get a glimpse of what it’s like for the Guests, and mostly I’m just deeply repulsed. I’m not sure if it’s the setup, or the Guests themselves, which I find more distasteful. I’m guessing that’s on purpose by the writers. We’re meant to hate the people as much as the robots would?

Two guys, one of  whom is a jerk, and the other a classic milquetoast (although there’s nothing wrong with that) visit Westworld. The jerky one seems mostly interested in fucking and/or killing the robots, so right away, his story is uninteresting. The other guy though, encounters Dolores (corrected from Dorothy, in my last post), and is immediately smitten. Apparently he’s looking for True Love. There was some girl on girl action in the saloon, and the jerky Guest likes both men and women, and I’m all for LGBT representation, except for how it’s presented in this show, as something that’s risqué, or taboo. It’s something the characters can engage in clandestinely, at Westworld, because it’s unacceptable in the real world, like all the raping and the killing they get up to. I don’t like the idea of gay representation being equated with all the other shitty behavior we see the Guests committing against the robots, especially when there’s no such representation outside of Westworld.

I’m still not clear about how people choose their adventures, how long they can stay, how much it costs and why don’t we see more women Guests being gunfighters, because I would totally choose to be a female Sheriff or something. How do bullets work there, and how do they keep Guests from killing Guests when you can’t tell who is  a robot and who isn’t? Also, the show is working really hard at getting us to believe Ed Harris guy is human but I’m still hedging my bets. I’m not completely convinced, as most of the statements he makes about himself are somewhat ambiguous. But he does know about “the world outside the world”,so I’m still confused, (and will remain so for some time apparently.)

The robots comtinue to be the most interesting characters in the show and behave in an offbeat manner. The “reveries”  code  is contagious because Dolores passes it on to Thandie Newtons character, Maeve, who starts to have flashbacks to a previous existence, where she’d been killed by Indians. One of the Indians morphs into Ed Harris’ Man in Black, and it’s been posited that he might be some kind of icon of death for the robots, like the boogeyman, or the devil, someone they’re universally afraid of. Dolores passes along the contagious code by whispering her father’s phrase into Maeve’s ear.

“These violent delights have violent ends.” Definitely a pronouncement of the future.

Maeve is set to have a diagnostics check, and be decommissioned, but unexpectedly wakes up on the operating table, using the very same technique that the techs have been using to put her to sleep. I think what she does, during her little freedom walk, is a precursor to everything that’s going to be happening later in this season, only bloodier. She comes across the lab techs, hosing down the dead bodies of a roomful of robots, and one of the techs explicitly states that they hope the robots never start remembering what the Guests do to them, which makes me feel disgusted all over again, because based on what I’ve seen of Westworld so far, the humans (even the ones working at the facility) deserve it.

Jeffrey Wright’s character, and Anthony Hopkins don’t seem especially worried about  these malfunctions, and even seem to be encouraged by them, as we see when Wright’s character secretly interviews Dolores about her thoughts. And Hopkins guy may be considering adding religion to the Westworld program. Earlier in the episode, one of the robots mentions God in an offhand manner, and I perked up, wondering if the robots had religion. If they get coded to believe in a God, they already have a devil. The Man in Black.

I have to mention the opening credits here. They’re just incredibly lovely, with its robot horse and rider, and Leonardo Da Vinci’s  ideal man imagery, and it heavily  reminds me of both the opening credits of the original Ghost in the Shell, with its contemplative, percussive theme song, which helps to set the existentialist mood, and its slow stately music, which reminds me of my favorite Bjork video, All is Full of Love, which is about a robot falling in love with itself.

State of the Onion! Mini – Reviews

This has been a very busy week. I binged Luke Cage, and a bunch more television premieres aired this week. I couldn’t catch all of them but I did manage to catch the few that interested me, while keeping up with shows I already started. This weekend I watched:

Versailles: 

Image result for versailles tv show season 2

Everyone in this show, which chronicles Louis XIV’s move from the capitol of France in the 1600’s, has luxurious, long, well kept hair, which I find hard to believe. I’m not saying people back then didn’t have  luxurious hair, just  that it’s distracting, when everyone has the same hairstyle. I kept staring at it, wishing I could run my fingers through it. No one ever seems to get distressed enough to have hair that   is out of place. They also all have clear, gigantic, blue, or grey eyeballs, including the men. Eyes so big, they can probably see me watching this show. It’s  kinda creepy.

From time to time, I do get the strong urge to watch something that’s not about superheroes,  although Louis the XIV often gets treated like one, by his courtiers. There’s the usual courtly shenanigans , most of it centering around the specific relationships between the king and his wife, the king and his semi-openly gay, younger brother, and the king and his various mistresses, and followers. So far, this is just an introductory first and second episode and hasn’t gotten deeply into the wider political issues of that time period. I do prefer that type of plotline but one of the drawbacks is that the show comes across as   “Trailer Trash in 16th Century France” , with better clothing.

There are the usual kingly activities, like intrigue, hunting, torturing dungeon prisoners, and philandering, estate planning, childbirth, and medical arguments, along with lots of significant glancing. I watched these episodes twice, and I must be really worn out after binging Luke Cage, because I couldn’t make hide or hair of the plot of this show, other than the King has decided to move to the middle of no and where, as a means to control his courtiers, because he thinks they’re out to get him. The show seems to move from scene to scene in an arbitrary manner, and although I knew all the scenes were connected, I couldn’t seem to hold in my thoughts exactly what that connection was. Luckily there’s a metric ton of background videos about this show, so I watched those too, otherwise I wouldn’t even know this much. I’m sure the videos are available on YouTube but I’m not going to give you the link because I don’t want to aid and abet this type of television viewing. (I work in a library! Go check out some books!)

If you like intrigue and old French costumes, or The Tudors, (involving intrigue and old Italian costumes), this is a good tide-over until Vikings (which has intrigue and 10th century Scandinavian costumes) comes back on the air.

The Flash:

Image result for the flash season 3

This isn’t the first episode of The Flash I’ve ever seen but I’ve been told that its a really good show and I should try to watch it again. I stopped watching it because I didn’t think it was a show aimed at me, the mature (read more cynical) viewer. But I have watched a couple of episodes from last season and while still kinda corny, it is at heart, a very sweet show. Also, I told myself I was going to support more shows with WoC in them and I just want to stan for WestAllen.

So, I’m cautiously optimistic about liking it, after a tentative first date. I really started to get into the characters and started getting feelings for them. Last season Barry ended up in an alternate universe where Iris doesn’t know him, her kid brother, Wally, is The Flash, Cisco is the unsympathetic billionaire CEO of some kind of tech startup, Caitlin Snow is an Eye Doctor, and Iris’ dad is an alcoholic, who has an antagonistic relationship with his daughter, which is really sad because they had a great relationship in Barry’s old universe. On the other hand, the speedster that was about to kill his parents, Reverse Flash,  is locked up, and both Barry’s parents are still alive.

Unfortunately,  by altering the timeline he’s set in motion, the destruction of his current timeline is imminent. And since Barry wasn’t there, the universe put Wally in his place, and this somehow disrupted the West family, although Iris still seems pretty tight with Wally, neither of them ever mention their father.

It’s really fun  watching Barry navigate this new timeline. He meets Iris, and it’s really cute watching them flirt with each other, knowing their old relationship, and that no matter what the timeline, the two of them were meant to be together.

Wally spends most of the episode fighting someone called The Rival. You can tell he’s the villain because he’s wearing an evil black suit. When The Rival wounds Wally, Barry has to step in and defeat him instead, but the price for saving his parents lives’ might mean Wally’s death. Barry makes the tearful decision to let Reverse Flash kill his parents, and restore the original timeline.

Most of what I know about The Flash is from the comic books, and since I only read the team books, I pretty much only know anything about the speedsters of the DCU,  from reading The Justice League books. I liked the special effects and the show doesn’t seem as corny or juvenile as it did the first season, although yeah, it’s still a little corny. But it’s  fun corn, not cheesy corn, and unexpectedly emotional, since I genuinely like these characters. I think I’ll make a habit of watching this every week, even though there’s like 3 other shows on TV on that same night.

Ash vs. the Evil Dead: We’ll get to this show next week.

Westworld:

 Image result for westworld

I had a lot to say about this show, only some of which has to do with the actual plot, so I guess Westworld, and shows like it, will be getting it’s own post soon.

I actually enjoyed this show, and will be watching this every week, as it airs. It looks intriguing. It starts a little slow, as we ease into the idea that the robots are behaving oddly because of new programming their creators have uploaded to them. We spend a lot of the episode with a robot named Dorothy, and we start off with her handler attempting to assess whether or not she has become self aware. Fair warning:  there is an offscreen rape scene, along with threats of female violence. And yes, the show is violent. There’s lots of shooting and gore, as most of it is set in the artificially Wild West environment, created by an annoying British character, who is just an asshole. I hated him immediately and wondered when he’d be shot. The other characters appear to have been thinking something similar, as no one likes him.

Anthony Hopkins plays the quiet, somewhat meditative, creator of Westworld, in a real low key style. He created the first of the robots and is prone to hanging out and drinking whiskey with his original Wild Bill Hickok robot, in the firm’s basement, where all the retired, underused, robots are kept in cold storage. He seems intrigued by the idea that the robots are starting to access previous memories of the lives they were given. The show feels a little bit like Dark City, where you have people who may, or may not, be aware of who and what they are being manipulated by beings who think they’re greater than them. Only in this case the humans do it for entertainment.

Hopkins character has introduced a new program into the robots code called “reveries” and some of the robots react badly. Some of them have strokes, or freeze up, or go on unexpected shooting sprees, involving milk. Before that though, there were already some glitches in the system but not in Dorothy. In one scene her robot father finds an old photograph that a human left behind, and viewing it seems to corrupt his programming, somehow. Dorothy ,when she is asked by a little human boy, if she is “one of them”, just smiles as if she didn’t hear the question. And she probably didn’t. Dorothy dismisses anything that doesn’t line up with what she is programmed to think of her world.

One of the rules of Westworld is that guests, (humans) can never be hurt by hosts (robots), although the robots can and do harm each other, a lot. When you realize these violent scenarios are created by the annoying British dude, you hate him even more. He’s vaguely disgusting.  At first it wasn’t entirely clear to me who were the robots, and who were humans, but the show doesn’t draw that particular mystery out as, by the end of the episode, you know who is who.

Ed Harris plays the iconic role of the Man in Black, originally played by Yul Brynner. He is most indubitably a bad guy. I think he was uploaded with the new program as well, but when all the other robots are killed  in a massive shootout (so as to gather up their bodies, and recode them) he doesn’t get found. It’s disturbing watching him on the trail of something he doesn’t understand. He’s essentially seeking the “real world”, and looking for clues in the other robots. Since he has only interacted with, (and brutalized), other robots, the entire time we’ve seen him, I suspect that’s why he doesn’t get rounded up with all the others. It’s been hypothesized that he’s a guest, but I didn’t see it. I thought he was reprising Yul Brynner’s role, from the original film, and in that film, The Gunslinger is one of the robots. Apparently, I’m going to have to watch the episode again, if I’m going to figure this out.

This is another show where humans don’t come off looking so good. Not because of what they say but what they do. In a show like this, you’re going to witness robots that look, act, and react like people, being hurt or  brutalized. In one scene, inside Westworld,  a human couple laugh at the twitching body of a female robot, that one of them has just shot in the head. But how is this any different from us watching fake violence on Game of Thrones, or this show, just for entertainment? Did I find their behavior repugnant because the robots look and act like real people? Well so do people in movies, so I’m not sure exactly where my disdain for these particular humans comes from. Although maybe it’s because they committed the act themselves and found it funny. The robots can’t  escape being violated in the real world either, as one human woman takes the opportunity to kiss one of the female robots, when she gets left alone with her for even a minute.

This show asks the usual questions that get asked whenever anyone makes a movie about robot. I think its some kind of law. At the end of the episode, Dorothy does something that none of the robots are supposed to be able to do, which does not bode well for the humans on this show.

Aftermath: 

I still have not watched this. So maybe next week.

 

 

From Dusk Til Dawn – Overview

Image result for from dusk till dawn season 3

This season is proving to be much better than last season . We’ve been re-introduced to Scott, who thinks he’s a total badass, with a sword he got from somewhere, last season. Seth and Richie go to recruit him from the Rock band he’s playing in.  Scott’s sister, Kate, continues to be possessed by this season’s villain, Amaru. In the last episode she attacked a town full of people with locusts, and put some kind of tentacled demon glop in their water supply, which turned them into cannibals. Seth got infected, and then everybody got cured.

During all this, Kate kidnapped Richie, and awakened his dark side.  Now Seth, and the team he put together to save Richie, are being hunted in the Asylum where Kate first woke up, by Richie, of all people. Most of this episode consisted of people running around , or being trapped in, various parts of the facility, while snarking at each other.This team doesn’t even like each other. Seth keeps ordering everyone around as if he were in charge, but the rest, who are all vampires, take exception to his orders and then follow them anyway, which is deeply funny.

At any rate, Richie gets saved from Kate/Amaru after Seth, lovingly, sets him on fire, because extreme pain is the only way to free Amaru’s slaves, and Richie is a vampire, so he gon’ be aiight. Frankie however gets enslaved by Amaru and stakes the vampire who confessed her love to him. I still find that kinda icky because she’s a vampire, and he hates them, and isn’t he still married? This is  like the second, or third, woman that Amaru has killed, or caused to be killed, since the season began, and I wonder why Amaru, who is, ostensibly, female, hates women.

Tom Savini, from the original film, makes his debut in the show this season, playing some guy named The Eternal Hunter. He’s there to help Jake Busey’s character, (he’s the Sex Machine remake that Savini originally portrayed in the movie), to take down the demons that escaped from Xibalba ,when Carlos blew up the Titty Twister Saloon, last season.  Busey and  Savini are a match made in Heaven. I didn’t even know I wanted this pairing, but I would watch an entire show, of the two of them, just bitching at each other.

The action is awesome, and there’s lots of it. If you like Supernatural, you could give this a try. Its sillier, a little cheesier, and the action is definitely crazier, but its a lot of fun and has got some nice brotherly action scenes. It would be hilarious if the Geckos and Winchesters were to team up. I would watch the hell out of that and I’m enjoying this season a lot more, now that the Gecko bros. are back together, acting like an old married couple.

American Horror Story:

Image result for ahs roanoke

The action is flying fast and furious in the fourth chapter of season six, and has so far managed to remain on point. Last chapter, Cricket, who invaded Shelby and Matt’s life, made a deal with the real power behind Kathy Bates’ character, an old Celtic style witch, of some kind. She’s played by the nearly  unrecognizable Lady Gaga. So yeah, this parallels with the third season of AHS, called Coven, which introduced witches. It is now the season of the witch, people!

http://www.popsugar.com/entertainment/Lady-Gaga-Character-American-Horror-Story-Roanoke-42519689

In exchange for not harming the people in the house, the Cricket promised to give her Matt who, hypnotized by the witch, was found doing the nasty with her in the forest…by Shelby, who is, understandably, pissed off. Matt doesn’t remember any of it though. Mad  about what Matt did, Shelby pulls a dick move and calls the police. She has Lee arrested for Mason’s murder, and  kidnapping her own daughter.

Later Shelby is attacked by the Pigheaded Man, which I kinda cheered, because hey! dick move Shelby, but Dr. Cunninhgham, who had been living in the outdoor cellar, saves her from him.He gives them some more background information on the house, claiming he can help them.  The last family that resided there were all killed by The Butcher and their spirits also haunt the land. It seems as if once you die on the land, your spirit is trapped there forever, which is kind of defeating the purpose of the Butcher, who claims to want to clear the land of…well…people.

Anyway, Dr. Cunningham gets killed while trying to save Flora from a pack of ghosts she’s seen to be playing with. Its uncertain whether Flora is a ghost or real, though. Cunningham gets shot with arrows from, I suspect, The Butcher’s people, which is a pretty novel way to die in the modern age, I guess. They’re able to kill him because they have just entered some special cycle of the moon that allows them to become corporeal  for about six days.

Shelby and Matt run back to the house where they meet Cricket who tells them that he encountered Flora in the forest and met the original witch, who has the hots for Matt because she has “needs”, as Cricket put it. Matt has some backstory to tell too, even though he doesn’t remember sleeping with the witch, about what happened to the original Roanoke colony. Cricket also tells them their house sits on the actual site of Roanoke.

Tomasina the Butcher, and her followers invade the front yard, with Flora in tow. They’re about to kill the child before Cricket goes out to parlay for the child’s life, but gets captured instead. Priscilla, experiencing a pang of conscience, rescues her friend, and the two of them escape into the forest, but Shelby and Matt have to watch as Cricket is slowly disemboweled. And I was just starting to like him.

Bye, bye, Cricket.

I know one thing though, I’m not getting too attached to any of the characters this season. They only seem to last just long enough to impart disturbing information, and then be horribly killed. I’m still feeling kinda nauseated about the disemboweling and its been three days. The body count so far is pretty damn high for just four episodes and we still have two more to go. I’m not feeling too good about Matt and Shelby’s chances.

Here are some further fan theories about this season, which if  true, make this season kinda awesome, already:

http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2016/10/american-horror-story-roanoke-episode-4-freakshow-mott-family-number-six

 

 

 

 

AHS Season 6: Roanoke – Episode 2

I’m a little behind in my reviewing, probably because there were so many premieres this week. I should be back to my regular reviewing habits by mid-October, though. But here’s my review of last week’s episode with no bells or whistles though.

Lets pick up where we left off, when Shelby got lost in the forest after hitting an old woman on the road, when she fled from her new home. There’s a cult engaging in some kind of weird punishment, sacrifice, where they have put a pig’s severed head on some guy, and started to burn him alive, over a spit. We find out later that he is the previous owner of the house, and that Shelby is seeing images of the past.  Kathy Bates makes her season debut playing, yet another, villain.

So, the show really kicked it into high gear in this second episode, pulling out all of the various haunted house cliches, some of them effective, some less so. If you have ever watched the original Amityville Horror, the Paranormal movies, some of these tropes will be familiar to you. Im not saying some moments weren’t scary but a lot of them were predictable.

Shelby reports to the police that she saw a human sacrifice in the forest. The wooden structures are there, but she’s still not believed. Nevertheless, she has decided without any proof, to blame everything on her hillbilly neighbors, The Polks. I agree, I think they might actually have something to do with all these visions, just probably not the way Shelby thinks.

Lee’s daughter comes to visit. Take note that children only exist within most adult narratives to be put in danger. The only time you don’t see that trope is when the show, or movie, is specifically about kids. Flora meets a ghost  girl named Priscilla, who offers her a bonnet, in exchange for her help. Later, Lee finds an old style bonnet on the floor. Now that moment was actually kinda creepy.
That night, Matt and Shelby hear pig noises and find a burning construction of some kind in their backyard. Shelby pushes the police to go question Ishmael Polk and his sons. Shelby insists they offer police protection because she thinks the Polks will  retaliate for reporting them to the police. The couple get 24 hours of police protection.

Later that night, Matt has visions of two psychotic nurses torturing and shooting an old woman, while she lies helpless in bed. (Warning: this scene is pretty graphic for those of you who are sensitive to such imagery.) The story deepens, as Shelby and Matt find out their house was the scene of several murders, as the two young women ran an elder care facility,  where they killed their patients based on whether their first initials matched the letters of their favorite word: Murder. They would then paint the letters on the wall in what is now the main room of the house. The trope of the ominous reappearing bloodstain comes into play as the word refuses to stay painted over. Finally, the word is just  covered with ugly wallpaper.

The cops investigate Matt’s claim to have seen the two women under someone. My question is why no one ever turns on any lights in the house. Everybody just walks around  in the dark, with one flashlight. I know the house has electricity and that there are lamps so why everyone is running around in the dark, is the actual mystery here. Naturally, the cop finds nothing and Shelby and Matt are getting a reputation as kooks.

Lee’s daughter plays hide and seek when her dad comes to pick her up. I was immediately exasperated by the trope of the missing kid, which is only setup for when she goes missing for real later on.That whole pretending to be missing is a habit I would’ve nipped in the bud years ago. Ain’t nobody got time to be constantly looking for their kid all the damn time. Lee, and her ex, find Flora in a closet. She claims she was talking to Priscilla who told her they were all gonna die.  Dad, understandably upset at this piece of information, takes Flora and leaves in a huff. Lee’s response is to get falling down drunk.

Shelby and Matt find Lee in the kitchen with knives stuck in the ceiling directly over her head. That was a genuinely scary moment because we didn’t see that happen and we know it wasn’t Lee. After getting her into bed, the two of them spy a little girl, outside, in old fashioned clothes, and discover a hidden door to an underground cellar, where she was standing.

Lee experiences haunting visions ,while Matt and Shelby investigate the outdoor cellar. They find a tape made by the last inhabitant of the house, who is paranoid that he’ll be killed by something in the house, and how he’s moved out to live in the cellar. Dr. Elias Cunningham was investigating the story of the two nurses, Miranda and Bridget, two sisters who liked to kill their elderly patients. His theory is that something got to them before they could finish their project. In other words, as evil as the nurses were, they met a bigger shark.

After all this, Matt and Shelby find they can’t sell the house.

Lee has the bright idea to  kidnap her daughter from Mason, and brings her back to the house, but soon loses her in the forest because kids only exist in such stories to be put in danger. Flora’s sweater is found about fifty feet or so, up in a tall dead tree. Cue ominous music.

So, I’m hoping this season will be a little more cohesive than past seasons, with a through storyline, and fewer dangling plotlines. Since each episode seems to end on a cliffhanger of sorts, it looks promising that the  writers will remain focused, although once again a lot of plot threads have been introduced. I’ve gotten pretty used to the setup, and kind of like it, although I’ve heard from elsewhere that a lot of people don’t like it. There are apparently going o be lots of twists and turns, according to the writers, and I’m looking forward to those. I kind of like it when stories move in unexpected directions.

American Horror Story Season 6

The writers of American Horror Story  have  managed somehow to keep the theme of this entire season under wraps, so I’m going into this review  cold, just like all of you. I got no idea what it’s about or what’s gonna happen. So here we go:

What we have is a documentary style  reality show  of live interviews, mixed with actor reenactments, sort of like the show Paranormal Witness.  This includes all the various tropes of the haunted house, with strange presences , weird videotapes, angry hillbilly locals, and a House on the Borderlands type monster.

It stars Cuba Gooding Jr.  as Matt, the husband of Sarah Paulson’s Shelby, and the brother of Angela Bassett, who plays Lee, as the actors in the reenactments. There are also the live interview actors whose names I didn’t get. So we have two sets of actors. The ones being interviewed about their ordeal, and the more well known cast of American Horror Story, acting out their story. The title of this particular show is called My Roanoke Nightmare.

american-horror-story-my-roanoke-nightmare-sarah-paulson-cuba-gooding-jr

There’s a  tearjerking beginning as Matt is assaulted by some street hooligans while walking down the street with his wife, Shelby. And right away we have established race as an undercurrent to most of the action in the show, as the men who assault him yell racial slurs, and its mentioned later that what happened was a gang initiation, where strangers are assaulted for fun. Since the gang that assaults Matt and Shelby consist entirely of white men, the creators neatly sidestep race, while low key commenting on the racial component of urban myths about gangs. (In real life this type of initiation turned out to be an urban myth created  by the media.)

Its never  explicitly stated, but you find yourself wondering heavily about the racial implications behind certain activities, and character motivations, throughout the episode. There’s a current news component to this episode, as it involves questions of police competency, and racism. Since Matt and Shelby are an interracial couple, people’s reactions to them are sometimes alluded to, but not specifically stated, which sounds like a very subtle and ambitious project for the season.

screen_20shot_202016-09-15_20at_202-17-50_20am-0

After the assault, Shelby, who had just found out she was pregnant, has a miscarriage, and the two of them decide to move out of the city. (Sarah Paulson really sells it here. I was near tears in this scene. She’s a phenomenal actress, who simply doesn’t get enough love.) They find an old house in the middle of the North Carolina woods (NC is another racial reference) and bid on the house against some neighborhood hillbillies who warn them that they don’t want it. Now the hillbillies do look suitably dangerous, but I’m not banking on that. They may yet turn out to be helpful allies. We don’t know, but are meant to assume, based solely on their looks, and socio-economic station, that they’re bad people. This is what Shelby and Matt ,who are firmly ensconced in the middle-class, manage to  do, even though Matt is  not unfamiliar with experiencing prejudice based on his looks.

But really Matt! A Black man in the middle of rural America? Is this really a good idea? There’s a reason Black people generally do not frequent the woodsy lifestyle.

At one point Matt does explicitly state that there’s a racial component to the local police’s attitude towards them.

9524c5a976a6035e59a1c6e1c3feeeb7d5c41ea4

On their first night in their new home, they experience some great rumblings and crashing outside, and Matt goes outside to discover that the house, and yard, have been vandalized. The next day, while he’s in town, Shelby hallucinates that teeth, rather than hailstones, have fallen from the sky. So,  what we have so far, is a checklist of haunting activities, like Shelby nearly drowning in the hot tub, mysterious objects decorating the house, along with empty bottles that appear out of nowhere, strange noises, and the house being invaded by torch wielding phantoms, while mysterious videos play in the background.

Matt’s judgmental sister, Lee, comes to visit, so that Shelby won’t be alone. I know Matt loves his sister but why would you invite the one person who hates your wife? Oh that’s right! Lee used to be a cop. At first you think this relationship, and Lee, are  cut and dried, but it turns out that Lee has some demons of her own. She lost her job, her husband and custody of her child because of an addiction to painkillers. Lee also disdains Matt’s wife as a woman too soft, and hysterical, to be of any good. While the Shelby interviewee downplays her enmity about Lee, the Lee interviewee is pretty open about her feelings. The two women hate each other and I wonder how much of that hatred is because Lee doesn’t like  Matt being married to  a white woman.

american-horror-story-season-6

Again its not something explicitly stated, but the kinds of complaints Lee makes about Shelby are the same kind of complaints I’ve heard black women make about white women. That they are useless, and soft, prone to hysteria, and can’t cook. Shelby’s complaints are low key about race too, about how Lee couldn’t keep her husband, and is too aggressive.

On the first night of Lee’s visit, while the two women are having a seriously heavy fight, some masked, torch bearing people approach the house and the two women are terrorized into the basement, while Matt rushes back to see what’s going on. He asked Lee to stay because he doesn’t trust the local police to do anything. There’s a Blair Witch style decorating of the house, mysterious videos playing on the basement TV, and all the lights are out.

I was kind of saddened at the thought of the two women not getting along. The two of them have much to commiserate on, and if they weren’t so judgmental of one another, would make great allies. The things they believe about one another, simply aren’t true, and are mostly figments of their own prejudices,which again, aren’t exactly racial, but aren’t exactly not-racial either. Shelby is not the soft and helpless damsel that Lee thinks she is. She’s been thorough some difficulties. Lee isn’t the unemotional, hard-ass that Shelby thinks she is, as she is also deeply affected by her losses in life, and if the two of them could get past that, they might do each other a lot of good.

Shelby runs out of the house and  hits an old woman on the road, who subsequently gets back up, and wanders off into the woods.  Shelby runs into the forest after the her, at night, and promptly gets lost. City people just refuse to understand, if you don’t keep the road in your line of sight, you will get lost. It doesn’t matter which way you think you came, as city people do not have the best sense of direction, having never had to develop one. She walks into a clearing with lit torches and a bleeding, pleading man.

So, this episode was definitely intriguing, but not for the plot. For me it was all the thematic tones under the plot that I found more fascinating. I’m not really into any of the haunted house movies that are all the rage right now, having been through the whole Amityville Horror fad of the late seventies, so I saw most of the  haunting activities as a kind of checklist that must be met, for the dwelling to be considered haunted.

Extremely old house with an unknown past.

Angry locals, warning away the happy newbies.

Something making noise outside the house.

Hallucinations.

Near drowning in a shallow tub of water, with camera shots from below.

Hopefully, there will be a few more twists and turns in the plot this season. I found the unexpected characterizations to be much better. I also hope that Shelby and Lee will get out of each other’s way and become better allies, if they live through this.

Lkeke’s Fall Lineup (TV)

Television

I will review the first episode of season three of The Strain this weekend. Hopefully it won’t turn into a hate-review and this season will be better put together than last season. There’s still going to be plenty of snarking on it though. I have never in my life hate-watched a show, but I really believed in the show, because its such a great idea and  the books were pretty good, and I kept hoping the show would get better.

It didn’t.

Last season had some truly awful plot points, characters, and whole episodes. I always go into these endeavors with a sense of optimism, though. I’ll try to do the same for this show as I do for all the other shows.

I will be reviewing as many of the new pilots as I can, and based on my reactions to those, I will add or subtract them to the list of weekly reviews, but my time is limited. I may not review one of your favorites. There are some shows that I’m definitely waiting to review, on a regular basis as soon as they return, like Into the Badlands (TBD/2017), and Shadowhunters, which looks silly and fun,  and The Magicians. I don’t think these will be released until next year. In the meantime, here is the list of shows I will definitely give weekly reviews for.

American Horror Story(9/14) – I have no idea what this season is about. Nobody does. The creators are keeping it a secret which is very frustrating to a lot of people who are used to knowing the entire plots of movies before they’re even released. I don’t mind the surprise, though. I do know that whatever the creators give us will be batshit crazy, so I’m expectant.

Luke Cage (9/30) – I’m so looking forward to this. it looks like its going to be fun. I will be watching for how the characters are treated, especially, the WoC, as Marvel doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to such things.I wonder if Iron Fist will get a mention, and if we’ll get to hear Luke’s catchphrase from the comic books.

Supernatural (10/13) – The show that never ends will be in its twelfth season.  Like I told you guys, I’m gonna be here to the end of the line.  I always go into every  new season with a positive outlook, and I’ll decide how I feel about a season when its over. As usual, my reviews will first be posted on https://samanddeanbrothersinarms.wordpress.com/      and then reblogged here.

The Walking Dead (10/23) – I’ve mostly avoided talking about this show all Summer. I feel really good about this season despite the presence of Negan and the absence of his victim, which I know is really gonna hurt, no matter who it is. I refuse to speculate as to who it will be.

I may or may not review From Dusk Til Dawn (9/6) and Aftermath (9/27) on the Syfy channel. Also coming up is the second season of Ash vs. The Evil Dead (10/2), which I may not review because I didn’t like how the one black woman in the entire show got treated in the narrative. I’m still pissed off about the writers fridging her  (in the   most horrible manner they could think of), just to provide some minor manpain for Ash.

There’s some intriguing new shows coming to the Syfy network , that I have no idea what to think about them, like Falling Water (10/13), and Channel Zero (9/27), which looks pretty scary and weird. I’ll review the pilots if I remember to program them into the DVR.

I still have not watched The Get Down on Netflix, and had no plans to watch Mr. Robot or Gomorrah.

 The pilots I’ll be reviewing are:

Atlanta (9/6) – this looks like a lot of fun. It has an all Black cast, and I’m casting around for a new comedy that’s as good as Black-ish and Brooklyn 99, and I like Donald Glover.

 

Pitch (/22) – I don’t normally watch anything that’s sports related outside of The Olympics. I definitely do not watch anything involving Baseball, but this looks so good, I’m getting kinda excited for it. I may never watch beyond the pilot but I hope it does well. Its about the first female pitcher in major league baseball, and she’s a black woman, so I hope the writers get the subjects of racism, misogyny, and feminism right.

 

 

Versailles (10/1) – I love historical shows about 17th and 18th century France. (Mostly because I love the clothes.) I’m going to check it out because its different from anything else I’m watching and will tide me over til Vikings (TBD/2017) is back on. I always have to watch at least one or two shows that totally don’t fit the aesthetic of anything else I’m watching. I like a little variety, sometimes.

 

 

Still Star Crossed (TBD/2017) – This is another historically themed show based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and starring a large Black cast. It looks gorgeous, and I can’t wait to see it.  I just came off  of Coriolanus,  and Macbeth, on Amazon. I’m no expert, and generally not into romances, though. I don’t study the hell out of his plays, or recite them line by line, but I know enough to get by.

 

 

Aftermath (9/27) – SyFy needs to hype its new shows more. I barely paid attention to this one but from the trailer it looks interesting. I don’t know if I’m going to tune in on a week by week basis, because The Walking Dead is enough apocalyptic TV for anyone. But this looks like one of those End of the World Christian millenialist type deals and I’m not gonna get all het up about this if I’m also watching the Exorcist.

 

 

Channel Zero (9/27) – There’s a horrible looking tooth-monster in the trailer. That’s all I got because Syfy is trying real hard to be mysterious about the creepy shows its going to be airing this Fall. I’m okay with that approach. It just means I’ll tune in to find out what the hell was going on in the trailer.

 

Midnight Texas (TBD/2017) – From the writer of True Blood (Charlaine Harris) and it may even star a few characters who made cameos on there. This is on NBC, which brought us Hannibal, but I’m not getting my hopes up ,that the show is going to be too wild. I think Hannibal was maybe a fluke or something.

Westworld (10/2) – I generally try to avoid HBO’s shows as they tend to rely a great deal on female violation to titillate male viewers. I’ve already read a bad review of the pilot for Westworld. On the other hand, I enjoyed Deadwood,  Carnivale, and Oz, and  I have memories of the original movie. I want to know how it stacks up.

 

Mascots (Netflix 10/13) – This is a comedy from the creator of Best in Show,  which is one of my favorite mockumentary films. Its about the world of sports team mascots. I expect it to be as lowkey hilarious as the movies Christopher Guest writes.

 

Falling Water (10/13) – I got nothing! Looks intriguing. I know nothing about it. I’m not especially impressed by the trailer and that doesn’t bode well.

 

 

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (10/22) – I remember reading this book in High School. The trailer looks suitably zany and Frodo is starring in it, and I like him, so I’m going to check it out and see what’s up. There’s also a BBC version of this series, which I have not seen but the trailer looks as zany as this one.

 

The Crown (Netflix/TBD) – Another historical series on Netflix. I’m not especially impressed with this but I may watch it.

 

The Exorcist (9/23) – There’s no way this is as good as the original movie but I have to watch it to find out if that’s true.

 

There’s a bunch of returning shows that I will probably watch but only give a barebones review for. I prefer to leave such reviews up to those who’ve been more devoted to those shows than I have been. Nevertheless I am giddy about a few of the returning shows, like:

Teen Wolf (Season 6 -11/16)

 

Brooklyn 99 (Season 4 – 9/20)

Agents of Shield (9/20) 

Okay, lets try this again. I haven’t been watching this show because I dislike Chloe Bennett. She’s just highly annoying to me, for some reason, although I like everybody else, with my fave being Melinda, naturally. This season is helped by having one of my all-time favorite characters joining the show Ghostrider. I read these comics as a teen, and even watched those shitty movies, starring a totally miscast Nicholas Cage, for the special effects.

 

Legends of Tomorrow (Season 2 – 10/13)

I kinda like this show. I cant stand to watch most of the other superhero shows on the Cw but I get through this one just fine. I’m not devoted, but I am intrigued, mostly by Firestorm, whose comic I used to read the hell out of.

 

From Dusk Til Dawn (Season 3)

I missed some parts of season tweo but i watched enough to know what’s going on and to look forward to season three. This show still looks great but some of the acting is a little cheesy, and the plot is all over the place, by the middle of the season. Nevertheless, where else am I going to see lots of bad-ass, Mexican vampires.

 

 

Yeah…NO!

I have no intention of looking at these shows although some of you guys might get a kick out of them.

Conviction starring Hayley Atwell –  She’s a great actress but she’s made  the horrible choice of picking a bland lawyer show to star in next and I don’t watch those.

Lethal Weapon – I refuse to relive mediocre eighties action movies, in the form of mediocre television shows.

Sleepy Hollow – C’mon! You know why!

The DC superhero shows on the CW, I don’t dislike these shows exactly, but I’m never gonna be a Supergirl fan, I don’t care who is on that show. Arrow simply wasn’t compelling enough for me and The Flash felt like it was aimed at kids, although I really like the characters.

I like the look of Gotham and I hope its improved since the second season, when I last watched it, but it wasn’t compelling enough for me, even with the addition of Jada Smith.The show looks gorgeous but its stil la show with cops in it and I’m avoiding those right now.

Lucifer has some interesting looking characters, but I’m waiting for an especially compelling trailer or something becasue so far its just not capturing me, even though it stars DB Woodside, on of my fave Black actors.

Training Day seems like a grittier version of Lethal Weapon. I’m not watching any cop shows, so this one is out.

Van Helsing – I watched the pilot. I was thoroughly unimpressed. No.

Wolf Creek – I’m not sure how I feel about this one yet. Its one of those serial killer movies, so maybe no.

 

Next up Movies and Books to look forward to.

Our Semi- Regular State of the Onion Address – TV

Its time for my however many  annual list of “shows that I’ll start out enthusiastically watching, but then falling asleep on in a month, becuz I’m old and can’t stay awake”.

*Luke Cage:

This will be released on Netflix on Sept. 30th.: This shit is lit! I am here for this binging the whole weekend. It better be good! I’ve been a fan of Power Man since I was a kid, so, bear with me, as this is making me just a little bit giddy.

I probably won’t fall asleep on this one unless Jessica Jones shows up.

 

 

Iron Fist: will be released on Netflix sometime in 2017.

*I’m a lot less enthused about this teaser trailer for Iron Fist. Power Man and Iron Fist was one of my favorite superhero comics back in the day, so my problem isn’t that Danny Rand is White (although I find that disappointing) but that the actor playing him is so unremarkable. Let’s just say, he’s not as impressive, (or handsome), as Danny Rand should be.I’m going to give it a try but I’m not getting enthused about it until I see more footage. Its a good sign that Claire Temple will be in the show too, hopefully with more interesting things to do, and better treatment, than in Daredevil.

 

Teen Wolf  Season Six: November

*I understand some of the fans are very, very upset about the prominence of Stiles, in a show that’s supposed to be about the Teen Wolf of the title, (Scott), and the return of a previous villain who killed Scott in an earlier season, (Theo), but I don’t care. I’m watching this anyway, (despite the less than stellar season five), because this is the last season of this show, and it features The Wild Hunt, and I’m interested in seeing how this show will mutilate that particular folklore.

One of the cons of watching this Teen Wolf is that  its a classic “bait and switch” show, where they keep swapping out the characters of color every season, in order to add more white characters. The formula seems to be to kill off a PoC, then add two white people. (The Walking Dead has this formula down.) Now normally, I would object, but I actually like Liam and Lydia. I also do not object to having Peter as a villain again, although I find Theo deeply boring.

Some fans are deeply upset about the departure of Arden Cho, but I never much cared for Arden Cho’s Kira, mostly because her storyline became more and more nonsensical in season five, and I got bored with it. I also was not a huge fan of her cheesy, overdone, fighting style, although I realize this is a show actually aimed at teens, so yeah.

On the other hand, I’m glad that Derek has left the show for greener pastures. He’s a grown ass man. He needs to stop hanging around these messed up kids and get a life. And with his departure, the Sterek fans can come down from their hysteria, and just chill the fuck out.

 

 

The Strain Season Three : August 30th

*Ooh, look! Its the show I love to hate. Yeah, I’m going to watch this, and in all fairness, I am going to go into the third  season of this show hoping its gotten rid of its dead weight and improved from the horrible plot developments of the last , although if the trailer is any indication, they haven’t. Nevertheless,  I’m going to jump into this third season hoping that it won’t be worse than the last one.

What I’m hoping for are bigger, better, and more, action scenes, better special effects, a plot that is more coherent, has clear goals, and gets to those goals a hell of a lot faster than in season two; less annoying, conistently written characters, who have clear goals, and a much faster pace overall, with less distracting, sideplot  bullshit.

If not, there’s always the Hate-Watch!

 

Pitch: Sept. 22nd –  Fox

*I’m totally not a fan of sports shows, and I hate Network television (and Fox in particular), but this looks really good. I’m definitely going to be watching the first episode. If it gets too soapy, I can always stop and pretend I didn’t see it, kinda like how I’m doing with the show Dark Matter, right now, (pretending like I ain’t watching it).

 

Supernatural: Oct. 13th – Mini-rant

Ultimately it doesn’t matter one bit  what this season is about. I came into this show the first episode, and I’ve been faithful ever since. This show has never completely disappointed me to the point of refusing to watch it. But then I’m a grown ass woman who doesn’t freak out when shows don’t do what I want. (When I don’t like a show, I stop watching them, or mock them.)

This show introduced me to the concept of fandom, I met some great people through this fandom, and that  inspired me to start this blog, so I’m in this til the end of the series, which is why I stay way the Hell away from any of the fandom that’s too busy shitting on it, to enjoy the fact that its still on the air.

Not to get off on a rant here but this show has been on TV for six or seven years past its initial deadline, and some people are simply loathe to appreciate that shit, considering the length of airtime most shows get. I still care about these characters, and I absolutely refuse to get bogged down in which actor gets more facetime, who is shipping who, or whether or not the show is scary. Shows that last any length of time will evolve and grow, sometime in ways fans don’t foresee or agree with. That doesn’t make it a bad show, it just means either you, or the show, have outgrown one another and you need to move on, instead of going into everyone’s message boxes or personal blogs and talking about how much it sucks. Who does that serve, exactly?

Brooklyn 99: Sept. 20th

Ahhhhhhhh!

American Gods: Jan. 2017 on Starz

I haven’t read this book yet, but I’m familiar witrh some of the characters from other books that Gaiman has written in this same universe. I do plan to read the book before the series airs. This is being produced by Bryan Fuller, who last show, Hannibal, was the shit. So I’m looking forward to this.

The Walking Dead: Oct. 23rd on AMC

That I will be back for this new season is without question.

 

Ash Vs. The Evil Dead Season Two :October on Starz

They had me with Motorhead’s Ace of Spades in the trailer! There’s another black woman in this one, hopefully they won’ t piss me off by killing  her off this season, the way they  pissed me off last season. It looks a zany as ever though.

 

American Horror Story: Sept. 14th

I got nothing on this show, yet. I may even be wrong about the date because that doesn’t sound quite right.

The Flash: Oct. 4th

I’m going to try to get into this show some more. I like Kid Flash and some of the villains featured last season. My problem is that I think most of the acting is pretty bad, and  the show seems aimed at a much younger audience than me.

Legends of Tomorrow: Oct. 13th

I’m still following this show. I just like some of the heroes that are featured and there’s been some interesting character growth for some of them since the beginning of the first season.

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency: Oct. 22nd – Douglas Adams 

I hope this is good.

 

Meh: 

These are shows I’m feeling rather lukewarm about. I don’t hate them, and I will probably watch the first episode, but I also anticipate not liking them enough to keep watching them, so they better wow me.

The Exorcist: Sept 23rd

*I love the original movie,but as a general rule, I do not watch devil possession films or shows, considering them to be little more than knockoffs of the original movie. Why watch knockoffs, when I can watch the original film, which still manages to be scary. Nevertheless, I will give it a try and tell you what-what. I know some of you are great fans of devil possession themes, so I’ll try to be as gentle as I can.

This show better be impressive because the trailer isn’t wowing me at all, although its really nice to see Geena Davis again, and the priest is really cute. Whether or not I like it will depend on what its trying to accomplish. Is it a philosophical discussion , or is it trying to scare me?

 

Lucifer – Sept 19th

Actively hated the first season, so I’m not feeling especially enthusiastic about the second, but I may watch it.

Agents of Shield – Sept 20th

I fear this show has gotten too convoluted to understand. I’m still not a fan of the actress who plays Skye, but I like The Inhumans storyline – is that over with now? I’d been following this show through social media, and the trailers looked exciting,  but everytime I looked at an episode, people I didn’t know were just standing around, talking in a non-urgent manner. So maybe it’s just me, then.

Gotham Sept. –  19th

This show is almost but not quite a hell no. I feel  some way about it but I don’t know what that feeling is. I’ll find out in the Fall, I guess.

Supergirl:

I really want to like this show. <Sigh!>

 

Does Hell Go with No!:

MacGyver: 

Nope with a side of fuck that shit! Scuze my French, but good gob!, does this look frickin’ awful.I hop

Lethal Weapon:

This is one of those nopes, where you make that “taking a shit” face, while you say it, because…

I liked the movie tho’.

Frequency:

<Gasp!> No!

Arrow:

Naw! I’m good.

American Horror Story: Hotel – Be Our Guest

I’m only a tiny, little bit disappointed at the season finale of American Horror Story: Hotel, for going out with a whimper instead of a bang. It’s like the writers chickened out and decided that everybody deserved happy endings, even though a lot of them had been acting like total shits all season.

Don’t get me wrong. I had feels, everybody’s stories got wrapped up nice and neat and Denis O’Hare gets to steal the show as always, but I really did want the hotel to be burned down so all the ghosts could be free. The writers decided that’s not a good idea, though.

So, the Queen is dead! Long live The Countess! In the aftermath of The Countess death, she’s a ghost who can no longer leave the hotel and a more fitting end, I wouldn’t have written myself. The hotel has now been taken over by Iris and Liz, who sell off the Countess’ art, to fund their redecorations and grand reopening.

The reopening attracts travel critics, who quickly get offed by the hotel’s ghosts. Namely Sally, who is  bitter and unhappy and Will Drake, who is bored because he’s dead and trapped in the hotel.

This is too much for Liz and Iris, who decide to hold an intervention to beseech the ghosts to stop killing the guests. If they keep killing the guests, the hotel will go out of business and the building could be destroyed. James March comes down on Liz and Iris’ side in the debate because if the building isn’t condemned by 2026, then it will be declared an historical landmark, which can’t. After which the ghosts can kill all they want, I guess. This meeting is also notable because you get  to see that they have become a kind of community, who care about each other.

Drake and Sally refuse to cooperate and Iris and Liz decide they need some one on one attention to get them on their side. Iris introduces Sally to Twitter and Snapchat, after which she blossoms, realizing she need never be alone again because of social media. Perfect! That is not a solution I foresaw, but it makes perfect sense. After all, Iris found a new life that way, too. It’s hilarious as Sally really gets into it. She takes pictures of everything but herself, she writes a blog, she cries with happiness, rather than pain now, and even throws away her junk.

Good job, Iris!

Liz makes the point that the ghosts need the living because the living are their bridge to the outside world and relevance. So maybe let them live, and stop killing them for shits and giggles.

Liz agrees to help Will Drake rebuild his fashion empire, which has been languishing since his disappearance, by becoming it’s figurehead. This is a success and Liz makes arrangements for Will’s son to be housed at the Thatcher Boarding school, although Drake doesn’t believe he should ever see him again.

But Liz isn’t quite as happy as you’d think. She still misses Tristan, and Iris, concerned for her happiness, hires a psychic (Sarah Paulson in a dual role) to talk to him in the afterlife, but Tristan refuses and won’t say why. On the other hand, Donovan, who managed to escape being trapped in the hotel, is in a happy place and wants Iris to know he loves her.

Liz, disappointed with Tristan’s cold shoulder, gets on with her life, witnessing the birth of her grandadaughter and being a part of her daughter-in-law’s life, until she discovers she is the only woman in LA who is in the late stages of prostate cancer. She tries to make the best of things, by asking the community of hotel ghosts to kill her, so she can spend eternity with them because they’re her friends, and Denis O’Hare is so good at this, that I almost teared  up.

Almost.

His friends are about to get started brutally killing him but the Countess shows up to deliver the coup de grace. She and Liz reconcile  before the deed, as they damn well better, because they’ve got to spend all of eternity together now. Staring down at her dead body, Liz is surprised by the appearance of Tristan, who says he didn’t want to contact her because he wanted her to have a full life and not live in the past with his memory.

Hold on! I’m a little verklempt! Talk amongst yourselves! Query: Where the Hell is the Countess’ mutant baby? And who is taking care of it? Discuss!

Many years pass. The psychic comes to the hotel again. This  time she wants to contact John Lowe, The Ten Commandments Killer. John shows up and we learn that he is dead, but can only come to the hotel once a year along with all the other killers, Aileen Wuornos, Richard Ramirez, Gacy and Dahmer. It’s also the only time he can see his vampire family, except for Scarlett, who has grown into a remarkably well adjusted young lady, after being shipped off to the Thatcher School, too. Scarlett can visit her little brother and never aging Mom anytime, but Dad can only be seen on Halloween night. It’s a bittersweet reunion.

Having gotten her wish and interviewed the TCK, the psychic gets drugged and accosted by the other serial killers. They agree to let her live if she never tells anyone about them, and Ramona, who can leave the hotel and terrorize her anytime she wants, is there to let her know she’ll be watching her. She runs out of the hotel and doesn’t darken its doors again.

Overall, I liked this season. It was uneven, and more concerned with spectacle than plot, but then AHS is always like that. I really wish there had been more depth and more artistry. The show really needs to play up the unreality and dreamlike state, the way it did in the first season. I enjoyed this season more than the last one, which was kind of depressing. This was a  more joyful season, even if  was full of pretty people being stupid and doing awful things, and I was kind of disappointed that many of them did not get their comeuppance, but I can live with happy endings, too.

Angela Bassett was hilariously bad as Ramona. She was the worse actor and obviously having waaay too much fun with that character. The scenery is just totally shredded by the time she’s finished talking. I think she needs to stick with movies, if possible because television is just too small for her. Denis O’Hare was awesome as Liz. I didn’t even know who Denis was before this, having paid no attention to his career. As for Liz’ wardrobe! Dayyum! She was totally rockin’ those frocks, the bald head and the high heels! She was the epitome of style and grace, holding her own in every scene against Ramona  and Iris. I have to give a shoutout to Kathy Bates too. Every season she brings her A game, and so she did here. It was a quieter role than Liz and the Countess, much less glamorous, but that’s why her character arc was so lovely.

I’m given to understand that Lady Gaga won an award for this show. I don’t begrudge her that. I was very happy for her, as she did some great amateur work, and this is a good beginning and  good encouragement if she wants to keep acting. She shows some promise, but Denis deserved “all teh awards”. Denis O’Hare and Kathy Bates had the two most touching character arcs and the finest performances of the season.

And that was worth watching, if no other reason.

So long American Horror Story, until next season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

American Horror Story : She Gets Revenge

Or should the show be titled, “She Almost Got Revenge But She Messed Up”? There were a lot of confrontations and revelations in this last episode before the hiatus. Are people behaving any better than last week? Nope! In fact, they’re behaving worse, and I didn’t think that was possible.

If  I didn’t think I could like Alex any less than I already did, I was made wrong this episode. She drafts John into helping her roundup the vampire kids she made. I thought she was supposed  to help them or cure them or something. That’s what she told John and, fool that I am, I believed her. She and John go  to the children’s lair and manage to convince them to come to the hotel with them, only instead of curing the little snots, Alex locks them in the armored hallway with Ramona, who is very happy to see all of them. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy the kids are locked up because I hate them almost as much as I hate Alex. Almost. In the children’s defense, they didn’t choose to be what they are.

download (2)

 

Alex and John laugh like a couple of high school bullies giving someone a toilet shampoo, and I can’t help but think they better watch it. If they’re not careful, Ramona will have adopted all the little scamps and  taught them all how to be better killers. After which, she and the remaining two will break free and try to take over the world, or maybe Ramona can eventually eat both Alex and John, since they deserve to be eaten by the best.

(I can dream!)

It turns out that Will Drake is trapped in the hotel as a ghost. Its only now that he’s smart enough to figure out that the Countess had planned to kill him all along. If only he had awakened sooner. He walks in on her while she is tearfully reporting his disappearance to the local police. Although she isn’t in his will and can’t inherit anything, she warns him that she is the legal guardian of his son and she can fix it so that he never grows up. (Here lies Will Drake. So pretty and so dumb” is going to be the epitaph on his tombstone.)

Alex and John  have some unsexy sex and laugh about how they’ve abandoned their daughter Scarlett, and are the worse parents ever. Yeah, that’s right. At any moment you expect them to just start high-fiving each other in celebration. The two of them make plans to become a family again, if they can remember where they stashed Scarlett. Later, she takes John to meet Holden. These characters are so unlikable that the reunion is the least touching in the history of TV.

download (5)

Sally, John’s side piece, doesn’t like all this family talk and ambushes John in the bedroom after the unsexy wife sex. Either Sarah Paulson is just a hotter actress than Chloe, or Chloe’s just not doing it right, because this is how you show two people who can barley keep their hands off each other. Alex and John, on the other hand, have all the passion of a couple of titmice.

download (3)

In worse news, Iris and Liz decide to commit suicide, with Iris collecting a ton of novel ways to do this, as she’s an exceptionally organized woman. She has even managed to compile a last video for her three followers on Instagram, to the song, “I Hope You Dance”, which is  perfectly fitting. Liz changes her mind when she realizes that A.) they’ll be trapped in the hotel, and B.) she has unfinished business involving the son she abandoned, when she started her new life.

download (4)

Liz makes arrangements to meet with her son and its a touching and beautiful thing. At first he doesn’t let on that he knows who she is but eventually he tells her that he accepts Liz for who she is and wants her in his life. After that, Liz and Iris change their minds about their suicide pact and decide to kill the Countess, instead. Using some of the weapons Iris amassed for their suicide they burst in on Donovan and the Countess, guns a-blazing.

(If Dennis O’ hare doesn’t receive some kind of award for this character, I think Liz’s fans are going to burn down Hollywood. This the best character on the show.)

download

Donovan has been playing his own games. He kills Valentino, while we get a simultaneous shot of the Countess killing Natasha. I don’t even pretend to care about their deaths.  Donovan goes back to the Countess and informs her that Val is dead. Only then do we see her show any real emotions about something, instead of the pretty mask she usually wears. She goes to see Val’s body.

Donovan decides to celebrate by dancing badly to some Drake and getting drunk, when the Countess walks in on him and threatens to kill him. The two of them exchange some torrid love angst, before Iris and Liz burst in on them.

Well, I’m pretty sure that the Countess lives through this ordeal because I saw her in the previews. Hopefully, it was a flashback, or something, and she is trapped in the hotel with March. Not that it would make much difference because all of them were stagnating in that place.

However, the synopsis for the final episode has just been released and its very cryptic. I won’t put it here but it is very spoilery, so read it at your own risk.

Well, that’s it. The show will return on January, 6th and is titled Battle Royale. Can we assume that this will be a Ramona intensive episode? I hope so. I love the character and Angela is totally cheesing it up, as she does every season.

As Hannibal the Cannibal once said,

Ta Ta For now!

American Horror Story: Hotel : Flicker

Alright What plot points will remain from last week’s episode. Will the writers remember the The Countess has a baby? Will they remember that Sally is still on the show? Will they remember Tristan is dead?

Let’s find out.

AHS-1379-Jackson-001

Will Drake (Dayyum, Cheyenne Jackson is foine!) and son are touring the hotel as deconstruction begins. He tells his son about marrying Countess. The construction workers have a problem, though. It turns out to be a secret corridor with monsters that eat the construction workers. Are they vampires? Cannibals? Just crazy gray haired senior citizens?

images (5)

 

John is undergoing psychiatric evaluation  at a hospital, after shooting up his kitchen last week. He confesses to feelings of entrapment, confusion and overwhelming events. He was nearly fired after he attacked his partner at work, a guy I recognize from Supernatural, once again,he’s  playing a cop.

Iris shows the bodies and hidden corridor to Countess and even she’s scared of what’s there. The hungry ghosts, or whatever they are, attack another guest.

Flashback to The Countess in 1925, on a film set with Valentino, who is the spitting image of Tristan, conveniently. I thought that was the last I’d seen of that actor, but hey!keep him on the show doing something.

the-one-weird-thing-about-american-horror-story-hotel-solved-valentino-in-real-life-719783

She’s enamored of the handsome actor. Shes so cute! And Gaga really pulls off the wide-eyed innocent waif act and even back then she was a snappy dresser. He seduces her in his home, until his wife, Natasha, shows up. They double team her, there’s the required sex scene and then cut to…three months later, when she’s been vamped.

James March opens hotel Cortez, when The Countess hears of Valentino’s death she is overcome with grief. I guess I’m supposed to believe by this reaction that she possessed some overwhelming love for him and his wife.

It turns out the he isn’t actually dead. He and Natacha are both alive. They ask her to travel to Europe with them.

She leaves them to marry March, and she later discovers, he is a serial killer. Well, this explains why she’s got commitment issues.

(Flashback once more, as  Valentino tells her how he came a vampire, shot in the style of the 1922  Nosferatu, by H W Murnau, who was himself a vampire. He decided to change Valentino as he has predicted the demise of silent films.)

John discovers the restricted ward at the hospital and decides to investigate Andrew Hahn in room 153. He finds a little girl named Wren instead. She’s a witness to one of the serial killers crimes. She also killed the security guard who interrupted the killer, which is why she’s locked up.

After which ensues the weirdest but most boringly important/unimportant conversation in television history, with the two of them whispering at each other. Well whattaya know? Wren is somehow acquainted with The Countess too. What. A. Surprise!

Nevertheless, Wren promises to help John catch his killer, if he gets her out of the hospital.

Ya know, at some point ,we are going to have to have the writer stop pulling plot points out of his ass, or maybe I’m just feeling grouchy because tonight’s episode was especially tiresome. It’s not a bad episode but none of my favorite characters have showed up, nobody did anything egregiously stupid, that i can yell at my TV about, and nothing astonishingly crazy happened, The writers remembered that John is looking for a serial killer, and that aspect is the least interesting plot of the show.

images (6)

At the end of the episode, its revealed that March bricked up Valentino and Natacha in the hotel, and those are the two people-eaters who were released at the top of the episode, and have since been chowing down on various guests.

The Countess goes to have dinner with James March, who confesses that he had  Valentino and his wife confined inside the walls of the hotel, because he was jealous. The Countess is appropriately horrified as she probably thought that Val and Natacha had left her. This explains her attitude towards the vampires she makes.

Natacha and Val leave the hotel, as Iris  watches and wonders who the Hell they are.

John and Wren escape the hospital. Wren, one of The Countess’ many vampire children, throws herself in front of a truck after telling John his killer is at the Hotel Cortez. So, I guess that conversation was important after all, as Wren confessed she was really tired of  “all of this”.

Tonight’s theme was very obviously “Love Hurts”!

American Horror Story: Room 33

Okay, tonight’s episode, I’m firmly convinced, was entirely pulled out of the writer’s butt. There’s all manner of things going on this particular episode that weren’t hinted at in any of the previous episodes.

Let’s start with:

We are dimly aware that something lived in room 33 of the hotel, so I’m not too put out at the idea that the creature living in that room turns out to be The Countess deformed vampire baby. At least we got a tiny heads- up with hints that something might be in that room. The Countess is shown giving birth to the baby, which like in the movie Its Alive, immediately kills and eats the nurse. Okay, that part was kind of gory, awesome.

images (1)

Later, the baby, Bartholomew, escapes from its room, when Ramona, intent on revenge by killing all of The Countess offspring, (in collusion with Iris), breaks in, and sets it free. Bart gets out of the hotel by stowing away in John’s suitcase, when John decides he can no longer stay at the hotel after nearing a nervous breakdown.

Okay, the reason John has a nervous breakdown is because  of the first two tourist girls, we saw in the pilot episode, who  are now ghosts roaming around the hotel. Donovan has told them that they can’t leave and that they now have to find a purpose. The two of them try murdering the hotel guests but that doesn’t seem to satisfy them. Alex, John’s wife, is very helpful. She tells them that gas-lighting the hotel guests is probably a lot more fun and that they should start with John. I’m guessing there’s definitely some divorce papers in their future. Well, anyway, John and the girls have a threesome during which they  cover him in blood of  their  murder victim. John, totally freaked out, runs naked out of his hotel room and encounters Liz Taylor in the lobby. Liz, more than used to the various shenanigans at the hotel, is completely unfazed at the sight of this naked man, covered in blood and  streaking through the halls, and she escorts him back to his room.

I’m not sure if that was meant to be funny but I laughed my ass off at that scene.

download (7)

Well, Bart gets out of the hotel, via John’s suitcase,  and makes his way to John’s home, where Scarlett chastises her Dad for being absent. When Bart gets loose in the house, John fires his gun at him, scaring the shit out of Scarlett, who then decides she needs to be somewhere her Dad is not. Bart escapes to the outdoors where Alex finds him, in the bushes,  and takes him back to the hotel. I forget why Alex was lurking outside her own home.

The Countess, still trying to get into Will Drake’s pants, had gone with him to Paris. She returns to find Alex cuddling the baby in room 33. Earlier, The Countess tried to get Tristan to help her have sex with Will, who is insistent that he is very gay, too gay to sleep with her. Tristan, of course, says he is not gay and won’t touch him, which is a surprise to me, because in an earlier episode he was all up in Will’s bidness, and we got some hot, man on man, action before The Countess interrupted. On the other hand, thiis the first backbone I’ve seen Tristan display.

The other thing that came out of left field was Liz Taylor’s relationship with The Countess’  Tristan. I guess none of us were paying attention because I totally did not see any of this coming. Liz tells Tristan they need to confess their great love (the greatest love ever), to the Countess, an idea I knew was a mistake the moment I heard it,  so yeah, the stupidity of the characters continues, unabated. Liz makes a very eloquent plea to be allowed to have Tristan because neither of them are in love with each other and this is LIz’ big chance to have a grand love of her own. But The Countess does not share, (she doesn’t do love either, or so she says), and she kills Tristan in front of Liz by cutting his throat. Yep! Saw it coming!

This is the same mistake The Countess made with Ramona, that has Ramona coming up in her rearview, right now. I wouldn’t be surprised, if at some point, Iris, Donovan, Ramona and Liz,  team up to take her ass out. Although, knowing how this show works, the writer will probably forget all about this angle, the same way the writer has forgotten about the Child-Vampire plague he just released into the NY suburbs. Will we see a resolution to that, I wonder?

images

Tristan is gone, more or less. He will probably become a ghost in the hotel too, unable to leave and trying to find a purpose. How much do you wanna bet he’ll fall into March’s murderous intentions? Or not. He could just haunt Liz, which would be awesomely tragic for her.

So this episode was all about everyone’s great love and the things they’ll do to keep it. Alex is willing to drive her husband insane, so he won’t find out about Holden and her. The Countess seems to very much love Bartholomew, and is willing to hitch her wagon to a man who is not attracted to her and who she doesn’t love, which is bad enough, but she also makes a habit of depriving other people of their great love. Iris, Ramona and Donovan are all about the revenge, having lost their great loves to The Countess’ complete lack of empathy. Except in the case of Alex. Alex is about the only person she seems to sympathize with, and not just because she stole Alex’s child.

There were a lot of great lines and scenes in this episode. Liz offering Oscar Wilde books to Tristan. The admonishment to never drink the water on the fifth floor, by Donovan, because one of the hotel guests haunts that floor, after she slit her wrists  in a bathtub, and the bonding scene between Ramona and Liz.

I like how the show gives its female characters plenty of background and time to talk among themselves and not always about men. In fact, the cast is almost entirely women  and I like that they  are shown supporting each other and having each other’s back. Liz and Iris, Ramona and Iris, and even Alex and The Countess. Liz Taylor is still my all-time favorite . She gets all the best lines and some of the best scenes, too.

I think my greatest hope for Liz, is for her to be killed in the hotel, so she can spend eternity with Tristan.

American Horror Story : Room Service

Okay, this is the point in  the season when things start to get worse and some direction begins to emerge. Up to this moment, we’ve had characters making one bad decision after another, but now all those decisions start to bear fruit. (Maybe. I stopped trying to predict what these writers would do a long time ago.)

I know John Lowe should never have chosen to stay at the Hotel Cortez, Donovan should never have chosen to turn his mother, Alex should never have been vamped, and I’m pretty sure there will be some repercussions for The Countess and her new boy toy. We’ve had enough of James March and Co. Let’s see what fresh Hell all these other characters are getting up to on Devil’s Night.

Alex starts a vampire plague at an elementary school. This is, I guess, how things start to go horribly wrong. While these other characters are all in the hotel, making their little personal life choices, some real shit is about to go down. Alex, having been  turned by The Countess, goes to her job as a pediatrician and turns a terminally ill boy. He goes on to kill his mother before heading off to school, where he turns one of his classmates, kills his teacher, turns the entire class, and urges them to eat the staff, but not before the staff can call the police for help.

The police arrive and usher all the infected children out of the building and  into the loving arms of the parents who will all be dead, by the next episode.

image

See, this is what I mean by the Countess not being the brightest penny in the wrapper. She’s just turning people into vampires, willy-nilly, , essentially creating more competition, and not having any control over how her “Gets” are behaving themselves. Once her blood-children are out of her presence, she doesn’t have any idea what they’re doing or who they’re turning.She gave no thought to the idea that Alex has access to lots of sick children and when Alex made her choice, all she thought about was being with Holden. I’m holding both of these dill weeds responsible for the apocalypse that’s’ about to befall NY.

Oh, alright! In Alex’s defense she was out of her mind with hunger and not thinking straight, although that’s mitigated by the fact she wasn’t thinking straight when she wasn’t sick.

Donovan, the little schemer, takes his sick mother to see Ramona. The he and Ramona  hatch a plan  to use Iris to get close to the Countess .Iris, once again gets no say in this.(Gob forbid anyone ask her what she wants.) I’ve developed an actual liking for this character, now that I’ve been provided with some of her backstory. Yes, Donovan hated her, but Donovan has his own issues and is probably more than a little biased. We only ever got to see Iris through his eyes. Now that we can hear Iris’ assessment of herself, she turns out to be a lot more sympathetic as a character. Although. my sympathy for all these characters is mitigated by the thought that they are all murderers.

image

Iris goes back to the hotel and tries to avoid being detected as a vampire by the Countess but Liz Taylor knows right away what’s happened to her. Now I know why I love this character so much, after Liz Taylor gives her  backstory. The Countess did two good things. She hired  Liz to help run the hotel, after encouraging her to embrace her true self as transgender. Its fun watching Liz and Iris  bonding. Liz tells Iris her story, only after Iris admits she was scared of broaching the subject, and insulting her. Liz tells her she can’t hurt her feelings, because she’s been insulted by people who made it their life’s work. It occurs to me that Liz is right. She would be well used to people trying to hurt her. Liz can handle herself just fine.

download (3)

John Lowe gets fired after his night out, after raving about people pretending to be famous killers, in his boss’s office. Later he wakes to find Sally in his bed. She plays the spurned lover, when he tells her to get out. her face is always dripping lots of tears. That’s just weird. You’d think her tear ducts would’ve locked up by now, and refused to produce anymore.

After two pretentious young guests keep giving Iris hell, Liz encourages Irisnot  to take any more of their shit, embrace her inner bitch and let loose. Liz does for Iris ,what the Countess once did for her. Iris, after realizing her unique position, takes Liz’ advice and kills them both. I was kind of rooting for her too.I don’t often cheer for the violent deaths of innocent people but I really, really hate the rude, and those two guests were written to be professional assholes.

Alex is reunited with Holden.The Countess hires her as the children’s nanny. Can I just roll my eyes harder and harder at Alex’s dumb ass. One of the least sympathetic characters in the show and that’s a remarkable feat when you consider how highly oblivious of everything John is.

download (4)

If we’re lucky, maybe we’ll get to see the vampire apocalypse The Strain should have been.

Okay I was half right. Things have started to get worse but I have no idea where the writers will take this. For all we know they might just as soon forget all about the vampire plague that happened at the school, in favor of making us watch the Countess have have sex with Ramona.

Who knows?

American Horror Story : Devil’s Night

This episode revolves around the separate adventures of John Lowe and his estranged wife, Alex. There’s a dinner party, some dancing, child ‘napping, and a couple of other interesting developments. There’s  a Butchers Ball,  and Holden’s mother makes a firm decision about her future.

At the end of last weeks episode, Alex came face to face with the love of her life, Holden. Now I get why we were told that gob-awful backstory about her character.This week, Alex decides to take Holden home with her, find out exactly what is wrong with him, and why he hasn’t aged since she lost him. The Countess continues to assert that what she has is a blood disease,  so Alex, as a pediatrician, thinks she can cure him. She  tests Holden but can find nothing. Angry at what was done to her child, especially after he kills and drinks the family dog, she takes him back to the hotel, where he climbs into the glass coffin provided for him. She  confronts the Countess, who is all smiles and sympathy, offering to turn her, so she can be with her son, if Alex will work for her. Alex refuses her offer and barely makes it out of the room with her life, when she threatens to tell the police about the Countess.

images (8)

The next day ,Alex changes her mind, goes to the Countess, and takes her up on her offer. I’m not actually surprised by this. I kept expecting Alex to be bitten by somebody, from the moment she found Holden.

John, unaware that any of this is going on, wanders around the hotel, looking for the room that had blood seeping through his ceiling. He comes across The Laundress Hazel, played by Mare Winningham, who gives him some backstory about why she is working for James March. I had the impression that she was just another homicidal psycho like March, but her story is slightly more complicated. Her child was also stolen, over forty years ago, by the Countess. Like Alex, she came to the hotel to rescue her child. I’m going to make a wild guess that the Countess turned her too, and probably did the same to March, which is the reason neither of them have aged. I’m still not sure what the Hell Sally is, though. It is telling that Hazel gives no explanation for why the room is full of blood, nor does John ask her about it. But we know that earlier that evening, Richard Ramirez killed two hotel guests, in that room.

AHSH 1.4 Lowe Invite_zpsnfentu7z

John listens to Hazel’s story and because he was so sympathetic to her, out of gratitude, she offers him an invitation to a special dinner that her employer, James March has every Halloween. What she does not tell him is that all of the invited guests are serial killers  and that he may not make it out of the dinner alive. (I have noticed that all of the worst guests of the hotel, are just full of information you don’t actually need, or didn’t ask for.) The invitees include, John Wayne Gacy, Richard Ramirez, Jeffrey Dahmer and Aileen, Wuornos. Later, John finds out, from a news article, that Hazel hasn’t aged since the abduction of her child.

John goes  to the hotel bar and meets a woman who claims to be Aileen Wuornos. Thinking its just a costume, he takes her back to his room, where she hits him over the head, and ties him up. He escapes by kicking her ass. He angrily confronts Liz Taylor, who dismisses his worries, but tells him he’s been invited to a very special dinner party. Sally lures him to the party and ties him up, again.

During the party, John begins to understand what’s happening.That these are the real killers, alive and dangerous.. He is forced to watch while the killers commiserate with March about how difficult their crimes were, how they could have done better, and to laud March for being such a wonderful influence on their lives. Sally  brings in a young male victim for Dahmer. I think some of this was supposed to be funny because the killers kept making jokes.

It wasn’t.

2933feb1e0ebba47e5574dd60eaffbf0.cf_

It  was especially difficult for me to watch because, having studied True Crime, I know far too much about the crimes of these particular individuals, to find their presence in a television show, funny. It’s one thing to make up an unlikely serial killer like Hannibal, its another thing to use, as inspiration, real life serial killers in your show, just for the spectacle. The only kind of people who would find these scenes funny, are people who know nothing about the real life people, on which these characters were  based. Kind of the same problem I had with Sons of Anarchy, in that I know far too much about actual Bikers, to be able to enjoy that show.

But, because I do know so much about serial killers, I did find it pretty scary.

The killers decide they want to kill John too, but March stops them. John wakes up to see Sally, who tells him that it was all an hallucination because he drank absinthe with alcohol.

Its not that I disliked this episode. I thought it was scary, mostly because of the knowledge in my head about serial killers. I thought they might actually kill John, who  would then be trapped in the hotel, like all the other ghosts. I like john even though he’s a deeply oblivious detective, and I don’t want to see him killed.

This is only part one of a two episode arc, so things are going to reach a head this week, I hope. I’m also wondering when we’ll get to see Angela Bassett’s character again. She was all kinds of bad ass.