Twin Peaks – Season 3: “The Return, Part 11”

Showtime’s Twin Peaks
Season 3: “The Return, Part 11”
Directed by David Lynch
Written by Lynch & Mark Frost

* For a recap & review of Part 10, click here.
* For a recap & review of Part 12, click here.
Pic 1Over at the Fat Trout, a few kids play catch. When one of them runs to find a stray ball, they see a bleeding woman crawl from the trees. Presumably it’s the woman Richard Horne (Eamon Farren) beat brutally. At the diner, Shelly (Mädchen Amick) gets a call from Becky Burnett (Amanda Seyfried) saying she needs to borrow her car, there’s something wrong with Steven (Caleb Landry Jones). The girl takes off with the car, Shelly tries jumping on the hood but gets tossed into the dirt when Becky spins around. Carl (Harry Dean Stanton) sees it all go down, so he comes out to see if he can help. He calls her a ride with his tin flute. Fucking love this show.
They wind up getting in contact with Deputy Sheriff Bobby Briggs (Dana Ashbrook), to tell him that the young woman has a gun with her, too. At the same time we watch Becky rush into a house, up the stairs in a blind rage, gun in hand. She beats on the door of apartment 208. When nobody will open the door she fires a handful of shots inside. Through the halls we do see Steven with another woman, staring up toward the sounds of the gun. The sheriff’s department gets a boatload of calls about the gunshots, naturally.
Pic 1AOut in Buckhorn, William Hastings (Matthew Lillard) is walking Special Agent Tammy Preston (Chrysta Bell) through his claim about seeing Major Garland Briggs. They’re out at an abandoned shack, along with Special Agent Albert Rosenfield (Miguel Ferrer) and Deputy Director Gordon Cole (David Lynch). Then, a strange apparition out on the property, perhaps similar to the dark spirits we saw reviving bad Coop (Kyle MacLachlan) awhile ago.
Think theres one in there, Albert?” asks Gordon as he and his old pal head inside. Electricity buzzes in the air. Up in the sky a cyclone-like opening appears, drawing everything into it. Albert’s vision goes blurry, Gordon reaches up with his hands doing… something; interacting with the cyclone in the sky, or calling to it, or who knows what. He almost disappears. Only for the fact Albert hauls him back. So what exactly is the thing? Clearly they’ve known of it, they wondered if “one” would be there.
Then they also discover a body lying in the nearby field: the headless body of Ruth Davenport. Ah, the Briggs connection once again. It all comes together in a twisted weave of alternate dimension, as is usual for Twin Peaks. Worse still, the eerie man covered in burnt engine oil is lurking at the car near Hastings. Suddenly, his head basically explodes, the top half gone. The darkness has taken him.
Notice they’re on a street named Sycamore?
Pic 2Pic 2ABecky, Shelly, and Deputy Sheriff Briggs sit around a table at the diner, trying to take care of things in at least a HALF discrete way. Admittedly, Bobby tells Becky if he wasn’t in his position with the department she’d be in cuffs. Luckily no one was hurt; this time. She’s clearly got a toxic relationship going, like a worse version of Bobby and Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee).
Oh, and Becky’s mom and dad? It’s Bobby and Shelly. I sort of expected that. Just to hear it out loud is sort of stunning, all the same. No wonder the girl is who she is, she’s Bobby Briggs’ kid! Making things sketchier, Shelly’s boyfriend is Red (Balthazar Getty), the insane coke dealing madman who deals to her son-in-law. Christ, Twin Peaks is one hell of a town.
Suddenly a bullet flies through the window of the diner, another one. Deputy Sheriff Briggs goes out into the street to find a kid found a gun in his parents’ van and shot it off. The two parents freak out each other, and Bobby gets the gun out of their hands. He looks at the boy, who has a strange sort of air about him. A woman freaks out in the road beeping her horn, a sick girl in the passenger seat throwing up what looks like bile. Jesus. The whole thing swirls poor Bobby into an absurdist nightmare.
Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Hawk (Michael Horse) and Sheriff Frank Truman (Robert Forster) look at an old map, a Native America piece of hide with symbols on it. One looks of a campfire, Hawk describes it as “modern day electricity” – tying into the Black Lodge’s inhabitants, the evil spirits, how they travel through electricity. They study it using information given to them through Mjr. Briggs. There’s also a symbol of “black fire” that’s meant to be important. There’s yet another symbol, the black orb with the two wing-like pieces on the top; Hawk says Truman doesn’t want to know about that one. Ominous. Hawk also gets another call from Margaret the Log Lady (Catherine E. Coulson), she knew they’d found more. She says “theres fire where you are going.”
Pic 3Gordon, Albert, Tammy, and Diane (Laura Dern) are back with the detective chatting about Ruth’s body. There were also coordinates on her body. Plus, what the hell happened to Hastings in the backseat of the cruiser? They all saw that engine oil-covered lumberjack-like figure creeping around. Except the detective, and Tammy. Then Gordon says he’s seen them before – “dirty bearded men in a room“; is this the convenience store? Does Cole have previous experience with them just like Philip Jeffries 25 years ago?
Back in Las Vegas at the Lucky 7 offices, Dougie-Coop (MacLachlan) is led by a coffee in to his boss for a talk. Turns out he’s helped his boss root out corruption in their business, which the boss believes is why there’s been attempts on his life as of late. He mentions the Mitchum brothers aren’t part of it, apparently. Higher up, it seems. Now the Mitchums want to meet Dougie. The boss has a $30-million cheque to deliver. All sorts of insurance madness that Dougie-Coop goes along with, his true mind elsewhere, locked away.
Speaking of the Mitchums, Rodney (Robert Knepper) hears about a dream Bradley (Jim Belushi) had about killing that “Douglas Jones fuck” and openly anxious to get the murder finished. So much so, his 2:30 PM breakfast is ruined. At the Lucky 7 office, the Black Lodge appears to Dougie-Coop and pulls him toward a coffee shop; toward his old self. Then he’s carted off to meet the Mitchums, his boss telling him to “knockem dead” giving him the one of the ole pretend knockout jabs to the chin. Wonder if our man’ll take that all too literally. Wonder if he’ll need to.
Dougie-Coop’s actually being brought out to a spot in the desert. Typical Vegas gangster move. When our man shows up holding his box from the coffee shop, Bradley freaks out, saying this was the dream he had. That they can’t kill him. “It means hes not our enemy,” he pleads with his brother. Long as what’s in the box is what he saw in the dream. And indeed it is: a cherry fuckin’ pie. Likewise they find their $30-million cheque in his pocket.
When Dougie-Coop goes for a meal with the Mitchums after, toasting to their day, he’s entranced by the music playing. He’s also greeted by the woman who he helped in the casino, the one who calls him Mr. Jackpots. Her life’s changed for the better, all due to him. Everyone sees him as this saint-like, Christ figure almost. Silent, dumb or more so sweet, innocent. He reminds partly of Sellers from Being There in his quiet sweetness.
Another Coopism comes out when Dougie-Coop quips that the pie is “damn good.” Such a perfect moment after the roundabout way in which the old Cooper’s life helped save his latest form’s life.
Pic 4This was a fabulous episode, it took all the beautiful aspects of the series and intertwined them into one weird, fun, silly episode. It’s honestly just such a treat!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Breaking Bad – Season 3, Episode 8: “I See You”

AMC’s Breaking Bad
Season 3, Episode 8: “I See You”
Directed by Colin Bucksey
Written by Gennifer Hutchison

* For a review of the previous episode, “One Minute” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Kafkaesque” – click here
IMG_0221In the hospital, Jesse (Aaron Paul) gets ready to go home, still bruised and in terrible shape after the beating he was given at the hands of Hank (Dean Norris).
But Hank has bigger problems, nearly gunned to death by the Salamanca brothers. He’s brought into the ER while Pinkman sits outside for a smoke. Such a weird, ironic moment. No telling yet if the big guy’s going to pull through, either. He’s near death.
And much as I feel for Jesse he shows he hasn’t changed in the slightest. He wishes death on the man who beat him, without actually saying the words. Not saying Hank doesn’t deserve a beating in return. Doesn’t deserve this, though.
IMG_0222Suddenly, Gale (David Costabile) finds out that Walt (Bryan Cranston) doesn’t want to work with him anymore, having made a deal to bring his old partner into the operation overseen by Mr. Gustavo Fring (Giancarlo Esposito). The master chemist compares them as “classical” and “jazz” music, incompatible in the lab ultimately. The salt rubs deepest into the wound when Gale actually meets Jesse, his use of “the bomb” and his beat up face and the “Sup?” which follows. Oh, man. But them’s the breaks when you’re working in the meth industry. All that matters is the bottom line: 200 lbs per week. Rain or shine, Gale or Jesse; does not matter.
Then Mr. White finds out about what happened to Hank, his close to fatal condition. He rushes to the hospital, to Marie (Betsy Brandt), Skyler (Anna Gunn), and Walt Jr (RJ Mitte). They’re all, justifiably, terrified. Not easy to see anyone shot. Seeing Hank like that, an outwardly powerful and tough man incapacitated, it’s shocking. Especially for someone like Jr, who reveres his uncle in that old school tough cop way.
Walt susses out a bit of information from ASAC George Merkert (Michael Shamus Wiles) concerning the cartel, before Steve Gomez (Steven Michael Quezada) lets slip that his partner didn’t have his gun when the Salamancas came for him. This sends Marie into a fucking fury, and I know it’s protocol, yadda yadda… but seriously, you’d be tripping, too.
Biggest irony is she blames Walt’s supposed bout with marijuana leading her husband to Pinkman. Skyler actually picks up for her husband, not knowing the full repercussions of her own husband’s involvement.
Marie: “The DEA is not welcome here
IMG_0223Seeing Jesse in a more professional lab is so strange. Like a kid in a candy shop. He’s also calling up Walt at the hospital about their “responsibilities.” Says he’ll cook a batch by himself. As if he can do that in the superlab, not knowing any of the equipment. At the same time Walt’s juggling his bullshit and real life.
Gus gets a call from Juan Bolsa (Javier Grajeda), angry about the DEA agent being shot. He knows the Salamancas acted out of order. He just doesn’t know, for sure, that Gus had anything to do with it. The slithering chicken man is a slippery bastard.
Walt gets a look at the remaining Salamanca – Leonel (Daniel Moncada) – barely hanging on. When the brother gets a look at him, he recognises Heisenberg. Crawling out of bed at him. To others, just a bit of insanity. To Walt it’s much more sinister. The chemistry teacher has other issues, dealing with his partner back at the lab, too. And he’s piecing together the fact the Salamancas were coming for him, not Hank. Back with Jr, there’s an excellent moment with him reading about Pablo Escobar, sitting next to someone, his father, much the same.
Worse is dealing with Gus. Instead of telling the truth, Walt lies about what’s going on in his personal life and making excuses for them not meeting the quota on time. This isn’t something he should be doing, it’ll easily come back to bite him in the ass. Sooner than later. There’s only so much juggling the man can do. He’s slipping.
IMG_0225At the hospital, Walt sees part of the bite back already happening. Gus Fring shows up to feed the DEA with Los Pollos Hermanos. Moreover, he’s personally offering a $10K reward for any information pertaining to what happened to Hank. Christ! It’s more than tense seeing them in a room together, Walt’s family there, Merkert. Gus even reveals, in front of them all – directed at Walt – that he met Hank awhile back, the collection jar for Walt’s illness. Such a superbly written scene, it’s full of suspense.
Walt rushes to speak with Gus before he leaves, knowing now the boss man knew about Hank. This brings new worries to light, that this was a possible by-product and that Gus is sending a message. He wants an assurance of his family’s safety, receiving nothing concrete until everyone rushes to see Leonel dying in his bed. Later, Hank’s confirmed to be pulling through. Except our meth extraordinaire knows he’s responsible for so much more destruction than ever before.
Gus: “I hide in plain sight, just like you.”
Juan’s figuring things out, as well. He knows Gus is behind the whole mess, federales staking him out after the death of the remaining Salamanca. And the chicken man sits comfortably, knowing he can’t be tied to anything, as Juan is killed in his home to tie the last bit off. Cold as ice.
IMG_0227This is a favourite episode of mine. There’s a lot of wild things happening in such a subdued way. Progression of characters to boot, like Jesse, Walt, and the beginning of the Gale situation which extends far beyond his firing from the lab.
“Kafkaesque” is next and it’s another fantastic chapter in Season 3, with a damn fine title.

Better Call Saul – Season 3, Episode 10: “Lantern”

AMC’s Better Call Saul
Season 3, Episode 10: “Lantern”
Directed by Peter Gould
Written by Gennifer Hutchison

* For a recap & review of the penultimate Season 3 episode, “Fall” – click here
Pic 1We see young Chuck reading to a little Jimmy by light of a lantern, two brothers once so close. It’s like a marker to show us how far Chuck (Michael McKean) and Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) have come, how deeply tarnished their relationship is at this point. A long, brutal journey. I’m also curious as to how long Chuck’s illness has been going on; were they camping, or was it merely how he liked to read, by lantern?
But more important, back to Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn), who’s in rough shape. Alive, though. That’s the main thing. She’s been pulling way too hard for the business and it isn’t a case of she’s working too much, it’s a case of she has to work that much. Because being in a partnership with Jimmy requires you do the extra work.
What about Chuck? He’s in a meeting with Howard (Patrick Fabian) and a bunch of other lawyers. He lays out what he sees as the only options. He doesn’t want to be the “agent of [the firm’s] destruction” and would like to settle things quickly. With only a handshake between Howard and himself. His partner’s not so keen. Feels that Chuck has let the McGill vendetta takeover his better judgement in regards to the firm. Nor does he like that the old guy went straight for a lawsuit against him after a bit of a disagreement. Howard decides on paying Chuck millions out of pocket to resolve their dispute. Followed by a sort of public shaming, masquerading as gratitude.
Pic 1AJimmy looks after Kim while she recuperates in bed, unable to move much because of her cast and injuries. She replenishes her electrolytes while he cooks breakfast. He lays out his plans about the office, subletting and such. That she may want to work from home. Kim, instead of feeling happy to be alive, feels guilty for driving off the road. Could have killed somebody. Yet again, I have to say: JIMMY’S FAULT! She’s spent her time picking up after him. Sure, she got in the car herself. Doesn’t change the fact he’s put pressure on the business, as Chuck did with his own, due to a personal, family feud. Everything else stems from that.
Hector Salamanca (Mark Margolis) goes to the shop owned by Nacho’s (Michael Mando) father, to check out the whole outfit. The don wants to talk with papi, though Nacho is wary. The two men meet, they have a tenuous meeting. Hector pulls out a load of cash like it’s meant to make an impression; Mr. Varga is not impressed. His son urges him to be reasonable. Family is what keeps him from doing anything unwise. Despite his morals.
Note: Juxtaposition of the two different views of family values, from the Varga family to the McGills, is a truly poignant way to set these stories together throughout the various episodes. Makes for a cohesive flow you don’t necessarily see in the beginning, until the plots open up more.
Francesca (Tina Parker) is also taking care of things for Kim, helping out. She’s rescheduled things and made the workload easier during recovery. Kim is finally starting to slow down. She goes to Blockbuster – still open at this point a few years ago – renting a ton of movies. Is she trying to fill up her time and actually rest?
Pic 2Meanwhile, Jimmy goes to see Chuck, checking to see if he’s all right. Seems he is, as the place is lit up with lamps and music is playing on the record player. The younger brother is feeling guilty about what’s gone on between them. He has regrets about their relationship. The older brother isn’t particularly enthused with any of it. “Whats the point?” he asks. No reason to regret. He does not believe Jimmy can change: “You hurt people, over and over and over.” Then he drops the bomb that he’s never actually cared much about his younger brother, in one of the MOST COLD HEARTED LINES I’ve heard in my life. Just, whoa. Knocked my socks off.
Later on by himself, the oldest McGill shuts down all the power. Silent admission of his own inability to change, much as he chastises his brother. He thinks there’s still power flowing, even after disconnecting the breaker. He’s going full loony.
Jimmy drops over to see Irene, bringing her balloons and things for her cats. He’s excited about the settlement. It’s clear she doesn’t share that enthusiasm. The other women hate her now, the relationship has changed. His elaborate and nasty plan has ultimately backfired. The old ladies question her integrity; in reality, it his integrity. What a shit person he is, really. Much as I give him a chance, he’s not a good man. What he did to Irene and those ladies is despicable behaviour.
Pic 3Chuck is going mad trying to find the source of his discomfort, believing the electrical meter to still be turning even after he’s disconnected everything. And it does turn, only a tiny bit. It’s his mind amplifying it to magnified heights. The stress in his life, the relationship with Jimmy, everything is exacerbating the mental illness. So, he keeps searching, he won’t stop. He feels along the walls, looking for wherever the last bits of electricity are pumping. He starts ripping and beating holes in the walls, looking close as humanly possible. Leaving him and the house a wreck. Then he actually beats the meter off the pole outside to make it all stop.
In other news, Nacho meets his crew and Don Hector. They’re meeting Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) and Juan Bolsa (Javier Grajeda), bringing a message from Don Eladio. “Only one route” across the border from now on, via the Los Pollos Hermanos trucks. Hector gets mouthy with them, getting angry. His heart pumping. Leading to an attack. He hits the ground, passing out. Gus has one of the men call 9-11, sending Juan off and the others hiding guns. Nacho manages to get hold of the fake pills, switching them out for the real ones. And Mr. Fring knows exactly what’s happened.
There’s more to that despicable side of Jimmy. He’s in one of the exercise classes with the ladies again, only this time he’s filling in for the instructor. Erin (Jessie Ennis) interrupts, needing to speak with him. She calls him out on what he did, and he doesn’t realise that his headset is on, broadcasting everything to the class. YOU DONE FUCKED UP, JAMES! He comes across as the monster he is, exposing himself unknowingly to the old folks at Sand Piper. Yet it’s all part of his plan, to get Mrs. Landry to go back on the settlement.
Even though he sort of acknowledges his cruelty, he doesn’t actually accept it.
Screen Shot 2017-06-20 at 2.27.27 AMKim and Jimmy are shutting down the office for good. Gone as far as they can go, and I wonder how far they’ll go together after this moment. She’s so loyal to him. It’s a car crash this time. What will it be next time?
And over at Chuck’s, the old guy has had enough. He’s littered the place with books, torn the place apart. Now he’s kicking his lantern at the edge of the table. Kicking it to the floor where it breaks, starting a fire that lights his home ablaze.
Christ. I wonder if this is the end of Chuck McGill. If, so, a vicious and wild end, a damned awful way to commit suicide.
Screen Shot 2017-06-20 at 2.39.06 AMWhat a season! They have to go for a Season 4, if not there’s so much wasted. But you know there will be. I want to see the next phase of what happens concerning Fring and Don Hector and Nacho. Plus, we need to see what will become of Chuck! If he dies, this will truly bite at Jimmy’s heart, no matter how heartless he is; it’ll be the final nail in the coffin of his confidence, knowing then he’s someone who’s contributed in the long, terrible downfall of his brother.
Bring on Season 4!

Fear the Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 4: “100”

AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 4: “100”
Directed by Alex Garcia Lopez
Written by Alan Page

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, TEOTWAWKI”” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame” – click here
Pic 1We see the journey of Daniel Salazar (Rubén Blades), after escaping from the massive fire where he and the group were staying awhile back. So glad to see him back. Although not without struggle and pain. He didn’t simply escape the fire, he barely made it out. His hands and neck and legs burned. Walking through the streets, he winds up stalked by one of the dead. He barely makes it away from it when a dog draws the thing away.
One thing I fail to mention each episode is how much I love the low-key, subdued opening. I also dig the original series’ opening sequence, the music. But something about this series is more unsettling, very creepy, an ominous sound leading us into every episode.
Pic 1ADaniel comes across a man named Efrain (Jesse Borrego), he seems like a bit of a religious man. He kills the dead like an old school vampire hunter, only putting his version of the stake – a long nail – through the zombies’ heads. Either way, it’s another human to help Daniel, at least for now. He aids the old man in getting someplace safe; our friend isn’t well, and definitely parched. They get a bit of water from a nearby fountain, it looks like it only comes on at certain times a day. Each Tuesday, 5 PM. Ah, the water wars we saw last episode, a situation into which Strand (Colman Domingo) has put himself. Looks like Daniel may wind up there, too.
Daniel: “What are you?”
Efrain: “Me? Im the fifth Beatle. You?”
Efrain is a wild dude. He bottles water when he can, then heads out on a bicycle cart with a speaker shouting AGUA in the streets to alert the thirsty people. At the same time men patrol the streets in vehicles with guns, not wanting a black market on water to crop up.
Our water dealer takes Daniel to a woman named Lola Guerrero (Lisandra Tena). She assess his leg, that it’s starting to rot. Either scrape away the pants burned into the wound, or it’s possible he’ll lose it. Poor old lad, he’s got to take the pain in order not to draw out the dead too much. He and Lola sing a song together in Spanish, as she goes about scraping out the wound. Lucky for him it works, and he’s only relegated to a crutch for awhile until it heals.
Pic 2Something is rotting in you far worse than your leg
When Efrain and Daniel bond, the former learns more about the latter. Mainly the fact Daniel has killed “ninetysix” people, that he feels he isn’t a good man and has to pay a debt, to redeem himself for his sins. He tells Efrain about leaving El Salvador, coming to Los Angeles to become a barber. He also cuts his new friend’s hair; an intimate and powerful gesture in its own right.
Now the old guy’s biggest worry is for his daughter Ofelia (Mercedes Mason), wondering where she is, how she is, if she’s safe, or what is the case. Even after nearly burning alive he’s still hard on himself. Because he believes he possibly burned his own daughter to death in that fire. He seeks forgiveness, but Efrain isn’t the one to give it to him.
I only hope Daniel doesn’t push himself too far. He’s determined to find redemption. So he prays. And out from the sky comes a lightning bolt, crashing into the head of a walker that nearly chomps down on him. A sign, if there ever were one. Still, Daniel ends up washing away in flood waters with the zombie. He winds up at the Gonzalez Dam, and by a stroke of luck he’s located by Lola. Dante Esquivel (Jason Manuel Olazabal) runs the operation, “distributing water” in his own fashion. A man named J.C. (Ricardo Chacon) confronts Lola when she brings the old guy around, though they cover, saying he was desperate for work. They put him out around the drainage area, hauling bodies. Where he’s able to get a good look at the dam’s entrance, where Strand soon winds up.
Daniel starts to see what daily life is like there, a far cry from where he once was and yet troubling. Everyone stands for Dante as he walks into the lunch hall, except for our man. It’s like a cult, ruled by authoritarian hand. This guy J.C. has got it in for Daniel, too. A fight breaks out when he tries acting like an asshole a bit too much. This gets the boss’ attention. Turns out, Dante knows a bit about Daniel, at least what he can gather from knowing the old man lived in El Salvador, the capital in fact.
He’s got a lip tattoo which reads SN, prompting the boss to speak the words “Sombra Negra“; in reference to the Black Shadow, a death squad in Salvador that targeted criminals and gang-bangers for execution in a form of government-backed vigilante justice. Now we see more of why Officer Salazar feels how he does about himself, why he’s in a sort of moral prison in his mind. He’s done some seriously bad fucking shit.
Pic 3With this revelation, Daniel’s ingratiated himself into the inner circle of the dam. Dante wants him on their team. Although our guy is mostly just concerned with finding a way to search for his daughter. So he’s out on patrols with the boss’ boys, they’re looking for sneaky people stealing water where they shouldn’t be. Daniel watches the clock, worried Efrain will show himself at 5 PM. Afterwards he leads them right to his new friend. What a cold move. He tries telling Lola that it was to protect her, that they’d find out sooner than later. Same kind of bullshit he used to convince himself while working on a Salvadoran death squad years earlier.
Lola: “This place is perfect for you. You are a thug. Go get your prize, thug.”
Finally, Daniel watches Strand stroll past the gates. Taken to see the boss. And later when Victor is placed in a cell, Daniel goes to see him with water. A meeting after so long apart. He hears that Ofelia made it out, she’s alive. This gives him hope, for the first time in forever. However, the old guy won’t believe him, believing this is all lies. Oh, christ. He’s going off the deep end. This is not good, at all.
Not to mention Daniel’s called int to torture information out of Efrain. This is ugly. Maybe some of the ugliest stuff we’ve seen so far on Fear the Walking Dead. As if he didn’t have any farther down to fall, after the death squad reveal. He’s being pulled back into that old, hideous life he fled in Salvador. If he even does make it back to Ofelia, he’ll never be the same person. And redemption can’t ever really come.
For Efrain’s sake, Lola throws herself on him. Before Daniel can kill him. Just a tragic situation altogether. You know where they’re being taken, too. Out to the damn, to face a fall. Strand, Lola, Efrain, and more are faced with execution for their crimes against Dante. Instead of tossing them all over, Daniel turns on Dante, pulling a gun and putting a bullet in his head. Saving the remainder of the people from a nasty fate. This is a start to redeeming what he’s done. He offers Lola a gun, a chance to do him in; he begs forgiveness. And it’s that she gives him.
Pic 4WOW, this is a stunner of an episode! One of my absolute favourites. Because Daniel Salazar was always interesting to me, this only upped the stakes. His backstory, his history is vile, and with the fall of society, the fall of civilised men comes another moment where he must face the ugliness of his past.
“Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame” is next week. Haven’t been this excited for a new episode in awhile.

Twin Peaks- Season 3: “The Return, Part 7”

Showtime’s Twin Peaks
Season 3: “The Return, Part 7”
Directed by David Lynch
Written by Lynch & Mark Frost

* For a recap & review of Part 6, click here.
* For a recap & review of Part 8, click here.
Pic 1Jerry Horne (David Patrick Kelly) is in the woods, a bewildered look on his face. More than just a good bake on from his killer bud. It’s like he knows there’s something bad in that forest. He calls his brother Ben (Richard Beymer). Seems as if he’s had his car stolen. Turns out he’s actually just high. Too high.
Deputy Chief Hawk (Michael Horse) finds pages of Laura Palmer’s (Sheryl Lee) diary, from the previous episode, and shows Sheriff Frank Truman (Robert Forster). These are the pages torn from the diary, connecting not only to the TV series, but also to Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. They talk about who Bob was possessing, as well as relay the message from Annie – about the “good” Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) being stuck in the Black Lodge. Hawk susses out that whoever it was came out of the lodge  those 25 years ago was the “bad Cooper.”
Afterwards, Frank calls his brother Harry to talk about the whole thing. What I’d like to know is where is our former sheriff? Is he ill? Sounds like it. A little later the new sheriff calls Dr. Will Hayward (Warren Frost) about the night he went to the Great Northern, to check on Agent Cooper. The doc remembers it, very well. Seeing the agent and that “strange face again.” Moreover, we hear our first rumblings about Audrey Horne (Sherilyn Fenn), how she was in a coma after the bank exploded.
Pic 1AOut on the road Deputy Sheriff Andy Brennan (Harry Goaz) talks with a very nervous, paranoid man. They’re set to meet at 4:30. This guy seems like he’s up to no good, but I don’t see Andy as being the type to be up to anything shady. So what’s the deal?
One of the cops with the case concerning the decapitated head, the body in bed receives a military visit. About the prints they’ve found, what seems likely to be the corpse of Major Garland Briggs. Only there’s a bit of an age discrepancy. Briggs would be much older by now, the body’s less than a week old. How can it be him? Oh, I have a few ideas. Involving space and time. Colonel Davis (Ernie Hudson) gets a call about the prints, the body, and now there’s so much more afoot.
Gordon Cole (Lynch) sees Special Agent Albert Rosenfield (Miguel Ferrer) at his office, reporting on going to see Diane (Laura Dern), who wasn’t exactly forthcoming. Their relationship is hilarious and perfect. They go speak with Diane, she tells them both to go fuck themselves. She and Coop apparently didn’t leave things on good terms. They want somebody close to him to go talk with the Coop sitting in federal lockup, to gauge what’s happening. Eventually she agrees and they’re on the plane. Then Special Agent Tamara Preston (Chrysta Bell) shows them a slight problem with the fingerprints, tedious, almost unnoticeable to untrained eyes. Like someone did a bit of doctoring. Or perhaps, Coop slightly changed.
At the prison, Diane comes face to face with her old pal. He’s clearly different, his voice is unsettling and deep. He wonders why she’s so upset. She asks about the last time they saw one another. “At your house,” he replies (almost like the Mystery Man from Lost Highway; eerily reminiscent). A night they’ll both never forget, apparently. She can see a different person sitting behind those eyes, someone she doesn’t know inside his skin.
Diane: “That isnt the Dale Cooper that I knew
Armed with this affirmation from her which he trusts in wholly, what’s Gordon to do next? Back in his cell, the bad Coop asks to speak with the warden “about a strawberry.” Uh oh.
Pic 2On a lonely road, Andy waits for the paranoid man with whom he met earlier. At the guy’s house, we get the feeling of something ominous behind his open front door. Only Lynch could make a simple shot of a door like that feel creepy. One of the many reasons the man is a master filmmaker.
Coop and the warden meet. The bad man speaks in cryptic fashion, as usual. About “dog legs” and other bits. He mentions Joe McClusk, the late “Mr. Strawberry” and this puts the warden in his chair. Bad Coop requests a car for himself and Ray Monroe. Gun in the glove compartment.
At the Lucky 7 offices, Dougie (MacLachlan) goes about his infant-like day, Anthony Sinclair (Tom Sizemore) snooping around wanting to know more about what he’s been up to lately. Of course he gets no answers, nobody does. Then the police come to speak with Mr. Jones about his car. They mention deaths during the explosion of his car, gang members and such.
Outside the office, Janey-E (Naomi Watts) and Dougie are attacked by the small hitman, wielding a gun now. Instinctively Dougie moves “like a cobra” wrestling him to the ground, chopping him in the throat. In the pavement he sees the Man from Another Place, in his newest form, that brain on a tree. It commands him to “squeeze his hand off.” So Dougie chops the guy in the throat one more time, freeing the gun from his grip. SO INTENSE! The sound design in this scene is so foreboding, you can feel something coming
At the Great Northern, Beverly Paige (Ashley Judd) shows Ben a strange hum emanating from one of the rooms. They can’t pinpoint where it’s coming from, or what’s making it. They follow it around awhile, but still can’t figure it out. At the same time they’ve received the key from Cooper’s old room, from all those years ago. A slice of strange nostalgia for Mr. Horne. Beverly has her own difficult life; a very ill husband named Tom (Hugh Dillon) to look after, being cared for in hospice. They also don’t have a great relationship, it seems. He makes her feel guilty, or she perceives it that way.
Pic 3I love Lynch because he intrigues us, and he also gives us slices of anticipation where we see a long shot of the Bang Bang being swept, Jean-Michel Renault (Walter Olkewicz) at the bar working silently. And nothing happens, for so long. Because Lynch knows we’re paying attention. He doesn’t do this for shits, he does it to make sure we haven’t fallen off.
Then a call comes in, Jean-Michel running his greasy business as it always was, like 25 years ago. Trouble, too. I wonder who owes him, and what this will mean for the plot in coming episodes.
In jail, the bad Coop is released from his cell, as is Ray. They’re let out the back quietly, given a phone, keys to a vehicle. Off again, jiggity jig. Wonder where they’re heading first? Meanwhile at the diner in Twin Peaks, life goes on as usual. I love the way Lynch intertwines the mystery and the everyday, going from such a dark, mysterious moment into one of comfort, one of familiarity. And even underneath the beautiful music, the old 50s and 60s guitar swooning in the background, there’s an undercurrent of that threatening, foreboding sound design, building and festering. Perfect atmosphere.
Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 12.38.08 AMAnother good episode, this one a bit less heavy on the surrealism and the absurd, more a classic episode of Twin Peaks we’ve come to know. I’m excited because with 18 episodes, Lynch and Frost have the opportunity to take their time a bit, which they do with relish. All the same it’s good, it isn’t frustrating for those of us Peakheads who love the mystery, the intrigue, the surreal. Can’t wait for the next episode already.

Fargo – Season 3, Episode 9: “Aporia”

FX’s Fargo
Season 3, Episode 9: “Aporia”
Directed by Keith Gordon
Written by Bob DeLaurentis & Noah Hawley

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Who Rules the Land of Denial?” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 3 finale, “Somebody to Love” – click here

a·po·ri·a
əˈpôrēə/
noun
  1. an irresolvable internal contradiction or logical disjunction in a text, argument, or theory.

Pic 1AAn older gentleman is killed in his home by the silent, deadly Meemo (Andy Yu). This man is Marvin Stussy.
At the station, Gloria Burgle (Carrie Coon) sits to talk with Emmit Stussy (Ewan McGregor), who’s there to confess, so he said. He warns not to let anybody in if they say they’re his lawyer; ahem, V.M. Varga (David Thewlis), ahem. The remaining Stussy talks about his dead brother, their father – “basically bald from the shins down” from wearing nylon socks – and family memories. He admits to killing Ray at his apartment. He laments what he’d done, all their lives, to his younger brother. He tricked his brother all those years ago into taking the Corvette, just as Ray told us originally. In between Emmit tells Gloria how he cut his brother’s throat when they fought over the framed stamp.
Emmit: “Thirty years Ive been killinhim. That was just when he fell.”
Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 1.04.10 AMVarga’s still scheming. I’m curious as to his endgame. He’s got Meemo driving a transport truck and headed lords knows where. At a red light, Nikki Swango (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) tosses a grenade through the truck’s window, as Mr. Wrench (Russell Harvard) fires an assault rifle on them. Well, the bullets are real. The grenade ain’t; just a paperweight. The two bandits make off with the truck easily. An awesome little trick. Nikki and Wrench look through the back of the truck when they can, they find a briefcase of particular interest. That’s all they take with them when they leave the vehicle behind and head out in a car.
Needless to say Varga isn’t thrilled. He gets a call from Ms. Swango. She has lots of information now, using it to extort $2 million. Although I doubt he’ll give it over. I can see a great deal of violence heading their way. Heading every which way.
At the station, Emmit’s locked up. Bit of a culture shock when he has to explain that he’s not wearing a sweater: “Its a cardigan.” Gloria talks with Winnie Lopez (Olivia Sandoval), she’s at the scene of the latest Stussy killing. Suspicious, no?
I’m also STILL HOPING they give us even an ounce more of Thaddeus Mobley before the end. Only one episode after this left, so it better happen fast.
Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 12.56.43 AMOver at a different house, another Stussy, there’s a dead body. More Stussys piling up. Moe Dammick (Shea Whigham) is starting to wonder if there’s something strange happening around their jurisdiction.
Moe: “This guy must really hate Stussys
Ruby Goldfarb (Mary McDonnell) comes in to speak with Gloria, telling her about the dinner she had with Emmit and Sy Feltz (Michael Stuhlbarg). She explains they were speaking about business, et cetera. They get around talking about when the men each left, all the little details. But a big commotion starts when Moe believes he’s got the killer of all the Stussys, including Ennis. Now we see the V.M. endgame in full, clear vision. What we also cannot dispel is the fact Gloria isn’t going to let this stand. Her intuition knows better.
You’ve never seen anything as oddly disturbing as Varga sitting on the toilet eating chocolate ice cream from a tub. Not long after he goes to meet Nikki. They have their tenuous meeting, she’s as slick as he is, and she is incredibly smart. Up above, Meemo waits with a sniper rifle to take her out on command. No good when Wrench is on the ball, pointing a gun at the back of HIS head. He signals Swango downstairs, allowing her more confidence. She threatens turning a hard drive over to police, and this visibly frustrates him. Not used to dealing with a tough lady like her. She gives him one more day to produce the $2 million. Or else…?
Gloria and Emmit sit down for another chat. She talks about her husband, how he came out as gay and in love with another man, then left. “You think the worlds somethinthen it turns out to be somethinelse,” she says. After that she lets him free. Because a Stussy killer is on the loose. All part of the Varga plan. Now the remaining Stussy brother is out of the pan and into the fire.
Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 1.14.31 AMVarga: “Its not that there is evil in the world, the problem is that there is good. Because otherwise, who would care?”
Finally, Gloria mentions to Winnie something about the Mobley books – The Planet Wyh. She talks about the robot, always trying to help. She says she relates to the robot, how she feels trying to do her work, to do justice. AND she also mentions the oddities – such as the automatic doors not working for her, the soap dispensers, so on. “I dont actually exist,” Gloria says. Except in this bar, the dispensers work for her, the automatic faucet. Like a new start, a fresh outlook on life.
Larue Dollard (Hamish Linklater) at the IRS finds a package waiting in his office. Inside, a stack of papers with a flash drive, pertaining to Stussy Lots Ltd. Oh, mercy. What’s the fallout from this going to be? Varga won’t like his business dealings pried into any more, on top of every other Emmit Stussy issue plaguing him.
Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 1.48.52 AMGreat penultimate episode to this fascinating season. Truly, I’ve loved Season 3. I don’t know if I love it more than the first season, which is my personal favourite. Regardless of that, they all match up in quality. They’re each awesome in their own rights. “Somebody to Love” is the finale next week. Sad to see these characters go already. Hoping to find some explosive moments in the last episode.

Better Call Saul – Season 3, Episode 9: “Fall”

AMC’s Better Call Saul
Season 3, Episode 9: “Fall”
Directed by Minkie Spiro
Written by Gordon Smith

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Slip” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 3 finale, “Lantern” – click here
Pic 1Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) is one slick fella. He buys packaged cookies, then wraps them up like he made them himself. Over to see a few people at Sandpiper Crossing, mainly the “class representative” for the case, Irene. He’s digging around for information about the case, any settlements. He winds up going through a box of an old lady’s things, looking at papers. Trying to influence her decisions. There’s an offer for settlement on the table, he pushes her to take the deal. Although she’d rather listen to the lawyers.
The guy is strapped for cash, not being in business is a kick in the ass. I’m just wondering where this line of thinking, this desperation, the scheming is going to head in the long run. Well, we know already: nowhere nice.
Pic 2 (1)Back with Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks), he’s meeting with a familiar face from Breaking Bad over at Madrigal: Lydia Rodarte-Quayle (Laura Fraser). This is the deal with Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito). He’s a “logistics consultant” at the company, on paper. But we absolutely understand what he’ll be doing for Fring, it isn’t consulting on anything. All a way to launder a bit of money, making things look legitimate. Mike’s smart, though. He covers all bases before moving ahead. On anything.
Note: What we get to see here is the beginning of the network which causes trouble for Mike and Lydia and Walter White in the late stages of Breaking Bad after Mr. Fring is murdered.
Trouble with the insurance over at Hamlin, Hamlin, & McGill. The stuff Jimmy started previously. Poor Chuck (Michael McKean) isn’t happy with what’s going on now, as the insurance company makes clear that coverage for him after his recent court appearance has become a problem. He threatens litigation, then the brokers leave displeased. Howard (Patrick Fabian) is trying to fix the situation, asking Chuck to “hang up [his] spurs.” And he isn’t suggesting, he’s telling his old friend this is how it must be.
And Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn) is off working on more business, as usual. She’s working with Mr. Gatwood (Chris Mulkey), looking into problems with the border on the land where he’s drilling. When she goes to leave she ends up stuck in the dirt, so she finds a piece of board for traction. She gets the car out and nearly puts it into some railing, but manages to stop. She doesn’t need anybody’s help, she’s great on her own. In many ways.
Pic 2 (2)In a parking garage, Jimmy meets with Howard. He wants to talk about Sandpiper. All he gets is humiliation. Howard calls him down to the dirt for being phoney, only wanting a nice payday and not actually caring about clients as he claims. Ouch. True, though.
Hector Salamanca (Mark Margolis) and Gus Fring meet, accompanied by the usual crowd such as Nacho (Michael Mando). They’re having a phone conference with another business partner. Seems that things aren’t going the way Don Hector would have preferred. Los Pollos Hermanos has the safest route, which does not please him. Then an attack starts hitting him. He reaches for his pills, swallowing some; the fake ones Nacho slipped. How long until this puts him in that wheelchair?
Mall-walking, Jimmy purposefully runs into Irene and her old lady friends. Here, we’re privy to how horrible Jimmy is, truly. He’s digging deep now and doing some of his worst moral work. He plies her with new sneakers, hoping she’ll sway on the settlement. Perfectly fitting that The Night of the Hunter plays in the background while Jimmy goes further, talking to the other old ladies from Sandpiper. He plays them against one another. Using the shoes against her now. Such a bad man. Totally morally bankrupt. He’s perfect for the criminal life.
Nacho talks with his father about Don Hector’s plans, bending him to work for the cartel. It’s a difficult conversation, one he’d hoped they wouldn’t need to have – the coming of Don Hector. All pressured further by the deal recently struck in favour of Fring. There’s nothing they can do, so Nacho advises they go along to get along. Then his father kicks him out.
Pic 3Things spiral out of control with Chuck and Howard, when the former decides on suing the firm. He won’t be kicked out, or else he’ll get paid for his share of the legacy: “Imagine me as your enemy.” Man, oh, man. I don’t see this all ending well for Chuck, though I’m not entirely sure how it’s all going to happen. He’s clearly still having trouble with the electricity issues, coaching himself through using anything with power running through it. There’s got to be a breaking point, unfortunately.
More scheming – Jimmy’s doctoring himself a bunch of numbered balls, maybe a bit of Bingo for the crowd at Sandpiper? You got it.
He’s rigging the game for his own purposes, something further to turn the ladies on one another. Irene gets a cold shoulder from every one of them. So sad! Breaks my heart. And he’s playing with these lives all for his own gain. He passes out new cards, handing one specifically to Irene, and then the grift begins. She gets BINGO pretty quick, which pisses off the other women. Tsk, tsk, James.
Jimmy: “B9. Lets hope that biopsy comes back be-nign.”
When nobody claps for Irene it embarrasses her in front of the crowd, she rushes out crying. Jimmy heads out to talk with her. She’s feeling the effects of all the cruelty, then he reels out the story he’s concocted with all his fuckery. SUCH A TERRIBLE MAN. Lord, is he ever a shitheel. Scamming old people to this extent is downright nasty.
Screen Shot 2017-06-13 at 1.41.08 AMAfterwards, Jimmy shows up to see Kim – with a bottle of that fictional Zafiro Añejo tequila from Breaking Bad – raving about the settlement at Sandpiper. She’s too busy to celebrate. He’s so focused on his deviousness he keeps forgetting about real life happening all around him.
Kim ends up falling asleep briefly at the wheel, putting herself off the road. Files everywhere, her fast is beaten up and bloody. Overworked to the worst extent. She’s not gravely injured; injured nonetheless. This is symptom of her relationship with Jimmy, he’s paying attention to all the wrong things while she’s faced with taking on all responsibility. All alone on the road of life. She could’ve died – maybe another symptom of being involved with him too long is death, far enough down the line. I keep waiting for the day she realises how destructive their relationship has become.
Screen Shot 2017-06-13 at 1.54.32 AMJimmy somehow escapes all these situations intact. While everyone around him suffers, whether it’s Chuck, Kim, the people at Sandpiper; nobody truly matters to him, ultimately. Much as I pull for him, this episode is one of the worst depths to which he’s sunk. Even if we consider his later trajectory in the original series run of Breaking Bad. This episode’s shown us a lot more of that reptilian side in his personality than ever before.

Fear the Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 3: “Teotwawki”

AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 3: “Teotwawki”
Directed by Deborah Chow
Written by Ryan Scott

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The New Frontier” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “100” – click here
Pic 1We start with a survivalist, anti-globalist rant by patriot Jeremiah Otto (Dayton Callie). A video of him at Broke Jaw Ranch. “This is the end of the world as we know it,” he tells us: “Teotwawki.” This is something Trump voters would definitely buy into with buzzwords like “urban hordes” and other xenophobic rhetoric.
A bunch of people are gathered for Charlene, in her memory. The Otto brothers – Troy (Daniel Sharman) and Jake (Sam Underwood). Although people seem to blame Madison Clark (Kim Dickens), Nick (Frank Dillane) and Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) a bit. Some of them. Madison makes clear they’re only there to help. Mostly people want to know who took down the plane, to see justice for what’s happened and to prepare for anything worse. What’s clear is there’s a division amongst the ranks of the Otto family. And the camp as a whole.
If you plan for the future, plan for a better one.”
Pic 1ANick’s busy trying to nurse Luciana (Danay Garcia) back to health. She wants to leave, soon as she’s healthy enough. He wants to be able to be safe, to feel protected. He’s kicking himself constantly and feeling as if he’s the one responsible for so many things. But Luciana tries making him realise he’s not a bad person. He’s not a killer, either.
I worry about Troy. He’s clearly a psychopathic person, he has… tendencies. He keeps lurking around Madison, talking about Travis (Cliff Curtis). He asks about her past, so on. In a very unsettling manner. He even admits to having certain issues with social behaviour. The guy’s got a problem with her son now. First it was Travis, now Nick. He is deranged. Wants a woman and a mommy.
Back with Strand (Colman Domingo) we see him trying to find his way. He drives up past a load of Mexicans travelling, stopping at a sort of makeshift border crossing. Strand says he’s looking for a man named Dante, though nobody wants to entertain him, even after offering up his car. Lucky for him Dante (Jason Manuel Olazabal) comes out to say hello.
The Clark family are all worried, for different reasons. Nick says they ought to think of other options than staying at the ranch. Madison would rather stick with what they have, what they know. Also, she feels if they go it was a waste of Travis’ life. Regardless, none of them are on the same page.
Madison goes to talk with Jake and Jeremiah, wondering if they can “keep a leash” on Troy and quell all the resentment from everybody around the place. The old guy doesn’t seem to have much time for hearing about what his boy’s done. This gives me pause. He and Madison will have it out, one way or another.
Alicia: “Its all just different circles of Hell. Why not this one?”
Pic 3Jake goes to his brother, telling him to stay away from the Clarks. We see the resistance of Troy to follow any orders, no matter who’s asking. If people at the ranch figure out what the guy is, WHO he is, they might not be so keen on following his lead. These brothers are coming to a head, too. There’s a confrontation of epic, tragic proportions in their relationship, I feel.
When Alicia goes to hang out with some of the young people, supposedly for Bible study, it turns out they’re actually going to smoke pot, drink booze, and enjoy life as it once was for youth. I actually thought for a moment they were plotting on doing something nasty. They only wanted to bring her into the fold. They’ve even got a zombie head kept in a bird cage: Jeff. Sick, but when you’re high? Hilarious!
In a room by herself Madison sees the outtakes of those Otto family videotapes. Jeremiah wasn’t a great dad. Handsy with mom. Not so sweet and kindly as he seems. The old fella strolls in while she’s watching, admitting he’s not perfect. They talk a bit about their past lives, his past wives. She tells of her alcoholic father, noticing the signs from Jeremiah’s former wife; Troy took care of her at the end when she was dying awfully.
Strand and Dante catch up, clearly having known each other quite a long time. They talk about Thomas briefly, a sore spot for Victor to bring up. Yet I feel something, not quite right here. Perhaps he’s rushed into something quickly without thinking it all through. Well, Dante has been busy. He’s killing people who displease him. Turns out they’re not exactly old friends; just business. Strand pleads his case, asking to be of help. To negotiate deals and organise things for him. Except it’ll be more of a forcible situation than he wanted. Stuck in servitude to Dante. Sort of fitting when in Hell, no?
Pic 3Headed out at night, Troy asks Nick to go for a boar hunt with him: “Earn your keep.” Don’t like this! Don’t like this at all! Not even because of Troy, I almost worry that if the situation arises Nick would take a chance to kill him. Who knows. Back at the ranch, it seems like Jeremiah is warming to Madison, they continue bonding while the boys are gone. She really wants them to find a home somewhere, a place where they can fit in. She tells the old man about Nick being an addict. Both the Otto and Clark family have their respective demons.
Jeremiah takes her down to see “the pantry” where they’ve stockpiled guns, supplies, many things they have for prepared for a Revelations-style apocalypse. He wants to rebuild society, basically. She’s in, too. She wants to feel safe again in a community.
Although I’m still scared. Nick is out on the hunt and he takes Troy to the ground, gun on his throat. FUCK! This ain’t good. He only fires a shot next to the guy’s face and tears up the notes in his little journal. A bonding experience?
Troy: “I need to know why we spoil
Screen Shot 2017-06-12 at 2.15.15 AMThings seem better at the ranch in the light of day. Nothing’s ever perfect in this post-apocalypse landscape. Now they’re preparing for possible trouble, looking for volunteers to head out on a search party to scout what’s happened with the helicopter. And Madison offers to go with them, surprising many. Tough woman. After that she goes and sits with Troy for breakfast. Because she knows if she plays mom that’ll keep her in his good graces.
And Strand, oh he’s facing a hard time ahead. In a prison work-like situation. Shit, he’s had it rough lately. One good thing? Daniel Salazar (Rubén Blades) watches over him: “I told you Id be your guardian angel.” I KNEW HE’D BE BACK EVENTUALLY! FUCK YEAH. Love his character.
Screen Shot 2017-06-12 at 2.21.15 AMI loved this episode all over, it opened many new things, expanding on those new stories we’re seeing. Plus there’s a return of a character whom I hoped was not wholly gone. We’re about to see so much happen starting in “100” next week.

Twin Peaks – Season 3: “The Return, Part 6”

Showtime’s Twin Peaks
Season 3: “The Return, Part 6”
Directed by David Lynch
Written by Lync & Mark Frost

* For a recap & review of Part 5, click here.
* For a recap & review of Part 7, click here.
Pic 1Poor Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan). Still Dougie, still infant-like. He’s not left work since after he finished. Plus, he can barely converse with anybody. He only knows a few words like “home” and his name and a few others like “red door” – the door of his house. A cop helps him along back home to Janey-E (Naomi Watts), his doting wife. He keeps rubbing the cop’s badge, too. Memories of his old life. The absurdity of the whole situation is so perfectly hilarious. There’s clearly something wrong with him and people treat it like it’s only a mild little thing. Suburban life is so zombified that this version of Dougie is somehow no more noticeable or worrisome than the general cold.
The best is seeing him with Dougie’s boy, Sonny Jim. They’re essentially on the same wavelength. Although young Sonny Jim is likely a few steps ahead of this depleted Agent Cooper. The only part of Dale which seems to remain is his love of coffee and food; the simple things.
Janey-E stumbles onto photos of Dougie and Jade, the working girl he was with prior to the switch. So now that’s another bit of trouble his infant mind can’t really compute, and it isn’t even his life. Doesn’t matter for him ultimately. Someone calls for Dougie, too. Clearly the guy’s into big debt with some rough bastards. Janey-E offers to meet the caller the next day.
Then we go to the Black Lodge, as Dale sees through the border between the worlds while running a finger along the black-and-white Lucky 7 Insurance logo. Calling to mind the floor of the lodge. The One-Armed Man Phillip Gerard (Al Strobel) calls out: “Dont die.” The spirits of the lodge are still with him in there, in his mind. He’s very slowly seeing things, he has a vision. A kind of second sight, like how he picked out the machines ready for jackpots. He takes out a pencil and on the files from the office he draws a figure similar to the tree with a brain for a head from Part 1. Then a ladder. He draws another ladder, as well as some stairs.


Fuck Gene Kelly, you motherfucker.” Best insult ever to someone using an umbrella. Special Agent Albert Rosenfield (Miguel Ferrer), on a mission from Gordon Cole (David Lynch), heads into a dark, neon-signed club. He’s there to see Diane (Laura Dern); FUCK YES! Oh, lord. How I love thee Ms. Dern. What a reveal, too. Been waiting to see this woman for far too long. Doesn’t disappoint.
Richard Horne (Eamon Farren) is picking up some cocaine, meeting with Red (Balthazar Getty), a strange dude accompanied by men with guns. Apparently he has a problem with his liver, has to beat it a bit. There’s a lot more nastiness in the small town of Twin Peaks than even 25 years ago. Darkness never left. Used to be Bobby Briggs (Dana Ashbrook), now a deputy sheriff, was the bad boy. Looks like the Horne family still has its share of bad apples. And Red, he’s creepy. He’s psychotic, also a bit of a magician.
Red: “Just remember this, kid. I will saw your head open and eat your brains if you fuck me over.”
Over at the Fat Trout Trailer Park, we see Carl Rodd (Harry Dean Stanton) after all this time. He’s headed into town, same time each day. He hasn’t changed, either. Good man. Loves his cigarettes. In town at the Double R, Shelly Johnson (Mädchen Amick) works her shift as usual, as does the giggling waitress. Life goes on and on in their slice of America.
Pic 2Flying down the road raging on coke, Richard goes flying through a crosswalk and kills a child in front of a bunch of people, bloody everywhere. And he keeps on going, doesn’t even look back. A girl who’s a regular at the Double R sees his face as he speeds off. Carl stumbles across the scene, shattering the tranquillity of his day prior. He looks up to the power lines above, seeing a strange light dissipate into the electrical wiring. He goes to the woman and tries comforting her what little he can. A tragic scene.
Note: The #6 electrical pole from Fire Walk With Me and Missing Pieces is specifically shown, panning up to the wires overhead. “Electricity” is spoken by the Man from Another Place in Missing Pieces. See here.
Dougie’s blown-up car is being investigated. A cop has to climb up over the junkie mom’s house as she yells out “one one nine” over and over. There’s so much swirling around Dougie Jones that if someone doesn’t find Dale soon it’s gonna be a shitstorm eventually.
In a hotel room a man rolls dice, writing down numbers. Under his door comes a thin envelope. One from a man named Duncan Todd (Patrick Fischler), whom we saw in a previous episode, the one seemingly being extorted. The man opens the envelope to find two pictures, he then goes over their faces with an ice pick. Fucking creepy. One face belongs to Dougie Jones.
Over at Lucky 7, Dougie-Coop is at work, wandering around like usual. Watching on is Anthony (Tom Sizemore), clearly a man with things to hide. The boss doesn’t seem to love Dougie’s “childish scribbles” on the files. A mess. Somehow in the pile of nonsense the boss discerns what’s meant to be happening. He figures out the symbols, connecting them. Just as the viewer does while watching Twin Peaks. Do like Dougie: “Make sense of it.” This cracks me up, it’s so perfect in a comedic way and also in that way of post-modern thought in terms of how we interpret what we’re watching. Lynch and Frost are mindbenders. Love every second of it.
Pic 3Janey-E goes out to meet a couple sketchy-looking dudes, Tommy (Ronnie Gene Blevins) and Jimmy (Jeremy Davies). They’re trying to get over $50K out of Dougie. She’s pretty tough, all the same. She offers up $25K to be done.
The man with the pictures murders his first target. Brutally. He has to do a few murders, in fact. To keep anybody from talking much. All with that ice pick. He almost cries after he’s bent it. Such a surreal moment. Another note: Lynch has a fascination with fucked up teeth, more of which is evident here.
Out in the woods, child killer Richard stops to see how much blood is smeared across his bumper. He washes it off. How long can he hide it?
Back with Deputy Chief Hawk (Michael Horse), we see him drop an Indian Head coin. He picks it up, noticing another Native logo on the stall of the toilet door; screws missing at the corner. So he takes a closer look inside, prying it open. Inside he finds papers full of writing.
We find out more about Sheriff Frank Truman (Robert Forster); his son killed himself, a soldier. Part of why he and his wife are at odds much of the time, because of her grief over what’s happened. That’s a sad story.
Pic 5Another interesting episode. This one a bit more straight forward, and even then it’s a wild ride.
I’m interested to see more of the Trumans, and I’m itching to know about Harry. We’ve got another 12 episodes, there’s plenty to uncover. Until next time, Peakheads.

The Walking Dead – Season 4, Episode 1: “30 Days Without An Accident”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 4, Episode 1: “30 Days Without An Accident”
Directed by Greg Nicotero
Written by Scott M. Gimple

* For a recap & review of the Season 3 finale, “Welcome to the Tombs” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Infected” – click here
IMG_0123Season 4’s premiere starts several months on from the finale of Season 3 when all hell broke loose, and the group lost Andrea. They’re still in the prison, still together. Trying to live whatever kind of normalcy is available to them. Rick (Andrew Lincoln) spends his day out in the garden tending to the crops. He finds a gun buried deep in the soil, like he’s tried to bury the violence with it. Is he just kidding himself? Yeah, I think so. If you’ve watched the series all the way to where it’s currently at, as of the time of this writing (end of Season 7), then you know pretending violence isn’t part of the equation is merely fooling oneself.
IMG_0124One thing that’s improved since last we left the group is the relationship between Rick and his boy Carl (Chandler Riggs). They do the farming together, looking after the field and their pig, Violet. Dad gives out an important lesson, though: don’t name the animals they’re preparing to slaughter for food.
Everyone else is doing well, a bigger family at the prison now with those they saved from Woodbury. Funny to see how people look up to Daryl (Norman Reedus), thanking him for the food he hunts, et cetera; he’s like a folk hero in their community. Carol (Melissa McBride) is taking on more and more responsibility, an active role in looking after their home. Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) become further attached after their engagement; he worries worse than ever about her safety, the stakes somehow higher for the now. And new people like Karen (Melissa Ponzio), they’re adjusting to life and being productive members of the prison community. A man named Bob (Lawrence Gilliard Jr) ingratiates himself to the group, Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) particularly. Trying to make himself useful to them for giving him shelter.
Also, Tyreese (Chad Coleman) and Karen are clearly a full-on item, plus Beth (Emily Kinney) and Zach (Kyle Gallner) are together. Exciting to see because it means different stories for the group as a whole. One story I’m glad is continuing? That of Michonne (Danai Gurira). She comes back from a run on her own with comic books for Carl; she’s definitely staying as part of the prison crew. And as always, there’s a ton of work to do. Everybody has their thing, their chores, various responsibilities to make their tight-knit community work. Hershel (Scott Wilson) keeps assuring Rick that transitioning into a more farmer-like existence isn’t a bad thing. Although people worry he doesn’t carry a gun anymore: “We want you to be safe.” He doesn’t listen, and it’s because – as I mentioned – he is literally trying to bury the violence inside him, or at least he’s trying to pretend it doesn’t exist; out of sight, out of mind.
IMG_0128Later, out past the walls of the prison, Rick comes across a hungry woman in the woods. She’s found a deer carcass. She needs to get food back to her husband, they’ve been starving for days on end. Rick offers up food he has with him. Her name is Clara (Kerry Condon), she wants to know if he has a camp. Life’s been rough for her, it’s obvious by the layers of dirt caked onto her skin. Rick also mentions “three” questions he needs to ask the couple before they can possibly come back to his people. So she leads him on to wherever her husband is waiting.
Kids at the prison fence are naming the walkers. Carl finds some of them doing it, he chastises them as his father did when he was naming the pig. Moreover, we see the difference between him and the others. He’s grown in a way they aren’t yet. They’ve been relatively shielded from the horror of the world, while he’s had to shoot his own mother to prevent her from turning.
Daryl leads a group of people in town. One fun thing is watching Zach try guessing what Daryl “did before the turn.” Today, he guesses homicide cop, which gives Michonne a damn good kick. The group get into a store, only they don’t realise up on top of the building an army helicopter’s already crashed. And I’d be willing to bet that’ll cause a bit of shit. Doesn’t look like the roof is too stable.
Clara leads Rick on through the trees, explaining where she was when the apocalypse began and how she got herself to that moment. She talks of her husband, how he saved her life, so on. She talks of survival, by any means necessary.
IMG_0129In the store, Bob and others load up on supplies. He goes to the wine section. Above him, the ceiling leaks. Then a rack of wine tips over on top of him. Walkers on the roof notice the sound, walking further towards the helicopter. They start sinking through the weakened structure, falling inside one by one. A terrifying sequence, very unique! Lots of good blood and guts, too. An absolute shitshow. Bob nearly gets the chomp before Daryl saves him. Unfortunately, young Zach gets bitten and chowed down on by a nibbling zombie.
When Rick gets back to Clara’s husband, he finds something incredibly disturbing. First, she attacks him with a knife. After that she stabs herself in the gut, demanding to become undead. Like the husband she couldn’t bear to let go. She finds out the three questions, as well: 1) How many walkers have you killed? 2) How many people have you killed? and 3) Why? And we don’t see it, but the husband’s decapitated zombie head lays not far from the dying wife.
Carl finds that there’s not really any reading time for the kids. It’s a ruse, so that Carol can teach the kids how to use knives, to defend themselves. We also see one of them is feeling sick. Carl isn’t happy when he sees what Carol is up to, though she begs him not to tell his father.
IMG_0130Another taste of unhappiness comes to Beth, more loss as she finds out that Zach has died. “I dont cry anymore,” she tells Daryl. Glad for the time she had with him, rather than sad for not having him around. The two bond over loss, as he mentions he hates losing people. Something that won’t ever change in this new world.
Worse things are brewing in the prison’s darkness. That sick boy, he’s got something bad. And he ain’t doing so hot. As in death, and once he comes back there’s no telling how many others will get bitten, infected, sick, or who knows what.
IMG_0131Stellar episode. Love this one because it’s a solid season premiere, as well as the fact it leads into more stories, more intensity and emotion, more action, MORE EVERYTHING for the beginning bits of Season 4. Next is “Infected” and, you guessed it: there’s trouble!

The Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 16: “Welcome to the Tombs”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 16: “Welcome to the Tombs”
Directed by Ernest R. Dickerson
Written by Glen Mazzara

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “This Sorrowful Life” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 4 premiere, “30 Days Without An Accident” – click here
IMG_0115The Governor (David Morrissey) is having his twisted fun. He’s got Milton (Dallas Roberts) at his mercy, beating him for burning up the walkers. And he has more than that planned. Much more. While he’s got Milton there, he admits to his love of war, of conflict. Like a thirst.
Then he brings his captive in to see where Andrea (Laurie Holden) is tied. He tells them both how he’s essentially lied to the people of Woodbury, to prime them for war with Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and his people. Before they leave, the Governor wants Milton to kill Andrea. When Milton tries to kill him instead he’s the one who’s stabbed to death.
And then he’s left to do the deed, once he dies and comes back to life again. To feed on her.
The Governor: “In this life now, you kill or you die. Or you die and you kill.”
IMG_0116At the prison, everyone is busy. Carl (Chandler Riggs) isn’t overly impressed with his dad, and they all notice. Although Rick just hopes he’ll forget; not so easy. At the same time he’s still seeing Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) as a vision. Daryl (Norman Reedus) can at least rest well knowing that his brother Merle tried to do right for once in his life. Generally, there’s an air of unease but a glimmer of hope amongst the group.
Michonne (Danai Gurira) forgives Rick for thinking about taking the deal, she understands the complexities of life in this new world. She also knows he didn’t ultimately make the choice, Merle did before his change of heart. Now, she thanks Rick for taking her in that while back. He confesses it was Carl who made that call.
Meanwhile in Woodbury, the Governor amps everybody up to go to the prison. To end the war between their camps. Before heading out, Tyreese (Chad Coleman) and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) make clear they won’t go. They’ll protect the kids until everyone’s home, that’s it; if they’re not need afterwards, they’ll leave. He accepts with a grim thank you, handing over a weapon. That could’ve went either way. He’s on a fucking warpath.
Thus begins the assault. Caesar (Jose Pablo Cantillo) and the other men open fire with the Governor, blasting away the walkers on the perimeter of the prison before heading in further on foot. Except all is quiet, nobody moving anywhere visible. They open up the gate and get themselves inside. They find not a soul, just empty cell blocks. The Govern finds nothing but a Bible. John 5:29 is highlighted, by Hershel (Scott Wilson). Minds games, son. Psychological warfare!
IMG_0118Back at Woodbury, Milton is dying. He dropped a tool for Andrea, though she’s still tied. She tries to get a pair of pliers nearby, dragging it with her foot. Trying to keep his morale up. But he only wants her to stab him in the brain: “Keep trying,” he cheers her on weakly while losing more blood by the second. He fades away, as she tells him of her regrets, having not killed that piece of shit Governor when she had the chance.
In the prison, the Governor leads his men into the tombs below. Ohhhh, god damn. Are they headed for what I think they are? All hell breaks loose. An alarm goes off, gunfire erupts. When people escape, Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) – clad in riot gear – open fire on them, driving people out. Trucks take off, and soon the Governor runs, too. Tail between their legs. For the time being, anyways.
Out in the woods, Carl and Hershel come across a young man with a gun. He goes to put it down, and Carl puts a bullet in him. To the utter shock of the old man. Everyone regroups inside. Hershel expresses his worry that Carl “gunned that kid down” and it’s not something Rick wants to hear; but he needs to hear it.
On the road the Governor pulls his people over for fleeing. Then he does his own gunning, slaughtering all of those opposing him. This terrifies his own men, Caesar and the others. But when one dissents, he kills him, as well. Putting an end to any further rebellion. He’s gone full dictator, murdering anyone in his way. Only a single woman manages to escape his bullet, lying underneath another corpse.
IMG_0119Rick asks Carl about what actually happened in the woods. The boy thinks he had to do what he did, or else something else worse would happen. He’s disappointed, ultimately, in his father not doing what HE should have done, several times before. This time, Rick heads out with Daryl and Michonne. On the road they find the woman who escaped the Governor, alive and hiding in a truck. A-ha! I wondered how she’d come back into the action.
Time’s running out for Andrea, with Milton expired on the floor in front of her.
Fuck. She’s in a heap of trouble. He’s come back from the dead and is lurching towards her in that chair. She gets free as he opens his mouth to take a bite. But we don’t immediately see the result. EVEN CREEPIER!
Moving on Woodbury, Rick, Daryl, and Michonne encounter gunfire from Tyreese and Sasha. The woman, Karen, explains to them what the Governor’s done, so on. The two groups reunite, now with Rick in a better frame of mind than the last time. Rick likewise reveals Andrea never made it back to the prison, that she may still be held captive there somewhere.
And inside, they find her. Bitten, on the way to turning eventually. She asks to do it on her own, put herself out of the misery that’s coming. No matter if it’s tough for Rick, Michonne, and Rick to deal with the request. Michonne refuses to leave, wanting to be there while she goes. So Rick hands over a gun to mercifully let her commit suicide.
Andrea: “I tried
Rick: “You did
IMG_0122Another one of the more intense finishers of any episode in this series. I hated seeing Andrea go, and the way it was filmed, written, presented, it’s a quality chapter. Right up to that final gunshot. This season was a killer, in so many ways. As we head into Season 4, there’s hope. Yet it isn’t shining, glimmering hope as there’s been in the past. There’s a lot of darkness ahead for Rick and the group at the prison. One of those dark spots is which way Carl will head: will he become a force of good, or will he let this world taint him?
Their time at the prison is going to come to an end, one of these days soon. For now the group are back with more people, the good ones from Woodbury, adding to the population. And for the first time in so long, Rick isn’t seeing ghosts.

The Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 15: “This Sorrowful Life”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 15: “This Sorrowful Life”
Directed by Greg Nicotero
Written by Scott M. Gimple

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Prey” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 3 finale, “Welcome to the Tombs” – click here
IMG_0105Back at the prison, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) talks with Hershel (Scott Wilson) and Daryl (Norman Reedus). He tells them about the deal with Michonne (Danai Gurira), having to give her over to the Governor (David Morrissey) if they want to call a truce. The two of them don’t think it’s right. But they understand the stakes, too. A lose-lose, either way. This way they lose morality. The other way, they lose lives. It isn’t an easy choice, certainly nothing is in this post-apocalyptic landscape.
Rick then goes to talk with Merle (Michael Rooker). They need him to help out, coincidentally. Rick tells him the deal and how they need to keep their transfer of Michonne quiet. This makes Merle feel like part of the group, in a dark, dark way. At the same time he relays the savagery of the Governor, the sickness in him. If any of them’s good for this job though, it’s the older Dixon. He’s not quite THE bad guy, but he is certainly a bad fuckin’ guy.
Merle: “Youre cold as ice, Officer Friendly.”
IMG_0106So now it’s play along for everyone, particularly Michonne, until the dirty deed is done. Carol (Melissa McBride) starts questioning Merle: “Are you with us?” He doesn’t show any specific loyalty, only to his brother. Like she makes clear, though – Daryl’s one of them. It’s interesting to see Merle notice the change in Carol since last they were together as a group. She’s grown, for the better. She also knows everyone deserves a chance. Maybe Merle will have his; to prove he’s still human, unlike the Governor.
Nice moment with Glenn (Steven Yeun) as Daryl asks if his brother’s apologised. Yeah, like that’ll happen. When Glenn talks about what Merle did, not to him but to Maggie (Lauren Cohan), it’s clear the damage is much too deep for an apology to fix. Daryl is a good man and despite his brother being a pile of garage it can’t be easy to hear that from someone he considers a friend.
Merle gives it to Daryl hard when they’re alone, chastising him for going soft in his eyes. The younger brother’s not impressed with what Glenn told him, of what Merle did and nearly let happen to Maggie. “People do what they gotta do, or they die,” he tells Daryl. The older of the two sounds like a zombie king Scarface echoing “Say goodnight to the bad guy” as he takes credit for being the type of guy they need around to do the dirty work.
Although I’m not religious, whatsoever, I actually admire Hershel for the way he holds to his faith. After all he’s been through, what he’s seen close up, all they’ve managed to survive, somewhere deep inside him that faith clings. And there’s an admirable quality about that, because he still, even with one leg, kicks ass.
IMG_0107It looks like the plan’s in motion at the hands of Merle. He and Michonne are in one of the prison corridors alone, and he takes the chance to knock her out, tying then dragging her away. Back to Woodbury. When she’s awake he walks her toward death, through the barren streets of the wasteland. All the while he cackles, taunts, and tries out her sword for fun. At the prison, Daryl and Rick find out what’s happened. The brother insists he’s the one to go find them.
Glenn sits with Hershel and talks about the watch he was given.  He’s understanding the responsibility the old man is giving him, and asks for her Maggie’s hand in marriage. Of course, he gets the blessing. A bit patriarchal, if not still sweet.
On the road trying to steal a car, Merle sets off an alarm. This brings out a bunch of walkers. A tied Michonne manages to fight off a few before he notices. They get in the car before it’s too late and speed off together. But he’s still bringing her to a horrible fate.
She tries getting under his skin on the trip to Woodbury. She asks him question after question. Until he reveals a few of his genuine emotions, that he can’t go back to that prison. Then he cuts her loose, tells her to go back instead: “I got somethinI gotta do on my own.” So he IS a human after all. She walks on back over the road while he drives over the horizon, heading for his old pal the Governor.
IMG_0109IMG_0110Michonne runs into Daryl on her way, and he speeds on after his brother – who’s busy listening to some Motörhead and drinking a bottle of booze, sitting in a car surrounded by walkers. He drives slowly forward, stops. Letting them crowd the car again. He moves like this on and on and on until he reaches abandoned buildings. He hops out letting the car roll on with Ted Nugent’s “Turn It Up” playing loud on the speakers. This draws the walkers on further, as well as alerts Caesar (Jose Pablo Cantillo) and his men who find the zombies approaching. This lets Merle pick a bunch of the boys off from afar.
Then the Governor appears. The oldest Dixon tries getting a line of sight on him, but a walker stumbles in distracting him. Then the Governor and the lads find Merle, too. A fight breaks out. We see the viciousness of the Governor even more, as he bites off two of the digits on Merle’s good hand. Before putting a bullet in him.
In better news, Glenn pops the question to Maggie with a ring. She says yes, and at least SOMETHING is good in the world. Amongst death and tragedy and pain everywhere else. They all gather together in the prison where Rick tells them about the Governor’s deal, if they gave over Michonne. He admits to wanting to take that deal for their safety. He tells them what Merle did, that Daryl went after him.
Rick: “I couldnt sacrifice one of us for the greater good, because we are the greater good.”
IMG_0112Daryl gets to where all the carnage went down after Merle showed up, finding walkers and blood and guts everywhere. Worst of all, he finds his brother. Reanimated. Eating a corpse. Such a horribly tragic moment for Daryl, as dead Merle walks toward him. He pushes the zombie away, not wanting to have to put one in his head. But he does, he takes out all kinds of aggression, stabbing him in the head, weeping as he does it. So goddamn sad. Poor guy.
IMG_0113Such an intense ending, one of the most emotionally shattering things character-wise that comes along. Daryl is a great character, and just as Merle was turning a corner, in such a selfless, brave way after all he’s done, he meets his end. Nicotero directs some of the best episodes! Next is “Welcome to the Tombs” and it’s the finale for this season. Prepare for a life changing episode to follow this heart breaker.

The Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 14: “Prey”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 14: “Prey”
Directed by Stefan Schwartz
Written by Glen Mazzara & Evan T. Reilly

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Arrow on the Doorpost” – click here
* For a recap & review of the penultimate Season 3 episode, “This Sorrowful Life” – click here
IMG_0095We see Andrea (Laurie Holden) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) in the forest, before, when they were travelling together. Andrea starts asking about the leashed walkers, asking if she knew them, which Michonne confirms: “They deserve what they get, they werent human to begin with,” she says.
Back in Woodbury, the Governonr (David Morrissey) prepares his own chains, to hold and keep someone firmly in place. For some of his darkest plans yet.
IMG_0096Caesar (Jose Pablo Cantillo) is doing his boss’ bidding, assembling weapons and people to head for the prison. Milton (Dallas Roberts) thinks it’s a “show of force.” For her part, Andrea believes otherwise. She knows there’s something not right. But then again, so does Milton. He sees the Governor falling apart in terrifying shambles. Likely with no way to stop it, either.
What Milton discovers is that Michonne is slated to be put in that chair, and much worse. When Andrea finds out she’s rightfully shocked. Milton shows her the room, the chair, all the nasty tools prepared for her friend. He asks her to go tell the people at the prison to get away. She’d rather kill the Governor, when she’s had so many chances before.
Andrea winds up slipping past Tyreese (Chad Coleman) and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) while they watch the wall, shooting walkers. They’re good people, which is already clear, so they don’t give her too much grief; they’re not the authoritarians in Woodbury. When the Governor finds out Andrea’s gone he tries making out he’s only concerned for her, though he worries she’s up to something else. He tries not to worry Tyreese and Sasha. It’s clear they know Woodbury isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Alone, Andrea makes her way for the prison, as she hears vehicles scouring the road to locate her. If anybody’s good at surviving on her own, it’s her.
IMG_0097Tyreese and Sasha find out more about Woodbury when they go help Caesar. They see a pit of walkers in a field. A preparation for when they head for the prison, apparently. More to release upon Rick and his people. “This is sick,” says Tyreese. He refuses to take part while one of the others from his group hops on board real quick. The two men end up fighting and Tyreese nearly feeds him to the pit, before letting him go. More and more, the brother and sister pair see things they don’t like in their new camp.
Out on the plains Andrea is nearly found by another patrol. She hides as best she can before anyone sees her. But the Governor comes a-callin’, trying to stop her from running back to her former group. She makes away into the trees before he can catch up. After another while she comes to a set of buildings where she hides. He almost finds her, he begs her to come back to Woodbury, pleading in the dark. I don’t see that working, buddy. Instead of wait patiently he smashes anything he can find to try flushing her out. They come face to face after not too long. She doesn’t decide on going home. She locks him in a room with a horde of walkers, leaving him behind.
IMG_0101After so much bullshit, Andrea gets back to the prison. In the tower Rick (Andrew Lincoln) almost spies her, before the Governor sneaks up. He’s caught her, and so close to where she was headed. Meanwhile, the walker pits near Woodbury are scorched, the zombies melted in a pile. Someone’s been naughty.
The Governor arrives back at Woodbury to hear Tyreese and Sasha are under suspicion. He also curiously doesn’t tell Caesar he found Andrea. He heads over to talk with Tyreese and their group, smoothing things out, placating with lies. For now, they agree to stay and not cause any trouble. Because they didn’t cause any to start. Hmm; my guess is Mr. Milton Mamet.
The chair, lacking Michonne, has now been occupied by Andrea. Oh shit.
IMG_0104A gritty, creepy, intense episode. Love it. Next is “This Sorrowful Life” and there’s a ton more intensity to come as we get closer to the Season 3 finale.