Better Call Saul – Season 3, Episode 3: “Sunk Costs”

AMC’s Better Call Saul
Season 3, Episode 3: “Sunk Costs”
Directed by John Shiban
Written by Gennifer Hutchison

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Witness” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Sabrosito” – click here
Pic 1We start in familiar desert territory. A Los Pollos Hermanos delivery truck drives down a desolate road. As if signifying what’s in the truck, as if we didn’t know, and how long this has been going on, the sneakers on an electrical wire above drop from their perch to the ground.
Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks) gets a call from Gustavo Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) on the cell he’s found on top of a gas tank cap in the middle of a road. He’s told to “expect two cars momentarily.” The man himself arrives in sombre, black attire. Mike wants to know why he received the DON’T note. Gus relates that Hector Salamanca needs to stick around; at least for a while. But the problem is there have been threats, nasty business. What the owner of Los Pollos Hermanos explains is that, as long as the “hurt” Mike doles out to Hector is kept on a business level rather than a physical, fatal one, then he won’t interfere. Well, we know there’s more to Mike and Gus’ eventual relationship, so it’ll be interesting to watch it all play out. Now, Mr. Ehrmantraut makes clear he’s “not done” with Salamanca, and that he understands Fring wants to disrupt the guy’s business because they’re in drug competition.
It’s excellent to see the back story of these characters coming together.
Note: love how the camera frames Mike and Gus in positions of power; they’re on a flat, straight road, yet the shot shows them on an angle which puts Gus higher up on the plane than Mike. Very interesting, great filmmaking techniques are often used in this series (as it was on Breaking Bad) and that’s a huge reason why this is GREAT TELEVISION!
Pic 1AIn other news, Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) must deal with the fallout from rushing in on brother Chuck (Michael McKean), smashing the tape recorder in a rage. He’s having a cigarette, finding the number he has for a bail bondsman. To see the brothers fall further into despair is ugly, considering the older brother’s planning on pressing charges. All under the guise of being for his younger brother’s benefit. I’m not sure if he’s being honest, or if it’s because he never wanted to see Jimmy succeed in the beginning. For his part, Jimmy tells Chuck that he’ll die alone.
Then it’s off to jail in a montage for the unlucky lawyer, the man we’ll someday know as Saul Goodman, lawyer to Walter White and Jesse Pinkman.
What about Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn)? She’s busy, as usual. Doing the tough job of living life in the same hemisphere as the McGills. Ernesto (Brandon K. Hampton) arrives to tell her he’s been fired, and worrying about Jimmy. And now she knows that her good buddy is sitting in lockup, clad in orange. In court he pleads Not Guilty; Kim turns up as his attorney, though he’d rather represent himself. He refuses to let her have any part, then he’s bonded out at $2,500 and gets back to the office to plead his case to Kim, to let her know he’ll fix things. Somehow.
Jimmy: “I fucked up
At a doctor’s office, Mike – or, Mr. Clark – goes in to see a “mutual acquaintance” to retrieve a package. He tucks it away in his trunk with the sniper rifle he’s carrying. Hmm, ominous. More trouble is certainly headed Hector Salamanca’s way.
Pic 2Jimmy’s trying to get an old law buddy to help with his case. Looks like it won’t pan out, seeing as how they’ve worked closely in the past. This takes the wind out of his sails a bit. More scheming ahead, just wait. Meanwhile, Chuck is meeting with an attorney about what’s happening next in his brother’s case. She isn’t going to take it easy on him, wanting to make sure lawyers aren’t held to a lesser standard. I only wonder: will his condition make it difficult, or cause issues, in court? Should be fun to watch.
Back to Mike, in the desert again. A place we Breaking Bad lovers realise he knows all too well by the time Walter enters his life. The old fella is out putting drugs in a pair of red sneakers, tossing them up on a nearby wire; the worn out shoes we see finally snap off the line some time down the road, as evidenced by the ALTO sign without the bullet holes shot through it yet.
He then sets up camp on a hill with his rifle, watching through binoculars to see who’s approaching on the road. A pair of men come to look under a sort of trap door in the desert floor; is this the same one Mike later goes to in Breaking Bad when he and Jesse make collections? Either way, Mike plays a game with the men. Then he shoots one of the shoes as the truck passes, letting a thin powder flow over the truck, catching on its rear step. Whoa. That’s fucking sneaky, dude. When the truck is stopped for inspection, a drug dog picks up on the scent, and voila! Another Salamanca plot foiled, another plus for Fring’s business. I can see already how the meth kingpin will come to find Mike and his services invaluable.
Going back to the opening scene, we understand this as being an illustration of how Gus now owns the route, that it’s a sign of his, for a long while, undisputed power. Where Hector’s trucks once ran, the opener shows us that Los Pollos Hermanos takes that route, well into the future, and the bullet-riddled ALTO sign shows that there are many wars to come.
While everything else is going on, Kim and Jimmy are dealing with the “boxed in” situation he finds himself in with Chuck. So, what next? She suggests he isn’t alone, that he needs her. But I can’t help feel this is a one-way ticket to the nail in the coffin for their relationship. Maybe not next week, or the week after. Just sooner than later.


Another great episode. Many say this show is slow. Part of why I dig the series is because it burns, slowly, and if you don’t dig it that’s fine. Don’t say the show isn’t good, because it is, it lays out the groundwork for great characters and compelling, well-written plot. Good on the writers and producers. Next week is “Sabrosito” and I know we’re seeing more of Mr. Fring, too.

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Fargo – Season 3, Episode 1: “The Law of Vacant Places”

FX’s Fargo
Season 3, Episode 1: “The Law of Vacant Places”
Directed by Noah Hawley
Written by Noah Hawley

* For a recap & review of the Season 2 finale, “Palindrome” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Principle of Restricted Choice” – click here
Pic 1Year 3.
1988 in East Berlin. A man is interviewed by an officer, though claims he’s not who officer believes he is, a man named Yuri Gurka. Seems they’ve got a problem. “That state would have to be wrong” for all this to be an issue. Surely, that can’t be correct, can it? I see where this is headed. There’s a murder, which puts this poor man, not Yuri, at a disadvantage when up against the crumbling Soviet.
Now, we head into Minnesota during 2010 for our current timeline story.
Pic 1AEmmit Stussy (Ewan McGregor) and Sy Feltz (Michael Stuhlbarg) are conducting a bit of business, as a 25th anniversary party for Emmit and his wife Stella. Afterwards the celebration goes on happily. In attendance is their daughter Grace (Caitlynne Medrek), as well as brother Ray (also Ewan McGregor). And the much more greasy-looking brother is there to get a meeting with Sy and Emmit. It’s been some time, evidently.
They do a little catching up, awkward as that goes. The tension is clear. Ray obviously feels lower class compared to his brother; Sy’s like the best friend who’s more like a brother than the brother himself. We’re also introduced to Nikki Swango (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), and the fact Ray wants to get her an engagement ring. This brings up issues of money, plus some betrayal over a stamp collection, “vintage” stuff worth tons of cash.
The relationship between Nikki and Ray is a weird one. Likely she’s using him, but too early to judge. He’s a cagey one, too. So, I wouldn’t count anything out. Nikki says they’re “simpatico to the point of spooky” and he’s inclined to agree. Be interesting to watch more of them together, love McGregor and Winstead’s odd chemistry.


Ray is a parole officer – where he met his latest girlfriend – spending his days drowning in paperwork and piss. No short of characters he encounters. And no doubt we’ll see some kind of ethical murkiness rear its head; well, more than already with Nikki. You can’t help imagine what kind of plans Noah Hawley has for a main character with that profession in his quirky, twisted little world of Fargo.
At a bar Ray meets with Maurice LeFay (Scoot McNairy) who’s recently failed a piss test. This P.O is a little more lenient on those under his care. He wants Maurice to help him out with a robbery; quid pro quo, poof, vamoose, and the problems go away. If he can get his hands on the stamp in Emmit’s office.
Sy and Emmit have business to take care of late in the evening. Simultaneously, Maurice lurks around waiting for the right time to strike on his mission; he’s a little busy smoking a joint and talking to his shrink via speaker phone in the car. Then he loses the paper on which Ray wrote the address; it flies out the window, into the snowy roadside. Does he remember? Or will this cause unintended consequences? I’d vote on the latter.
When Emmit gets to the office he finds V.M. Varga (David Thewlis) waiting for him. He’s from their lender, Narwahl. Says they don’t need to pay back the money, apparently. It’s an “investment” he tells them. Followed by cryptic talk of “singularity” and “continuity.” Hmm, a few strings attached. Seems the boys got in over their head and didn’t ask questions before jumping in deep.


Chief Gloria Burgle (Carrie Coon) is at home celebrating her son Nathan’s (Graham Verchere) birthday. They’ve got a bit of a fractured family; modern by most standards. Another interesting family for the series.
A great tune, as always, plays (Adriano Celetano – “Prisencolinensinainciusol“) us through while cards are being dealt in a regional tournament. Dream team Swango and Stussy hit the tables together to make themselves a big a payday.
Poor, stoned Maurice, searching out the address he lost, remembering it incorrectly and headed in the wrong direction. Headed right for Eden Valley, where Gloria’s the law. Then the guy winds up going to Ennis Stussy’s – no relation to the twins, far as we know – place, where Gloria just left. She turns back to get the model he made for her boy, then finds the place in shambles, door open. The old man taped to a chair, dead. After looking around awhile she locates a hidden compartment in the floor with a box in it; inside, old books, a figure, and more.
When Maurice goes to see Ray, things are messy. The misunderstandings are only just beginning to pile up. It’s about to get wild, and nasty. Particularly when the parolee goes crazy on him, pulling a gun. However, Nikki’s always thinking. As Maurice leaves the apartment, they drop an air conditioner on his head obliterating him. They’ve got a plan and everything. A convenient way out.


This is the beginning of what’s sure to be an interesting Season 3. Such a great premiere, and I know there’s even greater things to come.
Not sure how the East Berlin moment earlier plays into the whole thing, though there’s a Russian connection: Maurice is wearing a shirt in the bar with RUSSIA written on it; maybe nothing, or maybe something. Who knows.

Better Call Saul – Season 3, Episode 2: “Witness”

AMC’s Better Call Saul
Season 3, Episode 2: “Witness”
Directed by Vince Gilligan
Written by Thomas Schnauz

* For a recap & review of the Season 3 premiere, “Mabel” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Sunk Costs” – click here
Pic 1Chuck (Michael McKean) is locking up for the night, having a cup of tea before bed. Diligently making sure the doors are locked, peeking through the windows. He has someone watching out at night, sitting in the dark at all hours. He’s waiting for something to happen. Anything.
Pic 1AA couple guys are waiting with a tracker. From a distance Mike (Jonathan Banks) watches them with his own tracker. He’s getting closer to figuring out who has a beat on him, his comings and goings. Could this all be a test? Is someone recruiting him to test out his skills? Or just somebody keeping tabs on a crafty guy like himself? Hmm. Whatever it is, Mike’s determined to get to the bottom of the mystery.
And then he follows a guy, in the night, into morning… all the way to, you guessed it: LOS POLLOS HERMANOS! God damn.
Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) is meeting with a woman named Francesca Liddy (Tina Parker) applying for a job in the office. She meets with Kim (Rhea Seehorn), too. They check out her resume, her experience, so on. They need somebody organised, to keep the place afloat. Kim isn’t sold, but Jimmy wants to hire her. Something like this is going to play directly into the plot, at some point in Season 3. When, exactly? Francesca will play a big role, in some way, shape, or form. Maybe she’ll wind up seeing Jimmy do something shitty, or she’ll flip on him for some reason, or who knows.
Mike calls Jimmy at the office: he wants him to go into Los Pollos Hermanos, to keep an eye on things, the guy with the bag whom Mike previously followed. Ah, the beginning of how Mike and Jimmy come into contact with Mr. Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito). Jimmy has breakfast starting out his spy duties. Soon the man with the bag arrives and our hapless lawyer tries to keep him in his sight.
FINALLY, our first look at Gus in a couple years! He sweeps up around where Jimmy sits, and the man with the bag, too (does he sweep something up from the guy? Is that their sneaky system?). Mike gets no information that helps from Jimmy, walking away empty handed. For the time being.


Mike keeps on Los Pollos Hermanos, determined that he’ll find out what’s been going on. It’s a tiring job, one he no doubt was prepared for all those years as a cop. Soon, a black SUV pulls into the restaurant rather suddenly, backing into the rear out of sight. Then it’s gone again in a rush. Who’s driving? Victor (Jeremiah Bitsui), our old pal from Breaking Bad. Another lead to follow.
At the McGill/Wexler offices, Ernesto (Brandon K. Hampton) can’t go in, so he phones Kim. She goes out to meet him and he’s so obviously stressed, with the information he knows from hearing Chuck’s clandestine tape. He wants to tell Jimmy about it, but doesn’t want to get in trouble because of helping his friend. So, he opts for Kim, whose view of Jimmy has once again shifted.
Gimme a dollar,” she tells him – the same he did with Walter White and Jesse Pinkman when they had him in the desert, hood over his head. They’ve now got attorney-client privilege. He spills the beans, involving his emotions over Chuck, wanting to cut him some slack mentally. Only the tape exists now. Note: when Kim’s talking to him, and he’s peeling tape off the newly painted wall, at first (before he gets frustrated) he uses the technique his big brother Chuck taught him last episode; he can never escape him, even when Chuck is screwing him over, eternally.


Still following that tracker, Mike is out in the middle of nowhere. He’s lead to a gas cap in the road, a cellphone waiting on top. And surely when it rings, on the other end are instructions for where to go.
In other news, Howard Hamlin (Patrick Fabian) is sneaking around in the neighbourhood near Chuck’s place trying to remain unseen. They have a little secret meet. Howard’s getting impatient with all the nonsense, all the money spent on private investigators, et cetera. All in the name of trying to snag Jimmy for his crime. He wants to get on with “alternate strategies” and finish with Chuck’s paranoia.
No sooner do they finish their conversation does the younger brother show up, pissed off and ready to beat down the door. Which he does. He flies into a rage and calls out Chuck over his betrayal. He breaks open the desk to find the tape, then cracks it into pieces. Could likely mean only more trouble for Jimmy, as there are witnesses to his frustrated outburst.


Man, oh, man! What’s next for the Brothers McGill? Nothing good.
Coming up is “Sunk Costs” and I’m so intrigued to see more of Gus + Mike, as well as what Jimmy must deal with in the fallout of his actions here in this episode.

Better Call Saul – Season 3, Episode 1: “Mabel”

AMC’s Better Call Saul
Season 3, Episode 1: “Mabel”
Directed by Vince Gilligan
Written by Vince Gilligan & Peter Gould

* For a recap & review of the Season 2 finale, “Klick” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Witness” – click here
Pic 1We start Season 3 with another black-and-white flash forward into the future of Jimmy McGill a.k.a Saul Goodman a.k.a Gene the Cinnabon manager (Bob Odenkirk). Nancy Sinatra croons “Sugartown” as we watch his daily life at the Cinnabon in the mall. Far from where we saw him in Breaking Bad, juxtaposed beautifully with the place we follow along in the current timeline of Better Call Saul; one of the fascinating parts of the writing and the progression of characters is how Gilligan & Co. pull off making his journey into a, at times, non-linear adventure. In turn, this keeps things fresh even though we already know where Jimmy/Saul ends up down the road.
What I’m most interested in is where Gene goes from this point post-Breaking Bad, or if he continues on in his purgatorial existence, a fitting end for a greasy guy such as himself. Eating lunch alone on a bench he winds up seeing a sketchy young man who looks to be hiding, in trouble. Rather than let the kid go on, he rats him out to the cops. Then in a burst he tells the kid to say nothing, and advises him to get a lawyer. That old Saul came loose, even for a second. Gene’s not as measured as he once seemed. Later while glazing some buns he passes out. Yikes.
Pic 1ATo the current timeline. Jimmy and Chuck (Michael McKean) are back where we left them, when the younger brother confessed to his brother believing no one else would hear. Not knowing Chuck was hiding a tape recorder the entire time. All the while Jimmy thinks everything’s well, or at least stable. A situation he can manage. The brothers reminisce about being younger, triggered by The Adventures of Mabel which Jimmy finds in Chuck’s bookcase. For the first time, they actually seem like brothers. Not for long, though. The older of the two reminds with an ominous tone: “You will pay.”
Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn) is doing her best to keep her chin up, too. Despite the rollercoaster of a life she has sitting next to Jimmy. He’s not exactly a dream dude to be involved with in business, or in friendship, love, et cetera. Eventually I have to believe Kim won’t be able to reconcile her morality with being on his side. She already knows he’s not on the level, but just doesn’t realise how deep the well of deceit goes. But as always, the problem is that Jimmy’s such a likeable loser that it’s very tough not to root for him.
Jimmy: “For ten minutes today Chuck didnt hate me. I forgot what that felt like.”
Meanwhile, Howard Hamlin (Patrick Fabian) hears Chuck’s tape of Jimmy and the confession. Certainly the secret recording isn’t enough to hold up in court; Chuck knows. So why have the tape at all? Does it involve Kim?
Of most interest to me is Mr. Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks). He was out in the desert, and found a note telling him to get away. A warning, but from whom exactly? Mike does the smart thing, speeding away from the scene then checking his car for any kind of devices; nothing. He heads to a scrapyard and has a closer look. And I mean a CLOSER FUCKING LOOK. Mike uses every last ounce of his training to look through the guts of his car, inspecting each inch with precision. Like he can smell it yet can’t seem to find the thing.
Finally, he discovers something hidden in the gas cap. THE GAS CAP! An ingenious, tedious place to hide a tracking device. That’s some next level deviousness. But now Mike has some idea, a starting point leading to whoever’s keeping an eye on him so close.


Jimmy receives a visit from Captain Bauer (Brendan Fehr), one of the military gentlemen whose eyes he pulled the wool over when needing to cut a commercial. Anyways, he’s not happy. Slick talkin’ Jimmy tries to sell him a load of horseshit, that doesn’t work. Either Jimmy takes the ad down or “therell be hell to pay.” He doesn’t dig that, so he threatens to take it to court and win. The captain advises him, in his own way of speaking, that eventually Jimmy’s going to get what he deserves. From the flash forwards and seeing Breaking Bad, we know this to be true.
With his newly acquired knowledge, Mike switches out his gas cap to head off after work. At an old warehouse he meets his friend the veterinarian (Joe DeRosa) to get himself some gear. Pricey, too: $1,000.
Back to Kim, over at Mesa Verde she’s doing great work. As always. Worse still she knows the treachery, the guilt eats her. How long before it eats her alive? Every time she hears about Chuck and his supposed mistake, it’s like a stab in the gut. Also, in the office – that rainbow… any imagery connections to that in Season 2? I’d like to revisit that.
Over at Chuck’s place, he has to get Ernesto to help him change batteries in the tape recorder. The thing is on when he changes them, he hears a bit of Jimmy confessing. This sends the old gentleman into a fit of anger, trying to make sure Ernesto won’t ever tell anybody about what he’s heard. “There could be terrible consequences,” Chuck convinces him with a torrent of quasi-threatening language.
Pic 3Mike, Mike, Mike; what will you think of next? He’s like the counter-intelligence king of the streets, using all that police knowledge from busting criminals, learning their ways, to fuel his own criminal enterprises. Except right now it’s like espionage, trying to discover who’s on the other end of the surveillance on him. He’s reversing the cat and mouse aspect of the dangerous game that’s being played, or at the least trying to do so. And he loves pistachios. Fucking loves them. I don’t blame him, either; they’re great.
After a long night of waiting, Mike sees a vehicle stop. Someone retrieves the GPS tracker from the gas cap then they’re off into the night fast as they came. So, Mike has a lead on where they’re headed.
Want to take a guess? Might have something to do with Los Pollos Hermanos, maybe?


Great start to the season! I don’t care if people say the show’s slow moving. It’s meant to; the storytelling and the character development and the plot moves are all spectacular. Great music and score, as well. Excited for “Witness” next week. Welcome back.

Breaking Bad – Season 3, Episode 3: “I.F.T.”

AMC’s Breaking Bad
Season 3, Episode 3: “I.F.T.”
Directed by Michelle MacLaren
Written by George Mastras

* For a review of the previous episode, “Caballo sin Nombre” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Green Light” – click here
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We start on Tortuga (Danny Trejo). He sits in a little bar drinking, being an asshole, as usual. Then Juan Bolsa (Javier Grajeda) shows up. They chat, drink. The boss man has a present for Tortuga, he missed the man’s birthday. Only the present is a tortoise, that Juan paints HOLA DEA on before the Salamanca twins cut Tortuga’s head off.
The prequel to Hank and his run-in with the head-bearing tortoise.
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In the present day, Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks) is still watching Walter White (Bryan Cranston), checking in with whom I can only assume is Gus Fring (Giancarloa Esposito). All the while Walt scrapes the pizza off the roof. Not to mention now Skyler (Anna Gunn) is on her way home discovering her estranged husband has moved back in. Things aren’t pretty for the Whites, that’s for sure. Walt won’t budge, so she threatens calling the police. He’s willing to call her bluff. She does call, although when the police arrive they discover no evidence of him having forced his way in. He’s acting calm, rational, eating grilled cheese and potato chips with Walt Jr (RJ Mitte). As they’re not legally separated, the police have their hands tied. And by all outward appearances Walt isn’t a violent or bad man. Nobody else, aside from Skyler, knows what he’s been up to in his spare time. She’s not willing to come out and tell the police, or anyone, about Walt’s crimes.
Skyler: “Welcome home
Poor Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) reels from the death of his girlfriend Jane. He’s a bit of a broken man. In his new house he looks like a shattered soul, lost and lonely. Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) pops by to try talking him into getting in touch with Walt. Right now Jesse would rather be by himself.
Then there’s big Hank Schrader (Dean Norris) and his partner Steve Gomez (Steven Michael Quezada), they’re out doing their thing. Hank gets a call about going back to El Paso. He acts excited, to his boss, to his partner. It isn’t hard to tell he’s not one bit excited in reality.
And those creepy Salamancas, they’re looking for a handicap van. You can guess why – papa Tio (Mark Margolis) has somewhere to go. They’re meeting with boss Juan Bolsa and Gustavo. All about Heisenberg and the near hit on him. Problem is that Tio loved Tuco like a son, and Walt betrayed him supposedly; Juan believes the Salamancas have a “right to exact revenge.” But Gus won’t have that. Business must be completed with Walt, then they can have their revenge. This may lead to a much more devastating proposition for the time being.


Continually, Jesse calls Jane’s phone to hear her voice. He dials over and over, unable to let go. And how can he? Worst of all is the fact that Walt let it happen; he could’ve tried saving her and chose not to in an effort to save his own skin. At home, Walt suffers in karmic ways: unable to sleep in his own bed, in the same house as his wife yet on another planet altogether, pissing in the sink since Skyler won’t let him into their own. Privately with her divorce lawyer, Skyler reveals that her husband cooks meth.
At a bar, Hank and Steve have some beers. Except that Hank is distracted. He sees a little drug deal action going on at one of the tables. So, to try proving his own faux-masculinity to himself, he decides on going the hard knocks route; he leaves his gun in the car before they leave, heads back in, and throws some fists with a couple tough guys. He kicks the absolute shit out of them, though it’s clear Hank has some serious shit going on in his head. Later, Steve calls him out for leaving the gun in the car, clearly understanding his partner’s fucked up.
When Jane’s line finally goes dead, this is a real blow to Jesse. The last remnant of her voice is gone, never to return. And the real world, the life after Jane now officially begins as the pain breaks through further. Thus Pinkman goes back out to the desert in the Winnebago to start cooking. Because it’s all he has left.
Skyler prepares to leave then finds Walt in the living room, a bag of money at their feet filled to the brim. He gives what he considers his explanation: “That is college tuition for Walter Jr, and Holly, eighteen years down the road. And its health insurance for you and the kids, for Jrs physical therapy, his SAT tutor. Its money for groceries, and gas, for birthdays and graduation partiesThis money, I didnt steal it, it doesnt belong to anyone else; I earned it. The things Ive done to earn it, theythe things Ive had to doIve got to live with them.”

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What will she do? Not long after she rushes into the arms of Ted. When she gets back to the house later, dinner’s ready and Walt is playing the adoring husband, doing his best to make things nice. A pot roast is in the oven, a salad made.
So after her husband rattles on like nothing’s ever happened, Skyler leans in and tells him: “I fucked Ted.”
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Wow, what an episode! The reaction of Bryan Cranston in the end after Anna Gunn speaks those words is fantastic. Utterly perfect. They’re both quality actors and they play so well off one another, one of the greatest television couples in any series.
Next episode is “Green Light” and plenty’s poised to go down.

Black Mirror – Season 3, Episode 5: “Men Against Fire”

Netflix’s Black Mirror
Season 3, Episode 5: “Men Against Fire”
Directed by Jakob Verbruggen
Written by Charlie Brooker

* For a review of Episode 4, “San Junipero” – click here
* For a review of Episode 6, “Hated in the Nation” – click here
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Stripe (Malachi Kirby) dreams of someplace better, a time before when he was happy and things were nice. When he wakes, he’s in a military barrack. The troops are rallied for a “roach hunt.” Just so happens to be Stripe’s first time out. We’ve got the typical bully, the nice girl, all those army archetypes we’re used to seeing.
Everyone is transported to a camp where people stay, speaking of encounters with the roaches. Their food and supplies have been torn up, now useless. People in the camp are scared, worried for what will happen next if the roaches come back.
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The military crew are led by Medina (Sarah Snook), who takes them up to a local religious freak’s land where the roaches supposedly headed last the camp’s people saw. Armed with all sorts of gadgets, the soldiers start pressing down on the house in question. By all accounts it looks as if they’ll be able to take care of things fairly efficient and fast: “Optimal outcomeno shots fired,” Medina explains confidently before they prepare to lay siege to the man’s home. His name is Parn Heidekker (Francis Magee). He’s a little secretive, or just guarded. Either way, after a moment he lets the soldiers inside. He acts like there’s nothing going on. But is that what he wants them to think? Medina thinks that Heidekker’s religious conviction makes him even unable to turn against the “roaches.” She expresses the need to wipe them out, to stop kids from being born “like that” – are they feral, mutant people?
A great, creepy build-up leads to the upstairs where Stripe encounters some of these feral creatures. They leap from out of their hiding places. Guns are fired. Blood sprayed. Some of the creatures make it out of the house and into the woods. Stripe fights one viciously to the bitter end, stabbing it deep in the chest. And what is the strange glowing wand they carry? Like a sort of device to implant something? When Stripe picks it up, it shines into his eyes. Uh oh.

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Downstairs, Raiman (Madeline Brewer), Medina and the others keep everything under control. Well, Medina does, anyways. Raiman toys with Heidekker. Meanwhile we see something is not right with Stripe after those green lights shined into his pupils. What is the purpose of that device? Does it infect people? Wait. See.
The soldiers torch Heidekker’s place to make sure no contamination makes it out of those walls. They head out, everyone congratulating Stripe on his two confirmed roach kills, especially the second knifing. Only I feel like there’s something far more sinister headed for ole Stripe. At the barrack, he slips back into that nice dream again, a beautiful woman (Loreece Harrison) speaking “I love you” to him sweetly. But the dream changes. He sees quick cuts to blood smearing everywhere.
Raiman and Stripe do a bit of training the next day. She’s pretty pissed about letting a roach get away at the house. Their interface, the technology they use, it’s not unlike a Call of Duty game. They’ve got the technological edge. Or do they? That device the roach at Heidekker’s place had with him is really fucking with Stripe’s head and his aim game. Everything is starting to feel out of whack for him, which Medina notices. She sends him out to get checked, just in case.
The soldiers are linked to an implanted vision that’s similar to virtual reality, where they can see 3D objects, such as the aiming with their weapons and so on. Doctor clears him, though Stripe tells him about the “flashlight“-like device the roach had. Nothing’s amiss and he’s sent on his way. To talk to a man named Arquette (Michael Kelly). He’s like a psychologist, of sorts. He has Stripe tell him about what happened during the raid. Arquette only talks him out of the spiral he’s been on in his head.


Stripe’s put into a nice deep sleep, to help him get over the slight shock of his mission. He sees his dream woman once more. They lay together, making love. Then the woman multiplies in his vision – two, three, four, five times. His implant glitches, causing him to wake. Something strange is absolutely going on, no matter what Arquette or the MD say.
Back over at the camp, Medina has a location from Heidekker on where the roaches may be located. Off they go on another raid. Their eye on the sky scopes out an abandoned building where it’s likely the roaches are hiding. All of a sudden, Stripe feels his implant glitching again. His vision, everything seems different. When Medina gets taken out by a bullet everything gets very serious. Stripe and Raiman are left together against a group of roaches in the nearby buildings. The roaches, using rifles, start taking down their technology.
When the pair move in Stripe’s implant malfunctions worse and worse. He’s disconnecting from the neural network, it seems. His normal, human functions are returning. Does that roach device break down the army’s implant? In the meantime, Stripe and Raiman infiltrate the abandoned building, finding more devices like the one that zapped Stripe. They stumble across a non-feral woman, who Raiman shoots down in cold blood.
Soon they encounter some roaches, and Raiman goes absolutely nuts, firing rounds wildly throughout the building, almost hitting Stripe and nearly killing more non-feral civilians. It’s become just like a game to her. So Stripe attacks her, trying to stop her from killing them. In the process, he takes a bullet and cracks her head open with the butt of his gun.
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Stripe takes off with the non-ferals until he passes out at the wheel in the truck. The civilians drag him out to a safer place in the woods. To an underground lair. A woman tells him the truth: the army implant makes soldiers see civilians as roaches. Stripe can’t accept it, but she tells him firmly that “the implant made you see this.” Wow. I didn’t expect that, honestly. A nice little twist on what I thought had been happening. Still, Raiman is hunting for Stripe, and what happens when she finds him?
And what about the locals who say they’ve seen roaches? Perhaps it’s merely hatred, xenophobia, anger which drives them. One truly relevant approach to this episode, as we face a world wrought with such hate. It all started after the latest war. Policies were implemented. DNA checks required. Ah, sound familiar? At least it may sound similar to some of what certain people in certain countries have been suggesting as of late when it comes to members of particular groups. Y’know?
When Raiman locates Stripe he tries to explain the truth. That ain’t good enough. He’s been taken back to an army facility. Arquette’s come to have a chat, trying to convince him of the exact opposite of what the civilian woman had been saying. “The whole things a lie,” Stripe tells him. Arquette explains it’s all about making people more susceptible to orders, to fear. The implant allows soldiers to see something ‘other’ when looking at the enemy: “Its a lot easier to pull the trigger when youre aiminat the boogeyman.” All comes down to being pure. A 21st-century vision of Nazi Germany’s eugenics. Only Stripe agreed beforehand to effectively be hypnotised, to the point he can’t remember any of what happened. One strong headtrip.

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The army controls these soldiers, to the point they can literally take away sight with the implant. Arquette lays out Stripe’s options – go to jail, or have the implant reset and forget everything. But the soldier, he’s had enough. He would rather remember everything.
Or would he?
Arquette then allows Stripe to experience the raid at Heidekker’s place, to see everything as it really was, to feel the death, watch the blood flick over the walls. “You will see and smell and feel it all,” Arquette calmly explains.
In the end, he chooses to live in the army dreamworld. He sees flashes of that dream woman, their idyllic house. Yet none of it is real. Maybe it’s easier that way.

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A genuinely powerful episode. Lots of questions concerning the ethics of technology, as well as military technology and strategies in the ever-changing 21st-century. So many things to think about. Did I miss anything? If so, let me know. Love to hear what others are digging and thinking of each episode. Brooker’s series continues its amazingness with a strong third season, each episode is a spectacle unto itself.
My favourite observation of this episode is how rhetoric can eventually lead to terrible things, as Arquette explains the timeline of how civilians became referred to as roaches. Remember this, America. Right now.

Black Mirror – Season 3, Episode 4: “San Junipero”

Netflix’s Black Mirror
Season 3, Episode 4: “San Junipero”
Directed by Owen Harris
Written by Charlie Brooker

* For a review of Episode 3, “Shut Up and Dance” – click hereclick here
* For a review of Episode 5, “Men Against Fire” – click here
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In the 1980s, or somewhere reminiscent of it, Yorkie (Mackenzie Davis) wanders a city. She stops in front of a bunch of TVs playing Max Headroom. Everywhere around her people seem to be having fun. She follow some people into a big club. She doesn’t exactly look like she belongs, though pushes on through the crowd as the rock to old tunes, some play arcade games – and that’s exactly where Yorkie ends up, playing Bubble Bobble. A fellow nerd talks her up, but she replies she needs to get her “bearings” for the place. What does that mean: a simple social term, or a more broad meaning? I bet the latter.
This is only proved more when a woman named Kelly (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) uses Yorkie to help her out with a lurking dude. He talks about last week, et cetera, and it seems like this place it’s… temporary. Or something similar. Anyways, Yorkie and Kelly go have a bit of fun, a few drinks, in the background The Bangles ring loud through the club speakers. The ladies chat and get to know one another. Kelly admires Yorkie’s “authentic” look and that other people are only imitating what they think they should look like, not how they want. When the ladies step on the dance floor things feel strange, almost robotic and choreographed. This drives Yorkie outside. She’s like a foreigner in a distant land, unaware of the customs, the culture. Everything is nearly dream-like.
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Yorkie has a semi-romantic encounter with Kelly, then rushes off into the night. We skip to one week later, as Yorkie dresses, listening to mixtapes of ’80s music and posing in the mirror. She goes back to the trusty ole stuff she wore last time. At the club already Kelly finds herself accosted by the creeper Wes (Gavin Stenhouse) again, as people start flooding in to dance and drink and party all over again. She rejects Wes, having previously had a night of sexy fun together. He isn’t happy. Too bad, dude!
Later on Yorkie shows up. She’s clearly attracted to and interested in Kelly. Plenty of quality music with INXS rocking. But Yorkie, she keeps on staring until she and Kelly meet eyes, over and over, across the room. In the bathroom they meet, which they follow with a nighttime drive. The city where they are – San Junipero – isn’t one we know as real. What kind of destination is it, really? For now, we see Yorkie and Kelly come together beautifully in each other’s arms. It’s actually the first time for Yorkie, in any way, with anyone. Strange, seeing as how she has a fiancee. The two women lay in bed, they talk, bond. Kelly talks of her bisexuality, stemming from conversation concerning her onetime husband. She also mentions just “passing through” San Junipero, only there for having a good time.
Is the city of San Junipero a place that exists solely for people to live out the fantasies they can’t in real life? Well, it’s very Cinderella-ish in that at 12 AM, things seem to stop. Or, they end. Until one week later, all over.
Back at the club after a week, Yorkie doesn’t find Kelly anywhere. The bartender suggests checking the Quagmire. It’s a nasty sort of punk-like club on the outskirts of town, like the refuge of people literally on the fringe in every way. Poor little Yorkie looks crazily out of place walking in, looking for her friend. There’s music, strange cages, BDSM, fights in a caged ring, hands groping in the dark. Yorkie runs into Wes, dressed much differently than last we saw him. And he doesn’t know where Kelly is either.
Finally, the revelation: Wes says he saw her in a “different time” like “2002” or the ’80s, the ’90s. Whoa.

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This time, one week later is the ’80s, then the ’90s. Yorkie starts searching all the places they went together, looking for where the girl of her dreams went. She goes to 2002 specifically. Each time, the world changes accordingly, as we see different places and times and how things have changed, how they haven’t in some respects. Then Yorkie runs into Kelly, who isn’t so thrilled to see her. She only wanted to have fun. Yorkie wants something lasting, not a fling. It hurts her to understand this about Kelly: “Maybe you should feel bad, or at least feel something,” Yorkie tells her. Perfectly, after she leaves Kelly punches a mirror – not hurting her hand, or the mirror which goes back to normal almost immediately. Is there something further we don’t know about this woman?
Everything gets scary when Kelly sees Yorkie sitting on the roof’s ledge of the club outside. We find out that 80% of the “fulltimers” in San Junipero are dead. Say whaaat, girl? Ah well. At least Yorkie gets laid again.
But she’s getting married in a week. And Kelly, she’s probably only got months to live. So, is San Junipero the afterlife? Sort of, like a digital age invention to help people ease into the concept of death.
When 12 AM hits, San Junipero is no more. An older version of Kelly goes to a facility where she visits an older, incapacitated Yorkie lying in a bed, hooked to a breathing tube and machinery. We discover Yorkie is “passing over” soon. All turns out that she came out to her parents at 21, then after a fight with them crashed a car, rendering her paralysed.

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Kelly wants to go back in for a minute, to confront Yorkie about her passing. And then she decides to ask Yorkie to marry her instead. A truly gorgeous and tender moment between the two women. Tear worthy, indeed. Whereas so many Black Mirror episodes are often totally grim, which I dig, it’s actually nice to see something hopeful. Even if Yorkie is passing over into death, there’s still a beauty to it with how Kelly insisted on going back, to give her a real, genuine marriage with someone she loved. Heartbreaking and loving all at once.
After death, young Yorkie sits on the beach. She lets the tide wash up on her feet and rubs her toes, her fingers in the sand. Out in the real world, older Kelly heads back home to the facility where she stays. But not long goes by before Kelly’s out on the beach with her wife, the two of them together awhile. However, at 12 AM things are over for another week. Yorkie is lonely in San Junipero without her other half. Things break down when she belittles Kelly’s former marriage to her dead husband Richard. Suddenly, things aren’t so lovely or romantic. San Junipero isn’t as idyllic when put in context with Kelly and her loss. “You wanna spend forever somewhere where nothing matters?” she asks Yorkie.
This is a question about heaven, the afterlife: if death isn’t the end, then what the hell is death, actually? If there’s no end, there’s no meaning. If this is just one life before another, especially a fake one, then what are the stakes?

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When she’s ready to go, Kelly heads to San Junipero after all. She and Yorkie drive off into the sunset together. Out in the real world, it’s all a bunch of machines with flash drive-like systems running different scenarios, as there are a ton of San Juniperos with different names, each one a place all of its own. Ah, the future of death and the afterlife! Behold its splendour.

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Charlie Brooker is an impressive writer. His imagination never ceases to amaze me and for someone who isn’t huge on science fiction – though I do love to READ sci-fi more than watch – he sucks me into each new world he chooses to bring to life. This was another solid episode, one of the few with hints of hope at the edges. A solid rumination on the meaning of life, death, as well as how we deal with passing over to whatever comes after.

Black Mirror – Season 3, Episode 3: “Shut Up and Dance”

Netflix’s Black Mirror
Season 3, Episode 3: “Shut Up and Dance”
Directed by James Watkins
Written by William Bridges & Charlie Brooker

* For a review of Episode 2, “Playtest” – click here
* For a review of Episode 4, “San Junipero” – click here
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In a parking garage a woman gets out of her car, waiting. On her phone she gets a notification. She looks scared, or apprehensive about being there. She leaves abruptly, but where’s she going, and why is she there to begin with?
At a restaurant, Kenny (Alex Lawther) works as a busboy, cleaning up various messes and sorting out the kitchen. He’s a right sweet lad, too. Not treated overly well by the other males at work, but sometimes that’s life: people (especially young dudes) are shit. Kenny’s sister has his computer all muffed up with viruses and the like, so he goes about cleaning that up, as well. Always cleaning. But that program he downloaded, to get rid of the malware, is it also spying on him? Something, or someone, peers through the webcam at him.
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Kenny and his sister sort of fend for themselves, a bit. His mother’s a busy woman. He spends the evening lounging after putting locks on his door to keep out the nosy sister. Upstairs, he hops online for a wank. All the while the webcam points directly at him. After washing up he gets an e-mail stating WE SAW WHAT YOU DID, containing an attachment with the video. Fuck me. Knew that was coming. This obviously freaks poor Ken out. He covers up the camera, but finds another e-mail requiring his phone number, or else his contact list receives the video. A little hesitation, and then he sends it off. They start sending instructions via text. Ominous. He’s utterly terrified. Such an ironic and ultimate invasion of his privacy. He spent all that time putting locks on his doors to keep the family, his sister particularly, out of his private space. When somebody merely waltzed digitally right into his bedroom. Nasty, nasty stuff. Dig that.
So what are the stakes, I wonder? What is the endgame for the person(s) tormenting Kenny? YOU HAVE BEEN ACTIVATED. OBEY OR WE LEAK VIDEO. These messages come via text, along with a location for him to go to, or else. This has got him playing hooky from work, and I’m sure that’s only the beginning. He races to his first location atop a parking garage – a familiar location. We can already guess exactly what was happening to that woman in the episode’s opener.
Instructed to wait, Kenny does. Not for long. A delivery bike appears. The driver gives Kenny a box, taking his picture. He’s also being forced to do “their” bidding. Once the package is verified, another task is at hand. Kenny must go to a hotel room and deliver the box.

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In the room is a man named Hector (Jerome Flynn). He refuses the package, not wanting anything to do with it. When more orders come from the people behind it all, Kenny finally gets into the room. Hector’s confused as much as him, and the young man can’t explain it well enough. Until texts start coming through to Hector. At the same time they want Kenny to take his picture: “They said I had to do that.”
Each of them are getting instructions, in tandem now, it seems. The cake must go to a new address. A car waits in the garage for them. Oh, that old familiar image of the parking garage. And the car has keys laid on the wheel, just like the ones the woman at the start left. Oh, I love the writing in this episode! So fun. What an elaborate game these hidden people play.
Kenny and Hector go on their way, they’re headed just outside of town. The two of them bond over the extortion they face respectively. Having to get gas, they run into a woman on the PTA from the school where Hector’s kids go, and end up having to give her a ride. Because that won’t cause any trouble. Soon as they’re off, the messages start. They’re watching, and the car is going the WRONG WAY. The messages continue, advising them TURN AROUND. Only 20 minutes left to get to their destination. Hector starts doing some stuntman work to get his friend out of the car. At the location, they’re instructed to “look in the cake.” Hector digs out a gun, a hat, and some sunglasses. That’s promising. Along with texts questioning who will be the driver, and who the robber. Hector calls the former, quickly. In front of the car sits a bank. The equation is simple, although terrifying.

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The older of the two talks his younger companion into doing the robbery half of their task. Pretty slimy how he does, but they’re both desperate and nearly gone mad with the prospect of what’s going on around them. Kenny walks into the bank, if not very reluctantly. He points the gun and asks for money, all the while pissing himself. Jesus, that is so sad. A teller loads his bag with cash and then Kenny heads back to the car. They take off fast, only to come across a stop for construction, as sirens blare in the distance. The coppers aren’t looking for them, luckily, and the fellas are on the way once more.
Hector and Kenny get to the final instruction once at the next location – Hector must take the car alone and destroy it, Kenny has to drop the money, alone, at a separate location. The two part ways on their new tasks, amicably in fact; Hector apologises for being so harsh. When pushed, people will be nasty no matter how nice they are on a regular basis. Either way, Kenny heads out into the woods someplace to drop the cash. He stumbles upon a gated area that looks god damn spooky, like the exact place you wouldn’t go if it were a horror film. Yet on he goes, ever daring young man that he is, and continues after the point marked on his smartphone. In a remote location he sees someone waiting, a man. He has a drone. “They” require it being set into the air before anything further. Well, the money is “prize money” for a fight between Kenny and this man. The drone is watching, recording them. In any normal circumstances, a good man wouldn’t beat a kid. But these aren’t normal times.
Oh, and we start figuring out nice little Kenny boy wasn’t exactly jerking off to anything normal, either. They were likely underage girls. Same as the man before him. Kenny tries using his gun to end the fight, although no bullets remain. The drone watches from above, as the man attacks the kid.

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What about Hector, eh? What’s he up to? He arrives home to a sleeping family. And a Trollolololo message on his phone, meme face and all. Does it mean what we assume? His wife’s crying eyes confirm as much. The woman from the beginning, she’s also been trolled; her racist e-mails are leaked to the internet in all their glory. Everyone from the game has been blackmailed, then destroyed anyways. Even Kenny, as he crawls from out of the forest, beaten and bloodied, only to get a Trollolololo face and a visit from the police, a disappointed call from mother about looking at kids online. Wow. Now that niceness of Kenny from the first scene is way fucking creepy.
What a shocker of an ending. A nice parallel to the very first episode of Black Mirror, where a hideous act of extortion lead to a different though similarly queasy twist.
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Another solid episode in this Season 3 lineup! I can’t believe the writing, some of the best of the entire series yet. Great, great acting, as well. Fine stuff all around. And what a look into the things anonymous people can see and do, how they can extort you, all from behind a computer screen, anywhere; maybe near, maybe far. It’s a stunning and shocking view of how our most private moments, what we think are private moments, can now, in a day and state of extremely technology, become very public in the sound of one click.

Black Mirror – Season 3, Episode 2: “Playtest”

Netflix’s Black Mirror
Season 3, Episode 2: “Playtest”
Directed by Dan Trachtenberg
Written by Charlie Brooker

* For a review of Episode 1, “Nosedive” – click here
* For a review of Episode 3, “Shut Up and Dance” – click here
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American traveller Cooper (Wyatt Russell) is off on a solo adventure. He’s sneaked away under cover of the dark, early morning. He takes a plane, arriving in Australia, then Bangkok, Spain, Rome, and all sorts of other destinations. By the seat of his pants Cooper takes on the world, one place at a time. One night he meets Sonja (Hannah John-Kamen) through an online app, they have drinks at a pub and chat about his travels. She wonders if he’s “finding himself” or what the purpose of his trip may be in the end. Of course they wind up spending the night together, it being the tail end of his journey and all. Memories, yay! Aside from that we figure out Cooper took care of his dad at home with his mother – early onset Alzheimer’s – and so now, after his death, the son has gone on a trip for himself. He worries that something like that could happen to him, so seriously: memories!
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But travelling, it takes money, right? All of a sudden Cooper finds his credit is lacking after somebody might’ve stolen his card. Things are not looking good. Stuck between a rock and a hard place, poor Cooper.
Well, using an Odd Jobs app he comes across a Playtest job with a huge gaming company. They make horror games and wild things; Sonja clues Cooper in on things, being in the games industry and all. The company is owned by Shou Saito (Ken Yamamura), a visionary developer. She also suggests getting a picture of Saito’s super secretive operations at the company would be worth a ton more than whatever he’ll make at the job. Hmm.
So Cooper is brought out to the massive complex where the games are developed, the lair of Saito and his latest developments. A few good jokes (the “end of level boss” and “Gryffindor” jokes made me laugh out loud). He gets into the contract signing portion of it all. A woman named Katie (Wunmi Mosaku) walks him through everything, including that there’s a medical procedure involved. All has to do with a virtual reality-type experience. Katie implants what’s called a “mushroom” into the back of his neck, protruding from the skin a little. Afterwards, they do a small test, and then he’s initiated into the virtual world which the new game – or experience – is to explore. From 8-bit, the character in front of Cooper changes to become more realistic with every upgrade, only visible to him. As Katie puts it, the experience is more like “layers on top” of reality instead of virtual reality. A totally immersive experience. We get to watch Cooper do real life whack a mole – to Katie it only looks like he’s smacking the table. Love it. Either way, Cooper’s sold on the entire job.

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With all that done, Cooper is brought to meet the man himself, Shou Saito. They speak about the experience of gaming, how it makes us feel, the adrenaline involved. “You have faced your greatest fears in a safe environment,” Saito explains, going on to tell Cooper about a survival horror game which uses a gamer’s fears in order to scare the players respectively. An amplified version of what we’re already seeing today in horror games.
Only when Cooper gets hooked up to the game, it isn’t such a “fun” thing as he so wonderfully described the whack a mole. He’s brought to an eerie old house where the game commences, and will continue until he is too scared to go any further. Nothing can hurt the gamer. But what about when the fear is too much? Cooper wanders and his first encounter comes when he picks up a book with Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven in it – a huge spider crawls out from beneath the rug nearby. Only a relatively minor apparition, but an apparition nonetheless. The game probably has to slowly ingratiate the user so that the brain doesn’t explode with pure fright right away. Gradually the frightening things start to pile up. The painting on the wall changes, bit by bit. Licks flicker, sounds of footsteps beating around upstairs. When a 19th-century man shows up right behind Cooper, creeping him out, it shows the game is using his prior experiences and fears to scare him – the man looks like an old high school bully. So, for a moment he’s troubled. He goes on about his night after a few laughs, although he is shaken. Very clear.


A little more poking around sees Cooper terrified by an eerie, giant, human-like spider. Again, his subconscious drudging up bits of his previous experiences as a boy to be used by the game. Things start to get quite unsettling when he can’t reach Katie on the earpiece anymore. Is it the game? Yes, I’d bet on that. Plus, someone keeps banging on the door. It’s Sonja: “Youre in danger,” she tells him. Has the game manifested her? Or is she actually there? Cooper realises she is actually in the room with him. She talks about a “computerbrain interface” that Saito has been working on for a year. Cooper doesn’t believe it, insisting she’s still a part of the whole game even being real. But Sonja goes on about missing people, all who used the Odd Jobs app to apply for the job. She then attacks him with a knife, as the spider-bully shows up once more, as well. Cooper tries to fight Sonja off, she goes mad on him. One of the single most horrific sequences of Black Mirror ensues when Sonja’s face peels off like rubber, revealing a bloody skull beneath. Cooper survives this round, creatively impaling the skull on the knife through his shoulder.
And of course it’s all fake, a figment of the game and his tortured imagination. Yet it leaves Cooper shaken worse than before. He felt the knife, he felt it all. He freaks out, wanting to tear the mushroom from the back of his neck. Although Katie tries to rally him to the access point, so she and Saito can take him out of the game.
Cooper worries about what’s behind the next door upstairs. Just beyond lies the access point. However, he’s scared that the game knows about things with mother. What things, exactly? Inside, the room is empty. And now Katie says “there is no access point.” It’s all a ruse to get the player to obey directions without question. Oh. Fucking. Shit. This is now very scary. Katie’s not so nice anymore, as well as the fact Cooper’s memories are disappearing. The game is pulling them away, replacing them. Putting him into his ultimate nightmare, ending up like his father with his memories gone and nothing left. This sends him over the edge.
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Katie actually shows up now with a team of men, trying to help. But the process can’t be stopped. “I dont know who I am,” Cooper mutters at them. He’s stuck with the game worming its way into his brain, past his memories, leaving him a broken shell. He gets an apology from Saito, if that’s worth anything. “Put him with the others, please,” says Saito before the men drag him away.
He quickly is brought out of the game. He was in there for such a minuscule amount of time. Is his brain susceptible to an extreme length? Or is the software much too strong? Ah, the true ethics of gaming, as we step into unexplored territory and wildly uncharted waters, mixing human beings with technology in an unprecedented and likely dangerous manner.
Once Cooper goes home he sees his mother (Elizabeth Moynihan) again, in distress. She can’t remember her son, though, even as he stands right in front of her. Cut back to Cooper in that white room, first testing out the equipment with Katie. He convulses. His mother calls – like she tried to do when Cooper walked in at home. Everything loops around in a mindfuck of a sequence. Katie and Saito figure that the signal from the cell interfered with things. Still, Cooper lies motionless on the floor, a corpse, and in 4 small seconds another volunteer for the new Saito game is gone. Just like that.

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What an excellent exploration of the gaming industry in a near future sci-fi sense. Wonderful writing from Charlie Brooker, as usual. He is a treasure. Love the macabre way he puts his lens over certain subjects. We’re not really that far off from the point of this game in “Playtest” when there’s already a game coming out – or maybe it’s already out, I only remember reading an article about it recently – which has the antagonist A.I. trying to thwart players by learning from how you actually play the game. These are the best sci-fi stories, in any medium: the prescient, relevant, and close to home tales. Brooker’s Black Mirror is like a Twilight Zone for the technology obsessed 21st-century. So perfectly eerie and moving in one fell swoop.

Black Mirror – Season 3, Episode 1: “Nosedive”

Netflix’s Black Mirror
Season 3, Episode 1: “Nosedive”
Directed by Joe Wright
Written by Rashida Jones & Michael Schur

* For a review of Episode 2, “Playtest” – click here
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“Nosedive” opens on an idyllic neighbourhood. Lacie Pound (Bryce Dallas Howard) goes for a run, though she can’t stop looking at her phone at all. Neither can anybody else. Lacie runs, stretches, all while peering into the screen, taking selfies, mindlessly flipping through social media. At home in the mirror, she practices faces and various laughs. In the living room, Ryan (James Norton), her brother, plays a reality game and doesn’t do much other than that.
Everybody’s rated, every interaction has a value. You meet somebody and you give them a rating. Not far off from where we are in social media, but the way this episode brings that to life is terribly sad. From how Lacie doesn’t even really enjoy her cookie or her drink, though she makes sure to post a picture. Her only real happiness is being rated approvingly by others. People only know things about each other through the social media site they’re linked to constantly. Lacie has an awkward conversation with a woman in the elevator which illustrates that so awkwardly, yet perfect.


Then Lacie starts to see a woman named Naomi Blestow (Alice Eve), whose life looks so beautiful. Her rating is high. She entrances Lacie. A strange and awful thing happens when a guy named Chester comes around her office with smoothies. He’s only rated 3.1. Everybody’s shunning him because of a recent breakup. Nobody’s on his side. Regular people have become how fandoms hang off the relationships of their celebrities; regular, everyday citizens at work are treated like celebrities, how people seem to take those sides against one or the other person during a divorce (kind of like right now with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie + many more examples). It’s an eerie though, which already happens on a tiny level already in social dynamics. Social media takes all these types of things and amplifies them horrifically. At least in Black Mirror it does.
So there are other nasty things, like when Lacie wants to move into a nice place. Her hopes and dreams are literally broadcast in front of her there via hologram. But they need her to be “around a 4.5” to get a good discount on the place. Off Lacie goes, home to eat and fawn of Naomi Blestow and her seemingly perfect existence.
I’ve only started to review this series now on the premiere of its 3rd season, but I’ve been following the creation of Charlie Brooker since its horrifying first episode. Needless to say, I feel like the writing in this episode – courtesy of Rashida Jones and Michael Schur – is following suit nicely with the rest of the body of work.
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Lacie needs a “boost” from “quality people” giving her likes, and so on. This begins her quest to try getting the right people to rate her. The whole episode is so pristine-looking, hyperreal, and underneath the sadness is crushing, to the point of being uncomfortable. That’s a strength. Black Mirror‘s always been uncomfortable, to varying degrees from one episode to another. This one is high up there. Because the closer these episodes get to the truth, the harder it is to bear. Watching Lacie desperately try and connect with others simply to get that boost is strikingly tragic. Brings me back to the ICQ days when everybody would try to post their witty status, myself included, to make people feel interested. When Naomi finally likes a picture Lacie posts, it’s the happiest moment she’s experienced in awhile.
And all of a sudden Naomi calls her. They knew each other long ago, they were very close. She remembered Mr. Rags from back in the day. Naomi’s engaged now to Paul M (Alan Ritchson) and they’re having an outlandish wedding; Laci gets an invite. Better yet, she’s the maid of honour. A huge wedding, lots of high “4.7s” and above.
Or is it all too good to be true? The way Ryan remembers things, Naomi tormented Lacie, did terrible things to her. Oh, it all seems like teetering over the edge of something deliciously precarious.
Things are on the up and up, I guess. For now. Lacie takes that new place she wanted, she gets started on her maid of honour speech and trying to practice reciting it for Ryan. “You fucking sociopath,” he scolds over the pathetically forced speech (and the rest of her sad nonsense): “Theres sugary, and then theres diabetes.” She ends up walking out after calling him “Mr. Three point Fuck” and having a rating war. Afterwards she bangs into a 4.8 woman on the street, knocking coffee on her, which gets Lacie another bad rating. Even the cab driver knocks her down a notch. A hilarious though shitty moment for her. And once she gets to the airport things only get worse. A cancelled flight, no more available. One’s available, but only to 4.2s and higher, and with the recent ratings she’s been put down under slightly. Everybody in the line rates her down. Security gets called. For 24 hours, she’s a 3.1 and any ratings are “double damage.” Good christ, she can’t catch a break. When you ranking is that low things get damn tough. Now, without all the privilege of a good ranking, Lacie’s life isn’t as squeaky clean and pretty like before. She’s also walking on eggshells, so as not to get any nasty ratings. After Naomi calls, even though she isn’t happy, Lacie gets a 5 star rating. Things are okay for the time being.

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On the drive in her rental car Lacie has to stop and charge. At the station she gets a bad rating from the douche attendant. Worse is the fact the station doesn’t have a fixture that fits her car, nobody there has an adaptor. Being in the 3s ain’t easy, girl.
She starts walking her way now. One Anonymous user even rates her down simply driving by, not even meeting her. When a 1.4 lady driving an eighteen-wheeler stops, Lacie gets a ride at least. She finds the other half are nicer than the higher numbers. Right now she’s sitting at 2.8, shockingly low. What she gains from knowing this sweet truck driver is that it’s all an addiction to a lifestyle, shackles to something idiotic and fake, and when you start living real life again it’s freedom: “Sheddinthose fuckers, it was like takinoff tight shoes.”
The inevitable happens as Lacie ends up hitching another ride with a group of sci-fi lovers – Naomi calls and doesn’t want her there anymore. She’s down in the 2s now. Despite it only being temporary Naomi doesn’t care. Still, in a sad last ditch effort Lacie says she’s going anyway.
She gets there, after being thrown from the sci-fi bus. In an absolute mess. And she gets up to make that speech, to the terror of everyone in attendance. Lacie starts dropping f-bombs galore, 1 ratings all over the place, as she tells everybody about Naomi helping her overcome and eating disorder and gets crazy real on the crowd.

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Until her arrest. They take her in, process her. A little chip is implanted in her eye, and she’s put in a cell. But funny that, how she’s imprisoned, literally boxed in, yet still she is free. In her mind. She gestures to a man in the cell opposite to her with a motion of rating. Just with no phone. Then they really engage, for the first time. No ratings. They use speech. They talk and interact and the only thing they hide behind is their force confinement. More than that, they only say negative things. They pour out all the anger from the fake positive manners screaming at one another: “Fuck you!”

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Loved this episode. A great return with some spectacular writing and an amazing Bryce Dallas Howard performance. How did you feel about it? Too close to home?

Peaky Blinders – Season 3 Finale

BBC Two’s Peaky Blinders
Season 3, Episode 6
Directed by Tim Mielants
Written by Steven Knight

* For a review of Episode 5, click here.
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Here it is, the Season 3 finale!
We start as an institute for poor children in Grace’s name is being opened by Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy). Everyone’s there, Aunt Pol (Helen McCrory) introducing him, Arthur (Paul Anderson) and John (Joe Cole), the lot of them. Tommy gives a nice speech about taking care of the children, proper. Looking after them. Naughty Arthur even makes sure to throw in: “By order of the Peaky Blinders.” Saucy.
But what would Grace think of all that Tommy’s about to do? The big job and all. Well, up shows Father Hughes (Paddy Considine) and dashes all the nice thoughts. He has an office there at the institute. Claiming a place there. Poised to do untold more damage. The look on Michael’s (Finn Cole) face speaks volumes when he sees the priest pass by.
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Lots of other things happening other than a reception for the institute. Peaky Blinders never rest, no sir. Of course Tom does his best businessman face, popping about with his boy, and doing all he can to appear legitimate, squeaky clean. That image doesn’t suit him all that well. Then all of a sudden his boy Charlie goes missing. A nurse took out apparently. Christ almighty. This is the ultimate nightmare to end all nightmares. Arthur tries to calm his brother, he sets things in motion. The word’s out now. Whoever took that boy is going to die. Hard. Who was it, you wonder? Father Hughes? This is a sinister turn of events, as the man himself arrives to confirm it. “All children are dear to me,” Hughes explains creepily. Afterwards, there’s a further deal struck. He has to blow up the train on his own now. All in the name of staying clear of Soviet Union influence, y’know. Communism. Rabble rabble. On top of that all the jewels and such they stole, Hughes and his crew want it. Every last bit. Or else.
Only problem is this makes Tommy paranoid. He wonders who’s grassed up. He points a finger at each and every last one of them. The whole family’s tense now. Bridges may start burning if he’s not careful. Nevertheless, he puts John and Arthur on a job, preparing for the deadly train bombing to come. Tommy’s too busy accusing Polly, insulting her, which is out of line; calling into question Ruben Oliver’s (Alexander Siddig) interest in her and why a high class fella like him would take a shine to a woman like her.


Tommy’s meeting, once again, with Alfie Solomons (Tom Hardy). The Wandering Jew himself turns up with a list of people concerning the Fabergé eggs, so that hopefully Shelby can figure things out. Then Tom gets upset. There’s a name he knows that’s left off the list. Ahh, interesting! He questions Alfie, his allegiance, so on. Whether he’s pulling strings and in with some of Tommy’s own enemies. He was in on most of it. Greasy.
When things go sideways Michael comes from nowhere to make things even. Instead of Alfie dying, he gives a savage monologue. He calls into question Tommy and his own idea of a “fucking line” over which he’s crossed. This brief appearance in Season 3 over the past couple episodes is fan-fucking-tastic. Hardy is beyond talented, enormously so. As far as Tommy and Alfie go, things are settled. “Well fucking said,” Tom tells him. And at least the one thing Alfie didn’t know about was the taking of Charlie.
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Alfie: “I want him to acknowledge that he who fights by the sword he fuckindies by it, Tommy.”
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Over with John and Arthur, Michael is proving to be every bit Shelby as any of them. They’ve got an address where apparently Charlie is being kept. Things are set, though they don’t want Michael pulling the trigger ultimately. Yeah, like that’ll happen.
The unnerving Father Hughes has the boy, and watching them together is just unbelievably terrifying. In the meantime, Arthur and the boys are getting things suited for the train bombing. Not everyone’s happy about the six men who will die; Arthur and John hand picked them. That’s rough, they take the brunt for what has to be done. At the same time, Tommy and his military pals are tunnelling through the earth, fast. So many things happening at once, all intense. Everyone straining under the brutal pressures.
Tommy gets through fine into the Russian’s little armoury/jewel stash. All the while Michael gets a beating from Hughes before he’s able to pull the trigger. John and Arthur wait for the train, as it starts to head out. Michael hulks out and slices up the dirty priest, cutting his throat. Then as Finn Shelby runs with news for Arthur seemingly to stop the blast, it goes up in flames. And at home, Polly sees her son now has the thousand yard stare like his cousins who came home from war, damaged and tortured. Seems like Birmingham is no better than the fields of war.


Arthur: “Who wants to be in heaven when you can send men to fuckinhell?”


Tommy offloads the diamonds and jewels with Tatiana Petrovna (Gaite Jansen), getting all that settled up. She is one hell of a piece of work. For a minute you almost worry for his safety. Then you just realize she’s a sly, dangerous business associate, and off he goes again to bigger, better things.
Back at his place, Tommy has the Shelby Organization all come in for a sit down. Everybody, from the wives to the family associates, the lot. He admits making a mistake getting involved with the Russians. He forks over money to Arthur and Linda, John and Esme, in a way of asking forgiveness. All’s well that ends in payment for the Shelbys, eh boy. The entire room gets money, though Lizzie (Natasha O’Keeffe) refuses her share. When Polly questions him, Tom reveals he cares nought about money. Not any more. He realizes there’s no change in his future. Because the politicians, the priests, the higher class, they’re worse than the Blinders, than any normal criminal: “You have to get what you want your own way,” Tommy proclaims. He gives up his praise for all those around him. Also, he’s straight up honest with them all, about every last inch of their business.
Pol steps up, though. She wants a better, more hopeful way for them all, as do the women. For his part, Arthur’s heading off for America with his wife. He’s saying goodbye to the family. Except that Tommy reveals there are charges headed for John and Arthur both, as well as Polly and Michael. They are all going down for the crimes. Tommy’s made a drastic deal with people “more powerful” than their enemies, so he claims. Wow. Just wow. Never saw this coming, at all. This is going to change the Shelby family dynamic for certain. How can we still feel as if Tommy’s a good man after this hypocritical move? We’ll what the next season brings.
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This has been a solid, intriguing season. Lots of things happening, especially now in this final episode. Just a wildly entertaining chapter. Can’t wait for the next season. Two more already confirmed, so that’s exciting. Head back and look at my other reviews, as I go back through the entire show, episode by episode.

Peaky Blinders – Season 3, Episode 5

BBC Two’s Peaky Blinders
Season 3, Episode 5
Directed by Tim Mielants
Written by Steven Knight

* For a review of Episode 4, click here.
* For a review of Episode 6, click here.
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Here we are at the penultimate episode of Series 3, and with two more already confirmed series’ ahead. What a treat!
Starting out with David Bowie’s “Lazarus”, a nice sequence shows us Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy) at the doctor. His head bashed in. We’re given a view into his past, also seeing his present, and in between. Still, the drugs are holding him tight. Even worse now with the morphine to keep his head from bursting. What will this bring for everything ahead?
He receives a visit from Michael Gray (Finn Cole). He knows things about Father Hughes (Paddy Considine), bad things from when he was a kid. He offers to even shoot the priest himself, long as Tommy shows him how to shoot. Wonder if this is finally the big way in for Michael.
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Cut to three months down the road. Tommy’s now trying to kick the morphine habit; good on ya, Tommy boy. Not sure how well that’s going to work, but who knows. Anyway, he talks about mad fever dreams on the drugs. Seeing his housemaid naked, reading from Leviticus. Amazing little moment here, the writing had me in a crack up.
Tommy and Johnny Dogs (Packy Lee) have a chat. Boss wants him to do a few things for him. Seems there comes with it 5,000 pounds, so nothing troubles Johnny much in the end. Better than that the other Shelby brothers arrive with someone who calls himself “the Wandering Jew.” Upstairs, Tommy meets with him – Alfie Solomons (Tom Hardy). The one and only. He’s come back along to tell Tommy about the funny rumours about him since the head injury, and to speak of business.
Meanwhile, Arthur (Paul Anderson), John (Joe Cole), Johnny, and Michael have their own chats. There’s trouble about for Michael, as his life is in turmoil. Yet none of them are exactly living smooth. What I love most is the chemistry these guys have together. They do seem like a big family, which is ultimately the goal of any ensemble cast; these guys are meant to be family, so their natural feeling chemistry as a group is excellent.
Arthur and Alfie have their reunion. The latter wants to bury the hatchet, all just business. Right? He extends apologies of all sorts. The Shelby brother isn’t exactly happy, though his new path to Jesus Christ urges him not to cause a scene. Quite a good scene filled with tension. Alfie’s not exactly there to make things easy. But Tommy’s got plans for how they’ll deal with the Russians, which is the reason for Alfie being there apparently.


Johnny Dogs: “Arthur, if youre gonna get on like dis with the Apaches theyd fuckinscalp you, by.”
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Headed out getting ready, Duchess and Princess Petrovna require seeing the brothers’ skin. They need to check for tattoos, et cetera, which may identify them as assassins. A hilarious scene, especially when Arthur’s not pleased. John doesn’t seem to mind, as the Russian ladies check every inch of them. Things get quite intense for Arthur in particular. That Princess is definitely one to watch. “Inside every man there is a devil,” she says ominously, looking back to Tommy.
Aunt Polly (Helen McCrory) and her son Michael are doing business, Ada (Sophie Rundle) along, too. He heads off to make a call to his lady, we find out he wants to get her an abortion. In the other room, Pol and Ada try to forge a “new kind of politics” in order to make a good life for themselves. “Welcome to the bourgeoisie,” Polly tells Ada with a sly smile. Now Ada is a member of the organization – properties and acquisitions. Also, we discover she and Ruben Oliver (Alexander Siddig) are getting incredibly close, soon likely to fall in bed together, as she makes clear to Ada. But tonight, “why should all the boys have fun?” asks Polly. The boys are certainly having fun – Arthur’s given up on sobriety, so it appears. They’re all busy drinking, getting laid or trying to, and all sorts of debauchery; there are even two men getting lustily close on the couch nearby under the radar. John gets some information off Stefan (Josef Altin), as Tommy goes with Tatiana to see some of their operation.
Downstairs, Alfie’s there. The Duchess and Duke (Jan Bijvoet) are there, as well. We further find out Solomons spoke Russian – he has beef with them, over her being hunted down by dogs in the snow. Yikes. He turns the other cheek, all in the name of business. But you better know not to fuck with Alfie, he doesn’t play games. He helps Tommy get an eye on how much the Russians have, and they have quite a bit of treasure.

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Ruben has finished the painting of Polly. It is astonishing. She looks upon it admiring the work he’s done, how beautiful he made her look (and she’s a gorgeous lady), and the effort it took to put her form to canvas. For his part, he believes it’s his best yet. Always a charmer. Either way, she’s flattered and wants a relationship with him: “Therell be more Sundays,” he tells her. Finally, they consummate their love. Except she’s reminded slightly by her rape at the hands of Campbell. Luckily he is a good man and he apologizes, he’s tender with her. A beautiful love scene, as opposed to so many in shows that are crude and just all for aesthetic pleasure.
Too busy falling down the bottle, Arthur is heading off with a prostitute. At the same time, Tommy sits back with a drink, listening to Tatiana’s bullshit. Later he breaks down a bit in her arms. Is he getting too close to her for his own good? No telling, but we’re close to finding out. A freaky sequence where he imagines being with his dead wife once more.
Tommy’s got some old army buddies with him now, along with Johnny Dogs, Arthur, and the rest of the mad bastards helping the Peaky Blinders. They’ve got the plan ready, maps, blueprints, the whole lot. Boss Shelby lays everything out for them and things are about to get underway.


Snooping around, Polly finds a wedding ring in Michael’s desk. Or so she thought. Inside is actually a literal bullet with Hughes’ name on it. Then Tommy catches his aunt with it right in her hands. Of course she worries for her son. Only she doesn’t know why Michael wants to do the job. She susses it out, though nobody says anything out loud. So now Pol knows why Tommy gave the job to Michael. “By order of the Peaky Blinders” and so on. She doesn’t want that for him. Threatening to bring them all down if her son pulls the trigger. Whoa.
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Great episode right before the finale. Cannot wait to see what they have in store for us in Episode 6. Lots to which we can look forward. Plus, they’ve already confirmed two more seasons. Glory be to the Peaky Blinders!

Banshee – Season 3, Episode 6: “We Were All Someone Else Yesterday”

Cinemax’s Banshee
Season 3, Episode 6: “We Were All Someone Else Yesterday”
Directed by Ole Christian Madsen
Written by Adam Targum

* For a review of the previous episode, “Tribal” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “You Can’t Hide From the Dead” – click here
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Moving on, or trying to, Hood (Antony Starr) can barely bring himself to go to the funeral for Siobhan Kelly (Trieste Kelly Dunn). All he can think of is an alternate history of coming to Banshee. Imagining it happening some other way. Because what it’s all about is Hood and his decisions. Whether acting first, thinking later does the job, or if maybe stepping back and taking a less chaotic approach might do the trick. Hood’s now seen what the repercussions of his actions have become. In his retroactive flashback, he sees things differently. If he instead chose to use his words and talk things out rather than charge forward like a bull in a china shop. Carrie Hopewell (Ivana Milicevic) and her family are caught in all of it. Siobhan’s been murdered. Many others have lost their lives since Hood wandered into town. His alternate vision sees him leaving Carrie to her family, leaving his daughter with her father Gordon (Rus Blackwell). Leaving everyone alone, and just moving on. But he couldn’t have done that. Perhaps could’ve done things a little better. Just would never have worked for him to walk on past.
Deputy Brock Lotus (Matt Servitto) tries to comfort Hood a little: “This town needs a sheriff.” Coming from him that means a good deal. Moreover, he wants the both of them to track down Chayton Littlestone (Geno Segers), find some revenge and give him what he deserves for killing Siobhan.
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At the service for his mother, Kai Proctor (Ulrich Thomsen) arrives to the surprise of many. Sugar Bates (Frankie Faison) is present to pay his respects. It seems like Kai and his niece Rebecca Bowman (Lili Simmons) are slightly at odds because he’s feeling a little religious as of late. Then her parents say she’s forgiven, they don’t want to not speak to her for decades, but Rebecca only replies: “I dont forgive you. And I never will.”
Once more, Hood’s loving heart is shattered. Left only with the bits of memories, remnants of Siobhan all around him. As usual, he drowns in a bottle at the bar. Carrie drops in to try lending him a shoulder to cry on. He may be all cried out.
In his grief, Kai falls into bed with Emily Lotus (Tanya Clarke), and I worry for her safety now more than ever. Always in parallel, Hood and Proctor constantly endanger those around them. Only a matter of time before bad news comes for Emily. By the same token, I worry for Brock, who worries enough about his own ex-wife. Meanwhile, Gordon is busy trying to sort things out for Proctor’s trial re: the latest big fight with Sheriff Hood. Oh, and we also discover the Marine is still kicking in Gordon, as he shows off a few superior shooting skills.
Job (Hoon Lee) arrives to try and take care of his friend, wondering if the job may have to be called off. They have a little drink and start discussing the way forward. Over at the station, Hood finds the Department of Justice swarming around, led by Commander Salvatore Ferillo (Robert John Burke). They’re manhunting Chayton. This puts a little wrench into the revenge Hood has planned. This may send him off on a personal mission.


Rebecca runs into a little trouble with one of the staff at Uncle Kai’s strip club. She flexes her boss muscle, though we can see this escalating. And it quickly does after he calls her a cunt. She beats him with a two-by-four then goes to the officer. She has a meeting with some associates of Proctor from Philadelphia, though they weren’t expecting to meet his niece. But she’s in over her head, making deals without her uncle present. Later, Kai calls her in to get berated in front of his associates, as she’s stepped out of line. No longer a peachy relationship between the two these days.
And speaking of him, he’s pondering faith. Kai lingers in this weird space where belief and religion mean something to him, yet there’s a disconnect between that and how he actually acts in the real world.
Colonel Douglas Stowe (Langley Kirkwood) is still circling Carrie, obsessed over what they had together. Probably just missing all the hot sex, I’m guessing. He wants to meet at their motel for another romp. Except she’s busy getting his handprint, for the verification at the base. At the very same time, Deva (Ryann Shane) is practising the family trade of robbery again, learning to pick pocket. Then she ends up meeting a guy that notices her little tricks. They start to get to know one another and then head to a party together.
All the while, the DOJ are suiting up to head into Redbone territory. Definitely some crazy action ahead. Chayton’s going into custody, dead or alive.


Job and Hood are trying to head off the DOJ, looking for Chayton, as the former knows his friend can’t go on without revenge. So Hood tracks him right to the teepee where he sleeps. Preparing to kill him, a fight erupts between the fake sheriff and the object of his vengeance. Even Job must fight a Redbone while the other two go at it. Awesome little sequence nearing the end of this episode. A shot goes off then, and the DOJ are lured in the direction of Hood and Chayton. They run through the woods, Hood in hot pursuit of the massive Redbone. Also, Aimee King (Meaghan Rath) is tracking Chayton. She doesn’t want him to get hurt, but there’s slowly becoming no other way. “Its not murder, its war,” the big man tells Aimee re: Siobhan’s death. Their confrontation is tense, and he nearly chokes her to death. This may be the turning point for her in terms of how she views him, only escaping from his grip after Hood gets a shot at Chayton. Ultimately, he escapes by jumping from a cliff into the water and making off. This doesn’t make anyone happy, least of all the DOJ and Commander Ferillo.


In that alternate history of Hood’s, he meets the real Sheriff Hood, in uniform having not been murdered at the bar. The man not known as Hood, here, meets Siobhan at a gas station. They smile at one another, flirtatiously a bit. Then Job pulls up to take him out of Banshee. Gone forever. No death, no destruction in the little town. Just gone.
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After the credits, we see Chayton rise from the water somewhere. Walking out, towards his next prey.
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What a great episode. Lots of excitement. Adrenaline flowing. The next is titled “You Can’t Hide from the Dead” and further the chase for Littlestone goes, as everybody trails behind him.

Banshee – Season 3, Episode 5: “Tribal”

Cinemax’s Banshee
Season 3, Episode 5: “Tribal”
Directed by Ole Christian Madsen
Written by Adam Targum

* For a review of the previous episode, “Real Life is the Nightmare” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “We Were All Someone Else Yesterday” – click here
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After the Cadi is overrun with Red Bones and Chayton Littlestone (Geno Segers) leading the charge, assault rifles blasting bullet after bullet into the building, Hood (Antony Starr), Siobhan (Trieste Kelly Dunn), and all the rest are left to fend off the attack inside. This is what people like Hood and Kai Proctor (Ulrich Thomsen) ultimately bring to a town like Banshee, to the people in it. Nothing but destruction. Chayton calls out over the gunfire to Hood, whose eyes show the fear he feels knowing it’s the big man and his crew out there. An intense episode begins.
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Thinking Emily Lotus (Tanya Clarke) is her son, Leah Proctor (Jennifer Griffin) confesses that she “could have saved” him, apologizing. It’s too bad Kai, along with the others, is stuck under a hail of bullets. At the station, Hood starts trying to figure out some kind of way forward. The emergency gating is dropped just in time to keep the Red Bones out.
Tom Bunker (Tom Pelphrey) has to take his shirt off when he’s cut by some glass, revealing his neo-Nazi tattoos, all over. Alison Medding (Afton Williamson) is obviously horrified, as is Deputy Brock Lotus (Matt Servitto). Instead of trying to explain, Bunker lets them think what they will. He makes good after busting into the armoury, bringing out the guns and taking some “initiative“, as he puts it. Everybody gets a bit of work to do.
Reason I love Bunker immediately, despite his clearly awful past along the way, is because he feels so repentant. The tattoos are hideous to look at. Yet the way he agrees with people, the way he conducts himself; there is a man wanting to be forgiven, wanting to make it up to society beneath that old neo-Nazi exterior.


Lotus: “Maam, that gun packs a powerful kick.”
Alison: “Are you gonna stand there like a total misogynist and patronize me, or are you gonna show me how to shoot the damn thing?”
Lotus: “Thank you, I just felt married again. All right, here we go.”
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So Chayton wants the Red Bones from the holding cell, Kai, and Deputy Billy Raven (Chaske Spencer). This is the deal. Hood disagrees with the terms and starts talking a little trash to rile the big man up. “Hey Chayton,” he starts: “Fuck off.” This sends the war painted Red Bone into a psychosis. For his part, Billy wants to hand himself over. The sheriff won’t go that way. And then the lights go out, the power down. This is not good.
Everyone’s down in the basement regrouping. Bunker stands stationed at a door in the back of the station downstairs, doing his duty. Siobhan has a problem with them all listening to Hood, as he technically doesn’t have any idea what he’s doing in terms of being a cop. “I dont wanna die tonight,” she tells him ominously.
More bullets come flying in upstairs. The Red Bones have a machine gun. When Proctor’s lawyer tries to get him out, he takes a bullet in the head. Next to him, Alison gets grabbed by a Red Bone. Although instead of leaving Proctor shoots the guy and helps her out, reluctantly. When Hood makes his way up to everyone, he downs the guys outside at the machine gun, stopping the fire for now. Hood and Proctor stand firm against what comes next. They await whatever the Red Bones are about to throw at them. At the very same time, Kai’s mother is dying. A parallel – the mother dies, as the son faces his own death. Meanwhile, Brock has problems with Proctor having a gun; partly because of his issues with Emily, partly because of his issues with Hood. And when the sheriff pulls rank, Siobhan can only see the hypocrisy in him.
Bunker and Alison talk downstairs. Turns out her father was beaten into a coma by neo-Nazis, that’s hard to overcome. Worse, she was likely raped or assaulted in some way. Then we get to hear from Kurt about being beaten as a child, not wanting to be home. He was a stutterer. Problem is these are the type of kids that fall prey to the Nazis, those White Nationalist-types. “They were the only people that made me feel like I mattered,” Kurt tells Alison. This character is well written and I’m glad he turns up. Quite the different picture we get of most neo-Nazis in film and television. Nice to see another side. He owns up to the horrific choices in his life, though, and never relegates those to the fault of someone else fully.


Brock (to Hood): “Everything you touch turns to blood
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Red Bones finally turn up at the door downstairs, but Bunker’s ready. He takes a bullet before getting saved by Alison. However, now they’re exposed on that end. With all the psychological weight bearing down on him, Hood is letting things get to him. But from nowhere Kai offers to go out and offer himself up. Will he survive the onslaught?
The rift between Siobhan and Hood is huge. Although, he makes sure she knows all of what they had together was a real thing, and that’s not hard to believe either. For the first time, she and Hood talk seriously, candidly about his life. There’s a part of her which understands beneath it all. Part of her also doesn’t want to let him go. He’s ready to open himself up to her. A beautiful moment amidst the war going on around them.
Poor Billy is both afraid and full of guilt. He feels terrible for having to shoot Tommy Littlestone, as well as fears the repercussions at the hands of Chayton, the Red Bones – that “Tribal Justice” of which he speaks. So he wants to end things by handing himself to the big man. Chayton doesn’t want any deals now. It’s war time. Talking is finished.
In the basement, the door’s busted in. Hood heads off to help the others, as Siobhan stays with Billy. You can almost feel something terrifying about to happen. Within the darkened halls of the station, Chevon takes on one of the Red Bones with a machete. Bad ass. The only trouble being Chayton is right behind her.


When Hood comes face to face with the big man, it is devastating. Chayton locks his hand against her chin and you feel it coming. Hood watches on as Chayton cracks Siobhan’s neck, letting her fall dead to the floor. Death is everywhere in Banshee tonight with Siobhan dead, a load of Red Bones, even Kai’s mother has passed on.
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After the credits, we see Siobhan’s lonely, abandoned Airstream trailer, the door blowing in the wind.
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What a heavy episode, in many ways. So much happening.
Next is “We Were All Someone Else Yesterday” and continues on from this heartbreaking saga. Giving Hood a new rage, a new tear in his soul to try and stitch closed. Plus, now he and Chayton are truly at odds, worse than any other moment ebfore.

Banshee – Season 3, Episode 4: “Real Life is the Nightmare”

Cinemax’s Banshee
Season 3, Episode 4: “Real Life is the Nightmare”
Directed by Magnus Martens
Written by Justin Britt-Gibson

* For a review of the previous episode, “A Fixer of Sorts” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Tribal” – click here
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Hood (Antony Starr) is confronted with reality for the first time in so long. Now Siobhan (Trieste Kelly Dunn) knows the truth about him, after Agent Phillips left all the information for her. How do they move forward from here?
Instead of shooting him in the face, or even arresting him, she just kicks him out. This was bound to happen. Somehow, down the line.
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Job (Hoon Lee) and Sugar Bates (Frankie Faison) are busy infiltrating their latest target. A bumpy entry smooths out. The pair gets to work. I love that Job gets more and more time. He is a solid character; interesting, exciting. He’s slick. He and Sugar manage to get what they need, but just in the nick of time.
Poor ole Gordon Hopewell (Rus Blackwell). He’s doing his best to try and come back from the devastation of his family, realizing Deva (Ryann Shane) is not his, knowing his wife Carrie (Ivana Milicevic) is really some gangster’s daughter, so on, so on. He shaves and faces the world properly again. The marriage is still falling apart. Yet he’s willing to work on things even after all they’ve faced.
Back at the bar, Hood lets the fellas know they may have to “bail” – on the entire debacle. Job wants to go. Always. But Hood wants to stay. Never thinking with his brain too long, usually leading with his dick, and a little bit with his heart. A bit.


Job (to Hood): “Baby, I want you to try real hard to remember what happened the last time you rolled the dice on a woman.”
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Deputy Brock Lotus (Matt Servitto) worries for his ex-wife Emily, after she took a job caring for the mother of Kai Proctor (Ulrich Thomsen). Speaking of Kai, he’s got Clay Burton (Matthew Rauch) and niece Rebecca (Lili Simmons) off running errands – Tommy Littlestone’s corpse is ready for release. Although, clearly Clay does not like that his boss is sending the niece along with him. At the same time, Kai and Emily spend time chatting during the day. This is not good. I’m always worried for anyone getting close to Hood OR Proctor. They’re both magnets for destruction.
And young Deva’s never too far from figuring out the family business. In a video game store, she eyes the security cameras. She wants to get Max a game, but it’s just so expensive. We know what’s coming soon. Her mother’s busy working everyday at the diner, dealing with people she can’t stand in a job she does not like all to pretend she’s Carrie Hopewell, sweet wife and proper mother. Her other life is always calling. In the middle of her shift, she leaves her apron and walks out.
On a chase, Rebecca drives. Much to the dismay of Mr. Burton. Well she doesn’t do so bad, all the same. Been practising with Uncle Kai. Out on a road in the countryside she faces the van they’re chasing in a bout of chicken. Love this scene. You can see Clay almost climax when the engine is revving, dying for some chaos. Gotta give it to Rebecca, she heads down the van until they swerve first flipping down the road, and the pair watch on. Yowzahs. They survey the wreck before burning the rest, people still alive inside. Heartless.
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Naturally, Hood is worried about what Siobhan’s going to do with the information she’s learned. There’s no telling. The call about dead Redbones on the highway comes in, begging their attention. Kinaho Officer Aimee King (Meaghan Rath) worries what Chayton Littlestone (Geno Segers) will do after this “act of war“, as she calls it.
At a bar somewhere, Carrie gets a drink with some sleazy dude who’s obviously into her. After a while he comes onto her hard, which gets rebuffed. Then he pushes it to a creepy level. Not the right woman to pull that on, bud. She beats the shit out of him then steals his bike. Next stop, open road. What a bad ass.
Still no word from Siobhan. The sweat is almost visible coming out Hood’s pores. Then he calls Job – end of the day, they’re gone. So dad goes to see his daughter. She rages against him after their last meeting. We get some background on Hood. His dad never cared about him, now he doesn’t want the same to happen with him and his daughter. Deva susses out that he’s planning to leave. “Does it matter that I want you to stay?” she asks. “Yes, it matters,” Hood replies.
With Gordon back on the level, he’s headed for Proctor. Court is coming, though Kai’s lawyer isn’t happy. Nevertheless, Gord is back in town. His wife? She’s getting chased by a cop on her newly stolen bike. Smile across her face, jacking the finger. She disappears down a wooded trail. Only problem is the tank is out of gas. Of course Hood goes to pick her up. All the while, their daughter’s trying to steal an Xbox One game for Max and sets off the sensor alarms.
Poor, sweet Siobhan. She struggles, too. All that knowledge about Hood. It kills me to see this guy just fall in love with women then have to go – to jail, away, wherever. So tragic. As much as he causes chaotic situations, Hood is a good man at heart. Deep down. And he always gets the shitty end of everything. But certainly, he’s not really going to leave; is he?


Finally, Chayton sees his little brother. The corpse charred, melted. Nobody in the Kinaho PD wants to do anything, except Aimee. Now we know for sure Chayton is going to do something seriously intense.
On his way to get leaving Hood can’t help think of Proctor, his reign of terror over Banshee. However, Proctor’s mother is dying and he has bigger things to consider. But Hood pushes himself into the strip club, firing shots at the man himself and nearly killing him. A full-scale brawl breaks out between the men. They fight like animals, beating one another senseless across the stage, off the stripper poles. Proctor even cracks Hood with a bag of nails from the construction. Things get real messy. Hood keeps punching Kai in his ear before almost taking his head or face off, or both, with a saw. And right as Hood is about to smash Kai’s head in with a hammer, Brock shows up to stop the show. Then he cuffs Kai.
Simultaneously, the Kinaho men and women light a fire to properly send Tommy off. The Cadi is filling up with people from Alison Medding, to Kurt Bunker (Tom Pelphrey) looking for Hood again, to Kai in his cell, his lawyeron scene. Siobhan is there, as well. Awful coincidence they’re all jammed together at once, right? Wrong. The Redbones are also locking and loading.
By themselves, Siobhan and Hood talk. She won’t turn him over, simply because Banshee PD would just be obliterated by the secrets. “That badge was never yours to wear,” she explains. Now someone knows the truth about Hood, his beginnings as a thief for Rabbit and all those parts of his true life. “You and me was not a lie,” Hood assures Siobhan: “The only time I ever felt safe was with you.” Only she isn’t happy. She wants him to resign from his post.


No time for anything else now, though.
The Redbones are here! HOOOOOOOOD, COME OUT AND PLAAAAYYYYAAAY!
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After the credits, we simply zoom in tight on Chayton’s war painted face, his eyes, as the shots ring out.
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Excited for the next episode, “Tribal”, as it continues this cliffhanger. Things get real serious, real quick. Lots of guns. Lots of surprises to come. Plus, it’s almost like an homage to Assault on Precinct 13 in certain ways. Maybe the shots of the Redbones and their tables of weapons was even a slight nod to other John Carpenter work? Maybe. Who knows. Either way, I dig. All of it.

Banshee – Season 3, Episode 3: “A Fixer of Sorts”

Cinemax’s Banshee
Season 3, Episode 3: “A Fixer of Sorts”
Directed by Magnus Martens
Written by Justin Britt-Gibson

* For a review of the previous episode, “Snakes & Whatnot” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Real Life is the Nightmare” – click here
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Through the forest, Chayton Littlestone (Geno Segers) runs frantic, bow and arrows in hand. I love how big Segers is naturally, they make him look wildly huge. Here, he gets a nice buck. Putting it down with a neck and spine crack to make sure it’s dead. There’s a brutality to him when he snaps the necks. He does it the same to people and animal alike. He is ferocious, and one of the toughest opponents Lucas Hood (Antony Starr) faces during his entire run in little Banshee county.
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We go back to the end of last episode. Deva (Ryann Shane) leaves. Then as dear dad decides to go after her, a gun clicks in his face at the door – though, like the old cliffhangers, no click this time around. Anyway, it’s the amazing Denis O’Hare playing Special Agent Robert Phillips, part of the FBI’s Internal Affairs department. And he knows EXACTLY who the man parading as Hood is underneath the mask.
Kai Proctor (Ulrich Thomsen) is struggling watching his mother Leah (Jennifer Griffin) die. She’s so sick now, basically being made as comfortable as possible. She worries about her son: “Who will love you, Kai? Who will you love?” Leah asks her son from the depth of her heart. And she adds that Rebecca (Lili Simmons) shouldn’t be living with him. It’s not… proper, so on. Meanwhile, a healthy relationship might be budding. Caretaker Emily Lotus (Tanya Clarke) is starting to see behind his rough exterior. Not saying Kai can ever be forgiven for his sins, nor can they be forgotten. But I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t like to see some redemption out of him.


Now, as Agent Phillips takes Hood in handcuffs prepare for one of the most amazing fight sequences out of any film or television series I’ve ever seen.
Clay Burton (Matthew Rauch) is washing things up outside Proctor’s place. Out by the car, he’s levelled by a tomahawk from the forest. Then Nola Longshadow (Odette Annable) appears. She lays down some vicious threats before Clay begins to fight. They throw each other around so wildly, bashing the hell out of one another, punches, kicks, tomahawk and blade slices. Through the car, all over it. Both take immense amounts of damage. What I love over all else is how they both start flashing back to these dark days of torture in their lives – he was whipped, beaten to the brink; she was shot up, abused, who knows what other terrible shit. So there’s a great parallel. These two impeccable fighters, doing the dance right ’till death.
Up to the point where Clay sneaks the hood ornament off Proctor’s car, planting it directly in Nola’s throat. A nasty practical effect, a vicious result. Especially after Burton rips her trachea completely out. One of the wilder moments of blood and gore on Banshee. This season seems intent, especially later, on pushing the boundaries for what they can do with the effects. Even the CGI, at times, is solid; a few missteps, nothing serious. But here, it’s all so damn gnarly in the best way possible.

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Job (Hoon Lee) and Sugar (Frankie Faison) are doing a bit of data stealing. To make fake identification for the crew. Inside they go through a highly secure building. A close call, though they’re able to get what they need; six I.Ds. The banter between these two is ALWAYS worth it. God damn, I love Job.
So out on the road now, Agent Phillips explains to Hood he discovered the remains of Agent Jim Racine out in those fields. Of course, he found the file on Hood. Started speculating. Oh my, y’know where all that leads. However, you have to wonder: why’s one single agent, up against a force like the man now known as Hood, out picking him up? There’s more afoot. For the time being, Phillips questions Hood about why he’d bother coming to Banshee at all. Is it all for love? Or is he a glutton for punishment? Well, Phillips is clearly not prepared. Because Hood does as Hood does, gets loose, then starts to leave.
Only a man Tasers him down. Shit. Where’s this headed?
And at Proctor’s place, Emily winds up helping Clay stitch his wounds, after he starts in on himself and butchers them in his brutalized state. She’s sweet, and doesn’t judge who any of them are in that house. She goes on stitching him up. We see him move away from her touch immediately, then slowly give in to her car.


Hood is now tangled up with some mysterious stuff. He’s in a waiting room, and the waiting room is in an eighteen-wheeler. He tries opening the door, but that only leads to fast moving pavement beneath him. Meanwhile, getting knocked out again, Hood flashes back and forth to different periods of his arrest during the diamond heist.
Finally waking, he discovers himself tied, across from Agent Phillips likewise tied, and introduced to the infamous Raymond Walton Brantley (Shuler Hensley) that Jason Hood once spoke of – the guy to whom he owed money. This Brantley is huge, so that’s why he travels in a massive tractor trailer. Anyway, he lays it all out for Hood, who quickly puts it all together. I can’t get enough of this whole angle. So over-the-top, while also awesome. It’s so wild that it works. Anything works in Banshee, as the premise itself was always something spectacularly fun, a little foolish but exciting.
Back in the woods around Banshee, Aimee King (Meaghan Rath) tries to find Chayton Littlestone for a talk. She isn’t happy he stole those guns from the military. Yet he’s so lost in his idea of a heroic, violent tribe that there is almost no reaching him whatsoever. He and Aimee have a history, like brother and sister. Things have certainly changed, though. They’re now at very opposite ends of a long spectrum.

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Onboard the truck, Hood has to figure out his next move. Things don’t look good, some of the worst he’s seen, honestly. That doesn’t change when the torture starts. First, they soak him down a bit. Then one of the henchman puts on an electrified glove and starts shocking Hood, one after another, after another. The shock glove is a great and devastating addition to this whole thing. They up it a notch by hanging Hood down through the floor of the truck to “give him some fresh air.”
At the Cadi, Deputies Brock Lotus (Matt Servitto) and Siobhan Kelly (Trieste Kelly Dunn) worry about where Hood’s been all day. Little do they know. She goes out looking for info on the sheriff’s whereabouts, getting a slight piece of assurance from Sugar.
Hood makes up a story. He tells Brantley that he killed Jason, on account of being blackmailed after killing Quentin. This satisfies the big man. Although, he wants to see Jason’s body, plus get the money back. Simultaneously, Agent Phillips is taken out to be dropped off, and likely killed.
Disobeying Chayton’s orders, Tommy Littlestone (Ricky Russert) and his friends head out with some guns. Into Proctor’s strip club. They shoot the place up. They didn’t count on Brock being there. He calls in the BDP, which brings Deputy Billy Raven (Chaske Spencer) into the mix.


In the woods, Phillips is about to be murdered. He manages to get loose, for a while. He’s made to dig his own grave after that.
On the truck, Hood lures in his prey, rips the chair’s arms off and then does a number on ole Brantley. Love the editing, cutting from Hood/Brantley to Lotus at the club choking out a Redbone. Best of all is when Hood tosses Brantley out through the hole in the floor, as he gets chewed up by the tires running him down. Problem is that there’s a man driving, he has a camera to look in back. Now he knows his boss is dead, so Hood’s got problems. Naturally, he fends the guy off after a bit of gunplay.
Things at the strip club deteriorate, a tragic event comes down: Billy is forced to shoot Chayton’s little brother Tommy. You can just see the revenge already, that vengeance Chayton will be ready to rain down on the Banshee Police Department.


In his own grave, Phillips waits to take his bullet. Before he can Hood saves him, shotgunning the Brantley henchmen to death. With his gun drawn on Phillips, how do things go down from here? Seems Phillips went and left all the information on Hood, his past, with somebody. Hmm. He’s probably staying in that grave now.
That somebody is Siobhan. She sees the interrogation tapes with Dt. Bonner. The file, his mugshot. The fact he has no identity. “Who the hell are you?” she asks, wondering what we’ve all wondered this entire time. There could be some major fallout after this event.
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After the credits, we see Billy Raven doing a Kinaho prayer over the corpse of Tommy Littlestone in the morgue. He knows there’s something terrible coming his way soon.
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One amazing episode, all around. In so many ways, from writing to the action to the blood and practical effects. Every last bit is perfect.
Pumped to rewatch the next episode “Real Life is the Nightmare”, as the third season of this glorious series gets more intense than possibly ever before.

Banshee – Season 3, Episode 2: “Snakes and Whatnot”

Cinemax’s Banshee
Season 3, Episode 2: “Snakes & Whatnot”
Directed by Loni Peristere
Written by Halley Wegryn Gross

* For a review of the Season 3 premiere, “The Fire Trials” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “A Fixer of Sorts” – click here
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Love how this episode’s opening starts off completely different than any other one before it, even the Massive Attack theme itself is remixed. Really gets Season 3 going after its first episode. Nice touch.
What we see is the Proctor trucks get packed with drugs before they’re shipped off, as Kai (Ulrich Thomsen) and niece Rebecca (Lili Simmons) look on.
Elsewhere in Banshee, Carrie (Ivana Milicevic) is being pursued at work by her suitor, Colonel Stowe (Langley Kirkwood). Also, Hood (Antony Starr) and Deputy Siobhan Kelly (Trieste Kelly Dunn) are thinking of moving in together.
Best of all, we have a new addition to the cast, one that proves interesting – Kurt Bunker (Tom Pelphrey). He’s a former neo-Nazi, trying to shed his old skin, as well as remove all his old tattoos. He wants in on the sheriff’s department, having been with one in Florida. For now, he’s turned away.


At the slaughterhouse, Kai is trying to get business settled. While the place was shut down others took up the slack. Well things go sideways when one of the men insults Kai, and his niece blows the guy’s legs nearly all the way off. This causes lots of death. Seems like uncle has a problem child on his hands. All the same, that’s his own fault. He killed a man that was sleeping with her then ground his body up in front of her. Plus, he’s obviously been sleeping with her. God, she has no chance at ever being normal again.
Gordon (Rus Blackwell) isn’t feeling normal, either. He’s feeling less like himself every day. He and Alison Medding (Afton Williamson) are trying to do some work, but Gordon’s trying to adjust to everything. Being mayor’s bad enough, not to mention all his other problems.
Back with Sugar (Frankie Faison), Carrie, and Job (Hoon Lee), Hood is trying to get them geared up for their latest job. Now that Carrie knows Stowe is cooking the books at the base, that he’s who they’re stealing from, things get sticky. And Hood notices there’s something on her mind.
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Job: “This aint just another bad motherfucker. This the guy they send in to clean out all the other bad motherfuckers.”


Kai heads out to Amish county. His father tries to stop him from seeing his mother, but Kai goes on anyway. She’s not well, spitting up blood. Instead of letting things go on, the loving son literally carries his mother out and to the hospital. She has pancreatic cancer; a month to live. Breaks my heart, even while Kai is a sick guy. There’s likely a reason why he is that way. So it kills me to watch his mother die and he’s basically trying to do all he can, after being separated for such a long time from her, his family. He finally wants to make something right, somehow. That’s heartbreaking.
In a motel room, Carrie and Stowe meet for more sex. He’s an aggressive man, he takes what he wants. But now she decides they have to break it off, as there’s this other thing happening in her life; the heist. She makes up excuses, though we know that’s what drives the decision ultimately. Worst of all, we discover Stowe is slightly unstable. Not only a Marine, a bad ass one at that. He is unsettlingly off balance. And once Carrie heads to her car, she finds Hood’s followed her: “You really like your military man,” he quips. Part jealousy, part professional curiosity and concern.
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Chayton Littlestone (Geno Segers) is readying his Redbones for war. They fire automatic rifles, as he preaches to them. About Adolf Hitler’s madness. About Proctor, his slaughter of the Kinaho leader. He then sends men to get Kai and Rebecca. Oh, man. This is going to get intense. Also, Chayton’s younger brother Tommy (Ricky Russert) wants to take on more, not wanting others to think he’s getting a free ride being the big guy’s brother. What I worry is that this will end up with the youngest brother dead, the older one on a rampage. However, we’ll have to wait and see how that plays out.
Meanwhile, Nola Longshadow (Odette Annable) is still sticking around. She’s not as connected to the tribe like Chayton. We discover she had a troubled youth, that Chayton was a sort of saviour to her. All the same, she is not sure he’s able to take on Proctor, that he’s prepared. So there may be a diverging path between these two Native American souls; one goes one way, one headed in the other opposite direction.
Through underground tunnels, Carrie and Hood are checking out the spot for their military robbery. Everything’s being laid out, the specifics ironed, so on. Simultaneously, we see more of Colonel Stowe and his personality, his demeanour. The fact they’re headed for a big showdown with this guy later in this season is going to be explosive. You can tell by his ominous nature that this will be quite a test for the crew.

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Redbones descend upon the Proctor residence. As Rebecca gets out of the pool, they attack. She fends them off a bit first. Afterwards, the ever psychotic Clay Burton (Matthew Rauch) takes down the ones she can’t manage. Chayton’s efforts are thwarted already. You can never, ever underestimate Proctor, but especially not Burton. He is a beast.
Deputy Brock (Matt Servitto) is in bed with ex-wife Emily again. Hard as he tries, he can’t get away. Moreover, he’s on duty and she can’t deal with that. Per usual. A typical stock character ex-wife of a cop that can’t handle her husband’s job. So off he goes, to do that job, despite her issues.
Scouting their job, Hood gets word about the Proctor home assault. He heads to check it out, finding dead Redbones and a roughed up Rebecca. Proctor and Hood have a few words, about starting wars, instigating shit. The sheriff’s still not a friend of Kai’s nowadays. In terms of things with the Kinaho, now Deputy Billy Raven (Chaske Spencer) is getting pulled into things. So that’s bound to be messy. Up at the rez, Billy tries getting people to talk, they’re just not so eager when he’s got a BPD uniform on. Then it all kicks off once Hood starts throwing punches. We’re further introduced to some rez police, Aimee King (Meaghan Rath), which takes further inside life amongst the Kinaho. We’ve got Kinaho PD mucking things up now, unwilling to work with Hood and unimpressed with Raven returning to the rez.
At the Proctor place, Kai is getting a nurse to come in to start taking care of his mother – funny enough, it’s Emily, ex-wife of Brock Lotus. Jesus. Can things tangle up any more? You betcha.

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At the diner where Carrie works, the man she fended off last episode tries to cause trouble. Just as she’s almost in trouble – though is Carrie ever really in danger? – Nola arrives, kicks the shit out of the dude, again, and sits down for apple pie. Crooked Native American Chief’s sister and the Ukranian gangster’s daughter. Very fun. They do a little back and forth before having a bit of Scotch to boot, bonding over “sins of the fathers” and the like. Nice scene to tack on here.
Deva (Ryann Shane) goes to see her dad. To hang out. Although, he worries every second she’s around him. Nothing good happens to the people near him. He wants to keep her at arm’s length, as well as the fact he doesn’t want to disrespect Gordon, after all that’s happened. Even at the expense of a relationship with his own daughter.
When Deva storms out, he goes after her. But at the door is a gun clicking, ready to shoot. Who could it be?

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After the credits, we watch a crazy Colonel Stowe, naked eating a steak. Doing everything he can not to go completely insane.
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What an episode. Love the progression here, as Season 3 is cooking with gas already in its first two opening chapters. Next is “A Fixer of Sorts” and it is not only one of the highest rated episodes of the series, it’s another favourite. Containing possibly the single best fight ever on television. Stay with me for another recap and review, FatherSonHolyGore style!

Banshee – Season 3, Episode 1: “The Fire Trials”

Cinemax’s Banshee
Season 3, Episode 1: “The Fire Trials”
Directed by Loni Peristere
Written by Jonathan Tropper

* For a review of the Season 2 finale, “Bullets & Tears” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Snakes & Whatnot” – click here
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One of the Nazis that killed Emmett and his wife is being hunted. By whom? Oh, you know. Sheriff Lucas Hood (Antony Starr). Shotgun and all. Because in a town like Banshee, with a sheriff like that, you do not want to be on the wrong side of the law.
Except it ain’t just Hood. There’s Deputies Brock Lotus (Matt Servitto) and Siobhan Kelly (Trieste Kelly Dunn), too. They’re all along for the ride this time. And it scares this little Nazi to death. “Youre the sheriff,” he yells, to which Hood replies: “Allegedly.” Right before they gun him down, cold blooded. It isn’t one criminal on the force now. They’ve all gone in head first.
But this is part of the Banshee‘s greatness. It makes us cross that grey area and wonder, what would you do? Personally, I’d probably do the same as them in the same situation, I’m no better. The fun of this series is some of the moral dilemmas in which the writer places the audience.
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Carrie (Ivana Milicevic) and Gordon (Rus Blackwell) are no more, as she has intense sex with Colonel Douglas Stowe (Langley Kirkwood). He seems totally cool with their lax relationship. At the very same time, Siobhan and Hood are in bed together continually becoming closer. What’ll be interesting to watch this series is how both Carrie and Hood move on. From everything, from one another. There are some exciting plots this season, so get ready.
Kai Proctor (Ulrich Thomsen) seems to have finally crossed the line. He wakes up in bed when Clay Burton (Matthew Rauch) comes to get him. Only he isn’t alone: his niece Rebecca Bowman (Lili Simmons) wakes up, naked, next to him. Oh. My. God. Kai, you’ve really done it now. This is hideous. More hideous than what he’s doing downstairs with a guy Clay’s interrogated all night.
Everyone at the station misses Emmett. In his absence, Deputy Billy Raven (Chaske Spencer) has taken the job. They don’t treat him badly, but Billy wants them to respect him. Surely he’ll prove himself along the way. In the meantime, the “dead neoNazi with multiple priors” they shot and killed is zipped up; looks like a regular shooting, no suspicion on them. Brock is a little rattled, and questions why Hood isn’t. The mystery man keeps things cloudy, of course.


In the woods, men fight around a camp fire – The Fire Trials, a Redbone tradition. As if summoned from the depths, Chayton Littlestone (Geno Segers) returns. He’s come back. Will he have to re-prove himself? Seems like it. The man who took his place requires a fight, their tradition requires it. Not much of a challenge for someone as dangerous and powerful as Chayton. He takes back the throne and gears up the Redbones for real action.
For the first time, we’re seeing the inner life of Brock Lotus. He intercepts a call from Billy at the BPD. How come, I wonder? Well, Brock has an ex-wife, Emily (Tanya Clarke). She does this a lot, apparently. She’s lonely, blames Brock for their divorce because he’s career oriented. Cheated on him. Yet it’s clear that Brock can’t let himself get away from her completely. Afterwards, Brock has a drink with Emmett at his grave. I feel so god damn bad for Lotus. He is a good man that’s been sucked into so much chaos, so many lies. Plus, his wife and all that, everything’s just up against him.
And then there’s poor Deva (Ryann Shane). Not only is she reeling from all the things happening in her parents lives, she is further becoming much too similar to her parents. In that thieving comes naturally. Luckily, it’s Hood himself that finds Deva and her friends robbing a head shop. Bit of daddy-daughter time. He teaches her a little bit about robbery, the good parent he is, as simultaneously her mother is out doing some sneaking of her own.


Deva: “You think I wanted to get caught?”
Hood: “Selfdestruction runs in the family
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At home, Carrie finds Gordon waiting for her. He isn’t happy she was out doing whatever while the kids were at home, all alone. Right then and there Hood arrives with Deva. She’s got questions about their past. For his part, he does his best to make Carrie look good to her daughter. There’s good and bad about what Carrie did. On the one hand, she tried to protect her family. On the other hand, she let Deva’s real father go on unknowing, in prison. All alone. A sweet moment between Deva and Hood, as he basically confesses his love for her, his daughter. Then I feel awful for Gordon while he’s talking to Hood: “I dont care who made her, Im her father,” he chokes out through the tears.
Outside the strip joint Rebecca finds a hand around her throat, pinning her to the wall. Chayton. He threatens to come for all of them. Real soon. Seeing as how they’ve taken Alex Longshadow out. Now that’s some war talk if there ever were, and it rocks Rebecca to the core. This is what being in business – and in bed – with Uncle Kai truly means.
On a road down from the military base around Banshee, Chayton fires a compound bow at a bunch of soldiers. Then some Redbones show up for a gunfight. Yikes. Things are moving fast now that Big Littlestone is back in the county. Hood and Lotus arrive on scene to put up some fire. However, Chayton and the Redbones already have the upper hand. And once Hood sees who it is causing the shit, he’s really thrown for a loop.


Up at the base, Hood goes to meet Colonel Stowe concerning the trouble on the road earlier. Most interesting is when Hood sees what’s being kept at the base – drugs, weaponry, and best of all MONEY, tons of it. Oh, man. Just the way he looks at the cash, he may as well lick his lips. This can’t mean anything good, especially considering Carrie’s in bed with Stowe. For the time being, Hood is being cut out of the investigation. That only lights a fire underneath him. What I love is that we know Hood is ex-military, of some sort. So watching him come up against these guys will be interesting.
Afterwards, Hood calls Sugar Bates (Frankie Faison) about that “one big job” they’ve talked about, a possible collaboration they could get together on. This brings them to think of Job (Hoon Lee), who’s busy with a gun pointed at him, forced to hack. But as always, he’s one step ahead of everyone else, Fat Au (Eddie Cooper) in his corner with the fire power. Wonderful action sequence here with Job popping off rounds and getting right in the middle of the shit. When he gets onboard, everything is moving, though Job definitely has reservations about the soldiers, the big guns, all that sort of stuff. Meanwhile, Carrie is not happy, and you can be sure this is something that might keep her spirit up.
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After the credits, Chayton sits carving symbols into his bow. Readying for war.
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What an amazing opener to Season 3. Oh, and Nola Longshadow (Odette Annable) is still kicking around. Prepared to avenge the death of her brother. What will she do?
Next episode is titled “Snakes & Whatnot”, so stick around and I’ll have another recap/review for you shortly.

Peaky Blinders – Season 3, Episode 4

BBC Two’s Peaky Blinders
Season 3, Episode 4
Directed by Tim Mielants
Written by Steven Knight

* For a review of Episode 3, click here.
* For a review of Episode 5, click here.
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The lads are out hunting. They gun down a fine buck, the whole clan out and about, from Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy) to Arthur (Paul Anderson) and all the rest. Love this opener, as it’s strangely ominous. And these dudes know how to ride a god damn horse.
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Good Friday’s come round. Tommy gets a letter that their father is dead. A woman he was with while he died wrote them, saying he asked their forgiveness. Finn (Harry Kirton) and John (Joe Cole) are too young to really remember him. They hunt, in part, to do some honour to him. Piece of shit he was and all. Otherwise, Tom talks business about the upcoming robbery.
Meanwhile, Aunt Pol (Helen McCrory) is in the confessional. Is there one big enough to contain all her sins? Doubt it. Anyway, she chats with the reluctant father. She reveals little bits. About the murder of a policeman, Inspector Campbell. What she tells him is that she feels no regret for it. That his murder was just. And I somewhat agree with Polly.
At the Shelby organization, the women are doing a good bit of the work. Not just Polly, but Lizzie (Natasha O’Keeffe) and others, as well. Turns out, she’s sleeping with Tommy, now and then. When he feels like it. “Its hard to sleep bent over a desk, isnt it?” she laments.
At the same time, Michael Gray (Finn Cole) is slipping further into the business of his family. Tommy’s giving everybody the low down with the Lanchester Factory blueprints to boot. They’ve got big plans ahead, if only the robbery goes as planned. Set them all up for life and then some. One last job. Not everyone’s so eager, such as family friend Charlie Strong (Ned Dennehy), though everybody’s in all the same.


Now Linda (Kate Phillips) is over trying to help at the organization. Only thing is she’s too proper and prim for any of the illegal stuff. She’s fine with doing little bits and pieces around the place. Then there’s lots of talk about female empowerment, strikes on Good Friday by disenfranchised women, which sends Polly off. She and the women march downtown, visually similar to earlier when we saw Tommy and the lads ride their horses. LOVE the stylish camera work and techniques they use throughout the series, as well as again having to mention the anachronistic music. Often this might hinder a period piece. Here, it enhances the fun.
Over at his office, Tommy meets Princess Tatiana Petrovna (Gaite Jansen) to talk more business. He mentions being hurt to kill a stag. Yet would feel nothing to “put a bullet in the priests face.” May be more than business on the table, apparently Tatiana comes as part of their deal. Then John rushes in quick to tell his older brother about the women gone on strike. Also, John has trouble with his wife Esme (Aimee-Ffion Edwards) who can’t keep off the cocaine while she’s pregnant. But everybody is trying their best to turn things around, in all sorts of ways.
Tommy and Tatiana end up in bed together. Of course. They get closer, chatting about their weakness, desire. More importantly, they speak of possibilities. Well, she’s a bit wild. Taking his gun and running off through the halls of his nice big house. She leads him on a little chase. Then opts for a bit of Russian Roulette, y’know, a game she used to play. This freaks him out: “And I dont want your mad fucking Russians brains all over me fuckinwalls.” What a way to follow up some old fashion lovemaking. Tatiana tries to run the house, showing Tommy what it is to be royalty, to have money and be a big shot. Except that’s not who he is, really. And still there is a part of him that likes the dark madness in her. Above all else, she encourages him to do what he wants. Not to be afraid of freedom any longer.
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The Shelby brothers get together once more. More maps and plans to help them during the robbery. They’re looking for a Russian speaker, possibly finding one in a young man that’s looking to get himself a bit of cash. Lizzie and the rest of the women have formed a union. Polly’s in a bit of a hangover state, so part of her hubris is alcohol. But there’s no backing down. They have terms. Before that, Tommy discovers Arthur’s been telling his wife lots. About the robbery – not the factory, but their other one. The robbery that’s been planned undercover from the women and everyone else. So that’s not going to be good. He knows Linda finds out everything. Moreover, Tommy later talks to Linda. She knows far more than is good for health. The extent to which Arthur lets his wife in on things worries the brother in charge. What’s more is that Arthur wouldn’t be happy to find out these talks are happening behind his back, he may see that as something emasculating. Regardless, Linda wants to get away to America instead of sticking around Birmingham.
Simultaneously, Father Hughes (Paddy Considine) is finding out there may be danger coming his way. And that’s certain to set off a counteracted action on his side.
Ruben Oliver (Alexander Siddig) is still painting Polly, in all her glory. He is quite seductive and charming in his own way. Although, she does not fall for it. She is one of the strongest women on television.


Polly: “I think when men want sex they become hilarious, like a dog when you pick up a lead and he knows hes going for a walk.”
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Tommy’s off readying to get the deed done on Father Hughes. He slyly follows the priest until getting ambushed in a toilet by a couple men. They beat Tommy badly before loading him into an ambulance. He’s carted off somewhere dark and mysterious where Father Hughes stands over him with MP Jarvis (Alex Macqueen). They want to know why Tommy tried killing the priest. Mostly he just goes in and out of consciousness, managing a “fuck you” in between. Hughes talks about passing information over to the Soviet Union, as well as expecting an apology in front of the Russians. Big threats, too. Directed towards Tom’s son. “We have people in your life,” warns Hughes.
Wow. So with all the reach of the Blinders, this priest seems to have even more. His grasp is tough and vicious. Back at the house, Tommy sacks most of the people in his employ. Can’t trust a soul any more. Worse, he has quite a concussion by the looks of it. Not doing well at all. He shows up to the Russian dinner half concussed, half blown on the cocaine. At the table with the Grand Duke and Duchess (Jan Bijvoet/Dina Korzun), he does his best to apologize with Hughes ranting on about punishment.
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Saying a prayer in repentance, Tommy winces through. But everyone in attendance knows there’s something wrong. Tom rushes off to another meeting. Only he can’t manage to keep it together much longer. The concussion finally takes its toll on him. He collapses, telling Ada (Sophine Rundle) to get him to a hospital, that he has internal bleeding, a fractured skull. Then he fades away.
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What an excellent episode that progresses plot and character. Not only that, Tommy Shelby is proven once again to not be a completely invincible, untouchable gangster, as awesome as he is there’s no need for him to be completely God-like. So I love that this is a new move towards a more vulnerable Tommy, and Shelby organization as a whole. Excited for the next episode. Stay tuned with me, fellow lads and ladies!

Peaky Blinders – Season 3, Episode 3

BBC Two’s Peaky Blinders
Season 3, Episode 3
Directed by Tim Mielants
Written by Steven Knight

* For a review of Episode 2, click here.
* For a review of Episode 4, click here.
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After the vicious events of last episode’s finale, Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy) is most certainly ready for vengeance. His wife is dead now. Grace is gone. Or is he deciding on something else instead of revenge?
Everybody’s worried about him, as he’s been leaving all day on horseback and doing his own thing alone. Things are touchy, of course. No one wants to push him any further over the edge than he seems to be headed. Polly (Helen McCrory) clearly cares, but he wants none of it. Arthur and John (Paul Anderson/Joe Cole) are a bit pissed they weren’t all called in.
However, brothers is brothers. It all gets along. Well the Italians are getting locked down and the score’s ready to be settled. Tommy’s taken to writing up lists for everybody, so like Polly and Michael Gray (Finn Cole), the brothers likewise get their slip. John’s not happy that Michael was brought in before him. This eventually prompts Tommy to yell at his younger brother. He’s most concerned with “legitimate business” now after the death of his wife.


A little later Arthur gets up in Michael’s face after egging him on. Although nothing comes of it. They eventually sit back down for a few more drinks. For her part, Polly wants them all to start acting more appropriate to people with a big house, money, et cetera. And to unite with Tommy.
Only Tommy’s off with his little boy and Johnny Dogs (Packy Lee) headed for Wales. To see a woman, he says. Back in 3 days he tells them via note. A journey is needed. On a little stop, Tommy tells his child about his mother, what happened, and how things will be ahead of them. Though, he expresses: “Im not much good, Charlie. Youre gonna find that out soon enough.”


Teaching Michael how to shoot turns out wild for John and Arthur, as he puts the gun to both of them being led on by their taunts. Seems like there’s going to be actual fallout between these three. After all, Arthur continually pushes at Michael for being a ‘boss’ even though the latter doesn’t have any ambition to jump over them. Yet the insecurities of the oldest Shelby are abound. Either way, they try and teach Michael about their “side of the business” until Polly breaks it up. Michael makes clear he ain’t no little boy. GREAT SONG included here as “Burn the Witch” by Queens of the Stone Age plays and the Shelby brothers fire away on their guns. Nice little scene. Maybe Michael’s going to start getting his hands dirty and into the shit. We’ll see how it plays.
Down at the factory, the Shelby brothers meet with Connor Nutley (Ralph Ineson). They hand him a list of people involved with the Communist Party. He’s got six weeks to “sack them” or else, y’know… but Connor isn’t so easily convinced. The man is clearly just a working bloke and the Shelby clan are forcing his hand.
At the same time, Polly’s getting painted by Ruben Oliver (Alexander Siddig). She plays coy, but does have interest in him. I get the idea Polly is used to things going poorly, or downright awful. She’s seen hardship galore. So that’s perhaps a reason why she stands back at a distance. Here, she breaks down a bit in front of Ruben. He seems a sweet man. A bit eccentric, not weird just a painter type. For a moment she believes he’s into the fact she’s a “gangster” but he is more so into her, as subject, and a hopeful lover.


Tommy’s out on the marshlands and meeting a gypsy woman named Bethany Boswell (Frances Tomelty). He brings her the sapphire that’s supposedly cursed, the one his wife wore while getting shot. He believes in the curse, it seems. Although, Ms. Boswell doesn’t appear to get any bad vibes off the piece. Mainly, he hopes the curse is real so that is absolves him of guilt in his wife’s death. “All I have is you,” he tells the gypsy. No religion, none of that. She believes it’s cursed, saying it nearly burns her flesh. Then he heads out: “All religion is a foolish answer to a foolish question,” he explains to Dogs.
Vicente Changretta (Kenneth Colley) is headed to get on a ship in the midst of a massive crowd. His look increasingly nervous. Soon, he sees a suspicious man heading for him. He flags down a polcie officer and feels safe escorted onto the boat. Little does he know, the law is bought and paid by Shelby money. It’s all worse because Changretta’s wife taught the Shelby boys, she pushes them to let him go, reminding them of their youth under her tutelage: “I gave you sweets and cakes!” she cries. They disobey Tommy by letting his wife go, though. There may be hell to pay for this decision. Now, Mrs. Changretta is off to America on her own. You can see it definitely bothers John, so underneath the rough exterior of a gangster still lies the heart of a boy.
Some nice Nick Cave in this sequence with “Tupelo” jamming. The Shelby clan is busy in this episode, man. They don’t stop with the aggression. Certainly after the death of Grace, this is expected. Tommy is there now to do what he will with Changretta. The gig is up. Only Arthur steps in to finish Changretta off quick, as John also reveals they didn’t kill his wife. They don’t want to be that sort of gangster. Like a distinction can be made.


Tommy (to Changretta): “I forget who I am. Im a Blinder, Ill take your fuckin eyes first.”
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So Tom goes home with his boy and he tries getting back to business. He and Lizzie have a chat about her place in the Shelby Company. All sorts of legal stuff, selling perfumes and all that proper stuff; in Boston no less. Maybe things aren’t so bad for her after all.
In a jail cell, Tommy meets a gentleman who has information he needs. Wants. Badly. About Section D, or whatever they want to be called. The man warns the people he’s after are “dangerous“, but Tommy isn’t deterred. The Blinders are pretty fucking dangerous.
Arthur’s back on the booze. Although I doubt his wife is aware. She’s more happy about the baby they’re going to have. Wow! Papa Arthur. That sounds like a god damn mess all around. He seems happy as hell, but I’m not so sure he’s cut out for the family life like a normal chap. Or could it be the thing which turns him around? Maybe he’s not as ruthless any more after having spared Mrs. Changretta. There’s possibly a turnaround.
Anyway, Arthur reveals the big news to everybody. The boys are all impressed. Tommy is a bit heavy hearted to see his brother happy with a family, yet he obviously loves his brother. “Proud of ya,” he tells Arthur before heading off to a meeting.


At a swanky dinner, Tommy meets Father Hughes (Paddy Considine), Grand Duke and Duchess Petrovna (Jan Bijvoet/Dina Korzun), the whole lot. They chat together, Tommy answering questions about his family, so forth. The shady priest leads everyone in a nice grace. But Tom wants to get down to business. He lays out the update on their mission, all the stuff with the Communist Party and the plan for the robbery. Big event. Tom has it all under control and answers any question they lob at him. Something about Hughes strikes me as odd. He keeps interrupting all over the place, which doesn’t really please Tommy. Nevertheless, Tom slips a note to the Grand Duchess without anyone else getting to see what it says, pretending it’s a price for fuel and vehicles. Then he insults Hughes before leaving them all to their dinner.


The Duchess sends her daughter Tatiana (Gaite Jansen) out to talk with Tommy. He tells her about Hughes passing information over that’s going back to the Soviet embassy. He offers to kill him. Tatiana mouths off a bit about his wife, to which Tommy responds saying Grace is always with him. A strong moment, great writing.
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Loved this fucking episode. What a whopper, and unexpected. Really subverted what I thought was going to go typically like other mob-styled shows. Never underestimate the power of Steven Knight as a writer. Great chapter, looking forward to next week’s episode now so bad.