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!

Advertisements

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.

Animal Kingdom – Season 2, Episode 4: “Broken Boards”

TNT’s Animal Kingdom
Season 2, Episode 4: “Broken Boards”
Directed by Emmy Rossum
Written by Etan Frankel

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Bleed for It” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Forgive Us Our Trespasses” – click here
Pic 1An unusual thing for Smurf (Ellen Barkin), being alone in that big house. All her boys except for J (Finn Cole) having left, and even he’s teetering. But while he’s out at the crack of dawn working hard to stay fit, she’s at the house pulling a gun on the darkness. And of course Nicky (Molly Gordon) is still there, too. Awkward. She acts like it’s no big deal, though you can tell it weirds him out. Not as much as he should be unsettled by his grandma’s tightening grip.
Meanwhile, Baz (Scott Speedman) is figuring out the gang’s matriarch changed all the codes, security, bank, otherwise. Deran (Jake Weary) is working on getting his bar ready to open, he has to refuse underage Nicky coming even with Craig (Ben Robson) whining. Trouble’s brewing between that couple, has been for a while. The new bartender might speed all that along.
And Pope (Shawn Hatosy), oh Pope… if he weren’t a murderer, I’d genuinely feel for him. He’s a fish out of water, coming out of Folsom and into the world, especially the world of the Cody gang, he can’t even really live life correctly. He and Amy (Jennifer Landon) are going out on a first date, so he ends up getting matched for a lavender shit that goes well with his “skin tone” according to a saleswoman. Seeing him in a store, picking out a proper shirt, so jarring in a humorous way.
Pic 1AAfter letting slip about Deran’s bar to Smurf, Nicky says “sex and drugs” are the only way she relates to Craig, they don’t truly love one another. Even though she acts as if she does. She’s more in for the romanticised version of Craig, the tough thief who likes to fuck and has blow all the time.
Smurf gives her this piece of advice: “Do you have any idea how powerful you are? Yknow what that power is? Its the one thing you have that every man wants. You just have to let them think they have the power. But they never do. Ever. Unless you give it to them. And dont ever give it to them.”
On the latest job, J offers to help the gang when Deran isn’t there. The boys gear up, putting together a length of air ducts, hose and all. Into which J and Craig are cramped until the heist is ready to go. Baz mainly wants the kid in on it because he knows about J pulling a job with Smurf, worrying she has her hooks in deep already.
Deran’s busy telling mom about the bar. It’s a tense conversation. Although it ends with him inviting her to the opening. She agrees. However, I’ve got to wonder: is she going to do something, make a scene? Can’t help thinking she’ll be compelled to nastiness, lashing out in anger at one of her boys branching out on his own. She’s already being vindictive with Baz, about the code to their storage unit where he’s got his tools. She’d go to any length to make herself feel better. Actually starts turning him slightly against the others, using his status as outsider to fuel his paranoia.
Screen Shot 2017-06-21 at 1.24.02 AMCraig’s always thinking with a criminal mind. He steals a beer truck on a whim from a store while the driver carts a load inside. It’s like he unconsciously needs to fuck up his brother’s new business, ’cause you know that’s where he’s headed with the beer. When he does bring it to the bar Deran refuses to take it, he doesn’t want anything to ruin this venture. He’s serious about making a change, separating this business from the thievery of his family. Above all, separating himself from his mother.
Amy and Pope are bonding, particularly after she revealed to him the situation with her son, the mistakes she’s made, what brought her to God. He wonders how she “lives with herself” because he wants to know how he can live with himself, as well. After all he’s done. Despite her situation, it isn’t the same or as dark as Pope’s sins. Not even close.
Baz calls the boys out to the beach. He apologises for his “bullshit.” He wants the old days again, when they were close, hanging out, loving life together. So, what’s the plan? A bit of extreme fun. You know how the lads get down! They climb a massive crane over the shore, jumping stories to the waves below. A nice, quick thrill before beers. Baz even says he’ll do the “shit work” and get in the duct for the next job, proving he isn’t like Smurf.
At the same time across town, Smurf takes J up to see a nice apartment she owns. A beautiful loft looking out over the ocean. Janice Brown owns the place, actually. Among other fake tenants who own other apartments, so on and so on. Money laundering. Looks like grandma wants to start bringing J into the fold with her, pulling him away from the others. She’s letting him on everything behind the family business. Almost grooming. She wants him to help with the books, unlike any of her boys.
Screen Shot 2017-06-21 at 1.40.48 AMThe bar is starting to get going, people pile in. Smurf heads out, but on the way feels like a small plumbing van is following her. She readies a gun, just in case. But off they go. Why so paranoid? Is she waiting for somebody to come?
Baz and Pope both head down to the bar, along with a crowd of surfers and others. Deran says he’s named the place The Drop from now on. And then Smurf arrives, a look of disbelief on her face, tender words for her baby. Not so nice chat for Baz, though. “Were never cominback, Smurf,” he replies. She replies: “I didnt ask you to.”
More tension when Deran finds Craig snorting cocaine with people in the bathroom. He kicks them out, throws the coke away, prompting a brief fight. We’re seeing so many different fractures, the various relationships. Craig is probably the biggest piece of shit out of them all, purposefully acting like an idiot.
Then a familiar face shows up – Adrian (Spencer Treat Clark). Long time, no see. You can see Deran lights up when he comes to the bar. Truly hope these two will get together again. Now that he’s trying to get away from Smurf. And LAAAWD is she ever making it easy to hate her, telling an embarrassing story about his failed dreams of surfing in front of the bar. God, it’s brutal to watch.
Smurf: “So heres to the runt of my litter, my beautiful baby boyto Deran.”
He confronts his mother afterwards Admitting to her he’s gay. Then the real harsh truth comes out. Does she like having the boys around because she, deep down, wants them sexually? Clearly there’s a strange connection with Pope, something happened there. Now Deran wonders if she never loved him because he can’t fuck her.
YIKES! We knew this possibility of incest was all a part of the Cody family. Just hearing it aloud in this scene is… compellingly disturbing.
Screen Shot 2017-06-21 at 1.52.37 AMFunny how the one to comfort Deran, after all that’s gone on in this episode, is Craig. Maybe he’s not a piece of shit, merely unaware of his idiocy and the kind who tries making up for it later. He and his brother take the broken boards the surfers brought in and put them up on the wall, still close, even if the fractures are starting to split the Codys to pieces slowly.
Great episode! My favourite so far this season. Disturbing, also touching and emotional in a way. Pushes a lot of things forward. Love that Emmy Rossum directed it, too. She’s fantastic, as an actress and a director. “Forgive Us Our Trespasses” is next week.

Peaky Blinders – Season 2 Finale

BBC’s Peaky Blinders
Season 2, Episode 6
Directed by Colm McCarthy
Written by Steven Knight

* For a recap & review of the penultimate Season 2 episode, click here.
* For a recap & review of the Season 3 premiere, click here.
Pic 1AMy name is Tommy Shelby, and today Im going to kill a man.”
Before Derby Day, Tom (Cillian Murphy) prepares beforehand writing a letter to the New York Times explaining things, in case of his death. He tells of the government pushing him into an assassination, as well as the IRA involvement. Warning of “civil war in Ireland” upcoming following his firing of the fatal shot. Furthermore, he names Major Chester Campbell (Sam Neill). Then he leaves his note with Ada (Sophie Rundle), scaring her a bit.
Aunt Polly (Helen McCrory) and John (Joe Cole) do their own preparations. But I’ve a feeling nobody is prepared for everything that’s coming next.
Pic 2Arthur (Paul Anderson) is still holed up in his cell. He’s getting out, though. All the witnesses pulled their statements about what supposedly happened. No longer grassed up for a murder he had no part in committing.
At the same time over at the bakery, Tom pops round to have a chat with Alfie Solomons (Tom Hardy), that hard bloke. They’ve made deals on exporting. First the baker would like to sign a few things. Such as having all the business handed to him. But the leader of the Blinders says his man outside is an “anarchist” and will trigger an explosion if he doesn’t see Tom come out the door. They get down to a 35% hand-over of business. I suspect that won’t sit long, though.
Things aren’t so well with Michael (Finn Cole) and his mother. Still, Pol brings him several rolls of money. She orders him to leave for London, start anew. “Everythings an if in this Birmingham life,” she tells him. She has her own business today.
Campbell has a few good Irish blokes ready to kill Mr. Shelby, part of the Red (Right) Hand” of Ulster. They plan to take him out on his signal. Surely, after the assassination is complete. Meanwhile, Tom is briefing all the Blinders on exactly what’s going on. Everyone’s got their role to play, their ass kicking to do.
And so it’s off to the races! At the track, May Carleton (Charlotte Riley) looks after the horse – Grace’s Secret. She knows there’s something not right with Tom, suspecting there are other things going on about which she has no clue.
Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 12.00.10 AMFrom out of nowhere Grace (Annabelle Wallis) arrives. She tells Tom of her pregnancy, that she loves him and not her husband. He has to rush off but they’ve definitely got things to talk about later. Simultaneously, we watch him manipulating Lizzie (Natasha O’Keeffe) into helping with the plan concerning Field Marshal Russell (James Richard Marshall), target of the assassination.
Campbell and Tom meet just before the race. The copper speaks of a “measure of respect” that’s almost grown between them. I quite doubt that, as does he in the end. But a lot has grown, plenty of animosity and jealousy and brutality. Tom throws the fact that Grace loves him in the Major’s face. This definitely gets to him, whether he shows it doesn’t matter. Tom also reveals he knows what Campbell did to Polly, what was done to Michael in jail. And he’s ready to bring this nasty business to a close.
Lizzie lures Russell away to the designated spot. She waits for Tommy, who said he’d stop anything before it started. The tension of waiting for him to get there is unbearable, as the Field Marshal gets terribly rough with her, raping her. When Tom does show up his pistol doesn’t fire. The men wrestle, before Tom manages to knock Russell backward and fire a shot through his head. This act, along with a a few extra shots, sends the coppers running, many to protect the King. Setting other plans in motion.
Tom meets with Darby Sabini (Noah Taylor) and it’s a fool proof plan. Because anyone who hauls a gun will draw full attention as possibly being ready to kill the King. A few coppers show up to haul Tom off. For the Red Right Hand. He’s being taken away for a last ride to his death.
Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 12.00.57 AMAt the track, Pol sticks a gun to Campbell. He tries to justify what he did to her. He acts as if he cares for her, which is absolutely crazy. Although he tries his best to ingratiate himself to her. Not enough, of course. Nor should it be. She fires one in him: “Dont fuck with the Peaky Blinders.” Case closed on the rotten Major, left to bleed out while Grace unknowingly sits not far off in the same bar. An amazing, welcomed coincidence.
All the while John and Arthur and Lizzie sit at a table together near the track, Tommy’s being carted to some spot far out in the fields, where no one can hear a thing. Certainly not a gunshot. There, a grave is already dug. Prepared in advance for the occasion. Then one of the men kills the other two, saving Mr. Shelby. He says that someday Winston Churchill will require to speak with him in person. Saved, in the end, by government. Such a strange life the leader of the Blinders leads.
On he goes, still in shock believing he was about to die. At least he’s alive. Always by the skin of his fucking teeth. Next step for the lads and Polly? Only way to go is up, I suppose. Plus it seems Michael’s in it for the long haul, a part of the family proper. Go on, boys! Get to it. Tom says he’s got plans to get married on top of everything else.
Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 12.23.45 AMGreat fucking finale. Unexpected, exciting, intense. Nice revenge, as well. Season 3 is spectacular, too. Make sure to head on over and check out those recaps/reviews.

Peaky Blinders – Season 2, Episode 5

BBC’s Peaky Blinders
Season 2, Episode 5
Directed by Colm McCarthy
Written by Steven Knight

* For a recap & review of Episode 4, click here.
* For a recap & review of the Season 2 finale, click here.
Pic 1Alfie Solomons (Tom Hardy) receives Arthur Shelby (Paul Anderson) and a few lads down at the bakery. They sit around a table, the baker talks of the persecution of the Jewish people and the “evil fucking Egyptians.” They’ve got a Passover goat for sacrifice. They’ve named him after Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy). All hell breaks loose. Billy Kitchen is shot in the head. Arthur nearly choked to death as a few men hold him back. He’s knocked out and given to the coppers.
At the same time, Major Chester Campbell (Sam Neill) watches as Polly (Helen McCrory) and Michael Gray (Finn Cole) have the house raided during dinner; the lawman presses himself against Aunt Pol up against the car, telling her that “as of tonight Tommy Shelby is done.” Darby Sabini (Noah Taylor) and his boys are out terrorising all of their own sort. All around everything is getting darker, scarier. Not sure who scares me most.
One thing I know, when Tom finds out he will not be happy. He’s busy over with May Carleton (Charlotte Riley) talking about the horse and such, the morning after their passionate night together. Little does he know of what’s gone on concerning the family. So much betrayal.
Pic 1ALater, Tommy meets with Campbell. The copper’s been fucking him over constantly, so it isn’t really a surprise to see him uncaring about it all. The Blinders’ leader finds himself in a tough spot. Lots of charges looming overhead, for everyone from Arthur on trumped up charges to Michael on crimes he’s admitted. Campbell’s a jealous man who’s at the edge of his own sanity and morality. He has power over “life and death” of the Shelby family. An ugly place this relationship has arrived.
Then, to make it all the more difficult, Grace Burgess (Annabelle Wallis) calls to speak with Tommy, right in the midst of his many problems. She’d like to meet with him. Well, after he’s taken care of all the shit raining down on their house.
John (Joe Cole) fills Tom in on the impound of the vans, the lifted whiskey, all their export issues, so on. Aunt Pol is gone mental over her son in lockup. There’s no certain plan going forward, though the leader decides they’ll take Johnny Dogs (Packy Lee) up on his offer to provide men for protection and fighting and the lot. At the same time, their aunt won’t have it. She wants to get away from the family. I imagine that’s just rage talking. If she never left before, she won’t now. The family’s falling apart worse than ever.
Polly: “Its men that have done the damage
She goes up to see her son, but she only finds Major Campbell being a brute. He says he’ll release Michael within the next day. If she does something for him. Then he advances physically on her, and she refuses. Momentarily. When she tries appeasing him, he forces himself further onto her viciously, raping her. She doesn’t tell anybody. Although Ada (Sophie Rundle) finds her at home, bathing, looking as if she’s been trampled. Michael is released the next day… at what price? People are talking about his mother as if she willingly gave herself to the Major, which he himself believes. Fucking tragic, awful stuff.
Pic 2Tommy is down in the barn shovelling shit. To remind himself “where hed be” if it weren’t for who he was, his name, the gang, everything. Trying to keep himself honest. Then later on he meets with Grace, after so much time. He seems bitter, and she does, too. She tells of her husband, that she’s happy. And he tries acting like it doesn’t burn him up inside she’s married. They go out to a party together, where Charlie Chaplin is kicking around; apparently he’s a gypsy from Birmingham like the Blinders.
The jealousy games keep going, as Mr. Shelby calls Campbell to gloat about being with Grace. Sending the copper into a fit of rage. What’s he going to do? Christ. Worries me.
Tommy: “We all have our secrets, Grace.”
Over at the clink, John goes to see his oldest brother. Arthur’s dealing with literal rats, Cockneys, and Sabini’s men crawling around the place. The brothers joke a bit. However, the oldest Shelby is starting to lament about his wasted life: “I used to draw horses.” A bit too late at this point. Nevertheless, Tom won’t let him rot in there.
Pic 3Major Campbell is over at the Shelby offices poking around. He’s plotting something sinister, you can just feel it. He almost wants to BE Tommy Shelby, in a strange way. There’s a streak of jealousy running through him on a lot of fronts. He and Tommy meet once more for a chat. The Major asks about Polly, sly and nasty. He further stresses the importance of the assassination with which he and IRA have tasked the leader of the Blinders. Tom’s making sure he gets to do the kill when and where he can assure he’ll make it out of the damned thing alive.
Screen Shot 2017-06-14 at 10.39.22 PMWhat a lead up to the Season 2 finale! There’s so much trouble about to pop, and I can only hope there are certain resolutions we’ll see. Either way, the last episode of this season is bound to be cracking.

Animal Kingdom – Season 2, Episode 3: “Bleed For It”

 

TNT’s Animal Kingdom
Season 2
Episode 3: “Bleed For It”
Directed by J. Michael Muro
Written by Megan Martin

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Karma” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Broken Boards” – click here
Pic 1A (1)On the road, Smurf (Ellen Barkin) takes J (Finn Cole) to the wake for Manny after he’s finally passed. She hadn’t seen the guy for about 20 years. I wonder how things will go for grandma and her boy. Meanwhile, Baz (Scott Speedman) calls Pope (Shawn Hatosy) to go pick up his daughter, neglecting things while he’s in Mexico with Lucy (Carolina Guerra). Baz meets with Marco (Joseph Julian Soria), who’s helping on a new job, without the Cody matriarch’s knowledge, of course.
Over at the bar he’s purchasing, Deran (Jake Weary) makes plans for construction on the bar, he wants it to be old school like before all the new money moved onto the beach. He’s interviewing people for jobs and trying to get the place off the ground.
And Pope, he’s getting to know Amy (Jennifer Landon) and the rest of her Bible study group. He actually seems to have read the Bible. Weird seeing him amongst a bunch of normal people, of any sort.
Nicky (Molly Gordon) is still kicking around at the house, though it’s clear Craig (Ben Robson) is tiring of their relationship, which was actually clear awhile ago. Might be that she’s starting to realise it now.
Pic 1A (2)At the wake, J and Smurf meet Manny’s old crew, including old buddy Jake (Jack Conley). Looks like before the guy passed, there was big trouble with his crew. Being run by Javier (Alex Meraz), apparently a real “sick piece of shit.”
It’s also becoming painfully obvious that Craig has no ambition, or at least no sense to make ambition reality. He and Deran are at odds over the bar, what to do, how to do it. Most of all, Deran worries about being an ex-con and that it might make things problematic come inspection time.
J has a chat with Javier, the guy’s got issues with Smurf, which isn’t hard to tell. He thinks she’s there for other reasons, not out of the goodness in her heart. There’s something very, very eerie here. They have history; dark stuff. They were once like family; Manny, Javier and his dad, as well.
In Mexico, Lucy’s brother Marco offers Baz up a bit of business on the side, though he doesn’t want much part of it. Lucy later tells him she thinks Marco’s in trouble. Back home, Lena’s being watched over by uncle Pope. Seeing him with the girl is tragic, in a lot of ways. For the fact he killed her mother, and loved her, for the fact he’s clearly got a nurturing side to him, even if it’s buried by all the worrisome history he has with his mother. Great moment where a pigeon hits the window; Pope is about to put it out of its misery, then it flies away. A humanitarian lesson there for him, so often quick to take action.
Pic 2In the motel room J and Smurf kick back. She receives a late visit from Jake, apparently Manny was recording things near the end of life to keep his memory strong. That’s going to be a large problem for her. If he said anything troubling, could mean jail time. Or worse. What’s she planning on doing about it? Will she look for the tapes?
Nicky, alone at the Cody palace, snoops around the house, finding cash, trying on Smurf’s clothes. She accidentally knocks a pair of sunglasses to the floor and finds an automatic weapon under the dresser. She pretends to fire it like a child with a toy gun.
Alone together, Lena asks her uncle: “Is mommy dead?” He’s caught off guard, answering slow in a reassuring tone. She’s also curious why her father doesn’t show his sadness the way she does. Pope tells her he’s “secret sad.” Certainly he can’t tell her the truth, so he talks about not having a dad as a boy; problem is he DIDN’T turn out okay.
Smurf tells J more of the story concerning Manny, how he was a mentor to her after she got out of her first little stint in jail. She was a young, impressionable girl, learned to steal and grift and lie with the best. She then asks J to put a bullet in her if she loses her mental faculties. And she’s serious, too. So he promises. Then she kisses him on the lips. Yikes. I hope she doesn’t take him down the same path as Pope.
Now with so much at stake, Craig decides he’s dumping Nicky. After she knows about the guns, money, his love of drugs, and she knows about the bar. Dera wants to keep it from Smurf until the grand opening. Not sure if that’ll happen at this point. I worry, deeply, for Nicky.
Pic 3Using a story Smurf told him about Manny, J does an impromptu robbery at a diner using grandma as the perfect pretty bait. Uh oh, this is not good. Not just the fact he’s becoming closer with her, I worry that her strange affections will spread further over her grandson. It’s terrifying, really.
Smurf: “Youre a natural. Not like the other boys.”
When Craig talks with Nicky, she asks about what her dad helped them with, what sort of bad shit he got into before leaving for Guam. She demands respect, seeing as how he enjoys all the perks of their relationship and not the fact they’re actually in one together. He doesn’t break up with her. Yet.
Deran gets inspected finally and he’s nervous. He tells the man upfront about his time in jail, the charges. He also tells him about being a competitive surfer, and when that went south he went off the rails. It all looks good, especially with him choosing not to offer a bribe and remaining honest. Looks like the possibility of a new life for Deran.
Amy goes to see Pope. She wanted him to know about her past. She had a son who was in the car with her while she had a drunk driving accident and she hasn’t yet forgiven herself. Wonders if he’ll hold it against her. Little does she know who she’s talking to, the type of person he’s become over the years, what he’s done. He can accept just about anyone.
Pic 4Baz goes to Gia (Karina Logue), their fence. He finds out that the Cody matriarch doesn’t want them doing business with her. Cut off. This will cause a good deal of grief in the long run, right now it’s pushing the gang further apart.
He gets back home to Lena and Pope, glad to see his little girl. He also fills Pope in about the latest problem involving Smurf, they have no buyers and a job coming up in two weeks. So they’ve got to figure something out. Baz turns up after Gia leaves work, to speak with her employee Monica (Tembi Locke). They might be able to strike up a deal.
What scares me above all? Javier’s going to listen to the tapes Manny made. He’s going to find out something terrible, something he’ll hold over Smurf. Perhaps something that might make him angry enough to kill.
Screen Shot 2017-06-14 at 8.52.37 AMStunning episode. So much happening. Particularly, I’m worried constantly about Smurf exerting a strong, bad influence over J. He’s already falling into her lap, as a boy lost after losing his mother. It only gets stronger with every passing day, the more they spend time together.

Peaky Blinders – Season 2, Episode 4

BBC’s Peaky Blinders
Season 2, Episode 4
Directed by Colm McCarthy
Written by Steven Knight

* For a recap & review of Episode 3, click here.
* For a recap & review of Episode 5, click here.
Pic 1Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy) visits the freshly dug grave of the young man whose throat was cut for the Blinders in prison. Naturally, he’s met with an angry mother. He pays what cash he has, then leaves; bloody temple and all. Then another clandestine meeting with Major Chester Campbell (Sam Neill), who’s invited a couple people: Irene O’Donnell (Simone Kirby) and Donal (Rory Keenan). All in the same bed of Irish greens. Tommy taunts about their mixing the “personal with the political” and the IRA frowns upon such things. This is one hell of a shaky alliance. Christ almighty! This is what happens when… common interests arise. Or I guess here it’s common dislikes, common problems.
So, Tom needs to kill someone. For the Crown, and for the cause. People not wanting to get their hands dirty. He refuses to do the job. Alone together, the leader of the Blinders tells Campbell that there are darker things at play here, specifically with those two. And what happens next could get extremely volatile.
Irene: “Did you ask why in France?”
Tommy: “Yeah
Pic 1AArthur (Paul Anderson) and some of the lads are in Camden Town. Gearing up for a row. They storm into a club, beating the shit out of any man who steps near. Bashing the place to pieces. The oldest Shelby’s making a statement and sending a message. He stabs the manager in the face with a broken bottle, announcing he’s taking over.
A man finds a body under a pile of coal at the mine. Is that Mr. Duggan?
At the office, Tommy gets a visit from Michael about a bookkeeping job. He wants to be part of the family, the business, he hopes to help in making them legitimate. Best of all, he offers loyalty and pride. Yet the boss is reluctant as always to take him in.
May Carleton (Charlotte Riley) turns up to see Tommy, at the bookies. Only Esme (Aimee-Ffion Edwards) is around, she’s not exactly welcoming. Although they do chat a bit before John (Joe Cole) and Tom arrive. The horse trainer gets to know the place, a feel for the bookie business and the operation in general. Then they go see the new horse, where Curly (Ian Peck) sweetly looks after it.
This woman is very curious about the Shelby man. They go down to the Garrison, where May has a bit of a culture shock over booze and talk of sex. She denies any attraction, which he says it perfect; less complicated. But I feel they’re both lying.
Screen Shot 2017-06-14 at 12.29.18 AMMichael is officially of age! They have a party to celebrate, also letting him in on the business finally after Pol and Tommy chat. So there’s plenty to be celebrating, indeed. They toast and have fun together like a big, happy family. Next day’s back to the grind like usual. They’ve got an export business ready to thrive, starting by setting off for Halifax, Nova Scotia. Taking advantage of Prohibition in Canada. Whiskey for the Canadians; these lads are right on.
In other news, Tommy isn’t pleased with Arthur and how he’s running the business. The books aren’t adding well at the end of the month. His issues with drink and cocaine are making him fuck up. “Its under control,” though. That’s what he tells his brother.
Tom goes to see Ada (Sophie Rundle). She’s got a man around named James (Josh O’Connor), renting out a room; a gay writer. The brother explains to his sister that he’s setup a trust fund for her boy, his nephew Karl. Not particularly surprising, as he likes taking care of his family. This is sort of an acknowledgement of mortality.
Screen Shot 2017-06-14 at 12.55.46 AM
Alfie Solomons (Tom Hardy) meets with Darby Sabini (Noah Taylor), they discuss their mutual acquaintance. If one thing is clear, the baker does not stand for any antisemitic bullshit. Seems the Italian likes to make jokes about the Jews. They’re definitely not buddies, these two. Nor does Sabini like the Shelby clan, whom he refers to as savages. The Jew and the Italian have been friends and enemies for a long, long time. So there’s a lot to navigate between these two and the Blinders.
Alfie: “The great big fuck off elephant in the room…”
Tommy goes to May’s home, where they have a drink and talk some more. It gets late and he’ll be staying there for the night. Furthermore, he makes clear his intentions to bed her later.
It’s payday. Isaiah (Jordan Bolger) wants to get served properly, so he takes Michael with him for a drink. While they’re out someone gets in a racist twist, calling Isaiah “darkie” and worse. This starts a rowdy fist fight with the Blinder boys doing a good deal of damage. The name Shelby alone causes a ruckus. Worse happens once John and Arthur get a whiff of it all, too.
Tom meets Campbell once again. Three weeks and the mission must be complete. He also tells the Major if he dies suspiciously, then someone will kill him. But that’s why he’s preparing, acknowledging that mortality instead of riding a wave of lucky breaks in the face of death. He knows it could, and will eventually, come for him. That’s why he tries calling Grace Burgess (Annabelle Wallis), hanging up when a man answers the phone. OH, MY.
Screen Shot 2017-06-14 at 1.11.49 AMFucking love this episode. There’s a lot to pack in sometimes, but it’s great because the writing fleshes out the characters every episode, and explores so much in each one. Can’t wait to see more of what happens between the IRA, Campbell, and Tommy; a bad standoff that can only end in nastiness for possibly all sides.

Peaky Blinders – Season 2, Episode 3

BBC’s Peaky Blinders
Season 2, Episode 3
Directed by Colm McCarthy
Written by Steven Knight

* For a recap & review of Episode 2, click here.
* For a recap & review of Episode 4, click here.
Pic 1PJ Harvey’s version of “Red Right Hand” plays at the beginning of this episode, and it’s even more haunting than Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.
Major Chester Campbell (Sam Neill) is catching his men up to speed about the specialities of the IRA, such as using the garrote; a murder we witness in the opening scene outside a children’s shadow puppet show. This illustrates how close innocence and violence are at all times here, a very on-the-nose representation as death is juxtaposed with a playful show for kids.
Tommy (Cillian Murphy), Arthur (Paul Anderson), John (Joe Cole), they’re looking for lads for the organisation. They need fellas of all kinds, including those whom they can “stand up” – the Shelbys help their friends in the high places to reach quotas, sending people to jail, and someone with no record is perfect because they’ll only do a very short amount of time.
Finally we see Michael Gray (Finn Cole) with his long lost mother Polly (Helen McCrory). They bond over a drop of tea, each with “a million questions” for the other. So much time gone. You can see the light returning to her, though. It’s clear she loves him. And that he wants to be able to love her, too. Not long and he’s introduced to the Shelby brothers, his cousins. To the surprise of Arthur and John, who only remember the lad as a little baby. An awkward reunion to start, but a reunion all the same!
Pic 1AA man named Billy Kitchen (Paul Bullion) that Tom knows from serving in the army comes to see him. He’s got to pass a physical, however, he took a bullet recently. So he gets a week before taking it. Already has the job, as he and Tommy are obviously close enough to go on good faith. Plus, he’s a fine boy to send out recruiting.
Tommy takes Michael down to the Garrison. He’s trying to get a read on the young man. Michael turns 18 soon, then he will decide whether to leave his adopted home. The leader of the Blinders wants his newfound cousin to go back. He tells of the Shelby family business, its dangers. Regardless, Michael is sick of the tiny village where he lives. He wants more out of life.
Over in Camden Town, Billy’s rounded up all sorts to go see Alfie Solomons (Tom Hardy) for work. They’re bakers now, officially. So if the coppers come round, they’ve got proper identification. One man gets cheeky. Alfie pops the fella next to him, then makes clear: don’t fucking joke around. Muffin Man Solomons lays down the law, putting rules out so there’s no further confusion.
Pic 2Arthur’s dipping deeper into the cocaine, a regular, heavy user. Not the type of guy you relish running into on a regular day, let alone one where he’s snorting hard. Makes a man feel like Superman. Doesn’t mix well with his temper and fists. The mother of the young man he beat to death shows up, pointing a gun at him in the Garrison. She calls him “an animal” and he doesn’t disagree.
She can’t bring herself to kill, so they sit and drink, and talk. He offers money knowing it’s a far cry from raising the dead. Mostly we see how people start resenting the Blinders rather than glorifying their criminality, as it’s really starting to have deadly effects.
Arthur: “If youre gonna use it, point that thing at my head. Thats where the trouble is.”
Tommy is still toying with Campbell. The Major is finding himself becoming more like the man he so badly wants to defeat. It’s brewing to something worse, every episode. Tom says that where he’s staying, the landlord used to be the madam of a whorehouse. Is someone playing a nasty trick on the copper?
Darby Sabini (Noah Taylor) has his own copper on the take, Georgie Sewell (Sam Hazeldine), gathering information on Mr. Shelby and waiting for the proper time to strike him down. The Italian is an impatient man, I gather. He’s a nasty fucking bloke.
Later that evening Campbell tells the landlord at his place to strip, offering money. She does gladly, even if his tact is less than gentlemanly. He only wanted to know that it was true. To know if his men have been playing jokes on him. Moreover, his righteous indignation is never more apparent than it is now; it’ll only get worse.
Pic 3One of the Blinders’ recruits spending the night in jail gets attacked in his cell. His throat is cut, as a display of authority from Sabini. An innocent casualty in their war. This will happen to any more of the Blinders who are sent inside.
In addition, Tommy himself is threatened. So they’ve got to take action, not the time to appear weak. At the same time, Michael sneaks himself into the family business meeting. He wants to be a part of the gang, to help with the latest plan to fuck Sabini over at the races.
While Polly is reluctant, the lads want to take Michael along with them. Except Tommy, who doesn’t want to bring another young man into a life of crime, death, violence, repeat. Still, mom and her son come together more, and she lets him go on with the brothers. More like a picnic than usual with Pol sending sandwiches and tea.
Polly: “This is a respectable fucking neighbourhood
The Blinders head to see some horses. One in particular, which Charlie Strong (Ned Dennehy) points out. Tom starts bidding on the animal, across the way a woman watches him. On goes the auction, as Tommy insists on getting the horse, no matter how high the price. Afterwards, he meets the woman bidding against him: May Carleton (Charlotte Riley). She trains horses, and it seems she’s interested in the one he bought. Or him.
Sabini’s man nearly kills Tom, before Arthur knocks the pistol from his hands. Nearly beating him to death in the process. Michael gets a front row seat to the business of his cousins, the risks, so on. Even offers to drive for them once it’s finished. He’s thirsty to be one of the bad boys, as well.
Pic 4A solid chapter in Season 2, building on some of the show’s central themes such as the loss of innocence, the way war changes people, how others in turn react to the change in them, so on. Lots of great stuff, including more of the battle brewing between Alfie Solomons, along with Tommy, and Mr. Sabini. Excited to see what happens next.

Peaky Blinders – Season 2, Episode 2

BBC’s Peaky Blinders
Season 2, Episode 2
Directed by Colm McCarthy
Written by Steven Knight

* For a recap & review of the Season 1 premiere, click here.
* For a recap & review of Episode 3, click here.
Pic 1After Tom Shelby (Cillian Murphy) was beaten and nearly killed by Darby Sabini (Noah Taylor) and his men, he was saved by Major Chester Campbell’s (Sam Neill) lads. But what about Ada (Sophie Rundle)? She was taken by a group of men, god knows what about to happen to her. Whatever does happen, those fellas are in for a rude awakening when the Shelby clan finds them.
Lucky enough she saved by a few of the Peaky Blinders. Not that she’s overly grateful: “My name is NOT Shelby!” She gives one of her saviours a kick in the bollocks before heading off. Bless her heart.
Campbell visits Tommy in the hospital, to talk about the death of Mr. Duggan. Then the leader of the Blinders taunts him a little, simultaneously lamenting about Grace Burgess (Annabelle Wallis) moving off to New York, apparently married to a banker. He throws in a few taunts regarding the Major’s lack of active military service during the war; a perpetual boulder in the craw of the lawman. These two are in a blood feud at this point. And Campbell holds everything he can over Tommy’s head, bending him to whatever purpose he and his special unit see fit.
Campbell: “You belong to me
Pic 1ASo Tom checks himself out of the hospital, needing to get to London. Immediately. He is a right state, not nearly healed. What I love about him is not only that he’s tough, and stubborn, he still has that Irish spirit of belief; not in God, particularly, but in the myths and lore of the Irish people, in magic and other things. Not that he’s an outright believer, he’s more willing to fall back on his heritage than trying to be a perfectly modern man.
Note: This season we’re given a few tunes by the ever wonderful PJ Harvey. Here, as Tommy travels to London in his brutal shape, “When Under Ether” plays. Love the anachronistic choices in Peaky Blinders. All the Jack White, the Nick Cave, now Ms. Harvey; so fitting. That’s why it all works. If it didn’t fit, it wouldn’t work. Boy, does it ever make for good listening.
“Man-Size” by PJ Harvey plays when we’re first introduced to Jewish baker Alfie Solomons (Tom Hardy), a curious character. He and Mr. Shelby literally break bread together, drink a bit of liquor. Although the baker’s a bit rough around the edges they get down to business. They talk about war with the Italians, Sabini’s crew. Alfie tells of the “Biblical” nature of his violence against the Italians. So, can the Blinder sell his idea of a coalition? Sort of a rough start to their relationship yet a start either way.
Meanwhile, Tom still worries for Ada. He doesn’t want her relationship to him, in name or not, to do anything worse than what’s already gone on. He gives her a house to keep her safe, trying to keep in the fold with the family if anything just for peace of mind.
Pic 2Everyone already knows about Tommy coming to London again, specifically Mr. Sabini, whose own relationship with the police is one of a wretched boss and his subordinates. A hateful man. He’s got the cops on the take, looking out for Shelby should he pop up on the streets.
Aunt Polly Gray (Helen McCrory) wakes up in a rush, heading off quick to the bookie shop. It’s her birthday, actually. Her nephews have remembered and they’ve got her a present. They’ve given her a house of her own, a beautiful place. She’s not overly thrilled. Afterwards she and Tommy talk alone, he’s spoken to Esme (Aimee-Ffion Edwards). He also has contacts that can find out where her children were adopted, so that she might bring them home to that new house. For all their issues, he wants to make her happy again. Out in the country he visits a woman about one of her adopted children. His real name is Michael Gray (Finn Cole), son of Polly.
At the office, Tom has Lizzie Stark (Natasha O’Keeffe) take down dictation of a letter written for Winston Churchill (Richard McCabe). So the great leader receives this letter, which not only alerts him to the medals awarded to Mr. Shelby, it pushes him to give Shelby Brothers Ltd. certain liberties. For the time being until the nasty business is complete.
Down at the boxing rings Arthur (Paul Anderson) has caved a young man’s head in. People are worried about him. The Flanders blues are doing him dirty. He knows it’s happening. Just can’t stop it. Right now Tom isn’t being too understanding, and he makes it more about the pressure on him than what’s ruining his brother, or how to help.
Tommy: “The war is over. Shut the door on it.”
Pic 3Campbell’s found out his coppers, some of them, are on the “Peaky Blinders payroll.” He sees the corruption in everyone else, remaining blind to his own. Sure, the Shelbys have put many people on the take, turned them against the law. All the same he’s done exactly that to the Major, whose wind is warped by jealousy of all kinds. He’s become as crooked as any of them, only of a different sort than those taking cash.
Polly gets the files about Anna and Michael Gray – only one is alive; her daughter passed. She was sent to Australia as a convict where she died. At least she has her son still out there, and could possibly come back to her someday. Rather than wait Pol pulls a gun on Tom trying to force him to tell her where he is, but he won’t agree. He wants her to wait until Michael is of age, then he can decide on his own.
Note: Take a count of how many times Tommy gets a gun pointed at his head. Incredible! Lad is calm under pressure, no doubt.
The Garrison Pub is reopening, without Arthur. He doesn’t feel he wants to be a part of it. No matter if Tom wants him to go. He stays at home with one of the boys and snorts a bit of cocaine. Puts him in a proper mood to go out then. Back behind the bar and on wheels.
Next morning, Michael goes to see Polly, a.k.a his mother Elisabeth Gray. A welcome, wonderful surprise. An emotional reunion, if not a touch awkward.
Pic 4Beautiful episode, as well as one that explores the hero side as opposed to the anti(-hero) in Tommy with the way he cares for his family, despite the darkness in him. Season 2 promises to be even better than the first, which is a tough feat. I know they’ll achieve it, because already the first two episodes leading in are fantastic.

Peaky Blinders – Season 2, Episode 1

BBC’s Peaky Blinders
Season 2, Episode 1
Directed by Colm McCarthy
Written by Steven Knight

* For a recap & review of the Season 1 finale, click here.
* For a recap & review of Episode 2, click here.
Pic 1Last we saw Grace Burgess (Annabelle Wallis), she was on the end of Chester Campbell’s (Sam Neill) gun. Only she fired first from inside her purse, putting him on his back. Then she boarded the train and didn’t look back.
Cut to two years later in  Birmingham. A couple prams are wheeled up in front of the Garrison Pub, left by two women dressed in widow’s attire. Bombs go off and blow the front out of the place. Elsewhere, the funeral of Freddie Thorne, who succumbed to illness. Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy) says a few words over the casket as it’s put in the ground, with Ada (Sophie Rundle), John (Joe Cole), the rest of the family looking on. Aunt Polly (Helen McCrory) and Tom want Ada to stick around rather than leaving, because business is picking up and it’ll be “dangerous to be a Shelby” for a while. Although now she’s Mrs. Thorne, technically.
There’s never a dull moment in the lives of the Shelby clan. Off they go to find the pub burned to a crisp. Pol leans down in the ashes to find confetti. Hmm, a clue. But what could that mean? You bet the family is going to find out, one way or a-bloody-nother.
Pic 1ATom goes for a drink at the Black Lion. After that he’s led off someplace by a boy looking for that “Peaky Blinder devil.” He meets Irene O’Donnell (Simone Kirby) and Donal (Rory Keenan). They blew up the pub. They’re dangerous folk and clearly in for the cause. Threats are thrown at Tom, but he fires back knowing much personal information about Irene. Seems they need him. However, they’ve got a leg up, and he’s not the slightest bit happy about being their bitch. ‘Cause really, that’s the deal. You know he won’t let that last long. We’ve seen Tommy down, he’s never really out.
Later, Tom’s copper on the take mentions an old friend is coming back to town, now head of a special department of some kind: Major Chester Campbell (Sam Neill), that nasty old piece of work. He’s gone from justice to criminal himself, taking no prisoners along the way. A bad man, if ever there were.
Arthur (Paul Anderson) is busy boxing the shit out of people. He’s still not right. Channelling his anger into a BARELY more manageable place by boxing. John is still critical of his brother the boss, and Pol tries keeping a lid on it. But there’s absolutely a divide, as always. All over a bit of business.
Pic 2In regards to London and the expansion plan Tommy speaks of, he mentions that the Jews and the Italians have been at war. The Jews need allies, specifically Alfie Solomons (Tom Hardy). I wonder if this will play into his meeting with O’Donnell somehow.
Lizzie Stark (Natasha O’Keeffe) is back, too. She and Tommy meet now and then for a shag, he leaves a few quid on the dresser for her. “I wish just once you wouldnt pay me,” she tells him. Problem being I think he’s only doing it to forget, not even to get off. He wants not to remember Grace.
We see Pol go to a seance with a medium leading the group. So who’s she there to try and reach? The parish took her children, lately she feels as if her daughter’s possibly dead. There’s a lot of pain in her past. She’s always seemed haunted, though now it becomes clearer. Also clear is the dark weight of the Shelby family name.
That night Tommy sneaks up on a blacksmith named Eamonn Duggan (Rory Gallagher), shooting him in the head. This is most certainly one of those O’Connell, IRA-related events. Like Tom’s back in the war again. He and the lads are off to bury Duggan’s body, then to London for a lark!
Next day, Esme (Aimee-Ffion Edwards) tells Polly about how the medium was a bunch of bullshit, a scam. This prompts the aunt to put a knife at her throat, threatening her not to tell a soul why she was there. Can the new wife actually keep a secret?
Pic 3When the Blinders holiday in London, they’re supposedly overstepping boundaries. And when people take offence to their being there, the lads start cutting motherfuckers, headbutting, punching, generally kicking the shite out of anyone who’ll step up. Proper show. Tom gives a little speech to the “downtrodden” and the like, sending out a call, a message.
Major Campbell goes to see Winston Churchill (Richard McCabe), the fabled leader painting naked women, a bit jowlier than last we saw him. He hears of Chester’s latest plans, of course involving Mr. Shelby. He wants to use the Blinder to their purposes, then be done with him.
Tommy offers Lizzie a job as a typist for the Shelby Brothers Ltd. He also needs someone willing to turn a blind eye to certain things. So strange to see him caring about her after what he did in Season 1. I guess that points clearly to the fact he wasn’t just visiting her as a customer then, either. He had feelings, of some kind.
When he gets back home Pol is pissed with him for being “at war with Sabini.” She’s speaking of a man named Darby Sabini (Noah Taylor). Tom is attacked in the street, and meanwhile Ada is attacked by a gang of men, taken away somewhere. The leader of the Blinders has a gold filling pulled from his face, but before they can kill him, gunfire erupts. Campbell’s saved him. Oh, my.
Screen Shot 2017-06-13 at 12.56.22 AMWhat a spectacular opening to this second season. Things are about to get nasty, nasty, nasty. And wild as hell.

Outcast – Season 2, Episode 10: “To The Sea”

Cinemax’s Outcast
Season 2, Episode 10: “To The Sea”
Directed by Loni Peristere
Written by Chris Black

* For a recap & review of the penultimate Season 2 episode, “This Is How It Starts” – click here
Pic 1Again from the pulpit, Reverend Anderson (Philip Glenister) leads his flock and gives them hope once more. Or does he? He starts ripping pages from the Bible, calling them bullshit. He preaches finding the enemy, destroying them and their evil influence.
At the same time, those at the Lighthouse are preparing their own rituals, led by Simon Barnes (C. Thomas Howell) with his son Kyle (Patrick Fugit) watching on.
Anderson: “Devil or not, evil exists.”
There’s something heavy brewing in the air, though I’m not sure what exactly. A showdown’s coming, one way or another.
Pic 1AKyle catches up with his father after all these years, talking of how his mother, how he didn’t want to leave a stain on the family. He hoped leaving meant the demonic possession and all that mess would pass him, leave him be. There’s certainly no love lost, as there was never much in the beginning. Kyle feels abandoned, and rightfully so. Now cult leader daddy is back, a head full of plans.
What about Megan (Wrenn Schmidt)? Well, she’s being taken care of by Dr. Ken Park (Hoon Lee), held in a locked room. The demons are going to need that baby of hers, to help them with whatever’s meant to come with the Great Merge. But apparently no one like them has carried one to term. A new frontier.
Simon talks with Dakota (Madelyn Deutch) about the coming Merge. She’s under the impression that only the “pure” will remain afterwards. Although she isn’t struck with confidence in the way he speaks, not now. Either way, they’ve got weapons and other needed items stockpiled in preparation.
Poor Byron Giles (Reg E. Cathey) is still reeling from the loss of Rosie, trying to figure out where he’ll put her body. His old pal Anderson offers what comfort he can in such a harsh time. He’s ready to fight a war, and Giles suggests they start with the list Rosie compiled of the possessed in Rome.
Pic 2Under the watchful eye of Blake Morrow (Lee Tergesen), Megan and her daughter Holly exist in a prison. Mom does her best not to freak out or act suspicious. She ingratiates herself and her daughter to Blake, acting friendly, building trust. However, he knows this is all a ruse, threatening brutal violence if she tries doing it again. Yikes.
In the woods Dakota finds others from her cult cutting down trees. She says that Simon’s “lost his way.” Yet nobody else seems ready to believe her, still trusting in the power of their beacon prophet. At the same time, Simon and son go looking for Junkyard Bob (M.C. Gainey), who’s definitely surprised to see his former buddy. Then Kyle finds out Amber and Allison (Kate Lyn Shiel) were taken from their motel. Moreover, dad shows his son a few tricks about his own powers; the powers they share alike. He advises not rushing into anything, but to take the time, use his power, and he’ll locate his family.
Park goes to see a woman in a fancy house. She apparently has a power like Kyle and Simon and Amber, grabbing the doc by the hand as the black veins bulge and throb around his hands and his face. Sidney was actually protecting Kyle and his daughter, as they’re able to bring about the Merge. Now? It’s Park’s job.
Simon: “They hate what makes us human
With all the shit Helen caused back in the day, Simon remembers there were 9 beacons; only 8 were found. So, this means there’s someone left out there who may be capable of helping them in their latest journey. They go visit Bob’s sister Emma (Laura Gardner), her husband Martin Pruitt (Mark Jeffrey Miller) – he’s not in good shape, they did a number on him years before. Martin holds a key to helping them stop more demons, unfortunately he’s as close to a vegetable without being one as he can get.
At the police station, Byron picks up ammo and weapons. He and the Rev have picked up the people on that list, the demonically possessed. They’re all transported to the station – a “Holy War” has begun, Giles tells one of his former officers. The remainder of the congregation helps pull them together, like God’s army. Dakota turns up to speak with Anderson, who’s not particularly keen on working with her. But it seems she’s taking a turn.
Pic 3Like water drawn to the sea” the Barnes men are pulled back together. Later, they receive a visit from Emma and Martin, to hopefully aid in whatever’s headed for Rome. A group of them all head together into the forest.
Simultaneously, Blake is having flashes, visions of Kyle and people in that same forest, as he plans on taking Megan and her daughter elsewhere. Then Park turns up, finding Blake tearing the place apart – neither he nor Megan want to be part of his experiments. This puts the two possessed men against one another until the doc uses a Taser to drop Blake, and outside Megan manages to flee in the car.
In the woods, Kyle, Simon, and the others gather. A storm comes together overhead. Also returning, finally, are Amber and Allison; Kyle’s dad was holding them for safety. Together, all those beacons with their power align and concentrate their faith on the demons of Rome. Suddenly a light opens in the darkness, a bunch of the beacons cut their throats and Simon cuts Martin’s open wide. WHOA! Simon tells his boy their blood will help seal the darkness.
And now Kyle offers himself up for sacrifice. Grandpa says they also need his daughter, too. Interrupting the madness, Giles and Anderson show up with their people; even Dakota fights with them. A massive fight breaks out, as Simon tries putting the knife to his son’s throat. A wild sequence, perhaps the craziest of the whole Outcast series!
When Kyle comes to, his family is safe. But things aren’t going well, many are infected with the darkness again and going absolutely mad. This is the start of something even worse than before, something scarier.
Pic 4And guess who woke up?
Mama Barnes, after all these years.
Pic 4ACINEMAX, PLEASE DO NOT CANCEL THIS! We need a Season 3, we have to find out more about the Great Merge, about the plans of Dr. Park and Megan’s baby, about Sarah Barnes and what will happen now that she’s out of her decades-long coma. Give it to us, Cinemax! Don’t you dare fuck us. This is one of my favourite TV shows currently, I need more. WE need more.

Animal Kingdom – Season 2, Episode 2: “Karma”

TNT’s Animal Kingdom
Season 2, Episode 2: “Karma”
Directed by Thomas Carter
Written by Eliza Clark

* For a recap & review of the Season 2 premiere, “Eat What You Kill” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Bleed For It” – click here
Pic 1Things with Craig (Ben Robson) and young Nicky (Molly Gordon) are speeding along, as she falls deeper in love with him and he’s, most likely, just having a good time. He’s a bit of a dummy, Craig; not exactly a deep thinker. Meanwhile, Baz (Scott Speedman) is moving on with Lucy (Carolina Guerra) one step at a time, after the disappearance of Catherine (Daniella Alonso).
And at home, Pope (Shawn Hatosy) looks after Baz’s little girl, he takes her to school, as Smurf (Ellen Barkin) watches on while her boys all do their own thing without mama. You can tell she’s lost. At the same time, the relationship between her and Pope is steadily deteriorating, worse than ever before. Because she sent him to the dark depths of his own soul, now he’s never coming back.
Josh (Finn Cole) makes breakfast at Smurf’s place, then grandma gets a call from Nicky – there’s a fire, after Craig dropped a joint on the couch. So she explains to the young lady to get rid of the drugs, stash her boy’s gun somewhere, and make sure there’s nothing incriminating.
Smurf isn’t too happy when she gets over to the burning apartment. She tells Craig he’ll be paying for the renovations, and he’s not too happy about that. Nor does he stick around with his girlfriend. I wonder if Nicky will finally figure out that he doesn’t care about her.
Pic 1AThen there’s Deran (Jake Weary), he’s trying to cobble together the money so he can buy that bar. But the time is running out, he either needs to put up the cash or he loses the deposit. Out on the town, J goes along with his uncles Deran and Craig, falling in further with the family’s muddied ties. Simultaneously, Smurf decides to let Nicky stay at her place; another way to get under her boy’s skin? I’d bet on it.
Deran, Craig, and J head over to a nearby church. The brothers put on shirts for an HVAC company, heading inside with tool belts and all. Supposedly there to fix an air conditioning unit. They smooth talk their way to the roof and Craig wonders if they’re headed for “karmic vengeance,” and then J works his way downstairs to find where all the vents go, et cetera. Pope, he stops in to listen to a few Christian rock tunes in an auditorium, as Baz distracts the security guard on-site.
J gets into an Employees Only area, he takes various pictures. Then he locates a safe in the floor, snapping another one. On the way out he’s noticed by an employee, covering by saying he’s there for Narcotics Anonymous. Slick. Outside the auditorium, Pope meets a woman named Amy (Jennifer Landon), they talk briefly about church. Imagine Pope, in church! Jesus wept.
Pic 2The boys are busy planning the big heist at the church, and Smurf is busy changing codes, locks, everything to which the rest of the family has access. None of them are really on the same page. Money troubles, specifically those of Craig and Deran, start infringing on the group’s plans. They’re falling apart at the seams. Funny enough, Baz and Pope are the only two really together on the robbery front; if he only knew what Smurf’s oldest boy has done. But Pope, he’s got his mind on figuring out why his brothers are so thirsty for cash.
And Baz has plenty of trouble on his hands with Lucy, after his daughter walked in to see them together. She isn’t pleased he didn’t tell her about Lena living there. Now, their relationship is crumbling, too. Lucy would rather they keep it less serious, and I can’t imagine this will do the Cody gang any favours with Baz being distracted. What about when he starts digging further into why Catherine disappeared?
Smurf goes to see a friend named Gia (Karina Logue) with a ring she needs cut up. What she’s there for, above all else, is to try cutting the boys off from her sources. She explains to Gia that Baz will soon come to her, lightly suggesting she not get into business too deep with him. Hmm. Tricky mama. Baz has his own money problems, as well; trying to keep a private investigation into Catherine’s whereabouts going on his own ain’t cheap.
When Pope convinces Deran his next target is too hot to move on, the Cody boys go for a food truck instead. One from which apparently drugs are sold. Only, as usual, nothing goes like they planned. Still – they manage to pull off the heist.
Pic 3Ohhh, I think I might see Smurf’s plan ahead of time. Nicky walks into the kitchen at Mama Cody’s place, as Josh sits at the counter; she’s actually wearing his clothes. Curious if perhaps Smurf’s trying to get the young man and his once girlfriend back together, in turn creating friction between J and uncle Craig. Shit, this is a sly move.
When the boys split up the money, Craig gets the cash he needs for the deposit on the bar from Pope and Deran, though a loan, of course. At home, Baz is struggling with taking care of his daughter and also continuing to plot out the church job. Dad’s not doing so well with Lena. However, the hypocritical shit coming out of Pope’s mouth about parenting would sound a lot better if he didn’t kill the little girl’s mother.
Baz (to Pope): “No ones ever gonna have a kid with you, ever.”
Later, Craig pays in full for the bar’s lease. Even though it’s a tough road of business ahead, it’s a slice of freedom. Something to not only take him out of robbing banks and other places, to take him out of Smurf’s loving stranglehold.
Baz goes to see Lucy, to apologise. He tells her Catherine left because she found out about them. For the time being, their relationship is okay. Yet there are so many threads waiting to be yanked out of this that’ll send everyone spinning and unravelling.
Alone at home, Smurf laments the loss of her boys, how they’ve grown up and split apart, from themselves and from her. When J gets back, he and Smurf talk about him possibly moving out. “What do you want, J?” she asks. “I want to stay,” he replies. Then a call comes in – someone relays to Smurf that Manny has died. On her face is a mix of sadness and nostalgia. Now grandma wants to take J on a road trip for the wake. More time alone together. After seeing how Pope turned out, I worry for what this means.
Pic 5Another solid episode. Season 2 is starting out excellent, with all the characters really developing and new things happening. I was worried the plot might peter out and get too slim. So far, so good; it’s looking exciting! And dark as all hell.
Next episode is “Bleed For It” and I wonder what the Smurf-J road trip will bring.

Animal Kingdom – Season 2, Episode 1: “Eat What You Kill”

TNT’s Animal Kingdom
Season 2, Episode 1: “Eat What You Kill”
Directed by Christopher Chulack
Written by Jonathan Lisco

* For a recap & review of the Season 1 finale, “What Have You Done?” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Karma” – click here
Pic 1The boys (and mom) are back in town! Season 2, baby.
No telling where things are headed, after Pope (Shawn Hatosy) did the unthinkable to Catherine, leaving Baz (Scott Speedman) to wonder where she’s gone. Little Lena (Aamya Deva Keroles) is the only one who knows for sure. Well, except for that eerie connection between Mama Smurf (Ellen Barkin) and her boy Pope, that provides another tense side of the entire relationship between Baz and the Codys and everything in between.
Speaking of Smurf, she’s been drinking a lot, so it seems. Waking up to a drink isn’t healthy. Meanwhile, her boys – Pope, Craig (Ben Robson), Deran (Jake Weary), and the newest addition Josh (Finn Cole) – and Baz are out doing what they do best: cheat, rob, steal; in no particular order.
Of course J’s been fully indoctrinated. He is a Cody, through and through. It’s troubling. Because these aren’t honest, Robin Hood-type thieves. Smurf is a damaged and dangerous person, as is her son Pope. Although that’s probably much to do with her own… predilections. And as Pope’s mental state worsens, his actions becoming more desperate as the end of Season 1 proved, it’s tough to see a young man like J – a mostly good person – become wrapped up in his family’s brutality. Question is, will he escape it, or will the Codys swallow him whole?
On their latest job, the Cody boys and Baz do a ton of work only to come out with a couple small stacks of cash; barely $500. Yet at home awaits mother with her pie, their family ritual after a robbery. So surreal, how they sit around and chat after a major crime. But things are deteriorating, between Pope and his dark headspace, and Smurf getting fucking hammered as she leads the clan. Mom and her oldest boy are especially having issues. Wonder how that’ll pan out re: Pope’s nasty little secret. Baz tries cooling everyone down, though I don’t know how well his word will stand.
Pic 1ADeran’s got a $50K deal, meeting a woman in a small bar where he hands over an envelope of cash. Not all of the agreed price, naturally. Their recent short-changed job didn’t do him any favours. So, is Deran trying to go straight? Is he making an investment in that bar, or another place? I think he’s trying his best to get out from under Smurf.
Crazy, crazy Pope, he goes out to the place in the desert where he buried Catherine. His psyche is damaged, and it was long before. By killing the woman he loved, something altogether new is happening to him. And for the first time in his life it’s as if he’s feeling genuine guilt, remorse, rather than floating through life like he does usually devoid of emotion.
At a family meeting, Baz leads the charge to try changing things with Smurf, to lessen her iron grip on their gang. She’s drunk and takes it personally. She uses failures from the past, recent and long ago, to bite back at them. Including taking Baz in from his horrible father. Things explode eventually, as he can’t take it anymore. None of them can.
Craig: “No more suckinmommys dick!”
Everyone’s wondering what to do with J. On one hand, Deran suggests he and Craig out to bring the kid in while he’s confused, torn across the family. Maybe Deran’s concern is for his own secret, worrying J will out him. On the other hand, Pope and Baz have their own feelings about him, whether he’s trustworthy.
Smurf gets a visit about her payments to Manny – $5,000 a month. Or, so she thinks. Apparently he’s dying and Smurf has to go pay respects. She refuses to leave. We discover more and more about the Cody matriarch, her well of young men runs deep and there’s so many questions about the destruction she’s caused through her lifetime. Curiouser and curiouser.
Pic 2Turns out that Deran IS looking to buy up the bar. He wants to take over the lease, after the owner died and left his wife with the place. At least, despite his own flaws, the guy has plans outside of robbery for his life. And at home with Smurf, J is trying to figure out his own life. He’s conflicted, about everything. Likewise, he’s complicit in everything in which the Cody family is involved.
What we do see is who Smurf starts favouring. Earlier, Craig’s credit card – paid by mom – is cut off, and Deran, too. But now she’s given J his own card. I worry that either on purpose or inadvertently, she’s going to put him in a bad position with the uncles.
And what about Nicky (Molly Gordon)? She and Craig have been an item all this time. He’s not loving it, though. The difference in age is apparent, yet is it? He’s still depending on mom, she’s still in high school and living on the whim of her father. However, there’s absolutely trouble coming from this end. If the film Animal Kingdom is any indication, and they stick to the character arc where Nicky ended up, she is headed somewhere grim.
Latest Cody robbery? Possibly a yacht job. They’re all on different pages, each pairing’s got their own ideas – Pope and Baz against Deran and Craig. Then, we still have poor Baz going off the rails, yelling at his own daughter, his head too caught up in making money to pay attention to his own blood. And Pope, he makes what amends he can by showing the little girl some attention. Even Deran and Craig at odds, the latter sniffing coke making things even more unstable.
Still, they all go back to Smurf’s house for supper. Despite their relative silence, everyone reaches for a toast: “May we all get what we want, and never what we deserve.” Things aren’t as bad as they seemed before. Mom acts fine with their new efforts to be more independent. When Pope has the chance, he warns J about getting too close to her.
Pic 3A fantastic, low key episode to start Season 2. I’m super curious about Manny, his connection and importance to Smurf, as well as Javier (Alex Meraz), whose history with her clearly goes back a long way. Lots of stuff to mull over! Great start to this new season.
Next episode is “Karma” and I’m hoping to see more of the Cody family problems create tension as time goes by. I wonder who’ll be the first to meet a tragic end? Y’know it’s brewing.

Outcast – Season 2, Episode 9: “This Is How It Starts”

Cinemax’s Outcast
Season 2, Episode 9: “This Is How It Starts”
Directed by Howard Deutch
Written by Adam Targum

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Mercy” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 2 finale, “To the Sea” – click here
Pic 1Dr. Kenneth Park (Hoon Lee) notices a sore on his human suit, so he slices open the skin to take care of that pesky blemish, only a reminder that it’s either rot away as a human being, try to wait out until the Great Merge, or find another way. He’s definitely determined to figure out something else, though it’s obvious his time is numbered as a flesh and blood mortal. Poor demon.
Byron Giles (Reg E. Cathey) is busy taking care of his wonderful wife Rose (Charmin Lee) and their property. After having to do what was needed. But I wonder how long they can live like this, particularly when it comes to their consciences. Neither of them are happy with what’s happened; she takes it hardest after having to kill her best friend Kat Ogden.
Then there’s Allison Barnes (Kate Lyn Sheil) and her daughter Amber (Madeleine McGraw), sitting in a motel room and waiting for Junkyard Bob (M.C. Gainey) to show up. He assures her they need to stay put, occupy time, take care of themselves. All the while Kyle (Patrick Fugit) and Reverend Anderson (Philip Glenister) are up at the Lighthouse in that cellar, Sidney (Brent Spiner) strapped to a chair, bleeding, coughing. “Youre never gonna see your Merge,” the outcast taunts him. However, there are other things at play. That white-haired devil didn’t come to Rome to find Kyle.
So who exactly does he need to bring on the Great Merge? Might that be Simon Barnes. It’s likely who we saw at the end of last episode, the one who took Sarah Barnes (Julia Crockett) from the hospital. None other than C. Thomas Howell himself.
Pic 1APoor Megan Holter (Wrenn Schmidt). In all this it’s easy to forget she’s also a widow, the demon inside her having taken her husband brutally. Now she’s also got trouble at the Lighthouse, with Dakota (Madelyn Deutch), after the death of the woman trying to do some strange shit with her fetus. At the hands of Blake Morrow (Lee Tergesen). Doesn’t help that Anderson and Megan figure out that the Lighthouse is, essentially, a doomsday cult at its core, and Dakota’s leading them all in preparation for The Apocalypse.
Meanwhile, Byron’s worried for Rose. Might just be she’s only got a flu. Or is it that there’s a demon taking hold? He calls Kyle, in the meantime he cares for his wife. “This is how it starts, isnt it?” she asks. “This aint that,” he tries telling her. Oh, my. I hope something tragic won’t happen. Christ, I can’t handle losing Rosie! For now she asks to be tied up, just in case.
And on the road, after Bob’s truck gives out, an unsuspecting Kyle gets knocked unconscious by Blake Morrow.
Allison talks more with Amber about “the monsters” and how she can “push them” out of other people. The little girl talks about how it isn’t so much that she loves her father more, she loves them alike. Amber says being with her father is like “a pool” of strength, which is the only reason she prefers being with him more. Best part is mom comes to feel vindicated about the abuse in their family past, as her daughter explains she knew that her mother was still inside while the demon worked its terrible ways.
Taken hostage, Kyle is at the mercy of Blake. The demon is pissed, he feels there’s nothing good ahead for him or his buddies. He wants to know more from the outcast, and starts by strangling him a bit.
At the motel, Amber hears a knock at the door while her mom showers. Housekeeping, they say. Even if it isn’t, I’ll never bet against young Ms. Barnes. She is an ass kickin’, demon killin’, tough cookie.
The insanity goes up a notch with Blake stalking around the house, beating the young women at his side, with Kyle chained and sitting on the floor forced to listen to his ranting. “Ive been following the wrong Beacon,” he says. He’s looking for Amber, she is the one who will slam the door in the demons faces. Yet Kyle and the young women fight to escape Blake’s clutches. She helps free him and then the outcast wrestles in a savage brawl with their captor. But Blake winds up escaping him in the end.
Back at the Giles place, Rose’s fever is gone. She feels great, and Byron is beyond ecstatic. He tries to tell her they’ve got to do certain things while at war. And they’re certainly at war with those wretched devils. I’m not so sure I believe Rose, though. I’m afraid she’s fixing to do something; something I ain’t gonna like. Later Byron finds her in the yard having hung herself from a small tree. He tries saving her. No luck.
Pic 2Megan packs up her daughter Holly, looking to hit the road. Anderson doesn’t stop her. He encourages her to leave before things get too wild. A tough road ahead, no doubt. I keep wondering about the Rev, if he’ll find his faith again wholly or if he’ll be forever ruined by his experiences in Rome.
Bob gets back to check on Allison, finding the room open. The shower’s running. Nobody there he can find. Uh oh.
And Sidney, well, he’s got himself free from the Lighthouse cellar. Plus, he’s downed Anderson temporarily. Although he isn’t doing so hot, that cough only gets worse by the minute. He manages to stumble out into the woods once more. Until Anderson finds him again putting a bullet in his leg. Tough bastard. Kyle shows up and has to stop the Rev from killing Sidney, wanting to know why his daughter’s so special. All Sidney can say before he dies is “You lose, Kyle.”
Finally, Simon Barnes arrives to the Lighthouse. To greet his followers, his son, and expel Anderson for what he’s done. It’s not such a happy reunion for Kyle, he isn’t thrilled to see his long lost father show up from out of nowhere. Most of all, he’s unsure of what’s next more than ever before.
Pic 3At a gas station Megan is headed off by Dr. Park, he wants a chat. She’s got life growing inside her. A life that Blake told him of, now the one-man council is looking forward to the birth. They all are, in fact. This is fucking terrifying stuff, we’re standing on the precipice of a horrific prospect in this revelation.
Anderson wanders back to his church, to find somewhere safe to lay his head. Everyone there’s been rocked since the last town hall. They need hope. And now they want their old Rev to show them the way towards the light. Is this how he finds his way back? Can he?
Pic 4BAM!
This episode had such an impact, man. The character development across the two seasons of this series is fantastic writing at work. If Cinemax doesn’t renew this for at least another season, they are insane. The family connections appearing more and more with Amber, the reappearance of the previously in-hiding Simon Barnes, they’re so thrilling. Such an exciting, fresh look at demonic possession.
“To the Sea” is the Season 2 finale next week. We’re in for a real treat, too.

Outcast – Season 2, Episode 8: “Mercy”

Cinemax’s Outcast
Season 2, Episode 8: “Mercy”
Directed by Daisy Von Scherler Mayer
Written by Jeff Vlaming

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Alone When It Comes” – click here
* For a recap & review of the penultimate Season 2 episode, “This Is How It Starts” – click here
Pic 1For the first time in so long, we see Blake Morrow (Lee Tergesen) in his jail cell. He’s worried. “Its not supposed to be like this,” he laments after a fleeting vision of Kyle Barnes (Patrick Fugit), a.k.a “The one who ends it all.” He warns everything’s about to end. To others, the rantings of a crazy man.
And who’s there witnessing his death in the small audience? Dr. Park (Hoon Lee). Hmm. I’m continually interested in the doctor, and we keep getting more.
Pic 1AKyle worries about his sister Megan (Wrenn Schmidt). But he ain’t doin’ so hot, either. His wound isn’t altogether healed, not by a long shot. He goes back over to the hospital to try finding help under the radar. He finds one of the demon host doctors and strong arms her into stitching him closed. Not long after when he can’t find his mother Kyle winds up getting arrested.
At the same time, Reverend Anderson (Philip Glenister) wants to get his hands on Sidney (Brent Spiner). Although Dakota (Madelyn Deutch) wants to go for a softer approach. She wants to get all the information she can from him instead of letting the rev get too handsy. Anderson manages to get down in the cellar with Sidney, taunting and toying.
So Blake isn’t dead. Not anymore. Park’s brought him back, he has a purpose for the man surely. Hoping to figure things out before the Great Merge comes down. To find out how they can live in the world as they are without having to use humans as hosts.
At least Kyle wasn’t actually arrested. It’s a friend of former Chief Byron Giles (Reg E. Cathey) who picked him up as a favour. Now, these two are trying to figure out what to do next, and Kyle wants to follow the steps of his father before him, as well as see what the people from the Lighthouse know. Added to that Junkyard Bob (M.C. Gainey) is suiting the Giles’ up with ammunition and guns.
Kyle: “It wasnt you
Byron: “Fuck that excuse, it was me. I shouldve been stronger.”
Moreover, we now discover that the demons they have a “collective memory” which Blake is out around Rome trying to tap into so he can find Kyle.
Pic 2Soon enough Megan runs into Blake. He says he was saved by Anderson and Kyle. So now he’s going to find out exactly where one of them is for certain. Shiit. Meanwhile, Kyle looks through the van Bob buried, the corpse inside. Turns out that Helen Devere “needed their light” and stole it from the beacons, like Simon Barnes and his son Kyle, now little Amber. Then Simon mercy killed the damaged beacons. That’s a YIKES moment if I’ve ever seen one.
At the Lighthouse, Megan arrives with Blake in tow. He then ends up talking to young Holly, they bond briefly. Right as soon as Kyle himself shows up. Bigger things are happening at the moment, too. Nobody can coax Anderson out so Kyle finally gets the job done, and they find a butchered Sidney inside, bloody and weak. Alive, though.
When Megan goes to the doctor she’s sent to see, she starts feeling strange. The woman tells her: “We are the chosen ones.” Ugh, this isn’t sounding good at all.
At home, Byron and Rose have dinner by candlelight. Their lives are much more worrisome as of late. They’re posted up with lots of guns. Doesn’t stop Nunez from lurking around outside, threatening him. So he blows her foot off before putting a bullet through her neck. Hot damn, Byron!
Pic 3Before the supposed doctor can do something terrible to Megan, she’s interrupted by Blake. Who strangles the woman to death and saves the day. Is he going to use this AND Megan as leverage over Kyle?
Speaking of, Kyle’s figuring out what they ought to do with Sidney. The white-haired devil talks about the man he chose as a host, a serial killer apparently. Then says the outcast can help him and the others change the world. Yeah, that sounds great.
Over at the coffee shop, Dr. Park and the rest of the council meet once again. Talking of Sidney and his big talk/no action. The doc has his own design on what they need: “Fuck the merge. No, to finally crawl out of the shadows,” this is his plan. Not only that he’s poisoned the other council members. Mutiny is right.
And where’s Sarah Barnes? She’s lying in a bed. Cared for by a man (C. Thomas Howell). Is this the long lost Simon Barnes? If so, whoooooa.
Pic 4Another fine chapter in Season 2. Love that Howell is part of the cast, he’s an awesome character actor with lots of good television roles under his belt over the past decade. Can’t wait for “This Is How It Starts” – the penultimate episode of the season. And Cinemax, you best be ready with that renewal pen; or else!

Outcast – Season 2, Episode 7: “Alone When It Comes”

Cinemax’s Outcast
Season 2, Episode 7: “Alone When It Comes”
Directed by Josef Wladyka
Written by Helen Leigh

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Fireflies” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Mercy” – click here
Pic 1When in Rome… yeah, that’s not gonna work here. Or maybe it does work for Sidney (Brent Spiner).
At home, Kyle (Patrick Fugit) and Allison (Kate Lyn Sheil) and their daughter Amber (Madeleine McGraw) scramble to figure out what’s next in the wake of all his girls have learned. He knows the demons are coming after them now. “Theyre out in the open,” he tells Allison. He knows that likely “half the damn town” are on their way for him with Sidney and Dr. Park (Hoon Lee).
Speaking of the hacking, white-haired devil, he and Park are having a look at a boy, precious cargo he fucked up. The doc is clearly one of the other higher up demons, and they talk of The Council, which I’m sure we’ll discover more of later, too.
Reverend Anderson (Philip Glenister) and Megan (Wrenn Schmidt) rush to Kyle’s place, they worry for what’ll happen if Kyle isn’t around. But the Barnes family has to get away, at least for the time being until he can think up a plan.
Pic 1AWhat about Rosie (Charmin Lee)? She’s been up to a few things, without her husband Byron (Reg E. Cathey) in his weakened state. She’s been real busy getting shit done. But is she safe?
In Kyle’s absence, Megan and the Rev get closer. She tells Anderson once about hating him, because she didn’t believe what Kyle was going through as a boy, instead believing he was toying with Kyle. Now she knows, far too well, that the truth about demons is real. Then he mentions the Lighthouse.
Amber: “The monsters like us
On the road Kyle notices someone following them. Or believes he does, anyways. His behaviour starts scaring his wife, though his daughter’s well versed at this point in demonology and many of the nasty creatures’ tricks. Up at the junkyard, Kyle looks for Bob Caldwell (M.C. Gainey), hoping he’s got a car for him. Bob is a little worse for wear yet always fighting.
Anderson takes Megan out to the Lighthouse, to see Dakota (Madelyn Deutch) and her congregation of sorts. The Rev also tells her that Kyle isn’t actually dead. Everyone there recognises Megan instantly, as if they know her. It’s because they recognise her struggle. They’ve struggled, as well.
In other news, Evelyn Bailey’s turned up dead. Chief Nuñez (Briana Venskus) has sent for former Chief Giles to be brought in, warrant and all. Byron gets a cell to himself, though not all the officers are giving him the cold shoulder. Nuñez, of course, isn’t one of them. She’s one of THEM; if you know what I mean.
Pic 2Across town the big, bad boss Sidney goes to meet the Council for coffee. He tells them Helen Devere was “successful” in her work. That he’s trying to figure out how she nearly brought about the Merge. But the Council is waning in their support for his little experiments, they want action.
Dakota and Megan talk alone, they discuss the sins of those who’ve been touched by demonic presence. Dakota tells her she can’t remember most of what she did while under the evil influence. She was a junkie on the street, later chewing the face off her boyfriend/dealer in a fit. Whoooa.
Sidney’s slow breaking down, his coughs worse every day. He falls in the parking lot, mocked by Park who thinks the Merge isn’t their only hope. Well, he also has his own ideas about how the demons might learn to live on Earth. He just isn’t keen on telling. Heading off, Sidney winds up putting his car off the road from coughing up black liquid.
Along the road Kyle and his family find a blockade, construction work being completed. He’s too paranoid, so they turn around only to see the car that was following earlier waiting. He drives off into the trees, but they run the car into the bushes.
A face we’ve not seen in awhile, Kat Ogden (Debra Christofferson), meets with Rosie. She’s been lured. Rosie fires a shot at her, but they trade blows and the demon is strong in Kat. Can’t put Mrs. Giles down, though. She knocks Kat over a railing and puts a finish to another demon infested soul in Rome. Bad ass.
At the station, one of Giles’ former officers believes in the devils. He says he had troubles one time, that maybe this was the cause. Now he’s into “old school” Jesus, y’know. And this officer believes in second chances, letting Byron out from distrust of Nuñez. Hell yeah, baby!
Pic 3Sidney’s still kicking, walking along the road until someone picks him up. He heads back to town in rough shape. Over at the Lighthouse, Anderson follows Dakota into the woods as she goes on by herself. To a cellar a ways out. He finds what they call a dormitory, and he knows better. They’re going to be keeping somebody down there. Then he sees it’s Sidney himself.
In the forest Kyle, Allison, and Amber are surrounded by a large group of people. Nuñez at the helm, wondering where the Barnes family are headed. They don’t want anybody leaving Rome. No, no, no.
What about Byron? He gets home and Rose has finally come back. She’s injured, full of Kat’s blood. This worries her husband, obviously. But it worries him more that she’s been a busy bee, doing the work they need to do. However, the noose in their little town is tightening. Something Kyle knows all too well, as he and his girls are pursued by the group with Nuñez. That is until Junkyard Bob turns up to save them, ploughing through the roadblock and nearly running the new chief over.
But Kyle won’t go. He lets Bob take the girls and leave. He faces the crowd, taking Nuñez to the ground while Amber burns a demon off Bob to get them free. He puts a hand over Nuñez’s face until she’s nearly drained of life, and watches while his family gets out of that demonic place.


Such a killer episode and an emotional, intense finale. Also, we’re getting ready to see a great battle. Kyle is ready, as are others including those at the Lighthouse. You know he’s going to hook up with them soon enough, via Anderson. And what about Dakota & Co. holding Sidney in that cellar? What do they have planned?
Next episode is “Mercy” and we’re closing in on the latter moments of Season 2. Sincerely hope Cinemax is smart enough to renew this for Season 3. Or else!

Outcast – Season 2, Episode 6: “Fireflies”

Cinemax’s Outcast
Season 2, Episode 6: “Fireflies”
Directed by Fernando Coimbra
Written by Sarah Byrd

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The Common Good” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Alone When It Comes” – click here
Pic 1Kyle Barnes (Patrick Fugit) is being worked on in the ER at the hospital, Dr. Park (Hoon Lee) and others work tirelessly to figure out where the bleeding’s coming from, how to stop it. They start losing him.
Then he wakes in an empty room. He’s okay. In a room he finds his mother Sarah (Julia Crockett), wondering if he’s dead. He apologises to his mother for not saving her. But she refuses to let him take responsibility. “You were given the power to stop this but you werent up for the job,” says his mother, scolding him for not beating the demon in Chief Giles (Reg E. Cathey). She grabs him by the throat. A pillar of fire bursts out of his mouth.
This series keeps getting more interesting by the episode!
Pic 1AWhile her dad is in the hospital, Amber (Madeleine McGraw) eats junk from the vending machine with Rev. John Anderson (Philip Glenister). She’s an inquisitive little lady: “Sometimes I wish adults would talk to me like they talk to each other.” This gets the truth out of the Rev, admitting he’s scared. He also discovers that Amber has the same power as her father.
This whole situation is bringing everyone together who haven’t been together in a long time. Allison (Kate Lyn Sheil) and Megan (Wrenn Schmidt) wait to hear about Kyle, as Dr. Park delivers the news: he died. Everyone is rightfully devastated.
Byron and Rosie Giles (Charmin Lee) deal with the aftermath of his brief possession. He’s no longer the chief, at least for now. He worries worse than ever about his situation, about Rome; with Kyle gone it’s much harder. For her part, Rosie doesn’t believe they can give up.
In other news, Sidney (Brent Spiner) and Aaron (C.J. Hoff) use the home of Evelyn to hide out while they do their work. The young man isn’t particularly easy to control, even for a force like the white-haired devil. Although he has a few surprises for his time in that “deep fried shit bucket” of a town. We find that 30 years ago a woman named Helen Devere was waiting for “The Great Merge” in Rome. She might’ve found a shortcut to get there. Apparently involving a young kid Sidney has stuffed in his trunk.
What’s interesting is seeing the other characters while Kyle is, temporarily, dead. We know he’s coming back. So does his daughter Amber. She isn’t fretting like the others, not like mom or aunt Megan. The girl has intuition, she’s like her father. At the same time Allison blames herself for all that’s happened to her estranged husband, though Megan assures her she is nowhere near the one to blame.
Megan: “The biggest mistake we made was not believing him
Pic 2In another place, Kyle wakes from his hospital bed, still attached to an IV. Locked inside a recovery room. Unable to leave.
In the real world, Rev. Anderson goes to Giles about Mayor Owen’s death at the hands of Sidney and Aaron. He’s not willing to go silently and let demons overtake the town. He mentions the Lighthouse, someone with the same powers as Kyle being at that meeting the previous night. Sadly, Byron’s on the verge of giving up entirely.
Megan’s busy trying to convince Allison about the truth of Kyle, the demonic influence in Rome. She likewise reveals what happened to her husband Mark, what Kyle pulled out of Giles, so on. Not an easy pill to swallow, especially considering Allison’s been on the mental ward for so long receiving treatment when it’s, all along, been a devilish power.
Into the Lighthouse goes Anderson, looking for Dakota (Madelyn Deutch). He wants to know who was there with the other power. He wants to save their West Virginia town. She asks about Kyle, finding out of his death, which shakes her. When the Rev leaves she texts someone needing to talk about the Outcast.
Speaking of him, he’s looking for a way out of that room. Stuck in a limbo. He hears someone coming and gets back in bed. It’s none other than Sidney, who isn’t doing so hot himself with that nasty cough, spurting black liquid. He talks to Kyle about remaking the world, a time when they won’t require human bodies anymore. They end up wrestling, Kyle laying hands on him momentarily and nearly pulling that tar from him. But Sidney gets a few fingers in his wound and staves off more coughing, more fighting.
Aaron talks to the kid Sidney brought around. Taunting. He’s jealous, wanting to become a demon, assuming this is what’s planned for the boy. I see trouble coming.
Pic 4There’s still tough times with Allison ahead, she can’t accept what’s going on around there. Anderson tries convincing her more, then finds out Dr. Park worked on Kyle; he knows the doctor is one of them. And poor Kyle, he’s taken care of by some other doctor in that limbo hospital. He stabs the guy and gets free of the room finally, finding only a dark, dreary basement. Meanwhile, Amber senses something when she and the grownups go to the hospital; she walks through the halls alone as they argue with Dr. Park.
Through the building Amber goes, as if following a scent. She finds the old wing of the hospital, sealed behind a locked door. The girl tells them her dad’s behind it. From the other side Kyle hears his wife, his daughter. Then Amber grabs hold of Park by the arm, his skin singing under her touch. He gives up the keys and they unlock Kyle from that forced limbo. Dead no longer.
Amber: “Fireflies can see other fireflies
At Evelyn’s place, Sidney discovers Aaron bled the boy out on the floor like a pig. He’s not a demon, but a true psychopath, that’s for sure. His master isn’t impressed. The boy was supposed to help speed up Aaron’s transformation. Oh, my.
Pic 5Rosie goes to see Evelyn for a chat. About Byron and Evelyn’s husband. She wants to figure out how to have a fulfilling life with her husband, a true retirement. First step? Blowing Evelyn’s head off. WHOOOOOOOA, ROSIE! You bad.
With Aaron ready to crossover into demonhood, Sidney starts the process. The young man closes his eyes, reading himself, as the master readies something else for him altogether.
Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 3.12.25 PMMan, after most episodes of the shows I love I always say that they’re spectacular, even with a few flaws. This is one flawless piece of television. The writing is downright perfect, to me. Loved this whole chapter, with Kyle in that old wing of the hospital and you weren’t sure if he was actually dead, floating in a real limbo, or if locked away by the hand of the demons. AMAZING!
Next up is “Alone When It Comes” and I’m interested to see how Amber, Allison, and Kyle move forward as a family now that they’re all on the same page, Megan and Anderson included.

Outcast – Season 2, Episode 5: “The Common Good”

Cinemax’s Outcast
Season 2, Episode 5: “The Common Good”
Directed by Ti West
Written by Chris Black & Adam Targum

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The One I’d Be Waiting For” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Fireflies” – click here
Pic 1Flashback to Simon Barnes (Justin Randell Brooke) and the ‘work’ he was doing. We see that Simon has the same power as his son Kyle (Patrick Fugit) would later inherit. Although the father tried he couldn’t figure out how to stop “the Great Merge” as the woman calls it before biting off her own tongue. Demonic possession at its finest.
And years later, Kyle stands in the midst of that same room where his father and Junkyard Bob Caldwell (M.C. Gainey) tried to purge Rome of the coming infestation. Will he carry on the legacy, still? Or change his ways to save their little West Virginia town?
Pic 1AAllison (Kate Lyn Sheil) is still at the hospital, taking her medications and doing as she should to get better. She looks vacant, as if her entire soul is sucked out. But she does keep a picture under her pillow to remind herself of her daughter, life outside those crazy walls. Problem is there’s a whole other issue of the possessed going on at the hospital, a mini-infestation within the town. A microcosm of the horror going on  all over. A creepy patient at the hospital mentions Allison’s “little firefly” and then disappears in the darkness. Terrifying.
In other news, Megan Holter (Wrenn Schmidt) is suffering at home with her mother Jeanne (Kathleen York) with all her overbearing Christianity. Not just that. When Kyle comes to see her, Megan says she can’t be around him. Her daughter Holly believes in the demons, all the madness swirling around their family. And though it hurts, Kyle knows what’s best for those around him. Unfortunately that means distance.
Chief Byron Giles (Reg E. Cathey) has his hands full, too. The police station is overrun with people worried about devil worship, sacrifice, inexplicable violence. They want truth about what’s been happening after Patricia was murdered so viciously. Giles settles everyone down, but there’s a lot of unrest. Least he has a strong, good woman like Rosie (Charmin Lee) behind him. She’s willing to star investigating all the wildness, and he’s rightfully concerned. He wants to make sure they know who’s the problem, who’s infected with demonic presence, or else it might cause people to turn on one another.
Giles: “We have to get the right ones before we really start to get our hands dirty
Pic 2At the hospital, Allison worries about the strangeness she’s seen. The eerie patient with the beanie speaking of her daughter. A boy locked in a cell, even though they don’t treat children in that facility. She talks with the doctor, whose disposition doesn’t seem altogether friendly or helpful. There’s definitely trouble rising at that place.
Sidney (Brent Spiner) is doing his thing up in that barn, preparing for whatever comes next. He receives a visit from Mayor Owen Boyd (Toby Huss), asking about the coming plans, Patricia’s boy. What the mayor hears isn’t exactly comforting, either. More so chilling. Sidney is a fiery, yet cool customer. A dangerous entity.
And what about The Beacon? Reverend Anderson (Philip Glenister) goes back up to see what’s going on at their backwoods cathedral, met by Dakota (Madelyn Deutch) whom he last talked to when he showed up. She paints a different picture of their worship than what he previously imagined. She reveals a mark on her back; previously possessed and then saved by somebody. Could they be people healed by Simon?
With Jeanne and her father Doug (David Alexander), Megan finally reveals to them what Donnie did to her those years, raping her in the house as they did “nothinbut go to church” and ignore the problems going on under their nose. All the while, a fly buzzes near, and we can definitely tell more and more that Megan isn’t free of her demonic passenger.
Back in town, the Chief and Kyle finds Mayor Boyd calling a town meeting to discuss how things are being handled by the authorities. Ah, the influence of Sidney is seeping further into the people, the citizens of Rome. Boyd wants Giles to go get Sidney. Although we can be sure this is a trap of nasty proportions. Simultaneously, Sidney is helping peel the dead skin off Aaron’s (C.J. Hoff) back, training him to be worse, more evil by the minute. Like an apprenticeship in terror.
Sidney: “Power is meaningless if you cant apply it judiciously, when it has a purpose.”


That night Boyd leads Giles and Kyle to where the devil lurks up in that barn. They head inside only to find that the mayor is one of those demons. He isn’t like the others, at least he pretends he isn’t; he thinks Sidney is a psycho. Furthermore, he makes a deal with Kyle: take care of Sidney, the demons will leave him and his family alone. We find out more about the world of the demons, that it’s been “collapsing” for a long while. They’re trying to find a new home.
Bob runs into Aaron, and he isn’t afraid of the kid. Even with a gun in his hand: “Big gun for a little turd.” Suddenly, Sidney shows up and puts Bob in a predicament. He wants to know about the secrets Bob found out. With more pressure on him, he gives up that the demons were made more powerful by the beacons, people such as Kyle, and of course we know his father was one, as well.
The town meeting is called and everyone arrives at Rome Elementary. Now, Giles tells his wife they’ll have to get their hands dirty; no longer can they easily suss out who is a demon, who is not. Mayor Boyd gives his speech to the citizens trying to assure them things will work out fine. While Kyle sits in the audience he looks around and feels unease in the eyes of the people. Moreover, Boyd announces that Giles is stepping down, and Office Nunez is interim chief. Uh oh!
Pic 4Byron storms the mic to say his piece. While he does a cough overtakes him, he then hits the floor. Rose runs up and gets tossed aside by the mayor. People block Kyle from going up. The demons are loose! He and the Rev fight through using Kyle’s power and then Giles is gone. Whoa, this is not good. They locate him on a school bus out back. He isn’t well, becoming violent. Kyle goes to touch him and takes a stab in the gut.
We also come to know there is another, like Kyle. He was present in the meeting. But whom? Is it Kyle’s daughter Amber? Is someone else hiding amongst the townspeople?
Anderson comes to help Kyle. They wrestle with the possessed Giles. Soon, Kyle is ripped up into the air with the chief, suspended above the ground with Rose, Megan, Anderson watching. Kyle grips onto Giles tight, then the black tar spews out from inside and they drop down below.
Giles may be safe. However, our hero is bleeding out on top of a bus, the piece of metal still dug into his guts.
Pic 5AWHAT AN EPISODE! I constantly say this, I know. But it’s true. Outcast not only consistently deepens its character development, it likewise goes headlong into the series mythology with new strides each episode. Excited to see “Fireflies” next. I’m thinking there’ll be more Amber now, and that maybe, just maybe, she and her dad have a reluctant family business ahead of them. Plus, I’m glad Giles isn’t taken fully by the demons; he is awesome!

Outcast – Season 2, Episode 4: “The One I’d Be Waiting For”

Cinemax’s Outcast
Season 2, Episode 4: “The One I’d Be Waiting For”
Directed by Alrick Riley
Written by Rebecca Sonnenshine

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Not My Job to Judge” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Common Good” – click here
Pic 1Patricia (Melinda McGraw) still lives life expecting her boy to come home. She wonders where he is, laying a sandwich and cheesies out on the table in case he comes home. She reads the Holy Bible before bed. She doesn’t know the truth, about Reverend Anderson (Philip Glenister), not about Sidney (Brent Spiner).
Then Aaron shows up in the shadows. All burned up. Pissed off. I’m concerned now for his mother. The closer he remains, the closer she is to the devil himself.
Kyle (Patrick) and Anderson are talking with Junkyard Bob about Kyle’s father. He was a man wrapped in mystery, it seems. At the same time Aaron calls the Rev with ominous warnings. When he rushes to her place he and Kyle find Patricia bled out on the carpet viciously. On the wall in blood is a pentagram. She dies before Kyle can finish calling 911.
Pic 1AMegan (Wrenn Schmidt) and her daughter Holly (Callie Brook McClincy) sit in a restaurant eating. Mother not sure of what she’ll do next. When she sees the young man bussing her table she remembers a quick piece of her possession, meeting him in her early demonic trance. Now that’s eerie. Megan and Holly head back to their motel room, throw on some television. Things are okay… for the time being.
Things for Anderson ain’t ever getting easy. He’s got Kyle, even Chief Giles (Reg E. Cathey). But he’s falling further into a hole, farther away from his faith. If he isn’t careful he might fall and never be able to get up. Instead of sitting on the sidelines, he takes Kyle in the car and calls Aaron to tell him they’ll be waiting at the church.
Officer Nunez (Briana Venskus) goes to see Sidney about what Aaron’s done to his mother. She also found Evelyn Bailey (Claire Bronson), who escaped the junkyard cage she was put in. She likewise tells him that Kyle let her go, which interests Sidney a great deal. They’ve got lots of work to do, too. Big, big plans afoot.
At the church, Rev says the man he was is “useless” to him, to anybody. Kyle says they’ll lose themselves if they go too far, then what’s the point of it all? None. He wants to be a husband, a father. He wants a life. Then, they’re trapped as a molotov cocktail flies in the window lighting the place ablaze. Luckily they get out alive.
Kyle: “No matter what this fight looks like in the end, I wont let my family hate me for it.”
Pic 2Megan wakes in the motel: Holly’s not there. She is down a nearby hallway getting change from some stranger. Turns out the girl told him mom’s a murderer. Now that could be trouble. All the same, how long can Megan run from what she did to her husband? Yes, it was under possession. But still, to have it all go down like it has, his death the way it looks to others. A sad story.
Awhile later she and Holly end up at grandma’s house.
Meanwhile, Giles isn’t happy about the lack of trust between him and the Rev. He doesn’t want to lose him as a friend, and wouldn’t like to see him end up dead, or worse. Kyle is the only cool head to prevail. He knows they’re all in it together. If not, it doesn’t work.
The Mayor of Rome (Toby Huss) receives a little visit from Sidney after hours. They’re in league together after all. He’s supposed to be helping those demons, as part of the deal with the devil the previous mayor made. Looks like Giles is next on Sid’s chopping block.
Sidney: “I guess youll have to decide how much more blood on your hands you can live with
And what about ole Junkyard Bob? He knows the history of the place, probably more than that foolish mayor. Still, like Kyle he doesn’t know much more about the demons than what he’s seen. He also realises what he and Kyle’s father were doing did nothing whatsoever. All it did was lose him his life, essentially. He talks about a place Mr. Barnes owned over on Shadow Lane, too. Maybe this will unlock further clues, toward understanding himself, his family, the demonic predicament of Rome, West Virginia.


Jeanne (Kathleen York), Megan’s mother, gets her daughter and granddaughter ready for a night’s stay. They have troubled history, seeing as how Megan feels her parents loved their fosters more than their real children. Those are the least of her worries right now, though. Family trouble means shit when you’re up against the devil’s army, and one of those soldiers is right up in her head probably still kicking around somewhere.
After a call from Aaron on his mother’s phone, the Rev takes off from the station. Another dumb move. I can understand why, he loved Patricia. And the fact he went through so much guilt feeling he killed the kid, only to have the kid return and stab his mother, leaving her dying in her own blood. It’s rough to be Anderson at the moment.
Over at Shadow Lane, Kyle gets into the trailer his father kept. A whole ton of research lining the walls, in boxes. Books, papers, maps with INCIDENTS OF VIOLENT OUTBREAKS circle and lined off everywhere. He also finds a purse with an ID inside for one Helen Devere; the woman in the ground. He finds a door in back where there’s a chair, restraints on its arms, tarps surrounding the room and blood streaked on them.
And Anderson, he finally faces down Aaron as they meet where Sidney’s old lurking ground was burned to rubble. The Rev tries to pull the boy out of a “river of shit” by using faith rather than more violence. Only the young man has a different idea, pulling a gun. He promises something big and bad is coming. He also instructs Anderson to pour gasoline all over himself.


Before the Rev gets lit on fire Kyle makes it there in time, and Aaron takes off into the woods. He takes a tumble, but he’s far from them. He’s back in the devilishly loving grave of Sidney. To do more terrible things in the dark of night.
Downstairs at Jeanne’s place Megan says goodnight to her daughter. They have a little better of a conversation than they did before. Megan promises Holly that she is the most important thing in her life; Holly now believes in the power of prayer to keep “the monster” away.
Over at Patricia’s house, Anderson goes on, forging forward through the darkness. He starts by cleaning the bloody pentagram from the wall.
Pic 5What a great chapter. Man, this series is fascinating! Every episode is another surprise, a a genuine great progression of writing and character together. Dig it.
Next is “The Common Good” and I’m itching to see more of M.C. Gainey’s Junkyard Bob. I want to know more of the past, in Rome, of Bob’s relationship with Kyle’s father, and more on the father in general. Excited!

Hap and Leonard – Season 2, Episode 6: “No Mo’ Mojo”

SundanceTV’s Hap and Leonard
Season 2, Episode 6: “No Mo’ Mojo”
Directed by Tim Southam
Written by Nick Damici & Jim Mickle

* For a recap & review of the penultimate episode, “Pie a la Mojo” – click here
Pic 1The finale of Season 2 opens, years ago, as a boy – little BB with the red shoes – is chased into the old church, past that familiar gate. Someone grabs him and smashes a rock into his head. The man removes the gate, takes the kid, then at the lake tosses him in tied to the thing. Others watch on, then they leave, disappearing into the mist. Are they spirits? Watching on as history is repeated and repeated?
I have a feeling we’re soon going to learn more in this last episode.
Pic 1AHap and Leonard (James Purefoy & Michael K. Williams) reminisce on religion’s “strong medicine” v. its “strong poison” in relation to Rev. Fitzgerald (Dohn Norwood), his insane murders. A devastating thing for their East Texas town to wallow in, as the church holds a ceremony for all the boys lost. Everybody’s there, from Sheriff Valentine Otis (Brian Dennehy) to Florida Grange (Tiffany Mack), Dt. Hanson (Cranston Johnson), and many more. The greasy, insincere Sheriff takes the pulpit, shelling out verbal sympathy for the families. Blah, blah, blah. And certainly our heroic pair get no thanks or recognition for their role in, essentially, solving the case on their own. Best of all, in this scene we get to watch Hap and Leonard do their BEST buddy comedy routine, with a lot of pitch perfect dialogue.
Hap: “I aint never been more proud to be an atheist than I am today
Leonard: “Amen to that
Stella and the other mothers who lost their boys do know the truth, that the eponymous duo are the ones who actually figured out what happened, giving them all closure.  Sadly, Hap still has one worry – that Hanson and Ms. Grange are getting together. Likewise, Leonard comes home to find Raoul, who’s tracked down Ivan’s (Olaniyan Thurmon) father; the kid is going home. And much as our man tries to pretend like he’s hard, Leonard is going to miss him; their bonding over Huck Finn and his adventures was sweet. Also, I’d love to see Raoul and Leonard get back together. They’re good.
AND POOR MEEMAW! I miss her. In her wake, Florida and others are left reeling with the news of the reverend, a man who pulled the wool over all their eyes. Left without Meemaw’s wisdom to get through it all.
Florida drops a bomb on Hap: “I always saw myself with a black man.” This is a gut punch. Whoa. Poor fella.
Hap’s got other things in mind, though. After seeing a curious number of angel figurines at Meemaw’s place while he and Florida pack everything up. Across the way, Leonard hears Chester speak to him from somewhere else, saying that the work isn’t done. Hap and Leonard now believe that BB was killed by someone other than the reverend. And I’m pretty sure we all know that someone was Sheriff Valentine Otis, who’s receiving a visit from Dt. Hanson about those red shoes and the very same line of questioning as our duo have on their minds.


Hap and Leonard get talking to Hanson’s partner Charlie Blank (Douglas M. Griffin). He’s reluctant to say much, after his trouble from shooting TJ. But they’re further on their journey now. Towards the truth. They’ve got their eye on the big bad sheriff. Only he’s got his eye on them, too. He’s much too craft. Then, at the diner, they notice the waitress Miriam has a chain: it reads BB.
The boys go see Miriam at home. They show her the BB chain, which shocks her. Such a sad thing to watch, especially when she’s been serving that old bastard every day at the diner. All that’s left is what Hap and Leonard will do, while they try to figure out how to handle Valentine, and when’s the best time for that. Not only is the history of BB with them, the history of the deaths of their fathers, covered up and forgotten is at their backs.
Leonard: “Things change, Hap. People dont.”
They lay what they know at Valentine’s feet. They want to know the truth, about everything. He acts nonchalant about the entire thing. A revelation comes: BB was Valentine’s son, he wears the same chain with the initials around his neck. The mystery thickens. “That boy was the most beautiful thing that ever happened to me,” he explains, and how he couldn’t claim the kid because of the “colour of his skin.” Then they reveal that Fitzgerald never killed BB, which disturbs him terribly.


And who killed him? Just as it’s revealed, we see Judge Beau Otis walk in. He’s visibly upset by the talk. We know now, it was the rightful son upset over the illegitimate child his father had with a black woman who killed the boy. WHOA! Holy fuck, did not see this coming. Great suspense and mystery in the writing led to this moment. The father knocks his son into an empty pool nearby, splitting his head open wide. A sort of strange, bittersweet moment as Hap and Leonard watch the man who killed their fathers die at the hands of his own.
In the meantime, Hap his dad’s old repair truck fixed up with the nice, fresh decal on the side for Bud Collins’ business. He and Leonard head out for a drive, where they bring the old gate back to the church and put it in place again. Full circle, as the two put it.
Leonard: “Yknow, in the end, its always me and you.”
Hap: “Just like the Lone Ranger and Tonto
Leonard: “Yeah, wellcmon Tonto.”
And as they leave the church, the spirits of those who died there, the boys, those taken by the KK, and sweet Meemaw, they appear again in their rightful places, able to move on from the darkness.

Pic 4CAn amazing Season 2! With a distressing, dark cap at the end where we see a tree with a noose in it, and in the yard a woman finishes putting KKK linens on the line. OH, baby. Give Joe Lansdale, Nick Damici, Jim Mickle & Co. the greenlight, SundanceTV! We need a Season 3. Pronto. With plenty of mojo.
Pic 4D