Bellevue – Season 1 Finale: “You Don’t Understand Me at All”

CBC’s Bellevue
Season 1, Episode 8: “You Don’t Understand Me at All”
Directed by Adrienne Mitchell
Written by Jane Maggs

* For a recap & review of the penultimate episode, “The Man Behind the Curtain” – click here
Pic 1On the lonely road in the woods, Brady’s been run down; dead. Annie (Anna Paquin) is left relatively unscathed. The driver of the other vehicle? Adam (Patrick Labbé), of course. He’s saved his estranged sister, keeping her safe from near death. He says he wanted to “end the cycle.” But what does this mean? He still isn’t satisfied, and he’s off running into the woods once more, away from her. The mystery still churning.
Welland (Shawn Doyle) and the others arrive not long after, carting away the body, left with the aftermath of Brady’s revelations concerning his incestuous feelings for his sister Briana (Amber Goldfarb), which eventually led to him killing Jesse. Afterwards, Eddie (Allen Leech) begs Annie to walk away from the job, if only for their daughter Daisy (Madison Ferguson). But we know there’s too much obsession in her veins for that. Especially now with her brother’s mysteries still floating in the air.
Pic 1APoor Briana, having to deal with her brother before and now with his death. All upsetting, despite the circumstances. She tells Annie about their abusive father, that Brady came to bring the worst of it on himself to save her from it. A troubled past, no doubt. Doesn’t change the ugliness which came later.
Coach Tom (Vincent Leclerc) gets a call about his daughter in trouble. He rushes into the woods, calling for her. His leg winds up caught in a bear trap. The police get there and hear the calls of a girl; it’s a recording, tied to a tree. They also see SANDY carved bloody across Tom’s chest. Ah, this is the heart of the whole thing.
They find more info from Maggie Sweetland (Victoria Sanchez), about the shack in the woods around New Horizons, about Tom when they were younger, all sorts of things. Father Jameson (Joe Cobden) was involved, too. As was Lily (Janine Theriault). Some more cruel than others, such as the priest. He “had a habit of humiliating.” Suddenly Welland and Annie decipher the LION clue from in front of the church, which leads them to find Jameson strung up, though not dead; SANDY carved into his forehead.
All those years ago, they tortured Sandy, locking her in the shack. Because Lily wanted the part of Mary in the school pageant. And one question remains: where’s Lily? They’ve found the other two. She must be out there, somewhere.
Pic 2Answers lie with Adam, his few clues that he left Annie. What’s driving him? What is the ultimate goal? Go back to the beginning, with the murder of Sandy. Immaculate conception, without sin, Mary. Did he help Sandy die because she wanted to be free? Was it “mercy“? Maybe something darker.
The idea of mercy leads them to a street of the same name, an old brewery. They find a lily on the floor. Further on are boot prints. Welland the rest dig out a pile of dirt and locate Lily in a coffin underneath. Each of the three culprits of Sandy’s humiliation not killed yet tortured to a great extent.
Adam turns up to see his niece Daisy. She opens the door for him bravely. “Youre the one who leaves the riddles,” she says without fear. They sit and talk about their family, their shared history, dear ole grandpa, and certainly mom. He speaks of Jesse, how he was treated like Sandy and driven to bad places by the bullies in their lives. Only I worry about his intentions with Daisy, I hope he’s not playing any dangerous games.
When Eddie and Annie can’t find their daughter, they’re frantic. Looking for clues anywhere possible. They see cutout paper people holding hands, posted on the trees. This leads her out into the woods alone, just as Sandy Driver once ran through the same path being tormented by the three torturers. Annie finds Adam, sending Daisy back to her father.
That day long ago, Adam found Sandy locked in the shack. He broke her free. They bonded instantly. Both of them feeling cast out by the world, their families, their friends. She pulled off the bloody fingernails loosened from scratching at the shack’s walls, then put his hands around her throat. A terrifying and subtle moment, it’s actually so powerful. Dark, but powerful.
Screen Shot 2017-06-20 at 1.04.32 AMAdam (to Annie): “I am you. You are me. Dont you get it?”
The brother and sister confront their past, all those ugly pieces of their life that fell in whatever place they were able to fall. Adam embraces Annie, feeling somehow elated by all the confession and the revelation. But she laments him, the fact their father is dead because of him. Then he puts his hands around her throat, the same as he did Sandy. She puts a shot through him just before Eddie and Welland and the rest track them down.
Once things settle down, Annie’s planning on leaving. She needs to move on. Although Welland doesn’t think she’s okay, that she needs time to heal and grieve. Eddie wants to get his family out of Bellevue, for all their sake, particularly that of his daughter. There’s a lot of history, though. Welland is like a second father to Annie, he feels responsible for her after Clarence killed himself. Maybe feels more, confirmed by the conversation in the confessional which he had with Adam, one we see again briefly. Wow.
Regardless, nothing is easy. Definitely not goodbyes. Yet it’s a new beginning, as well. For everyone. No matter how tough.
Screen Shot 2017-06-20 at 1.17.31 AMWhat a fucking show. I’m so sad this has been cancelled, it would’ve been nice to see a Season 2 and find out where Welland ends up, where Annie and Eddie do and if they last, if Bellevue would keep calling to Ms. Ryder. Even so, Season 1(and only) ended with a bittersweet note that does feel of finality.

Advertisements

Bellevue – Season 1, Episode 7: “The Man Behind the Curtain”

CBC’s Bellevue
Season 1, Episode 7: “The Man Behind the Curtain”
Directed by Adrienne Mitchell
Written by Morwyn Brebner

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The Problem with the Truth” – click here
* For a recap & review of the season finale, “You Don’t Understand Me at All” – click here
Pic 1Annie (Anna Paquin) and Eddie (Allen Leech) aren’t on speaking terms at the moment. She actually takes a spill in the road chasing his car because he won’t say a word. She apologises for the previous night, his run-in with Brady (Billy MacLellan), though her ex isn’t totally in the right, either. She tells him about having a brother, named Adam (Patrick Labbé), that he’s lost, “messed up” and such. So, is her long lost older brother her Riddler? All these years?
Meanwhile, Virginia (Sharon Taylor) has poked holes in the alibi of Coach Tom (Vincent Leclerc). She and Annie interrogate him. Although he’s a bit drunk. They probed further about the night Jesse was murdered. Turns out he DID pick the kid up, and others were involved. Lily (Janine Theriault) and Father Jameson (Joe Cobden), to be exact. Welland (Shawn Doyle) asks his detectives to bring the priest and the mayor in for questioning.
And what about Adam out there in the wilderness? He gets a call on his radio from… Brady (Billy MacLellan), or is that someone else’s voice? Then at the station, Dt. Holt interrogates Father J, as Annie and Welland are in a room with Lily, and Victoria stays with the coach.
Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 11.58.03 PMThe three were “worried about” Jesse, supposedly. They wanted to convince her to play the game, not rock the boat in their little town; that’s all it was, not some altruistic intent on their behalf. Only problem is that Jesse took off from the church, not leaving with either of the three. They lied to save themselves the embarrassment, to not look weak in front of their town. Bunch of dummies. And why go to the church, simply to talk? Suspicious, if you ask me.
Furthermore, Annie goes to the church, determining someone else was there lurking behind the three and Jesse that fateful night. Afterwards when they’re alone together, she and Welland discuss Clarence possibly having another child. There’s no record of an Adam Ryder in the system, as if he’s invisible; or he does not exist. A ghost. But he’s very real. He’s keeping an eye on the mayor, the coach, and the priest. Was he the one in that church? If so, what is the ultimate connection? WHY Adam?
Annie and Welland are searching for their mystery man. Nobody seems to have seen him around Bellevue. Suddenly, Welland remembers a clue about “this mess” from Sid hearing the man talk. It was in fact a man called Bobby Storms, a military school boy; this is the mystery man, Adam. Psychological issues abound, sent away at a young age.
The two cops together go into the forest, they find Adam’s makeshift lodge. Annie sees relics of her youth, the clown statue, the doll. She remembers lost memories of her and Adam. He was strangely possessive about her: “Youre mine.” Such an eerie moment.
Pic 4A bit of a break comes when Daisy falls in the lake where Jesse washed up. She gets an antibiotic because of bacteria in the water. Thus, the killer might very well have some kind of infection requiring medication.
Annie and Eddie connect again, a little, as she tells him about Adam and what she can remember about their past. “Maybe he just wanted me all for himself,” she rationalises. Even if it wasn’t a paedophilic thing, it was still unsettling. A dangerous thing, possibly. It’s no wonder Clarence reacted by sending him away, I don’t exactly blame him. Either way, through the prism of Adam we watch Annie discover things about herself, her own possessive tendencies towards love. I’d like to think she can change.
With a clue from a note in the woods, Welland goes to the church where he sees Adam in the flesh. They casually sit in the confessional – a great little piece of symbolism – talking about the past, Peter saying he wants to take him in the woods and shoot him in the face. So the long lost brother has a few final things to say before running off. Only we don’t hear the words ourselves.
Virginia and Annie come across new information about Brady, his confidential informants. He’s also acting strangely. This sets Annie off, and she finds an empty bottle of antibiotics in his bathroom. Holy shit. There’s a white truck in the garage outside, too. Now he’s on the run from her, off into the night. Or maybe not. He pulls a gun on her from out of nowhere before she can contact Welland. He threatens that if she doesn’t play along, he’ll kill her daughter.
Pic 5Dt. Holt was there that night, watching in the church. The three pressured Jesse, not to tell the police, to serve his community. They effectively blamed him for “freak urges” inside. What exactly drove him further? Why has it affected Brady so deeply? He has feelings for his sister Briana (Amber Goldfarb), he loves her more than a man should love a sibling. An improper, taboo love. And that’s what drove him to it. When he tried to reach out to Jesse, equating his feelings of incest with the transgender issues Jesse faced, the kid called him “sick” and it drove him over the edge. Oh, god. Such devastating things we could’ve never seen coming.
Then, as he’s about to shoot Annie in the woods, someone hits him in their vehicle. Knocking his body bloody and lifeless onto the windshield in front of her.
Screen Shot 2017-06-20 at 12.22.50 AMHOLY CHRIST! What an episode, I never saw any of this coming personally. Such intense, deep revelations. Just spectacularly dark writing, and comes together in a neat little package. Although there are still things to uncover.
“You Don’t Understand Me at All” is next, the final episode of the season and series as a whole.

Bellevue – Season 1, Episode 6: “The Problem with the Truth”

CBC’s Bellevue
Season 1, Episode 6: “The Problem with the Truth”
Directed by Kim Nguyen
Written by Waneta Storms

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “How Do I Remember?” – click here
* For a recap & review of the penultimate episode, “The Man Behind the Curtain” – click here
Pic 1If it wasn’t obvious by now, Annie (Anna Paquin) is obsessed. She’s whittling away at the similarities between the deaths of Jesse Sweetland and Sandy Driver. Eddie (Allen Leech) grew up with Jesse’s mother Maggie, so he gives his two cents. Even young Daisy (Madison Ferguson) has opinions.
There are no clear answers, though. Everybody has some sort of dark secret in Bellevue. There’s a muddy past behind every door. Welland (Shawn Doyle) has his big secrets, some of which our lead detective has already figured out, resenting him for, obviously.
Moreover, Annie wants to see her father Clarence’s (Patrick Labbé) notes from before he died, concerning the case of Sandy’s murder. She starts digging into the details, starting with Randy Oldring (Kent McQuaid) whose entire life has been shaped negatively due to finding the girl’s corpse, fingernails missing, all that. Something we don’t often see, aside from the murder victim – the people who’ve seen the remnants of brutal murder, corpses left in the woods like garbage, they must go through difficult psychological issues. Still, they weren’t murdered, and no matter how bad Randy seems he’s alive; unlike Sandy.
Pic 1AWe see that young Ms. Driver was Mary in the school play, same as Bethany Mansfield (Emelia Hellman) is now. Mayor Mother Mansfield (Janine Theriault) is in a photo, also in the play. What’s her connection to Sandy, I wonder?
Annie finds a cut out page in her father’s notes. Something involving a 9-11 call and Lily Mansfield. When she listens to the call on a tape, Annie discovers mentions of an intruder at the house who left “fingernails.” Yikes.
She comes across VHS tapes, as well. Trusty ole Brady Holt (Billy MacLellan) has a VCR at home, she heads over to watch the tapes with a few beer. They bond, chat. And on the tapes they find Lily as a girl, her answers to questions about Sandy. Lily says she’s an “old soul” and she clearly comes on to Clarence. Uh oh, I am seeing this heading someplace problematic. Starting to become apparent why dad tore out those pages.
Or is it? Part of why I love Bellevue – tragically, seeing as how it’s cancelled now – is that the mystery is always deep, incredibly palpable. In that, at times, you can never decipher whether things are headed where it seems. Although it looks as if maybe Clarence knocked up Lily, who on the hush-hush supposedly had an abortion years ago.
Annie goes to see the Mayor of Bellevue. The woman is less than forthcoming, acting like a real jerk. “I have a fucking alibi,” she crows through gritted teeth. No information coming out of this one, that’s for sure. When Annie brings it all to Welland, he confirms part of his trying to protect her was to avoid any awkward revelations about her father. Except, why did Clarence not file anything about the fingernails, the 9-11 call, everything else? WHY?
Pic 2Later, Welland gets a call from Sid Oak (Raphael Grosz-Harvey), saying he’s heard the voice of the Riddler again, down at the bar. Ah, a lead, and Peter actually invites Brady to go along, so it looks legit. Just another way to make himself look genuine? Hard to tell.
Meanwhile, Virginia Panamick (Sharon Taylor) is running down leads of her own to connect all the dots. She’s starting to wonder about their boss, what he’s investigating. He might’ve included Brady in helping round up men at the bar, but he certainly didn’t say much else.
A code of numbers written on Clarence’s notebook corresponding to his pager and the symbols on it lead Annie to another clue, leading back to previous pieces: New Horizons. She requests a patient list for the old mental hospital. At the same time, she’s becoming more and more suspicious of Welland, that it was possibly him involved with Sandy, not her father.
We see a flashback to young Lily, a younger Peter responding to her call and collecting the fingernails. She flushed the evidence down a toilet, not wanting the grief. Followed by seduction. Welland took the 9-11 call that night, prompting everything else. So it’s less a sinister act on his part, more the fact he’s a liar who made a mistake and let things snowball into a fucking avalanche. Now he’s lost the trust of Annie, too. In a massive way.
She has other problems aside from that. With Eddie. She wants them to be together, to finish all the nonsense between them. Yet he worries about her, constantly, about things going crazy. He can’t do that anymore. He wants a “calm, simple” life, one that doesn’t jive with her, so he says.
Eddie: “You dont have to feel pain to be with someone
Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 11.06.07 PMWelland goes to see Lily, demanding to know more about the man who left the fingernails. He’s very serious. He’s pissed, and lashes out in anger. The guilt of Clarence killing himself over the case tears him to pieces. And Lily, she feels that Welland brings out the best in her, that she can’t be real with anyone else. It’s a dark thing they have together.
Virginia’s finding out more about Coach Tom. That his wife wasn’t home the night of Jesse’s murder, which then means she can’t alibi her husband. Hmm, curious, no?
In the woods at the cabin, Annie stumbles into a man as she rages in a drunk stupor. Who is he? Is it the Riddler? She almost believes it’s her father, at first. Then, back in the cabin, she finds another clue, about someone named Adam; his height etched into the door frame above her own.
Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 11.10.33 PMAnother solid chapter, unravelling a bit of the mystery while still retaining the core, the darkness which makes the atmosphere of the series so interesting. “The Man Behind the Curtain” is the penultimate finisher. I hope that, despite its cancellation, this sole season can end on a good note story-wise. We’ll see!

Bellevue – Season 1, Episode 5: “How Do I Remember?”

CBC’s Bellevue
Season 1, Episode 5: “How Do I Remember?”
Directed by Kim Nguyen
Written by Jane Maggs & Thomas Pound

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Hello Little Light” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Problem with The Truth” – click here
Pic 1Talking through the surveillance system, Annie (Anna Paquin) talks to the Riddler, the mystery man. She thanks him, for helping with her father’s death. He helped give her purpose, in a strange way. He tells her now to “trust her instincts” about his identity. She asks him more about the murders of Jesse Sweetland and Sandy Driver, how they’re connected. It’s a strange relationship she has with the Riddler. To keep it going any further, she asks more of him. Although he doesn’t give her much more than before, only cryptic references and no promise of any concrete answers.
Maggie (Victoria Sanchez) goes to talk with Danny (Cameron Roberts), about how to remember Jesse at the funeral, what do for him; he replies only with the word “she“. At the same time, Annie’s figuring out more about Rainmaker Jed (Neil Napier), whose further information about his drug distribution sends the detectives in other directions. The package in Jesse’s room wasn’t done up like how Jed and his operation do things. So, there’s somebody else in the mix. Someone dangerous.
Not only that there’s trouble with Eddie (Allen Leech). Annie sees him punching his truck window, looking very angry. She knows’s something is up. Moreover, she starts believing he is caught in a bad place, possibly trafficking drugs. All the more troubling for the fact Daisy (Madison Ferguson) is around him. Could make for nastiness. Simultaneously, Annie believes the mystery man is suggesting things about her estranged boyfriend. He responds by telling her to wear Neil Driver’s watch during the funeral for Jesse. Hmm, why?
I dropped a stone, but youre not seeing the ripples.”
Pic 1AAt the funeral, tensions run through the crowd. Particularly when Danny comes in. But Bethany (Emelia Hellman) and others embrace him as a big part of Jesse’s life. Maggie talks about her boy, mourning his death; more importantly, she refers to Jesse as “my daughter.” Suddenly, Mr. Driver (Andreas Apergis) barges in saying she deserves everything that’s come to her family before cops pull him outside.
What’s the full history between Maggie and Sandy Driver?
Down by the lake, being morbid, Daisy hears a woman’s voice calling out in the woods. She runs into Bethany and Danny and Max (Ryan Doherty). They call out in grief to the woods, saying they loved Jesse, that it hurts having lost her. Finally they’re able to grieve, out in the open. A sad, tragic openness.
Eddie is tasked with doing something by the people for whom he’s working. While he’s doing that Annie finds their daughter’s dog in his freeze. Weird. He admits to her about owing money, but denies planting any drugs at Jesse’s place. He says the drugs were stolen from him. The dog was killed in retaliation for his debt, obviously. In way over his head.
Welland wants him to testify the drugs belong to him; they were stolen AFTER Jesse’s death. These two have history, the cop doesn’t exactly like him. Except he knows that Eddie, at heart, is a good man. So with it being a first time offence, a self-professed “one time thing” Peter is willing to give him a chance. Afterwards, he leads Annie on with more lies about the burning of the shack and the fire at his house Still playing towards something dark, unknown.
Pic 2Such a strange connection between the Riddler and Annie, like two strange souls linked together in the night. She’s starting to realise that, too. She believes he’s getting his kicks from watching her scramble, listening to his clues. Yet I can’t help wondering who he is, why he’s doing all this to her. She gets a trace on his line and finally something’s come back. Annie follows the signal out to the grave of Sandy Driver, where she finds a phone and a text message reading YOU’RE NOT CRAZY.
But she wants this relationship done, sickened by the manipulation she’s allowed.
Cali (Catherine Kidd) has ties to the drugs, whether she’s top dog I don’t know. Regardless of that, Eddie goes to her, he wants to be relinquished of their ties; it’s clear she wants Annie taken out of the equation. This requires he take a beating instead, which he does willingly.
Maggie tells Annie about the “retribution” she’s faced, for what she did to Sandy back then. Before she can tell her story, though… she passes out, having binged deliberately hard by herself on pills. No telling if she’ll survive, but the chances are good with Annie being there at the right place, the right time. We at least know there’s a strong connection between Maggie and the death of Sandy.
Annie goes back to talk with Neil, about the night his daughter die and where he was supposedly working. He kept the receipts of being on the road, all these years. In order to remember that he actually did not kill her. He gives them over to our detective, providing another bit of evidence from which she can work.
And later at home, Annie falls back to the relationship with the Riddler. Trusting in him more than she does herself, or anyone else for that matter.
Pic 3The building of character is as good as the plot development, all the backstory. Bellevue deserved better in terms of viewership. I think because of it being a Canadian show and done by the CBC, it might not have been eagerly watched by too many. Certain viewers likely didn’t expect the gritty, deep, mysterious (and weird) take on the typical crime-mystery series that we received here.
“The Problem with The Truth” is next, I’m looking forward to seeing further things about Eddie and his situation, and again – what is Welland up to? Need to know.

Bellevue – Season 1, Episode 4: “Hello Little Light”

CBC’s Bellevue
Season 1, Episode 4: “Hello Little Light”
Directed by April Mullen
Written by Jane Maggs

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The Guy with Fire in His Eyes” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “How Do I Remember?” – click here
Pic 1Annie (Anna Paquin) is setting her place up for surveillance, in light of recent events. And she’s not giving up on the case of Jesse’s death, either. Even though it’s all clearly weighing on her heavy. So many things surrounding the case, her own life, it’s a wonder she’s keeping her head above water.
She and Welland (Shawn Doyle) and the other cops go check out a house belonging to Rainmaker Jed. He’s a drug dealer, apparently. Brady (Billy MacLelland) comments that Jed is “so white” and that it’s a surprise he’s allowed to live on the reservation. Virginia replies that he’s married to a woman from the tribe, she doesn’t spend much time there. They find Jesse’s boyfriend Danny (Cameron Roberts) kicking around, he looks after the place from time to time. Inside they find fake eyelashes and size 13 platform boots. This leaves Welland and his crew wondering if he has a “sexual proclivity for young boys.” Moreover, we see that the boss man is slipping a bit in front of his detectives, he’s got his own issues going on. Still curious about what exactly he’s into, his secrets.
Virginia and Annie go to the Rattlesnake Bar, talking with Jed. He’s a sly one. They also run into Eddie (Allen Leech), his latest fling Briana (Amber Goldfarb) – sister to Detective Holt. To that Virginia replies: “Fuck him. Girl power.” LOVE THIS WOMAN! God, I hate that they’ve cancelled this already. I wanted more of her, more of the queer Native perspective through her character, among other good things about the series. Still, at this point in time in Canada we deserve more roles like this for Native actors, specifically women.
Pic 1ASo the question is now, what’s Jed got to do with Danny, Jesse, et cetera? They’ve found a pink Eiffel Tower earring on the man’s property. Belonging to the dead boy; buried. Virginia further digs up info on his past, that he was sexually abused as a kid and has anger issues. She and Annie interrogate Jed, whether drugs were stolen by Jesse, if there was a sexual relationship, a three-way thing between the two of them and Danny. Or, was it something more forcible? Was the earring a trophy of a murderer? Rainmaker Jed lawyers up, either way. And he says that all he was trying to do was help. Hard to tell. Suspicious and eerie nonetheless.
Annie presses Welland about the mystery man’s riddles, asking if he’s found out anything more. She further wonders about the fire at his place, knowing there’s something more to it than coincidence. Oh, my. Dig the dark tension that’s always lingering, the show has impressive atmosphere. Welland does some pressing of his own, talking with Sid Oak (Raphael Grosz-Harvey), the local sex offender. He wants to know about the Riddler, if he’s heard from him since, so on. Threatens to put false charges on him if things don’t go his way.
Part of a crime-mystery show like Bellevue, this dark and dreary-type stuff is the fact that we see the grey areas of the law. Where things aren’t always black or white, which they aren’t in life. Part of the intrigue is seeing how characters cope with being on either side. Annie isn’t perfect, far from it. But she’s miles from Welland, whose character is obviously a deep, scary kind of his own sort.
Pic 2Meanwhile, Annie is diving into the past of her father Clarence (Patrick Labbé), the psychiatric records and tapes of his sessions with a doctor, things she’s never heard before. It’s tough for her to hear, though necessary. It helps us come to understand her past. Also, it’s leading Annie to wonder if Neil Driver (Andreas Apergis) is her Riddler. He is, indeed.
Or, is he dissociating, and taking on the personality of the mystery man?
A man named Anthony Greene (Karl Graboshas) who works for Jed is in the interrogation chair now. Brady and Virginia ask him about Jed, using his sister as a bit of leverage. Anthony burned the white truck belonging to Rainmaker Jed. He’s officially the prime suspect in the murder.
Mayor Mansfield (Janine Theriault) has borderline psychotic tendencies, slapping herself in the face to stop a crying jag; her daughter Bethany (Emelia Hellman) sees it, though has her own issues with everyone at school texting her WHORE. And the small town itself seems at odds with Annie, who isn’t wholly sold on Jed’s guilt. She finds comfort drinking with Brady, talking about his sister and Eddie, the case; even if there’s an awkward moment before she leaves where things feel sexually charged.
But she heads out to sneak into the home of Mr Driver, seeing an almost shrine-like kitchen table with words carved into the wood, a paper with a front page concerning the death of Annie’s father, her name circled in the newspapers paragraph. And at her place later, she hears someone speaking through the surveillance system outside: “Hello, little light.” Was someone out there, or did they hack in? Becomes clearer Neil isn’t the Riddler. Poor guy thinks Annie is his daughter Sandy.
This means someone else is creeping about.
Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 2.42.46 AMWhat’s the ultimate connection between Jesse and Sandy? Could the latter’s father have killed her, then years later killed the boy? Welland doesn’t think so, and Annie’s father never believed Neil murdered his daughter. Our fearless detective finds a note on a nearby swing, about a bracelet. This leads her to call up Daisy (Madison Ferguson), about the hospital bracelet  she found belonging to her grandfather. This and the watch together, the time of 12:13, adds up to more mystery.
When Neil is let out of the hospital, he finds Annie at his place. She’s asking about the references to 12:13, the time with links to his daughter’s death. We see a flashback of him yelling at her, fighting physically. His watch broke on that particular time. We find out more about someone being there with Sandy that day – Jesse’s mother, Maggie (Victoria Sanchez). Our detective goes to talk with the grieving mom, suggesting Jed may not be her son’s killer.
But the evidence stacks up against the guy. He acts as if he knew the real Jesse, as if he cared. It’s so difficult to cut through to the truth. At least, for Jed, he’s got Annie semi-rooting for him. She judges his character by him knowing Jesse and Danny were planning on running away, and that he didn’t tell anybody. This is a caring gesture, deeper than most anyone in town offered the kid.
Jed: “She was a good kid
Annie: “Jesse referred to himself as she?”
Jed: “She did at my house
Pic 4Solid episode that builds on the case itself, in favour of leaving some of the Riddler stuff as secondary. Not that I don’t dig Annie’s personal little mystery, I do. It’s just nice to see the development in Jesse’s case, seeing more of him as a character instead of him just being a trans victim. “How Do I Remember?” is next. Hoping to see more of the Riddler story this time, as well as how Welland ties in. He’s a sneaky one, that Peter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

American Gods – Season 1, Episode 8: “Come to Jesus”

Starz’ American Gods
Season 1, Episode 8: “Come to Jesus”
Directed by Floria Sigismondi
Written by Bekah Brunstetter & Bryan Fuller & Michael Green

* For a recap & review of the penultimate Season 1 episode, “A Prayer for Mad Sweeney” – click here
Pic 1More spiders, crawling all over a garment shop, as clothing is sewn and fitted by Mr. Nancy (Orlando Jones). Sitting by, Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle) and Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane) listen to Nancy tell a story while they wait. He speaks of Bilquis (Yetide Badaki), her “place of worship” in a temple below the red planet Mars shining bright in the sky. A large room full of writhing, naked bodies. They lift her above the crowd, carrying her, worshipping, as she anointed them. Men came to challenge her, to try knocking her off her throne. But she absorbs her lovers. She takes them into herself, into her “vagina nebula.” The source of her power.
In fact, Bilquis is a version of the Queen of Sheba.
Mr. Nancy: “Clothes and hair change with the times, but this queen, she kept the party goin‘.”
In the era of disco, we see Bilquis go from sitting on top of the world to dealing with the misogynoir and plain racism of supposedly modern times. Yet, she played the game, the part, adapting when necessary. Never forgetting she is a fucking queen; always. Until she falls farther and farther.
Perhaps like never before with the other Old Gods, the story of Bilquis illustrates how far respect for the old traditions, the ancient and first peoples of human history. Monuments being destroyed by ISIS perfectly show us the cruelty of men, the relentlessness of modernity. Likewise, we see Technical Boy (Bruce Langley) offering Bilquis a way back towards remembrance, towards worship – social media. This is the new form of worship. Instant gratification.
Will she accept her position as a New God in his company?
Pic 1AMeanwhile, Shadow’s not particularly happy about the way things are going. He doesn’t understand what Wednesday is doing, seeing as how he just killed one of his old buddies. Now the old man says they’re going looking for a queen. Shadow doesn’t even know Wednesday’s real name. He’s not sure how his dead wife Laura (Emily Browning) came back to life. No easy answers.
At the same time, he’s having his dream of the bone orchard again. Of the ancient buffalo, breathing fire from its nose. He has no idea what it all means, any of it. Yet.
Mr. Nancy: “Angry gets shit done
Then Shadow and Wednesday arrive in Kentucky, to see a lady called Ostara a.k.a Easter (Kristin Chenoweth). Apparently they “might not be welcome at first” and it could have something to do with him running over a pack of rabbits on his way up her massive estate’s driveway. The lady is quite a piece of work. Her house is a saccharine pastel fever dream, full of decorations and more rabbits and even Jesus Prime (Jeremy Davies). There are different Jesus’ for each denomination. Every god, every depiction of every god has a form. Sort of a Platonic form for each sect’s ideal of what their god looks like.
Mr. Wednesday: “Believing is seeing. Gods are real if you believe in them.”
We’re privy to the difference between worship and celebration, as Wednesday calls out how Jesus is a New God of his own. Ostara is tossed to the wayside nowadays for Christ, he hijacked her day. People don’t worship her, they don’t pray to her as they do the son of God. The old man uses this to get her alone, so they can have a proper chat. He tells her about the New Gods, the coming war.
Pic 2So it looks as if Bilquis has taken the bait, she’s been given the gift of modernity by Technical Boy. She is no longer homeless, on the streets. She’s the curator of a museum, looking after the artefacts of the past. However, she avoids him. So he shows up to call in the favour for returning her to glory. She does seem reluctant, which gives me hope.
In other news, Laura and Mad Sweeney (Pablo Schreiber) also get to Kentucky, at the big Spring festival wit all the different Jesus Christs. Inside, Shadow talks with Jesus Prime. They talk about faith, belief, and fate. And Wednesday, he’s still busy convincing Ostara to come with them on their journey.
Poor Laura ain’t doing so hot. Throwing up maggots and her skin is getting worse, starting to peel back, come apart. Ostara isn’t thrilled about a dead girl being in her house during a big to-do. Mad asks her to help, and to keep it quiet from the unknowing husband upstairs. The only problem? She gets a look at the last image in Laura’s eyes before her death; Mr. Sweeney himself. Uh oh. This might cause an issue if Shadow were to find out. Plus, the girls is dead “without undoing.” She was killed by a god. Later, Mad admits it was him who did the deed, but it was the old man made the call.
Arriving at the party is Media (Gillian Anderson). She’s been part of building the Easter holiday, of course. She made it a brand, ushered into modernity with chocolate bunnies and chocolate eggs and bright coloured decorations and capitalism. Hmm, wonder if it’ll pop off with them all kicking around.
Pic 3Media: “Youre an Old God new again
The sinister presence of Media doesn’t even need the Children around. Goddammit if they don’t make her creepier, though. She and Easter have it out, the latter feeling misrepresented by the media. But as Media makes clear, this is – more and more – an atheist world.
When she and Wednesday come face to face, Technical Boy at her side, there’s a feeling of change coming. Or is it? Media says they’re taking Easter with them. Even Mr. World (Crispin Glover) turns up to threaten, saying they’ve got all the power, and the Old Gods have none; he’s one unsettling dude.
And above them all, a storm rages. Lightning strikes the Children down. Then he asks if Shadow has faith, before revealing his true self: Odin, among many names. He calls up all his powers, bringing them forward, as does he command Ostara to do the same. Which she does, proudly. As the sun comes out, the life is sucked from the trees and the fields and shows the New Gods how she can take Spring away. Only returned when people pray for it. Lots to look forward to next season!
Not to mention we see Bilquis on the road again, sucking souls into her nebula. She’s headed into Wisconsin. What’s her task for the New Gods, exactly?
Screen Shot 2017-06-18 at 3.04.02 PMNow that Laura and Shadow are back in one place, the Old Gods are coming together more… what will happen next? Wow. Just wow! This whole season is fucking fantastic. A visual head trip. The plot’s been written well, too. Neil Gaiman should feel good about this adaptation, I hope he loves it as much as fans do.
Here’s to Season 2. I’m dying for it already.

The Walking Dead – Season 4, Episode 13: “Alone”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 4, Episode 13: “Alone”
Directed by Ernest R. Dickerson
Written by Curtis Gwinn

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Still” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Grove” – click here
IMG_0188Here we get a look at Bob (Lawrence Gilliard Jr) on the road before he met the big group. He was all by himself, wandering the wasteland in search of food, the next place to stay and rest. It went this way a long time. He’d stop and hole up someplace where the walkers couldn’t get him, drink a bit of cough syrup or whatever booze he could scavenge. A hard existence in the zombie apocalypse, being an alcoholic. Easy to try and block it all out with the aid of booze. Easy to get lost in your own head then, too.
Then came the day he met Daryl (Norman Reedus), riding on his bike down the road, Glenn (Steven Yeun) in a truck. They ask how long he’s been by himself, though he can’t exactly keep track. They ask him the “three questions” and Bob answers honestly. Daryl offers for him to come along, he gladly accepts. Because this, in a way, is saving him from himself. Even if he has a few alcoholism-related bumps over time.
IMG_0189In the present, Bob is with his Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green), but they’re definitely not in a safe place. Walkers come from out the fog, unseen until so near. The three friends fight against them, taking each down. Except Bob winds up getting bitten. But lucky enough it didn’t pierce the bandage he already has on his previous wound.
Beth (Emily Kinney) and Daryl are doing better. He’s teaching her to track in the woods, to shoot the crossbow, all those sort of things. She ends up stepping in a trap. It doesn’t hobble her, though it isn’t helpful. No injury in this new world is helpful because you never know if you’ll find the medicine/First Aid materials to fix it, if it can even be fixed.
First mention of the word Terminus, the place up the tracks. Signs everywhere point to its direction. Sasha worries it’s “too good to be true” but both Bob and Maggie believe it’s worth the chance, the latter knowing Glenn would go there in search of her if he saw one of those signs.
Across a field Daryl and Beth find themselves a nice plantation-style home. Nobody inside, no walkers. Although they notice how clean it is there, that someone’s been staying. In fact, it’s a funeral home. There are bodies laid out, dressed, makeup done for a showing. Beth finds it’s beautiful, that somebody still cares about the dead.
IMG_0191In conversation together, Bob and Sasha talk about what’s best going forward. She wants to find a place to stick it out awhile; higher ground someplace. He’d rather go on, hoping there’s community at Terminus for them. A destination, a goal to reach. We see that Bob doesn’t like being on his own, nor does he like isolation, of any kind; even in a group. He’d rather be tight knit with others, Sasha doesn’t yet understand how low he sank by himself.
Beth: “Its like I said, theres still good people.”
Beth and Daryl settle in at the funeral home, even though it seems someone’s been staying there before. She plays a bit of piano by candlelight, he lays down in a coffin for a little relaxation. They’re comforted, even if only for the time being. Like life is normal, as it was once. You’ve got to take the little things when they come.
In the morning, Bob and Sasha wake to find Maggie’s gone on her own, not wanting them to risk their lives for her cause. He wants to run on, find her; Sasha feels otherwise. Regardless, they go together. Maggie’s on up the tracks, she finds another Terminus sign and decides on leaving a note for Glenn, in case he happens to come by the same route.
IMG_0193Suddenly, Daryl and Beth are crowded by a horde of zombies in the funeral home, breaking through the door. They run for outside quickly, teeth gnashing at their heels. He gets locked into the room downstairs, facing a load of the dead, but gets himself out with a bit of quick thinking.
But it’s too late. Someone’s taken Beth away in a car, her things scattered in the road; a black car, with either a cross or a First Aid symbol in the window. Leaving the last Dixon brother on his own once more. And he’s devastated, already feeling the people he lost were partly his fault. Now another one gone. Heartbreaking.
IMG_0194Sasha decides she doesn’t want to go on to Terminus. Then Bob lays a kiss on her, not wanting them to split on their journey. He heads off on his own like before and refuses to let Maggie go forward without him. Sasha looks for a place to stay, for however long she can. Funny enough, she comes across Maggie, who’s hiding from the dead. Noise wakes them up.
The women are back together, fighting off a group of walkers. When they’re done Maggie tells Sashs she’s needed, that they must stay as one. Not far up the tracks they find Bob again, too.
Along the road, Daryl comes across a familiar face: Joe (Jeff Kober), the one Rick (Andrew Lincoln) almost ran into in the house a ways back. These boys are the Claimers, a group who take what they can amongst themselves, claiming what’s theirs along the way. These are rough dudes, but right now Daryl would probably go on with anybody, if only to feel a part of something again.
IMG_0196Lots going on in this episode. We’re seeing the beginning of many things, from Terminus to the Claimers and their whole racket. Can’t wait to watch them all come together more. “The Grove” is next.

Bellevue – Season 1, Episode 3: “The Guy with Fire in His Eyes”

CBC’s Bellevue
Season 1, Episode 3: “The Guy with Fire in His Eyes”
Directed by April Mullen
Written by Jane Maggs

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “He’s Back” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Hello Little Light” – click here
Pic 1Now that Annie’s (Anna Paquin) found the body of Jesse Sweetland, and Virginia (Sharon Taylor) found out about the boy’s boyfriend Danny (Cameron Roberts), among other things, there’s so much going on in Bellevue. Welland (Shawn Doyle) isn’t particularly impressed that Annie has been running around investigating on her own, not telling him things. All the same she’s found some intense, very possible connections to the Sandy Driver murder. The relationship between Annie and Welland is not doing well. Still, he knows she’s good at her job, he’s just worried.
Welland: “So tell me that you understand that you may be talking to a killer right now
What we have now is Annie reverting to the old games she played with the mysterious man in her past, leaving notes in the mailbox at the tree in the woods. Christ, it makes my skin crawl. In the best sort of way.
Pic 1ABellevue’s been rocked with the death of Jesse. Even Dt. Brady Holt (Billy MacLellan), usually a bit of a hard man, seems to feel it. However, they’re police, and they’ve got to keep on investigating, to figure out who killed the young man. He was killed with blunt force trauma, then tossed into the water.
Biggest clue so far? Danny’s mention of a white truck.
At church, Maggie Sweetland (Victoria Sanchez) mourns her son, as Father Jameson (Joe Cobden) tries comforting her. She laments in the belief of God, that he’s only about “punishment” and nothing more. Then they’re shocked to discover one of the paintings on the church walls has been defaced. More religious iconography, a hand with a knife drawn on in red paint.
Young Daisy Ryder (Madison Ferguson) has a fixation on Sandy Driver. She’s actually doing weird rituals in the attic, cutting her hand to drawl blood. Afterwards, she sees a man yelling through the darkness: “Theres no point in coming back to life. Well just kill you again.” Real? Or is she seeing things? It was Neil Driver (Andreas Apergis), scaring the shit out of her.
Possibilities become real when Annie sees a picture of coach Tom Edmonds (Vincent Leclerc) with Jesse, and his white truck. Hmm. There’s definitely more to this guy. He wanted more for Jesse, wanting him to focus on hockey instead of his identity. Not realising that for so many who struggle with gender identity, wondering if they’re transgender, identity is everything.
Pic 2After Daisy gets in trouble for her little seance, Eddie (Allen Leech) is pissed with Annie. He feels she’s starting to become “obsessive” as her father started out, apparently. Did the mystery of Sandy Driver’s murder all those years ago drive him mad? It’s all certainly threatening to push his daughter over the edge in present day.
Someone I find a bit repulsive is Mayor Lily Mansfield (Janine Theriault). Very opportunistic, a cold person. She worries more about investors than the killing of a boy. Don’t think she’s guilty of any crimes. Just of being a terrible human.
In the woods, Tom has his boys fighting over beefs. Jacob (Robert Naylor) and Max (Ryan Doherty) are called into the middle of a circle where they beat the shit out of each other. Primal and nasty, hypermasculinity in its ugly glory. But what’s most apparent is that Tom is a bit insane.
Annie finds out that the coach was destined for an NHL career, sidelined by an accident. Ah, broken dreams. Surely has something to do with his aggressive way of handling the team. The story familiar to many who’ve played sports when they were young, myself included.
Most creepy is the continuing game between the mystery man and Annie. She comes across Welland on the road, they then run into Tom and the the team, smearing their faces with some “Lord of the Flies blood shit.” Certainly does not help the case for the coach. At the same time, I wonder about Welland. I’m not sure if he’s got his own secrets, or if he’s mainly just angry with Annie. Either way he goes overboard chastising her for being like her father.
Screen Shot 2017-06-16 at 10.29.16 PMThe relationship between her and Eddie isn’t good, either. They get in a fight, she runs out to a bar dancing with another man, and he goes straight for her. They’ve got a love-hate thing going on, exacerbated by the fact she’s wildly unpredictable. So is he, though. No shortage of issues between these two, from emotional to drugs and alcohol. Also doesn’t help that Annie is obsessed with her job, the past, all of it mixed in a mess together.
AND WHAT THE HELL IS WELLAND DOING? He’s tossing the fingernails into a bonfire he sets in the shed on the old New Horizons grounds. What the fuck? This is beyond suspicious. Does he have a connection to Sandy Driver? Shit.
Annie and Victoria chat with Danny, hoping to find out more about Jesse. There’s connections to the reservation, so Victoria takes the lead. Danny talks more with Annie about coach Tom, how the relationship changed between him and Jesse. They went to a motel somewhere to meet a scout. After that, hatred. Doesn’t sound good, at all. Tom’s wife further confirms questionable behaviour.
Tom sees a prostitute, where he brought Jesse to have sex with her, as well. At the motel. He wanted to make Jesse into a star hockey player, seeing his identity as a barrier to that. But, is it motive? Did he feel it wasn’t panning out? Annie thinks he’s got “motives buried deep” and he’s one of those quiet types, capable of snapping loose.
Annie and Welland question Tom, about the hooker and everything else. His masculinity is incredibly fragile. He thinks men are meant for “another world” like we’re cavemen. He’s definitely insane, in his own way. Did he kill Jesse? Tough to say.
Screen Shot 2017-06-16 at 10.38.09 PMSomething else to add into the investigation: a large quantity of MDMA, half a pound, in Jesse’s closet. Perhaps a distributor for a local drug dealer. More clues to lead them in other directions. Good, especially for the fact they can’t pin anything on Tom as of yet.
Then the working girl Tom sees lets slip more information: he may have “walked into traffic” suggesting his long ago accident was not so. And only days after the death of Sandy Driver. He keeps a sign in the arena basement, a Bellevue sign with his name on it. The boys… like to see it.
So this connects to the latest riddle about a hero’s fall from glory. Annie goes to the arena, she finds a picture of Tom as Joseph in a pageant back then. More religious symbolism and iconography combining, in regards to the pageant with Sandy back then.
And Annie’s been locked in the basement. Someone pours gasoline into the room. Ready to light the place on fire. She pleads for her life, to be trusted again. Such twisted shit.
Dont trust the guy with fire in his eyes,” says the man with the riddles. Is he speaking of Welland, who himself recently lit a fire? Indeed. Plus his house is on fire, as he looks on. What exactly is his secret?
Screen Shot 2017-06-16 at 10.49.57 PMSo many things to ponder. I already know that Bellevue won’t return for another season; I hope they finish on a good note at the end of this one. Pity, because I’m really into it. Lots of mystery, intrigue, so many characters with their own lives and deep secrets. Great stuff from CBC. A true shame this won’t be renewed, I guess it didn’t impact others as it did me.

Bellevue – Season 1, Episode 2: “He’s Back”

CBC’s Bellevue
Season 1, Episode 2: “He’s Back”
Directed by Adrienne Mitchell
Written by Jane Maggs

* For a recap & review of the Pilot episode, click here.
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Guy with Fire in His Eyes” – click here
Pic 1At the old church, Annie Ryder (Anna Paquin) brings Peter Welland (Shawn Doyle) back to see the bleeding mural she found. She has pictures, from the one sending her riddles, and luckily because it’s gone now. As if it were never there. She also shows Welland the UR MY LIGHT message written on her back windshield.
Welland doesn’t want her going down the old path she went as a younger woman, when the mystery man and his riddles drove her to the brink of insanity. He wants to take care of it himself.
Annie’s whole life is in a mess. Her daughter Daisy (Madison Ferguson) isn’t feeling so great about her, and Welland’s constantly worrying about her psychological state. The two of them and Virginia Panamick (Sharon Taylor) and other police are investigating the scrapyard where the items belonging to Jesse Sweetland (Sadie O’Neil) were found. Not much to go on, but bits and pieces; such as a tooth and some skin.
Jesse’s mom Maggie (Victoria Sanchez) is keeping a keen eye on the other people in her town, to “look in their eyes” and see if she can figure out if someone’s done something to her boy. At the same time, she hears people disparage Jesse for wearing women’s clothes. The poor woman misses Jesse, and some people couldn’t care any less. It’s tragic to see.
Maggie: “Evil looks just like you and me
Pic 1AMaggie flips out on Father Jameson (Joe Cobden) about his relationship with Jesse, so of course Annie talks with him more. Wondering if someone connected to the church conducted a “violent form of conversion therapy.” With all the religious iconography and imagery connected, it has to be somebody of faith, right?
At the school, Annie and Virginia probe friends and acquaintances about Jesse, his problems, so on. Some girls suggest talking to people on the reservation, where he hung out. Welland talks to coach Tom Edmonds (Vincent Leclerc) and the rest of the hockey team, only digging up very surface-type things. Nothing too concrete thus far.
Note: Loving Virginia’s character, I hope they don’t bury her. She seems like a straight up, honest cop. Interested to see exactly how her relationship with the reservation and her people works.
Bethany: “Dont native people like wear dresses and dance around a fire?”
Virginia: “Yeah and every year we sacrifice a privileged white girl
When she sneaks around at night, Annie catches the Mayor’s daughter Bethany (Emelia Hellman) snooping in the scrapyard. Looking for something. The young girl plays it off with legal threats, clearly she knows more than she’s willing to let out.
Annie’s got bigger things to worry about, like who planted the creepy doll in back of her car. It’s one her father Clarence (Patrick Labbé) gave to her years before, to protect her when he’s not around. Moreover, the doll’s been dressed as the Virgin Mary.
Screen Shot 2017-06-16 at 1.55.27 PMAt the church, Maggie talks to Father Jameson and tells him that she knows Jesse is “who he is.” She doesn’t need him to be fixed. She kisses Jameson, saying: “When you put on your dress, I thought it was a phase, too.” Such a STELLAR line! I love that. Because religion is a fluid as identity, if you want it to be. To those of us who don’t believe. A way for Maggie to sort of say fuck you without having to actually say those words.
So, what does Bethany Mansfield have to do with Jesse’s disappearance? What was she looking for up there? Annie wants to find out. She tells her about finding the tooth, his skin on the fence. Bethany calls him “sick” and that Jesse didn’t want to be the way he was anymore. Except he did, it was his friends who wouldn’t accept him. They were holding the pictures of women’s bodies in front of the fence; he reached out and the photos were pulled away, giving him the shock, those cross-like burns.
Jesse later told Bethany he was leaving, that he cared about her deeply. She’s too repressed to feel anything for him, causing a scary confrontation between him and Bethany’s boyfriend, Jacob (Robert Naylor). When Annie susses things out, the boyfriends turns on his buddies who in turn start telling the truth. She and Brady Holt (Billy MacLellan) press Jacob, taunting about Bethany being with Jesse. Picking at his fragile, young masculinity. Until finally the kid says he saw his friend get into a white truck headed for the reservation.
Bullshit? Or no?
Virginia meets with Danny Debessage (Cameron Roberts), Jesse’s boyfriend; he isn’t honest about their relationship totally at first, before she shows him a picture of her wife. Ah, see, she’s even more interesting than I even thought before!
Meanwhile, Annie goes to see Eddie, feeling lost in the world. “These are my arms,” she says. They’re not together, yet there is a huge connection. Something’s been keeping them apart as a couple. They’re still very close. I think she lets her job and her past lead her life too much. Not easy NOT to do, but it’s obviously something driving a wedge into the relationship between her and Eddie.
Her mind is consumed, entirely. The past is everywhere. In the road Annie comes across a truck that backs away quickly, something between the vehicles. It’s an animal carcass, in its side is carved REMEMBER ME. She thinks about the memories of the past, the riddles, the doll. So she checks inside the doll and finds nasty fingernails wrapped in plastic stuffed in one of the legs. Disgusting, and so compelling.
Screen Shot 2017-06-16 at 2.02.37 PMThis all relates back to the death of Sandy Driver, those many years ago. He fingernails were never recovered. Bringing her back to those memories, that place in the forest. Where there hangs a mailbox, taking us back to the opening scene where she sees her own mailbox at home, hanging crooked. Great imagery.
Annie starts figuring out a riddle, connecting to an old mental hospital named New Horizons. A place in the woods now only a wreck, barely anything remaining. When she goes up to have a look, to “find a fish out of water” like the riddle says, there are scratches, blood. Is it from when Sandy died? One thing’s certain, it’s all fucking with Annie’s head.
Not long and she finds the corpse of Jesse, lying face down floating in the water close by. So goddamn sad.
Screen Shot 2017-06-16 at 2.14.40 PMClear now there’s a big connection between Sandy’s death and the tragic death of Jesse. But what is it? “The Man with Fire in His Eyes” is next, I’m hoping we’ll see a few more weird, exciting developments. Bellevue has got me hooked now, two episodes in.

Bellevue – Pilot

CBC’s Bellevue
Season 1, Episode 1: “Pilot”
Directed by Adrienne Mitchell
Written by Jane Maggs

* For a recap & review of the next episode, “He’s Back” – click here
Pic 1In the town of Bellevue, Annie Ryder (Anna Paquin) stumbles to her car out of a bar. She breaks a man’s car window, before the two of them head back to a motel to have sex. This guy’s Dwayne (Victor Andres Turgeon-Trelles), he’s a bit crazy, plus he’s got good drugs. They have some fun, they snort a little coke. Then the cops bust in – Brady Holt (Billy MacLellan), Virginia Panamick (Sharon Taylor), and Peter Welland (Shawn Doyle). Seems that Annie’s a cop, working undercover. Except she’s a bit… deep undercover.
She’s also a mom to a young girl named Daisy (Madison Ferguson). They live in Bellevue, Annie’s hometown, where she’s stayed to raise her own family. It’s a town like any other, it has all the bitchy neighbours, the drug issues, all of what you’d expect from a tiny community. We also find out about an old murder victim, whose death was being investigated by Annie’s father; it’s also the anniversary of his death.
Out at a scrapyard, Annie meets Welland and the others in relation to a missing kid from town. They have a bit of evidence, they’ve recovered a cellphone and a few other items belonging to Jesse Sweetland (Sadie O’Neil), the local star hockey player. He’s also contemplating his “gender identity” – in a small place, nothing is secret.
And there’s a spooky feeling in the air, as we simultaneously hear Daisy’s class presentation about the death of Sandy Driver. This show already has great atmosphere. Might not hold up every episode, but definitely intriguing from the get-go.
Pic 1AI like that they’re tackling a sensitive issue, including ideas of transgender identity, gender fluidity, so on. Don’t like that the trans community is often relegated to victimhood. However, we’ll see where Bellevue takes us in that regard. It’s nice to see some inclusion, and particularly from CBC here in my country.
The cops get a tip on a sex offender; a paedophile recently moved in near the reservation. Out at the bar, Annie confronts the man, made a bit more complicated when the bartender outs her as police. Then the guy hands over a note addressed to her. What the fuck? This is a creepy twist. He up and disappears before she can ask him anything further.
We get a glimpse of her past, after her father died. Young Annie (Habree Larratt) spent quite a bit of time in the woods by herself, a private getaway. Where she starts to find notes written by her father, little riddles left for her to solve. As if he was still alive. This caused problems between her and her mother, a lot of emotional issues for her, too. This story’s just become infinitely weird and just as unsettling.
Annie mentions the riddles to Welland, wondering if he knows anything more than he’s told her. He says he doesn’t, worrying more about her focus on the latest case. But she IS having a hard time. Mainly due to the anniversary of her dad’s death. Moreover, we see she and her estranged boyfriend-not quite husband Eddie (Allen Leech) clearly both have dependency issues, on drugs and alcohol. It’s a thing they share together. Deep history between them, obviously.
Pic 2During a conversation with her daughter Annie figures out one of her father’s riddles. She goes to an old, rundown church. There she finds a statue painted half man, half woman. A cellphone goes off nearby: Nature is calling, apparently. The sound echoes around her everywhere. Terrifying.
Who gave that paedophile the note? She goes to confront him, he says it was anonymously passed in the bathroom. Annie calls in an anonymous tip about what she’s found, then Welland and the others check out the church; it’s a hangout for teens. They find the statue. Clearly a message. Is Jesse “caught in the middle” of someone’s religious obsession clashing with the idea of trans identity? Or his own?
We start seeing the various opinions in town about Jesse, the trans aspect of his life. Father Jameson (Joe Cobden) believes he was a confused boy, as do the Bible thumpers. Maggie Sweetland (Victoria Sanchez) talks about her husband’s death, then about what she noticed in the days before her son disappearing. He recently, supposedly, stopped dressing feminine as of late. Only we know different, having seen him in the opening moments of the episode. Likewise, we saw a cross-like symbol on his hand. Like a burn.
Annie and Welland comb over the evidence they’ve uncovered so far. Nothing obvious, yet. She remembers seeing the statue as a child. Part of the nativity scene. Meanwhile, the town acts like they’re all hoping for the safe return of Jesse, everybody acting as if their hearts are bleeding when under the surface it doesn’t seem to be the case.
Screen Shot 2017-06-16 at 11.01.10 AMLater, Annie gets a call about Neil Driver (Andreas Apergis) out at the old church. Off his meds again. When she arrives she finds streaks of blood. From a wall hangs bags of it – red paint, not blood – leaking over a painting covered in barbed wire and a rosary. Spooky religious imagery. And that cross on Jesse’s hand? It’s a mark from an electric fence. Perhaps someone is trying to shock the femininity out of the young man wanting to transition? Either way, something connected to Annie is happening. She finds one of her childhood toys in the building. While her daughter sees someone crawling around on the car outside. He’s left a note, too: UR MY LIGHT on the back windshield.
Screen Shot 2017-06-16 at 11.09.45 AMThis opening episode did it for me! I’m in, Bellevue. Take me for a ride. It’s obvious there are many things swirling around Annie, now including the fact her daughter is nearly traumatised and I know it’ll get worse. I love the idea of imperfect parents, and she is definitely one. She’s an interesting character, as is the story compelling.
“He’s Back” is the next episode. Will be exciting to watch these characters and this gritty plot expand in the coming chapters.

The Walking Dead – Season 4, Episode 12: “Still”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 4, Episode 12: “Still”
Directed by Julius Ramsay
Written by Angela Kang

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Claimed” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Alone” – click here
IMG_0179On the road together, just the two of them, Beth (Emily Kinney) and Daryl (Norman Reedus) face harder times than a lot of their friends. They seek refuge wherever and whenever they can, walkers everywhere outside. It’s never easy, though this is a new level even for them.
Beth is giving it her all. She’s come a long way from the girl who once wanted to kill herself and be done with the world. She starts her own fires, rigs a line of hubcaps to use as a signal for intruders. Daryl kills a rattlesnake for them to eat for dinner; he’s a bit more eager to chow down than she is, and I don’t blame her.
She’s getting restless. She wants to go have a drink, like in a bar. He doesn’t pay much mind to it, believing she’s just rambling. But she’s serious, and she is going with or without his help. He tries bringing her back to their camp. She just won’t have it, sitting around doing nothing except surviving. It’s hard to take, especially for young people who’ve barely lived their lives outside a farm.
Beth: “Im not staying in this suck ass camp!”
IMG_0180They find a golf course and head into the country club attached. Inside is dark and full of walkers. Beth is almost chomped by one before she stabs it in the head. Daryl scavenges anything and everything he can find. In the pro shop they find new clothes among other things, including a female zombie, bloody, dressed in clothes with a sign reading RICH BITCH across her chest. Beth insists they cover her up, for dignity’s sake. Long after dingnity has ceased to walk the Earth.
Further on they run into a grandfather clock that starts sounding; not a good sign, as it draws walkers to their position. They move on, fighting off a few of the dead while they go. Daryl messes up Beth’s brand new white t-shirt when he whacks a head to bits all over her. They manage to get to the bar, where she finds a bottle of peach Schnapps. Shitty booze, but you take what you can get! Daryl says fuck that, they need to find a better drink for her first one.
IMG_0183He knows the backwoods, he’s a hunting, tracking machine. They head out into the woods in search of a cabin, one Daryl found before with Michonne. Inside he knows there’ll be moonshine, somewhere. Just like back home with daddy. This is where things start to take a little turn. Because we already know Daryl Dixon didn’t have it easy, we’ve sen the lash marks on his back, dug deep in his skin. He’s been to a terrible place as a boy, lucky to have escaped, I imagine. Being in a place reminiscent of home, drinking shine, it brings up emotions he probably didn’t plan on experiencing.
Before Daryl can go over the edge as their drinking game goes wrong, he sees himself clearly. He takes pleasure in killing the already dead. Then she points out that not everybody is like him, they can’t shrug it all off. She doesn’t think he cares about those they’ve lost.
He doesn’t want to be that man. He feels responsible for what happened at the prison, for Hershel’s death, for the place going to ruin, and he feels that their friends are all dead. And Beth can only think to hug him, hold him close.
Beth: “Killing them is not supposed to be fun
IMG_0184 The two of them get closer, they talk more about life before the turn. Daryl talks about a stupid situation with Merle at a tweaker’s house, and he reveals he didn’t have a job before everything went to hell. He and his older brother were drifters, essentially. He was just “some redneck asshole with an even bigger asshole for a brother.”
Their bonding helps them feel better about the world. And they’re becoming better friends, as well. Later, they decide to burn the little cabin down. To leave the bad memories with it, to start fresh and let the fire signal a new beginning. In a way, it’s Daryl leaving part of his ugly past behind, a way to symbolically tear down that part of his life that’s useless to keep around even in memory. They head onto the road, again, and the cabin burns behind them. Flipping the bird as they go.
IMG_0186A quiet, more subdued episode. I did enjoy it. First time I saw this one I didn’t find it as engaging. This time around, I pick out more nuance than before. It’s a great look at Daryl, as it is Beth, too. They’re both on show in their own respects. Love it.
“Alone” is next and we’ll see more of our survivors trying to get down the road in one piece.

The Walking Dead – Season 4, Episode 11: “Claimed”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 4, Episode 11: “Claimed”
Directed by Seith Mann
Written by Nichole Beattie & Seth Hoffman

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Inmates” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Still” – click here
IMG_0169Sergeant Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz) and his people have picked up Tara (Alanna Masterson) and Glenn (Steven Yeun) on the road; they’ve got a large military truck. The Sarge is a tough motherfucker, a real slick talker, too. Tara finds it strange that he was smiling while he killed. His response? “Well, Im the luckiest guy in the world.”
Oh, he’s a treat! Not only is Abraham a solid character, Michael Cudlitz is a fantastic actor whose role on Southland is one of the all-time greats on television. A welcomed addition on The Walking Dead.
IMG_0170In a house together, Carl (Chandler Riggs) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) sit together at a table eating cereal. They have a nice morning, until he remembers Judith, imagining the worst. Nice that we know the truth, though painful to watch them not know.
Michonne is more committed to staying with people, she knows the depths of depravity to which her own mind sinks when she’s isolated; as we saw recently. At the same time, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) is worried, faltering in his own confidence. He doesn’t know what the best pay forward is anymore. This is perhaps his lowest point yet, and he’s seen some shit. But there’s much more at play at this juncture, after the war with the Governor, the fall of the prison. He’s got some personal development to do. And Season 4 takes him to an extraordinary place. Starting with his day at home alone while Carl and Michonne go out scavenging together.
The pair head off through the neighbourhood, they get to know one another more than before. I like seeing them together because they’re friends. He also sees her, slightly at times, like a mother figure. She’s super bad ass, so it’s only naturally he feels comfort in being around her. She agrees to answer questions about her old life after they’ve cleared a room in the house; on they go, as he discovers her boy’s name was Andre, among other tidbits. They also stumble upon an ugly end to a once happy family in their home.
IMG_0176Then suddenly Rick wakes in his bed to voices downstairs. A bunch of men. Dangerous sounds. WHO ARE THEY? He can’t find his gun, so he rolls out of bed and hides underneath it. A man with a gun walks through the upstairs hallway, searching the rooms. Then into Rick’s room. The man lays down on the bed.
How the fuck is our sheriff getting out of this one? The man falls asleep and another one comes in, angry, wanting to lie down. They fight, the man in the bed sees Rick under it but is choked out by the other. Still not getting anywhere fast.
Once Glenn wakes up, again, he’s riding on the truck with Tara and their new friends. He isn’t exactly thrilled, he wants to be searching for Maggie (Lauren Cohan). Abraham is on his own mission. He doesn’t particularly want to let Glenn leave, either. He says they’re on a mission to get Dr. Eugene Porter (Josh McDermitt) to Washington, he knows what started the zombie plague. They want Glenn’s help, he’s a fighter. But he needs to find his wife. They wind up having a proper fist fight before anything else happens. Like walkers coming out of the trees. We also see Dr. Porter’s uselessness, too. He puts a hole in the gas tank firing at walkers.
More importantly, back to Rick – he waits until the latest man in the bed sleeps, then crawls out slowly. He makes it to another room before Joe (Jeff Kober) walks by, tossing a tennis ball around leisurely. Rick tries to find a way out, hearing that they’ve found evidence a woman’s been staying in the house. The men start gathering downstairs. In the bathroom, Rick runs into a man on the toilet, whom he strangles to death.
IMG_0173Abraham can’t figure out how to fix the truck, the tank is busted. Rather than stick around Glenn leaves, and Tara can’t leave his side. The Sarge doesn’t want to leave, though his friend Rosita (Christian Serratos) decides they’ll go, as well. Nowhere else to be, right? A destination is a destination, you can’t stop for long on the road in the post-apocalypse world.
Rick gets himself out the window before anyone can find him in the house, down to the ground and in time to meet with Michonne and Carl, so they don’t walk into a house of horrors. They get away without anyone knowing they were there. Except, is the gang’s dead buddy in the bathroom reanimating? Yikes, that’s brutal. Could mean trouble if they were able to track Rick.
On the train tracks, Rick, Carl, and Michonne come across a sign pointing to a destination further down the road. A sanctuary, a community, directions on a map. They decide to head onward. Will it be what they hope?
IMG_0178A great episode, introducing more stories and characters. As well as sets up a few different things we’ll find coming back into play the more we get towards the end of Season 4. “Still” is next.

Fargo – Season 3, Episode 9: “Aporia”

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

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

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

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

Peaky Blinders – Season 2 Finale

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

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

Peaky Blinders – Season 2, Episode 5

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

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

The Handmaid’s Tale – Season 1, Episode 10: “Night”

Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale
Season 1, Episode 10: “Night”
Directed by Kari Skogland
Written by Bruce Miller

* For a recap & review of the penultimate Season 1 episode, “The Bridge” – click here
Pic 1We cut back to when the women were first being introduced to Gilead. Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd) laments the “parade of sluts” in their regular attire. Even though they’re all dressed normally. This is a hyperreality of misogyny.
They’re instructed to clasp their hands, look downward. June a.k.a Offred (Elisabeth Moss) reminisces from her present situation, about the look in the eyes of the handmaids now, sentiment only previously known in spurts, never prolonged. Now, it is all they know. They’re indentured to the patriarchy.
June is brought to a dark room. Where Aunt Lydia and other aunts insert some kind of tracking device into her, blasting it from a nail gun-like contraption into the flesh just above her ear. Such nasty stuff.
But remembering, not forgetting is important. It fuels the determined rage which June continually feels, hopefully leading to her escape from all this someday. Right now, Serena Joy (Yvonne Strahovski) is taking out her frustrations on the handmaid. The lady of the house knows what’s been going on with her husband and their servant. She forces June to take a pregnancy test, after beating the shit out of her.
Whatever empathy I tried feeling for Serena is gone. She’s fully complicit in ways that go beyond any fear for her own safety. She is awful. Not as awful as the men, though. Never.
And now June is with child.
June: “They shouldve never given us uniforms if they didnt want us to be an army
Pic 1APoor June, she has to remember her first pregnancy, a much happier and safer time when she and Luke (O-T Fagbenle) were able to feel excited for the coming of their child. These days, it’s ugly. Nothing to feel good about.
We find out more of what Serena’s discovered when she confronts her husband Fred (Joseph Fiennes). There’s further evidence Serena also helped write some of the laws used to enslave women in Gilead. The same laws and misogyny her husband uses to keep her down, to literally make her feel as if she’s at fault for his lust. Like he wasn’t wretched enough already. Serena then blasts him as “not worthy” to father a child, telling him that Offred’s baby is not of his creation. Christ, I can’t imagine what this will cause.
Later on Nick (Max Minghella) discovers June is pregnant. He reacts with tenderness, though I still feel it’s very problematic. She did feel something for him when they had sex. However, the fact she even had sex with him in the first place is STILL forcible. She would’ve never otherwise done so if she weren’t shackled by the patriarchy in that nation-state. Every decision which led her to those moments in bed with Nick were forced by misogynist law. Therefore I find it difficult to find this meant-to-be-touching scene at all nice. It’s creepy.
Moira (Samira Wiley) is out in the cold, sneaking through the woods. She comes across a farm; she’s in Ontario, Canada. Across the border, finally! This is a bigger ray of hope than I personally anticipated.
Pic 2Off someplace unknown to her, June waits in the car. Serena heads into a house then comes back outside with June’s daughter, Hannah. Right there, where she’s unable to speak to the girl. This is one of the most cruel things Mrs. Waterford has done to the handmaid. Not THE most cruel; that would be holding her down to be raped. But this is so tragic, hurts the heart to see June so close to her daughter. Serena is despicable. And this has really pushed our woman over the edge.
June: “Youre fucking evil, you know that? Youre a goddamn motherfucking monster.”
Commander Putnam testifies to his sins, regarding the whole mess of a situation last episode with Janine (Madeline Brewer). The Council are sitting around discussing the offence. We see the hypocritical nature of them all, but most definitely Commander Waterford, whose own transgressions shine through clearly. Others aren’t so quick to forgive, such as Commander Pryce. So, what’s to be done? Putnam must offer a sacrifice to God, to show that he accepts his sins and the consequences. He gives over his left forearm to surgical amputation as a show of faith. Man alive, these fellas are some sick puppies. The lot of them. Bunch of perverted religious freaks.
That night, June goes to the Commander. Asking that he protect her daughter from Serena. She warns that Fred does not know his wife, the extent to which she’ll go, the depths she’s willing to sink to hurt one of her own kind. In her room June finds a packet of letters written by various handmaids, the postcards of abused and ravaged women calling out to the world for help. This is like viewing her own death, already written before her; figuratively and literally. It’s almost enough to make her want to give up. But she won’t, ever.
Pic 3Moira experiences a culture shock, going from the US to Canada. She is now an American refugee in the land of freedom, where women are still people. The biggest difference is just dealing with men, seeing a man that doesn’t treat her as an object. He processes her into the country, welcoming her to Ontario, and offering all sorts of things she hasn’t been able to do in so long. One of the basics? Read a book. So fucking sad to hear, and at the same time glorious. (Also feel good being a Canadian.)
Alone together, Fred and Serena hash out their issues. He’s looking to the future, the expectancy of a child coming to them. She is, of course, devastated that it isn’t her having a child. Just like a typical abuser, Fred plays sweet right now. He talks a good game about being “a family” after the baby is born, and after June is gone.
All the handmaids are out listening to Aunt Lydia, performing one Gilead’s many strange rituals. They take off their “wings” – the blinders on their head gear – and proceed to each pick up rocks. They bring out Janine, punished for the crime of endangering a child. Set for a fatal stoning. Ofglen refuses to comply, and she’s cracked in the mouth with a rifle. After that none of them move. Until June steps out of the line, the men draw guns on her. The handmaid drops her stone. Next is Alma, then the others, all of them. Each replying: “Im sorry, Aunt Lydia.”
Will this start a revolution? Is this the beginning of their rebellion, or will this cause something worse? I feel it’s one of the first acts that will help liberate the women. Every revolution must begin with small steps.
Pic 4In Canada, Luke and Moira find each other. She was on his list, as a family member. It’s a bittersweet reunion without June there, yet still wonderful. Just to know she is safe for now, that she isn’t alone.
Screen Shot 2017-06-14 at 10.52.00 AM
All the while June remains in her room, under lock and key. Suddenly, men come to take her away. Although Nick says to trust him and go. The Waterfords protest, but the men take her regardless.
She’s put into the back of a vehicle, carted off. To who knows where. Punishment, or being saved? We’ll have to wait to find out.
What a spectacular finale, loved it! We know there’s a Season 2 coming, and I think that helped me with the ambiguity of the ending. I’d still have enjoyed it, anyways. There’s a lot of character development, plenty of things to get excited over for next season, and the tension was unbearable during a couple moments. Love the writing, can’t wait for next season already.
Screen Shot 2017-06-14 at 10.58.52 AM

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

 

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

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

Peaky Blinders – Season 2, Episode 4

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

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