I’m Watchin’ Thangs

Hi there!

Have some mini reviews:



The Expanse:

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This is an extremely mini review, as I’ve not actually sat down to watch an entire episode, even as they keep accumulating on my DVR. As I said before, I don’t usually watch Space Operas, not because I consider them uninteresting, but because I usually don’t have time, and just end up missing the entire series. The same thing happened here, with The Expanse. I also haven’t read any of the books in the series by James Corey, so I don’t know how close a resemblance the show has to those. I have to confess I’ve only watched the trailers and a few snippets. I certainly like what I see and the show is blowing it up on the diversity front. The show has not neglected to round out the cast with Latinxs, Black people, and different Asians. So if that’s  important for you, then check it out.

The character in the photo above is the six foot tall, New Zealander, Frankie Adams who plays the bad ass Bobbie Draper, and already she’s my favorite character, even though I’ve seen nothing more than snippets of her scenes. If you liked Vasquez from the movie Aliens, you will love Bobbie, who is continuing that grand tradition of having bad ass, WoC warriors in space.

The show appears to have improved quite a bit since that first season. At some point I going to need to sit down and binge the Hell out of this show, and give a more in depth review.

The Magicians:

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This is the first episode of the second season and I remain mostly unimpressed. It’s not that it’s a bad show, because there’s plenty in it for the discerning viewer, it’s just that it has several competing tones, which can be kind of jarring if that’s not something you’re used to. On the one hand the show wants to have a lighthearted, jokey, bantering feel, most especially in the scenes where Elliot, Margot, Penny, Quentin and Alice are in Fillory, a fairytale world mentioned prominently in season one, and the real world travails of Quentin’s friend Julia, who got kicked out of Brakebills last season, and had been fumbling to get back into the magical community, ever since.

Julia’s storyline is dark, depressing ,and unnerving, as she seems to spend the majority of her time being sexually, and emotionally abused, and belittled by various characters. Last season, she was emotionally manipulated by a Hedge witch named Marina, and raped by a creature she thought was a god, after she joined a cult. This season, the person trying to both sexually, and emotionally abuse her, is named The Beast. With a name like that you would have to be a complete jackass to trust him, nevertheless, I wish we got to see a lot less of him. (As with all TV villains, he thinks he’s pretty charming, and talks too damned much.)

There’s also a third thread where we keep flipping back and forth, from Fillory to Brakebills, as Quentin, Margot, and Alice, investigate what’s happening in Fillory with Dean Fogg, and that’s confusing and  doesn’t mesh well with the rest of the episode.

You cannot have this rather casual and jokey attitude sitting side by side with the constant degradation of this other character. It just makes the whole show feel bad.  Julia seems like she’s in another show entirely. I’m not sure where they’re going with her storyline, but I wish it wasn’t. Its distracting from what is otherwise a mildly entertaining show about magic.

In the first season, we spent our time establishing various characters, and setting up for season two. This second season is going to be more like the second book in the series, called The Magician’s Land, where the four major characters become the Kings and Queens of Fillory,  except for Penny who doesn’t get a crown. I was mildly peeved by this. Even though Penny is still an asshole, I feel he deserves a crown too, and why was the lone character of color left out of it.

The show gets LGBT representation right in Elliot, but gets a  black hashmark for killing off all the other gay characters (including the lone Black woman, this show has ever had, in season one). It also gets a demerit for making the one  PoC a complete arsehole (Penny), and the other PoC is the Dean of the school. Putting the lone Black person in charge of giving orders, is a trope a show adds when it wants to have diversity, but has no clue how to write characters of color.

There were some things I enjoyed, though. I liked some of the humor. The idea that they could only win their crowns by passing some elaborate tests, only for the tests to turn about to be 90’s pop culture trivia questions, was pretty funny. And of course, I love Elliot, who is always saying the absolutely correct things, at the correct times. He’s the best written character on the show. Snarky and intelligent, but vulnerable, when he needs to be.  Quentin has improved since last season, becoming more sure of himself, but I credit the actor for that, not the writers.

Like I said, its not a bad show, and there’s something in it worth watching for the casual viewer, but the tone of the show is wildly uneven, as it swings between humor, and sexual violence, and I don’t like that.

Legion:

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Well, I watched two episodes of this show and I think I understand whats going on, or at least what the creators are trying to do, while also trying to have a plot. The first episode may appear to be plot free, but it does have one. The title character has been institutionalized for attempting to commit suicide. While there, he’s diagnosed with schizophrenia and paranoia. I don’t know how accurate the depiction of 1960’s  mental institutions is, but I didn’t have a problem with the depiction, outside of the usual tropes of “crazy patients”, in the background.

While David is  there, he meets a pretty blond girl, that he falls in love with, while he’s being hunted by some type of clandestine Federal organization that wants to study him, because they believe he’s a powerful mutant. This entire plot takes two episodes to resolve because we keep taking detours into David’s mind, as he hallucinates, imagines scenarios, or just remembers things. We spend a lot of time in David’s mind and I think the purpose is to make the audience feel as disoriented about the things happening to him, as David feels. It certainly is a different approach to a Marvel character.

Now, in the comic books, David is the son of Charles Xavier and Moira McTaggert(?) and is the most powerful telepathic being on Earth, more powerful than his father, which is why he spent the early part of his life in a vegetative state, unable to cope with his abilities. In all fairness, I haven’t read about this character in a very long time, so I’m sure he’s gone through a bunch of reiterations since the 9os.

I was reluctant to approach this show. I generally avoid shows that involve blatant displays of mental illness, especially after my own bout with mental illness in my twenties (which has since been in a kind of remission), but the fear that that state of mind could reoccur, is always present, especially when watching shows where mental illness is heavily featured. I went through some very, very rough times , and don’t like to be reminded of one of the worse periods of my life.

The closer the TV depiction of mental illness is to reality, the more I dislike it, and I was expecting to dislike this show, but it turned out to be not that bad. At least not for me, but if you’re a person currently going through some mental shit, you might want to use caution, when watching this. A lot of the show’s visuals are very disorienting. I don’t know that I’ll make  regular viewing of it, but I don’t dislike the show. The best thing I can say about it is that it’s visually spectacular.

 

Humans: 

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Actually this is a very interesting show, in its second season. Yes, it’s about sentient robots, but that’s where the  comparison, between it and Westworld, end. This  British show takes place in the real world, and recounts how humans and robots interact, as robots begin to displace human beings from working life, and how that interaction is unsettled, when some of the robots start to become self aware.

In the first season, we followed a group of self aware robots (Niska, Mia, Leo, and Max) who’d been split up and were trying to find each other. They’d all been created by the same man, now long dead. This season, one of the robots (Niska) uploads their self-awareness code into a system that all of the robots (called Synths) have to occasionally link to, and more of them become aware. Now they have to deal with not just this new awareness, but what kind of relationships do they want to have with humans.

The show also deals with the fallout for the Hawkins family’s interaction with Leo and his family, last season. How does this affect them? What do the children think? How does their interaction with self aware robots affect their future, and will the government find out they were involved? Added to that, the Hawkins parents are still in therapy, dealing with the husband’s brief infidelity with Mia, something I found to be deeply interesting. Did he or did he not cheat on his wife, and how does she process what he did, when he says it didn’t mean anything.?

There are several threads we follow through the episode.  We follow Niska, who is investigating human love, as she picks up a girl at a nightclub, and goes on trial for killing a man. I still don’t see how she can get away with appearing human  because she doesn’t talk or move like one. Why the humans don’t see it, is one of the show’s bigger mysteries.

There’s a secondary story involving a Dr. Morrow played by Carrie-Ann Moss (from Daredevil). She’s investigating how and why the Synths have become aware, and what they want. At some point during the season she will meet up with the more militant Niska.

There’s a third storyline involving Detective Karen Voss, who is also a Synth married to, and masquerading as a human. Its interesting because her husband knows what she is and still loves her anyway. She in turn appears to be very much in love with him, too. There’s also Hester, a newly sentient Synth, who is still discovering who and what she is.

This show is a lot less action packed than Westworld, and asks different types of questions on the nature of sentience. Its more thoughtful, and philosophical, and states its ideas much more blatantly. There are certainly fewer shootouts. There are also more PoC, but the narrative doesn’t explore that particular angle, in depth. Its mostly left for the viewer to suss out how race relations work in a society where robot servants look like any race of people. Do the robots of color get abused, or exploited more, I wonder?  I’m still trying to figure out whose idea was it to make them so human-looking, and why. The Synths don’t behave like humans, though. They speak and behave smoothly, stiffly, and slowly, so its fairly easy to tell they’re not human.

Taboo:

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I don’t even know how to describe this show anymore, as it has gone completely off the deep end, with wild things happening in every episode. But this week’s episode was actually refreshing in that James Delaney’s enemies have finally caught up with him and brought him low. From the jump, James has been three steps ahead of everyone but this episode proves he’s at least not invulnerable or omniscient.

There’s also the added factor that he seems deeply fascinating to many of the women in the narrative. From the little mulatto girl who thinks he’s going to take her to America, to the actress that lives with him and pines for his attention, to his own half-sister Zilpha who, in a fit of cold rage, just killed her boozy, abusive husband.

Zilpha arrives at James house, in the middle of the night, and says she did just as he asked her to do. Since we’ve never heard James express any such sentiment, its no wonder he begins to question her sanity, and if so, is it his fault, although this doesn’t stop the two of them from getting their freak on, after her husband’s funeral. Its not meant to last however, as James, hallucinating that his mother is drowning him, tries to choke Zilpha.

There’s a new player in town, an African man named Chichester, and he’s asking questions about the ship that sank with all hands,  but from  which James conveniently escaped. This is a character who pulls no punches, as he blatantly  taunts the Company men, reminding them at every opportunity that he was once a slave. His investigations into the East India Company’s illegal slave trade prompts them to attack James by burning his newly bought boat. There’s also the matter of some stolen gunpowder that James is attempting to sell to the Americans. So now James has plenty of goods to sell but no way to reach America to sell it.

Brace, James’ houseman, tries to tell him that James’ mother was no saint, but James ain’t hearing none of that, although he does keep having flashbacks to images of his mother trying to drown him. As the tension between all these characters ratchets up, James is starting to lose it, too. He becomes even darker and more violent, biting out a man’s tongue for betraying him, which is saying something, when you consider that, in an earlier episode, he ate part of a guy and cut off another man’s finger. He’s having more hallucinations, too. Is he succumbing to the madness that claimed his father, and that he thinks is claiming his sister?

Later, after recovering from a drunken stupor, he discovers the drowned body of Winter. Did he do this? Is it a setup? We’ll find out. We’ve got two more episodes left and I’ll have a full rundown on the finale when it airs.

 

On a more personal note:

I’m still very fatigued, although a lot less fatigued than I was at the start of the year. Its become my habit to go to bed as early as possible now, which means that a lot of these shows sit on my DVR until the weekend, and that’s what happened with The Expanse and Ash Vs. The Evil Dead. Also, there have been so many new shows, and season premieres, that its just hard to keep up with all of them. I’ve limited myself to reviewing the pilots and premieres only, except for those shows I’ve already been reviewing, like Supernatural, and The Walking Dead.

In March I’ll be reviewing the return of Samurai Jack, in its fifth season; Iron Fist, which I’m not especially enthused about, but hey!, I managed to sit thorough half of Jessica Jones, so how bad could it be; and the return of Into the Badlands, which I will review in the entirety of its second season.

So, TTFN!

Geeking Out About: Brooklyn 99

Brooklyn 99

Today I am  singing the praises of one of my favorite sit-coms, Brooklyn 99. I don’t often watch comedies, because most of them  aren’t particularly funny to me, try too hard, or I just don’t have time for them, and I was not going to watch this one, because I have trouble watching cop shows, (Apparently I can watch cop comedies, I guess.  I loved Reno 911, and thought this might be similar to it. It both is and isn’t.)

Brooklyn 99 is just as ridiculously over the top as Reno 911, but the characters are much more likable, and competent. They’re certainly less raunchy, as this is a Primetime show. The 99’s characters are the kind of people you want to meet and make friends with. The characters from Reno 911 are  much more like  your annoying co-workers, that you’d  like to punch in the  neck. The 99 characters are the kind of people you laugh with and cheer for. The Reno characters are the kind you laugh at, while hoping they don’t  blow anything up. What’s refreshing about Brooklyn 99 is, you start the series with what you think are just a bunch of standard tropes, and gradually, these characters become fleshed out, and more complicated, but not in the usual ways.

This show is also an example of getting diversity right. (Except for the lack of Asians, which it really needs at least one. ) I love the attitudes of the characters. They really do act as if they are a family.

There’s none of the passive-aggressive hostility that passes for humor in other ensemble shows. The characters acknowledge that they are very different from one another, there’s occasional teasing about that, but no one is ever made to feel ashamed of, or less than, for who they are. The only time characters are ever made to feel ashamed, is when they behave badly, and their friends call them on their shit. There’s a general acceptance by the other characters when someone is just a certain way, even if that way is mildly annoying, like Charles Boyle, or in Rosa’s case , occasionally terrifying. The closest you get to meanness in the show is Rosa, but she makes up for it by only kicking the asses of people who mess with her friends, (or inanimate objects that ain’t actin’ right.)

One of the things  I really like about this show is when characters make mistakes, they’re willing to acknowledge they made the mistake, and either apologise, or atone for it. They’re willing to not only  admit when they’ve been foolish, but when they’ve been doubling down on their foolishness too, which is a refreshing change from the real life model of people who actively work at being their worst possible selves. Brooklyn 99 makes me like people, and is a perfect example of how to Grownup.

Here, in some kind of order, are:

Det. Rosa Diaz  (Stephanie Beatriz)

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Rosa is the kind of girl you want to have your back in a fight. If I was arranging a team of people to survive the Zombie Apocalypse, Rosa would be Michonne. She has an appetite for destruction that is awesome. In fact, one of the best birthday presents Gina ever gave her, was a hammer, and some time alone in a soon to be demolished house. According to Rosa it was: The Best Birthday Ever!

Strangers see me like  Rosa, or Captain Holt, depending on their personal anxiety levels. Rosa began the series as a typical anger management case, which is funny when you contrast that with how model pretty she is, and this is part of the show’s charm.The humor comes from the character traits and how various teammates respond to the events in the show. They’re usually involved in some situation that requires them to react, and because their personalities are all so different, you get some spectacularly funny moments. Occasionally the show likes to give us a real treat and put certain personalities together to solve some issue. Hilarity often ensues.

Over the years we find out many surprising things about Rosa, like she’s occasionally intimidated by people too, she used to be a ballet dancer, and  that she was raised by nuns, but when we first meet Rosa she’s beating up a copy machine, with a battering ram, and at first you think she’s just a stereotypical “Spicy Latina”. Thankfully, anger isn’t all there is to her. She’s also honest, forthright, insightful, supportive, loyal, and encouraging to her teammates. Rosa is the shows truth-teller. She specializes in stating uncomfortable truths, and doesn’t shirk from that, even when those truths are about herself.

 

 

Gina Linetti  (Chelsea Perretti)

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If I had to choose someone to be friends with, it would be Gina. She’s that best girlfriend, who always knows where the latest get-togethers are, and how to finagle her way into them. She’s carefree and deeply self involved, but not in a neurotic way, because this is a woman who has realized her fabulousness and is very comfortable with her greatness. The funny thing is, she is pretty fabulous, mostly because she acts like it, and truly believes it. She has a deep and abiding love affair with her phone, through which she receives copious amounts of gossip. She’s also totally  unwilling to let others forget how wonderful she is. Gina is also one of the laziest assistants to ever be in an office. She’s so fabulous however that not only does she not make any secret of this, she is hilariously quite proud of that, (and her interpretive dance skills).

One of the most surprising things,on the show,  is her relationship with Jake, which I truly enjoy. They’ve know each other since they were little children, having grown up in the same neighborhood, and they have one of the best platonic friendships I’ve ever seen on TV. One of my favorite moments is when Jake gives Gina the forehead kiss, as if she were his little sister, and she lets him do it, although she really isn’t affectionate, like that,with anyone else on the show, and I think she’s older than him.

 

Det. Jake Peralta  (Adam Samberg)

Jake Peralta is everybody’s cool best friend (and Charles Boyle would be more than happy to tell you this).

Jake begins the show as an irresponsible, sloppy, childlike character, but you can see his growth over the course of three seasons, as he learns to be honest with himself and others, and even manages to win Amy’s affections, after being so annoying to her at the beginning of the show. Heck he was annoying to me, and definitely to Captain Holt, but I’ve actually grown to like, and even admire  him.He has matured throughout the seasons but not so much that he doesn’t still think that frosting his hair blonde looks really cool.

When I first started watching this show, I was watching it for Andre Braugher, and I initially dismissed Jake as someone I would have to simply tolerate. I thought he’d be the typical White male protagonist who is the center of all the stories, and  everything he did and said, would be treated as gold. But that’s not what happened. Adam Samberg is willing to step aside from time to time, and let the other characters shine, and  teach his character how to grow up. Samberg understands he doesn’t need to be the center of every episode. He’s no William Shatner and that’s refreshing.

Jake always had trouble showing affection, not because he didn’t want people to think he was gay, but because he had father issues, and is still immature enough not to know how to handle affection from others. But he has grown, over the course of the show.

Witness his gradual change of character, as he attempts to become the kind of man who deserves to have someone like Amy, in his life. Jake is still immature, but he genuinely loves Amy, and tries to be the kind of man who can make her happy. Amy’s  love encourages him to want to be a better man. The distinction is subtle but there.  Amy is  the polar opposite of him, and he acknowledges that keeping her with him might require him to act more mature. Jake is also willing to acknowledge his mistakes,  apologize for them, and attempts to do better, not just for Amy, but for all those he considers his friends.

 

 

 

Captain Ray Holt (Andre Braugher)

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Captain Holt is the father figure of The 99. He’s the no-nonsense, emotionally restrained, backbone to the department. Or at least that’s  how it starts. I love the way this character has grown since the beginning of the series. He started out as real hard-case, coming down  hard on Jake, to get him to be more responsible and adult. He has since come to  understand Jake a lot more, understanding that Jake is at his best when he’s allowed to just be himself, realizing his influence over Jake, and he’s even begun to loosen up  just a bit, under Jake’s influence.

Throughout the seasons, we’ve witnessed Holt loosen up a more, finally becoming comfortable with his detectives, and allowing them to see just a little of his silly side, although he would probably be insulted at that description, not having ever believed in, or condoned, silliness or frivolousness, of any kind. At first, I just saw Holt as The Inscrutable Negro, mysterious, and unflappable. Now I really enjoy this character and I’m always eager to see how he’ll surprise me, during an episode by, for example, having an impromptu dance-off with some street thugs.

Over time, Holt has come to admire Jake, and think of him as a son, which is a total turnaround from when they first met. After all, Jake possessed every quality that Holt disdained, and he didn’t believe Jake took his job seriously, but now he’s very proud of Jake and encourages him to do his best. Jake, who spent the earliest part of his life trying to please his absentee father, and never measuring up, has found the perfect father-figure in Holt.

Holt’s team  admires him, and  strive to make him proud of them.  Captain Holt is an out, gay, Black man. His job might care about him being gay, but his team doesn’t, and they are always respectful of his relationship with his husband Kevin, treating the two just  like every other couple on the show.  For example, when Holt wanted to visit Kevin, who was on Sabbatical in France, Amy, Charles, and Jake, volunteer to dogsit the couple’s Corgi,  Cheddar. The humor doesn’t come from “Oh, these gay men have a cute dog.” No, the humor comes from the usual wackiness that ensues because Amy, Charles, and Jake are such different personalities which clash over babysitting Cheddar.

The show doesn’t browbeat you over the head with After School Special moments, though. How Holt handles his sexuality, in an environment where it is much more likely to meet with resistance, is done with grace and dignity. His gayness isn’t the joke. In fact, no one’s race is ever a joke, and no one’s gender is ever used as a joke.

I admire the hell out of this character. Hilariously he’s the character that most people who don’t know me well, see me as. My close friends find that hilarious, btw.

 

Sgt. Terry Jeffords (Terry Crews)

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Terry is like everybody’s fit  uncle. He looks intimidating, but after a while, you find out that Terry is merely extremely health conscious and an actual Teddy Bear. Terry is such a gentle soul, that he has to be carefully talked into using his tremendous strength ,and has deep anxieties about firing a weapon. I love how the show bucks stereotypes of Black men, by having two very intense looking black men, who  are nothing like they first seem.

Terry is a devoted family man who truly, madly, deeply, loves his two twin baby daughters, even though he thinks they are possibly trying to kill him. Known for speaking of himself in the first person, Terry  also loves yogurt, exercise, and his job, which mostly involves wrangling all these different personality types, to focus them on one thing together.Terry is the Peacekeeper. His job is to make sure everybody is getting along and ready to work. He’s strong, encouraging, and always speaks up,and goes to bat, for his people. Captain Holt depends on Terry to run the day to day operations, and considering the types of personalities he has to work with, Terry is doing an excellent job.

 

Det. Amy Santiago

Amy is the girl I was in High School, except I was a lot more snooty. Amy is that best friend , that you hated just a tiny bit, because not only is she smart, organized, and ready, she’s a classic goody-two-shoes, (with just a tiny competitive streak). In fact, I think when that description was created, Amy was who they had in mind.

Amy is an extremely moral and ethical person, who believes in strictly following the rules, and lots and lots of planning. She dislikes how Jake likes to cut corners, or sometimes just wing it. Amy doesn’t wing anything if she can help it. She loves to please people she admires, and will go out of her way to get Captain Holt’s approval, going so far as to cook him a large and tasteless Thanksgiving dinner, or agreeing to babysit his Corgi, Cheddar.  I love Amy because she really is a girl after my own heart. Like me, she is a stickler for prudent planning,  and  loves a nice sized binder of information.

But Amy’s life is so rigidly defined that she needs a little chaos, and that’s where jake comes in. Initially, I think she hated him because Jake is everything she isn’t, but as Jake began to prove his love for her, presenting her with options of when and where to be with him, and then waiting for her to decide, she began to see Jake’s true colors. As I said,

 

Det. Charles Boyle (Joe Lo Truglio)

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Charles is everybody’s favorite grandma and/or best friend. Hes loving , admiring, supportive, encouraging, and Jake’s right hand man, even though Jake didn’t choose him for it. He’s the kind of guy who always has a bowl of candy on his desk to offer to co-workers who are feeling a bit down.

I love Charles because, well…he’s just lovable. Joe Lo Truglio, formerly from Reno 911, is the complete opposite of his character, on that show. On 911 he was a venal, angry drug user, but  Charles is a warm, gracious, polite, foodie, and that you believe this, is a testament to Joe Lo Truglio’s acting skills. Charles is always upbeat and optimistic. He always looks on the bright side of a situation, no matter how horrible that situation may seem to others, like when his best friend, Jake accidentally shot him in the butt, or when his dog died. Charles was the only one capable of seeing the silver lining. He has a tendency to be a floor mat because he always puts others needs before his own. Now that he has a young son, whom he adopted, he has someone at which to throw all his tremendous caring.

He’s very devoted to Jake and I love the show has this depiction of a close m/m friendship without screaming no homo, everytime he and Jake show affection.

 

Det. Adrien Pimento

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Adrien is the newest recurring character at Brooklyn 99. Having suffered an emotional breakdown, after going undercover with some mobsters, Adrien is in a very  fragile emotional state, when he returns to his job as a detective. He’s paranoid and full of anxiety, and definitely suffering from some form of PTSD, but his mental state is never made the butt of the joke, and is not actually connected to his zany behavior. He acts wild, not because of his emotional fragility, but because he is thoroughly lacking in any boundaries, like breaking into Jake’s apartment to do Tai Chi, in his underwear. The humor comes from the reactions of his co-workers, who never have any idea what Adrien might  do next, not from making fun of his emotional state. The show skirts a fine line between acknowledging his emotional disability, and  understanding that it doesn’t necessarily inform  his behavior.

Adrien is definitely what’s known as  Chaotic Good.

Adrien is a good man, which is why the rest of the team accepts him. Also,  he and Rosa develop an intense, frantic, (and inexplicable) attraction to each other, although Adrien  explains, at first, that he’s not capable of having a relationship with her, they do eventually decide to get married.  Rosa seems   okay with Adrien’s unpredictability, and takes most of his decisions  in stride. She never tries to change Adrien, or make him behave, (although when she first met him she called him a freak, that she will only fall in love with). After a while, she just accepts him for the wild card that he is.

Actually, once everyone has gotten used to Adrien, they  just try to work  with him, or around him, for example, Gina is one of the few people Adrien will actually obey, when she tells him to do something, and Charles pretty much loves everyone, when he’s not terrified of them. Over time, the team’s acceptance  and trust starts to heal Adrien’s emotional wounds, and he starts to feel confident enough to form healthier relationships with others.
I’m geeking out about Brooklyn 99 because it’s an example of a show thats getting its humor and diversity right, with smart, funny, well rounded characters. It resumes its fourth season on April 11th, on the Fox network. Go figure!

Taboo : Episode One: Well Yeah, Its Racist! Ableist! And Sexist!

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I have a lot to say about this show, so let’s get started.

This show has been hyped to within an inch of its life, so naturally, I was really excited to see it. It stars Tom Hardy, and a host of other British people I didn’t bother to learn the names of because…ITS FUCKING TOM HARDY!!! And Tom Hardy is one of the few actors that I will  watch read a listicle, naked, while he sits in an empty room.

Now, let me get  this out of the way before I get started reviewing. There was a nasty rumor started about this show before it aired. It basically accused Hardy of racism because, as this one person (and once I researched it, I realized it’s really only been that one person, under a pseudonym, on a gossip website), says that he cast himself in the role of a bi-racial character, and that  the show is full of racist slurs against that character (which is true), and Africans in general.

Now, once this rumor hit Tumblr, it grew legs, and some of the more hysterical members of Tumblr immediately went on about how Hardy should be cancelled, how the posters will hate him forever and ever, and how much they hate the show.  My attitude was they should first research where the rumor came from (because at this point, two days before the show aired, that’s all it was, and a little too convenient for my tastes), wait until the show actually aired to formulate an opinion, and well, the show is set in 1800s England, so yeah there’s gonna be some Africa hatred occurring on the show.

Now, if you’re offended at hearing racial slurs, no matter the time period, I understand, and you should, by all means, not watch shows that will upset you. But just so you know, having racial slurs in a period piece is really just historical verisimilitude, and is no different than watching 12 Years a Slave, or Django Unchained. That is exactly the sort of thing White, English, citizens did very casually in 1814.  If you refuse to watch any period film because you’re sick of hearing racial slurs in movies, then I understand that.

I did watch the episode and here’s what I came away with. None of the racist slurs are aimed at Hardy’s character, but they are said ABOUT him, usually behind his back, and as far as I know, he isn’t a Black bi-racial. His mother’s race is not mentioned, although it is mentioned that his father bought his wife. (Buying a wife was not uncommon in that time period. All women, and not just Black ones, were considered commodities then, and white women were routinely swapped around, for all manner of reasons, like securing business ventures, or gaining someone’s inheritance.

At no point in the narrative is he ever shown as a victim of racism, or as any kind of victim at all, other than of his past and own conscience. This is a character with a lot of power over the people he meets because he’s unpredictable, and no one has any idea what his agenda is. This is also a character who realizes this during the course of the episode.

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The people around him are upset because they thought he was dead, having been killed in Africa. When he returns, he is a very different sort of person, who speaks several Native languages, and talks in obscure metaphors. Also, his father suffered a bout of insanity just before his return, and people think he inherited that, not knowing that the insanity was caused by arsenic poisoning. There are more than a few sexist, and ableist slurs in the dialogue, but that one outraged person, who started the racism rumors, didn’t seem to catch any of those, which are also entirely in keeping with the time period. That was  how people talked and treated those with mental illness at that time. So, I’m gonna warn you, if you don’t want to hear that kind of stuff either, you need to skip this particular show.

I noticed that instead of condemning the show, they condemned the actor for writing  it. There has been  a long argument on Tumblr about how much culpability White actors should bear for  starring in vehicles with racist  narratives, or taking roles that could have gone to PoC. I try to take that on a case by case basis. This is not a defense of Tom Hardy, though. This is a defense of the show. If it turns out to actually be problematic in ways I can’t bear, then I’ll will stop watching it.

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So far, I’ve enjoyed what I’ve seen of it, and   will be watching it, on the regular. It’s a gorgeous, dark, gritty show, but not as bad as Game of Thrones, although there is what I thought of as a gratuitous sex worker scene. I was expecting to really get into the characters, but was surprised to find the political intrigue very compelling.

Hardy plays a man named James Delaney, who returns after a long sojourn in Africa and being thought dead.  In the meantime, his sister and her husband, have  inherited everything, including a parcel of land their father owned in America. It’s a huge surprise when James shows up at his father’s funeral. In competition for the parcel of land is one of the most evil corporations to ever exist out of England: The East India Company.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/04/east-india-company-original-corporate-raiders

One of the former members of The East India Company, now haggling for his plot of land,  used to be in charge of a military regiment in which James was also a cadet, before he began acting strangely. Like Colonel Kurtz from Apocalypse Now, he had an exemplary career. He was the perfect soldier, until he had an attack of conscience, after finding out exactly  what he was working for. He spent the next two years whoring, drinking, attacking his own officers, and generally corrupting his brother cadets, until getting lost in Africa. I had the impression he was more haunted by his past actions, as a soldier for the East India Company, than anything that happened to him in Africa.

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The first episode is mostly spent in establishing exactly what James’ relationship is to various people. His sister is really his half sister, and they used to have an intimate relationship. It’s strongly suspected that she had a son by him, that neither of them  can acknowledge. James’ father went insane just before his return and embarrassed the family. James has his father’s body exhumed, by a Resurrectionist, and discovers his father was poisoned with arsenic. His sister’s husband hates him and is plotting his death because he stands in the way of the land inheritance, that he and his wife desperately need for the money. The English government desperately wants that plot of land as the British/ French/American war comes to a close, the land is strategically viable, and James refuses to sell it.

James appears to have superpowers, of some kind, as he keeps knowing stuff he’s not supposed to know, like his father dying. When one character says his father kept calling for him before he died, James says he knows because he heard him, which is creepy, no matter what he means by that phrase. Does he employ spies or is he psychic?  Everybody in the cast has secrets. Even their secrets have secrets and there’s just enough information parceled out to keep the viewer strung along.

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The cinematography is gorgeous. The skies are cloudy all the time, everything is dark and gloomy and covered in dirt, including the people, which is exactly how I like my stereotypes of Historical England. James wears a giant Beaver Hat for the entirety of the episode. Its almost like another character on the show. I wonder if the hat will get some lines of dialogue. he talks in a dark gravelly voice, sort of like a Victorian Batman, and everything is just dark, and grim, and darkgrim. Even that Mad Max movie had sunshine and people occasionally laughed at something. Nobody looks as if they’re enjoying themselves, but all this does is remind me that the past was waaay more horrible then the modern world, which actually makes me feel a little bit better.

So far, I’m in!

Oh, and here’s the review that sparked the rumor on Tumblr! (Out of all the possible reviews about this show!) I dont agree with a lot of it, and parts of the review were hilarious, but you can decide for yourself. Is the show racist? Is Tom Hardy?

TV Review: Tom Hardy’s ‘Taboo’ on FX

Critique Roundup

Here’s a selection of Pop Culture readings for the week of January 9th. Not all of these were written this month, or even this year. They’re just a selection of posts I’ve come across while researching my favorite topics.

*Tarantino Speaks Out: Police Brutality vs. Cinematic Violence

POSTED ON JAN 5 BY

 

*Horror Movies, Why We Love [Some of] Them

POSTED ON JAN 2 BY

 

*Here are some ads that make me irrationally angry

Amanda Rosenberg

*White Feminist Critiques of Rogue One and the Erasure of Race

*Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Where Are The Women Of Color?: On Marvel’s Problems With Race

Melanin Monroe

*The Dragnet Effect: How TV Has Obscured Police Brutality

In the most influential police procedural ever, even Joe Friday, America’s archetypal “good cop,” was blind to the problem.

CONOR FRIEDERSDORF

*What to do when you’re not the hero any more

BYLAURIE PENNY

Shadowhunters and Beyond

So, I watched the series called Beyond. I’ve only seen the pilot episode, even though the rest of the series is on Hulu. Here’s what I thought of the pilot:

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The lead character, Holden, lapses into a coma and wake up 12 years later. I was a little put out at the depiction of the coma, as it was one of those fairy-tale,  Hollywood type comas, where the victim becomes more and more lovely, as they sleep. When he wakes up its considered a miracle but at least they discuss how he didn’t have any muscular atrophy. The doctors still don’t know why he was in a coma, and frankly, I’m a little confused by it too, but maybe it was explained, and I just wasn’t paying close enough attention. The doctors try to keep him in the hospital, but his mamma ain’t having that. She’s taking her boy home, where his room is exactly the way the family left it twelve years ago, which is really, really, sad.

He has a younger brother, who is now an adult and in college. We saw him talking to his younger brother at the top of the episode, saying he’d be right back, which we all know is a jinx, and you should never say that to anyone you love on TV, or in movies. I’m glad they show his brother still loves him, instead of the cliche of showing him to be an epic shit, and being mad at his brother for being in a coma. There are also some touchingly awkward scenes with him talking with his family around the dinner table, and showing how they coped with his absence. Its interesting that his Mom became super-religious, which I kinda liked because that’s the kind of thing a real-life person would do.

None of this is played for angst, and most of the characters react with genuine joy at his reappearance. The show is not especially heavy in the emotion department, which I kind of liked, although Holden rarely changes facial expressions anyway, mostly spending all of the episode looking deeply confused, which is understandable at losing twelve years of your life.

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There are a few moments where we are shown how the world has moved on without him since the nineties, like his confusion about the Apple Store and actual apples, or how his little brother knows how to drive and he doesn’t, but the show doesn’t dwell too much on this type of thing before the government assassins plot kicks in, and there’s all kinds of superpowers, mysterious women who know too much about him, and old friends who aren’t actually friends. The focus of the plot is his developing superpowers, the mystery of the coma, and  what the government wants with him, as its strongly implied that it was the government’s fault, along with the idea that he might not be human.

There are a lot of tropes and cliches, like the secret government agents stuff, and the token black friend, but its surprisingly not a bad show. Its not breaking any new ground, its not being edgy, or really doing anything that about a hundred other shows have done since the X-Files, but it is a very pretty show. The lead actor needs to have some acting lessons, but that’s true of any show involving very young actors, with people having conversations where they stare intensely into each other’s eyes and talk about the plot.

One detraction from the show is that the music is uniformly awful, which  is saying something coming from me, who likes  damn near any kind of music that has coherent sounds, while still managing to be picky about it. I mean, really, the music just was the worst kind of loud, obnoxious Emo-Rock, and I hope it calms down some for the rest of the series.

This series has an interesting introduction. The entire first season is available on Hulu and I’ll watch all of it at some point, but its also available on the FreeForm website (which used to be called the Family Network), and also showing on regular broadcast TV, one episode at a time. So the idea of releasing a series to multiple platforms is really whats revolutionary about this show, and I hope that technique is successful. If it is, then other shows will do this too, and people can choose the method of watching a show that best suits them, as not everyone can stream stuff, even if they do have the internet, and some people don’t want to have cable.

 

Shadowhunters:

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Yay!!!  I watched my first episode of Shadowhunters. Normally, the episodes would be aired on Hulu the day after, but I missed all of them. They had all expired by the time I remembered this piece of info. ,so I watched John Doe instead.

Since I came in in the middle of this, I’m not entirely sure whats going on. While one  of the Shadowhunters, Jace,  has been kidnapped and tortured by some bad guys, the rest of the cast, who are ostensibly the good guys, despite really bad body tattoos, spend the rest of the episode wondering what happened to him. This includes his friend, brother, cousin, (I’m not sure what,) named Alec, and Alec’s boyfriend, Magnus Bane, who is already a favorite of mine, because he’s played by Harry Shum Jr., and has some bitchin’ facial hair. I don’t think Magnus is a Shadowhunter because the other hunters kinda treat him indifferently, and he always looks like he wants to choke the shit out of one  of them.

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At any rate, I watched the entire episode and didn’t see too many shadows being hunted, but I wasn’t bored, so that’s a plus. I was fascinated by the acting, which isn’t bad, but like most such shows, isn’t Emmy winning. The plot isn’t especially deep either. It seemed more like a soap opera, than a paranormal fantasy series. This is one of those shows where people look wonderful, with luxurious hair, t dress in magnificently rich clothing, and stand around having earnest conversations with each other about their feelings. I didn’t mind that so much because it gave me a chance to get to know the character’s relationships a little better.

 

The series itself is based on some books I’ve never read, by the author Cassandra Clare, who writes Teen Paranormal books. The series of books is called The Mortal Instruments. I’m not a fan of Ms. Clare but the show is okay. Its got some nice representation, and like most of these types of shows its got a faintly sarcastic, cheesy flavor.  I blame Buffy the Vampire Slayer for that. I don’t know how close a resemblance the show has to the books either, but since I don’t actually like any of Ms. Clare’s books, the show is probably better. it certainly looks much more interesting than the books.

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I  wanted to watch this show because gifs for this series keep showing up on my Tumblr dash. The guys on here are  really cute, and it stars Harry Shum, and that black guy from those surreal Old Spice ads, Isaiah Mustapha, who plays a hard ass werewolf. You can tell that Magnus Bane, who is a sorcerer, is the edgy semi-villain because he wears lots of eye makeup and leather jackets. But I missed the part where Mustapha’s character, Lucien Grey,  turned into a wolf, because there wasn’t much of him in this episode, so I kinda felt that I wasted some of my time, but not all of it because Harry Shum tears it up as Bane.This show was perfect for evening viewing, as cuteness is about all I can handle in a show, right about now. Yeah, I will probably watch this next week. Its no rival to Westworld, or The Walking Dead, but its kinda fun and mostly inoffensive.

I did watch the new episode of Sherlock and I’ll get to that sometime next week, along with Emerald City, a show I was not intending to watch, but I think Florence Kasumba, (from Captain America: Civil War,) is in it, and I’m curious as to who she is, and what she’s doing.

State of the Onion:TV

Whoa! I’m very behind this week, but it’s okay, I’m not panicking, as I’ve gotten a lot of other things done  like charity work, and sometimes, sleep. I also have some holiday time to look forward to.  I sometimes have to remind myself that my  reviews won’t be obsolete just because I waited a week. Here’s a list of shows I’m actually paying attention to, some that I’m sort of paying attention to, and some that I’m not. At least one of these shows I’m  actively in hate of (and I bet you can guess which one.)

American Horror Story : Chapter 8


In last week’s episode, the killing continued with the deaths of Shelby and Dominic.  It turns out that Lee is still alive and in the clutches of the Polks. It’s no accident that Lee and the Polks are the main story this evening, and no accident that we’re seeing a middle class Black woman being consumed by these very working class (or below) White villains. There’s a message in there I’ll have to parse at a later date. Anyway, Lee manages to get free by seducing and manipulating one of the younger Polks, who has become attracted to her. Humanizing herself to the him was a good tactic, getting him to see her as a human being, rather than just meat, and this helped her to escape.

But before that, as he was filming her, she confessed in a video she wanted sent to her daughter, that she killed her husband Mason, because he threatened to take sole custody of their daughter. I was more than a little shocked at this revelation, as she swore up and down she didn’t do it, and that was part of her reason for coming back to the Haunted house, and being on the show. She kept filming because she wanted to control her own story, and I believed her. See what I mean about my complete inability to speculate about a show’s plot. 

In the meantime, Audrey and Monet are being tortured by the other Polks, but Monet manages to free herself. She runs off, leaving Audrey behind, but Audrey is saved by Lee, who kills Mama Polk during the event.  Back at the house, Shelby and Dominic are in a panic, after watching Agnes be killed by the Butcher, and they try escaping through the tunnels under the house, but get chased back through the house by all the entities that have come out during the Blood Moon. The Japanese ghosts, the Pig- headed Man, and the nurses stalk them through the house, and a chandelier falls on Shelby’s leg. 

Later, distraught at the fact that she killed her husband, Shelby, in a fit of grief, slits her throat,  while Dominic watches helplessly. When Audrey and Lee return to the house, Lee is horrified to discover Matt’s body in the basement, and Audrey is equally horrified to find Shelby’s body. Naturally, she makes it all about herself. Neither of them believe Dominic’s story of what happened, thinking that he killed everyone. They exile him to the non-existent mercy of the Ghosts, and the Pig Man kills him while he screams outside the door. I was kind of rooting for Shelby. I thought for sure she’d be a survivor. If not her then Lee. But since Monet is in the wind, it might turn out to be her, instead.

Audrey and Lee decide it’s time to go. They attempt to leave, but encounter a “fake” Pig Man at the front door. One of Sydneys assistants,who has no idea that nearly everyone is dead.  Now, they have to try to convince any of the crew left alive that all of these deaths happened, and that it’s too dangerous to stay. 

We’ve got about two more episodes left, so we know that the ending is going to be a bit drawn out. We won’t find out who lived, or if anyone lived, until the final episode, so I suppose we have more running and screaming to look forward to.

Supergirl:


 I’m still sort of watching this. I like the queer representation going on in the show. At least that’s different, as a lot of very popular shows don’t have any. I do wish there were more WoC on the show, though. (Why won’t Hollywood hire Latinas and Asians? Really it’s becoming extremely obvious that they’re being really weird about it?) The action is pretty good. The actress playing Supergirl starts to grow on you after a bit. I dont think I’m ever gonna really like her but she’s less annoying to me than before. 

The surprising break out character for me was Cat. I really thought I’d hate this character, and yes, she is an asshole, but I like how she stans for Kara, gives her good advice, and tolerates none of her flibberty nonsense, which is exactly the kind of female in Kara’s  life that she needs. Cat’s tough on her because she cares and knows she can do better, not just because she’s a mean ol’ witch, who likes yelling at people. I think her new male boss at the newspapaer is kinda the same way. He is a pusher, who doesn’t coddle her, but will back her up when needed.

 This week Kara got her first real news story published and  I was really happy for her. I caught myself smiling at my TV. I see why people like this show, as it has lots of positive moments,and sometimes some afterschool special life lessons, which are eyeballrolling for me, but good for people in general, I guess. I’m never against positive things just because they’re positive.

The show needs to work on its plotlines though, because every genre show, that has ever existed, has done a fight club episode, but I like how Kara makes a friendly overture to her cultural enemy at the end of the episode. It’s a nice message about being a mature, and tolerant  person.


The Flash:


I’m really starting to like this show, now. I know why I ignored it for so long. I didn’t have time to watch it.  Now, I just record it, and watch it later, because I’m not reviewing it. I see why people like it. The villains are interesting, it’s got good action scenes, and special effects, but most importantly, the relationships between the characters are compelling and most of them are positive. I like that the  characters actually talk to one another to solve their problems, rather than acting cold, snarky,and snappish to indicate their displeasure.Its easy to tell who the villains are, until you find out, through some mature insight and tolerance, that maybe they’re not the villain, which is kinda cool. In other words, people act like grown folks, most of the time.  This is much the same formula as Supergirl. I see what DC is trying to do here, trying o make all their shows seem like they happen in the same universe, by giving them the same flavor and formulas. 

This week Caitlin Snow was going through some angsty shit with her mom because she has developed superpowers. Apparently, this is something that’s going around, like a virus. I kinda got into it a bit because I kept yelling at the two of them for being such asshats to each other, after Caitlin’s father died. They both handled their grief badly, and then blamed each other for it. Barry raced around trying to find a holographic monster, but the emphasis was mostly on his relationship with his irritating co-worker, who doesn’t like him. Barry is one of those people who really needs to be liked, and that’s an interesting character trait for a superhero to have, as he spends a lot of time brokering peace between squabbling individuals.

I love Iris, Joe, and Wally, and I’m glad Iris isn’t just some lone Black woman,  floating in a sea of Whiteness, although I do wish there was more of a community of Black people on the show, sort of like how Agents of Shield centers Robbie Reyes’ life around his community. He hangs with, and knows, people in his neighborhood, you see him and his brother out and about, and people know the two them.  It’s not that I want The Flash to be all Black people, all the time, but one of the problems we run into when White people write PoC, is that the PoC never seem to come from a community of people similar to them. They don’t have extended families, or other Black people that know them. All it takes is a throwaway line here and there, or a few phone calls back home, to indicate they live in a wider world, of aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.

Then I remember that the vast majority of white people don’t ever see us in our communities. Their personal encounters with us usually involve one or two Black people, who are just sort of floating through their life, without family or friends attached, so White people tend to reproduce that exact same narrative when they write PoC, especially Latinos, and Asians. (Y’all know there no such thing as a lone Latinx. You know they got fam.)

I’m still not sure how to feel about it when Joe calls Iris and Barry his kids, and I’m reminded that Iris and Barry grew up in the same house. That feels a little weird to me, although since the two of them are completely unrelated, I can find no objection, other than me feeling odd about it.

Agents of Shield:


I’m totally geeking out over the Ghost Rider storyline. I’ve only just started watching the show this season after a disastrous first. I see why people love Daisy, as I’m starting to really like her. When the show started, the only character I could regularly stand was May. Melinda May has always been my best girl and and I hope Robbie becomes a more permanent member of Shield, even though Melinda would like to kick his ass. I love his relationship with his brother (family is important to me, too) and I was on the edge of my seat when he revealed what he was to  Gabriel, this week. I was completely whiteknuckling that scene. 

I love how television presents more nuanced versions of teenagers, probably because the writers are younger.  Movies usually settle for the cliched, sullen, whining, and utterly selfish, teen. I’ve never met any teenagers like that. All the ones I’ve met, as an adult, have been fascinating, with interesting things to say, once you get them talking. I think that cliche says more about how the writers think about teenagers, than how teenagers actually are, and I love the way Gabriel is written, on the show, as he reminds me of teenagers I’ve actually met. He obviously loves his brother, and is generally positive around Robbie, probably as a way of anchoring him, and alleviating Robbie’s guilt, over what happened to them. See? That’s how you write a teenager. 

I could do without the persecuted mutants,  X-Men/Inhumans style storyline, though. I’m really tired of racial allegories, at this point, so I haven’t been paying a lick of attention to that part of the plot. I’ve been mostly enjoying the special effects, the characters relationships, and just not thinking too deeply about the plot line.

What?! I’m waay too old and tired to get  heavily worked up about the plot of every single show I’m watching. 

Channel Zero:

I stopped watching this. I tried picking it back up, and watching it again, but my mind just wasn’t into it. I don’t think I’m in the right mindset for the kind of ominous, slow burner, type of show like this. I just end up falling asleep on them.

From Dusk Til Dawn:


This show has really gotten back to the basics this season. It’s been a lot of fun, with a plot just heavy enough to be interesting, and compelling, without being too intricate and boring. I love it that the Gecko brothers are fighting side by side this season, so we’re getting a lot of brotherly lovehate, hatelove. And yeah, they literally are fighting side by side, as the action scenes are the best part of this season. I don’t care for the villain too much. But at least she found a goal this week, of putting her real body back together, so that she can open he gates of Hell, or something. At the beginning of the season, she seemed kind of purposeless. Its cliched, but I love this Gecko Brothers save the world stuff.

 The show seems to have found its groove, with just the right mix of zaniness, and seriousness. The addition of Tom Savini, as a demon hunter from Xibalba, seems to have added just the right element of crazy to the storyline. I’ll be sure to give you guys the lowdown on whether or not this season’s finale is any good. It’s coming up soon.

The Strain:


I know there’s a contingent of twenty somethings on Tumblr, that seemingly hate all of Pop Culture, and I don’t wanna be that person. Even if they don’t hate it, they seemingly find little to like about it, and I’m just not like that. I try to be positive on here, and mostly lightweight, and informative. I also  grew up having no choice but to try to mine what goodness I could out of Pop Culture, and to appreciate that it was being made at all.

I suppose its a good thing that we have so much television geekery to choose from, that we can afford to be picky and contentious, to make demands that suit us. Since I was a geekgirl before the internet, and there was precious little to choose from, I’m just not where they are mentally, so it can be hard for me to relate to their many, many, many, concerns. But am I really that different from them?

I think that if this show had been on the air twenty, or thirty years ago, I would think it was the absolute shit. But I guess I can afford to talk smack about this show, because there’s so much else to choose from and the stuff I can choose to watch is so much better than this, that I can get snarky about it. Also I just like making fun of the show. It hones my snark skills.

Now I have heard that season four is this show’s last season, and that the shortening of the season to only ten episodes has  tightened its plot, somewhat. So that’s not an issue. My issue is character motivations that are really just plot points and don’t seem to derive from actual characterization. People simply do what it’s convenient in the plot for them to do, and I do like some character consistency, even when I have to do the headcanons myself. Also the acting on this show is really dodgy. It’s gotten to the point where I just hate Zack whenever I see him. He is, arguably, a worse actor than that little boy from the Phatom Menace, and that’s saying something.

Normally, I’d just ignore shows like this, but I had a lot of  hopes for it, and I’ve been very disappointed. The show just aired the last episode of its third season, and every moment I watched it, I found some new fuckery to be pissed off about, including its final moments. On the other hand, I don’t need to be raising my blood pressure over a TV show. If it is the last season, next year, I’m going to have to give considerable thought to watching, or ignoring it, based on whatever else is airing at that time. We’ll see.

 

Legends of Tomorrow:


I’ve  come across people who inexplcaby hate this show. I don’t find that the show is weighty enough to spend that level of energy on. This is really the lightest of lightweight shows, that’s not trying to be anything more than what it claims to be, which is fun entertainment, with occasional positive messages. The substance of this show is as ephemeral, and calorie-free, as cotton candy, and  I love it just for that reason. It’s got pretty people, kicking ass, and cracking jokes. I can sit and enjoy the characters interacting with each other, the plot’s not deep enough to give me angst, and they just added another of my favorite characters to the crew, Vixen. She is awesome! I love how they show her superpowers, too.

Last week’s episode was some lightweight fluff about some of the crew getting trapped in Feudal Japan. The plot was silly and didn’t make one ounce of sense, but I enjoyed it anyway, because apparently,  I’ll watch damn near anything,  if it’s set in Feudal Japan.

This week was a little heavier with Jackson and Maya visiting the Civil War era. Jackson makes the point to the Professor that there’s no moment in American history where he would’ve fit in, when he suggests that Jackson stay on the ship, to avoid the trauma.  At one point Jackson and Maya have to stand and watch a slave woman be whipped, and are utterly helpless to stop it, or they would jeopardize all of history, and they have to sneak onto a plantation disguised as slaves, and Jackson gets beaten by a bully. I think  the show handled this as sensitively as it possibly could considering it’s on the CW. I suppose the writers could’ve chickened out and avoided this era entirely as they have all of history to choose from , but it’s okay. The show doesn’t usually get this heavy.  

Here’s another show with yet another male/male friendship that I adore. I love how the writers have built on the relationship between Martin and Jackson, the two characters who make up the superhero Firestorm. Martin genuinely cares about Jackson’s feelings, and Jackson seems to be learning some valuable life skills from the old gentleman. These two guys couldn’t be anymore different in lifestyle and outlook, and I like how the writers took an intitially antagonistic relationship, in that first season, (Jackson resented having to share a Firestorm with Martin), and transformed it into an actual, caring, friendship between the two.  I’ve been a Firestorm fan since I was a kid and I’m glad the show has decided to go with the black version of this character, as I remember reading those books. 

There were also Confederate zombies, so…make of that what you will. There are very few eras of history that cannot be made more interesting with the addition of Romero style zombies.

Plus, Vixen was on the show! She’s also going to be on the show this Thursday and…get this! probably the following Thursday, too! Whoop whoop!

The Exorcist:

Yeah, I just stopped watching this. I’m not too good with shows about possession, I guess. The shows either get too heavy, too religious, or I get bored with all the ponderous omens, and actors whispering in dark corners. I stopped watching Outcast on Cinemax for the same reason.  I think its because these types of shows are trying too hard to be scary, or trying too hard to be the second coming of The Omen from 1972. In this case this show is trying really hard to recreate that ominous feeling of the original movie, and as I’ve stated before, I’d rather just watch the original movie.

“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.

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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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. 

The Final Girls (2015)

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Normally, I plan my Horror movie reviews,  for October, well in advance of Halloween, but this one surprised me. I’d never heard of it until a few days ago. I originally confused this movie with another movie about serial killers, with the same title, called Final Girl, which was released the same year. Final Girl is also a comedy but the two movies are very different.

The Final Girls is a rather broad parody of serial killer movies from the eighties, with all their various tropes, specifically the  Friday the 13th movies, and  the movie Sleepaway Camp. There’s also some elements of the Scream  movies. Some modern day teenagers get trapped in an eighties horror movie and have to try to survive to the end of it. To that end, they use their knowledge of horror movies, in general ,and the specific horror movie they’ve landed in, to try to navigate their way through the movie. Nothing goes as planned.

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About 25 years ago, Max’s actress mother, Amanda, starred in a horror movie called Camp Bloodbath, and can’t seem to live it down, as she’s having difficulty finding other roles. After one such audition, Max and Amanda are involved in a car crash and Amanda’s mother dies. Three years later, Max is still grieving for her, but has some new friends, and a crush on a guy named Chris.

All of them get invited to a special screening of her mother’s old movie and its new sequel, Camp Bloodbath II. When the theater catches fire, Max, Chris, her best friend Gertie, a bitchy girl named Vicki, and Gertie’s stepbrother, Duncan,  try to escape the fire by tearing their way through the movie screen, only to find themselves stuck in the movie. Duncan is an expert on serial killer movies and Camp Bloodbath specifically. One of the funniest moments is them sitting by the side of the road, trying to figure out where they are, and if they are indeed, in a movie.

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In a moment of prime surreality, Max meets her actress mother, years before she became her Mom, as the nice girl stereotype named Nancy. Max spends the rest of the movie trying  to save Amanda’s life, even though on some level she knows these aren’t real people. Its a bittersweet moment, as you can tell that seeing her mother alive and well again is having a real effect on Max. She tries to advise and guide her without telling her that she’s Amanda’s  unborn daughter.

The Camp counselors consist of the usual throwaway characters including a randy horndog, named Kurt, who everyone thinks is disgusting, except for the girls in the Bloodbath movie. There’s Tina, the camp sexpot, and the actual Final Girl of Camp Bloodbath, Paula. The Black guy of course, is killed almost immediately. Since one of the rules of serial killer movies is that whoever has sex dies, the  modern crew spend most of the movie trying to keep what characters they can from having sex. After Duncan gets killed, they learn that their own lives are fodder for the killer, named Billy.

Billy is played as a straight killer, in the mold of Jason rather than Freddie, with much the same backstory.  We learn this when the modern day teens get caught in a flashback, within the movie, in the movie (and believe they’ve gone colorblind.) Billy  doesn’t crack jokes, or cackle menacingly. He’s actually pretty terrifying, really, which just makes the movie funnier, as no one takes him as seriously as they should with Duncan deciding he wants a selfie with him.

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One of the funniest moments, for me, is when they put Tina in restraints, kitchen mitts, and extra clothing to keep her from having sex or taking her clothes off. Tina, who is best classified as a very dim bulb, doesn’t understand any of it. Bless her heart! At one point, Vicki tries to explain  that her cellphone is actually a  phone, and Tina just laughs at her.

When Paula gets killed, they decide to take matters into their own hands. Without Paula to be the Final Girl,  they elect Max as the only virgin. Her job is to kill Billy just like in the original film. Killing Billy is probably the only way they can escape the movie. So they lure Billy to the camp by using Tina as bait, by allowing her to take off her clothes, and booby trapping the entire house. During Billy’s siege of the camp, most of the other characters get killed. Only Chris, Nancy and Max escape, and Chris is wounded, when Billy kidnaps Nancy.

Max is desperate to save Nancy and goes after her . She manages to free Nancy but is wounded in the attempt. In order for there to be a Final Girl, one of the girls must die, though. Nancy sacrifices herself but not before Max confesses to her that she is the movie counterpart to her late mother. Now, as the Final Girl, Max has the superpowers to defeat Billy. After killing him with his own machete, she wakes up in the hospital to find all her friends are alive again, but unfortunately, they are all now  stuck in the sequel.

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I had a lot of fun watching this movie. I loved the dialogue, the sight gags, all of it. I especially liked the character’s relationships with each other. Normally these types of movies are full of people you are hoping will be killed, but with the exception of Kurt, who is kinda “rapey”, and thereby disgusting, most of them are sweet, but not too bright. Even the modern characters, while snarky, are not actually mean, and some of them even make fun of which stereotypes they are, with Vicki making cracks about being the “mean girl”. I laughed the hardest at some of the throwaway lines the modern teens lobbed at the movie teens, who were too dim to understand.

I especially liked Max’s relationship with Nancy. The two of them spend some amount of time bonding, and you can see all of Max’s grief and longing, when she talks to Nancy, while  trying not to reveal who she is.  Nancy asks her, a couple of times, why she cares about her so much, and Max stutters to come up with a reason for why she’s attached herself to this girl. I like that the women aren’t just sexy floor lamps. They affect the plot as much as they can, considering their circumstances, and manage to contribute a lot of one-liners to the discussion. The movie teens have no idea how funny they are. They play it completely straight, while the modern teens are deliberately snarky, because they can’t believe the situation they’re in.

 

There are several girls in the movie and they all  talk to each other, support each other when they can, and are largely non-judgmental about one another. For example, no one considers Tina’s cat-in-heat behavior, to be at all remarkable. They just take it in stride that she’s gonna try to hump anything that moves, and/or take her clothes off. They try to stop that because it attracts Billy, not because they judge her as being bad.

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The modern teens are surprisingly intelligent, and some of the funniest moments is watching them come up with a plans to defeat the movie they’re trapped in, but it doesn’t matter because, according to the laws of teen killer movies, there can be only one survivor, so everyone keeps having horrible accidents, as the movie attempts to correct itself.

This strongly reminded me of the movie Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, as it has much of the same kind of silly, slapstick humor.  The kind of humor that’s  not predicated on people being bitchy or unlikable. As an example, I give you Grizzly Park, which is a movie about a bear, hunting and killing teenagers, at a summer camp. The people in that movie, are quite possibly some of the most unlikable characters I’ve ever watched  in a movie, and at some point, I wished all of them would hurry up and be mauled by the bear, so the movie could end. I watched that movie with my Mom, an old veteran of these kinds of movies, and even she cheered for the bear.

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And it was very refreshing to watch a movie made in 2015, where you care about the people being killed. Ordinarily, the killer seems to be the focus of any  movies made after Scream, and you root for  him, or the people he’s killing are so annoying that you pray for their deaths. And its also quite a contrast to movies made in the 80’s, where the teens seemed to like each other. Teens were annoying in the movies back then, and the movies were deeply sexist, but the teens weren’t bad people, and I didn’t spend the movie wishing for them to die.

Since I saw this on a family oriented network, I can assume its mostly safe for teens, but not for little kids under a certain age maybe, as there is a certain amount of gore, language, and sexual situations.

This movie was a surprise like for me, as I wasn’t expecting it to be so good, and I’m adding it to my comedy/ horror list, along with Tucker and Dale, Shaun of the Dead , and The Addam’s Family.

Train to Busan (2016)

I was wowed by this movie. This is one of the best zombie movies Ive seen all year. If you like The Walking dead and the Dawn of the Dead remake, you will like this movie. Once it gets started, and it gets started almost right away, it doesn’t let up til the end.

Now lets get this out of the way. The movie contains fast zombies. They run,  twitch, growl and scream. So if you don’t like fast zombies, or hated 28 Days later, you can probably skip this. It also has a young child, and teenagers, who are constantly in danger. If you have trouble watching that sort of thing (sometimes I do) then  I’m going to suggest skipping this, or watching this with a great deal of caution.

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This is a harrowing movie, and every bit the movie that World War Z should have been, with some great setpieces. I got so attached to these characters, so fast, and spent several breathless moments wishing for their safety. Its been a while since I’ve been scared during a zombie movie, but this one is very effective. The zombies sense by sight, so there are more than a few suspenseful moments when the train passes through long tunnels,  and it gets dark enough the zombies can’t sense the passengers, who find several ingenious ways to get past them in the train cars, like crawling above them along the luggage racks. You have to see this movie for the passengers as much as the zombie action.

Seon-Woo is a busy manager, who doesn’t seem to have much time for his daughter, so decides to take her to see her mother in Busan. During their trip by train, there’s a zombie breakout, the train is quickly overcome and Seon and his daughter spend most of the movie fighting their way through the train, off that train, onto another train, escaping a crashed train. Basically, its trains all the way there.

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Seon is accompanied on this harrowing expedition by several people including a tough workman named Sang-hwa, a character I totally fell in love with, and his very pregnant wife,  an elder businessman, who is a complete asshole because every zombie movie has to have at least one, a homeless man who followed the other passengers  when they got off the train, and attached himself to Seon and his daughter, and the teenage members of a baseball team. Yes, they get to use their bats during a crucial scene.

I really enjoyed the message and characterizations in this movie. Earlier in the movie Seon had an opportunity to help Sang, and didn’t. Later Seon gets called on his behavior by his daughter, who questions why they aren’t helping others, and  that’s not nice. When Sang meets up with Seon, he continues to give him shit for what he did to him and his wife, needling him for his selfishness.

Seon becomes more selfless as the movie progresses. The parallel with the villainous businessman is not lost on the viewer. In the beginning Seon’s focus is more on saving himself and his daughter, but he comes to care for others besides himself. This is not true of the selfish businessman, who is really just kind of a  cartoon villain. He throws people to their deaths, leaves others behind to be eaten, and at one point, he screams a rant at a teenage girl, and  gets the other train passengers to turn on Seon, and his little crew of survivors.

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The movie is filled with touching moments of bravery and sacrifice. I rooted for Sang through most of the movie and wished he’d been the focus of the film, as Seon is a rather bland character, but that was the point, I think. Sang is brave and selfless from the moment we see him,  fighting the zombies hand to hand to save the life of his wife, unborn child, and other passengers. At one point using his own body as a break against the zombies invading one of the train cars.

Seon  has the greatest character arc, though. The kind of man who has nothing but contempt for the homeless, at one point, goes out of his way to save that man’s life, he fights side by side with Sang, goaded by Sang’s needling of his selfish behavior, when they first met, and goes toe to toe with the villainous businessman. Along the way his goal becomes making his daughter proud of him.

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The only problem is that in the world of the zombie,  none of this selflessness comes without a price, and selfishness doesn’t pay off too well, either. One of the most tearful moments was when a teenage boy gets bitten, and instead of leaving him, his girlfriend chooses to stay by his side, as he dies. She knows that when he turns, she’ll die, but she makes that sacrifice because she doesn’t want him to die alone, and he was bitten while saving her life.There’s a similar scene in the Dawn of the Dead remake, but in that movie, its much less effective. What starts as a train full of people finally gets whittled down to the villain, Sang’s pregnant wife, Seon, and Seon’s daughter.

The action is fast and frenetic, and the only quiet moments are at the beginning of the movie, or when the zombies get quiet, but that’s not much consolation because the tension  just ratchets up during those moments. I can’t list all the great moments in this movie.

Now, its a zombie movie so there’s plenty of gore, and if you have anxiety issues, you may want to watch this in bits and pieces because it doesn’t ease up very much. It clocks in at two hours but its so fast paced that it just doesn’t feel that long.

I’m fully prepared to call this the best zombie movie of 2016, and its definitely going on my favorites list. This is an excellent choice for a Halloween Zombie marathon.

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.

Eight Legged Freaks (2002)

Alright everybody! We’re going into  his review with the following information: I am an arachnophobe. I practice this talent every Spring and Summer, and I’m really good at panic attacks, expert at searching parking garage  ceilings for spiderwebs, and freaking the hell out, when a spider is large enough for me to see it with my naked eyeballs.

Neverthelsess, I do watch movies about spiders. I don’t seem to have a problem with really, really giant spiders. In fact, there’s no fear, the larger, and furrier, the spider is. (Tarantulas are kinda cool. ) Apparently it’s only spiders of a certain size that I don’t like. That said, I really enjoyed Eight Legged Freaks. It combines two of my favorite topics, chills and laughs, and does a pretty good job. Basically, you can watch this movie, even if you’re scared of spiders.

Eight Legged Freaks was released at a time when a lot of these types of movies weren’t being put out by Hollywood. It’s an old school Comedy-Horror mashup, like Critters, or Tremors,  with the emphasis on the comedy, even though it does have creepy moments. It has the usual plot of most monster movies ,with a surprising amount of emotion added, which I wasn’t expecting, but then you have to take that with a grain of salt, because I’m a huge crybaby at movies. (I will cry, if anybody on screen is crying, basically.) I was not disposed to watch any movie with David Arquette because: one, I didn’t think he was very funny, and: two, his sister is a mindless boobyhead, and I like to hold him responsible for that. But actually, he’s not bad in this movie, and I got quite a few laughs at his “over the top” reactions to the spiders, although it’s hard to say the reaction is over the top, when it’s giant spiders.


The whole cast is kind of a surprise, and are pretty funny. Most of them play it straight but get good lines, while others are clearly comedic relief. Scarlett Johansson is here, and she’s not bad, as the local Sheriff’s daughter, who is played by Kari Wuhrer, whom I’ve been holding a grudge against since she messed up in the show Sliders, Eileen Ryan who was a real delight, and  Doug E. Doug, who is hilarious, as a conspiracy theorizing DJ, who knows he’s been abducted by extraterrestrials. He gets the best lines and screams in the entire movie.

I don’t think I can list all the funny moments in this movie, most of which I didn’t see coming. The spiders squeal and yell in high pitched voices when they get blown up, there’s a knockdown, drag out fight between a cat and a dog sized spider, which happens entirely through sounds through a wall, and there’s the various puns and one-liners spouted by the cast, which are awful, but still kinda funny. I also wasn’t expecting the spiders to have personalities too. I actually thought they were totally adorkable knuckleheads, who killed and ate people, squeaked out words when they got hurt, and coordinated their attacks with  leg gestures, as if they were military units. This seemed to tickle my juvenile funny bone, and I wasn’t as scared of these spiders, as I was of the ones in Arachnophobia, but then those guys had no sense of humor. 

My niece and I had a grand ol’ time laughing really hard at this movie. There’s also a Queen spider, whose name I forget. I think it’s Consuela, which is a strange name for a giant spider, but she’s a lot more frightening than the Tarantula, even though she’s a lot smaller than that tank-like creature. One of the funniest moments is when Arquette’s character, on the advice of a little boy expert on spiders, spritzes her in the eyes,  with a tiny bottle of perfume. And it works! She just backs off, sneezing uncontrollably. 

 The tarantula was awesome, and the other spiders used it as a battering ram, which was all kinds of cool to watch. He’s like a big, dumb,brute from a hardboiled crime novel. The Muscle! There’s also more than a few disgusting,  and scary moments, which is to be expected, in a movie about giant arachnids, like the scene where a guy swallows a mouthful of baby spiders, and the sight of running people getting jumped on, or snatched underground, by dog sized spiders. But the writers were very clever to make these moments pretty funny, and not TOO scary, by having the spiders punch their  struggling prey into submission, while making boxing noises, and slamming into windows, because they hadn’t figured those out yet.


Arquette’s character comes back home to Prosperity, Arizona, which is on its last legs, ever since it’s  mines tapped out. His father owned them and insisted there was gold there. When the spiders get dosed with toxic waste (well actually they eat contaminated crickets), they grow larger, eat their keeper, and descend into the mines, where they begin preying on the local animal population. The local bigwig, Wade, believes there’s money in Ostrich farming and is so optimistic, he builds a mall, but his ostriches all get eaten by the spiders, and as the spiders attack the town, everyone holes up at the mall for protection, and later, work their way into the mines. You think Wade is going to be the big asshole of the movie, but Wade actually turns out okay, and lives to the end of the movie. He’s never likable, but he’s also not outright evil. Neither is his son, who tries, at one point, to sexually assault Johansson’s character, but changes his ways, after she tases him, he pisses his pants, and she throws him out of the car. Later, he does some heroic redeeming type stuff, to make up for being a shite, earlier in the movie, I guess.

It’s a happy ending, and we get to root for these characters, along the way, especially Harlan, the terrified but brave DJ, and Chris and the sheriff, who renew their old flame. I’ve never been a fan of Kari, but she did so well in this movie, I can get behind her as a character, even if I can’t forgive her for being so awful in Sliders. The spiders are as much characters, in the film, as the people, and I had my favorites.  There are tarantulas, orb weavers, trapdoor spiders, which were pretty scary, and jumping spiders, which are tiny cute little things in real life, but less so, grown to enormous size. Still, they’re the funniest ones in the movie, creating a proper excuse for why nobody’s cell phones work.

I watched this movie with my Mom, and she seemed to like it although she thought the spiders talking was too much. Her tolerance for silly isn’t quite as high as mine, I guess. Nevertheless, it continues to be one of her favorite spider movies, (and I love her for that, even though she tried for years to get me to sit down and watch Arachnophobia, when she knew I was too scared of the spiders to watch it. I still hate that movie.)
If you have a low tolerance for gore and scares, then Eight Legged Freaks is the perfect movie for Halloween night. Yes, your kids can watch it, the female characters are treated with all due respect, and the language is pretty mild.

 And guess what? The Black guy lives all the way to the end of the movie.

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.

Season Premieres

Gotham:

I stopped watching this show at some point in the second season, somewhere around the time Fish Mooney was exiled from Gotham, after Penguin tried to have Gordon kill her. I’m happy to report that the plot  is as wacky as ever, although it looks more sober. The cinematography and color is beautiful. It’s just a pretty show and the actors all  look great. There are more people of color, too. The Vicki Vale from the first Batman movies is now an Asian woman named Valerie Vale, Lucius Fox is working for the police dept.instead of Wayne Enterprises,  while Gordon has retired and become a bounty hunter. Fish is back on the scene, and being her usual troublesome self, and I still like the Penguin. The plot is pretty easy to catch up with.

On the other hand, the plot is just as wacky as ever and the acting needs more work. Selina Kyle, Barbara, and her friend, Tabitha, are the worst actors in the bunch, although I did enjoy  watching them kick some ass. I’m not feeling little Bruce too much though. They could all use a few acting lessons. Except for Sean Perwee as Alfred, who is perfect, as always. The last time I saw him he was bleeding out on the Wayne living room floor. It’s nice to see he survived his semi-lethal stabbing. I’d be upset that all of the PoC are criminals except all of the people in the show are criminals, so what’s to fret?

Fish is now in charge of a gang of monsters from a research facility, that used to exist underneath Arkham Asylum, called Indian Hill. It was run by a man named Hugo Strange, who experimented on the inmates of Arkham, mutating some of them and giving others superpowers, including Mooney, who now has the power to drug her victims into suggestibility. I thought that was kind of cool to be honest. Gordon spends time chasing down Mooney who, with her gang of freaks, have been robbing pharmacies for some special drug they need and  Oswald has put a million dollar bounty on Mooney’s head. The most surprising and fun relationship is the one that’s been developed between Edward Nigma and Oswald. I enjoy watching these two actors together. That is something I remember the show being pretty good at, depicting the relationships between all these different characters. Where it fell flat was the actors who couldn’t hold up their end. Like Selina and Bruce, and Gordon and Lee. Gordon still has only one or two facial expressions so it’s hard to get into him as a character. But oddly enough, you can see the Gordon he’ll become in the Christopher Nolan movies, and I wonder if that’s a conscious choice on the part of the writers.

The rest of the episode consists of lots of drinking, some more beatdowns, thieving, and killing, and lots of information brokering. But it wasn’t a bad episode. I thought it was hella fun actually. I plan to watch this every Monday, if I’m awake.


Brooklyn 99:


This was a great season premiere, even if I didn’t get to see two of my favorite characters, Gina and Rosa. It was all Jake and Holt for the entirety of the show, as the two of them get a fish out of water plot. Last season the two of them had to go into the Witness Protection Program because a hitman was after them. We get to watch Holt completely out of his element but doing very well, actually. There are some nice cameos from Rhea Perlman from Cheers and Maya Rudolph from SNL. 

Jake and Holt start off on the wrong foot, but eventually have to work together, to get themselves out of a  situation with one of their hilariously classless neighbors, who managed to catch the two of them fighting, and threatens to upload the video to YouTube. The show has, over time, been slowly introducing slightly more serious subplots, like Jake and Amy’s relationship,and the  love lives of the various characters. Jake genuinely loves and misses Amy, and it’s really touching that he has a photo of her hanging in his house, and that he talks to it.

 It’s a good, promising start to the season. And I like the humor of this show. It doesn’t rely on putdowns and insults for most of its humor, the characters are all surprisingly supportive of each other, despite their many personality differences, and show genuine affection for one another. Most of the humor arises out of these differences in character, and how different people react to the rather bland police procedural plots. Amy and Rosa are such different people from Gina and Terry that its a lot of fun watching any of the two them team up to tackle one objective. 

Next week, we see how the rest of the crew is holding up without their two mainstays, who has taken Holt’s place, and how Amy is holding up under the pressure of being Charles’ closest friend, in place of Jake.


Pitch:

I feel some kind of way about this show and it’s going to take some time to sort that out, so I’m putting my feelings aside for the moment, and will focus on technical stuff. First of all, the show looks great. It’s a pretty show, with pretty people. There is a lot of Baseball in this show, but that didn’t stop me from getting into the story or having feels. It’s a fairly accurate depiction of how America would react at the first female pitcher in major league baseball, meaning of course that everyone would lose their shit, and act a fool.

 I thought the show might hold back on a couple of angles to make it palatable to the mainstream audience who will watch this show, but it mostly didn’t. Men were acting like assholes about their precious sport being invaded by a woman, and women and girls were ecstatic. The show did leave out the racial angle though, so I didn’t have to listen to the actual racialized, gendered slurs, that we would be subjected to if this were real, for which I’m sort of  grateful. This is something that might be addressed later in the series, but for now, the writers are only sticking with gendered insults. If anything, the show toned down how she might actually be spoken of, and treated, by sports fans and the media.

The entire plot of the episode consists of Ginny, our protagonist, being the starting pitcher for the SanDiego somebody’s, the name has entirely escaped me. For the record, I don’t know shit about baseball, and ain’t looking to learn too much either, beyond some basic terms and phrases. I don’t watch this sport, or keep track of teams, or know anybody’s stats. I know a handful of famous names, and what they were famous for, mostly from listening to more knowledgeable people talking about the subject. Nevertheless, I really got into watching Ginny navigate her fame,and the politics involved with what she’s doing, while trying to appease her father, and I started identying with her almost right away. I also learned that TV show baseball is way more exciting than real life baseball.

Ginny’s current situation is interspersed with flashbacks of her father pushing her to train harder. Her father is tough, but not mean about it, but Ginny does blowup at him after she fails spectacularly, in her first outing as a professional pitcher. Some of the speeches the characters give are cliched, and a couple of the actors need to go back and have some lessons but overall the show is pretty watchable. I kept waiting for the Fox writers to fuck up and throw in some stereotypes, but they behaved themselves, and played things straight.

Now, for how I felt. I both hated and loved this show. I sat in breathless anticipation that there would be some kind of racial fuckup that never came, and I loved  what I saw happening on the screen so much, that I had to keep reminding myself that this was not a real thing, or a true story, and this sort of tension almost brought me to tears. But the show did its job so well, that it felt like I was watching some real event, (minus the misogynoir that would surely happen in the real world.) The main characters are both likable and annoying in equal measure, although the dialogue needs help, because occasionally someone says something that no person in the real world would ever say. 

I don’t know if I’ll watch this every week. It’s a little heavy for weekly viewing, and I don’t know if I have the stamina to keep up with a bunch of heavy shows like this, The Exorcist, and The Walking Dead.


The Exorcist: 


I wasn’t greatly enthused to hear there was going to be a tv remake of The Exorcist,  even though its one of my favorite movies. I normally do not watch possession movies anyway as I consider them all to be cheap rehashes of the original. But this show is not  cheap and looks it. The production values and acting are excellent. I find the plot just complex enough to be intriguing. None of the original character names from the movie are used but the plot is kind of similar. You have a young priest (Thomas) who doesn’t believe in the supernatural, who is approached by Angela, played by Geena Davis, and insists that her daughter is being possessed by a demon. At the same time, we get  glimpses of a Father Merrin type of character, only much younger, named Father Marcus, who is performing an exorcism in Mexico, against church orders. The exorcism is deemed a falilure, as the possessed boy dies. So there are echoes of the plot of the original movie, right down to the rats in the attic scene, which you really need to see.
Father Thomas has visions and cryptic explanations from people about Father Marcus. Angela’s husband is suffering from some type of degenerative disorder of the brain, and her daughter is sullen and unapproachable after leaving college, after she had a car accident in which a close friend died. Angela implies there was more than friendship involved. 

So, the story has been lengthened and deepened for the original but in a good way. I’m not a religious person and the show wasn’t offensive to me, but I approach religious shows and movies much the same way I approach most fantasy, willing to suspend disbelief for an hour or two. Everything is played completely straight. This is serious business,  a little heavy for a Friday night, and the show has a couple of genuinely scary moments. I still don’t see too many people tuning in to be scared on Friday night primetime, and I don’t think this will ever rival the popularity of The Walking Dead, but it’s a very good effort.

I like that we see Father Thomas with his family. He has a sister and a nephew who I’m sure will be put in jeopardy during the course of the show. The show made a point of showing different familial interactions. Angela’s family vs. Thomas family. As happens in the movie, Father Thomas enlists Father Marcus’ aid in an exorcism. Maybe. Since he doesn’t believe in the supernatural, he’s not sure, and it is strongly implied, to the viewer, that Father Marcus is mentally unstable.

So yeah, I’m interested. I’m not in love yet. It’s only the first episode, but I will tune in next week as the plot deepens even further with the knowledge that there are more demons causing havoc throughout the city of Chicago.


Agents of Shield:


Yeah, alright I liked it. I hadn’t seen an episode since first season when I got pissed off at the depictions of all the PoC as criminals. That wasn’t my only complaint. There were a few more, like the writing and acting was less than compelling. Well, I’m happy to report that this is a marked improvement from the first season. I still don’t know enough to say how they’re treating the PoC on the show, but certainly the plot and acting is better.

This episode is fairly easy to follow, even if I didn’t know everybody’s names. A number of the original cast is still present. Melinda May is still a badass. Coulson is a lot  more likable and a lot less stiff, although he apparently lost a hand since I’ve been away. Daisy is the character who has gone through the most radical change, as she started out as the annoyingly  perky tech girl. I hear she’s been through some shit in the past two years, though. She has superpowers now, has been revealed as an Inhuman, and now  calls herself Quake. 

I grew up reading about The Inhumans, which are a group of superpowered beings that lived on the moon, I think. There’s also a group of Inhuman people who have been transformed by something called the Terrigen Mists. I’m not sure what type of Inhuman Daisy is, or even if I’m talking about the same beings mentioned in the show. For all I know it could be some new group not mentioned in the comic books, although in the new Marvel comic books, Inhumans are seemingly normal human beings, with a certain genetic ancestry, that when it comes in contact with the Terrigen Mists, they develop superpowers. If this is so, then the show is directly following what’s happening in the comic books. I know it’s following stuff from the movies because occasionally characters mention something that happened only in the films.

I also read Ghostrider when I was a kid too. Actually there have been several Ghostriders ,which is a type of vengeance demon, that needs a human host, who has to pledge to be possessed by it. This  usually happens in some moment of duress. The one I read about in the comic books was named Johnny, and was a racecar driver who made a deal to avoid death. He drove a motorcycle, like in the movies. Other than the movies being so incredibly awful that they were also incredibly fun, the origin story really isn’t that different from the comics. 

This new version of Ghostrider is named Robbie Reyes, and played by Gabriel Luna . He drives a muscle car, and works as a part time mechanic at a junkyard. Yeah, I liked him. I haven’t read the comic version of this character, but I love the idea that he drives a muscle car, which is entirely fitting to the type of person Reyes is. The show is a little coy, but not shy about introducing him. He puts in an appearance right away, at the top of the show, when he and Daisy chase down some thieves. The plot mostly consists of people hunting each other. Daisy is tracking Robbie. Coulson’s team is tracking Daisy. Robbie is tracking, and killing the thieves. 

There’s another character named Yoyo that I’m not familiar with (and refuse to Google her, lest I fond disappointment) and I love her. She has a great voice, and is a person  of some ancestry, but I have no idea what. Parts of the show are still kind of cheesy and some of the accents I heard could use some work, but the creators went out of their way to make Ghostriders entrance spectacular, for which they should be roundly applauded. If you don’t care for the show, you should still check out this particular episode, just for the  Ghostrider stuff, cuz those parts were fun. There’s still too much talking though.

It’s interesting that the MCU, of which this show is a part, just as much as Daredevil or Jessica Jones, has started introducing more occult type stuff. I blame the Dr.Strange movie. I like the show just okay, but I love the Ghostrider and the new badass Daisy, to go along with the other badass, Melinda May. I don’t know if I’ll watch this every week, but I am definitely in for the Ghostrider arc.


Falling Water:


This is Gale Ann Hurd’s new show, Falling Water. The Syfy channel aired a preview episode last week , but the actual show airs on Oct. 13th. My recommendation is to skip it unless you like your scifi shows to be real low energy.

 I see that woman from The Strain (Coco) has found a better show, with a more consistent character, although she appears to have lost a lot of weight, though. Throughout the entire show she appears sickly and wasted which was very distracting because I kept wondering if her character,Tess, was a drug addict or dying from cancer, or gob only knows what. Tess is also convinced she has had a child, but there is no record of it.She is approached by a European scientist about some kind of dream research he’s engaged in, that will prove that all of humanity is mentally connected, somehow. He also tells her it’s a possibility she did have a child and doesn’t remember. Of all this shows mysteries, that was the most intriguing one.

Along with her, there’s a security expert named Gordon, and a cop named Taka, and they keep having weird visions. Gordon is on some kind of corruption trail at his firm, which I found thoroughly uninteresting, and Taka is on the trail of a dead woman who is not actually who she’s supposed to be, and a room full of dead bodies, which I found only slightly more interesting. All of this is interspersed with visions of his comatose mother. So lots of mysery, and dream sequences, but no real answers, which is just frustrating.

I get that the plot is supposed to be a slow burn mystery but dear gob! this was  boring. The music, acting and dialogue are so low key, that it nearly put me right to sleep.  I kept waiting for the action to pick up, for someone to show an exciting facial expression, for the music to add some percussion, anything. Later in the episode, some guy  blew the back of his brains out, and Taka escaped a small, but pointless, explosion, but this was still not enough to make me intrigued about the plot. 

Unless you have real stamina for getting to the truth of things, you’d best skip this. I expected more from Hurd than this sleepy time  special.



The Strain Season 2 – First Born

Okay, this is my last review for a couple of episodes because I’m going to be reviewing other stuff. It doesn’t  matter too much as the show, even though its season has been shortened by a couple of episodes, still insists on meandering its way towards the plot. I think I can skip at least a couple of episodes, as nothing important is likely to happen. I don’t dislike this season  exactly, but everything that was most annoying about the last season, is pretty much still happening, only with slightly quicker editing.

I was really hoping, with it’s emphasis on Quinlan and Gus that I wouldn’t need to look at either Zach or Kelly during this episode, but the show decided to torture me anyway by opening with a completely unnecessary scene of Zach and Kelly hanging out.

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In the last episode, I noped out before the scene where The Master infected Zach with a single worm.The writers seemed to consider that some sort of cliffhanger (not realizing we don’t give a shit what happens to Zach) and left that scene until now, where we find that Zach is fine. Well, at least we got the two of them out of the way. We don’t see them for the rest of the episode.

Setrakian finds the Occido Lumen has been stolen. Fet’s conclusion, jumped into with both feet and a yahooo, is that Quinlan did it. Well he’s not wrong. Quinlan and Eph did it, so that Eph could trade Zach for the Lumen. And this is yet another reason why the writers need several good punches to their necks. Eph clearly  and succinctly outlines to Quinlan, why giving the Lumen to the Master, is a bad idea.  He could be dooming the entire human race if he does so, but decides to go along with his plan anyway because he’s a parent, he loves his boy, blah, blah, blah. Honestly, if Eph isn’t the most irritating white male protagonist I’ve ever seen in a show, I don’t know who is. I’m guessing he’s meant to be unlikable.

Quin gets some backstory outlining how he was found by an old witch woman and given civilized behavior, in an effort to fulfill the prophecy that he would one day kill the Master. The Master, discovering his existence, traps Quin and the old woman in a cave. She feeds herself to Quin before he can starve, and become too weak to fight the Master, when he returns.

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Its nice to see Eph and Quinlan bonding like this (NOT!). Quin has no patience for Eph’s general foolery. Yeah, Quin doesn’t like Eph very much either. I quite understand.

Plot is  still dawdling along despite having only 7 episodes left.

We go to Gus’ circumstances as he and Angel try to hide his mother from the local security patrols who are going from building to building looking for vampires, I guess. I’d have more to say about this but I was distracted by all the garbage strewn throughout the halls of Gus’ apartment building. I kept wondering if it looked like that before the apocalypse, and if not, when did the apartment dwellers find time to leave all this loose trash all over the building. Its just a tiny thing, but it strikes me as some white middle-class set designer’s idea of extreme poverty. Lots of trash everywhere.

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Gus is successful at letting his mother get away, but he and Angel get conscripted by the local police to do patrols. Actually, that isn’t a bad idea. The guy who conscripts them says it doesn’t make any sense to have able-bodied men just sitting in jail, when they could be out fighting the plague. Its heartless, but sensible.

Eph makes a deal to exchange the Lumen for Zach at a neutral meeting place. Eph is so dumb that he takes the real book with him trusting that the Master is going to live up to his end of the bargain. Setrakian and Fet track the book to the meeting place.

Glowing red eyeballs on the vampires still make me laugh, tho’!

All these forces converge at the meeting, and the show keeps teasing us with  wonderful ideas, like an infected SEAL Team, that we will never get a show about. Naturally, the Master betrays Eph. That was to be expected. (Just not by Eph.) All the vampires get poisoned when Setrakian, bad-ass that he is, sets off several silver grenades. He even manages to poison the Master enough to slow him down long enough for Quin to chop off his head. So the master appears to be dead, but since its only the third episode and I did read the books, I’m pretty sure he’s not, as most of his worms got away. And we’ve seen him switch bodies before, so…

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So really, it was just an okay episode. Not bad, but nothing really great.I liked all the Quinlan stuff because that’s always cool. Ephraim Goodweather is an annoying idiot that needs a good face-punching. Setrakian continues to be OG, while Fet, Gus, and Angel are his smaller, less intelligent, backup gangstas. Zach needs to be burned in effigy, thereby exorcising him from the show. And no Palmer, Eichorst or Dutch, so that’s in the plus column. I hope this episode isn’t as good as the show gets though.