Tagged Michael Uppendahl

Fear The Walking Dead – Season 2, Episode 4: “Blood In The Streets”

AMC’s Fear The Walking Dead
Season 2, Episode 4: “Blood In The Streets”
Directed by Michael Uppendahl
Written by Kate Erickson

* For a review of the previous episode, “Ouroboros” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Captive” – click here
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Nick (Frank Dillane) has swam onto a nearby shore with some supplies in a bag. He finds a tent city where survivors once waited for help; a giant makeshift sign pleads SAVE US. The whole place is eerie now, a moment to the plight of people in those first days after the world fell apart. Luring any walkers, Nick manages to prove he’s a worthy hand at getting around. And he can kill them without too much fuss. Also, now that he’s figured out the trick of smearing himself in the guts of zombies to stay immune while walking amongst the undead, a whole new world has opened up. Perhaps a great reason for this episode’s title?
Then out into the darkness Nick leaves, covered in zombie blood warpaint.

 


Back on the ship, both Travis (Cliff Curtis) and Madison (Kim Dickens) are wondering how to move forward after Strand (Colman Domingo) left float the other survivors at the end of last episode. For his part, Travis feels responsible because of putting those people in that raft. But Madison, she plans on keeping her faith in Strand. In a harsh new reality he may actually be the only one worth following, right now. At least as far as we know, concerning his character.
Meanwhile, Chris (Lorenzo James Henrie) and Ofelia (Mercedes Mason) try to pass the time, wondering about Mexico, talking about relationships and so on. But out of nowhere some people in a raft arrive, one of them not well – she’s pregnant and having real trouble. The whole boat is up, wondering what’s going on. It certainly isn’t making Strand happy. In fact he looks downright panicked. The people boarding claim they’re “good” and that nothing is wrong. However, you can never shake that paranoid feeling. Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) recognizes one of the voices: it’s Jack, from the radio.
Then the gig is up. The people onboard take charge, putting everyone at gunpoint; everyone, that is, except for Strand trying to get away on an inflatable raft. And luckily Nick is off onshore somewhere for the time being. Yikes. This is intense.

 


We flashback a little. Strand drinks in a bar and chats with a man named Thomas Abigail (Dougray Scott) about all sorts of things, from business to Napoleon. Turns out Strand had some troubles after Hurricane Katrina’s devastation. After Tom gets wasted drunk, Strand brings him to his hotel room then robs a few of his credit cards, though Tom does see him: “Maybe I wont remember,” he quips. This is a perfect scene to cut to then cut back from to Strand in the water, as we’re seeing him just as he was in that bar: starting over from the bottom. Now, he’s stranded out in the water with little to no options left. And certainly no Thomas Abigail to fall back on now.
Things are more tense by the second on the boat. The ringleader of the assailants gets serious, threatening Chris before Travis gives up that Strand has the boat’s key. Everybody is fine for now, but everything is getting more dangerous. Alicia feels bad for having brought this on the group and tries to do her part towards helping her family and their group get through the situation. Jack talks about everyone having a “function“, and to a point he does know what’s going on in this new post-zombie apocalypse. In a world of walkers, everybody does have a purpose, it’s true. Unfortunately that doesn’t work well for anyone against a group that is hellbent on making sure everybody’s got a ‘function’ in this next life.
As everything happens out on the high seas, Nick is successfully wandering the streets, not just covered in blood, he mimics the walkers with their same noises, the same limps and contorted movements. It’s interesting to see him amongst the withered streets, nothing the same anymore.

 


Skip back again. Strand is caught by Abigail having made a few moves with those credit cards. Victor is certainly sly, he weaves excellent banter, that’s for sure. Nevertheless, he’s on the hook, not with the cops but with Abigail. We segue back to Strand who eventually loses his phone in the water. Things are just getting worse for him. I dig his character, though, and hope he doesn’t die. At least not for a while.
Travis does his best on the boat to try and get the motor going without a key. At the same time, the rest of the group try their best to start a revolt. With a bit of motherhood bonding, Madison distracts the pregnant woman as Daniel (Rubén Blades) attempts getting loose. Downstairs, Travis also keeps the ringleader busy watching him in the motor room. Everyone in the group of survivors already onboard is tricky. Very, very tricky.
Over on land, Nick traipses through apolcalyptica until someone runs up on him with a gun. He lets the guy know he was sent by Strand. Seems this is the guy that’ll get them all across the border to Mexico. Hilarious exchange as he doesn’t any of the blood on Nick to get on his sexy leather interiors.

 


The women on the boat start getting to the pregnant lady, wondering if the baby died inside her and maybe it could turn into a zombie inside her. WHOA. Nasty. Yet something I’ve always wondered about, and something we’ve already heard wondered aloud on The Walking Dead. Well, things get very tense, but for now everything remains on edge.
On the shore, Nick is leading the new addition to their group. He’s known Strand since Strand met Abigail. Speaking of which, we flash back to them both sitting together by a pool, everything working well and the money clearing flowing. Tom talks about the rest of the world feeling as if it wastes away. And then, we see them hold hands, as if against the world. Are they more than business associates? They seem like lovers.
Back at the boat, more of the hostage taking crowd has arrived. They take Travis and Alicia, black hoods and all, leaving the rest in fear. Still, Daniel tries to free his hands. So many things are happening at once, as Madison and the others angle, Nick heads back towards the boat, Strand floats in the waves. Then once Nick and his new buddy Luis get closer, this provides enough distraction. The survivors fight back and everything is settled for now.

 


As the finale of the episode comes around, we see Strand and Tom kiss back before everything happened and the world collapsed. Then we cut over to Strand, floating in the sea. Just his luck, Madison comes to find him. At the end of a tumultuous hour, the crew is all right. They can move forward from here.
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Next episode is titled “Captive” and promises to get even more exciting after this week’s excellent chapter. Stay tuned with me, fellow fans.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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