From TV Series

Slasher – Season 1, Episode 7: “In the Pride of His Face”

Chiller’s Slasher
Season 1, Episode 7: “In the Pride of His Face”
Directed by Craig David Wallace
Written by Aaron Martin

* For a review of the previous episode, “He Who Sows His Own Flesh” – click here
* For a review of the Season 1 finale, “Soon Your Own Eyes Will See” – click here


The penultimate episode of Slasher‘s first season begins in the aftermath of Captain Iain Vaughn (Dean McDermott) being burned alive in a crematorium.
Sarah Bennett (Katie McGrath) is visiting with Tom Winston (Patrick Garrow). She wants to know the full truth, now that they’re being honest with one another.
Flashback to 1988, Halloween night. A young Tom, as The Executioner, murders the pregnant wife and her husband. Whereas the pilot took us up until the door shut, this episode gives us what happened behind the door. Laura’s mother reveals the baby belongs to her and Tom. This stops him in his tracks. Momentarily.
In the present, Tom claims it was to “save” her from their parentage. But he won’t give up anything further.Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 4.24.27 AMRobin (Christopher Jacot) comforts Sarah, as best he can. Meanwhile, at home Dylan (Brandon Jay McLaren) is trying to make amends, for being a “bad husband” and not paying her enough attention while lavishing in the bit of praise given to him for his coverage of the killings in Waterbury. Could he still be a suspect? You never know. She wants to leave, she wants him to stop covering the story. He doesn’t necessarily say that’ll happen, only: “I dont wanna lose you.”
A creepy sub-genre moment sees Cam Henry (Steve Byers) sneak in behind behind Officer Sharma (Shawn Ahmed), as they find a room filled with The Executioner’s Seven Deadly Sins drawings. The whole scene is creepy. They find all sorts of things, diaries, lists. Even one that says Sarah and Tom are in the crosshairs for the sin of Pride.
More than ever now Dylan is appearing suspicious. The way he talks with Sarah makes him seem strange. So late in the game, could he be a definite suspect now? It’s easy to be suspicious, though. The red herring game is strong in writer Aaron Martin, following along excellently with the slasher sub-genre trope. Even further than that Sarah catches Dylan in a bit of a lie, making him that much more suspicious. He’s followed The Executioner story since before they met. He did it all for a lead that eventually brought about their marriage. He lied about it all. Sketchy.


Still, Dylan’s out in front of the cameras. All the while, Cam is keeping Sarah safe. And Tom Winston’s being transported elsewhere. That is until he launches an escape, choking out Officer Sharma and then looming over the paramedic. Terrifying.
Lisa Ann Follows (Enuka Okuma) is dangling a book deal in front of Dylan. Could he be guilty of Pride himself? Could this all be a deflection?
Well Winston shows up to take Sarah. Not for anything nefarious, obviously. He wants to protect her, afraid that Cam and the police can’t do the job properly. This is an excellently written series of events because we’re placed in a strange position, at once hating Tom for being a vicious murderer, and at the same time rooting for him because he’s, oddly enough, a caring father at the bottom of it all. The father in him comes out now that we know for sure, and it’s sickly a sweet situation in ways. Again, that’s the sort of paradox writer Martin puts us in; to hate and admire the original Executioner.
Sarah and Tom have a cute little chat about her past, her grandmother, camping, and so on. She again asks why Tom killed her mother and her husband. Then out of nowhere, Tom starts seizing. He manages to smash her phone, but urges her to run – The Executioner could trace the call, if he’s tricky tricky tricky. The police, they catch her phone. Cam and Dylan are both concerned. Even Father Alan Henry (Rob Stewart) offers to help.
Is it coincidence that right after the priest heads out to search The Executioner captures Tom and Sarah?
We find out after that Sarah is guilty of “playing God” when she attempted suicide. That’s why The Executioner has slated her for death. Tom begs for the life of his daughter. But the killer is not interested in that.
Back to 1988. A young Tom Winston preaches in a church. Laura’s mother Rachel shows up and joins the congregation. Tom’s actually talking about Alan Henry, the sins of Waterbury. Cut to him in bed with Rachel. He’s wracked with guilt, and he’s in love with her. The whole situation is tough, especially once things with the married couple devolve. We’re getting a better perspective on why Tom felt so betrayed by everything; he had no idea about being filmed. Such a heavy revelation. I’d not expected this whole angle particularly. The couple blackmailed Tom into leaving their burgeoning enterprise alone. This is what drove him to madness. To murder.


So this is the story of Tom Winston’s Pride.
The Executioner plans to kill Sarah, but instead Tom gives himself up for her. “I love you, Sarah,” he says before going willing into the arms of the killer. He lays down upon the saw, broken on the wheel, and it tears him apart. What a bloody, violent death for Tom! Wow. Very impressed with the horror elements in this episode. Quite vicious.
Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 5.04.16 AM

It is our duty, our burden, to take action against sin wherever we may find it.”

Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 5.06.26 AMSarah’s escaped the grip of The Executioner. Her life keeps getting stranger and stranger, more complex, and not in any sort of good way. Then a mannequin of The Executioner pops up int the middle of town, including a note for Sarah specifically. The plot only thickens.
At home, Father Henry is a little too chipper. Another red herring? Or perhaps his talk of the town being “cleansed” is more than just talk?
There are certainly secrets in the Henry household. In a closet, Cam has a box of mementos. He adds a new one – a piece of bloody shirt, one an awful lot like that which Tom wore. Is this really it? Is Cam truly The Executioner? WHOA! WHOA! WHOA! I had my suspicions, but still. This changes the game.Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 5.09.56 AMScreen Shot 2016-04-09 at 5.11.35 AMStay with me, fellow fans. I love this series. I don’t care what anyone else says, despite the flaws and all. Lots of fun. Next episode, the finale, is titled “Soon Your Own Eyes Will See” and we will get our answers.

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Slasher – Season 1, Episode 5: “Ill-Gotten Gains”

Chiller’s Slasher
Season 1, Episode 5: “Ill-Gotten Gains”
Directed by Craig David Wallace
Written by Aaron Martin

* For a review of the previous episode, “As Water is Corrupted Unless It Moves” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “The One Who Sows His Own Flesh” – click here
Screen Shot 2016-03-26 at 9.12.28 AMAfter June Henry (Jessica Sipos) was taken by The Executioner in the finale of last episode, left in a large open field, her naked body covered in honey, this episode of Chiller’s Slasher continues with two women in that very field discovering June’s body.
This is one of the grisliest murders yet. Amazing practical makeup effects that draw a heavy visceral reaction.

 

 


When Sarah Bennett (Katie McGrath) and husband Dylan (Brandon Jay McLaren) arrive at the Henry home to give support. Creepily, Father Alan Henry (Rob Stewart) appears jovial, almost happy. Then Captain Iain Vaughn (Dean McDermott) arrives to give Cam Henry (Steve Byers) the bad news – they’ve found June’s body.
At the morgue, Cam breaks down a little, yelling at his father. Clearly his grief is overwhelming, whose wouldn’t be at a time like that?
Meanwhile, Dylan’s on television with his boss Alison Sutherland (Mayko Nguyen) being interviewed by Lisa Ann Follows (Enuka Okuma). It seems as if Dylan is a bit too into it, while his boss isn’t enjoying things at all.
Simultaneously, Father Henry’s back giving supposed religious council to Tom Winston (Patrick Garrow). Their relationship is very, very curious with every passing episode. Then there’s Sarah and Robin (Christopher Jacot) speculating on the possibility of Alan Henry being involved with The Executioner murders. They know Cam’s place, where Alan stays, has been tossed by police, but they wonder about his other house – the church. So they go poking around, naturally, in true slasher horror sub-genre fashion. What come across are a hammer, nails, a “murder kit“, and likely one meant to be used for crucifixion.

 

 


Over at the newspaper office, Alison isn’t pleased with Dylan, as she finds his showboating a little much. But, even if it’s sleazy, he is just doing his job, being what’s he supposed to for the role. And Alison, she’s busy hacking into June Henry’s text messages.
Sarah does her best to comfort old pal Cam. Only, she doesn’t comfort much. She has questions about the relationship between Alan and Tom, revealing her thoughts about the latter orchestrating The Executioner murders from prison. She tells Cam about finding the apparent murder kit at the church. The two good friends fall apart, calling each other suspects, going back and forth with accusations – even Cam throwing Dylan’s name in the ring – and really burning their friendship to the ground. Either way, Sarah’s adamant Alan’s hiding something, to which Cam replies: “Dylan is too. Id bet my life on it.
Screen Shot 2016-03-26 at 9.26.19 AMFather Alan arrives at the gallery. He tells a little parable of a woman going to confession, ill-spoken words, feathers, and all sorts of things. Essentially, it parallels with what Sarah’s been talking of, suggesting things to Cam about his father. A chilling, ominous bit of dialogue between Sarah and Alan reveals he may know more, about the past and the present, than he’s revealed so far.
Big break in the newspaper. Texts from June to Trent, vice versa. Alison claims they were “emailed” to them, but we know the truth. Follows is sniffing around for more stories, more publicity, more, more, more. Then the divide goes further between Alison and Dylan, as Lisa wants more focus on one of them. And the topic is sex, so naturally Follows wants him on; she’s obviously into him. Sarah isn’t pleased at all with Dylan and his paper either. Yet there he goes, on television again. Alison turns the tables and tries speaking directly to The Executioner live, which of course pisses of Dylan and Lisa, for different reasons.
Then, in the dark of the evening, Alison walks to her car and hears her name whispered quietly from somewhere nearby, a letter under one of her wipers: an invitation to meet with The Executioner. Uh oh.
Captain Vaughn and Sarah come up against one another. He’s pretty insulting towards her, even while she’s only trying to dig out the truth. But she’ll get things figured out, one way or another. Craft one, that Sarah.
At the foundry, Alison prepares a very official-like setup for her one-on-one with The Executioner. Is she expecting too much? Well, things get underway. The Executioner gives up information that only he would be able to know, in order to satisfy Alison’s curiousity whether it’s actually him (or her). They proceed to have a little chat, about all things Seven Deadly Sins. The killer asks if she has anything “weighing” on her, straining the ole conscience. And she walks away unscathed. For now.
At the office again, the competition between Dylan and Alison now rages, with Ms. Follows hoping to “build a special” around the footage Alison got of her clandestine interview. Lisa’s suddenly much more interested in the bosslady. Because she only cares about ratings, and who can get ’em.Screen Shot 2016-03-26 at 9.37.04 AMScreen Shot 2016-03-26 at 9.41.17 AM

We all sin. Every day of our lives, we sin.”

Screen Shot 2016-03-26 at 9.42.33 AMHoping to circumvent Cpt. Vaughn, off goes Sarah to the Mayor’s office – Ronald Edwards (Booth Savage). She blackmails him to get the tapes found in her parents house after the original murders, even calling him “grandpa” re: the affair he’d had with her grandmother. Amazing little scene, and shows how tenacious Sarah is when it comes to digging for the truth.
We get more about Alison now as a character. Turns out, she precipitated the suicide of Benny Peterson (Michael Vincent Dagostino), husband to Heather (Erin Karpluk), by doing some e-mail hacking, throwing suspicion on Benny for possibly having something to do with their daughter’s disappearance. Wow. Even more, Dylan lurks around the bar where Alison meets Lisa, and there’s even MORE trouble afoot than before. So many layers.
Robin and Sarah continue sleuthing. They follow Father Alan. He meets with a woman, clearly a dominatrix, and she crucifies him to a wooden cross, as he shouts: “Father forgive me!” Holy shit. Alan’s developed a sadomasochistic interest.
In other news, Alison is headed off in a limo. One driven by The Executioner, as it turns out. Back to the foundry once more. No interview this time. Seems she has something weighing on her conscience after all, like we saw in her meeting with Lisa. Bye, bye, Alison.Screen Shot 2016-03-26 at 9.50.52 AMFinally getting her hands on the tapes of her parents, Sarah sits through some their homemade porno, forcing herself, trying to discover something, anything.
Then she sees Tom in a video with her mother.
In a restaurant, a couple hipsters sit chatting. One of them bites into an onion ring; an onion ring that turns out to be an ear. The police later discover her deep fried head in one of the boiling vats. Dylan’s already snooping around, which doesn’t please Cpt. Vaughn. It’s clear there is more to Dylan than we know. I want more of his backstory to come out, and it will soon. I’d like more on Vaughn, too. He isn’t the typical police character, he isn’t dumb.
But quickly, in the finale we get more of Vaughn. He has a locked room in his house. Inside, he keeps Ariel Peterson (Hannah Endicott-Douglas). And a boy, too. His son, apparently. What a whopper of a finale! Very Josef Fritzl-ish. Wow. Can’t wait for more. Vaughn is obviously not at all who he structures himself to be in the outside world. There are far more secrets to Slasher yet to be discovered.Screen Shot 2016-03-26 at 9.54.49 AMScreen Shot 2016-03-26 at 9.56.49 AMThe next episode is titled “The One Who Sows His Own Flesh” and I’m excited. The revelation in this episode was intense, and there were a few amazing scenes that make things even murkier than before. Who is The Executioner? Who are all the citizens of Waterbury, really? Let’s find out together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

American Horror Story – Hotel, Episode 4: “Devil’s Night”

FX’s American Horror Story
Season 5, Episode 4:
 “Devil’s Night”
Directed by Loni Peristere
Written by Jennifer Salt

* For a review of the previous episode, “Mommy” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Room Service” – click here
screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-12-50-54-amOnce more, another night at the Hotel Cortez – “Devil’s Night”, in fact.
In strolls Richard Ramirez (Anthony Ruivivar) for a stay. Apparently this is his third year back since perishing. Looks as if we’re going to have a savage night, aren’t we? He pops into the room of some guests and bashes in the man’s skull with a lamp. He asks the woman to “swear to Satan” she’ll be quiet, but of course that doesn’t work. A bit of cat-and-mouse until ole James March (Evan Peters) appears at the end of the hallway…
screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-12-52-35-amA nice slick opening sets up an obviously entertaining night ahead, especially for Detective John Lowe (Wes Bentley) who is still staying at the Cortez. A hotel full of dead serial killers on the move? Should get wild.
When Lowe wakes up for the day he talks with his daughter Scarlett (Shree Crooks). It seems as if there’s a bit of a divide now starting to creep between John and his family. He’s not quite right. Doesn’t help when he starts seeing a massive pool of blood forming on the ceiling, dripping down his wall.
Better yet, we get a look at the story of Miss Evers (Mare Winningham) – back in 1925, she seems quite the prissy, uptight mother. Her child is dressed up as the typical bedsheet-eye holed ghost. After taking time to blab on with some other woman, a man abducts the little ghost and speeds away. WHOA. That’s already disturbing enough, who knows what happens from there.
Zipping back to the present, Miss Evers has a bunch of bloody sheets in the bathroom trying to get the stains out, as usual. Lowe, bleary eyed and sort of ghostly looking himself, wonders what’s going on around the hotel. She’s only a blubbering mess, but he understands. They’ve both lost children.
The ghost was taken to a ranch and caged up, poor kid. Another snippet of true American Horror – the Wineville Chicken Coop Murders – plays the backdrop for Miss Evers and her personal story. A pretty horrifying story for her. Still I’m super intrigued to see how she actually ended up at the Cortez, as well as how she and Lowe will interact more given their similar loss of young children.


John’s wife, Alex (Chloë Sevigny) has brought little Holden (Lennon Henry) home from the hotel and its weird rooms, the glass coffins. She’s glad to have him. Examining him a little, finding his temperature to be very low, things are definitely in a lull before terror strikes. Holden tells mommy he’s thirsty, but is it juice he wants? Alex pours her son a big glass. I’m pretty sure he’d rather have a nice drink of blood, though. When she goes back in with the orange juice, he’s sinking teeth into the family dog and having a snack. He wants his other mommy, not Alex.
Poor John. Man, oh, man. He is being put through the ringer. His mental state keeps slipping, as he goes back to bring up the police files on Miss Evers’ story, only to discover it happened 85 years prior. I’m just waiting for something harsh to happen with him. I don’t want it to, just have the sneaking suspicion Lowe will fall further down the rabbit hole.
Alex goes back to the Cortez, where Holden giddily climbs into his coffin. The Countess (Lady Gaga) slips in unnoticed, only to invite Alex upstairs for a chat. We get a flashback to Holden’s disappearance – The Countess was standing nearby, watching them. Terrifying moment where we see her walking away with Holden and John screams out for his son. Even more terrifying is a subtle moment: Alex pulls a gun and holds it at the Countess, who only leans back in her chair, without words saying “Fuck you and your gun”. Just a real solid moment.
Love, love, love more Liz Taylor (Denis O’Hare)! She serves Lowe a bit of soda, as John decides: “Ill have a double martini.

Control is an illusion
Tonight I surrender to the illusion

But glory glory hallelujah, Lily Rabe is back at the bar – literally – as Aileen Wuornos. She’s on her thirteenth year at the Cortez, dead since 2002. MY GOD, Rabe is a constantly amazing piece of work! Here, Wuornos sits down with Lowe for a drink. They have a bit of casual chit chat. Rabe is fucking incredible, she doesn’t copy Charlize Theron’s performance, but absolutely embodies Wuornos. For anyone who has ever seen the two documentaries about Eileen by filmmaker Nick Broomfield, you just can’t deny Lily Rabe rocks this role out of the park. The body movements, the look, the inflections in her speech and tiny idiosyncrasies about the way she performs… it’s perfect for this episode! Ruivivar did well with Ramirez, I dug that too. But Rabe is worth the price of admission this week. So great she’s back on American Horror Story. Weird, though, how Lowe ends up heading back to a room with her.
What follows is a bit of intensity that I won’t ruin with any more. See it, dig it.
Loved seeing the Zodiac Killer, dressed in the supposed getup the living victim saw him wearing all those years ago, stroll past Lowe through the lobby. Amazing episode, cramming all these infamous serial killers into the hotel. Perfect addition for the week in which Halloween falls! I’ve got a great t-shirt with this version of the Zodiac on it, very creepy. Such a nice brief shot of him going past Dt. Lowe, the costume design worked so well.
Naturally, John is weirded out by it all. Downstairs he gets an invitation from Liz Taylor for the big Devil’s Night Ball. Should be a grand time, no?


Oh my, the hits just keep on coming! John Wayne Gacy (John Carroll Lynch) talks about doing good sub-flooring with Ramirez – such an incredibly subtle way to introduce the story of Gacy, instead of having him immediately dressed as a clown or something. At the dinner table, March introduces the night with a bit of absinthe. Everyone drinks it back excitedly. Although Lowe is certainly confused. Then there’s Jeffrey Dahmer (Seth Gabel), too. Zodiac strolls in late, silent, being heckled by the other killers. JUST AN OUTRAGEOUSLY AWESOME FUCKING SCENE! Yes, there’s exposition to give us a bit of the newly introduced serial killers, but I think it comes in proper doses. Plus, Lowe eventually breaks in and starts ragging on everyone, still believing it’s all a Halloween costume party of some sort. I couldn’t get enough of this whole sequence, such a well written episode.

Hes a genius— like Galileo, or Peter Frampton.”

I won’t ruin more of the big dinner scene. There’s an excellently disturbing, grotesque sequence within it after “Sweet Jane” by Cowboy Junkies starts to play, and all the murderers get their toys out, start really enjoying themselves. So terrifying! Detective Lowe has to sit there, handcuffed due to Gacy’s saucy tricks, and watch it all go down right in front of them. Love how March gives short little explanations about how all the serial killers came to him at various periods in their lives; it gives us great context, however, it also shows us how wonderful Evan Peters is as March, he gets time to show off a bit and be “the master.” Loved this sequence with every macabre and morbid bone in my body.

John Wayne Gacy: “Johnny Depp likes my paintings!”

With a little under 10 minutes left to the episode, we see Hypodermic Sally (Sarah Paulson) having a smoke outside the hotel. Some Wall Street-looking guy wanders up to her and talks shit for a little. Turns out, he wants “whatever you’re selling“, so he says to Sally. Will this poor fella end up in one of those mattresses like the creepy skin and bones dude from “Checking In” and Gabriel (Max Greenfield), too? We’ll see how things go for this one.
Oh my, we didn’t need to wait long. Sally buys off being left alone at the hotel by bringing up a fresh carcass for the killers’ dessert. Everyone selects a knife, Gacy even gets his makeup on (nice to see Lynch as another clown; this time an arguably more sickening one), and then the fresh bloodletting begins!
Then out of nowhere, Sally seems to wake John up. He’s alone. No killers, nobody else except him in a dusty old room. What is real? What is not? He’ll never know, though, we’ve got a great idea ourselves: scary enough, it’s all too real. Once Sally has the detective out of the room, March and the others go back to business.


“Devil’s Night” finishes off with Countess bringing Alex into the fold – she’ll now be one of those carrying this “ancient virus.” With a sweet kiss, the Countess tells her to allow herself “to be ripped apart” before letting Alex feed on some of her blood. All in the name of being reunited with Holden “for all of eternity.” Or at least that’s the bullshit this particular vampire is selling. Notice how Countess weeps sort of, as we cut out on Alex’s newly opened eyes, the virus no doubt taking hold; interesting to see where this heads.
screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-1-01-42-amStay tuned for next week’s “Room Service.” Cannot wait to watch it, this episode was incredible! See you then, fellow horror fans.

Fargo – Season 2, Episode 3: “The Myth of Sisyphus”

FX’s Fargo
Season 2, Episode 3:
 “The Myth of Sisyphus”
Directed by Michael Uppendahl
Written by Bob DeLaurentis

* For a review of the previous episode, “Before the Law” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Fear and Trembling” – click here

Starting with the last episode, “Before the Law“, Noah Hawley & Co. have been instilling this season with a great bit of existentialism. For those who may not know, “Before the Law” is a story told to K in Kafka’s The Trial. So immediately with the name of that episode came other implications. Now, with this 3rd episode, “The Myth of Sisyphus” moves slightly from strictly existentialism to Albert Camus and absurdism; the name of this episode is one of Camus greatest essays.
Keep thinking back to certain moments. Particularly I’m reminded of the previous episode when Sheriff Larsson (Ted Danson) sits talking with Lou Solverson (Patrick Wilson), how they talk about the war coming home with them, as if searching for meaning, some reason why violence – terrifying violence – is right at their doorstep. And this is where Camus certainly comes in: there’s an absurd aspect to the human want and need to define life’s meaning, to find something they can point to and say “THIS IS IT!”, because life merely unfolds however it wants and there’s nothing else to change or stop it. Life just happens.
Fargo-Season-2-Episode-3-TV-Review-Tom-Lorenzo-Site-1This episode opens with a strange moment. Hanzee Dent (Zahn McClarnon) pets a rabbit while remembering seeing a magician as a young boy, pulling one out of a hat. Then he snaps its neck off-screen, walking back towards the Gerhardt house. “Yama Yama” by Yamasuki begins to play, which is pretty great. Another montage to start things.
Then the Gerhardts have some visitors. They’re “talking about the Kansas City Mafia“, Floyd (Jean Smart) tries to lay things out as the matriarch in charge while her husband sits near catatonic after a stroke. Her son Bear (Angus Sampson) continually backs her up, while constantly eating. Dodd (Jeffrey Donovan) wants to go warring, but Floyd does not. Their visitors agree if any trouble comes the Gerhardt way, they’ll “cut the god damn nose off their face“.
At a small restaurant of some sort, Mike Milligan (Bokeem Woodbine) is late for a meeting with Joe Bulo (Brad Garrett). They have a quirky conversation about hair, soft water, and Agree shampoo. They also talk about whether or not the Gerhardts will be killed, or whether they’ll be offered more money. They’re still looking for Rye (Kieran Culkin). Good luck.

Over in Luverne, Minnesota, trusty Lou Solverson (Wilson) chats over radio with Sheriff Hank Larsson (Danson). Their chemistry is continually awesome. A new dynamic comes into play for Lou in this episode. Ben Schmidt (Keir O’Donnell) is working the case on the other end. This fella doesn’t seem quite right. He’s askew in some sort of way. Not sure how yet, but definitely sketchy. Either way, he and Lou end up together for a little while throughout “The Myth of Sisyphus”.

Hank: “Over and out… I guess.”
1200Peggy Blomquist (Kirsten Dunst) finds herself sweating it out at the salon where she works. Constance (Elizabeth Marvel) is coiffing Betsy Solverson (Cristin Milioti), as father-in-law Hank walks in with a wanted poster for – you betcha – Rye Gerhardt. Then Betsy reminds Hank of the shoe in the tree at the diner, they talk about a hit-and-run situation after the shooting. But slyly, and maybe a bit too ballsy, Peggy jumps in to say “that just don’t make sense“. Somehow, the do-goody Dudley Do-Right in Hank agrees, assuming no good citizen would just run a man down then drive home “with a Gerhardt in the your windshield and cook dinner“. So darkly, hilariously ironic. The absurdity of it all.
Naturally, Peggy rushes to take husband Ed (Jesse Plemons) home from work. It’s almost nerve wracking to watch her stumble around, so close to getting them caught.

Skip Sprang (Mike Bradecich) – former partner on the down-low of Rye – ends up running into Solverson and Schmidt. He’s more than obvious about being nervous; Lou points out he’s a “squirrelly little fella“. In fact, Lou spied him heading over to the office of the judge who Rye killed at the diner. So, this is another man unaccustomed to crime, just as the Blomquists, who will eventually run himself into trouble all because of his own sloppy nature.
Skip runs straight to Rye’s apartment. Instead of Rye – obviously – he finds Simone Gerhardt (Rachel Keller), who is a bit of a problem child for her father Dodd. Hanzee looks after her a little, but Mr. Dent is definitely slightly psychotic. He is way too comfortable with blood all over his hands. I love his presence, though. Hanzee is a mysterious type of character.
But it’s bad news for Skip. He ends up getting taken back to Papa Dodd and the clan.
downloadSimone: “Whaddya say, red man – should we have some fun?
Hanzee: “You betcha

Peggy drags out to the woods with their beat up car. She uses a plan one of her uncles came up with after smashing his car while drunk. After the car is taken care of, Rye is already ground up, Peggy believes they’ll be “free“. Nothing goes as planned, but eventually ole Ed gets it right. I feel so bad for him. He’s been pulled into such a mess by Peggy, who continually leads him down the path she thinks is best. Yet at the same time, Ed simply goes along because he loves her. To death.
Lots of other stuff happening at the Gerhardt house. Young Charlie (Allan Dobrescu) wants to have more of a hand in things, but Bear would rather him go back to school and stay out of what’s about to go down. So it isn’t just Dodd who has trouble with his children.
At the same time, Solverson and Schmidt show up at the Gerhardt ranch. This is an amazing scene. Patrick Wilson brings out the inner badass of Lou – “Am I the only here who’s clear on the concept of law enforcement?” But it becomes clear quickly Ben Schmidt knows the Gerhardts a little too well; Floyd comes out and even asks about his mother. After things start to get slightly tense, Lou has to lay down the law and stand his ground. Dodd shows up to toss more fuel on the fire, but Lou does not back down. Not in the slightest. Great, great tension here. I honestly didn’t know how things would turn out! Clearly we all know Solverson doesn’t die – he was already in the first season as an older man. But still, that’s the master strokes of this show and its power: you can already know something, or think you know, and it will find a way to surprise you.

FARGO -- ÒThe Myth of SisyphusÓ -- Episode 203 (Airs October 26, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: (l-r, front-row) Patrick Wilson as Lou Solverson, Jeffrey Donovan as Dodd Gerhardt, Keir O'Donnell as Ben Schmidt. CR: Chris Large/FX

But wait – there’s more Lou Solverson badassery.
He goes to check in on Skip, the squirrelly typewriter salesman. Rather than finding him, he comes across Mike Milligan, accompanied by none other than the Kitchen brothers, Gale and Wayne (Brad & Todd Mann). There’s a bit of a stand-off. Except in the Minnesota plain speak style. Another quality scene, almost better than the previous with the Gerhardts. Won’t spoil too much more here. Though obviously, Lou does make it out. A tense scene with lots of style.

Milligan: “So, where’d you say you saw old Skip?
Lou: “At your mother’s house. I think goin’ in the back door.”
FARGO_203_0628_CL_d_hires2_FULL-1024x663A chilling end to this episode, definitely the most disturbing bit since the opening shooting at the diner. Dodd and Hanzee put Skip in a dug out hole, making him lie down. Then they back up a dump truck full of asphalt with which to bury him alive. Although it seems like Dodd’s about to let him live, once Skip reveals Milligan was looking for Rye, there’s no hope ultimately. The asphalt covers him, he’s dead. Now it’s clear Dodd is taking the reigns, ordering Hanzee to kill anyone who gets in their way.
Very excited for the next episode, “Fear and Trembling” – another philosophy title. This time from Soren Kierkegaard’s text of the same name, a great read for anyone interested in philosophical thought.
Stay tuned, Fargo fiends! We’ll be back for more next week.

Scream Queens – Season 1, Episode 6: “Seven Minutes in Hell”

FOX’s Scream Queens
Season 1, Episode 6: 
“Seven Minutes in Hell”
Directed by Michael Uppendahl
Written by Ryan Murphy

* For a review of the previous episode, “Pumpkin Patch” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Beware of Young Girls” – click here
IMG_2175This week’s Scream Queens begins awesomely with a vote for Kappa House presidency, including the 1986 (recorded in ’84) Nu Shooz jam “I Can’t Wait”. Love this opener, especially when Jennifer (Breezy Eslin) goes on her mini rant about the autism spectrum. There are lots of little bits like this in the series, which I’m huge on, as Ryan Murphy & Co. slip in as much commentary on the 21st century as humanly possible.
“Seven Minutes in Hell” starts out strong with the vote hitting a tie between Chanel #1 (Emma Roberts) and Zayday Williams (Keke Palmer). At first, we’re led to assume Chanel is pissed about it all. However, pretty damn quick it’s revealed the whole thing is part of her plan; she actually wanted Zayday to win. All in an effort to save her own skin from getting chopped by the Red Devil.
With Zayday in as co-president, she and Grace (Skyler Samuels) are planning a slumber party. This way they may be able to draw out more details about the killings, knowing someone in Kappa House has information, at least SOMETHING, in regards to the Red Devil.
IMG_2177Seems as if Chad Radwell (Glen Powell) is having a change of heart. The frat bros all wonder why he’s spending so much time “porking old people“, after it’s revealed he has been sleeping with Dean Munsch (Jamie Lee Curtis), so he ends up feeling as if going back to Chanel #1 is the best option. Where will all that lead?
Back at Kappa, the girls are all playing spin the bottle. Chanel #3 (Billie Lourd) really wants to have a kiss with Sam (Jeanna Han) a.k.a Predatory Lez, so it comes to pass. They have a bit of romantic sort of moment together alone in the washroom.
Best of all is the explanation for why #3 wears the earmuffs (aside from the fact Lourd’s mother is Princess fucking Leia) – a guy who went to the college was obsessed with her ears, so much so he went mad and threatened to cut them off if he ever saw them again. Therefore: ear muffs, all the time for #3. Such a hilarious god damn scene.
IMG_2181Roger: “What do we do now?
Chad: “Only thing we can do: give him the dignity of watching him die.”
IMG_2178 IMG_2179Chad and the frat bros, including armless Caulfield, head over for a panty raid on the sorority house. Worked out for the Kappa girls, after they’re locked inside; turns out Chanel #1 had the whole place turned into one giant panic room. This ends up with all the guys and girls ready to play a bit of Truth or Dare. Except first, Caulfield gets the rest of his body chopped equally by the Red Devil.
Sadly, Sam isn’t long for this world. After revealing Chanel #3’s father is supposedly Charles Manson, #3 dares Sam to go down in the basement and lie in the bathtub – yes, the old bathtub from when a girl died giving birth a couple decades ago. So, you can be positive something bad will eventually happen. As Sam navigates her way through the darkness, the Devil is lurking. Best part? She asks to see who’s under the mask before dying, to which she reponds: “I knew it was you
Who could it be? Which of the two Red Devils is this one? And who is the other?
IMG_2182So many laugh out loud moments in this episode. One of my favourites is the argument between Jennifer and Chad concerning the logistics of Truth or Dare; he just can’t get his head wrapped around the fact Truth or Dare is not a legally binding agreement, that you could simply pick Truth and lie. I mean, it’s a brief part of the scene, but so, so funny.
Another crack up, also involving Jennifer, is when Wes Gardner (Oliver Hudson) shows up to take his daughter Grace away from danger. Zayday refuses to let him do so, making it known the sisters are sticking together. At that moment Jennifer slides in next to her, almost as if we’re expecting her to agree in solidarity – instead, when Zayday puts an arm around her Jennifer says she only moved because she let a fart rip “over there” and it smelled bad. I actually laughed to tears.

Chad: “Is there any like Crisco or cooking oil here? Just like, dry handies really bum me out.”

This episode also brings even more confusion to the question: who are the Red Devils?
First there’s Hester (Lea Michele) who finds Sam dead in the bathtub downstairs. Suspicious, considering she is a tad bit messed up in the head after her previous graveyard encounter with Chad a couple episodes ago.
Then not long after, Chanel #5 (Abigail Breslin) and Roger (Aaron Rhodes) go for their Seven Minutes in Heaven. And that ends up with more nasty murder. Roger is nail-gunned to death by the Red Devil, who then disappears into thin air once more. Is #5 in cahoots? She seemed awful terrified. Who knows.
Most intense scene comes when Chanel #1 and Zayday head into the labyrinthine passages below Kappa House. You can just almost feel a death coming. Sure enough, Zayday finds herself trapped with the Devil, wielding a dual axes, and I thought she was finished! But Chanel #1 comes back to save her, smashing the Devil in his (or her) head. This was super surprising, I honestly was expecting this would be the last we see of Zayday. Although, Chanel does admit it was selfish: “I’m gonna need the numbers.” I don’t care, though, Zayday is awesome and I didn’t want to see her go so soon – Palmer is great in her role.
IMG_2185Chanel #3: “You and I are going to outlive Chanel. Deal?
Chanel #5: “Deal
IMG_2186With this episode, there seems to be a solidarity among the Kappa House sisters. Best of all there is at least a tenuous partnership between Chanel #1 and Zayday, which may spell survival for them both. Who knows, though. It’s hard to tell who may live and who may die. So far, a lot of the murder has been focused mostly on people around the girls. Will next week see someone major die? Who’s next? Will we get more clues about who the Red Devils are, or more muddying of the waters?
IMG_2187 IMG_2188 IMG_2189Stay tuned and we’ll find out together. The next episode is titled “Beware of Young Girls”. Sadly we have to wait until November 3rd for it to air, which is strange. You’d think they would want to have an episode airing the week of Halloween!? Then again, we’ve already had bits and pieces of Devil’s Night on Scream Queens. Until then, head over to my American Horror Story reviews, maybe.

The Walking Dead – Season 6, Episode 2: “JSS”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 6, Episode 2:
 “JSS”
Directed by Jennifer Chambers Lynch
Written by Seth Hoffman

* For a review of the previous episode, “First Time Again” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Thank You” – click here
Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 11.00.00 PMAfter the terrifying ending of “First Time Again”, The Walking Dead‘s 6th season moves into its second episode with a devastating bang. A young girl named Enid (Katelyn Nacon) in a van with her parents ends up alone out in the forest and wandering the roads after her parents are obviously taken by the walkers. She continually writes JSS in the dirt on the ground and in dusty car windows. Pretty gnarly scene when she finds a tortoise crossing the road, then smash cut to her ripping it open, feeding on its bloody corpse like a walker would a human. Then, once more, she puts the leftover bones on the ground in front of her – spelling out JSS. Finally coming upon the suburb of Alexandria, she hesitates before approaching the gates and writes JSS once more on the dirt all over the back of her hand.
Honestly, this is one of my favourite openings to an episode in a long while.
Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 11.01.33 PMBack to present day, Carol (Melissa McBride) is doing more of her cooking. She talks about her old life: Ed, her “spring cleaning casserole“. I love her character, what a woman in every sense of the word – tough, caring, motherly, and so much more. She offers a sense of stability, especially to some of the women in the neighbourhood. She tells them they’re going to learn how to make pasta by hand. Everything she does, even her tough love side is out of a caring place in her heart.
Jessie Anderson (Alexandra Breckenridge) is trying best she can to keep her home in one piece after the death of her husband. Things with her son Ron (Austin Abrams) aren’t going so well. She’s finding it tough and for good reason.
Furthermore, Deanna (Tovah Feldshuh) is also having a rough go of things. Her partner is gone now, things have slightly shifted in beloved Alexandria, so no wonder. But Maggie (Lauren Cohan) lends a comforting shoulder, telling her the people in their town were there because of her. I also love Maggie because she’s another badass female character in the show who is well-rounded – strong, vulnerable at times, caring, and ultimately tough as hell after dealing with so much, the death of Hershel then only just awhile ago Beth; she’s got a hard edge with a sweet heart. Cohan is an excellent actress who really exemplifies all the important aspects of her character.
Panic strikes as an attack comes down on Alexandria!
First, Carol watches as the woman she told not to smoke gets machete’d while smoking on her front lawn. Then, Deanna and Maggie see molotov cocktails start to fly, a watcher on their wall gets burned to death. Absolute and utter chaos has struck. Are these the Wolves? You bet your ass.
Everyone is on high alert. Carol goes to start defending the neighbourhood, as Carl (Chandler Riggs) and Enid lockdown the house with little Judith alongside.
All the while, people are being hacked to bits, stabbed to death. The Wolves mark Ws on their foreheads in blood – same as the zombies were carved up a ways back, starting episodes and episodes ago, remember? Well, either way things are devolving into complete madness.
Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 11.02.05 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 11.02.52 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 11.03.13 PMThe horn from “First Time Again”, which leads all the walkers back from the quarry and away from where Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Co. were funnelling them – starts to sound after a transport truck flies in towards Alexandria’s gate and smashes up against the wall.
Morgan (Lennie James) shows up back in town. Confronting a big Wolf (Lance Tafelski), about to showdown, Carol flies in disguised like a sheep in wolves’ clothing – literally – and stabs the man. Great little scene! Continually I am amazed by Carol, but she is a survivor, has been from the start. Dressed as one of the Wolves, she goes on to do some major killing. What a god damn ass kicker.
Jessie gets her chance to really protect her family when a female Wolf breaks inside their home, attacks her. An incredibly savage stabbing, which her son Ron walks in on, is a favourite out of this episode. Even amongst so much bloodshed, it’s a tense and wild scene.
Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 11.03.53 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 11.03.32 PMMorgan has a confrontation with several Wolves. Strangely enough, though, it’s almost like they know Morgan. Have they met before? Was he with the at some point before coming back in contact with Rick? The few Wolves leave and Morgan shuts the gate to Alexandria, a distant look in his eyes. This is intriguing to me. Scary, too. He has another encounter briefly with a Wolf inside his neighbourhood house – the Wolf and Morgan talk for a moment suggesting some kind of former relationship. Did he go back to Rick for devious reasons unknown? We’ll have to wait and see.
Additionally, Aaron (Ross Marquand) finds a satchel while stabbing the dead in the street through the head, to prevent more walkers. Inside the bag there are photos – they shot all the inside workings of Alexandria, the solar panels, the wall, et cetera. Creepy stuff.
Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 11.05.14 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 11.05.19 PMThis is easily one of the most, if not the top bloodiest sequence in The Walking Dead‘s entire history as a series. Even more than that it was intense. On top of everything, the people in Alexandria aren’t used to this sort of action. They’re not experienced in the real world outside their (relatively) safe walls, not in the way Maggie, Rick, Carol and Morgan have become hardened through their trials and tribulations. Hell, Carl’s turning into a true bad ass, which I thought would never happen (I used to hate him now he’s growing on me). So it’s interesting to see how the different pockets within the major group are reacting to everything that’s happening, it makes for good writing and a nice contrast as opposed to the good vs. evil we had happening most of the time between Rick/his group and The Governor/his group. I’m enjoying where this sixth season is starting to head, even only two episodes in so far. Starting to cook with gas now.
Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 11.05.42 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 11.06.07 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 11.05.53 PMStay tuned. I’ll be back to review next week’s episode again – titled “Thank You”, directed by Michael Slovis and written by Angela Kang.

Fargo – Season 2, Episode 1: “Waiting for Dutch”

FX’s Fargo
Season 2, Episode 1:
 “Waiting for Dutch”
Directed by Randall Einhorn & Michael Uppendahl
Written by Noah Hawley * For a review of the Season 1 finale, “Morton’s Fork” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Before the Law” – click hereScreen Shot 2015-10-19 at 7.20.45 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 7.21.07 PMAnother show I loved in its first season, I’ve decided to review Fargo going forward (I’ll retroactively go back and do Season 1 soon). All new characters – some of them, anyways. All new situations, locations, and more!
Season 2 opens with the old school MGM lion and logo. Furthermore, there’s a black-and-white clip from Massacre at Sioux Falls, and an awkward exchange between actor and director of the picture. Awesome beginning – “Look I’m a Jew, so believe me, I know tribulation.” – I was laughing so god damn hard. Plus mentions of Reagan (his nickname = Dutch), as well. Dig it, and I’m super curious where this Reagan stuff is going to head. Perhaps we’re going to see some parallels with Reaganism and crime, some kind of other similar comparison, I don’t know. Either way, the writing is pulling me in right from the start.
Now we move into an old clip of President Jimmy Carter giving a speech from the Oval Office, mixed with cuts of some new characters and even other news pieces on John Wayne Gacy and Jim Jones. There’s not only great selection of news pieces and shots of a few new characters – including those played by Kieran Culkin, Jeffrey Donova, Bokeem Woodbine and more – the editing here is downright stellar. Gives things a chaotic tone from the start.
Heading off from there, Dodd Gerhardt (Jeffrey Donovan) and his associate Hanzee Dent (Zahn McClarnon) meet in an alley with Rye Gerhardt (Kieran Culkin), putting the fear of violence in him. Rye is under the thumb of his brother meant to be collecting money. Obviously the Gerhardt clan is into nefarious shit, though, poor little Rye feels left out of the race for the throne. They’ve got another brother, Bear (Angus Sampson), but I guess Rye is the one wearing “the short pants” until he proves he’s a man and can handle the family’s business properly. Seems like the young brother might be an underachiever, in terms of organized crime.
Back at the Gerhardt house, mama Floyd (Jean Smart) alerts papa Otto (Michael Hogan) there’s a little money short at the moment. But during their talk, Otto has what looks to be a stroke, gripping the table before falling to the floor.
Out on a run for collections, Rye obviously has things going on the side. Apparently he’s going in on IBM electric typewriters with a business partner. All it involves is forgetting debt owed to Rye’s family and tailing a judge (Ann Cusack).
Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 7.21.31 PMThere’s a great use of the split-screen in this episode with lots of nice cuts between Rye and his family, all doing their own thing. Over that Billy Thorpe’s “Children of the Sun” plays. Then we’re right back with Rye alone, he’s followed the judge into a diner after taking a bump of coke in his car. Slick, Rye. He slides into the table across from her. He tries convincing her to change her mind about a case, to which she reels off a big story about Satan and the Biblical Job. Bit ridiculous, but no in terms of writing – I think it shows how cocky a woman this judge is. Then she sprays bug spray in Rye’s eyes, so he blasts her away. Whoa. He kills a cook and a waitress afterwards simply out of fear and surprise. The judge isn’t all dead yet, she stabs him in the back before getting another bullet. I’ve ruined enough, so I won’t fully spoil the rest… this sequence is a rough doozy.
Safe to say there’ll be a bit of nasty trouble gearing up for the Gerhardt family?
Game changer comes quick when Rye wanders into the snow packed road looking at lights in the sky and gets smashed by it car. It only drives away with him adorning the hood like an ornament.
Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 7.21.52 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 7.22.09 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 7.22.14 PMNow we’re back with a young Lou Solverson (Patrick Wilson) – previously played in Season 1 by Keith Carradine – and his wife Betsy Solverson (Cristin Milioti) tucking their child into bed. Lou gets called into work, naturally because of the shooting at the small diner. This is one of the immediate things – aside from this series’ amazing overall aesthetic – I love starting into Season 2, how we’re getting a link to the first with Solverson and this crime. Not just that, Patrick Wilson is a solid actor in my book, so it’ll be interesting to see what he does with this character.
Added to Wilson, he gets to play off Ted Danson who features as another police officer, from the state, Hank Larsson. They each do great Minnesota accents and their chemistry is actually incredible. Would never have imagined these two together. Their relationship actually, for whatever reason, reminds me of the cops from the Fargo film. Such non-chalance and oddly humorous chemistry.
Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 7.22.39 PMHank: “That’s a shoe, all right.”
Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 7.22.55 PMLou heads down to Bingo with a couple of his buddies, including Karl Weathers (Nick Offerman). I loved this bit because Offerman is usually a certain type of character, here he’s a sort of anti-government conspiracy theorist yet not totally mad or anything just super serious really. Lou’s wife Betsy recently started chemotherapy, so it’s even worse now with this recent shooting – guaranteed he’ll be away a bit working while she’s trying to deal with her illness. Or is Lou the solid type he seems? Will he put aside work and be there as much as she needs? We’ll see, it’s a tough situation for them both, a devastating disease for Betsy to fight.
Meanwhile we’re also introduced to Ed Blomquist (Jesse Plemons) and his wife Peggy Blomquist (Kirsten Dunst) who have a fairly regular life. Ed works down at a butcher shop, bringing home some meat that was paid for but not picked up. Peggy cooks up a nice meal in their cute little kitchen, then they sit down together for a bite. Only there’s a little tension between husband and wife – babies, sex, all that stuff.
The kicker being Peggy was the one driving the car that hit Rye after his shooting. She tries to explain it away the accident by saying it was a deer. Except it might’ve worked if Rye weren’t still alive in the garage, barely, and trying to stab Ed. Luckily, Ed fends him off but ends up stabbing him to death. His wife really did him bad on this one. A nasty chain of events is about to start unfolding and I can only imagine all its repercussions. The Gerhardt family, regardless of their disappointment with Rye, are going to be pretty torn up about this when it comes to light, which obviously means Ed and Peggy Blomquist are going to find themselves in a sticky situation. In addition, the cops make this a vicious triangle. So many things that can, and no doubt will, go terribly wrong.
Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 7.23.20 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 7.23.53 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 7.24.28 PMEnd of the episode was good with a cut from the Gerhardts all surrounding Otto, now lying quite still in bed and the sounds of when he first stroked, to a shot of Ed and Peggy tossing Rye into their deep freeze.
Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 7.24.42 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 7.24.59 PMNice quick intro to Joe Bulo (Brad Garrett) who briefs a team of people on the Gerhardt family’s business. Apparently the family is poised to be absorbed by a larger corporation. This whole thing is pretty shady and ominous in ways, love the very last couple shots and the music kicking in, solid finisher.
Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 7.25.15 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 7.25.37 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 7.25.49 PMStay tuned for the next episode with me – “Before the Law”. Loving this season already, I hope many of you are, as well!