Slasher – Season 2, Episode 8: “The Past is Never Dead”

Netflix’s Slasher
Season 2, Episode 8: “The Past is Never Dead”
Directed by Felipe Rodriguez
Written by Aaron Martin

* For a recap & review of the penultimate Season 2 episode, “Dawn of the Dead” – click here
Screen Shot 2017-10-18 at 10.40.55 PMFive years ago. Dawn (Paula Brancati), Peter (Lovell Adams-Gray) and the rest of the friends are carefully enacting their calculated plan to get revenge on Talvinder (Melinda Shankar). The poor soon-to-be dead girl is none the wiser, either. The rest of them with their cold, evil faces lying just beneath the exterior. They take her out to that spot in the woods with the lit torches. They’ve got her “on trial.”
She’s made to stand in the middle of a circle. They all call her out, starting with Andi (Rebecca Liddiard). Conveniently, Andi doesn’t blame Peter, which Tal uses against her. Susan (Kaitlyn Leeb) calls her “nothing.” Eventually Dawn has her say, feeling utterly betrayed; she’s the one who really has the most genuine reason. Peter doesn’t bash her, instead apologising to his girlfriend for what he’s done.
Cut to a little later, when Noah (Jim Watson) almost rapes her on the truck. Then she’s rushing off into the woods, the others worried for her. But Tal won’t turn back. She winds up tripping and smashing her head. They find her in a ditch. She seems dead, so they all react with horror. They drag her off, she’s still alive. Andi smashes her head, she still won’t die.
And Dawn takes the rock, smashing her once more. Noah takes his turn, as well. Laying the killing blow, it seems.
Screen Shot 2017-10-18 at 10.45.18 PMWren (Sebastian Pigott) is heading back to the cabin, after killing Mark, and Judith (Leslie Hope) is pleading with him not to do anything else terrible. He’s bent on revenge. They let him take the fall for Talvinder’s disappearance. All she asks is that Keira is left alive. Other than that she tells him: “Theyre all yours.”
Back at the cabins, Judith reels off a lie about Mark, that he was going to kill her. And she says she shot him. Taking the blame. Lulling Dawn in. Except the young woman doesn’t believe it, she knows it’s lies. Everybody’s too paranoid now, anyway. So many things happening right below the surface.
Five years ago. The friends are reeling in the aftermath of what they’ve done, people are asking where Tal has gone. They’re trying to figure out the next course of action. Their lives changed for the worse, and they had to either deal or go to prison for the rest of their lives.
Present day, the gang at the retreat hear a snowmobile. A woman named Janice arrives looking for her boyfriend, Gene. A bit late, y’know. He’s in pieces out in the shed. She thinks We Live As One are a “cult,” but Peter tries explaining, asking for help. Janice has room for one on her machine; Judith tries desperately to send Keira, only Keira won’t have it, wanting it to be Dawn, so she might get medical attention.
But Wren, he’s intent on killing more. He wants Judith to help and she won’t, he starts getting worse. He’s a sad, lonely, murderous man. He says she’ll “die alone” and she grabs him, throwing him at the mirror. Except nobody’s there. Just her. Ohhhh, man. That’s creepy. Soon, Peter and Keira find her, bloodied, unconscious. They put her to bed, then decide they’ve got to find Mark’s corpse, confirm he’s dead. Peter heads out while she stays to look after Judith.
Screen Shot 2017-10-18 at 11.03.04 PMJudith has worse problems. She continually hears Wren in her head, commanding her: “Kill them!” She speaks to herself as herself, and also as him. We jump back five years. Wren a.k.a Owen leaves his cabin at Camp Motega, and in slips Dawn to drop a piece of Tal’s jewellery into his things. A frame job. That’s nasty.
Present day, Peter comes across Mark’s dead body. Nearby he sees the footprints, he tries re-imagining the crime. He knows something’s not right. Elsewhere, Dawn and Janice try getting out of the forest, but they stop a moment across the way from the parka killer, who fires on both women, bleeding Janice out. Dawn makes it away, though she’s soon shot in the river. Who’s behind the mask? Judith.
At the cabin, Peter finds Keira unconscious, propane filling the house. Then he sees a bunch of letters in Judith’s room. They’re from Wren, in jail. To his mother, Judith. WHOOOOOOOOA. That’s a seriously twisted relationship, on more than just one level, too.
Peter does the only thing he can, carrying Keira through the woods. Only to run into Judith. She says one lives, the other dies. A tough choice. We’re finally seeing the full extent of things now after a flashback, why the noose was in that shrine Peter found – Judith has hallucinated Owen, the entire time. He hanged himself in jail.
Screen Shot 2017-10-18 at 11.07.35 PMScreen Shot 2017-10-18 at 11.13.10 PMScreen Shot 2017-10-18 at 11.15.34 PMWhat will Peter choose? Life? Death? He puts the noose around his neck and steps from the ledge over the shrine, hanging himself as Judith watches, flashing to images of her son slowly dying. But another surprise, as well – up the river, Dawn is still alive, on shore, and two hunters find her there bleeding profusely.
When Keira wakes up she sees Peter hanging. She also finds a letter Peter wrote to Talvinder’s parents, confessing to the crime, trying to give them closure. Admitting that Owen was innocent, they laid the crime on him.
Its time my friends and I paid for what we did
Skip ahead a bit. Keira is safe, back home. She meets with Dawn, who’s preparing to turn herself in to the police, to atone for her terrible sins. From a distance, Judith watches them, still followed by the haunting ghost of her son. Neither of them have forgotten Dawn, they’ll wait until she’s free. Then, well… you know.
Screen Shot 2017-10-18 at 11.29.51 PMFantastic season! God damn. I wish I didn’t fly through it, but such is the age of Netflix. Plus, it was even better than Season 1, which I was big time digging right from the get go. Honestly this season had even better writing. Not to mention the twists were even bigger, wilder. And the gore went up a big notch, from an already grim first season.
Truly hope Netflix will do another season. At least one more. C’mon! Please?!

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The Mist – Season 1, Episode 10: “The Tenth Meal”

Spike’s The Mist
Season 1, Episode 10: “The Tenth Meal”
Directed by Guy Ferland
Written by Christian Torpe

* For a recap & review of the penultimate episode, “The Waking Dream” – click here
Pic 1Stuck in a room together in the mall, Jay (Luke Cosgrove), Adrian (Russell Posner), Alex (Gus Birney), and Eve (Alyssa Sutherland) deal with the aftermath of believing Kevin (Morgan Spector) is dead. When Jay comforts Alex, Adrian whacks him with a paint can. Lying again, saying he and Kevin heard about the rape kit at the hospital confirming Jay was the rapist. Man, this kid is a psycho.
Elsewhere, on their way, Connor (Darren Pettie) and Nathalie (Frances Conroy) become closer, confiding in another. Sharing their secrets. Then they get to the mall, where Gus (Isiah Whitlock Jr.) and everyone else are elated to see the cop, though he has no answers. Plus, he’s gone in by himself without his messiah, to check it all out. Things are getting bad, too. The rations are just about gone, at least the ones everyone else knows about. Either way, all Connor cares about is his boy.
In the shadows Kevin surveys the situation. He sneaks through the dark hallways looking for his family when he runs into Mia (Danica Curcic), who’s naturally surprised to see him alive. She also fills him in, slightly, about Jonah (Okezie Morro), though she isn’t sure where he’s gone.
Speaking of, Jonah’s tied up at the hands of Wes (Greg Hovanessian). He’s figuring things out, that he’s the superior officer. There’s more to it, but at least he’s getting out of that chair.
Pic 1AConnor goes to his son, seeing Eve and the others with him. He takes Jay away, not worried about them. That’s when Gus and a few others come for the Copelands. At the same time, Connor brings his boy to Nathalie. She laments that “nature can be so cruel” while looking at him. Jesus, this is feeling creepier by the moment. Afterwards they force Jay out into the mist, believing – without proof – in his supposed horrible crime. While we know different.
We can only wonder if he’ll die out there, or if the mist will spare him as it did Alex. What’s scariest is the righteousness of Nathalie, as well as how deeply, how strong Connor believes in her. They’re both extremely ill spiritually. It’s only gonna get worse.
Things get even wilder inside, when the outer group go completely mad. The security guard winds up putting a bullet in one of the women when she protests: “We are not your prisoners!” Now, the game’s really fucking changed. And at the very same moment, Kevin runs across Adrian in the paint section of one of the stores. The kid tries running off, but dad beats him to the punch. Literally. He kicks the shit out of him rather than listen to anything he’s got to say, until Adrian blurts out that he knows where his wife and daughter are being kept.
So many things going on, like a hurricane. Jonah’s continuing to find things out about himself, slowly. Suddenly, Mia shows up interrupting his and Wes’ conversation. Who exactly IS Jonah? Regardless, he’s leaving Mia and his other friends. He wants to go with Wes, to figure out his true identity.
Screen Shot 2017-08-25 at 9.42.57 PMEve pleads for her daughter not to be thrown from the mall. When she tells Connor he MUST help, she then reveals the truth: he is the father of Alex, the reason why she’d been so adamant her daughter couldn’t be with Jay in the first place. WHOA! I suspected, for a moment. Just never thought it’d be true. Except the cop denies it, he didn’t know. So everyone calls her “sick” and a “whore” and then they’re taken to be thrown to the mist.
Kevin: “I wanna see you suffer. I want you to learn that therell be no salvation.”
Once Kevin lets go of Adrian a second, the kid lights a fire to get himself away. Now there’s a big raging inferno about to set the whole mall ablaze. As Kevin and Mia run for the entrance they find Eve and Alex, the rest of the people like an angry mob chasing away Frankenstein’s monster. Instead of let people walk all over them Kevin starts throwing fists before Gus pulls a gun on them. Everybody gets real personal, Gus taunting Kevin about his family’s secrets, others shouting “bastards” at them. Disgusting to see human beings act this way. Yet unsurprising, to say the least.
The Copelands and Mia are ran off, so they do some real running. Only once they get into the mist things become terrifying. Alex is wrapped up in a fog-like tentacle, it grips her tight, working into her mouth and filling her. Out of nowhere, who pulls her free? Jay. Then they all pile into the vehicle, safe for now. Well, except for Jay… the mist takes him instead, filling him until there’s no life left… only mist.
Meanwhile, Jonah and Wes are heading for Camp Arrowhead. To get answers. Or, is it all that easy? They’re going to see a doctor there. I’m curious as to whether Wes might lie to him, solely to get him back there. Maybe our man’s true identity is something more complex.
Pic 3People at the mall are surprised to hear Nathalie speak of being “natures messenger” and that the Black Spring is upon their town again. She goes on and on, as everybody listens, stupefied. Between her and the Chief Heisel, no telling what the law and religion can do together.
What’s better than that? The angry of a father. Kevin decides on busting open the mall entrance with their vehicle before leaving. They’ve got a nice sturdy military vehicle, as well. It does the trick. When they get stuck, Connor helps them get loose. He doesn’t stay, either. Alex calls him away, and he leaves with her. No more are the law and religion together. I never saw that coming, honestly.
As Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day” plays, Nathalie basks in the mist as it seeps through the mall. Others flee from it, or try, screaming. Most, if not all of them die. And Nathalie, she sees her husband, their dead baby, which she proceeds to breastfeed. One of the WILDEST, CREEPIEST montages I’ve seen in ages. Moments later Nathalie turns into a skeletal corpse herself and dies. Nobody’s safe.
Away from the mall flee the Copelands, Connor, Vic (Erik Knudsen), and Mia together. Into uncertainty, but together. On another road, Wes and Jonah go for the military base, not realising Adrian’s lying in the trunk. Everyone gone their separate ways.
Along the road Kevin an the others see a train on the tracks nearby. They rush for the station, hoping it’ll stop. It does. Unfortunately it’s no help. People in prison jumpsuits are tossed out, military men with assault rifles in the train cars.
What exactly is happening? Kevin knows: “Theyre feeding it.”
Pic 4Pic 4AOne of the best season finales of any show I’ve seen in the past couple years. Just powerful! Ran the gamut, from fear to black humour to devastating emotion, and all of it in between. I really hope there’s a Season 2, if not it’ll be a huge loss. Great horror television. Does Stephen King proud.

Top of the Lake – China Girl: Season Finale

BBC Two’s Top of the Lake
China Girl: Episode 6
Directed by Ariel Kleiman
Written by Jane Campion & Gerard Lee

* For a recap & review of Episode 5, click here.
Pic 1Robin (Elisabeth Moss) and Pyke (Ewen Leslie) have gotten much, much closer. Very intimate. Then Dt. Sgt. Griffin gets a call from Mary’s (Alice Englert) cell. Nobody says anything, voices yelling in the background. This freaks the parents out, not to mention they’ve been drinking so it’s not easy to think. Then Constable Miranda Hilmarson (Gwendoline Christie) calls to tell her about the shooting at Silk 41. It’s all a bit much. They head out as quick as possible to the scene. No information’s available readily. One thing’s for sure: Mary is alive at least.
But the situation’s dire. Brett (Lincoln Vickery) has gone off his fucking rocker. No wonder he kept telling people to watch the news. At Silk 41, Miranda and Robin check the place out. Dang (Ling Cooper Tang) tells the police what happened, or at least bits and pieces. Cops are crawling all over, looking for evidence. Puss (David Dencik) is nowhere to be found, though there’s footage showing him leaving, without Mary like a coward. The footage also shows Dang’s partner shot. Except his body’s missing. They passed it on their way to the brothel, moved to a bench on the street after the fact. Now the hunt for Brett and his hostage begins.
Pic 1AMother Robin is worried. And still quite drunk. Her medical examiner friend poetically helps to give her hope, that Mary will be okay: “As youre my Queen, I am your servant, I tell you, she is not going to die.” Just a touch of hope.
Pyke goes to see Julia (Nicole Kidman) to tell her about the hostage situation. The parents are distraught, each worried for their girl and what could happen next. This springs them into action. Although there’s not much they’re able to do, it’s up to the police at this point. There’s also bit of information Julia doesn’t know, either. She hasn’t discovered the full extent of what Puss has been doing to Mary, pimping her out, shocked to hear the words “sex worker” linked to her daughter on the news.
The police are still trying to track down the room connected to the brothel, the one on the security camera where the Thai girls are being kept. Meanwhile, Julia and Pyke plead to the girls at school that may have information, anything useful at all. One of them tells the parents about Stasi Cafe, a place they used to go, where she met Puss.
The cops head to the beach where they suspect Brett might have gone, possibly hiding in plain sight. Robin and Miranda go out in plain clothes while Adrian (Clayton Jacobson) and the others wait in a surveillance vehicle. So many people on the beach in Sydney, it’s like a fleshy needle in the haystack. They find a case of beer from a photo of the beach spotted. Underneath is Brett, buried in sand. Before Miranda draws her weapon properly, he shoots her. Then Robin puts a gun to his head, demanding to know where he’s hidden her daughter.
Pic 2
Mary wakes up. She’s in her basement. She goes upstairs to the surprise of Julia, saying she isn’t able to stay long. Won’t let her mom call the police, either. Won’t talk. I worry for them, their relationship. No telling what Mary’s going to do from one minute to the next.
Either way – off she goes on her own again. And she took her passport.
At the hospital, Robin goes in to see Miranda, lying in bed unable to speak or do anything, unable to breathe on her own. Such a tragic way for this to have gone. Our detective sergeant blames herself, taking it all on her shoulders. However, she told Constable Hilmarson to draw her gun, Miranda didn’t listen, she hesitated. It’s a tough thing to accept, but true.
In the back of Stasi Cafe, Robin finds Puss hiding out. She slices him across the chest with a knife for pimping her daughter. Then he goes on a rant about Cinnamon, saying he did nothing, that his partners were the ones who put her in the suitcase. Things change with his faux masculinity, chauvinist bullshit when Robin puts a gun to his head. She sets him straight about a few things, like the fact Mary isn’t in love with Puss, she’s afraid. And the look on the man’s face afterwards is worth a million dollars; his ego shattered like fragile glass.
Pic 3They’ve tracked down the surrogate apartment, stashed away in some building. Inside is left a DVD marked PLAY ME. Simultaneously at the airport, Mary and the Thai girls with their big bellies are heading elsewhere, away from Sydney, away from the brothel. Not away from Puss, though. He’s pulled another greasy trick again, corralling all the girls toward the plane like he’s walking dogs, the misogynistic garbage that he is; nor does he offer Mary any apologies for how he treated her during the shooting. He slaps her across the face, prompting her to anger. She decides not to follow them, staying behind.
The DVD shows Puss talking about “vaginas” and “the West” exploiting Asian women. Exactly what he does. He talks like a cult leader in his thick German accent. This is why he shot the little movie, to put on a little show and tell the surrogate parents he’s flown away to Thailand, to a small village. Sadly the law is not on the side of the parents. The law says so, and the police’s hands are tied.
One good thing? Pyke and Julia have picked Mary up from the airport. She’s safe and sound, though you can still see Robin feels for the Thai girls swept away by that hideous, misogynist pimp under the guise of being their saviour. Sad, in many ways, not least of which is the fact those women, those girls, they believe in Puss.
Robin goes to see Mary. She also makes a bit of peace with Julia, if not tenuous. She also sees more of the fragility of relationships, how they’re messy; Pyke and Julia continue floating around one another despite all their troubles. No room for her, apparently. But the relationship that matters is the one involving her daughter. She takes pride in watching an old birthday of Mary as a little girl, seeing her grow up via video, better late than never. So all else pales in comparison when Robin’s discovered a ray of sunshine in the gloom of the world.
Plus a knock comes on the door for her as she sits alone in the evening. Is it Pyke? Is it Mary? Who knows.
Pic 4God, I love this series! I’d love to see another run, honestly. Maybe they could do another if Campion and Lee figure out a way to tell a last chapter in Robin Griffin’s story. We’ll see if there’s interest. Personally, I would dig it. Wouldn’t mind seeing her try tracking Puss down in Thailand or wherever they’re actually going.
For now, we have two fascinating seasons. This one went darker, more devious than the first, as well as extended that bit of Al Parker that came out in the final episode of Season 1 and put a cap on that plot very well. Cracking stuff.

The Walking Dead – Season 4, Episode 16: “A”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 4, Episode 16: “A”
Directed by Michelle MacLaren
Written by Scott M. Gimple & Angela Kang

* For a recap & review of the penultimate Season 4 episode, “Us” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 5 premiere, “No Sanctuary” – click here
IMG_0212Flashback to the prison, when Hershel (Scott Wilson) was still alive. Glenn (Steven Yeun), Maggie (Lauren Cohan), Rick (Andrew Lincoln) return from a run out on the road. This is where we see a softer, more gentle Rick, as he was when trying to live the live of a farmer, moving away from all the violence. At least as far as possible.
Flash-forward to Rick after some brutal moment, his face and hands stained in blood. All by himself on a road, sitting against a vehicle. What’s happened to him? This opener is a juxtaposition of Rick in a safe place, to Rick on the road, unsure, unsafe, not knowing what’s coming next.
IMG_0214Flash just a little back from the current moment. Rick, Michonne (Danai Gurira), and Carl (Chandler Riggs) are at their latest camp. They go out hunting, looking for something to fill their empty stomachs. Still on the way to Terminus.
Suddenly they hear screams in the forest. Without thinking, Carl rushes toward them. It’s a man in the middle of a pack of walkers. Rick stops his boy from shooting, they can’t save him. The man’s eaten alive, though not before a couple of the walkers notice the trio nearby. They rush away, finding nothing but walkers. After they kill them, they’re further on down the road. Where they come across that truck against which Rick sits in the opening.
IMG_0215 That night they camp on the road, using the truck to sleep. Rick and Michonne sit by a fire, talking together, planning on the last leg of their journey. Then come noises in the dark. Soon, men are upon them – The Claimers, Joe (Jeff Kober) leading them. Now the trio are in a terrifying place, at the end of guns belonging to men looking for revenge against Rick, for their dead friend. When Daryl turns up with them, Rick’s surprised. Of course he doesn’t want his old friends hurt; he offers himself up to them for “blood.”
But the Claimers don’t care. They beat the shit out of Daryl, planning ugly things for both Carl and Michonne while forcing Rick to watch. However, our trusty sheriff will not let this violence pass. When pushed to the limit, he bites out Jeff’s throat – raw, primal, vicious. Blood everywhere. Our survivors turn the tables fast, killing the rest. Except for the man who was about to rape Carl, for whom a special stabbing is in order. The son watches as his father guts and slices the guy to sloppy pieces right there.
THIS IS THE EVOLUTION OF RICK GRIMES! He realises that being a farmer can never be his identity, no matter how safe the world can feel. He must retain all sides of himself, particularly that brutality. In order to survive in a world full of primitive cavemen.
IMG_0217Flashback to Hershel, taking Rick out to the yard. He’s showing them where they’ll build a farm, raising pigs and farming the land, planting seeds, growing crops. This is when Rick decided on giving up his gun, for so long. Before now, realising that – unfortunately – the war isn’t over, not like then with Hershel. The time of the old man is over, which is sad. But it is, and it’s a lesson Rick nearly learned at the price of his boy’s life.
Current day, we’re back to the opener. Rick sitting by the truck, stained in blood; inside Carl sleeps after all the terror, Michonne soothing him. Daryl explains to Rick what happened on the road, losing Beth (Emily Kinney) to a kidnapping, falling in with the Claimers, et cetera. “I didnt know what they were,” he tells Rick.
The gang keep heading for Terminus, though they cut through the forest instead of going straight on. To get themselves a sneaky look into the place, unsure of what they’ll find. Alone together, Michonne tells Carl about her little boy died; her boyfriend Mike and his friend Terry got high as the refugee camp fell, getting bitten, so she let them turn and turned them into dogs on leashes: “It was insane. It was sick. It felt like what I deserved, dragginthem around so Id always know.” She credits Andrea, Rick, and Carl for each bringing her back from becoming a monster.
Heading into Terminus, Rick buries guns. Just in case. They go forward and their initial impression isn’t totally warm. They surprise the locals by walking on into the main building, meeting a man named Gareth (Andrew J. West) and another named Alex (Tate Ellington). They welcomes them, they introduce themselves. But then trust is the issue. They want to see the group’s guns. Things go well, no weapons are taken only inspected.
When they’re shown the rest of the place, Rick notices items which seem familiar – a poncho, riot gear, a watch like that belonging to Hershel and after that Glenn, among other belongings. Rick pulls his gun, not wanting his group to eat any of the food or do anything until they’ve figured the place out wholly.
IMG_0219Flash to the prison once more. Rick sees the difference between Carl and the other kids; he cleans and takes apart a gun while another plays with Lego. This is where he tried to show Carl how to be another way, to farm, to live a less violent life. Leaving their guns while they garden.
A great cut goes right to Carl, holding his gun trained on the people of Terminus, following his dad’s lead. Rick demands to know about the watch, the riot gear, so on. Eventually, a gunfight erupts, but they’re outnumbered and definitely outgunned. Coming to a point where they negotiate for their lives, which puts them in a railway car in the Terminus lot. A defeat.
But inside the car they find more familiarity – Glenn and the rest of the survivors and Abraham’s people. Back in the one place, everybody in solidarity. No longer a defeat, a strength that will build to the next season.
Rick: “Theyre gonna feel pretty stupid when they find out
Abraham
: “Find out what?”
Rick
: “Theyre fuckin with the wrong people
IMG_0220Season 4 is one of my favourites, because we move out into wider territory, as well as see that evolution in Rick from where he’s been to the person he realises he must be/become to survive the post-apocalypse landscape. That last line by Rick, unedited on the home release Blu ray/DVD, is perfect. Genuinely awesome writing, a pumped up way to close out the season.
Season 5 is great, too. Lots of intensity, character development, and more ahead.

The Walking Dead – Season 3, Episode 16: “Welcome to the Tombs”

AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 3, Episode 16: “Welcome to the Tombs”
Directed by Ernest R. Dickerson
Written by Glen Mazzara

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “This Sorrowful Life” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 4 premiere, “30 Days Without An Accident” – click here
IMG_0115The Governor (David Morrissey) is having his twisted fun. He’s got Milton (Dallas Roberts) at his mercy, beating him for burning up the walkers. And he has more than that planned. Much more. While he’s got Milton there, he admits to his love of war, of conflict. Like a thirst.
Then he brings his captive in to see where Andrea (Laurie Holden) is tied. He tells them both how he’s essentially lied to the people of Woodbury, to prime them for war with Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and his people. Before they leave, the Governor wants Milton to kill Andrea. When Milton tries to kill him instead he’s the one who’s stabbed to death.
And then he’s left to do the deed, once he dies and comes back to life again. To feed on her.
The Governor: “In this life now, you kill or you die. Or you die and you kill.”
IMG_0116At the prison, everyone is busy. Carl (Chandler Riggs) isn’t overly impressed with his dad, and they all notice. Although Rick just hopes he’ll forget; not so easy. At the same time he’s still seeing Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) as a vision. Daryl (Norman Reedus) can at least rest well knowing that his brother Merle tried to do right for once in his life. Generally, there’s an air of unease but a glimmer of hope amongst the group.
Michonne (Danai Gurira) forgives Rick for thinking about taking the deal, she understands the complexities of life in this new world. She also knows he didn’t ultimately make the choice, Merle did before his change of heart. Now, she thanks Rick for taking her in that while back. He confesses it was Carl who made that call.
Meanwhile in Woodbury, the Governor amps everybody up to go to the prison. To end the war between their camps. Before heading out, Tyreese (Chad Coleman) and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) make clear they won’t go. They’ll protect the kids until everyone’s home, that’s it; if they’re not need afterwards, they’ll leave. He accepts with a grim thank you, handing over a weapon. That could’ve went either way. He’s on a fucking warpath.
Thus begins the assault. Caesar (Jose Pablo Cantillo) and the other men open fire with the Governor, blasting away the walkers on the perimeter of the prison before heading in further on foot. Except all is quiet, nobody moving anywhere visible. They open up the gate and get themselves inside. They find not a soul, just empty cell blocks. The Govern finds nothing but a Bible. John 5:29 is highlighted, by Hershel (Scott Wilson). Minds games, son. Psychological warfare!
IMG_0118Back at Woodbury, Milton is dying. He dropped a tool for Andrea, though she’s still tied. She tries to get a pair of pliers nearby, dragging it with her foot. Trying to keep his morale up. But he only wants her to stab him in the brain: “Keep trying,” he cheers her on weakly while losing more blood by the second. He fades away, as she tells him of her regrets, having not killed that piece of shit Governor when she had the chance.
In the prison, the Governor leads his men into the tombs below. Ohhhh, god damn. Are they headed for what I think they are? All hell breaks loose. An alarm goes off, gunfire erupts. When people escape, Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) – clad in riot gear – open fire on them, driving people out. Trucks take off, and soon the Governor runs, too. Tail between their legs. For the time being, anyways.
Out in the woods, Carl and Hershel come across a young man with a gun. He goes to put it down, and Carl puts a bullet in him. To the utter shock of the old man. Everyone regroups inside. Hershel expresses his worry that Carl “gunned that kid down” and it’s not something Rick wants to hear; but he needs to hear it.
On the road the Governor pulls his people over for fleeing. Then he does his own gunning, slaughtering all of those opposing him. This terrifies his own men, Caesar and the others. But when one dissents, he kills him, as well. Putting an end to any further rebellion. He’s gone full dictator, murdering anyone in his way. Only a single woman manages to escape his bullet, lying underneath another corpse.
IMG_0119Rick asks Carl about what actually happened in the woods. The boy thinks he had to do what he did, or else something else worse would happen. He’s disappointed, ultimately, in his father not doing what HE should have done, several times before. This time, Rick heads out with Daryl and Michonne. On the road they find the woman who escaped the Governor, alive and hiding in a truck. A-ha! I wondered how she’d come back into the action.
Time’s running out for Andrea, with Milton expired on the floor in front of her.
Fuck. She’s in a heap of trouble. He’s come back from the dead and is lurching towards her in that chair. She gets free as he opens his mouth to take a bite. But we don’t immediately see the result. EVEN CREEPIER!
Moving on Woodbury, Rick, Daryl, and Michonne encounter gunfire from Tyreese and Sasha. The woman, Karen, explains to them what the Governor’s done, so on. The two groups reunite, now with Rick in a better frame of mind than the last time. Rick likewise reveals Andrea never made it back to the prison, that she may still be held captive there somewhere.
And inside, they find her. Bitten, on the way to turning eventually. She asks to do it on her own, put herself out of the misery that’s coming. No matter if it’s tough for Rick, Michonne, and Rick to deal with the request. Michonne refuses to leave, wanting to be there while she goes. So Rick hands over a gun to mercifully let her commit suicide.
Andrea: “I tried
Rick: “You did
IMG_0122Another one of the more intense finishers of any episode in this series. I hated seeing Andrea go, and the way it was filmed, written, presented, it’s a quality chapter. Right up to that final gunshot. This season was a killer, in so many ways. As we head into Season 4, there’s hope. Yet it isn’t shining, glimmering hope as there’s been in the past. There’s a lot of darkness ahead for Rick and the group at the prison. One of those dark spots is which way Carl will head: will he become a force of good, or will he let this world taint him?
Their time at the prison is going to come to an end, one of these days soon. For now the group are back with more people, the good ones from Woodbury, adding to the population. And for the first time in so long, Rick isn’t seeing ghosts.

Legion – Chapter 8

FX’s Legion
Chapter 8
Directed by Michael Uppendahl
Written by Noah Hawley

* For a recap & review of the penultimate Chapter, click here.
Pic 1Now that the Interrogator (Hamish Linklater) has returned, we see flashbacks to his encounter with David (Dan Stevens), his injury and subsequent recovery. At his bedside waits Daniel (Keir O’Donnell); it appears they’re partners, as well as having an adopted child together. The poor guy rests in bed, recovering, and he’s left with burns all over his body. “Theres my handsome guy,” Daniel says reassuringly, yet we’re juxtaposed with the mangled scar tissue on his partner’s face as a jarring visual. He has a Jack Nicholson’s Joker moment – except much more subdued – asking for a mirror, seeing his new face for the first time, too. Thus begins a long period of rest, trying to get better. When he gets back to work he says fuck desk duty. He’s “going to war” and finishing what was started that day at the pool.
Need to note that the visuals of the series are gorgeous and well conceived. On top of that, Jeff Russo’s score is haunting, it’s a huge part of the show’s atmosphere. Russo has done good work before, I’d vote that this is his best yet. Accompanies the psychedelic, surreal feel of Legion in such an appropriate way. The music has such an ’80s feeling at times that it’s wonderfully throwback.
Now the Interrogator and his SWAT members have David, Ptonomy (Jeremie Harris), Syd (Rachel Keller), all of them at gunpoint. Ready to die. Except David disagrees, using his powers to make a human totem of the SWAT team. Instead of letting Ptonomy shoot the Interrogator, David takes the time to build bridges instead of burn them. Problem is, Daniel and everyone back at D3 are watching through the eye of the Interrogator.
Pic 1AAnd worse, David worries that schizophrenia still grips him. That everything happening is an elaborate dream. Syd tries convincing him either he accepts his powers are real, or else they’ll never get out of the trouble they’re in.
David: “Im so sick of myself. This only works if its not about me.”
At Summerland, Dr. Melanie Bird (Jean Smart) tries to wrangle everyone together, as Cary (Bill Irwin) keeps an eye on David’s halo. She wants to find out more about D3 with the Interrogator in their keep. The halo, however, is losing juice. They’ve got to figure out what to do; about the Shadow King, Farouk, that Devil with the Yellow Eyes. And fucking Lenny (Aubrey Plaza), still talking. Always talking. Then there’s Cary and Kerry (Amber Midthunder), fighting over what happened between them on the astral plane, and she is pissed. A lot of tension happening.
Melanie’s also distraught over the situation with Oliver (Jemaine Clement), who still can’t remember her. They agree to have dinner together, she hopes he’ll soon remember. Sad to watch her essentially left behind by him, albeit not intentional. Either way, she has the Interrogator – he says his name’s Clark – with whom she must deal. He mostly has threats for her. Doesn’t faze Dr. Bird: “You better learn to fly like a bird because the age of the dinosaur is over.”


So Clark’s sat down with David, who seems more in control than ever. Which is less comforting, more scary than I expected. “You dont have to be afraid,” he tells Clark, over and over and over. Then things start getting strange. Syd finds herself in more of the dream world, faced with a creepy, decaying Lenny, appearing to her as the Devil with the Yellow Eyes, its true form. She has to face the evil down, and she does – explaining how they’re cutting it out, like doctors do with a tumour; cut it out, burn it. Only Lenny says she’s a part of David now. To get her out, David must go, as well.
Clark: “Youre gods, and someday youre gonna wake up and realise you dont need to listen to us anymore.”
David: “Isnt that the history of the world? People of different nations, different languages learning to live together?”
Poor David goes weak. Syd explains to Clark about the parasite, what it is and how they plan on ridding David of it. I wonder, will this guy succumb and help? Regardless of that, all the while D3 is listening holding the Peacemaker at bay, for the time being.
With Clark back in holding with Kerry, the others go to work on David – Oliver, specifically. He and Cary detect a second set of brain waves within their subject’s head. Hopefully they can fix it while leaving David’s mind intact. As Pink Floyd and Tom Stoppard plays, they work away, and David flashes back through memories in his past, Lenny struggling harder and harder inside to get out.
David’s lost in a sea of memory, right back to being an infant. And the Devil with the Yellow Eyes lurks right behind. He confronts it, calling Lenny out from within. He wonders of his identity, without Lenny. Who and what he is without that part of him. “Are you my phantom?” he asks. “What happens to me when you’re gone?” Like a child, first dealing with the prospect of life without their imaginary friend. Then the parasite chokes David, trying to kill him. Can he survive without Farouk? Must he die?


Doing the unthinkable, Syd tries saving David by kissing him on the lips. Transferring the parasite into herself. Oh, shit. Off come the gloves, both figuratively and literally. Going from Syd to Kerry, the Devil with the Yellow Eyes uses her ass kicking skills to start a lot of trouble. Even Clark tries to stop it before getting tossed aside like trash.
Then we have a face off between Kerry possessed and David, healthy, powerful again. They fly at one another with full speed and power, blowing each other back. And Oliver, he winds up in the way of things. While the Summerland facility is in chaos, he walks out and drives off on his own. Right after he’d just remembered his wife, too. A sad, unexpected consequence of David’s battle with Farouk.


On the road, Oliver rides with Lenny shotgun. Another powerful mind latched onto by the nasty parasite. What’s going to happen next? Who knows. One thing’s for sure, Season 2 is going to be wild, in all sorts of ways. Also a great inclusion of “Children of the Revolution” by T Rex in the last scene. Beauty way to close out an awesome season!
An after credits scene sees David tracking Lenny and Oliver, knowing they’re headed south. They’re also visited by a strange orb. It scans David, then sucks him inside. Carrying him off elsewhere. WHOOOA!
Pic 4Pic 4ACannot wait for next year. This was one of the best series to have premiered in years, honestly. Lots of good stuff out there, but Noah Hawley is on another level. Between this and Fargo? One of TV’s auteurs, for certain.

Quarry – Season 1, Episode 8: “nước chảy đá mòn”

Cinemax’s Quarry
Season 1, Episode 8: “nước chảy đá mòn”
Directed by Greg Yaitanes
Written by Graham Gordy & Michael D. Fuller

* For a review of the penultimate episode, “Carnival of Souls” – click here
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From what I can tell, the English translation of the Vietnamese title for this episode means “flowing water wears away stone” roughly. An interesting thing to think about in terms of all the water imagery, Mac Conway’s (Logan Marshall-Green) love of swimming, and so on.
We start ten months before the current season’s timeline. The choppers fly overhead of the Vietnamese jungle. Troops are at base camp, relaxed for the moment. Mac and Arthur (Jamie Hector) get a few orders from their platoon captain. Mac watches the river carefully as a boat floats by; always suspicious, never off his guard.
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But in his present predicament Mac’s definitely off guard. Detective Tommy Olsen (Josh Randall) has him dead to rights, hoping to get more out of ole Quarry about Cliff’s death. That’s not long for this world; neither the conversation, nor Tommy. He gets his face shot off horrifically, as the carnival grounds around them come alive and bullets ring into the night. It’s Credence Mason (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson), of course. He gets his, too. Then Buddy (Damon Herriman) and Mac are left in a gunfight with some of Mason’s Dixie crew. They’re a pretty handy pair, though.
They make it back in one piece, appeasing The Broker (Peter Mullan), as well as leaving Karl (Edoardo Ballerini) with a new game of Pong to play. Things are looking pretty good for The Broker now, poised to take over the local scene. Only problem is that now Mac has walked himself into something far bigger than just killing bad dudes for money. Again, that’s the call of the wild animal in him, unleashed by the United States Army overseas.
Mac’s dad Lloyd (Skip Sudduth) has him and Joni (Jodi Balfour) over to his place. Seems Lloyd got a cash offer for the house. A small family wants to buy the place, especially excited over the pool. Out of the blue, Joni doesn’t want to sell. Not after her husband put the pool in himself, they made a home for themselves. Things don’t get any better when Lloyd’s wife drops two dirty words on Mac: “war criminal.” She thinks Mac and Joni only want money from them. A truly insulting moment. Moreover, people always assume they know exactly what happened, all because of how the media tells them and frames it for the people back home. They don’t consider how it really was for soldiers, they don’t take in all the factors. In a dirty war like Vietnam that was particularly true.
At least now Mac has the money, paid off by his stepmother to never come back, and he can pay The Broker off. Or is it that simple now? Oh, I don’t know about that. In the meantime, we flashback to Vietnam those ten months ago. Mac, Arthur, and the rest of their platoon wade through water to a spot further inland. They’re headed for Quan Thang, which we already understand is where the massacre went down, the one in which Mac and Arthur were heavily implicated to have done terrible things. Supposedly.

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Poor Mac, he’s trying to find himself a job that doesn’t involve killing anybody, or guns in any way. He applies for a job selling pools. Luckily, the guy interviewing him doesn’t really pay attention to the news. I wonder how long it’ll last before discovering who Mac is, or at least who the media implies. He’s got the job, but I can’t help feeling there’s a gut punch coming down the line.
Ruth (Nikki Amuka-Bird) has Moses (Mustafa Shakir) over for dinner. Although she still doesn’t know that’s his name. And she also doesn’t realise why he’s there in the first place. He starts sniffing around after Marcus has been fixing the TV, buying things, suspicious little clues that Moses definitely suspects has to do with Arthur’s missing cash.
When Joni and Mac go out to celebrate the new job, the former soldier has a PTSD episode where he sees that Asian mask standing in the background, staring at him. He interrupts a band playing, terrifying everybody a bit. Outside he falls to the ground nearly weeping: “Im sorry,” he repeats, over and over.
So we go back those ten months again. In an abandoned building the soldiers come across that Asian mask hung on a wall, sitting in the dark. Mac stares at it for a while, fixated on the face. Something that’s obviously stuck with him, buried in the recesses of his mind and bubbling to the front in the worst of times.
Finally we see Moses confront Marcus. He asks plainly – “Dont fuckinlie to me, son” – where the money’s stashed. He takes the cash, and makes sure to tell the kid he better keep his mouth shut. Moses threatens his family with death. That’s a bad dude.

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Later on we see Mac at the voting booth, choosing between either Nixon or McGovern. At the same time Joni’s trying to find a doctor to talk with about Mac and his PTSD. Of course back then it wasn’t known as that, or at least not treated with the appropriate respect and gravity deserved. A guy at the VA hospital hands her a pamphlet, as if that’s meant to help. He also implies that seeing as how Mac has “both his arms” and “both his legs” then there’s nothing actually wrong with him. Sickening display of what we’re seeing now as the result of all that neglect. Tons of mental illness, death by murder or suicide or whatever else, too many problems.
Buddy’s having a tough time. Sitting with his mother Naomi (Ann Dowd), he talks about survival, from the time of dinosaurs right to the Black Plague spreading across Europe. He feels like he’s done nothing with his life: “What am I doinwith it, mama?”
In ‘Nam, we see Mac and the platoon heading further to their destination. Once there they take all precautions, although Arthur notes there’s a Catholic cross at the front of their village. Either way, the platoon’s captain sends them in making clear to “fire then you ask questions.” Inside the village all hell breaks loose. Civilians are killed. Napalm lights the forest on fire and burns villagers alive. Gunfire gets exchanged between the Americans and some Viet Cong. At one point Mac throws a grenade in a hidden tunnel, where women and children scream. He sees the bloody bits of a child next to him, still moving slightly. This all but melts his brain and his psyche. We can easily see, from this POV, that Mac and Arthur, most of those guys, did not realise what they were doing, led astray by orders followed blindly. Still, they then had to go on living with what they’d done.
At home, Mac goes to meet The Broker. Instead he runs into an old face from the army, someone he isn’t so happy to see – his old captain, Thurston (Matt Nable). They catch up on things, rather contentiously. We get the impression that Thurston hasn’t repented whatsoever, in any shape, for what they did in Vietnam. He seems to want to go back, not able to adjust at all to civilian life anymore. In Thurston, Mac sees everything he hates; about himself. He reminds Mac of what they did in that fishing village. On top of it all we get another flashback to Thurston commanding his officers to execute remaining villagers, under threat of death if they won’t comply. Close by, Mac looks into the distance with heavy sorrow. Well, in the series’ current moments Mac attacks Thurston outside of the bar. They tangle a bit before he takes off after the former captain into the woods.

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Do you recognise this scene?
It’s the very first one, from the beginning of the season. This is where it all started. We witness Thurston beating Mac, holding him below the water. After he thinks Mac is dead Thurston walks off. Only to take a bullet. And here, we see Mac pump more lead into the man making sure he’s good and dead. He pushes Thurston’s corpse out into the water to float out and far away from him.
In other news, Buddy goes out cruising but ends up getting attacked by a couple men. They viciously beat him, taking his money and leaving him unconscious, or worse.
When Mac finally goes to meet The Broker he’s beaten and fucked up. That whole meeting with Thurston was, naturally, the old fella’s doing. More than that The Broker tries to keep Quarry on for another job. However, our soldier doesn’t want anything to do with him after all they’ve been through together. “Whos a fella like you vote for?” Mac asks The Broker. He also says he “wrote someone in” on the ballot: Otis Redding. We discover The Broker hasn’t voted “since Truman.” Kind of fitting. Likewise, we discover Mac misses war. Not hard to tell.
Flashback to the war. Thurston receives a visit from none other than The Broker. He’s walked through Quan Thang. This is where Conway’s name first comes up for the old gentleman. The Broker takes a stroll in through the trees, to where a field is full of the ripe, beautiful plants needed for processing heroin. Ah, and it all comes together. Very interesting political twist on the Quan Thang.

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Buddy – or Sebastian, as we find out – makes it home to his mother, beaten into bloody pulp. Detective Verne Ratliff (Happy Anderson) has one last look at Cliff Williams’ book of lyrics. President Nixon is announced to have won on live television. And Ruth, she finds that Moses is no longer waiting for her at the diner, but sitting home with the found money, contemplating his next move.
On the shoreline Mac sits with his next kit – gun, money, name. He got himself out, yet allows himself to be sucked back in. The carnage of war has crept into his veins, important as the blood flowing through them. Meanwhile, The Broker plays him like a fiddle.
Then we see Mac strip down for a swim out into the river, perhaps doing the only thing he can to not think about everything other dark thing swirling around his entire existence.


What a beautiful, gritty, importantly relevant series! Man, this first season was a blast. With the finale episode and its flashbacks, the revelations, Quarry cements itself as one of the greats, up there with any of the best HBO has had to offer over the past 20 years. Truly amazing writing, lots of fine acting, as well as solid directing.
Cinemax: do what’s right. Give this show a second, third, fourth season. C’mon. Do not pass this up. There’s a lot of other important stories to tell in the world of Mac Conway.

Aquarius – Season 2, Episode 13: “I Will”

NBC’s Aquarius
Season 2, Episode 13: “I Will”
Directed by Jonas Pate
Written by Mike Moore

* For a review of the penultimate Season 2 episode, “Mother Nature’s Son” – click here
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Season 2 finale, we’re here! I hope there’ll be more. Although because of NBC not treating the show with proper respect it deserves I’m not holding my breath on Season 3.
This possible series finale begins on August 7th of ’69 in the early morning hours. Former detective Sam Hodiak (David Duchovny) is start off retirement by trying to track the killer of women who recently rang him up at home. Sam heard a fire engine going, so he tries to track down any calls in that area to narrow things down. Alongside is Officer Charmain Tully (Claire Holt) doing her best to help. He soon comes up with where he believes the perp to be, the neighbourhood he seems to remember from some time ago. He follows the man into a diner; his name is Gerald Dunn, they shake hands. Sam begins an uneasy conversation with Dunn. Neither willing to openly say anything about why they’re there. Except Hodiak makes clear he’s eager for retirement: “Kinda looking forward to doing whatever I want. To whoever I want. Ill see youround, Gerald.”
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Ken Karn (Brian F. O’Byrne) has the money from his wife, and I assume Hal Banyin (Spencer Garrett), as well. He’s brought some for Charlie Manson (Gethin Anthony). Brought a bit of lovin’, too. Yowzahs. Doesn’t help him or his daughter being involved with Mr. Manson. Especially after he starts hearing more about Charlie’s “Helter Skelter” prophecy.
Over at the precinct, Ed Cutler (Chance Kelly) isn’t happy about Charmain or Detective Brian Shafe (Grey Damon) doing their respective things. He’s funny, though, and that’s all right. Poor junkie Shafe is suffering through his addiction AND not having his wife Kristin (Milauna Jackson) around anymore.
For the time being, Sam enjoys a little respite from murders, dead women and such. He and Billie (Olivia Taylor Dudley) have a bit of breakfast. She isn’t too thrilled about his addiction to chasing down suspects. I guess she’s right about him, and at the same time he only wants to do good. Speaking of which, he’s got Dt. Shafe knocking on Mr. Dunn’s door, hauling him down to the station while Sam Goes for a look inside the house.
And what does he find? A secret, nasty little dark room. Photographs everywhere. At the station, Gerald prints #1 DETECTIVE and SAMSON BENEDICT HODIAK, over and over on a pad of paper. Oh, he is a creepy man.

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With everything going on, Grace Karn (Michaela McManus) is trying to keep her head straight. She finally reveals to her political lady friend the truth about her daughter Emma (Emma Dumont). Where’s Emma, exactly? Heading out on a “creepy crawly” and trying to calm her father down. He’s worried for his daughter. His sad, brainwashed, pregnant daughter. Charlie’s sending Tex (Cameron Deane Stewart) off on a mission. To do some terrifying things; painting the walls with blood, using knives. It’s August 8th, after all. Soon enough, Sharon Tate, among others, will be bleeding to death tragically. Because Charlie’s reading to “make history.”
Meanwhile, Shafe has to let Gerald go. He and Hodiak know this is the killer, but alas – the law. Charmain helps the fellas figure out an important piece to Gerald’s story; he was married to a pin-up girl who wound up dead, just like the women he murders and poses.
Out on their mission, Tex, Sadie (Ambyr Childers) and the others start Helter Skelter into motion, as Tex murders a man in his car up the driveway to their destination.
Hodiak finds pictures of him in the developed rolls of Gerald. He then rushes to a crime scene where Billie lies murdered viciously. Now, we see where this is all leading.
Charlie rambles on to Ken about his race war plan and hiding beneath the Grand Canyon, as his “children” head inside the Tate house. Tex continues his murderous rampage: “Im the devil, and Im here to do the devils business,” he eerily explains to one of his victims. Watching on, the pregnant Emma is horrified by what comes next. One by one, people are dispatched violently.

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At home, Gerald is gathering up some things. Problem is that Sam Hodiak has come to pay him a visit, gun in hand. Seems that Billie got a vicious beating, no typical M.O. from Dunn. And so Sam starts in on the guy: “Im gonna hurt you, Gerald. Im gonna hurt you until you tell me everything.” The whole thing comes down to Dunn being put in jail by Sam, not being there to protect his wife when she was killed. But Gerald taunts, wanting to get shot. Shafe turns up to convince Sam otherwise. We discover the dead woman was in fact Billie’s sister; still awful. At least she wasn’t also brutally killed.
The Tate house is being absolutely torn apart. Tex puts a knife in Emma’s hand and commands her to go finish off anybody that’s left. She only warns a man staying in the guest house not to come outside, or make a peep. The Manson Family starts to leave, as Emma witnesses the last of the killings take place, a horrified look in her eyes. Once it’s all over they write “something witchy” on the wall for their master. Simultaneously, Ken and Charlie have an intense confrontation leading to Karn’s death.
When everyone shows up again, Manson flips because none of his little plans turned out appropriately. No witchy words other than PIG, knives left behind. He throws a tantrum, deciding he and Emma are headed back to the Tate house.
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So does Sam kill Gerald?
Mans a sick animal,” Hodiak explains to Billie, as she pleads for him not to shoot Dunn. It takes every ounce of will power in him not to, but Sam doesn’t shoot after all. He relinquishes the gun and hugs Billie with all his strength.
Over at the crime scene, Charlie orders Emma to get things done. They fix the place up a bit to his liking, although it’s still an absolutely horrific thing to see. For a second time, Emma leaves the house, nearly 6 in the morning on August 9th. Tex clears Ken’s body out back at Spahn Ranch. Everything’s in (dis)order.
At the station, everybody hears about the murder concerning Sharon Tate and her friends. Big time news, as Cutler takes the call. He even opts to tell Hodiak “you just unquit.” Things are about to get serious for the whole of Los Angeles. The Hollywood Divison station is gone mad.
Over at the Tate house, Shafe is covered in blood and holding the medallion Emma left behind. You know, the one Sam gave to Emma awhile back. Ah, the deeper connection for Hidoak to this case has come out.
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What a fucking fantastic episode! Gruesome, intense, gritty. All sorts of aspects that makes this series excellent. Again, I can only hope they’ll renew the show. If not, we’re left with a lot of interesting things that could have and SHOULD HAVE been.
Please, NBC: do the right thing. At least give them a Season 3 to clue up on a proper note. I want to see Hodiak on the hot trail looking for the Manson Family, all the while junkie Shafe trying to piece together his life and do his job, PLUS WE NEED MORE CHARMAIN TULLY! Please and thank you.

Animal Kingdom – Season 1, Episode 10: “What Have You Done?”

TNT’s Animal Kingdom
Season 1, Episode 10: “What Have You Done?”
Directed by John Wells
Written by Jonathan Lisco

* For a recap & review of the penultimate Season 1 episode, “Judas Kiss” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 2 premiere, “Eat What You Kill” – click here
Screen Shot 2016-08-10 at 1.36.53 AM After what Pope (Shawn Hatosy) has done to Catherine, we’ve come to the season finale. What will Baz (Scott Speedman) do if he finds out? Because you KNOW he’s going to. Can Mama Smurf (Ellen Barkin) contain what’s about to happen? Or will the Cody Boys tear themselves apart from the inside?
Now that Lena’s mom is dead, she’s with Smurf. Although the matriarch has other things on her mind. Such as Josh (Finn Cole) “banging” his teacher. She doesn’t want her boys loving anyone but her, though disguises it as concern for their family business, trouble at school could make things bad for everyone.
Meanwhile, Baz is searching for Catherine, as Pope goes about his day – doing work around the house, lying to his adopted brother. The story is Catherine took money from Smurf – true – and then took off somewhere – not true. But Baz is too smart for this to slip away from him completely.
Screen Shot 2016-08-10 at 1.38.38 AM Detective Sandra Yates (Nicki Micheaux) and Patrick (Dorian Missick) are all over J. They want him to stick close to the family. However, they’ve got no idea at all what it’s like living under the roof of Janine Cody. Whatsoever. The most interesting part of a wildly interesting series is seeing young Josh between a rock and a very, very hard, dark place.
The other interesting part is that Baz is being leaned on by Smurf, as he tries to figure out what’s happening with Catherine. He questions his daughter about what went on. She talks about a man driving “mommys car” and that’s really all he can get out of her before Smurf interferes. And she knows what happened, even if Pope didn’t expressly tell her; she made it happen.
Craig and Deran (Ben Robson & Jake Weary) are out sitting in the SUV, watching the money. For his part, Craig decides to rail a bit of blow, whereas more level-headed Deran sticks to weed.
So where’s the treachery end? If Baz discovers exactly to what end Smurf has been working this whole Catherine situation, that cannot ever be made right. For anyone who’s seen the original film: will Hatosy’s Pope meet the same fate, but at the hands of Baz? Or will Speedman’s Baz meet the same fate as his Joel Edgerton counterpart and leave the rest of the Cody Gang to go on about their lives? Hard to tell just yet. Either way, it’s why I love this series even more than the movie. Because there is a chance for Jonathan Lisco and the writers to expand upon the original story, characters, plots.
Also, even Pope – the one who murdered Catherine – seems uneasy with the way Smurf is playing things. She’s got Baz convinced maybe Vin (Michael Bowen) could be involved, after showing up the other day.
And don’t forget about Navy Lt. Commander Paul Belmont (C. Thomas Howell). He’s positioning himself for a “bigger cut” of that big, warm robbery pie that he helped facilitate. This may start to spell trouble for the man.
Pope goes to the docks to track down Vin. He claims there’s a job for him to get in on. This only leads Vin into the arms of Baz. Fuck – how is Pope planning on playing this one? He stands by and tries not to watch or listen to his bro beat on the guy; a guy who knows nothing.
Simultaneously, the GPS on the money blows up the radar. Craig and Deran are off. They get into the truck hauling their barrels and start to remove the money, only the driver isn’t stopped long. When he gets going, this starts a huge mess and an almost Three Stooges-esque moment or two with the brothers. Hilarious. Tragic. They wind up having to assault the driver, sticking him right inside one of the barrels. That’s a solution… I guess.


Over in the midst of torture, Baz gets no answers from Vin. To top off the betrayal, Pope isn’t just doing a horrible thing to Baz. He’s further turning his back on Vin, the man that looked after him in prison and saved him from who knows what.
Then the truth comes out from Josh: he tells Smurf about the cops, plain and simple. They’re waiting for a text to come raid the house once the money’s there. Slippery Janine has him do exactly that. When the police arrive everything is normal, the big happy family sit out by the pool. Like nothing’s happened. Everyone is zip tied and held at gunpoint. At the same time, Baz is all alone at home and Pope is leaving a bloody, broken Vin at the hospital; could cause problems.
Dt. Yates and Patrick are at odds, as she wants to tear the place to bits. He cautions against anything too harsh. They wonder where Josh is, assuming he’s in danger. No, he shows up. And he’s shoving everything right down Yates’ throat, having recorded a conversation between him and Alexa Anderson (Ellen Wroe) after she “raped” him. Whoooooa. Josh Cody: resident bad ass. Turns out J remembers Yates from pulling fast and loose shit with his mother.
Screen Shot 2016-08-10 at 1.57.42 AM Josh (to Dt. Yates): “My mom, she hated them, but she hated you more. In the end, shes a Cody, and Im a Cody, too.”


After the cops clear out, Belmont turns up. He’s eager to get the money. A little too eager. He reminds me of Morrie in GoodFellas, always pushing. Janine makes it clear he has to relax until the time is right. She orders him around, as if he’s another one of her boys. Moreover, he’s a first time criminal, he doesn’t know the right way to go about things. He continues to let his life slip away, that old, good life of his – his daughter Nicky (Molly Gordon) is snorting blow and sleeping with Craig. He doesn’t bother to step in. Not such a great dad after all.
Smurf scolds Josh for keeping secrets so long. Last straw, although it seems like he’s a Cody for life at this point. “Play your cards right, you can do well with us,” says grandma before gifting him a gun.
Pope had doubts about Josh, which are now dashed. He’s curious if perhaps Catherine wasn’t saying anything either. So little boy Pope is pressuring his mother for more money, he wants to get away from her. He has finally begun to see the utterly heinous manipulation of Smurf, clearer than ever before. He killed Catherine, but she put the entire thing in motion, goading him towards the act. They have a tense confrontation. Pope perceives the entire situation as Smurf not wanting Baz to leave her side. He feels used to get the “dirty work” finished.


Pope (to Smurf): “Youre sicker than Ill ever be
Screen Shot 2016-08-10 at 2.16.22 AM Remember the guy with the car, the one involved with Smurf’s mother back in the day? Well, ole Janine is still following him. The whole time she feels her past right there, fresh in her mind. Then she approaches him in his driveway, pulling a gun on him to blast a few holes in his chest. To leave him bleeding out on the ground, just like he did to her mother all those years ago. A nasty death for him. Might be a little deserved.
Everyone’s getting what they deserve. Or at least, some people. The Codys remain relatively untouched. For now.
Either way life at the Cody residence isn’t all sweet. Josh has his uncle Craig banging his ex-girlfriend, both of them eating together at breakfast with everyone. Pope’s still leading Baz around by the nose, as the now single father is left dealing with a motherless daughter.
And Mama’s just killed a man.
All their secrets are ready to implode the family tree. It’s all waiting for us, next season.
Screen Shot 2016-08-10 at 2.24.42 AM Loved the first season. Really great writing, each episode became better than the last. Again, as a huge fan of the original Australian film, I’m impressed with what they’ve done in this adaptation. Season 2 can only mean bigger, better things. Plus, I’m glad they didn’t leave off on a cliffhanger. This leaves things wide open for them, they’re not totally tethered to anything that’ll make it hard to continue the story.

Banshee – Season 2, Episode 10: “Bullets and Tears”

Cinemax’s Banshee
Season 2, Episode 10: “Bullets & Tears”
Directed by Greg Yaitanes
Written by Jonathan Tropper

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Homecoming” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 3 premiere, “The Fire Trials” – click here
Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 11.12.09 AM We see Olek (Chris Vasilopoulos) again. A younger Mr. Rabbit (Ben Cross). They’ve got a man named Yuri on his knees, questioning whether he stole from the boss. He did, in fact. Not a good sign for ole Yuri, though he tells the truth. Right before having his throat cut. A look at the ruthlessness in Rabbit, heading into a swan song for either him or the ones against him in this season finale.
Then we’re privy to Carrie a.k.a Anastasia (Ivana Milicevic), Olek, the man now known as Hood (Antony Starr), and Rabbit all drink after the latest job. They talk about the diamond job coming up. Hood and Ana are each seemingly reluctant about this new caper. Furthermore, we see the little looks between the lovers, between Olek and Rabbit, the first inklings of something going on behind closed doors within their supposedly tight-knit crew. Rabbit tells Hood, he sees him “as a son” and trust him deeply. A very Godfather-esque moment.
Afterwards, we watch Hood and Ana together right after Olek sees her to the door. Sneaky, sneaky. Their love is clear, that’s for sure. They also talk about the future, escaping from underneath her father. And then Hood assures her everything is under control. This is when she finally meets the one and only Job (Hoon Lee), as he dances onstage in drag to Sylvester’s “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)”. That’s before someone heckles him. Then Job stops his show to call the dude out. He even kicks the shit out of the guy in front of a crowd. What I love most about Job and Hood’s relationship is that they’re great friends, they have a positive relationship together, and we don’t get some weird, uncomfortable relationship between this guy like Hood being friends with Job who crossdresses. Instead of making Job out as some weirdo, the writing on Banshee puts him in an excellently positive light.
In this flash back through time, we also see Agent Jim Racine (Zeljko Ivanek) introduce himself to Rabbit. This begins a long chase of FBI man after the Ukranian gangster, one we’re still in the middle of coming to the season finale, even if Racine is now dead.


Back to the present, as Carrie and Hood search out a gangster he knew named Fat Au (Eddie Cooper). Well, naturally they come up against resistance. And this leads us to a nice tag team fight for the lovers. They knock down some fighters before guns are drawn, but at least they’re able to get a meeting with the big man. As it happens, Au indeed remembers his old buddy: “I heard you died, man,” laughs Au. Moreover, Hood once saved the man’s life. A debt the gangster is more than willing to repay, tenfold.
Better yet, Au calls Hood “Soldier Boy” and we start to discover he was in the army long ago. Or well, something similar. Perhaps this is a great indicator as to Hood’s character, his true identity. How he fights. This is juxtaposed with a tense flashback, to Olek and Hood fighting with gloves on; Olek challenges him, almost as if either jealous of him and Ana or testing his loyalty, or a bit of both. Rabbit also seems to know about his daughter and Hood. Slowly, we see the messy end of this big crime family.
I really enjoy the parallels between past and present. Here, we watch the flashbacks and the present day playing in unison, cut together. Ana and Hood saying goodbye heading out on the diamond job, ready to get betrayed v. Carrie and Hood saying goodbye to Job on their way to face the final assault against Rabbit.
Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 11.36.19 AM Carrie: “How many lives have you lived?”
Hood: “None, really.”
Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 11.41.23 AM In the New York church, Carrie meets her Uncle Yulish (Julian Sands). Then a row of gunmen. I LOVE THIS SEQUENCE! Carrie and Hood go deep, diving in. They take on the guns like two immortal bad asses, as their beautiful Massive Attack theme plays over the gunfight. Bullets spray through the church. The two lovers are stuck, much like that night on the heist 15 years before. Hood replays those images in his mind.
Then he goes to sacrifice himself. All over again. “Get back to your family,” Hood tells her. But as Hood jumps out with his knife in hand, Job, Au, and friends arrive to gun down the remaining men. Just a heartbreakingly awesome, fun, wild scene. Even Yulish gets murdered, too.
But there’s still Rabbit kicking around.
We flashback to a meet between Rabbit and Racine. The agent is there wondering about the kid picked up trying to pull a diamond steal. There’s a Ukranian recorded having called in the robbery, before the robbery even started. Oh, a thick pile of shit. More importantly, in the present Hood finds Rabbit on the same bench. That very courtyard is where he was married, so that explains its significance, other than being where his brother was priest. Rabbit talks long about the past. Then he’s given a gun to shoot himself, which Hood watches with pleasure. So Dt. Bonner and the police are left with an insane amount of bullets, blood, corpses, all left in the wake. What comes next?Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 11.54.27 AM Back in Banshee, Hood and Carrie return to their lives. Or whatever life they have there, respectively. Another goodbye between the lovers, as Carrie goes back to Gordon, Hood goes to the bar with Sugar (Frankie Faison). Always, they’re parting. Never coming together like the tropes of romance hope. But for now, Hood goes to Siobhan (Trieste Kelly Dunn). Their relationship is certainly tenuous, though undeniably so; they are perpetually attracted to each other. That’s just never a good sign, for anyone to get close with Hood. He simply cannot survive alone. He is a lover AND a fighter.
Meanwhile, an unexpected relationship between Rebecca Bowman (Lili Simmmons) and Alex Longshadow (Anthony Ruivivar) is budding. She’s sidling up to him. They start to get sexual, and he’s beginning to believe he now has an upper hand on Kai Proctor (Ulrich Thomsen). Only he underestimated the “Amish girl” he finds so sexy. When she seems to go for a gun in order to kill him, Alex flies into a rage. It only gets him a knife in the neck. Strangely enough, the knife George flung at him recently. Ironic. Kai becomes amazed after discovering the lengths to which his niece will go to try pleasing him. They get much too close later, as well. Yuck.
And sadly, former Deputy Emmett Yawners (Demetrius Grosse) along with his wife Meg (Stephanie Northrup) get killed in cold blood, machine gunned by Nazis in the road. A bload soaked few moments, cut back and forth with Rebecca also gunning Alex to death.
The biggest surprise? Deva (Ryann Shane) arrives in Hood’s office: “Hello, dad,” she greets him.Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 12.00.33 PM
Then, in New Orleans we see a familiar face: Chayton Littlestone (Geno Segers). He’s fighting in an underground ring, cheered on by masses. He kills a man right there in front of them all, snapping his neck and spine. Following his fight, Chayton discovers it’s time to head home now that Longshadow’s dead.
This is the big baddie for Season 3. Just wait for the terror to come. It is insane.
Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 12.06.55 PM