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Doctor Who Season 10 Episode 12 “The Doctor Falls” Review – Season Finale

I find it difficult to look at this episode and the season purely objectively because either showrunner’s intrusion. Moffat yet again gives imposes a lame copout at the departure of a beloved companion. He cannot allow them to be completely dead, but manages to be cruel anyway. Attempting to have his cake and eat it, Bill will be living happily ever after, sort of, with the love of her life, I guess, for eternity, probably. The price to be paid for all that is the loss of her humanity. And of course this is not the first weasely choice.

To recap the dispositions of the primary companions of the New Who era:

Rose is exiled to an alternate universe with a mortal facsimile of her Doctor.

Martha is not a doctor or married to one, and no longer a high ranking member of UNIT, but instead inexplicably running around with Mickey the idiot fleeing Sontarans.

Donna had her memories wiped.

Amy is trapped in the past.

Clara is artificially immortal and wiped from the Doctor’s memory.

I really think there is something inherently wrong with these limbo-esque dismissals of humans. Add that to the other unnecessary misdirect of this not actually being Capaldi’s final episode as the Doctor (we’ll have to wait ‘til Christmas for that), and we have an infuriating yet otherwise outstanding episode.

8
Score
Doctor Who Season 10 Season Finale
The Bottom Line
All hands on deck with brilliant performances. Pearl Mackie could not have been better, with nuanced horror and heartbreak and at least a chance of seeing her again. The whole Master/Missy dynamic could have been a whole arc on its own. John Simm and Michelle Gomez were phenomenal as two side of the same coin. Even Matt Lucas got to be more than exposition and comic relief.
Yes!
Magnificent performances by gifted actors, everybody brought their A-game, despite Moffat.
No...
Enough with the fake outs, they are insulting and manipulative.

Orphan Black Season 5 Episode 4 “Let The Children And Childbearers Toil” Review

Way back in Season 2 we met Kira (Skyler Wexler)’s father Cal Morrison (Michiel Huisman). His somewhat vague backstory included high-tech inventions with military applications and an ability to track Dyad all the way back to Topside. He was able to reveal and connect these corporations to all their related entities and was instrumental in the Castor deal. Last we saw this devoted and talented Dad was when he took Kira to Iceland for her safety. No real explanation was ever given for his departure. His name was barely ever spoken again.

His brand of exposition was still necessary to the story so rather than the return of genius Cal to explain everything we get Adele (Lauren Hammersley). This hard-partying ex-lawyer half-sister of Felix stepped in (at the behest of Mrs. S?) to connect the dots of Neolution financing in Switzerland (which Cal had already pointed out in Season 2). Her new function is even more of a patch to a plot hole than the whole “Dizzy (Joel Thomas Hynes) is on to the bot conspiracy” that also slipped away without resolution.

At least we know that Westmoreland is real and Kira is allowed to know her special history.

7.5
Score
Orphan Black Season 5 Episode 4 “Let The Children And Childbearers Toil”
The Bottom Line
The threads are being pulled together as the sestras gear up for the final confrontation with Neolution.
Yes!
Westmoreland is given more depth and has become a more grounded character.
No...
Mrs. S, Adele and Hell Wizard all have formidable spy craft skills now. Who knew?

Twin Peaks: The Return Part 8 Review

Carel Struycken and Joy Nash in a still from Twin Peaks. Photo: Suzanne Tenner/SHOWTIME

If Part 7 was the most grounded installment of The Return, then Part 8 is the one that is by far the most out there. I’m not going to lie. I have no idea what is going on. That’s OK though because this is Lynch and I expect weirdness. We are not quite halfway through this eighteen-hour movie, so some visually stunning exploration of the metaphysical and interdimensional is perfectly acceptable. The music, the sound, the imagery and the sense of being out of time is fascinating and mesmerizing.

In this chapter, there is minimal forward movement of the story, and I do think that more is needed in this part. Bad Coop is double-crossed by Ray once again and survives with the help of soot covered and likely malevolent spirits. Ray promises “Phillip” he will take care of Cooper when he sees him again. I would have rather seen them both get to the “farm” before we got to the madness.

On its own, this part stands out as a clever aberration. It is an indulgence that sets a sensory tone without a conventional narrative and given the big picture scope of the Twin Peaks: The Return project, I’ll let it serve as a pause prior to intermission. I suspect that in the next episode on July 9 we will be immediately brought back to the conventional and familiar.

8
Score
Twin Peaks: The Return Part 8
The Bottom Line
Mind blowing, hypnotic and disquieting, but nevertheless an important part of the mythos. If you’re that surprised, you haven’t been paying attention.
Yes!
A mutant flying frog-roach and a beautiful yet unsettling soundtrack.
No...
Riveting but arduous.

Orphan Black Season 5 Episode 2 “Clutch of Greed” | Review

I have to admit I was disappointed that P.T. Westmoreland (Stephen McHattie) was revealed to be an actual person and not a head in a jar. I may still hold out hope as I am not convinced that the dapper man who claims to have known Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is who he claims to be. One thing we’ve learned from this episode is that no one can be trusted. Even the sestras are at odds with each other. They are all compromised and in peril in one way or another. Manipulation by the Neos threatens their solidarity as well.

The tension is palpable. Far more questions have been raised than answered. The most interesting is what is Ferdinand going to do next? He is a loose cannon now an enemy of everyone and clearly meant to be the embodiment of all that is evil. Any support he might have garnered with his charisma and charm are wiped away and can never be recovered. One thing we do know is that Helena’s bebes have the same healing properties as Kira (Skyler Wexler). (Which is a surprise to no one).

The team up of Delphine (Evelyne Brochu) and Mrs. S (Maria Doyle Kennedy) looks promising. There has always been more to them than we have be allowed to see.

 

8
Score
The Bottom Line
The threads of this twisted tapestry have been knotted in such a way that the truth is more obscured than ever and I suspect that the body count has only just begun.
Yes!Kira has agency. In many ways it has all been about her from the beginning and it is nice to see the focus returned.
No...MK deserved much better.

Doctor Who Season 10 Episode 10 “The Eaters of Light” | Review

Bill claims to know more about the disappearance of the Ninth Roman Legion and almost proves herself right. If not for the inter-dimensional light eating monster, she might have been. Nevertheless, she gives the Doctor a run for his money in all things. She is intelligent and brave and charming and self-sacrificing. She’d make a good Time Lord herself.

The episode has great elements to it. We have Romans who are always welcome, Scotland which is awesome, a dimensional rift and a fairly terrifying monster. The Doctor, of course, walks into the maximum danger with the confidence that things will sort themselves out.

As Bill considers her experiences in the TARDIS and understanding of the Doctor we get a better understanding of him as well. Not just for Capaldi’s version, but rather with an overall sense of perspective on them all. It is easy to see how, to this nearly immortal and all-knowing god-like alien, everybody just sounds like children.

Bill’s assumption of the leadership of Legion survivors is compelling too. Her line “you won’t all die in a hole in the ground” is so Doctor-ish. She’s learned so much and mostly for good. I really hope she is around for next season.

8.5
Score
The Bottom Line
The episode is tense and spine tingling what at the same time another social commentary about communication and uniting in the face of a common and ruthless enemy.
Yes!Bill. Pearl Mackie just owns this character and has created one of the best companions ever.
No...Nardole is either goofy comic relief or a vehicle for scolding exposition. I was hoping that he would be a better balanced character.

American Gods Season 1 Episode 8 “Come To Jesus” |Season Finale Review

This season ending episode brings the series to more of a turning point than a conclusion. Instead of resolution, we get a meeting of the participants in the ultimate conflict before the war actually begins. It is a pause in a story that has already been about preliminaries and the audience is given more of a sense of theater than of battle. The stage is set and the performance is about deliberate posturing, where statements are made, bravado occurs and sides are drawn.

Mr. Wednesday has been a liar and manipulator throughout, and it was never about whether to trust him, but it was about believing in him. He comes to Easter’s celebration and collection of Jesuses to win an ally in Ostara (Kristin Chenoweth) and reveal himself as Odin.

The bigger reveal is that Wednesday put the hit on Laura and Mad Sweeney was the one to do it. Left with Shadow’s new belief, Odin’s hijacking of Spring, and Laura’s need to talk to her husband, there is a lot to sort through, but with nothing resolved, it feels like the season has come a long way, but hasn’t arrived yet.

So, in other words, the finale is a bit of a letdown, not for the episode itself (which is great), but for the season (which is too short). For example, Bilquis could have been more of a player in the game to come. We don’t know enough about where she stands and little about what the other gods think about her.

9
Score
The Bottom Line
Great episode and important reveals
Yes!Mad Sweeney had become a much more interesting and conflicted character than he originally appeared.
No...The Season should has ended with at least the arrival in Wisconsin.

Twin Peaks: The Return Part 7 | Review

Laura Dern in a still from Twin Peaks. Photo: Suzanne Tenner/SHOWTIME

The wild eyed Jerry Horne begins this chapter of Twin Peaks: The Return as a spiritual surrogate for the audience. Literally lost in the woods, he is frightened and confused. He mirrors how many of us have felt over the first third of The Return. Things have changed, however. Part 7 reels back the crazy and lands us in more familiar territory among cherry pie and Douglas fir. This is the most conventional part of the show so far stretched to the point of absurdity. We are spoon fed the explanation of the pages in such a way as to make sure the audience is grounded in the reality and in the continuity of the narrative from the original series.

We also have full disclosure on Major Briggs, Yankton Prison and Diane. We even get Good Coop acting like an FBI agent, his muscle memory of his Quantico training taking over when the spike-less Ike tries to kill him by running at him with a gun.

The Great Northern Hotel is revisited as is the Sherriff’s Office (complete with log activated computer monitor). We even get to see Deputy Andy (sporting a Rolex) act like a Deputy. I expect he’ll stumble on important clues in as is his practice. Lynch hasn’t abandoned his out-there style, but has thrown a lifeline to those who feel at sea.

9.5
Score
The Bottom Line
The connections to Coop are drawn. Act two of the story has begun. It is only a matter of time where everything converges at the Great Northern. I am amazed and delighted with each installment.
Yes!Diane exceeds every expectation. Our “interesting cross between a saint and a cabaret singer” has arrived and does not disappoint.
No...Don’t mind me, I’m totally hooked.

Twin Peaks: The Return Part 6 Review

I don’t know where to look first or which detail to concentrate on. Probably not everything means something, but it all gets me thinking. Why are the neon bar signs so similar? Who is drinking Bordeaux with Cole? When Tracey advised in Part 1 to “not over think it,” she gave good advice. I don’t know what’s going on, but I like it nonetheless.

A third of the way through Twin Peaks: The Return, and I am convinced that there is not a frame of film or line of dialogue wasted. The evolution of Cooper like the evolution of the series continues and as his competence and communication return, the story is drawn further into Twin Peaks. We see the traffic light at Sparkwood and 21, hear the glories of Norma’s cherry pie and find out what Red and Richard Horne are up to.

Hawk may have found what’s missing in the handwritten pages he pulled from the stall door. Laura’s secret diary maybe? Will there be a mention of Cooper and the Black Lodge? Albert has tracked down the one person who knows Cooper the best, who is, of course, Diane.

As slow and deliberate the pace has been, there is progress and in the detail is the joy. Lynch knows we are watching, gives us the morsels he knows we crave and then goes on to do whatever he wants.

9
Score
Twin Peaks: The Return Part 6
The Bottom Line
So far, I couldn’t be happier with The Return. It has all the Lynchian genius and enough nostalgia for the old series without being bogged down by sentimentality.
Yes!
The traffic light at Sparkwood and 21! Pie at the Double R.
No...
I’m pretty much over the Dougie scenario. I think it’s time to move on.

American Gods Season 1 Episode 7 “A Prayer of Mad Sweeney” Review

I’ve been all in from the beginning with American Gods. Shadow Moon has been charismatic and befuddled and the perfect audience surrogate for this world beneath the world. That neither he nor his patron, appear in this episode at all speaks to the depth of the characters and the sophistication of the complex story. There is a lot going on and everybody plays a part.

Sweeney may be an idiot in Mr. Wednesday’s estimation, but this week’s examination of the Leprechaun’s introduction to the New World goes a long way to making him a more sympathetic character. Ibis’ telling of his origin story builds a stronger connection between the dead wife and Sweeney. We see Emily Browning as Essie McGowan, the self-reliant Irish lass with the tales of the Aes Sidhe. Her devotion to the people of the Fairy Mound allow for Sweeney’s manifestation. Essie’s behavior and personality are not that different than Laura Moon’s. The two of them are intertwined as by now we know so are the ancient and the modern beliefs.

In this episode, Laura has become a character to be reckoned with. I especially liked the ice cream truck solution to her fly attracting decomposing corpse.

9
Score
American Gods Season 1 Episode 7 “A Prayer of Mad Sweeney”
The Bottom Line
American Gods has been consistent in atmosphere and storytelling skillfully making the gods more human and the humans more godlike. Next week is the finale and I’ll be sorry to see it end.
Yes!
A more introspective approach making Sweeney more vulnerable actually makes his character more interesting. He may be an idiot after all, but he’s become more likable.
No...
With only eight episodes, the season is too short and definitely feels rushed.

Doctor Who Season 10 Episode 9 “Empress of Mars” Review

I love it when the Doctor shows up uninvited. This time he arrives as NASA is awaiting contact from a Mars probe, only to discover the slogan “God Save the Queen” hidden beneath the polar ice. So off to Mars in 1881 and some stranded British Army soldiers from the Victorian Era and an Ice Warrior they named “Friday.”

As Doctor Who villains go, the Ice Warriors are pretty sophisticated. They have culture and history, ethics and motivations. Their appearances have some depth in that these denizens of Mars have always been more than one-word directives such as “exterminate” or “delete.” They are recognizable “people” who are neither friends nor enemies but have the potential for both. That is exactly what this episode explores and what is the most interesting about them.

When the TARDIS acts up and leaves Bill and the Doctor we are left with the dilemma of sovereignty presented in the aftermath of Imperialism. The Doctor gets it all sorted, of course, with the sage advice of “We must live together or die together.”

7.5
Score
Doctor Who Season 10 Episode 9 “Empress of Mars”
The Bottom Line
A good use of a classic villain in an intelligent and hopeful episode.
Yes!
Missy and how good is she really? The TARDIS seems to like her— must mean something, Right?
No...
Nardole. He’s more of a plot device than a character at this point, and an inconsistent one at that.
General-DC Comics

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