Animal Kingdom – Season 2, Episode 10: “Treasure”

TNT’s Animal Kingdom
Season 2, Episode 10: “Treasure”
Directed by Josef Kubota Wladyka
Written by T.J. Brady & Rasheed Newson

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Custody” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Leopard” – click here
Pic 1J (Finn Cole) finds grandma Smurf (Ellen Barkin) in his bed, drinking. She’s worried about who robbed her storage unit. Naturally, the kid’s nervous. He helped uncle Baz (Scott Speedman) break in, though he wasn’t the one who told him about it; Barry did that all on his own.
Speaking of him, he’s checking out the haul from Smurf’s safes. Quite the goddamn loot, too. From jewellery to stacks of bills, it’s impressive. This is one time Baz is truly off on his own. He and the other lads are in two different directions. While he’s robbing his adopted mom, Craig (Ben Robson) is heading up the next actual job. He’s still dragging Nicky (Molly Gordon) around while doing shady shit. They’ve got it all planned. But I keep seeing her winding up in handcuffs. Meanwhile, Renn (Christina Ochoa) turns up again, warning the young lady about Craig not being “worth the ride.” She’d know, she nearly died after overdosing and being left in the bathroom to die by him. My only fear, that I know is justified, is that Nicky won’t figure that out before it’s too late.
Pic 2At the bar, Pope (Shawn Hatosy) goes to see Deran (Jake Weary) before they’re supposed to get going on their end of the job’s preparations. He’s not happy, he doesn’t like that Marco (Joseph Julian Soria) and Nicky both – outsiders – are part of the job. And these are genuine, smart concerns.
The younger brother doesn’t see it as anything more than simple risk. He also believes they “owe” Craig. But, if you look at the dude’s track record he’s a junkie, one who’s caused the gang a good deal of nonsense. Remember the first we really saw a lot of Craig he got himself shot? Yeah.
J goes to see Baz, worrying about the Smurf trouble. Knowing he went back on his own after the kid was gone. Baz suddenly plays the family card, after usually keeping J at arm’s length. Now he’s ready to trust him. Hope the kid is up to the task. Playing in the rough game his uncles do is dangerous shit.
Then there’s Smurf, going off the deep end. She has a cattle prod, pumping the storage locker attendant full of voltage to get answers about what happened during the robbery. She discovers it was indeed Baz, that he was alone. She also shows the guy a picture of J, but he didn’t see him there. “Thank you,” Smurf says before heading back to the car. Where little Lena Roo (Aamya Deva Keroles) sits with headphones on. Lord, what a piece of work.
The Cody gang are now pirates. Heading out to jack a boat. Craig leads them on the job, acting more responsible than we’ve ever seen him. He isn’t exactly the hard, heavy handed leader that we see in his mother. I guess he’s trying, at least. He wants to be taken seriously by his brothers, to prove to Smurf he isn’t useless, either.
And Smurf, she’s plotting the next step in her conflict with Baz. The father, as usual, isn’t around to take care of his daughter. He’s actually watching the place. He heads inside after Smurf leaves, to find the gun stashed in the fridge. Shit, man. He’s really escalating this little war. Would he go so far as to implicate Smurf in something, or perhaps turn in evidence to drop the law on her? Whoooa, if so.
Out on the open sea, Craig plays his role as member of the staff. Pouring drinks, being polite and tending to the newly married couple celebrating. All is well. On the boat he rented under a fake ID, Nicky is practising her lines, then she calls out to the response of the US Coast Guard. A nice distraction while there’s trouble on the ocean elsewhere. Craig’s setting everything in motion, throwing lines over the side and heading down below to cut off the boat’s communications, the rest of the sabotage required.
Pic 3All the while Baz is taking a walk out to a hill in the middle of nowhere. Looks very familiar. Maybe like the place where Javi was shot in the head, buried. Is he going to dig up the body? Seems to have brought the right gear – a shovel, a suit to keep from getting anything on him. Oh, my. Baz… this is fucking intense, dude. He digs the body out, puts a bullet in the head with the gun from the fridge, then covers it all back up. Not what I expected exactly. Still wild.
Simultaneously Smurf is at his place, searching for anything at all. She looks everything, top to bottom. Wonder if she’ll come across anything. Barry was dumb enough to let himself be seen at the storage unit. What else did he forget?
The ship is stopping, just like Craig planned. Out on the smaller boat, Nicky fumbles around acting innocently dumb for the Coast Guard who are towing her back. Then we’ve got the rest of the boys, Sea-Dooing to the ship. They’ve even got clear, creepy masks! They zip tie the crew, Pope controls the captain and the bridge, as Deran looks after the crowd with Marco, using his Spanish speaking skills. Then Craig is used as a decoy, getting his face and ribs beat in by Pope and Marco; the latter seeming to pile on more than agreed.
Nevertheless, the job goes over after the money, the jewellery, everything’s collected. When one woman will not give over her ring, Marco cuts the finger off with the ring intact. Fuck, that is horrifying. This went from a robbery to a bit of torture. Craig seems fine with it. Glad they’ve got shit done. I only wonder how far the Cody gang is willing to go morally. Doesn’t sit well with Pope afterwards, though. Of all people!
Pic 4What’s with Baz spending up cash? He’s bought a car, a house for him and Lucy (Carolina Guerra). Well, the house is a place for him to stash all his earnings. As well as the massive haul from Smurf’s storage unit. Although I’m not sure if Lucy’s down. It semi-impresses, and also freaks her out, I think.
And J, my lord, J! He’s become such a jaded part of the gang. When Smurf asks if there were any problems on the latest job, he dumps the ring finger out on the table. Then watches her throw it down the garbage disposal with some bleach. Also, he took a picture of the loot on his phone. Yikes. Not a good idea, bro.
Later he goes to see an old friend, his previous neighbour Dina (Karen Malina White). They’re having a bit of dinner together, for old time’s sake; something they’ve been doing lately, apparently.  Then he goes to her bathroom. Under the sink, in a secret stash he hides some jewellery. Where there’s already several stacks of cash. Hmm. Maybe the kid’s planning not to be part of the Cody shit show much longer.
Celebrating at the bar, J gets closer to Nicky while Craig rails coke, Pope goes home for an early night, and Deran swipes around on Tinder until he finds a guy to fuck. All’s good in the land of the Codys. Although Pope isn’t actually gone home. He’s off to see Amy (Jennifer Landon), having grim visions of making love to her mixed with killing Catherine. He isn’t doing so hot after all. And J, he runs into uncle Deran giving a blowjob this time rather than getting one; no animosity anymore, since he’s come out of the closet. Oh, and Craig’s trying to get a second chance from Renn. A very tenuous, rocky one, but a second chance nonetheless.
Not to mention he asks Renn on a trip to Vegas. Maybe he’s turning a leaf. Or maybe he’s just finding other ways to be irresponsible.
Pic 5Now, Baz tells Lucy he wants to leave with her. Go to Mexico, move in her with her, her son, Lena. A happy little life, away from the family, and away from Smurf.
Goddamn. Is this the ultimate plan? To get Smurf put away, then take off down south of the border? Might be a good plan, if I didn’t think she was slippery enough to get out of it all unscathed. There’s no telling to what lengths she’ll go in order to save herself. And Baz might’ve been adopted by her, taken in from a terrible family.
But remember: he ain’t real family.
Screen Shot 2017-08-09 at 12.19.31 AMWow, this was another intense slice of Animal Kingdom! A couple real interesting developments happening, from Nicky and J, as well as J and Deran sort of getting closer and less fist-to-fist, plus Pope’s mental state and now Baz v. Smurf. SO MUCH GOING DOWN. It’s unreal. Great Season 2, can’t wait to see how it closes out. We already know Season 3 is a go, that leaves me excited for how we’re going to head into a third outing. I’m feeling there’ll be a very suspenseful, suspicious, paranoid third season if things continue this route.
“The Leopard” is next week. Can hardly wait!

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Fear the Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 2: “The New Frontier”

AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 2: “The New Frontier”
Directed by Stefan Schwartz
Written by Mark Richard

* For a recap & review of the Season 3 premiere, “Eye of the Beholder” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Teotwawki” – click here
Pic 1Fleeing in helicopter, Travis (Cliff Curtis), Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey), Luciana (Danay Garcia), and Jake (Sam Underwood) head for the Otto family ranch. Travis is, naturally, worried. He just reunited the family and quick as that, they’re torn apart. Their trip gets nasty when bullets fly through the window, someone below firing on them. Then Travis takes a bullet through the side of his neck. He goes into shock, opening the vehicle’s door. When Alicia tries helping she sees he also has a wound in his stomach.
He lets go and plummets from the side, into the air below. Lost. Gone.
Is this for real? No. He will survive, though I’m not sure in what shape.
Pic 1ABack to the hotel by the beach where the group fled in Mexico. The gates are teeming with people trying to get in, to see the doctor inside. The people remaining include Victor Strand (Colman Domingo), who calms the near rioting crowd. He claims to be the doctor, asking that the people be let in and given rooms. What’s he up to? You can bet he’s scheming, he’s always the planner.
When Jake manages to get their crew on the ground again, Alicia’s distraught by the loss of Travis. I still don’t believe he’s gone, not totally. She worries about having let him go. She’s already felt guilty over other things, I fear how badly she’ll take this latest blow.
Meanwhile, stuck in a car with one-eyed Troy (Daniel Sharman), Madison (Kim Dickens) and her son Nick (Frank Dillane) are totally unaware of the tragedy, headed to the ranch. The place is definitely impressive, with cows and land sprawling over the hills, armed guards and a gate. But they arrive and find Jake, the others, they aren’t there. This makes brother Troy worry.
For a guy who’s not actually a doctor, Strand does a nice job. He’ll do anything he can to keep himself in good graces, wherever he goes. But not in a bad way, we’ve seen the extent of his humanity. The makeshift doctor’s then faced with a pregnant woman, her broken water. This is fucking do-or-die time.
Nick: “I dont trust these people.”
Madison: “Dont trust them. Trust me.”
At the ranch, Madison and Nick try remaining calm. It isn’t easy, worrying for their separated family unit all over again. She assures him one good thing: she got hold of a gun for them. You can always count on mom taking care of them, in every which way. Nick doesn’t like these people. Nor does she, but she figures they’ll use them for their own gains. She then meets Jeremiah Otto (Dayton Callie), he brings a coffee and has a chat. He wonders if Travis hijacked the helicopter, and she doesn’t take kindly. However, he’s only concerned for his son and goddaughter on board.
Pic 2So the Otto family, they’re “building a new nation” on the new frontier. Trying to make sense of a mad world. He acts like the Clark family are ungrateful. He doesn’t want to believe his son Troy is a fucking psycho, and y’know, I don’t fully trust either of the Ottos; except for Jake, who’s seemingly still a human being. But I do not like Troy, neither do I like anything about Jeremiah just yet. Nick’s got the idea, he doesn’t dig any of this stuff. Moreover, he’s blaming himself – he took Luciana to the base, Travis and Madison they went looking for him there. Poor guy, I hope he doesn’t let his old addictive habits crowd his mind again.
Across a fire in the wilderness, Alicia asks Jake about his brother, his… issues. They bond over “allowances” they give their loved ones; him with a psychopath for a brother, she with a former junkie. An interesting parallel. Yet things get tense, as whistles in the woods alert them to somebody else out there. Jake arms Alicia, then heads off to scope the situation out. He stumbles upon a walker in the dark, nearly getting chomped before Alicia saves him. Still, there’s never tragedy far from any of the people in this series. Jeremiah’s goddaughter is one of the latest casualties. Not good.
Strand is successful in delivering the baby. Only problem is the people at the hotel aren’t happy with his lie; it involves them, they’re at stake just as much as him. So, they kick him out. It’s on the road again for the now former Dr. Strand. And one last person to tend to, a woman who’s refused to eat and is barred in her room. It’s the mother of the bride from last season, Eileen, the one who stabbed him; she’s been in there ages. Not looking well. They talk and he reveals he’s got a place in mind to head after leaving the hotel. She then offers him what was meant as a gift for the wedding, a piece of jewellery.
Before plunging off the hotel balcony to her death.
Pic 3The helicopter crew ready themselves to walk for the ranch. “Its a terrible world, isnt it?” Jake quips to Alicia, who even without response probably agrees wholehearted. They soon get to the ranch carrying Luciana, barely conscious in their arms. Then, daughter is forced to explain to mother where her husband has gone, why he hasn’t come back. A devastating moment.
Even worse is the fact Luciana is ready for death, so says Troy. Can’t be helped. They don’t want her turning. Nick offers to take care of it himself. Rather than doing that, he turns the gun on Troy, as the other armed men raise their weapons.
I said let her in.” He is not going to listen to mom, and not with Troy condescending. A Mexican stand-off, if there ever were. Jeremiah steps in, assuring Luciana will not die if he turns over the gun. He does, on good faith. The Otto patriarch orders her taken inside and treated, though safely.
More than ever, Madison’s had her world turned upside down. She faces this new frontier without her beloved husband. Jeremiah tries comforting her, more concerned if she’ll be a danger, if she wants to commit suicide, the like. He’s missing a Beretta, the one she took. Doesn’t make a big deal, only wants it signed out officially in their records, which she obliges.
How will the family move on? Can they? Well, they have to; there’s no choice. Each of them deal with things in their own way. Madison now says they’re staying at the ranch. They’ll make it home. Even if they have to take the place themselves. Her children don’t agree, and thus starts more struggle.
Madison: “Its our fate. We suffered to get here.”
Pic 5Intense episode, all around. Wow. I cannot wait for the next episode “TEOTWAWKI” because I just know… Travis can’t be dead. He survived too much in that pit to simply die this way; by law of the TV gods!

The Handmaid’s Tale – Season 1, Episode 6: “A Woman’s Place”

Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale
Season 1, Episode 6: “A Woman’s Place”
Directed by Floria Sigismondi
Written by Wendy Straker Hauser

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Faithful” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Other Side” – click here
Pic 1We start as we finished last episode, as Offred (Elisabeth Moss) falls into actual passion with Nick (Max Minghella). She thinks of it the next day, but laments it won’t happen anymore. “Sorry, Nick.”
The handmaids are out cleaning a wall of execution blood. Government officials are coming, so they don’t want any of the nastiness around to make Gilead look bad, now do they? Janine (Madeline Brewer) remarks how it doesn’t look the same without all the “dead bodies.” Amazing what you can get used to in Gilead. Back at home, Offred’s called to see Serena (Yvonne Strahovski), she preps the handmaid on the coming visit, a trade delegation from Mexico; the one which Commander Waterford (Joseph Fiennes) went to arrange a short while ago. The woman of the house wants everything to go smoothly.
But will it?
Offred: “Reds my colour
We see Serena remember different times with Fred. They rushed to the bedroom in lust for one another. Although quoting the Bible’s a bit strange. Either way, there were happier moments for them. Now it’s all an eerie struggle, a routine, an elaborate, emotionless spectacle. Serena’s complicit in the patriarchy, despite any of her issues she continues trying to make her husband happy.
Pic 1AOne thing Offred, the woman formerly known as June, has not lost is her spirit, and her sense of humour. She’s very sly, in many ways. Also there’s a clear connection between her and Nick. He does his best, outwardly, to deny this fact. It’s obvious, though. And they keep it as quiet a secret as possible. In the meantime, Offred’s trotted in to see the delegation. There’s a vast divide between women in Gilead v. women from Mexico, for instance. She automatically believes the ambassador could not be a woman. Even as smart and tough as June was, still is, she’s been brainwashed, beaten down by the system in this nation-state.
On top of everything, she’s forced to say that she chose being a handmaid. When Ambassador Castillo (Zabryna Guevara) asks if Offred is happy, she reluctantly reads the script prepared in her mind. Sadly, she knows a woman’s place in Gilead. As do the barren wives, all too tragically. We find out more of Serena, too. She was a rebel. The ambassador puts it to her pretty hard and sees how these women, all of them, are trodden upon.
Ambassador Castillo: “Never mistake a womans meekness for weakness
More flashbacks show us a time before. When Fred was working towards the idea of Gilead, setting things in motion. Serena supported him every step of the way, which illustrates the lengths of her complicity in an authoritarian patriarchal rule. We see the divide between America then, Gilead now. Even Fred, he was slightly different. Before power took hold, anyways. Then suddenly he gets word about “three attacks” coordinated in several weeks. The beginning of the end.
So, as much as I pity Serena, I pity the handmaids more. She used an epidemic to subjugate the will of fertile women. Offred, and so, so many more, they suffer much worse because of what Serena allowed to grow in her own actions and support of Fred. Kinda like how I couldn’t give a shit now that Ann Coulter thinks anybody cares that she’s FINALLY figured out that Trump duped her and a portion of the country. Because she is one of those women whose toxic aid to the patriarchy of America has only made things worse for women who don’t hold the privilege of her status.
Pic 2Alone together, Offred gets closer and closer with Commander Waterford. Perhaps too close. It’s a dangerous game, even if it’s a part of a plan she’s enacting over the course of time. He feels wildly unpredictable. He asks for a kiss, which she grants him. Later she scrubs her mouth raw with a toothbrush to get the taste out.
Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd) has the handmaids out, well behaved, going to a dinner. They even get to sit at tables like normal people. Present and enforcing strict dress code, Serena requires “the damaged ones” removed. But Lydia says they are serving the Lord, therefore it’s worthy of honour. To Mrs. Waterford they’re “bruised apples” and nothing more.
More flashbacks take us to before Gilead rose, as America fell. Serena slowly sees her privileges erode. Once a writer of books, she was on her way to never being allowed to read one again, being pushed out of the bureaucracy of the coming changes. Fred actually starts coming off as a guy who didn’t realise what would happen when he started out. As if he was one of those bible thumping Republicans who began hard on terrorism, letting civil rights erode, then watched as it all spun out of control. But no matter. Somewhere along the way he wholly accepted the state of things.
In Gilead, at their fancy dinner, Serena is allowed to speak. ALLOWED is the operative term. The handmaids are honoured. Blah, blah, blah. All for show. Then the children are paraded through to music, those who’ve been produced in Gilead like cattle. IT’s a way of blinding the delegation. All the sour, hideous shit is hidden beneath this glossy exterior, fabricated out of the sadness of these women who are made to stand by and, some of them, watch their own children who’ve been yanked from their arms being used as propaganda.
Worse – Mexico’s looking to trade for handmaids. That’s so terrible, so ugly. What a heavy scene. With all the heaviness that’s come before it, hard to imagine this is so weighty. One of the subtle, toughest moments shows us a flashback as Serena gathers things together, throwing things away; outside, garbage trucks and men take all things belonging to women, truckloads, and cart it away for a new beginning.
Pic 3A rare lovemaking moment occurs between Mr. and Mrs. Waterford, going against the whole idea in Gilead that sex is for procreation only. Tsk, tsk. But I wish they’d get back to that, their old lives. Instead of raping women into pregnancy for their own cruel needs.
Offred beats herself up for acting in front of the ambassador and everyone else, saying she’s happy there. It rips her apart, and no wonder. Having to say that, even if she doesn’t mean it, just having to let those words out of her mouth is a form of giving up to the patriarchy of Gilead.
The next day when the ambassador stops by before leaving, June tells her it is a prisoner there and about the abuse they suffer. She tells her everything. She pleads for her to do something, but the woman refuses. Another woman complicit with the authoritarian patriarchy of Gilead. Disgusting. All in the name of making babies.
Ambassador Castillo: “My country is dying
Offred: “My countrys already dead
However, the man with Ambassador Castillo offers to get a message to her husband. He is not dead, and Mr. Flores (Christian Barillas) knows. He also knows that her name is June. Wow. I could see the whole episode his eyes were kinder, somehow he was sensitive to their plight. And dammit, I was right.
Pic 4What’s going to happen next? What a grim yet still beautiful episode. Christ, they up the ante every week with this series. Next is “The Other Side” and I’m anticipating other, bigger things will come out.

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.

The Exorcist – Season 1, Chapter One: “And Let My Cry Come Unto Thee”

FOX’s The Exorcist
Season 1, Chapter One: “And Let My Cry Come Unto Thee”
Directed by Rupert Wyatt
Written by Jeremy Slater

* For a review of Chapter Two: “Lupus in Fabula” – click here
screen-shot-2016-09-24-at-12-28-41-am
Here we are at the premiere of The Exorcist, a new series based on the classic from William Friedkin and based on the novel by William Peter Blatty.
We start on a familiar image, one of a man in a long coat and a brimmed hat walking, bag in hand, to some destination; it is Father Marcus Keane (Ben Daniels). In the distance are strange and unsettling noises.
In a brighter, more sunny place, Father Tomas Ortega (Alfonso Herrera) gives a sermon to his congregation, which includes Angela and Henry Rance (Geena Davis & Alan Ruck), as well as their daughter Casey (Hannah Kasulka). Off near the street outside after the service, Father Tomas sees a man who he believes is speaking to him, mouthing words. But when he talks to Angela a moment, turning back, the man is no longer there. At the same time, something seems off about Henry. In church he’s aloof, heading home he is distracted and not altogether there. Is headed for demons, possession and the like?
Ortega has issues of faith going on. Maybe. His sister Olivia (Camille Guaty) believes he doesn’t want to be a priest anymore, that he’s in love with a woman named Jessica. Of course, he denies it. Looking forward to more of that.
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In Mexico City, Father Marcus sits disillusioned yet firm in that “the powers in the repetition.” Another priest, Father Bennett (Kurt Egyiawan), has come to try talking sense into him. Although he didn’t anticipate Marcus having a gun. There’s more to him, as we’re seeing a man of the church, a man of god whose path clearly strays from that of the Roman Catholic Church as an institution. And why? What drove someone to take the vows of priesthood but then divert to his own method? On his own again, he tries to help the boy that’s been possessed at the moment. He prays, flicking holy water at the beast inside the boy, the one that speaks to Marcus by name.
Back at Casa del Rance, Angela hears odd noises, whispers in the walls. She shakes it off quickly, though something clearly bothered her. Then we find the other sister Catherine (Brianne Howey) upstairs, depressed, in her own world. So is dad going to get demonic? Or is it going to be Charlotte? Hmm.
Love the digital organ system that plagues the organist – the ancient church and its customs meet the modern world. More importantly, this takes Father Tomas downstairs into the dark basement for a little jump scare when Angela turns up looking for him. She’s worried for Catherine, saying there are “things going on in the house.” Such as furniture moved, books thrown all over the floor, voices in the walls. Y’know, standard haunting madness. Angela straight up believes a demon is trying to take Catherine. Father Tomas explains demons are a construct of the church, as a way to rationalise through “metaphors” in regards to mental illness, et cetera. But Mrs. Rance can’t take those answers. She knows better. Particularly once a bad omen flies into the window: a raven gets stuck and bloodied smashed through a crack in the glass. Nasty.

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Ortega goes to see Catherine. She doesn’t put much stock into the thoughts of others. Not after losing someone close to her in a car accident. She’s merely in a depressed state after such an emotional trauma. Nevertheless, the family sits at the table eating along with Father Tomas, too. More and more we see the fact Henry is not who he was once. Catherine notices it, even if she’s the only one who says anything. I continue to believe he’s the one that’ll be possessed, one way or another. He gives Ortega an ominous sort of message about Father Marcus. This sets the young priest aflame wondering: who is this man? He has visions of Keane, the young boy’s possession, the exorcism. Until the boy jumps from his bonds, his neck twists around, and his spine breaks. Fuck, that’s vicious.
Father Tomas meets with a man called Brother Simon (Francis Guinan). He’s a little cryptic, offering up the supposed right question to be asking next: “What now, God?” Out of the corner of his eye, Tomas spies someone familiar. He follows the man to find it’s Father Marcus and tries to chat him up about demonic possession. However, the older man is pretty reluctant to say much. Finally though, Ortega gets more out of him and he reveals the circumstances of that possession Tomas dreamed. It seems that Father Marcus has become afraid of what lies beyond, as he’s seen it up close and personal, the damage it can do in the real world and not just in the spirit. His faith is quite broken.

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Eventually Father Tomas goes to see Angela once more. They have a heart to heart about God, their faith, family. He’s driven by the pure faith in his heart to help the Rances in their distress, no matter what it is truly. Then, upstairs comes a noise, a scream from one of the girls. In the attic, Ortega finds Casey lurking, killing rats without touching them, moving in an extremely weird way. Once Angela turns the lights on, nothing is as it seemed a moment ago. Casey is fine. Nothing looks out of the ordinary. But one thing’s for certain, Father Tomas is shaken; badly. Great throwback in this sequence to old school music from Friedkin’s classic with “Tubular Bells” by Mike Oldfield playing – we see Ortega walk off in the night, and simultaneously Father Marcus gears up, ready to take on this next possession.
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I personally loved this premiere episode. It doesn’t remake the original film, it’s merely an extension, inspired by Blatty’s work. I say give it a chance! Next up is “Chapter Two: Lupus in Fabula” and I think it’ll bring some great stuff. Ben Daniels is a favourite of mine, so I look forward to what he brings. And you can’t go wrong with Geena Davis, either. Plenty we can expect from this series. Let’s see if it holds up in the second episode.

Breaking Bad – Season 2, Episode 5: “Breakage”

AMC’s Breaking Bad
Season 2, Episode 5: “Breakage”
Directed by Johan Renck
Written by Moira Walley-Beckett

* For a review of the previous episode, “Down” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Peekaboo” – click here
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We start on a couple men obviously crossing from Mexico over the U.S. border. They swim to shore, their boots around their necks and other belongings in knapsacks. On their way along shore one of them stumbles over something in the mud: Hank’s (Dean Norris) souvenir of the grill from Tuco. Hmm, strange no?
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Walter (Bryan Cranston) is in the throes of chemotherapy now. The show does a real fascinating job at times of getting psychological, as we’re almost put right in his head; everything goes by with a strange quickness, at the same time it’s dreamy and stagnant, and even when Walt is back in his doctor’s office, he still seems in another world. Like the drugs pumping in his veins, the episode takes us into how it might feel for someone to sit in that chair and let the chemo run through them. In other news, Skyler (Anna Gunn) isn’t with him, which speaks volumes considering it’s not simply a doctor’s appointment. He’s got fucking cancer. So now, if it wasn’t already clear, their marriage is deteriorating at an exponential rate lately. But also, Walt is feeling the financial strain even more now with the therapy. His bill is staggering, and we don’t even see it for ourselves. Just Cranston’s acting takes us there.
At home Skyler is just as stressed. On the phone she bitches someone out with a smile over hospital charges. It’s staggering to me as a Canadian to hear three days in the hospital cost Walt $13,000+ alone. That is mind boggling. Nevertheless, here he is, and you know what all this means, right? Meth will be cooked. A lot of it. All the while Walt is feeling the horrible effects of chemotherapy, spending lots of time praying to the porcelain god.


Over at his office, Hank is catching his boss up on things concerning Heisenberg, a supposedly secretive cook making the “big blue” in New Mexico. Yowzahs, that’s getting close to home.
Then ASAC George Merkert (Michael Shamus Wiles) reveals he’s being promoted to a big time task force taking the cartel on. While he acts excited outwardly, in private Hank finds himself breaking apart at the seams. In an elevator he almost has a full-blown panic attack. Of course he pulls himself together, but now we’re given a look behind the curtain of his tough guy exterior. There’s something happening underneath that thick skin. Be interesting to see how that plays into things further down the line.
Finally, Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) makes good on his word as bond. He heads back to see Clovis, who isn’t happy to see him. Obviously. Jesse pays up, even for the damaged gate and the port-a-potty. Then they strike a deal for Jesse to park the Winnebago there, y’know, for a bit of cover. Even better, Jesse buys up an unsuspecting car to drive around, so that he doesn’t look suspicious; a little red beater. Plus, he’s found himself a possible place to live. He meets a woman named Jane Margolis (Krysten Ritter) renting an apartment owned by her father that she manages. Through it all, he ends up convincing her to take cash instead of all the usual bureaucracy. This is the beginning of a troubled relationship between landlord and tenant.
At home Hank is bottling some home brewed beer. Marie (Betsy Brandt) isn’t exactly pleased to see him home after just receiving a big promotion the day before and all. She believes he’s playing “Oktoberfest in [his] mancave“, though he plays it off as taking a well deserved day off. However, we know the difference. That tough exterior is there, but slips more and more. The pressure literally gets to Hank after he busts open a bottle while trying to put the cap on, busting open his hand while he’s at it.


In the desert, Jesse drives the Winnebago to meet Walt. It’s cook time. Furthermore, Walt’s got big plans for their little enterprise. He wants to take the business out on their own: he’ll cook, Jesse distributes on the street. Pinkman isn’t at all interested in “exposing” himself to the risk involved after his run-in with the DEA. Nor is Walt eager to “jump into bed with another Tuco.” They’ve both got nothing to their name after all the madness they’ve landed themselves in. Jesse offers to create their own distribution network, using friends of his to help sell it on the streets, but Walt is afraid of branching out. He wants his cake and to eat it, too. He doesn’t like “unknown entities” becoming a part of their partnership. Only Jesse doesn’t like the “division of labour“, so things are about to go his way for once. He gives his older counterpart an ultimatum: “You need me more than I need you, Walt.”
The whole Scooby gang gets together at Jesse’s new spot – Combo (Rodney Rush), Badger (Matt Jones), and the one, the only Skinny Pete (Charles Baker). They’ve got business to discuss. Well they’re a bit sceptical of Jesse and his pricing. At least until they understand how good the product is, coupled with the streets coming up a bit dry as of late. The rules are strict for the “big opportunity” Jesse lays out for them, but either way the gang is in.
What’s most interesting here is seeing how Jesse gleans much of his personality from others. He recycles lines and words from Walt, we’ve seen that already. Now, he applies the “DBAA” rule from Jane (Don’t Be An Asshole) to his own buddies in their new distribution project. It’s funny, yet sad all the same. Jesse still hasn’t figured himself out after all these years.
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The Whites and the Schraders are having dinner together. Skyler eventually can’t listen to her sister blab on any longer about nothing endlessly. She wants an apology for the whole tiara debacle. Still no movement on that front, and Skyler’s sick and tired of everyone around her lying. She knows Walt is up to something, now on top of it all her own sister can’t even give her a sincere apology to mend their relationship. But Marie isn’t all bad and she eventually shows her humanity instead of being a stone cold bitch.
Jesse and the crew are out slangin’. This sequence is so awesome, it is frenetic and full of energy with a slow change in style that gets darker and darker, slightly more sketchy just like the meth scene. They move the product quick to all the hungry customers on the street. Only some of them are shadier than you’re already expecting. Skinny Pete winds up selling to a meth head who tricks him into running from police, supposedly. He’s ran into a hallway where the meth head and her man rob him at knife point. This is actually a creepy scene. So creepy. The ever wonderful Dale Dickey plays the lady meth freak, and normally she can be scary as is, but they’ve truly made her look awful, scabs on her face. She also does this laugh that’s completely unnerving when Pete is at the end of a knife.
So now this causes issues with Jesse and Walt. The money bag is light. And the naivety of Walt is incredible. He basically goads his younger partner into doing something dumb. Saying that this whole situation makes Jesse look weak because “Jesse Pinkmandruglordcan be robbed with impunity.” Such an awful thing for Walt to do. He’s so removed from the violence that he is willing to say anything. Yet we know he’s also capable of violence when put into the corner, no other way out. It’s simply a malicious thing to treat Jesse how he does here.


Hank thinks he hears gunshots outside. He rushes downstairs with his own gun drawn. Except in his garage he finds it’s just some beer bottles popping. However, the look in Hank’s eyes is clear. There is something happening to him after shooting Tuco, it isn’t good for him. This throws his new promotion slightly into question.
Later in the night, Walt goes over to see Jesse at his new digs. He’s brought a request for his younger partner: “I want you to handle it,” Walt says after laying a gun on the counter. Wow. Walter White – piece of shit of the year. Because no longer is he simply doing this to make some cash, get out, provide for his family. Walt is loving being a meth cook and distributor. He is getting a sick thrill out of it.
At the end of the episode, we watch Hank toss Tuco’s memorialised grill into the river. Trying his best to get rid of the memories associated with the token.
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Another great, well written episode that drives forward so much character and plot at once. Love Krysten Ritter, so glad she’s in this season. She brings lots to the cast, in terms of acting and just the fact her character opens up so much. Stay with me for a review of “Peekaboo” coming shortly.