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Class Season 1 Episode 7 “The Metaphysical Engine, or What Quill Did” Review

In the penultimate episode, Quill finally gets a chance to shine, and seriously, it is about time. I can’t get enough of her. Her badass-ery is fully formed and entirely earned. From the beginning, she has been the most interesting character, full of conflict and passion. She also gets the best lines. That we’ve been subject to teenage angst with no resolution has been a bit of a sludge to wade through, but now we seem to have some high stakes.

The Head Teacher has agreed to get the thing out of Quill’s head, but it involves transporters, alien body parts, a goddess (Spencer Wilding), and a shapeshifting surgeon (Chiké Okonkwo). It is pretty suspicious how this all came about, I must say. The Board of Governors of Coal Academy sure has access to some powerful alien tech, and the lack of attention given to them is disturbing. Not that anyone ever trusted the Head Teacher, but that fact that no know authority in the Whoniverse is keeping an eye on the B.O.G makes me certain that they are not working in the best interest of humanity.

Next week it all ends, maybe permanently as there is no indication that the BBC has picked up a second season.

Archer Season 8 Episode 8 Auflösung Review

Well, things came full circle in this last episode, but probably not in the way most might have imagined. Dreamland ended a lot like how it started; someone who Archer cared about died. Everything went tits up for Archer and crew in Auflösung. Worst of all, Lana even ended the episode seven bullets deep, one via mother and six courtesy of the finally gendered Mr. Poovey.

Nothing was exactly how it seemed during Dreamland. All those dark questions and grey areas finally came to light during Auflösung, you see, there was no money in the bag, Krieger was never really a bad guy Nazi, Mother didn’t really kill Woodhouse. Yet, if there was one thing that always seemed certain for the entirety of this season, it’s the fact that Barry is absolutely crap snacks crazy, again genuinely reaffirmed in the heat of the moment as Adam Reed and his noir obsessed team of meticulous writers dropped a particularly massive u-turn regarding what was thought to be the big reveal of Dreamland during it’s last episode. Before trying to pop Archer’s Adams apple out of his own throat (and quite casually), in all of that unholy robotic and leather clad glory, Barry finally solves the mystery that Archer and the audience set out to learn from this season’s first episode. Woodhouse didn’t die because of a dope tab to ANYONE, Woodhouse died because he cut off Barry in traffic. Sometimes, that’s just how life is.

If this seems shitty, things really get no better from here; when all hope seems lost at the apex of frantic madness, we fortunately do see a timeless lesson that everyone learns at one point or another; history repeats itself. While beating the living pulp out of Archer, Barry’s psychotic cyborg self meets the same demise as the nazi shitheads who threatened to kill Krieger during his WWII flashback. Of course, things go a step further when Krieger’s bizzaro robodogs meet a really graphic end at the hands of Gurk, the man whose undying love for Charlotte Vandertunt meets an even harsher fate via her rather characteristically harsh response to his revelation. Lana dies. Chaos and comedy ensue.

While that scene was REALLY good for a number of reasons, the moment that felt truly significant to the progress of Archer as a character (and our hope to snap him out of his coma) was to witness the moments of our title character at the cemetery. These were scenes that, to quote a line uttered by Poovey countless times throughout the season, humanized him. Archer always treated Woodhouse like absolute shit, especially for a man who practically raised him as essentially his father (and could very well just be his biological father, THINK OF THAT!), so to see him break some glass and end things with Archer in a deep state of reflection and recognition felt like a fitting way to end things; with a lesson. If you learned a lesson, it’s not a mistake, right? This was a teachable moment that makes this season not a waste but after so much rapid fire action to cap things off, Auflösung ends the season with an uncertain feeling that things could go anywhere from here.

Though this case is closed, some things feel a bit more uncertain than ever for the characters within Archer’s personal Dreamland. Archer got his clarity on one situation but he did have to drag his feet through a pool of blood via his lady love. Some of the dialogue that ended these final group scenes of Auflösung climb a bit close to the fourth wall regarding this situation but ultimately, stops just short and leaves a very meta mystery cut cold under strange circumstances.

Regardless of where we are in the Archer universe at this point in time, Auflösung was a fitting end for the season, the sharp execution served as a reminder of the ethos of this season’s core values, befitting the audience with a cold and comedic, bloody ending that fits like a golden glove alongside the dark noir whimsies partaken during Dreamland.  Still, if there’s one thing that is certain after that end, it’s that much like Archer was finally able to admit, we’re all going to miss the shit out of Woodhouse.

As a whole, this season was a fitting tribute to honor that great dope fiend of a character and the incredible man behind him. The last words of this season were “I loved you so much”. We all did, Woodhouse.

RIP George Coe.

Archer Season 8 Episode 8 Auflösung Review
The Bottom Line
As history repeats itself, the main murder is solved but a new pool of blood leaves Archer on unsettled ground during a frantic, yet fitting season finale of Dreamland.

Twin Peaks: The Return Parts 3 and 4 Review

It’s not like it was a secret that this would be weird. The words of Albert Rosenfeld (Miguel Ferrer) sum up the experience of Twin Peaks: The Return in the best way possible. Take is as it is. There is not much else that we need to know and there is no promise that any of it will ever be explained. If you can live with that, you’re in the right place, if not, you might as well bail now because this is no ordinary television program. I you thought it would be, where’d you get that idea? Lynch didn’t threaten to quit for nothing. He is going to do what he wants and if it resembles the industrial nightmare world of Eraserhead more than a quirky soap opera, then so be it.

Sensory assault is committed throughout. In one frantic segment an eyeless voiceless woman attempts to guide the Good Coop while insane sounds and fractured colors create confusion and unease and it’s awesome.

I feel like I have to apologize on behalf of David Lynch. If you were expecting a sanitized and cutesy comedy, you are likely to be in over your head. This is full on bat-shit Lynch and as much as I loved the original series, the fact that this is so much darker is perfectly fine with me, and it is beautiful.

That’s not to say that there is no humor. Wally Brando (Michael Cera) is hilarious and perfectly bizarre. I’d love to see more of him, but not too much. There is so much to unpack about each of these episodes, but I hesitate. I can’t predict. I can barely understand, but I choose to go along for this crazy ride.

Twin Peaks: The Return Parts 1 and 2 Review

Twin Peaks: The Return 1&2

I think Annie’s going to be OK. What I mean is that The Return is just as brilliant as I hoped it would be. I doubt, however, that it is likely to win any new fans. So, hopefully I’m preaching to the choir here. After twenty-five years this is just the blend of signature Lynchian skin crawling creepy and Twin Peaks madness to satisfy my craving for both.

We get a cryptic message from the Giant (Carel Struycken) in the Black Lodge. There is an acceptable explanation of what has been going on with Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan)all these years. We are given the comfort of Deputy (now Deputy Chief) Hawk (Michael Horse)’s spiritual center and the Log Lady (Catherine Coulson)’s psychic guidance. And Lucy (Kimmy Robertson)’s charm is as endearing as ever.

There are new folks and new puzzles. What’s up with the glass box? Who is the mysterious billionaire? NYC, Buckhorn, SD and Las Vegas are added to the landscape and their significance has yet to be revealed. Familiar characters are back, but not quite the same. Brother Jerry Horne (David Patrick Kelly) is delightfully over the top with his modern (food related) enterprise. Dead characters are back, though aged. I even spotted the actor who played Jacques Renault (Walter Olkewicz) behind the bar at the Roadhouse.

American Gods Season 1 Episode 4 “Git Gone” Review

You could say that Shadow saved Laura (Emily Browning)’s life. She was a Black Jack dealer who tried to kill herself with bug spray and failed. Then she met Shadow and started to live, but she was never happy. Her tendency for self-destruction manifests in other ways, though. She convinces Shadow to rob the casino. He fails and goes to jail and we are left wondering if someone set him up. Laura promises to wait for him and doesn’t, but we knew that already.

It’s what happens after she dies that is the most interesting. She believes in nothing and Anubis promises to send her to nothing, but somehow escapes death. She crawls from the grave to see Shadow’s light and in a beautiful slow motion blood ballet saves him from the hanging. The story of Laura and Shadow is a love that transcends death and it is only just beginning.

DOCTOR WHO Season 10 Episode 6 “Extremis” Review

Now that the relationship with the new companion is established, it is time to get to what has been going on in the background all season. Nardole, who we first met as a companion to River Song, turns out to be looking after (i.e., monitoring) the Doctor at her behest. It is, not surprisingly, Missy who has been confined to the vault. The oath that the Doctor took is to look after her for a thousand years, the result of his unwillingness to kill her. He is also still blind, so the stakes are high at every level.

Nardole has his own agenda. Missy cannot be trusted. Bill finds the Doctor a bit of an inconvenience, but willingly teams with him when something interesting is happening. And yet, that is just what things appear to be.

The deeper mystery “Extremis” is with the new menace who have created a computer simulation to better allow them to conquer the Earth. The simulacra Doctor manages to figure out the deception and warn the real Doctor.

CLASS Season 1 Episode 6 “Detained” Review

Quill sends them all to detention because she has something she has to do, and thanks to a well-aimed meteor, a pseudo-Breakfast Club is created in a pocket dimension. This rock is some kind of prison for a sentient creature that when held, compels the holder to speak the truth out loud. Thanks to this remarkable cosmic coincidence we get all the teenage true confessions and suspicions and insecurities we could possibly want blathered forth ceaselessly and without regard for consequence.

I understand the reason for bottle episodes: cost saving, efficient exposition, and a vehicle to move the narrative along, but mostly I can’t stand them. This episode is especially irksome because of the near total lack of the savory Quill-iciousness that has become the main reason to watch Class at all. (Next week hints to make up for the deficiency, but we shall see).

The major flaw I find in this entire series is that we are supposed to take it on faith that these children are all that stands between the Earth and annihilation when the Doctor is not around. Well, uh, no, I do not. Hell, April doesn’t even have her superpowers anymore and for all the royal lineage that Charlie might possess, he has no real grasp on strategic thinking. Every other spin-off had a crew more capable and believable than this lot.

Archer Season 8 Episode 7 “Gramercy Helberd!” Review

Fueled by the fading fumes of his foray into the adventures of Dex and Codeine, Archer’s pill-popping, sleep-deprived Dreamland take a nightmarish turn in Gramercy Halberd! during what proves to be an iconic episode of the season drawing to a finish with the mystery of Woodhouse’s death finally coming to light. Starting with a great getaway scene, Archer narrowly bails Trexler out of certain death as Cyril bails with the money and Lana thinks quick on her feet to get the rest of the gang out of trouble. Although I really missed Ray this season, it was good to see Archer behind the wheel of a chase scene, as well as witnessing the return of one of his signature moves to kick-start a series of brutal, jarring, and scintillating events that end with a vital realization from our main character during a quasi-epiphany/mental breakdown over his repeated poor decisions and bad behaviors this season.

During a finale that plays out like a cinematic noir de force, this key moment of self-awareness quite casually FINALLY solves the prevailing mystery of the entire series (with the last line of the episode, no less!). After the temporary dismissing of the absolute terror of an artist formerly known as Barry; from the backseat of a speeding convertible and clad in nothing but his tighty whities, with a hint of honesty and a bit of regret, Trexler sorrily explains an all too simple solution to the mystery at the heartbeat of what has made Archer tick for the past seven episodes (besides the Dex and Codeine). In a classic Whodunit series like Dreamland, well, who else could have done it but Mother? The constant heartbeat behind most of the mystery of Archer’s misery since his time in short pants. An astute sleuth had to be stunned to see Sterling so startled.

The direction finally looks clear with one episode remaining, yet the dust has hardly settled with so many webs left untangled and only less than half an hour to wrap this whole mystery up. Dreamland has nonetheless remained far more interesting than any season of Archer in recent memory and remains evidence that Adam Reed has found a heady concoction through his combination of comedic surrealism entrenched in a sense of strange verisimilitude.  If only every season of Archer was as perfect as this mystery filled noir known as Dreamland!

Archer Season 8 Episode 7 "Gramercy Helberd!"
The Bottom Line
Adam Reed stamps a climactic finish on his hot streak to solve the prevailing mystery during the noir nightmare delusions of surrealism and reality projected in Dreamland by suave sleuth Sterling Archer.

ARCHER Season 8 Episode 6 “WAXING GIBBOUS” Review

Holy shitsnacks. Just honestly… HOLY SHITSNACKS!!! I mean, I mean… wow. That just got pretty dark pretty quick. Barry just took his whole crazy shtick up to another level, or twelve, to end another fantastic episode and that just needs to be said to start this whole thing off.

Alas, as a whole, Adam Reed and his crew continue Waxing Gibbous by jumping straight into things with the same stream of consciousness cinematic setting that leads so successfully and so seamlessly from one episode to another, all the while Archer is strangled into an explanation to Mother and supplied with pills (and a few other sorts of pills, you know, to smooth out the edges!) from Charlotte to ensure our main character remain awake for another episode fraught with danger. Finally, Lana’s character is reintroduced in force during a pretty comedic exchange with a familiar figure from Archer’s past that reveals a bit of backstory as to why Lana’s been so very concealed in the background for the majority of this season. Eugene Mirman again steals almost every scene as the definitive second most sinister entity in all of Dreamland and I love how the creators constantly having a character somehow mention the title of the episode throughout the dialogue of the show but a pilled-out Archer questioning himself aloud over the types of ghost temperament may have been the most personally rewarding exchange of the entire episode.

Yet, most importantly, Waxing Gibbous feels like the exact pinpoint on the map as to when all of the rising action building paramount throughout the course of Archer Dreamland finally feels like the tension has reached the very moment where everything being held carefully together by a thread finally explodes in the worst and bloodiest way possible. The possibilities of where things can go from here remain endless, but it feels like a good bet that Krieger has to make a pretty dramatic appearance sometime in the course of the final two episodes. Next week’s episode surely has the hallmark for all hell to break loose even further in the Trexler’s mansion, as after six episodes, the majority of the main characters are finally gathered together in one room on a stormy night in the hills of LA after witnessing the leftovers of grotesque group homicide and meeting the murderer face to face, ending Waxing Gibbous with a cliffhanger that would rival the finest of any mystery novel.

Class Season 1 Episode 5 “Brave-ish Heart” Review

The super-powered April has jumped through the rift that she cut out of thin air with her twin stone scimitars only to be followed into the “Underneath” by the foolish romantic Ram. It is revealed that there is a mysterious “Board of Governor’s” at Coal Hill Academy who has given to the new Head Teacher the task of compromising Ms. Quill. This B.O.G. is specifically pointed out as to be not associated with U.N.I.T. at all, and yet all knowing. More to be explained, I hope. And the rest of the adults, especially April’s “Worst Dad Ever” do little more than shrill whining.

Sophie Hopkins is front and center in this episode as she battles the Shadow King for control of the Shadow Kin. As April, she info-dumps about the nature of the place and its politics while engaged in an awkward sword fight. She manages to win the battle anyway and becomes the “King” herself. Even for TV, this was some of the lamest fight choreography I have ever seen.

Oh, and let’s no overlook how callous Charlie really is. He’s not against genocide so much as angered by being coerced to do so. I did like how Quill called him out about it.

General-DC Comics

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