Animal Kingdom – Season 2, Episode 7: “Dig”

TNT’s Animal Kingdom
Season 2, Episode 7: “Dig”
Directed by David Rodriguez
Written by Eliza Clark

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Cry Havoc” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Grace” – click here
Pic 1In the aftermath of Javi (Alex Meraz) attacking J (Finn Cole) and Nicky (Molly Gordon), what will Smurf (Ellen Barkin) do? Will Pope (Shawn Hatosy) and mom join together at least momentarily to take care of this family problem?
Meanwhile, J took a good beating. That nasty wound on his leg got opened up. Just vicious stuff. While he washes off, Pope and Smurf watch the security footage of Javi and his boys raiding the house. At the bar, Deran (Jake Weary) and Craig (Ben Robson) ignore mom’s calls, talking about their new, upcoming job, something they’re keeping secret until the time is right.
Smurf comforts J who’s feeling “shame” for not being able to protect the place, or Nicky. He wants to go after Javi. At the same time, Baz (Scott Speedman) is picking up Nicky over where she was dropped off. She doesn’t blame J for anything, it’s just him being hard on himself. Feeling the traps of faux masculinity knocking at the door. Hope it doesn’t drive him to do anything stupid, anything he doesn’t think real damn hard about first. Grandma’s doing her best to keep a lid on that temper.
Pic 1AFinally, Smurf has to explain to the boys about Javi, his father, all the tragic story from back in the day. Manny supposedly put Javi’s dad out of his misery, then he was buried at a construction site. That’s now on the street where they let Nicky go earlier. So, do the boys ride or die for big mama? Probably not. They aren’t too eager to help mom, particularly not Deran who feels “foster care” would’ve been better than being in the Cody family. That pretty much puts an end to their conversation. Although Smurf cautions: “This doesnt end until we end it.”
While normally I’d say she’s full of shit, J is involved, he was beaten, tortured. Now his uncles aren’t willing to help, when he’s put work in for them, done robberies, so on. Baz and Pope are a little more willing to entertain the idea; Craig and Deran say fuck that. What I see most is the breakdown of loyalty. I don’t know how J will take this going forward. Either way, the boys figure instead of killing Javi, they’ll move the body of his father so the cops can’t put a case on mom. Plus, Craig and Deran want cash. Yikes. The stake is driven deeper.
Furthermore, Baz – after getting pulled over by Catherine’s cop friend – brings up doubts, thoughts about her disappearance, and now thinks she’s dead. When he mentions this to Pope, the latter’s struck very uncomfortable. No telling how long his secret will last, sooner or later it’ll come out. Then there’s the fact Pope and mom have their dark little secret(s) to boot, that’s a dangerous fucking mixing pot.
Pic 2Pope worries that the cops may arrest Baz on suspicion, something he possibly can’t live with, though it’s difficult to know what he can or can’t live with in the end. Then there’s J, constantly worried that he didn’t do right by Nicky, even if she doesn’t actively blame him. Everyone is preparing to go dig up Javi’s dad, as well as figuring out their own shit simultaneously.
Out on the beach, Baz goes to meet Javi, they go way back; Pope, too. Baz tries reasoning with him. Making clear nobody is going to touch Smurf. Javi feels a lifetime of lies bear down on him, having believed his father merely ran off on him ages ago. That’s gonna cost a lot of money.
Javi (to Baz): “Youve come a long way from cryinyourself to sleep and pissinthe bed, man. Good for you. Yknow shit didnt turn out so well for me, or my dad.”
The Cody family archaeological dig’s about ready to happen, no matter if mama’s a tad sketchy on a few details. Everyone is on edge. Things are more tense between Smurf and Baz after he questions her on where she got all the money before to pay Javi, knowing that she’s been skimming on their jobs. Now the two of them opt to use money from the church job to do the payoff. Only hope is Baz can get it back before the boys figure it out. That might not go over so well with the gang.
J and Pope head into the backyard of the house where Javi’s dad was buried years prior. First, they need to take care of the people living there. So they’ve got to fake a gas leak, set things up to get at the old corpse. Outside, uncle Pop tries to steer his nephew away from doing horrible things, like he’s done: “It doesnt feel like you think it will.”
Pic 3Baz goes with Smurf to take care of the drop off and the cash. But I wonder, maybe they’re walking into something bad? Maybe. Out in the middle of nowhere, they meet Javi, who’s brought along a friend. Just seeing Smurf makes the dude’s blood boil.
The rest of the boys get down to business in the basement of the house. They’ve got all the gear to make it a quick, safe, smart job. They get down into the concrete a little ways before it looks like they’ve found the remains. Just boots, a gun, tattered clothes, and a skeleton. Only they’re missing a foot. A bit of extra digging, they locate the tootsie, and then they’re off. Another successful, greasy mission.
In a dumb move, Smurf tells Javi he’s “worthless” and “stupid” among other things. Insulting his dad. Holy shit. When Javi goes for his gun, his own buddy shoots him in the head. Looks like Smurf’s got friends in all sorts of different places. He gets the payoff cash, too. Whoa, what a sly motherfucker this lady is! Doesn’t sit so great with Baz, who doesn’t see that Javi would never stop, he needed revenge. I mean… she’s not wrong, though she is quite cold.
Baz: “I mean, cmon, Smurf, we grew up with that kid. He was like family to us.”
Smurf: “And like family isnt family
After all’s said and done, they have a mini reunion, all together out on the shore. While Javi’s dad’s remains are stuffed into a barrel, ready for burning. A weird moment, sort of bringing them all back together in a way. A fresh start for Smurf, for them all with this chapter behind them.
Pic 4Only problem is there are many bad things lurking underneath, specifically that dark secret between Pope and Smurf, the one that if it’s discovered by Baz the Cody family will be obliterated. I wonder how long more until things start unravelling. My guess is in “Grace” next week, we’ll see a bit of his come out.

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Preacher – Season 2, Episode 5: “Dallas”

AMC’s Preacher
Season 2, Episode 5: “Dallas”
Directed by Michael Morris
Written by Philip Buiser

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Viktor” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Sokosha” – click here
Pic 1So Jesse (Dominic Cooper) just found out Viktor (Paul Ben-Victor) is Tulip O’Hare’s (Ruth Negga) husband. He’s got the guy in the torture room, too. He even uses Genesis to get who he thought was his lady out of the room. As she reminds him of “Dallas” and asking if he wants to “go there again.” Hinting at a dark, dark place in the preacher’s former life.
Flashback to Dallas, several months after that botched robbery and Tulip’s botched pregnancy in the wake of it. Jesse lives sort of washed up, his friend literally rolling joints out of the Bible’s pages and Tulip using the Bible to prop open the window. A far cry from where we first met Custer in Annville. We see the couple trying to get away from living the criminal life. At the same time, we see that Viktor was one of the jobs they were being offered; looks like Tulip went behind her man’s back, did a job when she pretended with him they were out. Wound up with a husband. Shiiiiet.
Pic 1AI mean, normal life doesn’t suit either of them. Not Tulip, and certainly not Jesse who looks wholly miserable without a bit of criminality in his existence. But there’s also the fact they were both on different wavelengths. She likely didn’t want to jump right back into conceiving a child after just losing one, whereas he seemed to feel the only way to get past it, to get over the loss was to replace the child now gone.
At Denis’ place, Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) gets a surprise when Tulip shows up with her stepdaughter Allie, while dad and the preacher are getting acquainted for the worse. It’s an awkward situation. Although the vamp does his best to entertain. He also feels responsible for letting Jesse loose, so he goes in hopes of talking sense into his buddy.
But I ain’t so sure the man’s willing to listen. He wants to hurt Viktor, to kill him. He’s still got him strung up in that torture room. Taking his sweet time. Viktor reminds him, though, how HE was the hell from which Tulip crawled to New Orleans, to Viktor. A constant, repetitive living hell of sex, drinking, fucking to get pregnant. Why wouldn’t she want to get away? Who can really blame her? Makes sense she loves him, after all their time together.
She surely felt conflicted, having to go through the motions over and over. Just the same as what we’ve seen in actual hell, with Eugene (Ian Colletti) and Hitler (Noah Taylor) and the bunch: living your worst day, from morning to night; exactly what Tulip was experiencing.
Pic 2It all broke down when Jesse stumbles across something stuffed in a vent at home: a bag filled with cash. She’s been working their old contracts again, after lasting only three weeks at her real estate job. She isn’t made for the straight life. He isn’t, either. But he didn’t realise that. However, we also see Tulip’s been lying, taking birth control without telling him. That’s a bit sad, though again: her life’s been shit. Still, I can’t help feeling they’ve both done each other wrong. Plus there’s the fact Jesse beats his friend in anger, terribly, showing off that dark temper we can already see is inside him lurking.
Cassidy gets over to Viktor’s place, where he and Jesse can have a chat together. He tells a story from “years ago” when he was rich, before telling his friend he’s an idiot, that Tulip loves him and not the man she went and married. But the preacher rejects the vamp’s affection, his too-late honesty. Feeling Cassidy is trying to be “a hero” to stop him from doing what he wants to do. Jesse doesn’t trust the “lying, junkie vampire.” For his part the vamp lays it bare and honest, sympathising, and assures his friend he’s with him, thick and thin. Regardless of what he decides to do to Viktor.
Cassidy: “No more Jesse Custer and Tulip? Please. Some thingsll never change.”
Screen Shot 2017-07-18 at 12.56.08 AMSo what does he do?
He lets Viktor go, and goes back to Denis’ place with the vamp and Tulip. He chose to go with divorce papers rather than a nasty murder. All the same it feels like Cassidy was hoping his words would’ve pushed the preacher into killing Viktor, possibly ruining things with Tulip. Maybe, not sure. He’s clearly in love with the woman.
Tulip: “This is Americanut up or get out!”
We see Tulip, back with Viktor. Supposedly happy, not taking on jobs. Only until she found out more info on Carlos. Despite not acting too emotional over the past while, soon as she hears word on Carlos, the memories flooded back. And she disappeared into thin air on Viktor.
Speaking of Viktor, he’s home and paranoid after the preacher’s craziness. Prepared for anything that comes next. Except for the Saint of Killers (Graham McTavish), whose quest for the preacher continues and the trail left by the use of Genesis still warm. Viktor’s killed, but little Allie is willing to reveal where Jesse is, how to get there. Uh oh. They’re in for another chase soon.
Screen Shot 2017-07-18 at 1.09.42 AMLoved this one, filled in bits of backstory for Tulip and Jesse that I was hoping to see sooner than later. The writing in this series is great, because the characters come through so subtly, even without some of the flashbacks. Yet those moments give life to the actions, reactions, emotions of Jesse and Tulip in present day after seeing what they’ve been through. “Sokosha” is next week, looking forward to a bit of action as the Saint of Killers is hot on the gang’s trail.

Twin Peaks – Season 3: “The Return, Part 10”

Showtime’s Twin Peaks
Season 3: “The Return, Part 10”
Directed by David Lynch
Written by Lynch & Mark Frost

* For a recap & review of Part 9, click here.
* For a recap & review of Part 11, click here.
Pic 1Richard Horne (Eamon Farren) goes to see Miriam, who saw him during the hit and run. She wrote to Sheriff Frank Truman (Robert Forster) to tell him about what she saw. This doesn’t stop Richard from breaking into her trailer, doing something terrible. I’ve got a feeling the FBI might be back in Twin Peaks sooner than later, not just for the ordeal involving Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan). ‘Cause Ricahrd, he’s one bad, bad dude.
Over at the Fat Trout Trailer Park, manager Carl Rodd (Harry Dean Stanton) plays the guitar, crooning away to a few chords. Across the way a cup is tossed through a window, inside is Steven Burnett (Caleb Landy Jones) losing his mind at his wife Becky (Amanda Seyfried), surely hopped up on cocaine, or maybe something more. Either way he’s an abusive man. A “fuckinnightmare” as Carl puts it eloquently.
We jump out to Nevada, in Las Vegas with Rodney Mitchum (Robert Knepper). His lady friend Candie (Amy Shiels) cracks him a good one with a remote control trying to get a fly, putting a nice cut in his cheek. Lovely slice of absurdist humour, as usual for Frost and Lynch.
In another part of town, Dougie-Coop (MacLachlan) is finally being taken to the doctor by his wife Janey-E (Naomi Watts). Which probably should’ve been done ages ago. The doc has a bit of a struggle with the child-like man, wondering how Dougie suddenly dropped all the weight, gotten wildly healthier compared to before. A mystery, indeed.
Pic 1ARodney and his brother Brad Mitchum (Jim Belushi) see a news report on Ike the Spike, glad to see him snatched up by the cops. Then, a report on Dougie Jones surviving Ike’s would-be assassination. The news footage is fucking hilarious, with Dougie-Coop trying to reach out and touch the cop’s badge, Janey-E swatting away his hand. But the Mitchum brothers, they’ve found their “Mr. Jackpots” and it’s not as if it was overly hard.
At home, Janey-E is seeing the possibilities of having a brand new husband while believing he’s the same man, seeing him now in such good shape, and y’know, obedient. Even if his Cooper love of food hasn’t stopped shining through. Dougie was sort of the perfect vessel in that way for a guy like Dale, whose love of food and coffee are unparalleled.
Dr. Lawrence Jacoby (Russ Tamblyn) is continuing to preach his madness out into the world, Nadine Hurley (Wendy Robie) and likely other local kooks listening and watching over the internet. Strangely, at the core there’s truth to watch Jacoby’s saying, but as many like him he sounds like an absolute maniac: “Buy yourself a shovel, dig yourself out of the shit, and get educated!”
In Twin Peaks, Lucy Brennan (Kimmy Robertson) notices a bit of curious behaviour out of Deputy Sheriff Chad Broxford (John Pirruccello). He’s been tasked by young Horne to intercept Miriam’s letter. Uh oh. There’s corruption in the ranks of the Twin Peaks Sheriff Department. Meanwhile, Johnny Horne (Eric Rondell) is extra cared for at home after his recent accident, tied up at the table, head padding on. His nephew Richard’s come to see his grandmother, wanting cash. Willing to do whatever he needs to get it. No matter if it’s to a stranger or his own family.
Screen Shot 2017-07-17 at 12.12.51 AMIn Las Vegas, Duncan Todd (Patrick Fischler) – rival and a “bitter” enemy of the Mitchums – has Anthony Sinclair (Tom Sizemore) under his thumb. He tasks him with making sure the Mitchum brothers kill Dougie Jones, or else do it himself.
Out on the town, Gordon Cole (David Lynch) and Special Agent Tamara Preston (Chrysta Bell) revel in watching Special Agent Albert Rosenfield (Miguel Ferrer) actually wining and dining with a woman, local ME Constance Talbot (Jane Adams). Rare for the gruff, often misanthropic Albert. Love to see it!
The Mitchum brothers receive a visit from Anthony. They’re not particularly thrilled with Candie, she’s been acting aloof lately since whacking Rodney with the remote. At the same time they’re curious about the visit. Anthony fills them in about a recent claim for them, taken care of by Mr. Jones; he makes it look as if Dougie did them wrong. Thickening the plot in the Mitchums’ world. Making things more dangerous for Dougie-Coop.
What are Brad and Rod to do? Get even, I’d imagine.
At his hotel room door, Gordon has a vision of Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee), startling him. Although it’s only Albert calling. He has information about Diane (Laura Dern), the text she received after bad Coop’s escape. Diane returned information about William Hastings (Matthew Lillard). This forces the FBI men to keep a close watch on their old friend. Not to mention Preston brings a picture of bad Coop, photographed in that penthouse with the glass box in New York.
Gordon: “This is something. This is really something.”
Screen Shot 2017-07-17 at 12.21.54 AMScreen Shot 2017-07-17 at 12.25.02 AMBen Horne (Richard Beymer) gets a call from his wife Sylvia (Jan D’Arcy), she tells him about the attack by Richard, asking for more money. Seems grandma likes to stay far away from the rest of the family, or at least Ben and all his bullshit.
Log Lady Margaret Lanterman (Catherine E. Coulson) tells Hawk (Michael Horse): “Electricity is coming. You hear it in the mountains and rivers, you see it dances among the seas and stars, and glowing around the moon. But in these days, the glow is dying. What will be in the darkness that remains?” Furthermore, she tells him that Laura “is the one.”
Lyrics of the closing song are great. Nothing overtly revealing, just fits; naturally, seeing as how it’s partly written by David Lynch himself. Rebekah Del Rio’s wearing a beautiful dress that’s the same colour as the floor in the Black Lodge, a sequined pattern reminiscent of that place as the Roadhouse’s red curtains hanging in the background call it even more to mind.
Screen Shot 2017-07-17 at 12.35.21 AMA fantastic episode, one that’s more linear and adds bits to the plot, strengthening things while also letting our minds relax; soon enough there’ll be more surrealism, count on that. Excited for the next part, this has been a journey of mythic proportions. I have no doubt in my mind Frost and Lynch are going to take us through another gamut of wild, weird, exciting, confusing, gorgeous moments in the back 8 episodes of The Return.

Animal Kingdom – Season 2, Episode 6: “Cry Havoc”

TNT’s Animal Kingdom
Season 2, Episode 6: “Cry Havoc”
Directed by Larry Teng
Written by Jonathan Lisco

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Forgive Us Our Trespasses” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Dig” – click here
Pic 1Smurf (Ellen Barkin) talks with her old pale Jake (Jack Conley). He’s been paid a visit by Javier (Alex Meraz) and the boys, about back in the day with Manny. The tapes. They tortured information out of Jake, threatening to do the worst. He wants Smurf to just pay up.
Meanwhile, J (Finn Cole) has his own injuries, after their semi-botched yet successful robbery at the church. His leg is cut up bad from the vents, so he takes care of it, just like he helps take care of Baz’s (Scott Speedman) little girl Lena (Aamya Deva Keroles). J and Nicky (Molly Gordon) are also still floating around one another, flirtatious though nothing overly wild. I sense it isn’t the end for them.
Pic 1AOh, and uncle Craig (Ben Robson), he’s in the slammer. Out on bail, though. That’s one good thing for him. He gets picked up by Nicky, who used her dad’s credit card to free her boyfriend. What’s clear is, juxtaposed with her, he’s so much less mature while being a good deal older. We can’t see how much of a boy he is, amongst the gang.
J: “Is everything okay?”
Smurf: “Everythings fine. Bring your gun.”
Smurf’s got her grandson with her again, requiring further help in her latest personal troubles. At the same time, Baz is back to being dad again, for now; I love him as a character, but I’m starting to get mad at him for how he’s handling his fatherly duties.
Then there’s Pope (Shawn Hatosy), watching Amy (Jennifer Landon) deal with the police. Her past bringing up a few issues after the robbery. There’s a small glimpse of regret in his eyes. As he embraces Amy there’s this look that you could almost mistake mistake for a blank, vacant stare; it’s the weight of everything weighing on him, heavy. Another great shot: Pope watches a bunch of police officers stroll by, they look at one another and it’s like the perfect pair of opposites, criminal v. cop.
Grandma takes her boy down to a storage unit, one the brothers and Baz don’t know about apparently. “And neither do you,” she advises J. She heads in by herself leaving him on watch. Oh, Smurf! You and your fucking secrets.
Pic 2My favourite brother? Deran (Jake Weary). He’s trying his best to fit in with the business community, going to meetings and playing the part of proper business owner. He comes up against a bit of shit when finding out there’s a suggested fee to help with services in the community. Sensing he’s being shafted, Deran opts not to pay. My guess is the head of the whole business owners group will turn up dirt, forcing our man into a tough spot.
Meanwhile, Baz and Pope are at the bar drinking. They talk like pals again, their relationship feeling as if it’s smooth like it used to be a long time ago. But Pope’s falling in love with Amy, they’re together. This doesn’t sit well with Baz, particularly seeing as how Amy knows quite a deal about her man, his time in prison, his real name. Shit, this might lead somewhere nasty instead of back to a normal friendship.
Plus, the whole gang is heated. Deran won’t allow them to launder money through the bar, pissing the other two off. There’s always a divide working between them. Standing on the outside is Craig, too. He’s in a weird little space, half in, half out. And totally irresponsible.
Smurf and Jake have a load of cash, they’re ready to meet with Javier. Then we see her get double-crossed, and hard. Jake pulls a gun on her, then the tables have turned. AND OH FUCKING SHIT: Jake’s the father of Craig. Whoa. Just… goddamn, I didn’t expect that. Now he’s taking the cash, leaving Javier up shit’s creek, as well as starting a blood feud with Smurf after all those years.
On the road, Baz is pulled over by a cop. That friend of Catherine’s, Patrick (Dorian Missick), and he’s not happy. He thinks that her disappearance is due to Baz. Now there’s fucking heat, man! What’s of most interest to me is the fact that he still has no idea what truly happened to Catherine. The closer to the truth anyone gets, the closer to Baz discovering what his friend, his adopted brother did to the woman he loved.
Pic 3Craig’s trying to get a legitimate job. He needs to give a piss sample at a nice place, so he pulls a gun on a guy in the bathroom to get a bit of clean stuff. What a way to try going straight. What a piece of shit. Not hard to tell that lowlife Jake is his real dad. Not that any of the boys are upstanding citizens. And not as if he’s actually doing it for the work. It’s to help on an upcoming job, of course.
After getting to the phone Smurf calls who? Pope. He goes to her, freeing her from where Jake left her tied. The eerie tension between mom and her oldest boy so palpable, so scary. Simultaneously, Javier’s still at the beach waiting for her to show up, not knowing what’s happened. This is gonna bring some bad mojo the Cody family’s way.
While J and Nicky get close again, intimately so, windows shatter. They see someone breaking in. Javi and his men are there to play. J and Nicky hide as the men toss and trash the house, looking for any money, anything at all valuable they can find. When he gets the chance J goes for his gun, winding up in a fist fight with one man, beaten down by the others quickly. They tie him up. Dunk him underwater in the pool, pressing for info on where grandma keeps the cash. A couple of the men also come across Nicky. To try getting them out of their predicament J tells Javi about the storage unit. Then they leave with the girl, tossing J into the pool.
Right as Pope and Smurf pull into the driveway. Only they’re too late, all that’s left is the ransacked house, a beaten, bloody J having nearly drowned. Luckily Nicky’s left unharmed by the men, dropped off in a strange neighbourhood, at the corner of Trailhead and Ash. The location where Javi’s father was buried those years ago.
Shit, this is a war right here.
Pic 4What an intense episode, one of my favourite of the entire series to date! Action, emotion, revelation, brutality. Wow. Seriously, just a great episode all around. Can’t wait for “Dig” next. Will surely get wild.

Preacher – Season 2, Episode 4: “Viktor”

AMC’s Preacher
Season 2, Episode 4: “Viktor”
Directed by Michael Slovis
Written by Craig Rosenberg

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Damsels” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Dallas” – click here
Pic 1Tulip O’Hare (Ruth Negga) is in one hell of a pickle. Men are sent by Viktor (Paul Ben-Victor) to collect her. Doesn’t look like much of a way out for her. They cart her off to an uncertain fate.
Meanwhile, Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper) meets up with Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) at Denis’ place. They catch up on things. Soon they realise Tulip’s been gone all night, even if the preacher says that’s “typical” of her.
They’ve got no idea what sort of trouble she’s in right now.
Pic 1ASpeaking of trouble, poor Arseface aka Eugene Root (Ian Colletti) is trying his best to fit in at the prison in hell. Things are pretty tense down there. Adolf Hitler (Noah Taylor) picks up for the young man when another inmate is bullying people around. Such a strange, surreal place. Eugene gets locked out of his cell, so Adolf invites him over to his own hell. Funny enough, Hitler’s hell isn’t particularly bad because it’s Munich in 1919 and he’s totally unlike himself, no problem with Jewish people and nothing insane going on in his head. My guess is this is hell for a truly evil person: their normalcy, their world without power, fame, genocide, and so on.
The lads are still worried, more so now having not heard a word from Tulip, who’s in the clutches of Viktor. Jesse figures she’s mad with him, out letting off steam. Although the vamp’s not entirely sure of that. The priest’s worried about what he found out recently, about the men in the white suits, all the strange things that shadowy organisation is doing behind the scenes. Sounds insane to anyone else. But it ain’t.
Later on the television, Cassidy sees the man who appeared to them all in the church last season, the “fake God” who told them afterwards that God is missing. He’s on the TV with Frankie Munoz, too. Also a local actor from New Orleans! Shieeeeeeeeet.
The vamp and the preacher get to searching. All the while Tulip awkwardly talks to the people she once knew, they’re no longer interested in being her buddy after she ran out. No warm reception from any of them. She’s got a new life now, like it or not. Can’t go back to fitting in there.
Pic 2One thing I enjoy is that Cassidy infantilises Tulip, whereas Jesse says “if theres one thing Tulip OHare can do its look after herself.” I mean, yes, there’s reason to be concerned for her. But I love that Jesse trusts in her, that whatever she’s into it’s something can handle. This is exactly why they’re together. She doesn’t need or want any man babying her. Despite the fact she might need a helping hand at the moment.
Cassidy and Jesse are tracking down leads on Mr. Fake God. They meet a wiry little talent agent who’s not hugely helpful. The whole scene is absolutely hilarious, between the three actors you’ll get a few good laughs.
Cassidy: “HBOs gonna hear about this, Gunt. I tell ya what.”
Down in hell, Eugene gets a lesson on the way the place works. “Overcrowding” and the like. He’s waiting for his cell to be fixed. Not that it’s a thrill. He’s being explained further what can happen if he gets too relaxed. Can’t get too happy: “This is hell, act accordingly.”
Jesse and Cassidy watch some audition tapes from the company where Mr. Fake God did his tests. Boring, tedious stuff. Although the obsession in the preacher’s eyes is evident, he watches each moment of the tape like a hawk. For anything worth following up on. Then at the end of the tape Fake God is killed, shot in the chest. Now that’s wild.
You’re goddamn right Tulip don’t need no man to take care of her. She starts trying to get out of Viktor’s sprawling mansion by first kicking the shit out of one of his men, taking his gun. She puts it to Viktor’s head, threatening to kill him. Before a bunch of the men show up to beat her down. Big tough boys, all beating up a woman. They’ll get theirs, you bet on that shit.
In a general population area of hell, Hitler, Eugene, all the others socialise. A rare moment for the afterlife, down there. Still shitty: even the crossword puzzles are filled in. Poor fucking Hitler, can’t do a crossword. Haha, fuck him. Strange, conflicting emotions watching Eugene being picked on by the resident bully and finding defence in the Fuhrer of Nazi Germany. Then he actually joins in as they all kick the shit out of Adolf.
Screen Shot 2017-07-11 at 12.53.47 AMCassidy reveals that Tulip’s off taking care of personal business. This sends the preacher on a fucking rampage. Well, first he uses Genesis to keep the men in their places at Viktor’s home. He runs into the sick torturer in one room, they guy we saw earlier using a man sort of like a pinata. The guy with all sorts of weapons on his walls. He and Jesse fight to “Uptown Girl” by Billy Joel. Genesis doesn’t seem to work on him, either. An AWESOME FIGHT SEQUENCE! Possibly the best on the series out of the two seasons so far, honestly. Wild, weird, brutal. Just like the comics ordered.
Afterwards, Jesse busts in on Viktor with Tulip, putting him in a chokehold. Forcing her to reveal: “Hes my husband.” Not what the preacher was hoping, nor expecting to hear.
At the same time, the Saint of Killers is on the road towards them. After all the use of Genesis, he’s honing in on their location. Uh oh.
Screen Shot 2017-07-11 at 1.01.36 AM Cracking episode! It wasn’t exactly a twist, just dig how the whole episode and plot with Tulip+Viktor has played out. Looking forward to “Dallas” next, to see more about this latest tension. Gonna be interesting to watch how Jesse handles things from here.

Fear the Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 8: “Children of Wrath”

AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 8: “Children of Wrath”
Directed by Andrew Bernstein
Written by Jami O’Brien

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The Unveiling” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, click here.
Pic 1We flashback to Ofelia (Mercedes Mason) on the road by herself, after fleeing Mexico and leaving the others behind. Right before she meets Jeremiah Otto (Dayton Callie), firing bullets at her from a distance. Before greeting her: “Welcome to America.”
She tells him where she’s headed, explaining about her fiancee. The old man says it’s best to probably go back to Mexico. The States are a wasteland now. There’s a clear air of racism about Jeremiah, he’s not a cheerleader for “brown people” and that’s something we already knew.
So he leaves her in the middle of nowhere. She continues on, dehydrating worse as the time passes, her skin beaten down by the wind, blowing sand, the desert heat. Later, she hallucinates seeing her father trying to keep her alive as she wants to lay down close her eyes. Who comes upon her? None other than Qaletqa Walker (Michael Greyeyes).
He takes her back to the Black Hat Reservation. He tends to her wounds, helps her wash the blood and dirty from her skin. Feeding her. Generally nursing Ofelia back to health. Not worried about the colour of her skin, as Jeremiah was before.
We cut back to where we left Ofelia previously last episode, running from the ranch after she set in motion a dangerous series of events, leaving many dead, poor Nick (Frank Dillane) half poisoned. Madison (Kim Dickens) chases her down – “What did you do?” she screams while beating her senseless. Violence everywhere. Luckily, the ranch survives, though their numbers have been chopped slightly, and many are left not well. Some still dying, turning into the undead.
Pic 1AMadison brings Ofelia at gunpoint to the Black Hat, confronting Walker. She wants answers, and resolution. She wants to know what was put into the coffee, what’s poisoned her son. “Anthrax,” he tells her. Incurable. At the same time, Walker respects Madison, not wanting her harmed. Says she’s “more of a man” than either of the Ottos. And she makes it very clear they’re not going anywhere. They’ll fight and die with the ranch.
Back south of the border, our man Victor Strand (Colman Domingo) is surviving, not yet food for the walkers. He’s crafty, a survivalist in his own right. Funny enough he stumbles onto his boat the Abigail near shore; little worse for the wear, but not entirely fucked up. On board are a group of zombies. He locates a harpoon, then takes them on one by one. He can handle himself, good as anybody. Nice aim, too.
Relationships at the ranch are deteriorating. Nobody’s clear on what to do next, both Troy (Daniel Sharman) and Jake (Sam Underwood) have their own ideas about what to do. Madison’s in the middle, as is Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey). All the while people are poisoned with anthrax, an attack by the tribe coming sooner than later.
Even Jake isn’t well, even as he pretends otherwise. He and Nick come together, that’s one good thing. he warns of getting too close to Jeremiah, that he’ll be let down. That all of this bullshit is due to him. Becomes clearer every episode that the Otto patriarch is a racist, with no problem stealing the land of a Native tribe.
Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 2.52.41 AMThe tribe finds parts of their land blazing in flames, Troy and the remainder of the militia, as well as Madison and Alicia on the horizon. Everything’s going sideways, fast. Back at the ranch, Nick is digging under his little house. He’s found something he wants to share with Jeremiah: a skull. To whom does it belong? The old fella tells a story about the Natives wanting their land back, killing cattle. He and the other Founding Fathers killed several of the men. The skull belongs to Walker’s father.
Jeremiah: “Get right with the past, or get off my land.”
Madison and Troy and the others get back with the tribe on their tails, a trailer in tow with tribal artefacts to help in bargaining. There’s also a big wedge now between Nick and Jeremiah, as the younger of the two calls the older out on his lies. The Clarks are trying to figure out what they need to do. Nick tells his mother there has to be “a line” where they draw their morality in the sand. More than that Alicia finally finds out the truth about what Troy did to the Trimbol family. The family’s real messed up now. Morality officially up in the air, scattered everywhere.
Strand’s drunk on champagne, lying by the radio on his boat. He hears a transmission from Russia, more about the rest of the world and its state. They share a few nice moments over famous “last words” from Chekhov to Karl Marx and more. A brief respite from the ugliness of the new apocalyptic world.
Do not wait until your death bed to enjoy your champagne, Victor.”
Pic 3Doesn’t look like a deal will go smoothly with Walker, even after Madison offers up the skull of his father. It’s either leave or die. No more options, no more bargaining chips. In with Jeremiah, Madison talks more about the situation, about how he’s leading them all wrong. She offers him a solution: kill yourself. He won’t, though. He wants her to kill him. He’s sticking to his racist guns. Then once Nick shows up the deed is done; he finishes it off before mom can take a shot.
Madison passes it off to Troy and Jake as a suicide. Making things look better for all involved, for everybody on the ranch. A new beginning for the place, a way to placate Walker and the tribe. But how long can Nick and Madison hang onto their humanity? If this is the cost of surviving in the new world, is it really worth it? These are the moral decisions with which people in the post-zombie apocalypse have to come to grip with, else they perish. Life or death at any given moment. For now, Walker has what he wants, and the folk at the ranch are safe.
For now.
Only question is, where do the people at the ranch go from here? Will Madison help lead them? Will Troy want to take charge as his brother Jake refuses to be the leader? We’ll see when the season returns after the break.
Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 3.21.35 AMI’ve always loved Fear the Walking Dead. No denying the quality has shot up in this latest season. Mid-season break will take us into the fall, likely somewhere around when The Walking Dead premieres for its 8th season. I do hope we’ll get a 4th out of this one, too. So many good characters, wild situations, various plots and twists. Can’t wait for the return.

Fear the Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 7: “The Unveiling”

AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 7: “The Unveiling”
Directed by Jeremy Webb
Written by Mark Richard

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Red Dirt” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Children of Wrath” – click here
Pic 1Out on his own, Jake (Sam Underwood) heads out in hopes to talk with Qaletqa Walker (Michael Greyeyes) about their problems. On the way he hears noises behind him: it’s Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey). She tells him about the Trimbol family being killed, that it was Walker and his people. Except we know the nasty truth. Of course it shocks Jake, though he wants to keep going, to try fixing things.
They arrive to the Native land, “ten miles” around either side of a gas station where the tribe’s headquarters is located. The place is intimidating, certainly. Particularly due to the fact Walker’s butchering a hog and is covered in blood. What a time for them to show up.
Walker: “Youre 200 years too late for peace, Jake. But youre just in time for lunch.”
Pic 1AMadison (Kim Dickens) worries when Alicia isn’t around in the morning, though Nick (Frank Dillane) says to leave it be, she’s a grown woman. Then there’s Jeremiah (Dayton Callie), he isn’t so worried. And he’s egging Nick on, further towards a violent edge, in the same way of Troy (Daniel Sharman).
On Native land, Jake and Alicia talk to Walker about stopping any further issues between them. But Qaletqa makes clear “the days of the white mans courts are over” now that the zombie apocalypse has commenced. It is the time for the “First Humans verdict” and time for the white people to get the fuck off their land. Oh, guess who’s kicking around with the tribe? Ofelia Salazar (Mercedes Mason). Whoa!
Alicia’s not that happy to see her, seeing as how she left them for near dead. Moreover, when the two talk Alicia discovers Walker and his people did not go out the night the Trimbols died. A deal may be worked out, a parley. This requires a swap of hostages, amongst other things. When Jake wants to send Alicia back to the ranch, she’d rather stay.
Sad when Alicia has to see the chopper that was shot down, being repaired by the tribe. The event which killed Travis. She confronts Walker with this fact. But he tells her “magnify that hate a thousand times” and you’ve got what he feels for the Ottos. Yet it’s still murder. She won’t accept his bullshit, either. Calling him a murdering hypocrite. At the same time Jake talks with his father about what to do, the deal they’re trying to work out with the Natives. Jeremiah isn’t keen on working with them.
Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 1.47.42 AMWalker shows Alicia the bones of his great grandfather. He had to take them from his grave, so as not to be desecrated by the Otto family and their plans for the ranch. This gets the two of them into talking about the afterlife. The Native leader he believes there’s a “grand plan” and that the apocalypse is merely the “Great Unveiling” to him. He believes it’s the “dawn of a New Age” where the impure are shed like snake skin. The First Humans will once again inherit the Earth.
Madison is pressing Troy to go into Native territory, to get Alicia out of there. That’s bad news, though. I’m worrying that her manipulation of Troy’s getting out of hand already. If she lets him loose there’s no telling what could be the result. Simultaneously, Jeremiah’s trying to smooth things over quietly with Ofelia; remember, they stumble onto one another at the end of Season 2. What exactly happened? Something not good in the least.
On tribal land Alicia is surprised when Troy and some men show up for her under cover of the night. Nick and Madison waiting with a truck for the escape. This sets into motion a violent series of events, as gunfire explodes in the dark and bullets fly every which way. Not exactly the clandestine mission for which they’d planned. Things are about to get downright ugly after the parley’s been broken. Furthermore, I worry about Troy’s bloodlust, how far Madison is willing to let it run wild. What the consequences are of that down the road.
Jeremiah: “Them that dont listen have to be brought to heel someday
There’s more division between the Ottos, too. Specifically the brothers, while dad is getting drunk and letting responsibility fly to the wind. Troy warns that Jake might not come back from the tribe’s land this time if he goes. I’m beginning to feel there’s an ultimate showdown that’s heading for these two, in one way, shape, or form. Ofelia also warns Alicia not to stay at the ranch. She knows that some of the Ottos are really bad people.
Jake indeed does get an ass kicking back at Walker’s place. After that he’s set to be killed, scalped. If not for Ofelia; she talks the man down. He says much violence, brutal and unforgiving is headed their way.
Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 2.06.59 AMBut Ofelia is cast out, as well. Beaten. She and Jake are dropped back home. Things are more unsure than ever before, for everybody. We also see the strength of Nick, saying he’s “suicide proof” and volunteering to stay behind to fight if things go haywire. Troy doesn’t dig that. It’s like he’s trying to create a whole new family, feeling protective over Madison and Nick, even if he sorta wanted to kill them at one point.
Alicia starts bringing her doubts about the Trimbols to Madison. I can only imagine how she’d feel if she knew Madison knows the truth of what Troy’s done. She might not be as forgiving as her brother.
One of the soldiers at the gate starts having troubles, his guts tearing him apart. Then another one. They’re throwing up, screaming in pain; dying. And they’re reanimating. The ranch is going wild, too. More people are convulsing, puking, until they’re dead and zombified. The place becomes overrun with the dead. Madison, Alicia, Nick, they band together, as do the militia men. But it may be a lost cause. The culprit of the whole mess? Ofelia, and she’s taking off into the shadows while hell breaks loose. Even worse is that Nick is sick, throwing up. Uh oh.
Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 2.17.05 AMA solid episode leading up to the mid-season finale. “Children of Wrath” is next and there’s a war about to go down.

Twin Peaks – Season 3: “The Return, Part 9”

Showtime’s Twin Peaks
Season 3: “The Return, Part 9”
Directed by David Lynch
Written by Lynch & Mark Frost

* For a recap & review of Episode 8, click here.
* For a recap & review of Episode 10, click here.
Pic 1Bad Coop (Kyle MacLachlan), after being resurrected by the dark forces of the Black Lodge, wanders down a country road spattered in blood. At the same time, Gordon Cole (David Lynch), Special Agents Albert Rosenfield (Miguel Ferrer) and Tamara Preston (Chrysta Bell), and Diane Evans (Laura Dern) are flying high in the sky over South Dakota. Gordon gets a call from Colonel Davis (Ernie Hudson) about a case over in Buckhorn concerning Major Briggs. Should be interesting to see how that old “Blue Rose case” gets wound into the rest of the story.
The bad Coop runs across a man named Gary Hutchens (Tim Roth). He needs a “clean phone” and some guns. Also there is Chantal Hutchens (Jenifer Jason Leigh), who’s going to help patch him up proper.
On their flight, Gordon gets a second call from the warden of the prison where bad Coop has flown the coop. Many dangerous things happening, as the doppelganger is also setting further plans into motion. Including having the Hutchens’ go kill the warden, before a “doubleheader” they’ll meet for in Las Vegas. Nasty stuff.
Pic 1ADown at the LVPD, Dougie Jones (MacLachlan) and his wife Janey-E (Naomi Watts) are dealing with the fallout of almost being murdered. An investigation being conducted into the whole ordeal, talking to Dougie’s boss, so on. His strange behaviour is one thing. The fact someone’s blown up his car, tried having him killed, it’s all getting more suspicious. The cops also find out there’s nothing about Dougie before 1997, no proof of his existence. Is it a Witness Protection thing? Or something stranger?
Dougie-Coop has a bit of a moment with the American flag, a pair of red heels on a secretary. As well as an electrical outlet, which gives off a sinister vibe while he stares it down. There are bits of Coop in there, things he remembers – from the coffee to the sound of a secretary’s heels and the flag and his duty as a sworn officer of the law, pieces of his training, and the electricity, the strange horror of the Black Lodge. It’s all in there somewhere.
Ike the Spike (Christophe Zajac-Denek) leaves his motel room only to be confronted with the LVPD, arresting him for arrested murder. The whole bit is surreal, as are the cops in their absurd hilarity, the one giggling constantly at the jokes of his fellow officers. In only a way Frost and Lynch can deliver.
Back in Twin Peaks, Lucy Brennan (Kimmy Robertson) and Deputy Sheriff Andy Brennan (Harry Goaz) have a passive-aggressive conversation over furniture, specifically chairs. Fairly quickly he apologises and gives in to his love for her. Although she orders the one he wanted. Across town Johnny Horne (Eric Rondell) runs himself into the wall, smashing his face and knocking himself unconscious.
And Betty Briggs (Charlotte Stewart) tells her son Bobby (Dana Ashbrook), Sheriff Frank Truman (Robert Forster), and Deputy Chief Hawk (Michael Horse) about the day her husband and Cooper met for the last time. Garland told her to give them a message; in the living room chair she takes out a capsule. Inside, obviously information of potentially great importance.
Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 12.44.23 AMIn Buckhorn, Gordon arrives to see the body at the morgue. More importantly? The message bad Coop sent earlier from a cellphone arrives on the phone of none other than Diane. Shit. I never anticipated there was possibly something shady about her.
We find out that William Hastings (Matthew Lillard) was publishing a blog about an “alternate dimension” and he’d recently written about “the Zone” where he met “the Major.” This prompts Gordon and Albert to wonder about the connections between Garland Briggs and Special Agent Dale Cooper. Not to mention there was a ring belonging to Dougie Jones in the corpse’s stomach at Buckhorn. Hmm. There’s further connection considering there aren’t any records on Mr. Jones prior to ’97, which is not that long after Briggs supposedly died, and the events in Twin Peaks 25 years ago. The plot thickens!
At the station, Bobby says his dad brought home one of those capsules before, he knows how they open. He takes Hawk and Sheriff Truman outside where he tosses it against the  pavement, it makes the thing ring with a strange noise, then he tosses it again and the capsule opens. It has a small drawing of the towns titular peaks, symbols above them, dates and times, instructions. Alongside the mystery, it’s fun to see Bobby connecting through time and space with his father, the clues having relevance to him personally. With the drawing is also a cutout of the correspondence Briggs once got, from his THE OWLS ARE NOT WHAT THEY SEEM message between matrix code. And the COOPER written twice. Hawk deciphers it clearly in line with the plot: “Two Coopers.”
Everything Twin Peaks comes full circle.
Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 1.02.45 AMGordon wants to chat with Hastings, who’s in no fucking shape to do anything, crying and moaning in the interrogation room. Special Agent Preston goes in first, asking about the Zone, the other dimension. He talks of going with others to where the Major was “hibernating” in this place, asking them about “important numbers.” When they brought the numbers people came for Hastings, asking about his wife. After which she turned up dead. The Major also disappeared, saying “Cooper, Cooper” as he went. When Preston shows him a six-pack of faces, he correctly picks out Mjr. Garland Briggs. Although we get bits and pieces, connecting back with the original series, so much still is unknown. Love it.
Back in Twin Peaks, Ben Horne (Richard Beymer) and Beverly Paige (Ashley Judd) are consistently on the case of the odd hum coming from the room in the Great Northern, unable to figure it out. A ringing tone, less sharp than tinnitus. What’s more, Ben and Beverly have more than a working relationship.
Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 1.11.25 AMAt the Roadhouse, a couple women meet over beers. They both look and seem down on their luck. One has a nasty armpit rash that’ll make you cringe as she scratches. They talk in code about a “penguin” and a “zebra” amongst talking about their bummer lives. Meanwhile, Au Revoir Simone plays in the background, a sharp contrast from the two women and their drug ravaged teeth.
Another solid chapter! Adding to the mysteries of Twin Peaks as a whole. Excited for more next week, love the building momentum that takes steps back, forward, back, then big time forward again. Wouldn’t expect any less.

The Mist – Season 1, Episode 4: “Pequod”

Spike’s The Mist
Season 1, Episode 4: “Pequod”
Directed by T.J. Scott
Written by Andrew Wilder

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Show and Tell” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Waiting Room” – click here
Pic 1AKevin (Morgan Spector), Mia (Danica Curcic), Bryan (Okezie Morro), and Adrian (Russell Posner) make it to the vehicle outside the church. But when Mia tries hotwiring it, nothing happens. The engine won’t even turn over, whatsoever. At the same time, Adrian’s the only one who witnessed the terrifying butterfly death of the other man recently.
The mall’s getting more tense, as well. People are having panic attacks, anxiety running high. So mall manager Gus Bradley (Isiah Whitlock Jr) breaks out board games, a football, little things to keep people and their minds busy, to not let cabin fever set in too deep. Alex (Gus Birney) still has to deal with being trapped in there with her accused rapist Jay (Luke Cosgrove), though it’s hard to tell how she’s feeling, she likely doesn’t even know. Nevertheless, it ain’t good.
Father Romanov: “Im not scared because Im losing my faith. Im scared because its stronger than ever.”
We start seeing how different people are reacting to the horrors they’ve seen. Father Romanov (Dan Butler) is beginning to feel a responsibility, to save his congregation, his town. Judgement Day is upon them, so he believes. Simultaneously, Natalie Raven (Frances Conroy) is following a different sort of faith: “The moth is a friend of mine.”
Screen Shot 2017-07-08 at 7.16.54 PMAt a gas station, Kevin and the others run into a man with a gas mask and a gun. He knows that Kevin is Eve’s (Alyssa Sutherland) husband. His name is Clay, he has a boy in her class. He’s lost now, somewhere else. But the group knows more than they tell him. Probably best, in case it drives him mad. He’s the one with a gun.
Everybody’s figuring out how to navigate the latest stresses of their lives, stuck indoors. The priest keeps people fed, busy. Connor (Darren Pettie) laments looking weak in front of everyone at the church, as Natalie comforts him. In the mall, Eve admits to a couple of the other women she’s “happy ” her husband isn’t there, she in part blames him for their daughter’s rape, because he loves Alex so much he can’t say no, which Even says led to her getting hurt. A tough, honest admission.
Natalie’s freaking Father Romanov out, talking of the Black Spring when he’d rather speak of the Bible. He wonders if she knows what it is she’s looking for, calling into question her judgement of her own pain. She knows exactly what she’s seeking out. To others it seems like madness. Yet I wonder if she’s one of the only ones who’s got it all figured out.
Moreover, through Clay we find out about the cars not working, that everything is mostly fried. He’s got himself a vehicle, purchased from a survivalist, so it’s one that won’t burn out if the apocalypse comes. Still there’s the problem of gas. Kevin asks if he’ll take them in his vehicle. Clay clings to finding his son. Will they break the news to him? He won’t leave if he thinks there’s hope. I’m just afraid that he’ll snap if he figures out his boy is dead.
Pic 2The games store boys have a harpoon, they’re latching onto the soldiers corpses in the shopping carts outside. Trying to reel them back inside. When one gets stuck Ted (Jonathan Malen) goes out using it as a lifeline. He doesn’t come back and Vic (Erik Knudsen) gets a shock as the glass breaks, the mist beginning to seep in through the book store. Where Alex and a little girl are reading together. A black mist creature appears, Alex and the girl trapped with it next to them. The thing grabs the girl by the face, sucking the life out of her. It stands in front of Alex, ready to do the same. Only it doesn’t. She walks free, seemingly unharmed. Although I’m curious to know if the mist has possessed her in some form.
Connor mentions to the priest it felt as if the mist knew him when he was outside. He’s becoming part of the faithful in the natural world, alongside Natalie. Like they’re pagan worshippers. Could get scary; it will.
Everything goes sideways for Kevin and the gang, after Mia delivers the tough news to Clay. Not in the most diplomatic of attitudes. The man goes from stable to angry pretty quick. Bryan winds up with a bullet in the thigh after he and Clay wrestle. As I predicted, things have gotten ugly.
And the mall’s experiencing their first brush with law in their new little civil society, as Vic is faced with being ejected. He’s put them all in danger, a kid died. So a vote is taken. Several wish to forgive his sins. The rest want to toss him. We’re starting to see a distinction between levels of morality now. A greyer area than we already know in real life emerges, as even accused rapist Jay doesn’t want to feed Vic to the mist like the others. It’s an odd, compelling mix of perspectives that I find interesting the deeper we get into Season 1.
Screen Shot 2017-07-08 at 7.35.59 PMBest of all is the religious war brewing, in the church no less. Natalie has called the spider in the jar “God” and she worships it; a false idol. This worries Father Romanov, some of the others. Especially considering they believe it’s Judgement Day. So the priest forcibly takes the spider, crushing it on the carpet. Horrifying Natalie. It’s a double-edged sword for the man of faith – on one hand, it illustrates how deep his faith is that he does feel they must adhere to the word of God or else perish; on the other, shows the weakness of his belief, that he’s threatened by an old lady and a spider in a jar.
Alex: “Why didnt it want me?”
Things at the mall are only getting worse. Alex breaks down saying she lied, that she didn’t fight against the monster. That she waited for it to kill her. It didn’t take her. This troubles the mother of the dead little girl, knowing Alex lied. Divisions have begun. Compounded by the fact people already believe she lied about the rape, as well as the fact many believe her mother did something similar years ago, there’s looking to be trouble coming for the Copeland family. Yikes.
Kevin and the others prepare to head out. Without Clay, who still holds out hope despite being told otherwise. He’s given up the car, though. To help them on their journey. A lot of sacrifices will be made in this dangerous landscape. This is just one of them.
Screen Shot 2017-07-08 at 7.52.28 PMGreat episode! This series is getting stronger with every chapter, honestly. Started out just decent, now I’m gunning for this one. The Mist continues with “The Waiting Room” next. Surely there’ll be more tension and creeps in the episode to come.

WITHOUT NAME: Man’s Troubled Relationship With Mother Earth & Women

Without Name. 2016. Directed by Lorcan Finnegan. Screenplay by Garret Shanley.
Starring Alan McKenna, Niamh Algar, James Browne, Morgan C. Jones, Brandon Maher, & Olga Wehrly.
Irish Film Board/Lovely Productions
93 minutes. Not Rated.
Drama/Horror/Mystery/Thriller

★★★★1/2
IMG_0280A couple years ago I saw a short called Foxes on Google Play, scooping it up. The poster felt similar to something I would’ve seen as a kid around Halloween. But it was more than just a short bit of horror. It was an experience. The imagery director Lorcan Finnegan pulls out of the brief film is stunning. So, I knew immediately his dreamy-type directing was my brand.
Foxes was a contained piece. Not only in the sense of its actual runtime, its implications and meaning felt of a personal nature. Finnegan’s latest film, his debut feature Without Name, is focused above all on a single character. Yet it feels grandiose, in a way that doesn’t feel pretentious, that speaks to something universal rather than personal. Finnegan has a keen sense of how to interlace visuals and the aural spectrum, a one-two punch of imagery that draws you in while the sound design in lieu of a conventional score unnerves the senses below the surface.
In Foxes it was evident, and Without Name proves he’s a unique filmmaker bringing his own style to the horror genre.
IMG_0282Part of the story feels epistolary, in that our main character Eric (Alan McKenna) finds this text by William Devoy called Knowledge of Trees, other books on the shelves sort of unnoticed such as Occult Defence among more titles. It’s got the feel of a classic horror story in the Gothic vein from the start.
Aiding the storytelling is Finnegan’s use of imagery. He makes the forest haunt you before anything actually sinister begins. There’s an ever present sense of isolation. Moreover, the forest becomes a character alongside the protagonist. In a way the forest is the story’s antagonist. The screenplay by Garret Shanley evokes a sense of wonder about the natural world, which Finnegan plays with, using the headspace of Eric to really hammer home the idea of the natural world – here, the woods in particular – as a truly living, breathing, feeling thing. That’s what starts our journey inward, through the forest and his mind.
As someone who’s used a “heap a mushrooms” in his heyday, I’m partial to films that recreate the experience, or at least use it in as part of the plot. The sound design works wonders in this sequence, as the voices and the other sounds fade from one side to the other, going all around, the light playing tricks. Truly like a mushroom trip. Finnegan and Shanley have both taken them, I’m convinced. There’s even a perfect coming down scene in the morning, feeling so genuine to the actual experience. Marvellous work. Likewise, it deepens the psychological aspects of the horror at play.
IMG_0283I want to draw a line between the ecological pieces of the story and the personal story of Eric, especially the fact that he’s cheating on his wife and mistreating her. He’s sent out to survey the land in a mysterious forest, likely for a contractor to come in and bend it to commercial, capitalist use. Even just his gear planting into the ground is treated in horror imagery, as if they’re knives stabbing the soil, the sounds making it feel as if the Earth itself is being injured.
The big relationship between the two halves of the story’s ideas is connected by Devoy’s text on trees, about the connectivity of humans and nature, that we are one and the same. “This is Eden,” one of his writings says, elaborating on a space and time where nature were more intertwined, a place that was “robbed from us.” There’s a parallel joining the idea of Eric’s philandering and adultery, the treatment of his wife, with how mankind treats Mother Earth. Within his relationship to women, his inability to communicate, is the same inability man – as a whole gender – has communicating with the Earth. It all joins together as one in how the forest reveals Eric to himself gradually. Just as Eric reaps what he sows in his marriage – loneliness, desolation – so does man reap what he sows by mistreating the forest, the trees, the soil, so on; only a desolate, lonely future ahead.
IMG_0284There’s a uniquely satisfying aspect to Without Name, even if it’s quite slow burning. Finnegan draws out the horror of the natural world, taking us into a deep madness. Although I do feel there’s a definite ecological perspective in here, I don’t think the story or the director are pushing to make it a message.
If you take this feature in combination with the earlier short Foxes, there’s a way in which Finnegan seems to view nature that’s very conscious of humanity’s loss of natural self, of how nature is altered and affected by humans. Or maybe he just likes the images of nature. That’s the beauty of art, the subjectivity of it all.
Either way I know, more than even before, I look forward to his next project. He’s a fascinating talent with compelling perspective, no matter how you cut it. Maybe this one’s not for everybody. If you’re willing to take a strange, semi-psychedelic journey into a man’s troubling mind, then Without Name is the ticket.

ALTAR’s Familiar Yet Fresh & Character Driven

Altar. 2016. Directed & Written by Matthew Sconce.
Starring Stefanie Estes, Brittany Falardeau, Deep Rai, Jessica Strand, Michael Wainwright, Tim Parrish, Tina Johnson, Jesse Parr, & Master Dave Johnson.
Movie Heroes Studios/Schumacher III/Stellar Lense Productions
84 minutes. Not Rated.
Horror

★★★1/2
IMG_0271I’ll always defend found footage because, when done right, the results can be shockingly impressive, and really scary. There’s a lot of misfires. It’s a relatively new subgenre, in terms of popularity, considering movies like Cannibal Holocaust and 84C MoPic have been around since the ’80s, even before The Blair Witch Project turned bigger audiences onto the idea. Because the subgenre became a hot property for studios, and an easy way to make movies for amateur filmmakers or even anybody nowadays with an iPhone, we’ve been inundated with a ton of found footage titles.
Altar starts out with a typical sort of setup, with a bunch of old college classmates who wind up lost on their way to a reunion in the Sierra Nevada. From there, we see a few similarities to popular entries in the genre, particularly The Blair Witch Project. Director-writer Matthew Sconce ultimately treads his own path by using expected conventions and a few of his own tricks along the way.
This film doesn’t flip the subgenre on its head, nor does it show us anything wildly different from what we’ve seen before. It does offer a creepy, unexpected slice of horror that feels like genre comfort food – the same ole good stuff you’d hope to get, plus a twist of originality in the execution.
IMG_0274Altar succeeds investing the audience in the characters. These people feel real, like they’re actually a group of friends who’ve known one another a long time, we revisit their nostalgia alongside them on this reunion trip. There’s a lot of good organic little scenes where the characters all build up through dialogue that’s not just jammed with exposition. Even a decent explanation aside from ‘I wanna record our reunion’ that plays well into the relationships between certain characters. While not every aspect of the writing impresses me, Sconce makes it all feel natural. Lending to that are the believable performances of the lead actors.
A nice addition in the cast of characters is that one of them has Asperger’s – the guy holding the camera. Not a POV we often see, so the inclusion is great, and the fact it all comes to bear on the character himself, what happens to him (et cetera) is really great.
When you’re engaged and you care about the people in a found footage film it’s easier putting yourself in their shoes. The woods are more often than not in this subgenre used as just a default place to send actors where they can run and scream into the darkness. Whereas Altar instead puts more work into the story, adding an ultra creepy bit of ancient mystery in the forest. There’s a familiarity around many a corner throughout the film, though Sconce combats that with some ingenuity. If anything, you’ll at least find a nagging curiosity on the brain concerning the titular altar.
IMG_0276The creeps are subtle and spaced out. It isn’t until the final 20 minutes when things unleash, when the tension boils over and there’s nothing but a spiral towards madness. Sconce avoids the usual ‘Turn off the camera’ moments, the constant infighting, sudden ruined friendships over fear. He opts to go for more of a group terror, one that lingers like static every moment we follow the group of friends. It’s not as if anything unexpected happens. What works is the tense, unsettling suspense of the last 20 minutes.
One thing I loved? A character actually brings a gun with her. You always wonder why people going into the mountains or the backwoods. Well, this time someone did! Whether that helps in the end, you’ll have to see for yourself.
Throughout Altar are a few eerie images. Such as the altar in the woods itself, which is so strange from the first time we see it onscreen. The axe guy in the beginning is almost chuckle-worthy at times, yet he’ll stay with you, getting under your skin in a brief amount of time. I did laugh at him, only to see the characters sitting by a campfire later and asking myself if they were to be slaughtered. Trust me, the answers aren’t as easy as that, they’re much more gruesome fun.
When the true evil of the story comes round, the first appearance is fuzzy, out of focus. You can pick out a shape, enough to feel frightened. Later, the evil becomes more defined, as it takes the characters on a hell of a ride.
IMG_0278I personally feel Altar‘s more worth your time than many efforts out there. Better than most of the sequels to Paranormal Activity. There’s a solid ending, too. Not one that begs for another film with a weak finish. Rather, we’re treated to – in this day and age of cinematic universes galore – a closed-ended story. There’s a mythology that of course isn’t totally laid out through expository writing for us, part of why I dig the storytelling. No sequel setup, no mush mouth explanations of worthless dialogue trying to create a huge backstory for the movie’s big evil.
Herein lies the greatest strength of the movie: it gives just enough without giving us more than necessary. I’m impressed, Mr. Sconce. Hope we see more soon. Horror won’t ever pass up guys like him, working with familiar territory and giving us his own take.

Preacher – Season 2, Episode 3: “Damsels”

AMC’s Preacher
Season 2, Episode 3: “Damsels”
Directed by Michael Slovis
Written by Sara Goodman

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Mumbai Sky Tower” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Viktor” – click here
Pic 1Tracy Loach (Gianna LePera) calls Eugene Root (Ian Colletti), back… before, well… you know. He arrives at her house, she’s crying and clearly upset. She’s been humiliated by her boyfriend. Cheated on. Now she plans to kill herself with her dad’s gun. Everything is in place. Suicide note and all. It’s a pretty good one, truthfully.
Tracy: “It was just anal, so Ill still get into Heaven.”
He of course doesn’t want her to die. He tries talking her out of it, telling her that God has a plan for her. A miracle may be right around the corner. The suspense of the scene lies in knowing how things end up, not knowing when it’ll come. Like Hitchcock’s idea of the bomb technique. Letting the audience sweat out waiting for the worst to happen.
When she leans on his shoulder, Eugene kisses her. This turns things sour, and she ridicules him. Before pulling out the gun again. She pulls the trigger while Eugene pulls at the gun, so that just the top of her head blows off. Afterwards her mom comes home, wondering why the door is locked. Things look terrible, as he refuses to open up. So he does the only thing imaginable to him, trying to blow his own head off. When the gun doesn’t fire right away, he looks into it. The barrel pointing right as his mouth. BAM!
Now, in hell, poor Arseface relives that day, those moments over and over. As if a great VHS play fast forwards, rewinds in his head. He stumbles around in a dark cell. One thing to note is that all last season, not having read much of the comics themselves, I didn’t feel for Eugene. He was made out to have done something terrible. Yet he was almost stuck in a situation where he knew he’d be pinned as the culprit. Nobody was going to believe perfect little Tracy would try killing herself. Nobody. Not saying I’d have done what he did, but still. Nowadays I’m feeling different about ole Eugene.
Pic 2Jesse (Dominic Cooper), Tulip (Ruth Negga), and Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) are heading into New Orleans, listening to a bit of jazz. Although not every one of them’s such a fan of the music. Tulip’s got secrets, too. She doesn’t want to wind up running into Viktor, bits of her past that her man may not necessarily feel so hot about, I’m guessing. Regardless, the preacher is looking for God. And knows he digs jazz, as well. The vamp isn’t particular, either. Long as there’s booze involved, maybe a bit of a few other substances.
Something I love about Preacher: how it makes the story, its characters feel like the grotesque Southern fried characters of many different, great, classical writers in American literature. It’s a modern vision of the Southern Gothic, at times. Making its own mythology of all kinds of different elements of the South, of Texas, and now a slice of New Orleans.
Off together, Cassidy and Tulip go to see a man named Denis, who the vampire has a sort of relationship with, although it’s not clear how they met, or if they know each other much better than having met briefly. Such a strange thing, and hilarious. They’ve got a good place to stay, the dude isn’t overly concerned with their business. At the same time Tulip is bouncing off the walls about her own troubles.
Pic 3On and on through the French Quarter, our preacher roams. “Looking for God” gets him laughed at, punches thrown in his direction, much more. He drinks his way from bar to bar, keeping up the search. Nobody has any good answers, you can be sure. Until one bartender suggests talking to a singer in another local bar.
Her name is Lara Featherstone (Julie Ann Emery). She’s a wonderful singer, as well as a strong woman with a no bullshit meter strong enough to knock your fucking sucks off. Jesse winds up questioning her about God, she proves reluctant to do so and slips out on him real sneaky. Before she can take off she’s kidnapped by men in masks. Genesis is enough to stop the truck, then the preacher dusts off his fightin’ hands for a good brawl with a half dozen of ’em. This helps with a bit of trust between him and Lara. And things get much more heated than that. Nearly too much.
Screen Shot 2017-07-04 at 12.51.24 AMHell isn’t a nice place, like you guessed. Trapped in a grimy, nasty prison, the sounds of people wailing and crying and an endless-looking hallway of other cells outside of Eugene’s own. Not to mention the people bunking nearby. Such as the German fellow across the way, Adolf Hitler (Noah Taylor). One of many souls trapped in the darkness. Not a nice guy to be sharing a block with, probably into some weird shit.
At a club Jesse requests “A Walk to the Peak” and out in a van is Lara, taking off a blonde wig, ditching the baby. Surveillance being kept on the preacher. Inside, he listens to the mad jazz playing, another patron listening close. “Its the end of the world,” he tells Jesse.
And Tulip, she gets a visit from a bunch of men. Sent by Viktor. But she ain’t backing down, no sir.
Screen Shot 2017-07-04 at 12.56.30 AM“Viktor” is next, we’re definitely going to have a look into the past of Tulip and the titular villain. Furthermore, notice files on both Jesse Custer and one named simply Pig?
No telling what sort of history will come out of this character and plot. Excited to see more weird, wild action next week.

Fear the Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 6: “Red Dirt”

AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 6: “Red Dirt”
Directed by Courtney Hunt
Written by Wes Brown

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Unveiling” – click here
Pic 1At the ranch, Nick (Frank Dillane) is doing a bit of shooting with his new buddy Jeremiah (Dayton Callie). In bed, Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) worries about her mother Madison (Kim Dickens), not back from her search with Troy (Daniel Sharman) to find out who took down their chopper. Jake (Sam Underwood) assures her nothing will happen, his brother promised to take care of Madison.
Then the crew arrive, shoe-less, feet bleeding. Some of them worse than others. Some of them having witnessed things about Troy that are… troubling. Meanwhile, Troy and Jeremiah want to talk together, “in private” – doesn’t sit well with a few of the guys who were there, too. Neither do people at the ranch like this secrecy. Mike, brother to Gretchen (Rae Gray), the one most injured on the outing, won’t let it slide. He tells everyone what happened: “If we stay, we die.”
Things are shaken up, Jeremiah isn’t happy with his boy. Madison actually picks up for him, saying they were cautious. All the stuff about the land of the ranch being stolen from the indigenous people of that region comes out. Jeremiah chastises Madison for her “liberal judgement” when she speaks of Qaletqa Walker (Michael Greyeyes). The old man is full of piss and vinegar and misogyny. Starting to wear thin on Madison.
At least she gets to relax for now, not on the road anymore. Nick and Alicia take care of her, tending to her wounds. We also see the influence of the old fella on her son, he’s carrying a gun regularly now in a holster.
Pic 1AJake: “Most people here are libertarians, they dont take orders very well.”
Above all, I’m wondering how long until Jake completely breaks from his family. He isn’t like his brother, and it’s increasingly clear he isn’t totally like his father, either. He’s got the whole military stance, something bred into him by Jeremiah, he can handle guns and he’s partly, because of his upbringing, a survivalist. But that’s where the similarities end. His legacy is tied up in the ranch, his dad and the whole TEOTWAWKI philosophy. However, it’s evident with every scene he’s in that there’s a different destiny, a wholly other fate from that of his family towards which Jake is headed.
Gretchen talks with Madison, her family’s starting to feel the ranch isn’t safe anymore with everything that’s happening. Her dad knows of a “colony in Colorado” and thinks the Rockies are where they ought to be; them, along with others, anyone who’ll hear him out. Madison doesn’t like the sounds of that, she’s becoming a semi leader, though not openly. She wants to try keeping the good they’ve got.
Problem is, much as we want to believe it, one bad apple DOES spoil the whole bunch. And I think there’s more than just one bad apple at this place. That night, a fire starts; several fires on the horizon near the gates of the ranch. A message from Walker and his tribe. Yet ole Jeremiah’s dragging his feet. Still.
Pic 2Down in the storage room, Troy finds a couple of the Trimbol family looking to take a few things and leave the ranch. Things get tense, as Nick watches on. Although they defuse themselves, just barely. Outside, Gretchen’s dad Vernon (Hugo Armstrong) talks to Jeremiah about leaving. He wants to get out of there, Madison tries talking him out of it while Jeremiah couldn’t care less. More and more we’re privy to the real Jeremiah, as well. He’s getting a bit crazier.
At the same time he’s losing control of Troy, who’s refusing to let the Trimbols go. This puts the two Otto brothers at odds, they throw fists, and Jeremiah even punches Troy in the face. Holy shit, what a mess of a family. Finally, the Trimbols are allowed to leave, safe on their own terms. Everyone else left behind in ruins.
Jeremiah: “Some men have kids, turnsem into women.”
Madison is still watching Troy, keeping a close eye on him using trust to her advantage. The young man is damaged. Deeply. He has issues with people leaving, whether friends or family. Seeing Mike leave has him unsettled. Madison plays mother figure, trying to guide him to where she feels will be safest for everyone. Yet he’s unpredictable. Not sure how long this tenuous relationship will last.
We almost see a microcosm of the idea of open borders epitomised in this fictional apocalypse. Troy sees people leaving, those wanting to get in – even though the land IS native land, surely – and he feels cracking down, setting an “example” for everyone else, militarising further is the answer. I can’t be positive Madison’s able to control him past this point. He’s feeling power, a small army behind him. Could be a struggle seeing as how his father would rather the other brother in that position.
Pic 3Jeremiah’s back on the bottle, too. He fell off the wagon, hard. He’s real drunk, offering Nick some; the former addict refuses. This shows us how Otto is falling apart inside, the composed outer shell beginning to slip. Nick is sort of like a third son, from outside able to see inward where the other two have their heads wrapped up in other things. I wonder where their relationship goes, the endgame. Right now it’s friendly, a kind of comfort for the old guy.
When he wakes in the morning there’s a horse in the field, it belongs to Vernon. Uh oh. So he, Madison, and Nick head out in a truck. “Theyre dead, I know it,” says Jeremiah. Did Walker do it? Or just the ugliness of the post-zombie apocalypse life?
Simultaneously, Jake wants to go talk to the tribe, having known Walker for years because of the family’s legal battles with the tribe. This is where we’re able to see the attachment Alicia’s forming for the Otto brother, pleading for him not to leave.
Jeremiah, Madison, and Nick find the Trimbol vehicle; bullet holes in the windshield. They discover the whole family, zombified, several of them feeding on one of the horses. Old man believes it’s his son, as does Nick. Madison isn’t particularly sure. I would not put it past him. Not for a second.
They get back to the ranch, showing everyone the bodies of the Trimbol family. Madison takes a lead and implicates Walker, his tribe in taking down the chopper AND killing the Trimbols. This scares me. I worry for what this place is doing to Madison, urging trust in the ranch’s militia, siding with the Ottos in all their various ideals. And I know Nick isn’t so hot on it, regardless if he’s been playing with guns a bit more. I guess it’s mostly about staying safe, doing what it takes. She talks to Nick after, telling him it’s all just necessary. Problem is she isn’t trusting in her son enough. He wants her not to forget that Troy is a monster, despite how they might need him for the moment.
Later, the monster admits to his stand-in mother that he went out there and murdered the Trimbol family. She trusts he can control it, that she can from behind the scenes. Again: he can’t, nor can she. And there’s a strange psychosexual thing between them, coming solely from his side, that I worry about every step of the way; others say it isn’t implied, yet I’ve been scared of it since Troy first watched her sleep. He’s got mommy issues, and then some.
Nick: “How do you tell a lie that big and sleep at night?”
Pic 4Another fascinating chapter in Season 3. I mean, wow! I’ve loved this show since day one, but they keep on surprising me, making it deeper and more relevant and compelling all the time. Truly worthy of more praise than it gets. “The Unveiling” is next week, I’m wondering if something big is about to happen. I’d bet on that.

Animal Kingdom – Season 2, Episode 5: “Forgive Us Our Trespasses”

TNT’s Animal Kingdom
Season 2, Episode 5: “Forgive Us Our Trespasses”
Directed by Laura Innes
Written by T.J. Brady & Rasheed Newson

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Broken Boards” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Cry Havoc” – click here
Pic 1J (Finn Cole) is learning to shoot, under the tutelage of a professional friend of Smurf’s (Ellen Barkin); they set him loose on a training course, the range. With grandma’s help, her physical and emotional closeness, J’s able to pop off the impressively aimed shots. Their relationship gets deeper, even while indulging in gun violence. Dangerous sort of thing.
Meanwhile, Deran (Jake Weary) is stealing a truck from the airport long term parking lot. He’s not quite a full-time business man just yet. At his place, Baz (Scott Speedman) is working on his own part of the latest job, though he gets a visit from Lucy (Carolina Guerra) out of the blue. He has $15K for her. Their relationship’s not one of stability, sort of all over the place. Certainly would be different if he knew exactly what happened to Catherine, at the hands of his adopted brother Pope (Shawn Hatosy).
Speak of the devil, he’s half paying attention to the church and all it entails, including Amy (Jennifer Landon), half paying attention to their coming robbery. He and Amy are getting closer all the time. She’s got her own demons, though as I’ve mentioned before despite how bad they are they’re not AS bad as the ones lurking within Pope. Either way they’re propelled into each other’s arms. I wonder, will this cause him to mess up on the job? Or perhaps change his mind? One thing I do love about his character, it’s hard to predict what he’ll do from one moment to the next.
Amy: “You might have a special reward coming your way tonight
Pic 1AEverybody’s doing their thing and managing to keep their eye on the job, their little side things. At least for now. Craig (Ben Robson) isn’t as keen on J’s involvement as the others, even after quitting the job. He’s being a big “baby about it.” So Deran calls him out. And let’s face it, Craig IS a piece of shit.
J and Nicky (Molly Gordon) are still flirting around one another, both living at Smurf’s place. Grandma has her own worries, as well. A couple men jump out of a plumbing van and pull her inside. Kidnapped, like that! Shit. But don’t put her out, she’s a tough fuck. She taunts her captors, acting nonchalant about the whole ordeal.
The boys are at home, plotting for the job. Pope confirms the times, during which Baz and J will be waiting in the ducts. “You do not kill anyone,” Baz explains to the kid. Yet uncle Pope reminds him, if it’s necessary, it’s necessary.
Smurf is brought to Javier (Alex Meraz), he asks about Community South. A job she did with his dad. Says he ran off with the cash. Javi says she killed him. He wants “$300 grand in cash” within twenty-four hours. Or else tapes concerning the dark history of Smurf land in the hands of the cops. So, does she have a plan? I don’t think she has $300K lying around, not cash on hand. Might make her do something… stupid.
Pic 2At the house, Craig whines about not being on the latest job, although he quit. Nicky talks truth to him. And he’s too immature to take it serious. Doesn’t want advice from a teenager, doesn’t mind fucking one, either. Idiot. That relationship is going to cause a rough situation at some point. If they follow the film’s plot, it’ll be particularly tragic.
In the church service, Baz and J fit in, as does Pope acting as if he belongs there alongside Amy; in a way, he almost looks like he does. All appears set for the job to get underway. I’m always interested to see Baz and J together, because I keep wondering if he’s father to the kid. There’s always that thought in the back of my mind. When the collection plate passes by, they slip a bit in. Stuff they’ll get back soon.
Is it coincidence the church has raised about $335,000? Makes me curious. When Smurf needs just shy of that to take care of her debt. Perhaps we’ll witness a brutal divide between her and the boys brought on by her robbing THEM? I don’t know. Just a thought. She’ll do anything as it is, let alone when jail time is on the line. And serious fucking time, too.
Baz and J head for the bathrooms, as Pope goes for Bible study. When the hall is clear, the pair head into the ducts and Pope seals them inside before heading back to his little group. Thus begins the next phase of the robbery. They head further into the ducts, outside the building Deran stands watch. Pope has to stall, talking with Amy about the possible sex she suggested earlier. Sly, dude. Then he slips back to make sure the lock on the door is jammed. Game, set, match; right?
Drunk, Craig shows up in front where Deran is waiting. The two of them get into an argument. Also, in the vents, J scrapes himself deep on a metal edge; uh oh. If that leaves blood they’re fucked. At the same time, Deran causes a distraction outside, in between his fighting with his brother. Baz realises J’s bleeding, the metal dug into his leg. He rips the kid free, using duct tape to cover the wound. Only problem I’m curious about is, when J was helping the cops for that brief time, did they put him in their database in terms of DNA? If not, that’s no problem. I just keep feeling that bad things are headed for the Cody gang. In many, many ways. Certainly, in many ways, the bad things are already here.
Pic 3These dudes are sophisticated, using every modern technique at their disposal. Deran keeps an eye on the situation outside with the security guard, while J and Baz get themselves into the safe under the floor. They certainly leave behind a mess, between the soundproofing foam they spray to drops of J’s blood in the ducts. But, for the time being, our boys are off with another bit of money, another heist in the books. They try continually dropping the safe from a crane to break the locking mechanisms. Soon, they do, and they find bags filled with cash. An actual heist that was worth the effort.
Then there’s Craig, hammered and high on cocaine, flying through traffic on his bike. He whizzes through traffic, down to the beach. Then wipes out in the sand. Lucky he’s alive, really.
Celebrating the robbery, the boys also have a look at J’s leg. It isn’t good. They can’t take him to a hospital, either. It’s “staple gun” or “cauterise the wound” and J goes with the former. Uncle Deran holds him down while Baz closes the wound. He’s a tough enough lad. To which Deran responds warmly: “Welcome to the family.”
Pope and Amy wind up at her place. Naked. She asks him to touch himself. They move closer, nearly touching. Almost more sexual than anything they could’ve done. This relationship is massively interesting to me. I keep wondering how it’ll play out. I keep wondering if Pope can have true intimacy, after what’s gone on between him and Smurf.
Screen Shot 2017-06-28 at 1.21.33 AMOn the beach where he crashed, Craig is found, unconscious, fucked up. Simultaneously, Nick helps poor J tend to his nasty wound. And fresh off a hitch hiking journey, Smurf makes it home with serious regrets from the past. All ain’t well.
Smurf (to J): “Once you decide to shoot, you keep shooting. You understand me?”
“Cry Havoc” is the next episode. We’re about to see fallout from the church robbery, as Pope falls deeper in love with Amy, into their intimate relationship. And we’re also going to see what Smurf chooses to do about her serious situation involving Javi.

Preacher – Season 2, Episode 2: “Mumbai Sky Tower”

AMC’s Preacher
Season 2, Episode 2: “Mumbai Sky Tower”
Directed by Evan Goldberg & Seth Rogen
Written by Sam Catlin

* For a recap & review of the Season 2 premiere, “On the Road” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Damsels” – click here
Pic 1The Saint of Killers (Graham McTavish) approaches Jesse (Dominic Cooper), drawing his gun. He shoots and a truck runs in the bullet’s path, killing the driver. Swerving the truck right into him, squashing him against a post. You can bet this motherfucker ain’t dead, though. He pushes the truck off himself, no problem. Meanwhile there’s a bunch of gun lovers staying at the inn, they pitch in to shoot the Saint down. Not a long lived celebration. The cowboy gets back up and starts gunning them all down, aside from Jesse and Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) who manage to slip away. And Tulip (Ruth Negga), she’s transfixed by a bit on television about Annville blowing sky high.
But they’ve got to get going, to figure a way out before the cowboy gets them. He’s killing everything in sight. Many sights to see in this episode within the first five minutes, from explosions to gunfire to bloody, blown off limbs.
Also, can the Saint hear Genesis specifically? Or was it merely a coincidence in this scene Jesse used it before they cut to him? Either way our trio makes it off on the road again, with many questions about the Saint, who he is and how he’s indestructible. Jesse’s similarly concerned about Annville, why it’s nothing but a mushroom cloud of methane smoke.
Another problem solved by guns
Pic 1AWe see Fiore (Tom Brooke) for the first time in quite a long while. He’s sitting on the side of the road, waiting for a bus. It takes him to Mumbai Sky Tower. He checks in to a room. He misses DeBlanc. And he’s decided on killing himself, hanging to death by the bed. Reappearing in the bathroom, of course. A meaningless existence. He does a sort of Groundhog Day-style suicide, doing himself in only to regenerate once more. Joyless in life, whether winning a ton at the tables or having sex with beautiful women. Nothing excites him anymore. Even kills himself during one of the shows by the house singer Frank (Vik Sahay), and everyone gives him an ovation, assuming it’s a magic act. So they hire him, as Ganesh the reincarnating man. Going so far as to behead him, amongst other nasty deaths to the thrill of the audience.
And still,no happiness for Fiore.
Jesse, Cassidy, and Tulip show up to find the angel-like entity doing well for himself. Well, he’s not particularly thrilled to see the preacher. They ask about the Saint, finding out more about the “ghost story” of the “beast straight out of hell.” All about murder. He wants to kill Genesis, and the one in which it resides. We understand now that the Saint is “tracking the word” through the lure of Genesis, as I suspected. Sort of like the ring in Lord of the Rings: use it, and those tracking it are drawn to its location. Ah, the struggle of ultimate power! For his part, Fiore’s not willing to do anything to help. He cares about nothing whatsoever.
Note: Some great comic book-style sequences already in Season 2, even the simplest things. Such as Cassidy’s little countdown. Lots of fun. Love to see Goldberg and Rogen letting loose, having fun with the episodes they’ve directed. Talented guys when they’re working with the right material.
Pic 2Tulip: “Youre one of the best figure it outers I know, Jesse Custer.”
Together in a room at the hotel, Jesse suggests to Tulip they get married. They’re in love, they’re both bad ass. Why not tie the knot? She slaps him in response. Although they laugh about it afterwards. Up in the big suite, the vamp tries to help cheer up Fiore with a speedball intravenous cocktail. Just the trick. Except the first try he kills him. Lucky the guy’s a regenerating angel. Tone down the heroin and Fiore’s flying, actually having fun. Smiling. They smoke some drugs, too. All the while Cassidy gets a few bits of information about the Saint, angels, the like. Our vamp’s got his own skill set.
All’s not well. Tulip spots someone eyeing her across the bar, a big man looking shady. She rushes out after him. He winds up at her door later, this is Gary (Michael Beasley), a blast from the past.
Together at the bar, Jesse talks with Frank, who laments working at the casino, the Grand Guignol element of the show with Ganesh. “People like violence,” says the preacher. Then, the singer mentions music, which sets Jesse alight with ideas of where to go next. At the same time Cassidy says Fiore will call off the Saint. But will he, really?
Tulip asks Gary into her room. He’s from down in Louisiana, up checking in on business interests for Viktor. Apparently the man is looking for her, so Gary suggests calling him. There’s clearly some more to her relationship with Viktor, she won’t even admit to Gary about her impending, spontaneous marriage. This leads to him manhandling her. She fights him with everything, as he all but mops the floor with her. Before she fights back harder and bashes his face into a bloody pulp. Cassidy stumbles onto the scene, so she asks him not to tell. She has a wedding to get going.
Screen Shot 2017-06-27 at 12.38.33 AMFinally, we hear of Eugene aka Arseface (Ian Colletti), thrown into hell. Fiore refuses to go back down and get him, as well. So that’s out of the picture. Moreover, Jesse says he’s starting to release the implications of Genesis, that it ought to only be used in dire circumstances. If it means “finding God.”
But Tulip shows up and says she doesn’t want to get married. I think this has to do with her secrets, with her connection to Viktor. Otherwise she’d be hitched, she does love him. There’s something behind all this that she can’t yet admit to Jesse. I wonder exactly what that is, if it’s a simple relationship or something more complex.
Jesse: “If God likes jazz, what better place to look for him than New Orleans?”
With that, the worry on Tulip’s face speaks volumes. Headed right for Viktor. Many terrifying things ahead. If not terrifying, then wildly fucked up. Before the gang heads out Jesse uses Genesis to try granting Fiore a way of finding peace.
Later, the Saint arrives. He and Fiore still have a deal on the table. If he kills Genesis, he sees his family again. So the cowboy’s sent on to Louisiana on the gang’s tail. Not before he helps Fiore die, once and for all. Being on Earth, for him, is more Purgatory than anything.
Screen Shot 2017-06-27 at 12.45.00 AMFucking great episode. So many interesting things, a bit of that comic book love, a crazy sequence of the lads on drugs. Such a wild ride! “Damsels” comes next and I’m looking forward to seeing the next leg of the journey, which characters our friends run into, as well as what mad shit the Saint will do, who he’ll kill, how badly he’ll kill them. Long live Preacher!

Fear the Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 5: “Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame”

AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 5: “Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame”
Directed by Daniel Stamm
Written by Suzanne Heathcote

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “100” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Red Dirt” – click here
Pic 1Russell (Worth Howe) wakes to find his wife Martha (Heather Wynters) having turned. He welcomes her into his arms. She can only gum at her neck, her teeth in a glass by the table. One of the more profoundly creepy things I’ve seen. These are the old people Nick (Frank Dillane) saw dancing before, in the previous episode. The old man puts a gun to his head, pulls the trigger, and kills him and his wife. Knocking over a lantern, setting fire to their house.
Everybody’s alerted to the fire. Jake (Sam Underwood) leads the charge to get water on its blaze, though all is lost in terms of the house. When Jeremiah (Dayton Callie) arrives he makes it clear: “Theyre gone. Save the water. Let it burn.” No sense in trying to save the people, already dead. Still, a harsh thing to watch.
Madison (Kim Dickens) gets a bit of flack from one of the men going out in a search party. Of course Nick and Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) don’t want her to go, especially with Troy (Daniel Sharman). She’d rather keep the enemy close, understand the Otto family. She believes he won’t hurt her. I think she’s right, though I’m still wary of him. He’s a psychopath. All the same, Madison can handle herself. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it every time: she’s bad ass, tough as hell.
Pic 1AEveryone’s dealing with things in their own way. For her part, Luciana (Danay Garcia) thinks it’s romantic that they were “togethertill the end.” She wants to leave that ranch and get to Tijuana. She says there are prohibition tunnels she and Nick can use to get there. He stalls, which worries her. That he might not be able to leave his family.
In a car together on the road, Daniel (Rubén Blades) and Victor (Colman Domingo) have a bit of trouble. Strand doesn’t always say what he means, exactly. The old man just wants to track down his daughter Ofelia (Mercedes Mason), so instead of waiting for the right time or a perfect plan they speed on through a horde of walkers. SPLAT!
Alicia and Jake are getting to know one another better. He’s taking the fire hard, the old couple were one of the “founding families” of the whole place together with Jeremiah and a couple others. So Jake and Alicia get talking, finding comforting in each other. More than just talking, too.
Out in the shit, Madison supports Troy, as they stop where a prison bus has crashed. Everyone takes a handheld weapon. She gets herself a nice medieval-style axe. The jerk from earlier helps her out when a couple walkers get the jump on her, but she fares well overall. The jerk actually gives her credit, not that she needs his approval. Goes a long way with those macho sorts, anyways.
Screen Shot 2017-06-26 at 2.51.22 AMThe title of this episode comes from Charles Bukowski. We see that Jake likes him, he’s a bit of a writer, too. Catch is when he gives Alicia a copy, she refuses it saying: “Whats the point?” This brings up an important part of the apocalypse. Some people still value things, such as art. Others feel as if these aren’t worth holding onto, when survival is pretty much the single thought on everyone’s mind.
On the other side, Jeremiah sees guns as art. Clashing with the worldview of Nick, who’s more a modern day hippie, if we’re meant to categorise him. A conscientious objector in the zombie era. Although he’s not opposed to killing for survival, like everyone else. Just not with a weapon like a gun, a cheap and easy way to death.
Jeremiah: “Its a beautiful gun
Nick: “Isnt that a contradiction?”
The search party gets to where the chopper crashed. Only it’s no longer there; someone, somehow, hauled the wreck away. They’ve got to figure out where these people are, and who, why they attacked their people. Why they killed some.
They come across a house on higher ground. Blood everywhere. No sign of anybody. Except for a pile of smoking, recently burned bodies. An old man sits on a chair, a hole in the back of his head. A raven picking at it. He’s mumbling the poem “Antigonish” by William Hughes Mearns. Everyone is shocked, one guy pukes. Madison puts him out of his misery smoothly, with mercy. Then they find a Native man named Qaletqa Walker (Michael Greyeyes), he’s known to Troy. A tense situation. Walker makes them drop their guns, even commands they take off their boots. Seems that the ranch is on Native land. Oh, shit. But Madison has her say, she reminds this man they shot down the chopper, that they killed her husband; a native of his own land, of the Maori in New Zealand. Gotta mean something.
Screen Shot 2017-06-26 at 3.05.14 AMStrand and Daniel arrive at the hotel after nightfall. The place is an absolute mess of dead walkers, blood, guts, broken glass, broken everything. Then the old man makes Strand tell the truth, nearly feeding him to the walkers. Although he manages to get away. Not quick enough, as he watches Daniel take off in the car without him. Again left in a horrible predicament.
Trouble brews a bit when Troy’s getting stressed, Madison tries to play the mediator. He doesn’t like that she steps out of line. “You wanna be a mamas boy?” she asks him. She uses the memory of his mother to quell his anger. Learning how to control him, a weak man with mommy issues. This is good. Gives her a leg up on things.
However, in the night he puts a blade to her throat. He doesn’t know whether he wants to fuck Madison or kill her. A dangerous, ugly thing. Which another man in the party witnesses, though he chooses to roll over and sleep rather than say or do anything.
In the morning Nick wakes up to see that Luciana’s left without him. The search party go for the rest of their walk without anything on their feet, as Walker and his people are ready to take back their land. There are many things about to happen come next episode. “Red Dirt” is the following chapter. Expect bloodshed and war, possibly. Or, who knows?
Screen Shot 2017-06-26 at 3.17.09 AM

Preacher – Season 2, Episode 1: “On the Road”

AMC’s Preacher
Season 2, Episode 1: “On the Road”
Directed by Evan Goldberg & Seth Rogen
Written by Sam Catlin

* For a recap & review of the Season 1 finale, “Call and Response” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Mumbai Sky Tower” – click here
Pic 1AYEEHAW, WE’RE BACK IN THE SADDLE! One of my favourite new shows in its initial season. Here we go again. Thus begins the Search for God.
Away from that shit hole speed our friends – Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper), Tulip O’Hare (Ruth Negga), and that handsome vampire Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun), who’s particularly worried about “foreskin in face creams” and other horrific repercussions of circumcision. They slag off “Come on Eileen” and then the cops flash their lights, pulling them over.
Instead of pulling over, Jesse dares Tulip to go for a nice car chase. Along with a singalong of “Come on Eileen” to boot. Love how it switches into a classic film look with a bit of the green screen and the scratchy-looking screen. Almost out of The Dukes of Hazzard. Things are fine, until they run out of gas. When the cops try arresting Cassidy they figure out he really needs that umbrella he’s carrying around, too. Preacher Custer uses his unearthly power, Genesis, to stop the cops in their tracks. “Mace your balls,” he tells one of them, who promptly follows instructions. He makes another couple hold hands. Too perfect. At the same time, Tulip doesn’t like this power of his, that it can make her do things she doesn’t necessarily want to do.
Out of nowhere, gunfire erupts. A sniper in the distance. Poor Cassidy can’t catch a break after the vehicles start getting blown to bits. The gunfire keeps on coming. They’ve either got to stay and fight, or get the car gassed up. That means using a length of intestinal tract to siphon some gas. They manage. And once the smoke clears, we see it is indeed the Saint of Killers (Graham McTavish) tracking them.
Screen Shot 2017-06-26 at 1.46.43 AMCassidy: “Sure we all got sidesMeI got tons of em.”
They stop for a few things, Cassidy finds a cat to munch, but not for long. It’s on the road again. Hot on their tail is the Saint of Killers, never stopping. He’s a terrifying fella.
Of course the vamp is still in love with Tulip, he feels bad for falling for her and all that entailed, having sex together. She says there’s no need to tell Jesse about any of it. But Cassidy actually feels guilt, he wants to be honest with the man who’s saved his life “more than once.”
When they stop to find the preacher’s friend Mike, a supposed religious scholar, Tulip and Cassidy find a woman in a cage. They agree not to do anything about it, as she wails from the garage and they head inside. Apparently she’s a parishioner who needs to curb a few urges. Jesse’s there to talk about God and his recent disappearance. So, where’d he go? Most of all, we see our preacher’s resentment towards the Lord. He doesn’t want an absent creator, one who walks away from responsibility. He wants him held accountable for the world, and His people.
Well, Mike says one of his parishioners named Tammy (Jeanette O’Connor) spoke of meeting God. He thought it was an alcoholic’s nonsense. Now, he believes different. That perhaps the big guy’s out there, somewhere. When they leave, Mike gets a visit from the Saint. He chooses to dig a knife in his chest rather than be made to talk. Fucking hardcore, dude.
Screen Shot 2017-06-26 at 2.01.09 AMThe trio head to a place called She She’s where there’s jazz playing and nearly naked women. Perfect place for the vampire to shag around. Jesse and Tulip find Tammy out back, she doesn’t exactly want to talk. Although after a moment she gives up the story – God came into the club “a couple times” to sit in the back, requested “Walk to the Peak” from the band. But all ain’t rosy, Tammy says there are no answers, only a cold and horrible feeling. The two debate whether to beat the answers out of Tammy, or use Genesis.
Then all hell breaks loose. Tammy gets shot by a bullet from Cassidy wrestling with security. Before dying, she says God “came for the jazz” and not for any girls. Anyways, it’s on again for our trio of renegades. They stay in a motel for the night and plan for the next step of their journey. We see a bit of the fiery relationship between Tulip and Jesse, as well. They’re kinky, in a strange, wild way. Definitely two people quite in love. Intense, hot love. Shitty for Cassidy, in love with Tulip, having to listen to the noise next door.
Can’t stay put for too long. Right out in the street, Jesse sees the Saint headed for them. He commands him to STOP. But those tricks don’t work on this man. He draws his gun. A showdown.
Screen Shot 2017-06-26 at 2.20.51 AMWhat a perfect fucking episode! Solid Season 2 start, I couldn’t have hoped for better. A lot of the stuff we love about the characters, a tad bit of development, and new stories to open up. “Mumbai Sky Tower” is next, stemming from those commercials we see on the motel TV sets.

Twin Peaks – Season 3: “The Return, Part 8”

Showtime’s Twin Peaks
Season 3: “The Return, Part 8”
Directed by David Lynch
Written by Lynch & Mark Frost

* For a recap & review of Part 7, click here.
* For a recap & review of Part 9, click here.
Pic 1ABad Coop (Kyle MacLachlan) and Ray Monroe (George Griffith) are following a tracking device out into the woods on a desolate road. They have a little chit cat, the latter apologises for taking off on his buddy. Seems like ole Ray is trying to squeeze a bit of cash out of the doppelganger, a bit of important information he knows is worth a few bucks. So he thinks. Along the dark road they stop so Ray can piss. He pulls a trick on the bad Coop and pumps a couple shots in him.
Lying in the dirt, the doppelganger bleeds out. But suddenly, strange figures in black run from the trees. Freaky Lynchian shit. They almost look like lumberjacks, their faces smudged in dirt. They crowd around the Bad coop, almost as if they’re dancing a ritual and prodding at him. Backwoods magicians. Of course Ray takes off under the impression his target is dead.
But this is an important piece of the whole puzzle. Because bad Coop is actually a doppelganger, a version of Coop inhabited by Bob; that evil entity. So, what happens when one of them actually dies? What happens to that spirit? It has to go somewhere, or something has to happen TO it. And we won’t get all the answers, not immediately. That’s the allure of Lynch and Frost’s writing.
Pic 2Pic 2ANine Inch Nails plays for us in this episode, which is sexy as fuck. Two of my great loves coming together at once. Great goddamn performance, too. It’s so wonderfully filmed and for me it fits like a glove.
From there, we cut to bad Coop popping up, awake and bloody.
Then we jump all the way back to July 16th in 1945 – White Sands, NM. It’s early morning and we hear a countdown. A mushroom cloud erupts in the desert, growing bigger, spreading out over the sand and tearing away everything near. The closer we get, the more it resembles the Man from Another Place’s latest form, the brain-ish head on a tree. We’re taken inside the cloud, a hell-like space. Lynch’s way of showing us the cataclysmic repercussions of dropping these types of bombs, in a way only he can.
Through a bunch of awe inspiring imagery, we’re brought to the convenience store. Remember? The ones who meet above the convenience store.
So, come with me on this journey: we see the dropping of an atom bomb, epitome of pure evil; pure evil personified are demons or evil spirits; evil spirits such as the ones like Bob, the Jumping Man, and those others. Remember Phillip Jeffries told Gordon Cole (Lynch), Albert (Miguel Ferrer), and Coop about the meetings? Well, in a chain of surreal events, we go from the personification of not only evil but MAN’s evil to the place where those evil spirits come to dwell on Earth. At least those in the vicinity of Twin Peaks and the surrounding area. Like a sort of modern birth of a pantheon of demons, when man’s scientific hubris went so far as to create such deadly power, for nothing but the SAKE of power. And man’s evil is not just in massive shows such as this, it’s everyday evil, like that of Bob and the crimes he committed using Leland Palmer (Ray Wise) in that little town. Hence why we’re also led to the convenience store in that wild sequence.
Pic 2BWe’re taken further, as well. Lynch brings us into a suspended atmosphere where we come to a huge structure, almost an obelisk in the darkness. Inside is similar to an old apartment building from the early 1900s. There’s a woman looking upset. The Giant (Carel Struycken) is there, a concerned look on his face. And there’s a large transformer of some sort, it keeps making noise and lighting up, over and over, until the Giant turns it off. There’s a similarity between this place and the place where Coop wound up going through on his way back from the Black Lodge. So, is this like a type of Limbo, a Purgatory? If so, is the electrical transformer a vessel, or does it transmit messages?
The Giant walks up a staircase into another room where there’s a screen. He sees the atomic blast in the desert projected. He sees the convenience store, the cosmic being floating and regurgitating some strange fluid. The Giant then levitates away. The woman walks in to find him gone, an image of the stars on the projection screen. She sees the Giant there, from his eyes burst a galaxy of stars and they fill the sky. There’s a god-like quality to him now. He’s like the antithesis to the dropping of the bomb, just as the explosion produced a burst of evil spirits, so does the Giant’s power spring forth a symbol of goodness: Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee). Her spirit is fed into a massive machine, then it coils down into the universe, into the world. She’s a symbol of good and a resistance to evil, as she becomes one of those who grapples with the evil entity Bob; she obviously doesn’t get away in the end, but she’s like the archetype of good, and specifically good targeted for corruption.
Screen Shot 2017-06-26 at 12.52.14 AMJump ahead to ’56. In the desert. An egg hatches, a creature slithers out and crawls through the sand. later, we see it closer as a half frog, half fly-type of thing. Like two pieces of a Biblical plague mixed together.
On a dark road a man stumbles in front of a car. He asks for “a light” as electricity crackles in the black of night; he looks like one of the Lumberjacks from Fire Walk With Me and Missing Pieces. Also like one of those spirits that helped bring back the bad Coop after he was shot. Another of the men stalks outside the car, but the people take off before anything else happens. Lucky them.
So, we’re seeing more of the evil spirits, of these Lumberjacks; and this is in ’56. They’re connected to bad Coop in the present day, reviving him, which means they’re definitely part of the Black Lodge and those convenience store meetings.
Screen Shot 2017-06-26 at 12.59.01 AMA young couple walks home alone together at night. The boy kisses the girl and heads off. The Lumberjack is still looking for his light, too. He walks into a radio station, finds one woman and puts a hand to her head, crushing it, or melting it. But either way: BLOOD! He does the same to the DJ. Everywhere in town the radio goes mad. Until the Lumberjack decides to use the airwaves to send a message: “This is the water. And this is the well. Drink full and descend. The horse is the white of the eyes and dark within.” Through the electricity of the radios and the airwaves, the Lumberjack’s words infect people all over town.
That creature from before, it flies through the window of the young girl from before. It crawls into her bed, then into her mouth as the words of the evil entity keep pouring from the radio. She swallows the evil whole. After the Lumberjack finishes he walks off into the pitch black, as a horse can be heard. A horse of the apocalypse, perhaps?
Screen Shot 2017-06-26 at 1.10.28 AMWhat a fascinating chapter. This was so spooky, unnerving, surreal. One of the greatest television episodes, of anything, ever. Definitely at the top of the surrealist pile for Twin Peaks. And strange as it was, it’s putting together parts of its mythology. One episode at a time. And what will become of the poor girl who swallowed that frog-fly-thing? Yuck.

The Mist – Season 1, Episode 3: “Show and Tell”

Spike’s The Mist
Season 1, Episode 3: “Show and Tell”
Directed by Nick Murphy
Written by Peter Biegen

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Withdrawal” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Pequod” – click here
Pic 1Everyone at the church wakes up, the first morning after the mist came over their town. Adrian (Russell Posner) worries the others are “all dead” but Kevin (Morgan Spector) assures him they’re okay, that they’ve survived just like them. Upstairs, they look through a stained glass window’s scratch to spy a vehicle worth taking. They’ll need Mia (Danica Curcic), though the kid doesn’t trust her. And there’s the fact Connor (Darren Pettie) has her handcuffed. Those two dads are going to have a difficult moment, at some point.
Over in the mall, Eve (Alyssa Sutherland) comforts her daughter. Alex (Gus Birney) doesn’t exactly know how to be comforted, with the things outside, her rapist Jay (Luke Cosgrove) inside, people hanging themselves. The bodies are cut down by Jay and mall manager Gus Bradley (Isiah Whitlock Jr) – they’re military personnel, soldiers. Even more unsettling. There’s discussion of what to do with the corpses, then they want to search everyone for dog tags. One other soldier is left, a private in the army; he doesn’t have any information, so he says. But it’s more likely the military knows exactly what is happening.
Thus, suicides.
Pic 1ANatalie (Frances Conroy) talks about finding something 1860 in the newspapers. She’s told it’s supposedly a local legend concerning “the Black Spring” – a curse, after the murder of a young woman. Even creepier is they can see her husband Benedict lurking out there in the mist.
Then Kevin asks Connor to help them with getting to the mall, he needs Mia. Of course the cop won’t help. He’s suddenly concerned with law, despite leaving people behind to maybe die at the station. They get into a big argument which leads to the cop putting Mia in the basement. Bryan (Okezie Morro) keeps on looking out for her, helping her through the withdrawal symptoms; with a bottle of pills. Plus he gets her cuffs off. They form a mutual trust, as he’s just as lost in his own ways amongst the rest of the town. He didn’t even remember himself when he woke up.
After getting chewed out by the mall manager, the game store guys – Vic (Erik Knudsen) and Ted (Jonathan Malen) – decide they’ll make themselves useful. By using the bodies found to test the mist, to see what’s going on out there. Hmm, could make for interesting trouble.
One interesting note: I love the moral implications at play, in terms of the way Adrian sees things. He doesn’t like Jay, for likely raping Alex. He also does not trust Mia, as she’s accused for murder. The way Kevin sees no problem trusting Mia under the circumstances of what they’re facing, Adrian can’t reconcile morality on those terms.
Pic 2Later when Kevin tries helping to free Mia and Bryan, he winds up down there with them after Connor the pig – in two senses of the word at this point – says some heinous shit about his wife and daughter.
Speaking of, Alex runs into Jay in one of the mall shops. He says he “didnt hurt” or “touch” her that night. So, is he a liar? I think so. He acts like he did something noble, taking her upstairs and covering her up to sleep off the drunk. Why not get her out of there, get her home? Anything could’ve happened by leaving her there. He’s a rapist, gaslighting his victim.
Out of nowhere, Natalie decides she’s going home. She means out into the mist, with her husband. When one of the men tries stopping her, a bug flies into his ear. Then, perfectly, it bulges out of the moth tattoo on his back, splitting him open, sprouting the wings through his flesh. A swarm of bugs flying from his mouth. Almost more terrifying is how Natalie reacts, as if she’s seen a revelation. Although not one out of the Bible.
Natalie: “Its okay, I dont want to die anymore. Im happy. Ive seen God.”
The remaining soldier flips when he finds the games store dudes put the bodies out in the open, as an experiment. Gus finds out and he’s not entirely pleased, either. But there’s no bringing them back inside. Moreover, they need to “establish a set of rules.” This could be where things begin getting out of hand, when new rules are imposed on people. Might get tricky.
Pic 3The priest believes God’s testing their faith. Of course, what else would be think? He reels off the story of Job to Adrian, telling about the challenge of Satan to God. Et cetera, et cetera. Job prospered in patience, ever faithful. The kid’s reaching out for any kind of love, even if it’s the love of God. So long as it’s genuine. An interesting gay character I want to see more of throughout this season.
Mostly the new rules at the mall cover not stealing from the various shops, these types of things. Then one of the security guards decides anybody who “endangers the group” gets tossed. Jay’s writing down the rules, clearly a part of the new makeshift administration with Gus. So Eve isn’t having that. Neither is shopkeeper Raj Al-Fayed (Nabeel El Khafif), not wanting to see what the prejudice against someone like himself will produce. To get themselves in a more suitable position of power, Eve grabs the guard’s gun: “I always was an anarchist.” Nice fucking move, mom! This woman is a goddamn survivor.
Adrian decides he wants to be baptised in the church, which Father Romanov does gladly. Helping him accept the love of God into his heart. Now he’s repenting sins. However, things get sort of weird. As if the boy’s being turned inward on himself. Yet he manages to slip some keys out of the priest’s pocket. To help his friends in the basement. WHAT A SMOOTH CAT! Jesus, people are surprising me here in this episode. Dig it. Not only that, Kevin gets to lay a few punches in on the asshole cop Connor before their little group makes off out the doors.
At the mall, Alex works on notes to tie on a ton of balloons, they let them fly in the air outside to maybe reach help somewhere, to reach anybody and let them know survivors are there. Let’s hope Kevin and his friends get there soon. In one piece.
Pic 4I’ve got to say, The Mist is defying my personal expectations. I didn’t think it’d thrill me in the way it is already. First three episodes are fantastic, I look forward to the rest. These characters have drawn me in, their predicaments are compelling. Effects aren’t always perfect but they’re intense and imaginative at times so far, so that’s enough for me.
“Pequod” is the next episode and it’s sure to provide us with something wild again.

The Mist – Season 1, Episode 2: “Withdrawal”

Spike’s The Mist
Season 1, Episode 2: “Withdrawal”
Directed by David Boyd
Written by Peter Macmanus

* For a recap & review of the pilot episode, click here.
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Show and Tell” – click here
Pic 1SO MUCH TENSION in the pilot episode! Now, we’ve got people stuck in tight little places together, all their various beefs and tensions locked in there with them. Juicy, and scary.
Everybody more or less knows something sinister, something horrible lurks in the mist. Kevin (Morgan Spector), Bryan (Okezie Morro), Mia (Danica Curcic), and Adrian (Russell Posner) try to determine what they ought to do next. Kevin wants to go to the mall, to find his wife Eve (Alyssa Sutherland) and daughter Alex (Gus Birney). Meanwhile, big brave Connor (Darren Pettie), man of the law, left them at the station to run like a coward. He ends up having a moose crash right through his windshield, then must go the rest of the way on foot.
Poor Natalie (Frances Conroy), having watched as an unknown man blew her husband away, so Father Romanov (Dan Butler) comforts as much as he can. Nobody knows what’s going on. Not only has the mist crowded the land, it’s bringing an almost peak level of hysteria already.
Gus Bradley (Isiah Whitlock Jr), mall manager) asks Eve and Alex about what happened to the woman who went outside. Hard to explain, though she does. Nobody can tell what’s inside the mist. Only that it’s horrific. There are many people stuck in the mall. Gus makes sure nobody goes through the doors, locking them. All they can do now is sit tight, be safe. Awkwardly painful for Alex, as her accused rapist Jay (Luke Cosgrove) is in there, too.
Pic 2We see that habit of Mia kicking up. She’s obviously got dependency issues, looking for a few pills in the evidence locker. Wonder if she’ll cause a problem on the way to the mall, once they’re at the mall. Either way, Bryan finds her out, and he’s willing to help her. If she goes into withdrawals then it’s going to get ugly.
Eve and Alex and a woman named Kimmy go around helping to lock the doors at the mall. One of the hallways is “filled with mist” and there’s already a dead body. Not looking fucking good! There’s a radio in their security office. Only problem is it’s past the misty hall. People speculate whether this thing is natural, if it’s “terrorism” or who knows. It really doesn’t matter particularly, not at this point. All that matters is staying safe and survival.
They use a drone from one of the stores to get a look down the hall, Jay flies the unit on through. They locate another dead body; on the floor, something spelled out in blood. AMMO? ANNA? Now someone must go for the radio. Nobody exactly wants to volunteer. Therefore, they’ve got to a lottery-type draw.
Kevin and the others are trying to get out of the cop shop. They run for a cruiser outside, the longer they stop the more the mist envelopes them. Luckily, they’re able to get away. Although Mia’s starting to get the shakes, the sweats, not sure how long she’ll be good to drive. Someone stops them in the road, drawing a gun to steal the car. Rather than wait for anything to happen Mia runs the guy over. Before flipping the car in the road.
Nobody’s hurt too badly, which is the only saving grace. Yet the mist stats pushing in, cracking the window while they’re all stuck momentarily upside down. After they get out it’s either run or die. They flee towards the church bells ringing. Mia is about to go back for the guns when she comes across her dead mother in the mist, calling out to her; fuck that, go to the church!
Pic 3When they get inside Kevin confronts Connor, who ends up putting the cuffs on Mia. This guy’s a real piece of work. The cop blames them for taking too long, for Kevin staging a “prison break.” Truly he’s just a coward, doesn’t want to admit that. He’s meant to serve and protect. I guess that means only if he feels brave enough. We also see how lost Natalie is without her husband, lost in such a brutal, random killing.
Natalie: “Theres no spirit. Theres just nature. Theres here, and not here.”
At the mall, Eve is drawn in the lottery to go get the radio. One man refuses to let her go alone. They head downstairs, into the hallway, rushing through the mist. In the security room they get to the emergency radio. We gather this guy with Eve is a military man, he’s got a gun and knows more than it seems. She wants to get away, worried about being alone with him. She takes off, they end up wrestling in the mist. And she puts a bullet in him to escape before whatever’s in the mist can get her. Knowing she already has past issues with men, in some awful way, this can only exacerbate her fears. When she gets back to the others she says they lost each other down there, that the radio didn’t work. Shit, I hope that lie doesn’t come back to bite her hard.
Natalie finds some communion wine, to make a toast for Benedict. She talks about their lives together, the simple joys of their marriage. “We had money, but we never stopped drinking cheap wine.” It’s tragic. Everyone joins in for a toast, even those who didn’t know him well. Bryan gives a bit to Mia, to take the edge off. But there’s big trouble brewing between Connor and Kevin, they won’t last together under one roof for too long.
This is the first night in the mist. Everyone lays their head down with a wariness, that tomorrow might bring anything, and who knows what it’ll be, in what form. And life still goes on, people can’t turn their lives off just because of this incident. So all those tensions keep on rising. Not to mention, Bryan confirms to Mia she wasn’t having withdrawal when she saw her mother in the mist: “I saw her, too,” says Bryan.
In one of the mall bathrooms, Jay finds two people hanged by the neck from a pipe.
Screen Shot 2017-06-23 at 11.21.59 AMMan, I’m impressed. Not everything’s perfect, but it’s a great show so far! I’m eager for more. These first two episodes flow really well and the excitement’s growing. Bits and pieces of horror along the way. Like any good slice of Stephen King, what’s best are the characters, their lives, their stories, and how they react in these mortifying moments.
“Show and Tell” is next. Will we see more devastation? Count on it.