Hanna tries to convince Clara of the truth beyond Utrax
All truth is revealed
Smurf becomes more suspicious of J. Pope might have finally lost it. Deran's past comes back to haunt him, as Adrian makes a foolish move.
Hawk struggles to find a way to keep Caleb from conversion therapy. Eddie is on the brink of finding out the raw truth about Dr. Steve Meyer.
Tommy has new plans. But then again, so does Luca; those involve Alfie Solomons.
The tale of Valerie Solanas, the Scum Manifesto, and her effect on the women of Kai's cult.
Kai's challenged for city council. Then he's shot. By Ally? Or was it someone else?
Arthur gets a bad surprise when he visits Alfie Solomons. And when Michael lands in jail, something worse happens to his mother.
Using a fake country as the setting for a brutal revolution, director & writer John Erick Dowdle's NO ESCAPE is pure action-thriller to the core.
Season 2, Episode 6: “Revolution 9”
Directed by Jonas Pate
Written by Rafael Yglesias
* For a review of the previous episode, “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me & My Monkey” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Piggies” – click here
At 10050 Cielo Drive on August 9th of 1969, a maid makes her way up to the house. First, she finds the wires on the gate speaker cut. On the door is scrawled PIG in red. Further inside waits unimaginable horror.
We jump back 16 months previous. The same maid finds herself the subject of nasty racism at the hands of none other than Charles Manson (Gethin Anthony). No surprise there. Meanwhile, Charlie’s not happy with much that’s going on at the home of Dennis Wilson (Andy Favreau). He orders his girls around, mostly pimping them out.
In other news, Detectives Brian Shafe (Grey Damon) and Sam Hodiak (David Duchovny) are finding out what they can about the missing girl they’ve found, now dead and rotted away in a makeshift grave. At the same time, Ken Karn (Brian F. O’Byrne) is getting information on Bobby Kennedy, likely up to no good behind the scenes. He’s glued to the television and obviously worried about the threat of this Kennedy for his man Richard Nixon. Ah, political intrigue! I’ve always dug this Karn plot. Not only is O’Byrne a great actor, the character itself is well written and full of good threads to follow.
Back with Hodiak and Shafe, they’re trying to interrogate Ben Healy (Morgan McClellan) a bit. What we see here, above all else, is the fact Shafe is already starting to become that guy he never wanted to become, the one his wife Kristin (Milauna Jackson) fears he’ll be with that detective shield on.
Producer Terry Melcher (Chase Coleman) is getting pulled further into the world of Manson, as the latter works his devious ways to get what he wants, and to con others into thinking they’re getting what they desire. Greasy, slick bastard.
In jail, Healy’s talking a bit. But there’s more going on with Shafe than his job. He’s still sweating, his whole demeanour is shaky. He is not himself. And we’ve already seen the foreshadowing of his nasty addiction. We’re going to have to watch his downward spiral, which sort of pains me. I like this guy. I’d like to see him kick the demons, though clearly there’s only more trouble in his future. Even worse, if Hodiak figures everything out he won’t be happy.
Speaking of Sam, he’s over chatting with some union cats. They’re big fans of Kennedy, by the way. Well one of Hodiak’s buddies is being blackmailed by a prostitute. He worries, obviously, for his children, his wife, the integrity of the union and all kinds of things. Reluctantly, Sam agrees to do the job. Only thing is I’m not sure his morality is so free as it was before. He doesn’t look too pleased with having to track down a woman and… do who knows what to keep her silent.
Shafe is still grilling Healy trying to get more out of him. He’s following more rules of the non-official police handbook from Dt. Hodiak, too. Maybe, just maybe, it works.
Manson gets a little of what he wants from Melcher with the promise of more. But you can be sure that either he’ll sabotage things unwillingly himself, or it won’t pan out how he envisions it.
Back to the politics, Grace Karn (Michaela McManus) is starting to dip her feet in. She’s asked to introduce Mrs. Nixon before a luncheon for the National Federation of Republican Women due to her husband Ken “working” for Nixon. When she’s courted afterwards to possibly take a more active role, Grace is presented with either lying or telling the truth about where her daughter Emma (Emma Dumont) is currently. She’s over being slapped around by Charlie Manson, told what to do, where to go, all that sort of thing; even her name Grace is no more, she’s Cherry.
Finally, Hodiak looks like he’s cluing in to what is going on with Shafe when the younger of the two mumbles: “This ain‘t the flu.” In the meantime, Sam keeps at Healy, and starts trying to work more out of the guy. Nothing comes, except his lawyer. Now there’s more complaints headed Hodiak’s way, but he’s still convinced there is some guilt kicking around. And instead of going home, Shafe simply goes for another shot of horse, getting high as a kite in a dirty little room by himself.
Ken meets an Agent Bill Copley (Joe Williamson) at a hotel bar. Lots of undercover talk about Nixon, Hoover, dirt of Bobby Kennedy, and all that. Very clandestine, Deep Throat-type stuff. But there’s more than that at hand. Is there some type of relationship between these two? Ken says he looks “fit” and laments not getting a call after Copley came to town. Yowzahs. No wonder he thought Kennedy was a handsome fella.
At home, Brian and Kristin are at odds. She continually finds the change in him disruptive, disappointing above anything. Hodiak calls to let Shafe know the story on Healy. Mostly, we see how Brian is alienating his wife, he’s beginning to slip up slightly in his job. Everything is crumbling. He’s the only one that doesn’t seem to notice. Because not long after Kristin discovers her husband’s secret junkie kit.
Out on his moonlighting gig, Hodiak brings an old buddy a lunch, Detective Blumenthal (Matthew Arkin). He gets a bit of low down on the prostitutes which he seeks out: they’ve got the same pimp, a guy named Martin O’Reilly (Ryan Caldwell). During the whole debacle Sam meets Bobby Kennedy (Scott Bailey), who asks about race relations involving the African-American community: “It‘s my job to keep the bad away from the good. That‘s all I can do,” Hodiak tells him.
Eventually Hodiak tracks down O’Reilly. For his part the pimp denies any blackmail. Because why would he ruin a good client? Either way, Hodiak cracks his nose open on the steering wheel: “You‘re still a pimp,” he says before getting out and letting a couple other detectives take the guy in – or are they someone else? So Hodiak goes back to his buddy, asking for more info. He ends up sitting for a hot beverage with the wife. She seems to let on that there’s more to her husband than appears at first, and she is the one that’s putting the screws to her husband. Good woman. Fuck that cheating slime.
Awhile later Sam discovers O’Reilly is now a missing person. Uh oh. Hodiak doesn’t like that his old buddy he tried helping basically used him to find the pimp, then did something… intense. Being an army pal from long ago doesn’t ensure Hodiak’s undying loyalty.
At the Wilson mansion, Charlie plays a new song for the Beach Boy. Over this we watch a montage of various scenes, including Brian and his destroyed living room along with Kristin’s disapproving look, Grace quietly worrying for her daughter, and Hodiak receives another envelope with RFK’S #1 DETECTIVE written across it, a new picture inside. And after Charlie finishes playing there’s a look behind Dennis’ eyes that speaks wonders. He finds it amazing, which pleases Manson plenty.
Hodiak winds up doing his part to help get Bobby Kennedy out of the hotel where he made an appearance. Out through the doors they go and you know what’s coming, don’t you?
A man walks from out of the crowd, pulls a gun, then….
Cut to August 9th of ’69 again. The maid comes barrelling out of the house on Cielo Drive, trying to scream “murder” but barely with a voice.
What a CRAZY, amazing episode! I love this show. I don’t care what the ratings say, or what other internet sites are saying: it’s awesome. While it takes liberties with Manson and other events, there’s a really fun, exciting, and fresh feel to Aquarius coupled with great performances from the cast. Excited for the next episode titled “Piggies” and I can’t wait to see what comes from the fallout of Bobby Kennedy’s assassination, particularly see as how Hodiak was right there at the scene. Stay tuned, fellow fans.
Malcolm X. 1992. Directed by Spike Lee. Screenplay by Lee & Arnold Perl.
Starring Denzel Washington, Angela Bassett, Albert Hall, Al Freeman Jr., Delroy Lindo, Spike Lee, Theresa Randle, Kate Vernon, Lonette MCKee, Tommy Hollis, James McDaniel, Ernest Thomas, Jean-Claude La Marre, O.L. Duke, & Larry McCoy. 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks/Largo International N.V./JCV Entertainment Networks/Warner Bros.
Rated PG-13. 202 minutes.
Sometimes I’m not a fan of Spike Lee as a public persona, simply because he doesn’t always think before speaking. However, I’m usually a fan of his work as a director. He has a big, wide mind and puts that to work usually tackling issues within the African American community. There are too many of his movies to talk of in an introduction, but suffice to say I do think he is a great director. One of the greatest in his generation, and certainly one of the best African American directors out there, period.
And that’s perhaps why Malcolm X is the film out of his catalogue which resonates most. It isn’t necessarily his greatest. Yet there’s such a poignancy and depth to the work Lee does to portray Malcolm X (played wonderfully by Denzel Washington), not just as a powerful black leader, but also as a human being; one not completely above judgement, one not perfect as some might idealise him. Furthermore, we’re able to get a look at the inside of the Nation of Islam, as far as fiction allows. Many prominent figures in the life of X and circling the NOI, as well as the Civil Rights movement in general, are included, from cameo roles such as Nelson Mandela, Al Sharpton and others, to the portrayals of characters like Elijah Muhammad (Al Freeman Jr.) and Thomas Hagan (Giancarlo Esposito), among more. The nearly three and a half hour runtime of Malcolm X may seem daunting. If you’re sitting down to watch a film, you’ve really got to be prepared for this one, though it’s beyond worth the effort. For me, the 202 minutes rushes by in a beautifully shot and directed, phenomenally acted story that jams a whole man’s life into one screenplay. Not everything gets covered, and there’s also plenty of story to be told after X’s assassination. Above all else, the character of X comes out, as does his struggle. For some this was a stepping stone to learning more about the Civil Rights movements that began raging during the 1960s and 1970s, and onward. I won’t ever forget my first time seeing this one. It’s a classic that stands the test of time, telling an important, crucial story about America during the early latter half of the 20th century, and examining one of the more turbulent times of race relations in the country’s history. Sadly, some of what happened back then is still much too alive and much too well in American society, and if X were still alive he’d likely still be as fiery and determined as ever.
The best aspect of Malcolm X is the fact Lee doesn’t attempt to make him above reproach. As a person, X was not perfect. Nobody is, so Lee never tries to make him out to be anything else. Some worried that he would include X’s life before he converted to Islam, and that’s exactly part of what makes this story interesting and intriguing. There’s no sense in ignoring that part of his existence. X himself never did ignore it, he always kept himself open and honest and raw. That’s a huge part of why many did, and still do(/always will), admire him. He was not like most other leaders. He didn’t admit every one of his faults – again, he is only human. But on the whole, he never shied away from his once criminal past, as that in a way led him to where he went after and helped him attain the enlightenment of Islam.
One of my favourite moments happens between Malcolm X’s speeches. A young white woman approaches him, admiring his work, and wondering what a white person without prejudice might do to help further his cause: “Nothing,” he says smiling before walking on. This is such a brief, powerful moment. I’m reminded of watching a recent documentary about the KKK, where they also spotlighted the Black Lives Matter movement and the shooting in Charleston; one scene shows a white woman, with a mixed race child, trying to march in solidarity, who’s told by a black woman to go home – she does in fact leave after, though the black lady gives her a hug and seemingly explains this is just not the time or place for her presence. There’s a stand-off element to X and his feelings for white people. Again, that changed once he went to Mecca on his Hajj, and then essentially transformed into a full blown humanitarian. Yet Lee never strays away from that inflammatory perspective X held towards white American society, and makes clear it’s simply about black people gaining back their power, or retaining what they have, not so much about hating white people. So in that scene where X shrugs the white woman off, it represents the idea that white people may want to help, but black people don’t need their help. They sometimes just need white people to stand back, let them do their thing and settle the issues on their own. That’s not always the case. Particularly in the time of X, there were tough things happening (not that there still aren’t in this day and age), so this was a stance he felt black society needed to take in those times of near racial war. Not long after X, once Elijah Muhammad was out of his life, he made clear the black community had to unite first, then they could work more on white-black relations. That scene with the white girl epitomises this concept.
I love the inclusion of the conk hairstyle at the beginning with Malcolm and his buddy Shorty. Not simply because African American culture at the time saw a lot of young black men styling their hair that way. What’s most interesting is that Malcolm X later spoke about conk and its double edged sword-like effect on the black community. On the one hand, conk – because of its threat of chemical burns and scarring, hair loss, et cetera – was seen as a ritual of manhood, going from a boy to a grown adult. On the other hand, he and other African American scholars came to see conk also as a way of erasing oneself in order to become more white. This latter idea is presented in the screenplay after the conk is put in, washed out, then Malcolm admires his new hair in the mirror and says to the men in the barbershop: “Looks white, don‘t it?” The whole concept of the conk plays into how we see Malcolm ultimately reject everything white. And yes, he said incredibly inflammatory things about white people. But things can change, people can. He didn’t turn into who he was later because of a hate for white people. Effectively, he hated injustice. The white man, the white culture, the white HAIR, it all comes down to representing the white world that he lived in and found himself subject to at every turn, on a daily, minute-to-minute basis. So the conk is simply one element of the white superstructure that Malcolm came to reject. A great inclusion on Lee’s part to show that. It could’ve been a basic scene that shows us where he came from, his beginnings. Instead the scene represents a microcosm of that influence white culture had (/still has) on black people that are brainwashed into feeling as if ‘white is right’ or any of that other sadness. Later when Malcolm is in jail, the conk becomes a sticking point when he’s confronted by an inmate who tries to help him, out of the life of a gangster and moving towards something better, which is the Nation of Islam; a huge influence in his life during prison, as well as afterwards. It may seem a superficial, brief moment in the 202 minute runtime of this epic biography. And it’s a drop in the pond, really. Although, it is highly significant to the overall themes surrounding the film and X himself as a Civil Rights leader.
This is one of the best movies of the 1990s, certainly one of Spike Lee’s best, too. Malcolm X is a dissection of a cult of personality. It is a film that attempts to get to the core of what X and his struggle represented. Without all the denial some insist on upholding in regards to X’s personal history, who he was, who he became. The movie is not totally perfect, though it is perfect where it counts. Likewise, Lee concentrates on not inflating X as a leader. Rather he takes an inclusive look at the man, not ignoring the good and the bad alike. He dives into the an era where things were different, and somehow not enough has changed as of this writing in 2016. Watching this movie again now, 24 years after its release and concerning a subject decades older, it’s almost sad to watch and think how hard X would roll over in his grave were he able to witness some of the scary racist madness that’s still going on in the streets of America. Love this movie, love Denzel, and Spike is near his best here. A positively entertaining piece of biography, history, all combining to make a well executed film in every respect.
Episode 8: “The Day in Question”
Directed by James Strong
Written by Bridget Carpenter
* For a review of the previous episode, “Soldier Boy” – click here
The titular day in question has arrived. The day of the assassination.
Jake (James Franco), along with Sadie (Sarah Gadon), is racing to get himself in place. JFK is due to be in Dallas for the fateful ride. Out of nowhere, Jake runs into Frank Dunning (Josh Duhamel), or does he? Just a mirage. Even Sadie runs into the specter of her former husband (T.R. Knight). The past is trying to prevent them in any way, shape or form from doing anything to change it.
Through crowded streets they try to make their way to the Book Depository. They come upon the Grassy Knoll, they see people waiting around for the President of the United States to drive by. All unknowing. Sort of eerie to see them in the midst of everything, knowing what’s to come. Another King reference – Randall Flagg struts through the streets, or someone likely to be him, anyways.
But Jake ends up pulling a gun on a man who’s supposed to know things, yet doesn’t, and Jake fears the past is pushing back harder now so close to the event.
Lee Harvey Oswald (Daniel Webber) is sitting, quiet, alone. Meanwhile, Jake manages to get himself inside the building. Only time is passing, fast. A nice Stephen King homage: REDRUM is on the wall as Sadie and Jake run up the stairs.
As the motorcade pulls around, Oswald sits breathing slowly. He is readying himself. The people on the street cheer, raising their hands, waving to John F. Kennedy. Lee steadies the rifle on the President’s car. Intercut with shots to look like the original footage. An amazing, tense sequence. Jake busts in and distracts Lee, enough so that the President and his Secret Service escape unharmed.
Now, though, Jake and Sadie are trapped in there with Oswald, who stalks them still with rifle in hand. “I‘m gonna make my mark on this world,” he raves at Jake. Hand to hand, they fight. That is until Jake’s forced to shoot him in the chest. So, one way or another, the past was going to kill Lee. Whether it was Jake or Jack Ruby, didn’t matter. Worse yet Sadie took a bullet. She is one tough customer. But maybe not tough enough to survive this one.
This puts Jake in custody. Not a perfect situation for a time traveler. He’s now finding himself pinned with being the one to have taken the shots. He’s going down or all of it. What a nasty turn of events for the past to take.
So now we’re seeing the mysterious FBI Agent James B. Hosty (Gil Bellows) again. He is taking part in the interrogation of Jake Epping, as well as Captain Will Fritz (Wilbur Fitzgerald). So Jake lays out the story about Lee, talking about his supposed intentions to kill the President. For the moment it seems as if Jake is up against the wall here.
Then once Hosty is alone with Jake, things appear differently. Outwardly, to anyone in the know like Hosty, it looks like Jake is a spy – two houses, no apparent identity “prior to 1960“, and lots more. Using the present knowledge of past events to his advantage, time traveler Jake keeps an edge on Hosty.
And from nowhere, JFK calls to speak with Jake. He thanks Jake, saying they owe him “their lives” – even Jackie gets on the line to say her peice. An emotional, very real moment for a mini-series involving time travel. But there’s always been a human element to its drama.
Hosty: “Far be it for me to pull the thread on the story of a hero, if I did the whole thing would unravel. God knows this country wants a hero. An American hero, who saved the President‘s life and values his privacy. That‘s how our story‘s gonna go.”
With some cash in his pocket Jake moves on. He buys a ticket elsewhere.
Then in the station he sees a woman reading From Here to Eternity. It’s Sadie, sitting quietly by herself. Except it’s not. Only another mirage, sadly.
Jake gets himself to Lisbon, Maine. But things are troubling him. So he heads through the time portal. He finds the diner leveled. In fact, everything nearby is rubble. Far as the eye can see. Has changing the past really destroyed so much?
Another Stephen King Easter Egg – CAPTAIN TRIPS is spray painted on a wall in the background, as Jake first discovers the new present in a state of apocalypse. Is this the world where the disease of the same name has riddled the world with sickness, death, and madness? Hmm.
Jake encounters someone briefly in the street, though, it’s an awkward encounter to say the least. Obviously something’s happened, and if he were around he’d know. But the place is an absolute mess. Everything is rundown and deserted, abandoned, falling apart. People wander the road. Jake ends up finding Harry Dunning (Leon Rippy), saving him from some marauders. He remembers Jake being the one to have killed his father, saving their family. Time has been changed and thrown for a loop because Jake went ahead and changed the trajectory. He asks Harry about a ton of events, even 9/11 – none of it happened. Turns out that in 1975 there were Kennedy Refugee Camps where “bad things” happened. Nothing got any better. “You don‘t understand this world,” Harry tells Jake.
So with all the disappointment of time travel, Jake sets off headed for the portal once more. All is reset, even down to the clumsy mailman. But he sees Sadie riding in a car, running off towards her. What’s his plan now? Will he live in the world again from the 1960s onward and not change anything?
He starts off trying to introduce himself to Sadie, but then in the door appears the Yellow Card Man (Kevin J. O’Connor). He tries to warn Jake about the perils, as he already did, of getting stuck in a “loop” and how it always “ends the same“, never stopping.
In the end, Jake decides to let Sadie go. He chooses the harder thing instead of the easy thing he wants to do. So tough, but perhaps better in the end. At least for her.
Back in the diner, present day, Jake finds 2016 restored to its proper state.
He goes back to teaching, to his normal life. But of course it’ll never be the same again. Not after all he’s experienced. When Harry shows up again to say he didn’t his promotion, Jake weeps in his arms, saying sorry for not helping. This scene broke me. Such a sad thing to see the burden of all these moments come down on Jake.
At home, he searches Sadie on the internet. She’s receiving a Texas Woman of the Year award. Now older and on in years, Miz Sadie looks marvelous, and Jake watches on as the woman he fell in love with is a completely other person than in his past. Another emotional scene to see Jake having to watch the life he didn’t get to live. Older Sadie even talks of Deke Simmons, too. I loved this scene so much. Really powerful, beautiful few moments that resonate deeply. Classic King-type stuff.
When Jake asks the older Sadie to dance, he chats lovingly with her and flashes back to his dances with the younger Sadie, all at the same time. Through time, something connects between them.
Sadie: “Who are you?”
Jake: “Someone you knew in another life”
I loved the finish to this mini-series. Yes, it’s sort of like the journey to try and save JFK was all for nothing. It was. Although, Jake learned a valuable lesson, and that is the fact the past may not need to be changed. What happens happens. No need to change it because we’ll never know the effects of those decisions.
A solid King adaptation I enjoyed. Most of the episodes were incredible. Lots of thrills, few chills, and a ton of great acting.