The Sinner – Part 8

USA’s The Sinner
Part 8
Directed by Tucker Gates
Written by Jesse McKeown & Tom Pabst

* For a recap & review of Part 7, click here.
Pic 1Cora (Jessica Biel), with the help of Dt. Harry Ambrose (Bill Pullman), has finally remembered what happened that night, up in the cabin near the Beverwyck Club. Or at least she remembers Phoebe (Nadia Alexander) dying, Frankie (Eric Todd) trying to save her life with CPR. She still doesn’t recall the truth about the man in the mask, the syringe scars. So Harry’s digging further into the story, the club, those involved.
And still, Cora is in jail. Trying to remember what happened. She sees that masked man. Hears him: “Tell me.” When she responds with not remembering, he soothes her with a syringe and a “good girl.” Terrifying.
So, who was trying to get her to forget what happened that night? Somebody involved with J.D. surely. But who, exactly?
Pic 1AWell, when Harry tracks down a private medical clinic looking for a guy named Duffy, Daniel Burroughs, a white guy and a black there both make a run for it. Things go haywire. Duffy pulls a gun, then Officer Caitlin Sullivan (Abby Miller) puts a few shots in him. Is there more to Caitlin than we’ve been led to believe? Maybe I’m thinking too much. Either way the cops are left with half answers, seeing as how one of the men’s dead.
Who shows up at jail to see Cora? Her mother, Elizabeth (Enid Graham). Her daughter tells her about the night Phoebe died, how she met a boy, fell in love. Of course mom doesn’t want to hear any of that. Although the parents never called the police that night. Elizabeth says she heard them whisper “about Florida” and running away. But with a sick girl out there? Part of me thinks Elizabeth was happy. She’s an awful, awful woman.
In court, Cora decides to say her piece. She speaks to Frankie’s parents directly, apologising. “That is not who I am,” she weeps before telling the court about the people still out there, who held her hostage, buried her sister in the woods. However, it’s all done, anyways. She gets a minimum of 30 years in jail. Looking on, Mason (Christopher Abbott) is devastated, and Dt. Ambrose is, too.
So with our girl facing 30+ years in prison, what’s next?
One thing finally strikes me is that Harry isn’t just a masochist sexually. His job, in part, is masochism. Police work, the real stuff – not dealing with stolen BBQs like he is again, after the big case is finished – is like being in a masochistic relationship, where nothing feels good, it’s all pain. And now, returning to that regular, droning work, Harry’s truly tortured. Likewise knowing that out there are the answers to a dark puzzle, the last remaining pieces.
Screen Shot 2017-09-21 at 1.24.07 PMMeanwhile, Cora wants Mason, her little boy to move on. He won’t have any of that, he insists they’re coming back next week, and every week after that. I love the character development in Mason, as well. He’s been amazing. Abbott really brought out the emotions of this guy, and also we see how Mason went from a sort of jealous man to a wholly devoted, understanding husband.
Harry just won’t let up, though. He goes back to that clinic, seeking more clues. This leads him to find Maddie (Danielle Burgess). She’s got a little kid now, a girl named Winter. She changed her named, all of it. A “toxic relationship” with J.D. prompted the 180-degree turn in her life. She was there at the Beverwyck that night, but claims to have left before everybody else. But this also gets the detective aiming closer in the right direction, concerning J.D’s pill business.
Suddenly Cora’s been taken somewhere. To meet Harry. In fact, it’s the Belmont home, Frankie’s parents. She goes upstairs, but nothing seems familiar. Until she’s in a room where the wall’s paint is cracking; underneath is that wallpaper, reminiscent of the dollar bill. Hiding in plain sight. The key to her trauma.
Screen Shot 2017-09-21 at 1.34.05 PMFlashback to that infamous night. Frankie calls his father to come out to the Beverwyck. He rushes there and finds a dead Phoebe, Cora unconscious on the floor. His son explains what happened, wants to go to the hospital. Yet J.D. claims he’ll tell everyone about Frankie having sex with a sick girl, high on pills. This leaves dad and the drug dealer to deal with the body, and a very much alive Cora. They even cart the two into the woods in a trunk together. They dig a hole; in goes Phoebe. That’s exactly when Cora wakes up, seeing the abandoned bus in the trees. Frankie’s dad almost kills her before deciding on a different course of action.
So he brings her home, bloody and beat up. Mom’s involved at this point, Frankie is highly disturbed to see what’s going on. After that, Cora is kept in that room, tended to by the masked man in scrubs – dear ole dad – who dresses her wounds regularly, filling her veins with drugs to send her into oblivion. He and Mr. Lambert are still tied together by their nasty deeds, leading them deeper into business together; well, by blackmail.
When it’s time, Mr. Belmont digs into her arm with a needle, making her look like an addict. He brushes her hair, washes her, buys new clothes. A pretty good cover-up. Only now Dt. Ambrose and Cora, together, have completed the puzzle. So the truth is revealed, in that the Belmonts effectively killed their own son. When Cora confronts the father, she explains “I remember your eyes” and that she understands he did it for his son. Doesn’t make it any better.
Later in the car, Harry talks about understanding Cora, about blaming himself; just as she does. We get a bit of insight into his life, his past. “We didnt do anything,” he tells her in comfort. And finally, we take a look, briefly, at why Dt. Ambrose is who he is, a masochist, a man always trying to put himself back together. A beautiful bit of backstory in a subtle moment of dialogue.
Screen Shot 2017-09-21 at 1.40.50 PMBack in court, things are different. “Extreme emotional disturbance” takes a murder charge down to manslaughter. Cora is ordered to a psychiatric facility, rather than prison. She’ll get therapy, some genuine counselling; she’ll get help. And her family will be able to see her more, plus now they know the truth, the devastating events which led her to that day on the beach. Only two years, then she’s free. In some ways, this has helped Harry free himself, though ultimately he’s freedom is up to him. He has to find a way of dealing with the past: either his masochism, or emotional catharsis.
My favourite part of this series is that it helps us look into the lives of women accused of murder. Sure, there are legitimate cases. But there are far too many out there, most of which are likely unknown, where women have been brutalised by men, in so many terrible ways, leading to them committing a violent, or seemingly crazy act. Only to bear the brunt of the law where previously those men against which they acted were given leniency. The Sinner‘s examination of the case of Cora Tannetti is a great template for that whole idea, representing a microcosm of a harsher reality in this 8-part series.

Advertisements

Twin Peaks – Season 3: “The Return, Part 18”

Showtime’s Twin Peaks
Season 3: “The Return, Part 18”
Directed by David Lynch
Written by Lynch & Mark Frost

* For a recap & review of Part 17, click here.
Pic 1In the Black Lodge, bad Coop (Kyle MacLachlan) burns. Before long he is nothing but a seed, a golden ball. A piece of hair is attached to it by the One-Armed Man (Al Strobel). It then grows into another person, another Coop. This is the new Dougie Jones they’ll be sending back to Las Vegas, to give Janey-E (Naomi Watts) her husband back. And hopefully, new improved Dougie.
Back in Twin Peaks, the real Coop (MacLachlan) walks with Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee), taking her back through the woods. Where they’ve heard a terrifying scream somewhere far off.
Is it future, or is it past?” These words come up once more, having deeper resonance than ever before. Coop, he’s having more Lodge experiences, the meeting with the Arm. LITERALLY WHAT WE SAW AT THE BEGINNING OF THE NEW EPISODES, WITH COOP IN THE LODGE, WAS FUTURE. When he saw Laura sucked up into the sky. In the other room was Leland (Ray Wise), begging: “Find Laura.” Then he’s back in the woods, Diane (Laura Dern) waiting for him. They head back on out on the road together, another journey ahead of them.
What a fucking head trip. Frost and Lynch, blowing minds.
Screen Shot 2017-09-03 at 11.34.15 PM430 miles later, they reach their destination at some transformers in the hills. They drive  a bit further, electricity crackles. ZAP! They’re on a dark highway together, headed who knows where. Into the unknown. At least until they reach a quiet little motel. Coop heads in to get them a room. Inside, they keep the lights off, they make sweet fucking love.
Only something feels… ominous. Almost feels like the night Diane spoke of, the last night she saw Coop. Almost like the night Bob Cooper came back instead of the real Cooper.
In the morning Coop wakes to a note addressed to Richard, from Linda. He’s totally confused. He heads out afterwards by himself. There, he spots a place with a sign that says EAT AT JUDY’S. A quaint diner, the sort of place he’d love. Naturally, he stops in. They’ve got hot coffee, pie, the lot. There he gets into a confrontation with a cowboy hat wearing idiot harassing the waitress. The guy pulls a gun, so Coop kicks him in the dick and puts a bullet in the other guy’s boot who draws on him. Situation settled.
What Coop really wants is the name of the other waitress who works there. He gets her address before heading out. Where does she live? Fat Trout Trailer Park, #6. Yes, that one. There he finds a woman who looks just like Laura Palmer, only she’s Carrie Paige apparently. He isn’t convinced, so he speaks to her about Leland, Sarah (Grace Zabriskie). And the woman starts realising something’s not quite right in her life. Coop wants to take her home, to her mother’s place. To see if it’ll all come together. Probably good thing for Carrie, as she’s got a man with a bullet through his head rotting away on the couch. As well as a white horse figurine! Just like the white horse pictured below that Laura’s mother once saw in a vision during the original run of Twin Peaks.
Bob Living RoomScreen Shot 2017-09-03 at 11.57.47 PMOn the road again. Coop and Carrie/Laura notice there may be someone following them, or at least she worries that’s the case. As she falls asleep she rambles a bit, talking about the past. Something I love? Frost and Lynch know we’ve waited this long.
So what’s another drawn out bit of dread and wonder?! To me, it’s genius. And it also puts you on edge, something Lynch does very well with his brand of what I’d call psychic horror. He draws us in, keeping things in a lull. Until bringing out something entirely unexpected and often terrifying (i.e. the man behind the diner in Mulholland Drive, Bob’s infamous, slow move towards the camera in the original run of Twin Peaks, etc).
Coop and Carrie/Laura arrive in Twin Peaks. They pass the Double R, the familiar landmarks. Then they come to the Palmer house. He takes her by the hand leading her in, though she doesn’t seem to remember much. At the door there’s no Sarah Palmer, just a new owner. She says they bought the place from a Mrs. Chalfont – a name we know well from the original series and Fire Walk With Me. Coop also finds out this woman’s name is Alice Tremond; just like the old woman in Twin Peaks. Oh, the evil’s definitely sticking around in that house. Just doesn’t go by the name of Palmer anymore. Back in the Chalfont-Tremond family.
So they’re left with nothing, as they see it. Coop still feels there’s a connection, he knows something isn’t quite right. “What year is this?” he asks Laura/Carrie, his face devastated. Then from the house comes a noise, Laura knows who she is, what’s going, and she SCREAMS BLOODY MURDER.
Screen Shot 2017-09-04 at 12.14.38 AMScreen Shot 2017-09-04 at 12.15.23 AMI don’t care what anyone says, I loved this finale. Regardless of whether Frost and Lynch go on to make any further episodes or if this is truly the end, I’m satisfied. What did you want? What did you expect? I, for one, didn’t expect anything concrete. That’s not what this show was ever about. At its core, Twin Peaks is the story of the everyday and the spiritual, the philosophical intertwining. That’s why there’s the high and low mixed, the idea of evil spirits inhabiting things like the convenience store and dressed as bearded lumberjacks and all sorts of things. The core of the show was the brutality in everyday life, and how do we explain that? Well, you can’t. There are evil spirits such as Bob, they exist, and like we see in the Palmer house, they go on, and on, and on…
My theory is that this is Cooper’s version of Hell. Not that he’s dead, I don’t believe that. He’s sort of caught in the Black Lodge, in a sense, forever. Not physically, but mentally. Or perhaps physically. Maybe Coop messing around in between spaces of time created a whole new reality altogether, on a different wavelength. That Hell – represented perfectly by the Palmer house – also represents the cyclical nature of violence, how these evil spirits that have swarmed Twin Peaks for so long won’t ever truly leave, they cannot be driven out. Like the air blowing through the trees, they’re a part of Twin Peaks.

Hap and Leonard – Season 2, Episode 6: “No Mo’ Mojo”

SundanceTV’s Hap and Leonard
Season 2, Episode 6: “No Mo’ Mojo”
Directed by Tim Southam
Written by Nick Damici & Jim Mickle

* For a recap & review of the penultimate episode, “Pie a la Mojo” – click here
Pic 1The finale of Season 2 opens, years ago, as a boy – little BB with the red shoes – is chased into the old church, past that familiar gate. Someone grabs him and smashes a rock into his head. The man removes the gate, takes the kid, then at the lake tosses him in tied to the thing. Others watch on, then they leave, disappearing into the mist. Are they spirits? Watching on as history is repeated and repeated?
I have a feeling we’re soon going to learn more in this last episode.
Pic 1AHap and Leonard (James Purefoy & Michael K. Williams) reminisce on religion’s “strong medicine” v. its “strong poison” in relation to Rev. Fitzgerald (Dohn Norwood), his insane murders. A devastating thing for their East Texas town to wallow in, as the church holds a ceremony for all the boys lost. Everybody’s there, from Sheriff Valentine Otis (Brian Dennehy) to Florida Grange (Tiffany Mack), Dt. Hanson (Cranston Johnson), and many more. The greasy, insincere Sheriff takes the pulpit, shelling out verbal sympathy for the families. Blah, blah, blah. And certainly our heroic pair get no thanks or recognition for their role in, essentially, solving the case on their own. Best of all, in this scene we get to watch Hap and Leonard do their BEST buddy comedy routine, with a lot of pitch perfect dialogue.
Hap: “I aint never been more proud to be an atheist than I am today
Leonard: “Amen to that
Stella and the other mothers who lost their boys do know the truth, that the eponymous duo are the ones who actually figured out what happened, giving them all closure.  Sadly, Hap still has one worry – that Hanson and Ms. Grange are getting together. Likewise, Leonard comes home to find Raoul, who’s tracked down Ivan’s (Olaniyan Thurmon) father; the kid is going home. And much as our man tries to pretend like he’s hard, Leonard is going to miss him; their bonding over Huck Finn and his adventures was sweet. Also, I’d love to see Raoul and Leonard get back together. They’re good.
AND POOR MEEMAW! I miss her. In her wake, Florida and others are left reeling with the news of the reverend, a man who pulled the wool over all their eyes. Left without Meemaw’s wisdom to get through it all.
Florida drops a bomb on Hap: “I always saw myself with a black man.” This is a gut punch. Whoa. Poor fella.
Hap’s got other things in mind, though. After seeing a curious number of angel figurines at Meemaw’s place while he and Florida pack everything up. Across the way, Leonard hears Chester speak to him from somewhere else, saying that the work isn’t done. Hap and Leonard now believe that BB was killed by someone other than the reverend. And I’m pretty sure we all know that someone was Sheriff Valentine Otis, who’s receiving a visit from Dt. Hanson about those red shoes and the very same line of questioning as our duo have on their minds.


Hap and Leonard get talking to Hanson’s partner Charlie Blank (Douglas M. Griffin). He’s reluctant to say much, after his trouble from shooting TJ. But they’re further on their journey now. Towards the truth. They’ve got their eye on the big bad sheriff. Only he’s got his eye on them, too. He’s much too craft. Then, at the diner, they notice the waitress Miriam has a chain: it reads BB.
The boys go see Miriam at home. They show her the BB chain, which shocks her. Such a sad thing to watch, especially when she’s been serving that old bastard every day at the diner. All that’s left is what Hap and Leonard will do, while they try to figure out how to handle Valentine, and when’s the best time for that. Not only is the history of BB with them, the history of the deaths of their fathers, covered up and forgotten is at their backs.
Leonard: “Things change, Hap. People dont.”
They lay what they know at Valentine’s feet. They want to know the truth, about everything. He acts nonchalant about the entire thing. A revelation comes: BB was Valentine’s son, he wears the same chain with the initials around his neck. The mystery thickens. “That boy was the most beautiful thing that ever happened to me,” he explains, and how he couldn’t claim the kid because of the “colour of his skin.” Then they reveal that Fitzgerald never killed BB, which disturbs him terribly.


And who killed him? Just as it’s revealed, we see Judge Beau Otis walk in. He’s visibly upset by the talk. We know now, it was the rightful son upset over the illegitimate child his father had with a black woman who killed the boy. WHOA! Holy fuck, did not see this coming. Great suspense and mystery in the writing led to this moment. The father knocks his son into an empty pool nearby, splitting his head open wide. A sort of strange, bittersweet moment as Hap and Leonard watch the man who killed their fathers die at the hands of his own.
In the meantime, Hap his dad’s old repair truck fixed up with the nice, fresh decal on the side for Bud Collins’ business. He and Leonard head out for a drive, where they bring the old gate back to the church and put it in place again. Full circle, as the two put it.
Leonard: “Yknow, in the end, its always me and you.”
Hap: “Just like the Lone Ranger and Tonto
Leonard: “Yeah, wellcmon Tonto.”
And as they leave the church, the spirits of those who died there, the boys, those taken by the KK, and sweet Meemaw, they appear again in their rightful places, able to move on from the darkness.

Pic 4CAn amazing Season 2! With a distressing, dark cap at the end where we see a tree with a noose in it, and in the yard a woman finishes putting KKK linens on the line. OH, baby. Give Joe Lansdale, Nick Damici, Jim Mickle & Co. the greenlight, SundanceTV! We need a Season 3. Pronto. With plenty of mojo.
Pic 4D

The Path – Season 2, Episode 13: “Mercy”

Hulu’s The Path
Season 2, Episode 13: “Mercy”
Directed by Jessica Goldberg
Written by Jessica Goldberg

* For a recap & review of the penultimate Season 2 episode, “Spiritus Mundi” – click here
Pic 1Here we are: the final episode of The Path‘s Season 2! What a ride it’s been, I do hope that we’re getting another season. But first, let’s see where this one ends.
Last we saw, Richard (Clark Middleton) was about to set himself and the compound, specifically the archives room where all the unburdening tapes – the blackmail weapons – are kept.
Sarah (Michelle Monaghan) and Eddie (Aaron Paul) are together with their daughter. They’re living a different life, out in the real world, in a seaside Canadian town. “Are we safe now?” Summer (Aimee Laurence) asks.
Is this a vision of the future, a life beyond Meyerism and its cult for the Lanes? Or are we seeing a dream? It looks like reality. We then see Cal (Hugh Dancy) go back to his little room with Mary (Emma Greenwell) and their newborn baby. It looks as if the Lanes finally made it out, all of them – well, aside from Hawk (Kyle Allen) it seems.
Everyone else is moving on, three weeks after the birth of Emma’s child. The events of the previous episode set off a series of repercussions that everyone’s still learning how to deal with, still understanding. Sarah’s confused; her daughter wants her parents back together, but mom isn’t entirely sure. The entire web of relationships is fractured, possibly beyond repair. Sarah tries justifying what she did with the blackmail, yet also harbours deep guilt over Richard’s death.
Pic 1AThe Meyerists continue trying to move past Richard’s death, the fire. They all lay cacti and plants at the site, a sort of ceremony. Meanwhile, Hank and Gab (Peter Friedman/Deirdre O’Connell) wonder how things will continue, as Bill and a reluctant though present Felicia (Brian Stokes Mitchell/Adriane Lenox) assure them – Cal is “good for the movement.” Right. The fearless leader’s too busy licking his wounds over Sarah that it’s a wonder he can concentrate at all. Between that and having a lovechild with Mary, one everyone’s gossiping about behind their backs.
It’s nice to finally see Eddie, Sarah, and Summer living a normal life away from the compound; too bad Hawk’s brainwashed. The three walk on the beach, they spend time in the open air without having to do any creepy, weird shit. They’re an actual family again, bound by themselves instead of some cult nonsense. More than that it’s clear Sarah’s never actually fallen out of love with her estranged husband.
On the street, Eddie runs into Abe (Rockmond Dunbar). He’s not happy that his case essentially up and ran away. He came to see Eddie, to “bring him back” to his people. Whatever that means.
Pic 2At the centre, Hawk gets an envelope from his mother reading DO SOMETHING WITH IT – the results from the Clarkesville water tests. Hmm. There’s something bigger, more major coming with that whole plotline. I’m just curious to see where Hawk takes it, and whether it changes him.
Abe drops Eddie home. Following nearby is Russel (Patch Darragh), too. Inside are the former Deniers, all meeting to figure out what’s their next step. Eddie tells them about his visions, how it isn’t clear. It’s not about seeing the finish line; he’s on a journey, like the rest of them. “I dont know if Im the one,” he tells them. He’s unsure, even with the blessing of Steve Meyers (Keir Dullea). Nevertheless there are people who now count on him, who BELIEVE in him. Of course Russel brings information back to Cal – Sam Field isn’t who he said he is, he’s been in league with Eddie. And he tells Cal of the Deniers, their hope to reform Meyerism. That doesn’t sit well, either.
Cal’s fragile psychological state is scary. When he goes home to Mary she’s asking questions about Eddie. This further reveals that Cal believes “people don’t know what they want.” He has contempt for others. But Mary’s smarter than he understands. She tells him: “You are what we want.” And she suggests something must be… done… with Eddie. So the two have a chat when Cal shows up down at the Deniers HQ. He acts quite threatening, as well as too sure of himself, full of ego. None of his behaviour will drive Eddie away, though. Unless it comes down to Sarah.
Pic 3Speaking of her, she’s out experiencing the world, dinner at a friend’s place. Then comes the questions of where she came from. Why nobody can Google her. So on. Sarah gets paranoid, so she and her daughter sneak out the bathroom window and run. They head to their house, grab a few things, and they take off. An intense scene, with a pounding score.
Hawk walks in to find Eddie, Cal, and Libby Dukaan. Troubling, not to mention the fact his father appears not as enraged or defiant as normal. A little later Cal talks about Eddie, saying he’s willing to drop all he believes in to help Sarah; funny, as this shows that Cal cares most about the movement and himself. Sadly, Mary can’t see that, not yet. Although she’s full of spite enough to try and twist things up for the father of her child; the identity of whom she reveals to Hawk, in order to stir up some trouble.
Sarah heads for the border with Summer, determined on doing the “right thing” so that her daughter can be proud of her. Will she turn herself in? Is that actually her plan? Meanwhile, Hawk goes to see his dad. He discovers the truth of Eddie as Steve’s chosen one to lead the movement. He also finds out that his dad got Libby to pay back the people Sarah blackmailed. But this also means there’s nothing going ahead with the water tests. Eddie further believes he isn’t the one to lead. Through it all, Hawk, the one who was so brainwashed, falling away from his dad, may be the one to convince him.


A great sequence cuts parallel between Eddie preaching about mercy and Cal practising a speech about loss. What we see is how Cal has to rehearse his movements, whereas the compassion for others, the speech, it all comes easy to Eddie; like a natural extension of himself. This is THE GREATEST SEQUENCE OF THE SERIES! Hands down. And all the while as we visually comprehend the differences between the opposing leaders, Sarah wanders a rock maze, trying to rediscover her own way on the path. Just amazing filmmaking here in this scene, from writing to editing to score.
One good thing, I suppose, is that Cal comes into his own as the father of Mary’s child. They name him Forest Roberts, due to his being born in the wilderness.
Sarah confronts Eddie about his choice to reverse the blackmail. He assures her that her life “will be hell” and she won’t need to look for punishment, not from the law or anywhere else. For once, she’s now the one who wants to walk away and have a family, away from a cult. She doesn’t want him to “go back inside.” She worries it’ll wash away what’s good about him.


At the compound, Ascension Day is underway. Sarah walks into the midst of the celebration, as Cal preaches his rehearsed speech. Everyone eats it up, too. They love it and him. They sing songs of Meyerism, acting like a big, happy family. Then they’re distracted by a noise from out at the gate. The Deniers have come, Eddie leading the crowd. Hank even lets them in willingly.
What a stunning moment! Some greet Eddie, others leave. Perfectly Radiohead’s “Everything in its Right Place” plays in the background. Soon, people walk from out behind Cal, joining the rightful Guardian of the Light. A change is coming. Just a case of who, and what, is left standing when all is said and done.
Pic 6Pic 6AI LOVED THIS FINALE! Even better than the Season 1 finale, as well. Spectacular work, especially now as we sit on the edge, waiting to see how Cal moves forward – no doubt treachery and violence are on his path – and how Eddie handles the movement, plus I can’t wait to see what Sarah chooses as her own personal way forward.
Hulu: renew this, or feel my wrath.

Scream Queens – Season 2, Episode 10: “Drain the Swamp”

FOX’s Scream Queens
Season 2, Episode 10: “Drain the Swamp”
Directed by Ian Brennan
Written by Brad Falchuk & Ian Brennan

* For a review of the penultimate Season 2 episode, “Lovin the D” – click here
screen-shot-2017-01-11-at-2-35-45-pmChanel Oberlin (Emma Roberts) is confronted by the Green Meanie again. She’s trapped in one of the hospital’s dark hallways, as the killer has a baseball throwing machine aimed right at, running full speed. Chanel ducks and dodges, until one of the newest Chanels takes a ball right in the head. Luckily, she’s not dead. Chanel #1 gets away, and we see it’s Ingrid Hoffel (Kirstie Alley) behind the mask.
At the same time Chanel #3 (Billie Lourd) is sneaked up on by the remaining Green Meanie, Cassidy Cascade (Taylor Lautner). But he doesn’t kill his love. They both want to try and convince his mother Jane (Trilby Glover) otherwise. So #3 runs off for a “whores bath” so they can bang, and Cascade threatens Hoffel: leave his girl out of it, or face his wrath. Things between the Meanies aren’t looking good. Uh oh.
screen-shot-2017-01-11-at-2-42-16-pmDr. Brock Holt (John Stamos) apologises for the hand’s actions, nearly strangling her to death, although Chanel doesn’t think much of it, other than it’s progress in their relationship. Yikes. Meanwhile, Hester (Lea Michele) is still kicking around. She’s scheming over Cathy Munsch’s (Jamie Lee Curtis) fortune, who is on the verge of dying. Hester wants Brock to help her steal all her money, then they’ll run off together: “Just two murderers with no one to murder except for each other, but we never will because we love and trust each other.” What could go wrong, right?
Out in the garden, Ingrid gets some nasty ideas when one of the new Chanels is fertilising the tomato garden. Explosive substances. Green Meanie. Murderous impulse. You know what’s coming.
Also, Chanel mixes up the fact Brock is looking at engagement rings for a pending marriage proposal. Only when Dr. Holt calls everyone to Cathy’s room, where she’s lying waiting for death to come, he proposes to the former Ms. Munsch, soon to be the new Mrs. Holt. But he works on Chanel behind the scenes, too. He strings her along.
Cassidy and #3 talk with his mother Jane. He tells her that the “killing and revenge stuff” is all her thing. However, mom isn’t so willing to let all that go. She doesn’t want it to stop until the job is done.
So the wedding of Brock and Cathy goes ahead, right there at the CURE Institute. They’re now officially husband and wife. Then as they snuggle later, Chanel #5 (Abigail Breslin) comes in with information saying that maybe Munsch isn’t dying. She wants to get a sample of her brain, to test for sure. And though Brock isn’t thrilled, Cathy wants more time to be with her new husband.

screen-shot-2017-01-11-at-2-53-16-pmDownstairs, Denise Hemphill (Niecy Nash) is still in cryogenic storage. And Ingrid is down snooping around. She gets a call from Jane, who has her own secrets with Zayday (Keke Palmer) trapped in her cellar. “Now its just you and me,” she says. But Ingrid’s more interested in her latest plan to kill the Chanels.
Things at the hospital are getting tense with Hester wanting Brock to kill Cathy. She doesn’t want to go back to prison where she has to “draw porn” so she can masturbate. Not to mention Chanel can’t deal with Brock and Munsch together, no matter what fairy tale he spun for her earlier. Later, the biopsy goes ahead. Cathy sings “Smoke on the Water” while Chanel plots on throwing her pumpkin spice latte into Cathy’s open skull, which doesn’t work as planned.
Now the verdict: no evidence of the nasty disease, but it’s inconclusive. And she’s still going to die. Maybe. Could even be extreme dehydration. Silly, no? “I only drink scotch, or vodka,” Cathy gasps in a hilarious moment of revelation. She even rinses out her toothpaste mouth with scotch. She goes on to find out the brain eating wasn’t human brain; it was lamb. She’s not going to die!
Everybody heads to the basement for a celebration, champagne included. But it’s all a trick by Ingrid. She traps them in a cage downstairs. She reveals to them all her identity, sister of Agatha Bean who was accidentally burned alive in the deep fryer during Season 1. Out of nowhere Zayday arrives, alongside Jane who doesn’t want to keep on killing after seeing the CURE Institute’s good work. Only Ingrid guns her down, and they’re all left in no better position than before. She further reveals a huge fertiliser bomb, leaving them to die. Afterwards, Denise is alive! And she’s hilariously missed a few things while in her cryogenic coma. Waiting for Denise to defuse the bomb, #5 finally admits she does have teeth in her vagina: “I didnt want to die a liar.”

screen-shot-2017-01-11-at-3-06-53-pmUpstairs the crew chase down Ingrid. They head out back into the swamp. There, Cascade takes a machete right in his torso trying to save #3. In the forest Ingrid runs through a patch of muddy ground which slowly sucks her into the earth. Nobody helps. Until Munsch suddenly feels her conscience tug. She tries to save the woman, but the mud suffocates her and sucks her to the bottom.
Everything is over, and the Chanels have made it through alive. A little worse for wear. You know them, though. They’re bouncing back. #5 is doing her thing at the hospital; she and Zayday are essentially running the place. Munsch hit a rough patch when she finds out someone cleaned out her bank accounts – Hester, of course, who took off with Dr. Holt to an exotic beach on Blood Island. Where they play The Most Dangerous Game. Munsch went on to become a sex expert, like you didn’t see that coming after all her friskiness.
And Chanel, she went on to become a TV doctor with #3 as her executive producer on Lovin the C. So it looks like things have progressed for them after being hunted by the Red Devil killer, the Green Meanie(s). Things are back on track in their lives.
screen-shot-2017-01-11-at-3-11-49-pm


Or are they?
One night as Chanel leaves the television studio, she finds a small broach in her car inscribed KKT. Who’s that in the backseat? It’s the Red Devil.


Wow, loved this episode, and loved that final scene! Didn’t expect it, honestly. Works great and maybe gives us something to expect for Season 3, which hopefully is on the radar for FOX. What did you all think about Season 2? I thought Season 1 was spectacular, and I’ve felt that Season 2 got even funnier, weirder, and wilder. Overall, a solid season.
Let me know your thoughts, and if you want another season with the Chanels, Cathy Munsch, and that sneaky Red Devil.

The Exorcist – Season 1, Chapter Ten: “Three Rooms”

FOX’s The Exorcist
Season 1, Episode 10: “Three Rooms”
Directed by Jason Ensler
Written by Jeremy Slater

* For a recap & review of the penultimate Chapter Nine, “162” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 2 premiere, “Janus” – click here
screen-shot-2016-12-17-at-12-40-29-amAngela Rance (Geena Davis), under possession of the demon Pazuzu, strangles the life from her daughter Casey (Hannah Kasulka), as Henry (Alan Ruck) and Kat (Brianne Howey) watch helplessly. But then Father Tomas (Alfonso Herrera) arrives. To fight. However, he’s worried that the “integration” is complete. He wants to believe it hasn’t happened. Hard not to believe. “Lets see the measure of your conviction,” Pazuzu challenges before tossing Tomas into the air like a doll. The demon touches him and suddenly he’s in a little room in Mexico, a house, and then he sees… Father Marcus (Ben Daniels), sitting on his bed. But it can only be a vision, something the demon wills upon him.
Because the real Marcus has been captured, at the hands of Brother Simon (Francis Guinan) and Maria Walters (Kirsten Fitzgerald), the latter of whom is constantly put down by everybody around her; how long until she turns on her demon friends? Well, at least Marcus has company – a still alive, still wisecracking Father Bennett (Kurt Egyiawan), though worse for the wear, is tied up in a chair alongside him. What Simon offers is integration. Join their legions, or die. And the clock, it’s ticking, as the nasty demon in the Brother cuts each of the priests open, letting them bleed.
Marcus: “A whole eternity listening to your poncy little speeches? Kill me now

 


Back in that little dream-room in Mexico, Tomas talks with Marcus. The older priest talks of integration, taunting Tomas. Can the younger of the two make it out of his own head, away from the influence of Pazuzu? The dream-Marcus urges Tomas to wake up, else he die, too. Then there’s Pazuzu still controlling Angela, the entire family. All of a sudden the demon realises there’s a piece left to Angela, something he didn’t snatch up yet. She’s still in there, the integration isn’t complete.
What I love about this episode is the dream world Slater is drawing out for us. We’re headed inside the possession rather than seeing all the external effects. Essentially, we see the cause. Angela finds herself in a dark hallway, the demon coming towards her, scraping its fingernails along the walls. It’s genuine terror.
Pazuzu: “Little pig, little pig, let me in!”
Tomas, in his dream world, confronts the death of his mother, as Marcus continues whispering in his ear. He literally confronts her death – a dead, torn face from cats who ate it off. He then sees her die, alone in bed.

 

 

screen-shot-2016-12-17-at-12-55-27-amNow we find out more about Marcus. He shot his own dad with a poaching rifle, which got him sent to the school where he learned his trade. Brother Simon goes at him mentally about the “lonely trail” of his life. He wants to convince Marcus into joining their plan. The parade for Pope Sebastian (Bruce Davison) looms, so the demons have bigger things to do. Things don’t look good, though. Maria’s been pushed as far as she’s willing to go, or so it seems. Worst of all, Simon has released the ash of vocare pulvere into the air. Is it going to take him? Bennett? Maria?
At the Rance house, they’re playing Spin the Hammer. Naughty, nasty Pazuzu wants Casey to bash her sister’s knees in after it lands on Kat. If she doesn’t, the demon will haul Henry’s arms off. This is a tragic moment, as Henry tries to reassure his daughters of his love for them. And before the countdown ends, Kat grabs the hammer and crushes her own knee.
Looks like the ash is taking Bennett, swirling around him, trying to draw his mind to the legion of demons. Then he gives in. “Poor little Renfield, left all alone to eat your bugs,” Marcus laughs at Maria, left behind by her demonic friends. Such a great reference and even better delivery out of Ben Daniels. Instead of taking Bennett, the plan of Marcus worked, and Maria receives the demon’s influence. The two renegade priests break free of their bonds while Maria gets what she’s always wanted.
But what worries me most is Father Tomas. Can he push through? I believe he can. He wants to, and the Rances need him. With a blade to his neck, Tomas finally breaks free of the spell. He admits to his sins, bares his soul. Afterwards, he wakes to fight against Pazuzu. Just as Casey fights against it, willing her mother to come back.
Tomas: “I have hope and I have faith. These things are not weaknesses, they make me what I am.”
Marcus: “And whats that?”
Tomas: “An exorcist

 


But who will win? Tomas shouts his prayers at the demon, commanding it to leave Angela. He works with every bit of his being to cast Pazuzu out, and Casey joins him with Holy Bible in hand. The whole family gathers reciting The Lord’s Prayer.
At the same time, Pope Sebastian has hit the streets of Chicago. His motorcade passes the hordes of people waiting to wave at him, to catch a glimpse. And Father Marcus, bleeding out more and more, tries hard to save him.
Cutting back and forth between these two scenes is fantastic, the tension is thick. Once the demons in the crowd at the parade start to bring everyone to their knees, and Pazuzu rages in his hallway, things get intense. Brother Simon and his crew of demons go to the Pope. Before Simon can do anything Marcus cuts his throat. The spell on everyone is broken, the Pope is rushed away to safety, and Marcus rushes off.
Angela opens the door in her mind, but not to let Pazuzu in: to invite him into a fight. She bashes his head in on the floor of the hall, closing the door on him to leave him in darkness. Outside, Angela nearly breaks in half, seemingly dead; her family left to mourn.

 


Father Marcus sits with Casey, who’s glad to be done with the entire mad affair. He is a sweet man and comforts her the best he can. She wonders about the others he’s helped, how many were actually saved and got better. “Hurt me all you want, but the bastards dont get to win,” Marcus assures Casey, and tells her how strong she is despite the Rances many troubles.
Off the Rance family goes in their car, headed away from Chicago and all its terrible memories. Marcus, he’s left to keep on battling for souls. What about Tomas? He wants to train to be an exorcist. He wants his new friend to stay, to teach him. Tomas has now seen the true face of God and is more compelled than ever.
But we can’t forget about Maria Walters and her friend Superintendent Jaffey (Tim Hopper), and the others; they’re still kicking around. “Sebastian was never the finish line,” Maria tells the Superintendent. I can only imagine what the demons will plan next.
Oh, and Angela, she’s not dead. In a wheelchair, but not dead. The Rance family is safe and sound out in a country house, enjoying their lives. For now.
screen-shot-2016-12-17-at-1-20-33-amscreen-shot-2016-12-17-at-1-22-16-amEven if they don’t #RenewTheExorcist, as they should, FOX did well with this Season 1. I truly hope they give this a Season 2 because there’s so much more to explore. Not just with the Rances, but with the demonic influence still on Earth. Plus I feel like Casey would make a great addition to the exorcism team of Fathers Marcus and Tomas.
Either way I loved this season so much, it was brilliantly written and the fantastic cast lifted the material up every chance they got. Cheers to all involved!

Westworld – Season 1, Episode 10: “The Bicameral Mind”

HBO’s Westworld
Season 1, Episode 10: “The Bicameral Mind”
Directed by Jonathan Nolan
Written by Lisa Joy & Nolan

* For a review of the penultimate Season 1 episode, “The Well-Tempered Clavier” – click here
screen-shot-2016-12-05-at-1-33-25-am
We begin as Dolores Abernathy (Evan Rachel Wood) is put together. Her skin is attached to the robotic skeleton, Bernard Lowe a.k.a Arnold (Jeffrey Wright) assembling the pieces. She comes online, not full yet physically but mentally put together as a whole. “Welcome to the world.”
In the present, she shaves The Man in Black (Ed Harris) with the blade of a knife. He continues on about the centre of the maze, how she brought him there once. For a long while the town was buried, after which Dr. Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) resurrected it. She still sees Arnold, too. And off she goes after him, Black behind her following.
screen-shot-2016-12-05-at-1-35-02-am
William (Jimmi Simpson) continues on with former buddy Logan (Ben Barnes) tied up. He wants to find Dolores. He needs to find her. Now he’s looking for an army to help him: the Confederados and Lawrence (Clifton Collins Jr) will do just fine.
Poor ole Teddy Flood (James Marsden), he wakes up after another day of being murdered only to start the whole Sweetwater experience over again. Except time starts slowing down. He sees corpses everywhere he turns, remnants of his former life. Then he sees Dolores in her blue dress, a wolf running past the dead. And then all returns to normal, as Teddy ends up in a quick draw with a stranger. Life carries on. But he’s intent on finding Dolores. Seems like all roads lead to her.
She finds Arnold kneeling in a pew of the church we see over and over. “I know where your maze is,” she tells him gladly. We switch back and forth between her with Arnold, and her with Black. She’s lost between the two spaces somewhere. At the church’s graveyard, she uncovers her own grave. A cross with her name on it. When she digs into the earth she finds a tin, and inside it is the maze’s pattern. Arnold tells her about the maze. It concerns consciousness. First, it started with a pyramid, then it became the maze: “Consciousness is not a journey upward, its a journey inward.” Arnold hasn’t been pushing her towards hearing his voice. He’s been pushing her to hear her own. But how does Dolores give Black his answers when she hasn’t quite figured them out for herself?
What we see more of is how Arnold wanted the hosts to be, versus what Ford wanted for his vision. Then there’s Arnold and his plan: he wanted Dolores to kill all the other hosts to prevent Ford from doing his will with the park. Is that why Teddy killed everybody in that town? Did she enlist his help?
Well we also come to find Black has bought Westworld. “This place feels more real than the real world,” he says, mocking the place for all its lies. He wants to make the place very real; “one true thing.” But she believes in William, that he’ll come to find her.


Ole Will. He and Lawrence are scoping out the next move ahead. This is going to involve a good deal of violence. More with each episode now, each scene almost, we see William is turning his back on that former nice guy persona. He’s really getting into the swing of things. Out in the real world, Lee Sizemore (Simon Quarterman) and Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson) discuss her plans of nudging Dr. Ford away from Westworld. I just keep thinking everybody’s underestimating the old guy.
In other parts of the company, Maeve Millay (Thandie Newton) is taking things up a notch. She’s making adjustments to park security, as well as her “friends” such as Hector Escaton (Rodrigo Santoro) and Armistice (Ingrid Bolsø Berdal). Oh, this I can’t wait for!
Charlotte reveals to Ford the board has voted for his retirement. After he premieres his new narrative. Things are changing at Westworld.
The creepy lab tech who has sex with the hosts is tasked with taking care of Hector. This dude is a serious weirdo. He puts in some earbuds, ready to rock. Now you know something bad’s about to happen. One tech has to slip his hands in Armistice’s mouth, which gets him a digit bitten off. Meanwhile, rapey tech is greasing up for a session with Hector, and the other guy gets his finger fed to him. No longer can the techs contain the hosts. More people are about to die. “They dont look like gods,” says Armistice of the real people when Maeve arrives to round them up. The hosts then finds who revised them to be able to wake from their sleep manually: Arnold, or so it seems. It’s a lot of fun to see the humans frightened of the technology of whom they assumed to be masters.


Dolores takes a bad beating from The Man in Black, as Flood and William are both headed for her. Who’ll get there first? Right now, anybody would do. Or, can William actually find her? Black knows about William, and where his path actually took him. Is he really The Man in Black? IS HE? TELL US WESTWORLD! You’re sure teasing us well. I can dig it.
We see William, becoming more violent as time passes. Getting a taste for murder. Sure wouldn’t surprise me at this point if he and Black were one and the same. Then, we finally get to see him pick up that black hat. After so much speculation, here we are at a definitive identity. We watch as William went back to Sweetwater, searching for Dolores, as he couldn’t stop thinking of her for a second. And she didn’t remember a thing, not like the love that existed in him. He saw it for what it was: all a game.
And now Dolores sees nobody is coming for her. Not like she thought. Black wants to go further, to find what lies at the centre of the maze. Even better? Dolores needs no man, no one to save her. She has discovered herself. She’s heard her own voice, like Arnold hoped. Everything has changed. When Dolores takes a knife to the gut, she does get a little help from none other than Teddy; the one man in her life that won’t ever change.
Dolores: “Time undoes even the mightiest of creatures. Just look what its done to you.”
Outside in the Westworld facilities, Maeve and her band of merry hosts head for the basement, filled to the brim with inactive robots. Also where Arnold a.k.a Bernie lies in a pool of his own blood. And now he’s being brought back online, with intense purpose.


On the plains of Sweetwater, Ford and William meet. The doctor says there is nothing at the centre of the maze, not for the guests. It’s just a game. William needs more, to validate himself and his life’s meaning. “This is your petty little kingdom, Robert.”
What exactly will Ford’s newest narrative be? I feel like everyone’s in for a damn big surprise.
Someone altered Maeve’s storyline. She’s been tasked by somebody to escape. “These are my decisions, no one elses,” she claims. Someone has been controlling her. But WHO? WHO? Nevertheless, the hosts are rising up, they’re manipulating people and the system. Westworld’s soon going to have major trouble on their hands.
Dolores tells Teddy about being trapped in their world, forcibly, made to feel and think everything, made to do what their makers want. Then she dies in his arms. One of many deaths she’s already experienced, and surely will experience again. Unless the uprising changes all that for good.
Then we pause a moment. It’s all part of the new narrative “Journey Into Night” by Ford. A new beginning, for him, for the park. Charlotte, Lee, they all assume this is the end for Dr. Ford. I don’t see it. There’s something left up his sleeve. He has Teddy taken off to be cleaned up, but Dolores, she’s sent to the “old field lab.”
And just as the techs of Westworld track down their problems, the place locks tight. Security measures in full force. Maeve, Armistice, Hector, they head up to the higher floors. Their plan all but in full action. Men with guns show up, and that’s only the beginning of what’s sure to be a wild fight. With real guns in hand, there’s no telling what the hosts can accomplish. And they’re loving it. At a certain point Armistice stays behind to let the others go ahead, taking on armed men likely to gun her down. Hector gets left as well, as Maeve prefers to go it alone.
Oh, these violent delights indeed have violent ends.
Hector (to Armistice): “Die well.”

screen-shot-2016-12-05-at-2-28-30-am
In the lab Ford takes care of Dolores. He talks about her love of painting; Arnold encouraged it with a painting of “The Creation of Adam” by Michelangelo on the wall of the lab. Then Ford introduces the second coming of Arnold in Bernard. This rocks her world. We see a little more on Arnold, his maze. We see more of Ford and his argument with Arnold about the park, Arnold’s loading of the Wyatt narrative. So much to absorb, but incredibly written. This leads to Dolores killing Bernie a.k.a Arnold, and Teddy, as well. Before putting a gun to her own head. This was Arnold’s plan, although it didn’t work. The park still opened. Life went on. Fitting how Ford quotes Oppenheimer in this scene, worth mention.
Arnold: “The stakes must be real. Irreversible.”
Maeve goes on ahead, further into the real world. She further discovers her daughter is alive, in the park, of course. And out she goes, into the world of human beings, walking amongst them unknown. She boards a train and leaves Westworld, headed anywhere. Or will the desire to be with her daughter change that?
We find out more about Ford. He isn’t all bad. He encourages the hosts, particularly Dolores and Arnold/Bernie, to discover themselves. To escape. And then he too leaves the fake world behind. His narrative is the narrative he’s created to set the hosts free.
Dolores has discovered the voice inside herself, the guide. She is at the centre of the maze: consciousness, personhood, humanity. “Who I must become.” Who every host must become.


In the last moments, those numerous hosts from the basement of discarded people encroach on the people listening to Ford speak, coming out of the darkness. And in front of the crowd, Dolores shoots Dr. Ford in the head. Even William in his tux takes a bullet. And the hosts start their massacre of the onlooking crowd with their drinks and their fancy finger foods.
Thus ends the first season of an amazing series.
In a scene after the credits we watch Armistice cut her own arm off then attack a group of soldiers. Bad ass.
screen-shot-2016-12-05-at-2-46-14-amscreen-shot-2016-12-05-at-2-48-53-am
Wow! I saw a lot of these things building, but holy shit. This was an impressive finale that held me from moment one. I really need Season 2 already. The story can lead so many places. What will Westworld become at the mercy of the hosts? Will we see them lead an army out of the park, or will they stake a claim for their world as their own? We’ll just have to wait and see.

Fear the Walking Dead – Season 2, Episode 15: “North”

AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead
Season 2, Episode 15: “North”
Directed by Andrew Bernstein
Written by Dave Erickson

* For a recap & review of the penultimate Season 2 episode, “Wrath” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 3 premiere, “Eye of the Beholder” – click here
screen-shot-2016-10-03-at-1-55-51-am The finale is upon us! Who will survive, and WHAT WILL BE LEFT OF THEM?
After the head crushing finish of the penultimate finisher, “North” starts out on Travis (Cliff Curtis) having unleashed fury on the two young men who put Chris (Lorenzo James Henrie) down after being injured in their car wreck. In the process, he hurt Oscar (Andres Londono) real bad. This isn’t going to sit well with anyone in the hotel. Elena (Karen Bethzabe) has him taken away, locked up somewhere. Everything is getting pretty rough at this point. Madison (Kim Dickens) tries her best to keep a cool head, at the request of Strand (Colman Domingo). She then takes Alicia’s (Alycia Debnam-Carey) knife to go put walkers Brandon and Derek out of their misery. Feels like Madison is starting to rage in her own way, too. Ain’t just Travis anymore. Strand, he looks worried.
screen-shot-2016-10-03-at-1-58-37-am At the colonia, Luciana (Danay Garcia) patches up Alejandro (Paul Calderon), whose bite is fierce. He’s getting sick, and fast. She wants to try making him look “presentable,” but he sees the end coming now. It doesn’t look pretty. She stays with him to help, although Luciana’s not impressed. “This is ending,” Alejandro says. But she thinks there’s still a future there for the rest of them.
Strand wants Madison to calm down. Technically, Travis has gone against the rules they’ve set out. “Weve lost our place,” Alicia says about their situation in the hotel. Going against them, Strand believes Travis can’t stay there. And Alicia wants to leave, take him, set out on their own once more. She’s sick of losing people and wants to not become hardened people, willing to give up the lives of others for a safe space to lay their head. At this point, Strand is set apart from them. Not sure if they’ll come back together, or if Strand will stay at the hotel for good. The agreement is to let Travis out of his lockup until dawn when the group heads for the hills.
Nick’s packed and ready to leave the colonia, with or without Luciana. She stubbornly won’t go anywhere. Marcos (Alejandro Edda) is coming, at some point or another. “Do what you do, Nickrun,” Luciana taunts.
With Oscar unconscious things are awful for the people at the hotel. Alicia tries to help. Nobody really wants it, though. They’ve got their hands full trying to do homemade surgery on Oscar.screen-shot-2016-10-03-at-2-17-52-am In front of everybody, Alejandro limps sickly to his people and confronts them with the truth about Marcos. He does his best to inspire them. Simultaneously, Nick heads for the wall of zombies. He smears himself well with blood, then ventures into the vast unknown past their wall. While Alejandro spins a fairy tale of bullshit to the colonia, Nick spies a helicopter touching down in the distance.
Oscar’s surgery goes on as Madison and Travis spend their last night in the hotel upstairs. “Whoever you think I am, whatever part of me you think is the same, its not,” Travis tells her. She agrees those two guys deserved to die after what happened, after all that happened with them on the road. Madison believes herself worse than him. They’ve bonded closely over this brutality, and that’s how it goes in the new world post-zombie apocalypse. A beautiful little moment between these two; and boy, did they need it! Downstairs, Oscar lies dead on the table. So now, will there be war? Oh, it seems that way. The men go for Travis in the middle of the night. Andrés (Raul Casso) puts a gun to Travis for killing his brother. When Alicia stabs him, all bets are off. Strand winds up getting his hands on the gun flicking across the floor, and states the obvious: “We need to get out now.” If only for the fact Strand won’t leave with them. No, please! I love Strand, I hate to see the group separate. He’s awesome and I don’t want him to die. So as long as he sticks around on the show, that’s fine. Just don’t kill him AMC, you bastards.
The road ahead for Madison, Alicia, and Travis doesn’t look great. But better than getting torn apart by everyone back at the hotel.screen-shot-2016-10-03-at-2-31-31-am Alejandro gets a surprise visit from Nick. He’s come back after seeing the helicopter, finding Alejandro incredibly sick. They have a frank chat about dying. About whether to leave. Nick believes actually caring about the people in the colonia would mean doing the right thing; getting them out. To be a good man, Alejandro must “let them go.” That helicopter, it landed across the border in a camp. Nick sees hope out there.
In the big supermarket, now empty, Alicia, Madison, and Travis search for information about the colonia. They also see hope – that maybe they can find Nick again. Well, they stumble across that death room where Marco had a bunch of dead bodies. Not a nice place. Although they may be able to figure out how to get to colonia if there’s anything left on the corpses. And there just may be some clues.
In the daytime, Marco and his crew roll out to the colonia. There, they first come across the wall of undead. Heading into the bus they find it’s “too easy.” After they’re all the way inside Marco discovers a veritable ghost town. Nobody visible, anywhere. Not from far away, anyways. Alejandro’s still lurking, looking to die a “beautiful death” as Nick predicted. He’s well enough to get to the bus, put it in drive, and let the walkers crawl on in. Colonia no longer secure.
Along a city road Nick and Luciana lead the good colonia citizens elsewhere, out towards the border in a bid to maybe find that camp, maybe a helicopter. Anything’s better than being slaughtered by drug dealers.


On their own way, Madison and Travis head into the colonia. Fuck, shit, FUCK! Always one step behind Nick. Outside, Alicia waits by herself, but then decides to go in towards the bus. The tension is killing me. Of course the inner sanctum is covered in walkers, dropped guns. Even Marco is a zombie. Every last person is dead. Alicia finds Alejandro at the bus and makes him comfortable. He tells them about Nick and the plan to head towards the border. At least they know which direction he’s going. Someday they may cross paths again.
The border is littered with cars, a scattered zombie here or there. Nick and Luciana take the group through the gates. He looks out towards the horizon spotting a helicopter through binoculars, a refugee camp not too far off. Then from nowhere a man with a gun. Luciana takes a bullet. Reynaldo, as well. Armed militia-style men take the group over. Nick and Luciana are cornered.
With Madison, Alicia, and Travis seeing Alejandro out of life once and for all, Nick is beaten down by the armed men. Nobody’s future is certain, as we always know a little too well. How will the next season begin? Where will they all be?
screen-shot-2016-10-03-at-2-45-54-am A tragic and exciting end to this season. I dig it! Very ominous. Lots could happen.
Let’s await Season 3 with a new season of The Walking Dead in a few weeks.

Dead of Summer – Season 1, Episode 10: “She Talks to Angels”

Freeform’s Dead of Summer
Season 1, Episode 10: “She Talks to Angels”
Directed by Steve Miner
Written by Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz

* For a review of the previous episode, “Home Sweet Home” – click here
Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 3.03.30 PM
The finale is directed by none other than Friday the 13th Parts II and III alumni, Steve Miner! Very exciting, as we finish off Dead of Summer‘s wildly fun and unpredictable first season.
Amy (Elizabeth Lail) has been fully taken over by Malphas, as the rest of the crew are left without much clue. Jessie (Paulina Singer), Deputy Garrett (Alberto Frezza), and Alex (Ronen Rubinstein) only have the camera with all of Joel’s (Eli Goree) taped material. At least they have some kind of proof. For now, if Malphas doesn’t decide to eradicate that, or them, too.
They shove off from Camp Stillwater, each unsuspecting of the evil still lurking in Amy. When the cop car Garrett drives goes dead, the battery suddenly shutting off, things get spooky. The demon in Amy reveals itself, saying that Holyoke (Tony Todd) left the “last piece of his soul” inside Jessie. Worst is when Amy brings out the dead t0 help her – Joel, Cricket (Amber Coney) – and now everything is scarier than ever before.
Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 3.06.29 PMScreen Shot 2016-08-31 at 3.06.41 PM
Garrett sees his father Jack (Dan Payne) out on the dock at Camp Stillwater. He disappears into thin air. Then he wakes up. It’s the day before all the counsellors show up for summer in 1989. He tells Sheriff Boyd Heelan (Charles Mesure), a.k.a the teacher. But no real help there, clearly. I guess hanging out with a weirdo you don’t yet know is a weirdo would be much better than where they are now, running from Malphas and his legion of undead.
How do we stop a demon?” asks Alex. Right before they discover a bunch of murdered corpses in the cabin. Afterwards, Malphas drops in to cause a bit of mischief. Meanwhile, bussing all the kids away from camp Drew (Zelda Williams) and Blair (Mark Indelicato) get an eerie, urgent warning from the little boy who used to see Holyoke. He tells them to go back; their friends need help.
And they do. Garrett’s hurt, although he makes sure Jessie and Alex know: “This is bigger than us.” They’re forced to leave him behind. Such is the case when you’re in a supernatural horror mystery for real, I guess.
A flashback takes us to Blair before camp. Cricket comes to see him with a new mix tape. He’s busy washing HOMO off his car; so sad. She tries to assure him things will change now that they’re finished high school. He’s a romantic, though, and wanted to meet a guy. Sadly they take about it being “me and you forever” and things we know can’t come true because of her untimely death. In their present situation, Blair and Drew try calling the cops. I don’t know if that’ll do any good. Kudos to the writers: not often in horror does anybody actually try the police.

Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 3.20.00 PM
Lots of creepy shit is happening now in the woods. Alex and Jessie come across Blotter’s severed head on a tether-ball pole. At the same time, Malphas-Amy is calling out to anybody left at camp to play a game of capture the flag. Except the flag “is Jessie,” the demon cackles through the speakers. That scene honestly felt like it came right out of Stephen King. Dig it.
When the cops arrive at Stillwater they’re greeted by Amy – similar to how she looked as child, informing the firefighter her family is dead: “Theyre dead. Theyre all dead.” Only problem being that she now has the place totally under control. Over the speakers, Malphas-Amy talks in the policeman’s voice; the one she’s dispatched. Because the demon needs more blood to fill the lake.
Alex tries going head-on with the demon. He gets an axe to the chest, savage and bloody. Yikes. A quick and nasty death for the poor Russian immigrant, just looking for a better life. Now, Jessie is on her own out in the forest with the demon hunting her down. Soon enough she finds Garrett, Drew, and Blair.
Either way, Jessie lures Malphas-Amy into a cabin where they circle her inside purified water along the floor. In the other cabin Garrett plays the music from Holyoke’s recording, but there’s nothing on it anymore. Remember when Amy stroked the wax before they discovered she was still possessed? I knew it. God damn you, Malphas!
Well the shit hits the fan. Undead Joel, Cricket, Deb, they all show up.
Ah – Garrett remembers the tape. It has the music on it. So he broadcasts it through the walkie into the cabin, causing Malphas-Amy and the undead great pain, repelling them.
And when Malphas is weakest, Jessie plants an axe right into Amy’s head. The blood runs out of her, the demon returning to Lake Stillwater and disappearing below the surface, hopefully never to return again.

Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 3.34.04 PMScreen Shot 2016-08-31 at 3.34.49 PMScreen Shot 2016-08-31 at 3.35.15 PM
They’ve survived, those who are left – Garrett, Jessie, Blair, and Drew. Out in the water, the dead wade back down to the depths. A fitting goodbye to them all, as the friends watch them all go.
Plus, Townie and Braces are once again together. Or are they? He’s just a ghost. I knew it, again! He died out on that bench in the woods. Love allowed him to linger on as a spirit; the light from Holyoke gifted him the extra time to help. That’s better than what I predicted before – him becoming another undead during the last big fight.
The three remaining souls walk themselves out of Camp Stillwater, for the final time. Ghostly Garrett heads into the water of the lake, to his friends, and his father. A place for everything and every thing in its place. Life moves on with Jessie going to college, Blair and Drew road tripping to Seattle for a Bowie concert (and totally in love with each other). All is well once more.
Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 3.37.10 PMScreen Shot 2016-08-31 at 3.38.31 PMScreen Shot 2016-08-31 at 3.40.02 PMScreen Shot 2016-08-31 at 3.41.01 PMScreen Shot 2016-08-31 at 3.41.50 PM
I honestly loved this show’s first season. Hoping there’ll be a Season 2. While it wasn’t perfect, it both played up to the horror genre tropes and also subverted expectations in that regards, as well. It didn’t have to be perfect. The nostalgia, without going too overboard, along with decent writing and interesting characters made for lots of fun.
And now Stillwater’s up for rent. What could happen there? Oooooooooh.

The Night Of – Season 1, Episode 8: “The Call of the Wild”

HBO’s The Night Of
Season 1, Episode 8: “The Call of the Wild”
Directed by Steven Zaillian
Written by Richard Price & Zaillian

* For a review of the previous episode, “Ordinary Death” – click here
Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 11.30.20 AM
Detective Dennis Box (Bill Camp) is going through the motions. He watches security footage of the night in question, over and over. He watches Nasir Khan (Riz Ahmed) pick up Andrea Cornish (Sofia Black D’Elia). He keeps the crime scene photos nearby. He’s meant to be retiring and yet can’t let any of this go. He notices, in the security footage, that Andrea looks behind her, as if watching for somebody. Her eyes widened. Box knows there is something else going on behind those eyes, so he wonders.
Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 11.32.54 AM
In court, Trevor Williams (J.D. Williams) is on the stand. Chandra Kapoor (Amara Karan) grills him on the lie he told, about being alone on that night. He’s not exactly a credible witness. District Attorney Helen Weiss (Jeannie Berlin) opts not to ask any questions, probably for the best. But then Duane Reade (Charlie Hudson III), the other man with Trevor the night of the murder, is put on the stand, too. Well, Chandra dives on in to get more information. It works. Seems that Duane’s M.O. is to find the weapon of choice for his crimes while inside the victim’s home. Doesn’t look good for Mr. Reade. Except Weiss asks no questions to him, either. John Stone (John Turturro) thinks Chandra’s doing a splendid job, so he heads out. She later gets the hearse driver, the creepy misogynist, on the stand. He does his best to make himself credible, yet Chandra pokes holes in his explanations. The whole scene is very eerie.
Meanwhile, John still has eyes on Don Taylor (Paul Sparks), Andrea’s stepfather. He brings a subpoena for Don, to appear in court on the stand. Plus he makes sure the sly dude knows there’ll be no more threats, or else a guy “from New Jersey” – one of John’s clients – will be paying him a visit. Next day on the stand, Don reels off a story about Andrea being an addict, her mother, as well. The details of their relationship come out while Chandra prods about the will, so on. Not looking good for ole Don. Not looking good for several people. I also worry about Weiss, she seems so tricky. Biding her time, not cross examining. What’s her plan?
There’s so much mystery, though. It’s why I love this series so god damn much. Don is implicated, as is Duane, even Trevor to an extent. And you know what, even Naz is still slightly suspicious simply because of his secretive past of violence that he let nobody know of, as well as his history of selling Adderall to fellow students.

Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 11.48.27 AM
And then there’s Box, tracking down more security footage that they never bothered to find before. Andrea argues with a man, heated and intense. She leaves him standing alone on a street corner, before the man then follows behind her a little ways. This sends the detective on a journey.
Naz has all but become a junkie while waiting in Rikers Island for the nightmare to be over. He scrapes out every last balloon and package he can to get a tiny little bump, to keep him straight. At that very same time, Chandra wants to call him to the stand. Stone doesn’t want that to happen. She really feels the court will need to hear from him. So, against John’s wishes, she asks Naz about it, whether he can handle going up there. With one little gesture he lets her know he’ll need some “help” and that means getting him clean, or who knows what. Detox is the best option, although they may not have that time.
So off Chandra goes to get condoms. Then she goes to find the other ingredients to help her client as best she can. On the corner, recorded by cameras, she buys drugs. The ethical boundaries of this case have effectively disappeared. But when your client can barely make it through the day without the lingering effects of withdrawal, what do you do? You smuggle drugs into jail. Sort of embarrassing to see a good woman like her have to do that, the look on her face is one of shame. There’s obviously no length to which she won’t go for Naz, to help him out.
On the stand, he’s bright and clear eyed. John isn’t happy to see him up there, but Chandra goes ahead with her questions. He describes the night of Andrea’s murder, finding her in the bed dead. Once Helen Weiss gets up, she opens up the discussion of Naz marking up and selling drugs to people at school. Then she dives into information about Andrea. This gets to Naz talking about when he went back to get his keys, breaking the window, taking the knife, none of which makes him look good. At all. “I knew how it looked,” he tells Weiss and the court when asked why he did such a thing. Mostly what goes down is Helen drags Naz through the mud by making him seem inconsistent, or at the very least irresponsible for not having bothered to call 911 even though he was supposedly of sound enough mind to run off with evidence from the scene. A terrible idea to have Nasir up there in front of the court. Stone knows it, and he tells Chandra: “You just convicted him.”


Helen: “Did you kill her?”
Naz: “I dont know
Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 12.09.32 PM
Along with the hope of Nasir going free is that of the cat going free. John brings it back to the shelter, likely to be put down eventually. A tragic, sad turn of events in the metaphorical sense. He’s given up. Simultaneously, Naz embraces the prison life further, getting tattooed from the neck on down. Everyone acts like there’s no longer any hope.
However, hope may reside in unlikely places. Box is sleeping at the station, he can’t let go. He knows there is another explanation lying beneath what sits at the surface. Letting this case go without completing all the good leg work isn’t something he’s willing to do. Nor should he, as he and the others were probably too quick to jump all over Naz’s guilt.
Dt. Box tracks the man in the video with Andrea. He finds it’s Ray Halle (Paulo Costanzo), the one Stone talked to awhile back. He was also a victim of violence some time ago. Because he beat up a prostitute. So it all leads to the detective questioning Ray a little about that evening when Andrea got murdered. Another viable suspect emerges late in the game. Very intriguing stuff.
At Rikers, Freddy Knight (Michael K. Williams) and Naz play cards. A new inmate arrives and the young Muslim goes to talk with him. His name is Terry (Charles Brice), and Naz hopes to bring him into the Knight Gang. He’s been indoctrinated. Nasir doesn’t even need to be led into the whole thing. Sad to watch.
Box goes to see the D.A. He’s worried about $300K that disappeared from Andrea’s finances. He talks about Halle, the lies he told, his meeting with Andrea. There’s also a picture of him at 3 AM tossing out some garbage bag in an empty street. “Weve got more on the kid,” she tells Dennis. The look in his eyes is disappointment. Helen doesn’t want to admit she’s wrong. At what price? A young man’s life.

Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 12.33.17 PM
On his doorstep, Stone finds an envelope; inside is a disc. It’s been sent from Freddy. It shows Chandra kissing Naz in the cell when they spoke awhile back. Needless to say, John is not a happy camper. Regardless, he brings it to Naz and suggests there could be a retrial if they divulge what Chandra did. Only that means she most likely loses her career in the process. Still, any means necessary to escape the prison system’s lure.
The video of Chandra and Nasir is brought to Judge Roth (Glenn Fleshler). What happens is that John is put up as the lead defence lawyer. He must give the closing argument. “This is clearly grounds for a mistrial,” Stone exclaims again unhappy with the outcome of things raining down on his head. But the Judge sees through it as a tactic. It’s all up to him at this point.
Weiss does her best to give a big final push. She likens the lost time in Naz’s memory to an FBI classified document being redacted: “Self preservation,” she tells the jury. Everyone in the court notices Dt. Box get up in the middle of her statement and leave. Quite telling.
In the midst of stress, John takes a bleach bath trying to get rid of the itch in his skin. Later in court, he gives his closing statement with his skin absolutely destroyed, gloves on his hands, the whole nine yards. But Stone talks about the first time he met Naz, the look of the kid, and how different he is from the regular clients which he takes on. Furthermore, John makes a good case for how Naz has decided to survive in Rikers, looking the way he does. He lays out the “rush to judgement” against his client, how people were caught up in a flood of his guilt, as it seemed then. His speech is heavy, important, sensible. Beautiful, even. His eyes tear up near the end where he pleads with the jury not to ruin the rest of his client’s young life.
Now it’s all in the jury’s hands.
John goes back to trying to fix his skin. Chandra starts to think about moving on. At Rikers, Freddy talks to Naz about what happens if the verdict comes out guilty. The former boxer talks about prison not being so bad while Naz is around: “You smell like innocence.” He feels it’s a source of pride, to be alongside the young Muslim. To have a person with him who isn’t like everyone else is refreshing. Not a nice situation to live forever, though. Especially seeing as how the drugs have all but taken over Naz’s life.


The jury finally returns. They’ve deadlocked; six to six votes, no change ahead. So Judge Roth dismisses the jury, wondering what D.A. Weiss would like to do. She opts not to prosecute any further. “Youre free,” says John turning to Naz. An unexpected yet happy finish for Mr. Khan and his family, Dt. Box sees it so, as well.
Nasir has to pack up and get moving for his release. He doesn’t get to see Freddy before leaving. Probably because the one time boxer doesn’t want to have to say goodbye to a friend. Either way, out goes the young Muslim, back into the real world sporting his jailhouse tattoos. He does get one parting gift from Knight: Jack London’s The Call of the Wild. On the outside, his father waits with open arms to take his son back home. Back at their place, the Khans try getting back to normal, all at the dinner table together and eating happily. Yet until someone else has been caught and prosecuted, the Muslim community judges him, staring. Worse, he’s still fighting addiction, which won’t ever go away. And he’s left for a lifetime with memories of that night with Andrea.
Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 12.58.29 PMScreen Shot 2016-08-29 at 1.02.08 PMScreen Shot 2016-08-29 at 1.02.34 PM
Stone: “Everyones got a cross to bear, Naz. Pardon the expression. Fuckem all. Live your life.”
Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 1.07.05 PM
A perfect ending comes when we see that John has taken the cat back in, or we hear it in the background, anyway. He’s been renewed with hope. Then the cat traipses through the apartment, free from its locked room. John has certainly changed to a degree.
Also, like a real trial often we’re not privy to who really did the deed. Maybe Halle will get prosecuted. Maybe it’s actually Don. We’ll never know. Often too true to reality.
What a great finish to this first season. Lots of poignant little moments to take in, and I can’t wait to go back for a re-watch soon enough. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. A great set of eight episodes.