Reviews

Top Ten Thursday: Book Re-reads

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I’m not good at a number of things, and one of them is re-reading books. Yes, re-reading is good as it helps you catch things you’ve missed the first time around, it helps you understand everything better, etc. etc. But my mind just rejects the idea, I don’t find any joy in reading something I’ve already read, the book simply isn’t as appealing to me the second time around. But, as with everything, there are a few exceptions. Here’s my list of 10 books I’m okay with re-reading at any time and place.


10 – Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

I forget in which school year I had to read this, but I’m fairly sure I re-read it a few times during that year already. I did enjoy the Adventures of Tom Sawyer as well, but it pales in comparison to its sequel and the story of the adventures Huckleberry Finn had. The most intriguing thing is how the book manages to dive into touching subjects such as racism, religion, and war, yet it manages to remain light and friendly. It’s both funny and scary, it’s for children and it’s for adults, and it’s simply put extraordinary. It’s pure classic and it’s something that everyone should read no matter at what age they decide to do so. But more importantly, everyone should be brave enough to pick it up least one more time for a re-read.

9 – George Orwell’s 1984

I don’t know when I read 1984 for the first time, but I do remember when I re-read it for the last time and that was 4 months ago. It’s one of the best literally pieces of work I’ve ever read and most definitely the best dystopian and political fiction book. It’s written in such a simple manner yet it’s structure and content is frightening complex. It was a brilliant read the first time around, but more so on the second and third read because you just can’t soak in all the fantastic bits and pieces in a single reading. It also happens it has one of my all-time favorite quotes “Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood.”

8 – Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels

Is there anyone who didn’t enjoy this? It was likely one of my favorite reads during my school years, and those were quite low in numbers. All the voyages, all these fantastic and diverse places, the plethora of characters and events that follow his journey, they’re so well written you would think this is a diary of a real person’s travels and not actually a novel written as a parody for the traveler’s tales subgenre. If you have to pick a few books to take with you on a stranded island, this should definitely be one of your picks. That is, if you humor can stomach jokes on your own not-so-good situation. If you can’t appreciate a good book then this would be a bundle of gibberish for you, while for everyone else it should be something joyful no matter how many times you’re reading it at this point.

7 – Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

It’s my understanding that at the initial release the book was considered quite controversial and had very mixed reviews. Yet the story lives to this day. In fact, it was so influential it actually spawned a whole genre of monster horror stories, movies, tv shows, plays, and illustrations. Some may have disliked the way the book was written or found it too awkward/weird, which I can somehow understand for the early 1800’s. But it’s clear that the story of a scientist who devotes himself to his work to a point where he not only bends but breaks the rules and uses unorthodox experiments to achieve his goals is quite intriguing. Or maybe it’s the rise of said work/creature/whatever which can no longer be controlled as it now has a mind of its own that’s intriguing? Maybe it’s a bit of both, I’m not fully sure myself, but I am sure I’m not tired of rereading it yet.

6 – Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment

Might be a controversial piece, it seems opinions are divided on it, people either hate it or love it, or they don’t even know it. There’s very little middle ground when it comes to Crime and Punishment. For myself, the story of Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov is perhaps one of the best reads I’ve ever had. The moral dilemma of whether the end justifies the journey, of whether bad actions are acceptable if they’re meant to help achieve greater good, is still present and debatable to this day. Who is worthy and who isn’t, who gets to judge and decide, and does ridding the world of those deemed unworthy in order to help the worthy sound like something okay to do? Can we justify our bad actions with a simple it’s meant to help me provide greater good?

5 – Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde was one of the first writers I started appreciating, likely because his work was more available than the work of many others. Call it commercial if you will, but you knew there was always some book of his in the local libraries. The first time I read about the Picture of Dorian Grey was during an early age English class, though it was more of a summary and it was used for other purposes (not for lit reading). The summary itself sold it to me, it was a fascinating yet creepy tale. It was quirky. It was something different than what you’re used to hearing, and for some reason that was appealing to me. To this date I’ve read at least a dozen versions or editions of it and I still like each and everyone one of them.

4 – Dante Alighieri’s Inferno (The Divine Comedy)

I rarely find someone who loves Dante’s Divine Comedy, let alone someone who loves it as much as I do. The first time I read it was during High School, and I was meant to read just the Inferno part but I was hooked and I went on reading he whole thing. While I did some heavy reading during High School, I usually avoided the school readings because most of the books were ridiculous, horridly translated from their originals, or some were just bad books (I understand this may not be the case for everyone, the school reading lists vary from country to country and from generation to generation). Dante’s Divine Comedy, specifically Inferno, was a refreshing change and something I’ll forever cherish.

3 – JRR Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of Rings)

I don’t think I have come across anyone who doesn’t love, enjoy, or at least appreciate the work of Tolkien. I do know some people don’t like fantasy so they shrug it off or blurt out various things how the books aren’t that great, but I don’t think there’s a person among book lovers who does’t at least understand the importance of Tolkien’s work. He had a craft like no one else, he was master of the written worlds and he’ll forever remain as such. It doesn’t matter which of his books I would pick up but the details will always be as entertaining the 100th time as they were the 1st time around. Yet, my journey with his work started with the Fellowship of the Ring so I like it just a tad bit more than the rest of his stories.

2 – JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter)

The Harry Potter series was my very first series of books, and it was my introduction to the world of fantasy. Fantasy being my favorite genre, you can see why I could reread it any time, I consider it important because of the influence it has had on me. Out of the whole series though, Half-Blood Prince is my favorite. It’s the first book out of the series which I think goes beyond the children audience. But, more importantly, the revelations and information available in this book make it my favorite.

1 – GRR Martin’s A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire)

This is a more recent obsession of mine, as I only started reading the series about five years ago, around 2010/2011. The reason it finds itself at the top is of course the writing style and the many hidden details, foreshadowing, and double-meaning writings. When it comes to a Song of Ice and Fire, each sentence’s as important as the next, and every word brings something to the table. It doesn’t matter how many times you have read and analyzed the books, on your next reading you realize/discover something new. If we take and review the whole series I believe that we’ll find out Storm of Swords is firmly placed as the best book from the series and that’s why I’ve selected it from the published books.

Orphan Black Season 2 Review

[UPDATE: 4/19/2015] I see that the new season of Orphan Black is bringing in folks to this blog. Unfortunately, it appears that the link to the crazy scary Helena vs. Sarah bathroom scene is no longer working. I tried looking for a different upload so I can replace the link, but I couldn’t find one. If you do have a link, drop a comment and I’ll replace it. Cheers! #CloneClub


 

Yep, this is rather late, but there was no way I’d skip on reviewing this. If I had to sum up Season 2 of Orphan Black, I’d likely use a phrase such as breaking all the boundaries. Season 1 was fun, mysterious, thrilling, dramatic, and it certainly felt original, keeping us guessing not only what’s going to happen next but quite often what’s happening now. For a sci-fi show it sure promised great things, and it actually delivered on them. Season 2 is all of that on a larger scale, because if the creators have shown us anything it’s that they like pushing their team and going beyond anything they have done so far. Season 2 was not only a marvelous season, but it had some of my favorite TV moments from this 2013/2014 show year (I see August – July as an actual “show year”).

The first scene I will point out is, I believe everyone’s favorite, the Clone Club Dance Party (click to see BBC America’s “making of” video of said scene). Kudos to the editing team for creating the scene, and kudos to Tatiana Maslany for her work on all the different characters — I truly have to remind myself sometimes that all of them are in fact played by the same person. But I’d like to point out that the greatness of the scene is not just seeing several clones in the same room dancing together. The scene is fantastic because of the emotions it passes along, because it shows a calm and carefree moment where these characters that are always in trouble or on the run are together and happy, even if that lasts only a few minutes.

Another scene I want to highlight is the Helena vs. Sarah Bathroom Scene (couldn’t find it without the Italian subtitles). This was such a dramatic, stressful, and shocking moment. Helena is so unpredictable that you don’t know if she’s going to hug or stab Sarah, they have the weirdest love/hate relationship that Tatiana Maslany herself has summed up perfectly: “Sisters, to older sister baby sister, to mother daughter, to weird lover sort of thing, to monster and the keeper of the monster.” Who could know the two better than her, right? They had a lot of great scenes together this season and while Helena can still be creepy and dangerous, you can’t help but feel she’s warming up to you even if you didn’t like her at first (but I have to admit I’ve loved that character since the beginning). They sang along together in a car ride, they camped together, and they danced together — it was truly a bonding season for the two.

Alison and Donnie’s roller-coaster of a time was simply brilliant. They went from a weird place when Alison found out that Donnie was her monitor, to hating each other when drunk Alison admitted herself into rehab and Donnie didn’t stop her, to rekindling some old love feelings when Donnie accidentally shot and killed Dr. Leekie. They even did it on the refrigerator in which they kept his body until they buried it in their garage — and that, was one of my other favorite scenes. Not because of Donnie’s butt, or the intercourse itself, but rather because of how amusing the whole thing was. I mean, Donnie couldn’t drill in a hole for the body so Alison had to step in and show him how it’s done!

I had to fear for Cosima the whole season as her health suffered a downward spiral and all was pointing to her leaving us before the season’s end. Luckily her and Delphine and are alive and well, with Scott, our newest favorite geek, working alongside them. He even helps Sarah escape from Rachel, who had kidnapped Kira but got herself shot in the eye with a pencil thanks to Cosima’s subtle explanation of how to create one (subtle because she was explaining it to Kira, while Sarah watched them from the other room). She deserved it though, she wasted the bone marrow from Kira which was meant to save Cosima. You do not mess with the Clone Club!

By the end of this season we also learned that Mrs. S, Paul, and Kira’s father know more than what they’ve said so far; Duncan, who committed suicide, has left a book with ciphers in Kira’s possession which could help Cosima heal, and do many more things if they manage to decipher it; In addition to the female clones there’s also Project Castor which has male clones; Helena’s pregnant and Mrs. S gave her away so that Marion Bowles can help Kira and Sarah escape from Dyad.

While that’s a lot of information, it actually opens more questions than it provides answers. Who is Mrs. S and whose side is she on (we know she’s on Kira’s side, but she doesn’t seem to be especially worried about Sarah)? Who is Paul and what does he know? Same goes for Cal Morrison, Kira’s dad. Will Cosima/Scott/Delphine be able to decipher Duncan’s notes? Is Kira truly special, and if so in what way? What’s the business with Project Castor (beside creating soldiers for a war, because obviously that’s the main purpose of male clones, creating an army)? Who is Marion Bowles and what does she want? What’s up with her clone child? Is Rachel going to survive that scientific pencil rocket that was launched at her eye?

While with many series getting a lot of new questions can be troublesome, it surely cannot be with Orphan Black. These other series tend to pose a lot of new questions while answering none of the past ones, which isn’t the case with Orphan Black. We’ve been getting new, valuable information, and making progress with the story in general throughout the whole season. So adding lots of new major development in the season finale actually works in favor of the show. A show that’s simply put, bloody fantastic. Tatiana Maslany is the current Queen of TV Land and we don’t care whether some lousy awards give her a nomination or not. The woman players several different characters on TV at the same time, does a marvelous job with each one of them including a transgender clone, and Orphan Black’s fan-base keeps growing. Clone Club keeps getting bigger and that’s really the best award she can have. Besides, if the Television Academy cannot grace Tatiana’s breath-taking performance with an Emmy nomination, it only goes to show how biased their nominations and wins are.

Orphan Black is one of the best TV Shows to date even as young as it is with its two seasons, but it is apparent that the cast and crew are willing to go above and beyond for their show and it’s only going to get better. The Primetime Emmy Awards can remain ignorant to it for as long as they want, it will not take away a bit of the show’s greatness. In fact, one can see that by not giving Tatiana a nomination (again), they’ve given Orphan Black the best publicity out there — everyone’s talking about it!

Game of Thrones Season 4 Review [SPOILERS]

WARNING: I cannot stress this enough, if you are not fully caught up with Game of Thrones’ fourth season, grab Old Nan and follow Samwell Tarly, because this post is dark and full of spoilers, your only hope is staying with Sam the Slayer.

SPOILER ALERT!!

WARNING II: Seriously, if you are not caught up and do not want to be spoiled, locate the magic ‘x’ button. Did I mention the word SPOILERS?

Instead of jumping to that long-awaited finale straight away, let’s first do a quick recap of the notable events that took place during this season. It kicked off with a mesmerizing scene of Tywin melting the Stark’s Valyrian sword, Ice, and having two new swords forged using the steel. A final nod to the Stark’s downfall, a scene with no dialogue but extra powerful even though it’s with a sad note. Jaime gets one of the two swords, as well as a new golden hand to replace his missing one. Meanwhile final preparations are done for the royal wedding of Joffrey Baratheon (Lannister) and Margaery Tyrell, and Oberyn Martell (Pedro Pascal) with his paramour, Ellaria Sand (Indira Varma) arrive as representatives from the Martell house. Oberyn, also known as the Red Viper, joins the ranks of fan favorites from the beginning, by spending his free time in the brothels of King’s Landing with both women and men, showing Lannisters that he does not fear them, and that he still wants revenge for the vicious murder and rape of Ellia Martell (whose children were killed by the Mountain, who raped and murdered her as well, presumably done under Tywin’s orders).

The wedding starts with a gifting ceremony for the couple, they get a fancy trophy-cup from Mace Tyrell, and a valuable book on the life of Kings of Westeros from Tyrion which unfortunately gets chopped to bits right after with the new Valyrian sword he gets from Tywin. Despite all the efforts and the gold spent on the wedding, no one really has a good time, especially when Joffrey’s entertainment steps on the stage — a play with dwarfs who reenact the war of the five kings, showing everything from Renly’s bedtime manners to Rob’s head being replaced with Grey Wind’s. As if that wasn’t enough, he proceeds to embarrass and belittle Tyrion in front of everyone. A final show of Joffrey’s cruelty, before he starts choking, turns purple and falls down. What comes to be known as the Purple Wedding, gives all watchers the satisfaction of finally removing Joffrey from the game, forever.

Unfortunately, Cersei blames Tyrion for the murder. In case you weren’t paying attention, the Queen of Thorns, Lady Olenna Tyrell, is the one that poisons his wine. Littlefinger has a necklace made which he orders Ser Dontos to give to Sansa, who wears it during the wedding, and Lady Olenna plucks one of the precious stones from it, which is in fact a crystallized poison. Ser Dontos obviously believes he is saving Sansa so he takes her to Littlefinger’s ship, at which point he gets shot with an arrow as a reward and Littlefinger sails away with Sansa to the Vale of Arryn (Lysa Arryn being Sansa’s aunt). Jaime sends Brienne and Podrick to find Sansa, and after an encounter with Hotpie in a tavern they head toward the Vale too.

With Joffrey gone, his younger brother, Tommen, is crowned as the new king — thankfully he’s not crazy like Joffrey. A committee of judges is formed for Tyrion’s trial for the murder of Joffrey, including Tywin, Mace Tyrell, and Oberyn Martell. Cersei wants Tyrion dead so for a moment there we see her being surprisingly kind to her father, the Red Viper, and Margaery Tyrell. All of it being a play, just to get them on her side. Peter Dinklage performs what is one of the best deliveries on-screen that I have seen during the trial, where he basically tells the whole audience how he has saved all their lives but they all see him as a monster so he demands trial by combat. A brave move, but for a moment it doesn’t seem very smart — Jaime told him if he just plays along and asks for mercy his life would be spared and he’ll be sent to the wall. Tyrion throws all that away, but faces a hard time finding a champion when Cersei chooses the Mountain as hers. Luckily for him, the Red Viper is there and the Mountain is one of the reasons why he’s in King’s Landing.

Despite the Moutain’s size, Oberyn shows us how agility and good moves can defeat any rock or mountain. Sadly, he gets carried away with his craving for vengeance, allowing the Mountain to pull him down, give him a hard punch, and then smash his head in with his bare hands. It was a truly gory scene, regardless of how good it was, if you’re not okay with a human’s head being blown up like a watermelon you may want to look away. But worry not, Tyrion is not yet dead, even though he is sentenced to die.

Across the Narrow Sea we have Daenerys with her long list of titles infiltrating Mereen, and deciding to stay there and rule to prove to everyone, including herself, that once she takes Westeros she will be a great Queen. She obviously didn’t foresee that the cities she liberated would immediately go back to slavery once she leaves. To spice things up in her story, she decides to bed (but not wed) Daario Naharis, learns Ser Jorah used to spy on her for the Iron Throne a while back so he’s exiled from Mereen, while Missandei and Grey Worm seem to be starting their own romance.

Yara Greyjoy tries to save Theon from the Dreadfort, but the torture Ramsey put him through has left him scarred, both physically and spiritually, he’s Reek now and won’t go back with her. What’s more twisted is Ramsey sends Reek to “pretend” that he is Theon and have the last Greyjoy men at Moat Cailin surrender to the Boltons. He delivers on his promise, and for the success Ramsey is rewarded with a legitimization by the King, he’s no longer a Snow but a proper Bolton. As Wardens of the North, the Boltons basically have the whole North as their own. There’s just one issue, Bran and Rickon Stark are still alive.

They send a man called Locke to infiltrate the Night’s Watch, get close to Jon and find the boys. He finds Bran during an attack on the surviving turn-cloak brothers of the Night’s Watch at Craster’s Keep, where Jon and Bran literally cross roads. Just as Locke was about to run away with Bran, Bran wargs into Hodor and saves the day by breaking Locke’s neck. Jojen persuades Bran that they need to keep going North and they cannot let Jon stop their journey — so that potential reunion goes in the water.

Another potential reunion that goes in the water is Arya’s with Sansa. The Hound takes Arya to the Vale to ransom her for gold, but at the entrance they’re told Lysa Arryn is dead, and we previously see how Littlefinger pushes her down to fly through the Moon Door after Lysa has a jealous tantrum over Littlefinger kissing Sansa. Confused yet? No worries, we’ve got just the last two episodes to cover. And the ninth episode was basically a full battle at the wall, with the Wildlings attacking Castle Black both from South and North. Here we do get a reunion with Jon and Ygritte, but she gets an arrow through the heart. Sad, but keep in mind that you’re cheering for the Night’s Watch in this battle. And thankfully they win, despite the giants and the attack from two sides. The bad news is, this was basically Mance testing their defenses, the real army has yet to take a move and Jon decides he will visit Mance, pretending he is there to discuss peace terms, and make an attempt on his life.

Up to this point, the season was all around fantastic and brilliant, most of the book-to-tv changes were okay too. But, the internet shows mixed feelings regarding the final episode, despite all the wrap-up it showed. We had a magnificent shot of Stannis’ army striking the Wildings during Mance and Jon’s conversation. Though there was very little of actual Wilding killings displayed, but the arrival scene definitely warranted an applause. This was followed by a touching dialogue between Tormund and Jon, a well as a creepy glare between Jon and Melisandre across a burning funeral pyre for the fallen brothers of the Night’s Watch.

Further North, Bran and the company finally reached the tree from Bran’s visions where the three-eyed raven resides. But, before entering the cave underneath the tree, skeletons started popping up from the ground and one of them took Jojen’s life. Those were supposed to be wights though, why they appeared like the skeletons from Sinbad or the Pirates of the Caribbean is beyond me, they looked truly corny. There to save the day was a single Child of the Forest, who looked like Arya with more clothes, did not look anything like the Children of the Forest from the books, nor had similar skills, as she started throwing fireballs (firebombs?) at the skeletons and even threw one at Jojen, likely to ensure he doesn’t come back as one. I know the book and the show are different mediums, and I appreciate both in their own ways, but this whole scene felt bad to me, like it is out of loop, as if they took it from another fantasy show and put it in Game of Thrones.

But at least Bran, Hodor and Meera made it to the cave beneath the tree, where any skeleton that entered literally shattered around — “the power that moves them has no power here”, the Child explained. A few turns left and right and she brought them to Bloodraven, who looked like Pycelle entangled with roots from the tree above. Again, not complaining that it wasn’t like in the books, but I feel this wasn’t as creepy and mysterious as it could have been. He tells them he has been watching them with a thousand eyes and one (he can see through any weirwood tree), and while Bran will never walk again, he will fly (think warging into birds, or maybe even dragons?).

Speaking of dragons, they aren’t well-behaved these days. Drogon burned a kid, and is nowhere to be found, so Dany decides for the safety of her people it’s best to chain the other two in a dark catacomb. On a lighter note, Brienne meets Arya! Her and the Hound have a badass fight, one of the best fighting scenes Game of Thrones has delivered, but sadly Arya manages to escape from Brienne and Pod. She finds the Hound, who tumbled down a hill at the end of the fight he lost, takes his gold and leaves him to die, refusing to kill him even though he begs her to. She finds a ship nearby that’s sailing to Braavos and uses the coin the faceless man, Jaqen H’ghar, gave to her to ensure a cabin on the ship.

There’s even more good news — Jaime frees Tyrion with the help of Varys, but before getting on his escape ship, he pays a visit to his father’s chambers. There he finds Shae in his bed, seemingly after a rough bed scene, and they quickly get into a fight, until he pulls her by the Hand of the King chain around her neck and stranglers her with it. If Tyrion ever had a breaking point, this was definitely it. He grabbed a crossbow and located his father in the privy, and after a short chat put an arrow in his bowels. And then put another one in his heart, before going back to Varys who gets him on a ship. After hearing the warning bells at the Red Keep, Varys gets on the ship as well.

The season started out rather light, with many hopeful and satisfying events, but it took dark turns after Joffrey’s death. Lysa’s death was somewhat hopeful, because she was downright insane, but there was the Viper’s death, Ygritte’s death, the loss of hope for Tyrion, the Stark children who kept parting ways, etc. The finale made up for all of it by giving hope everywhere around Westeros, though not so much Across the Narrow Sea, and not so much for Tywin, Shae, and the Hound. Heck, even the Mountain got his “hopeful” end, with Qyburn saying he can save him from the deadly poison, though noting the Mountain might not be the same after he completes his “saving him” procedure.

The view ratings themselves show that Game of Thrones had another amazingly strong season. I was worried that after the events from season 3 they would not be able to produce anything that good, but they keep going stronger and stronger, which should not be surprising if we look at the cast. I think this season was the best acting-wise, everyone delivered their best performances to date. My only complaint is about the final episode, which was hyped up as their “best episode to date” and is the only episode from this season sent for an Emmy consideration, but I did not find it that good. It was decent, had both good and bad scenes, but I do not believe it was their best episode this season, let alone for the whole series.

Granted, I am a book reader so maybe know what was coming and having established a vision of those events in my head, but seeing completely different scenes, could be the reason why I felt this finale was a letdown. But I did not miss events from the book, I simply found several scenes to be bad, one way or another, with too much room for improvement. Hopefully after I re-watch it a few times I’ll feel better about it. It was a fantastic season and I’m never okay with a single episode ruining the pleasure that was building up through all the other episodes. And here’s me wishing Pedro Pascal gets showered with awards for his guest role because I felt like he carried most of this season on his shoulders. An absolutely brilliant actor in a fantastic role.

Orange is the New Black Season 2 Review

Click here for The Pet Collective’s full 2 minute Youtube video of the above — Tabby is the New Cat!

SPOILER ALERT: This post includes spoilers from the second season of Orange is the New Black (Netflix).

I imagine just like myself, while craving for more OITNB, what we all wanted to see was the aftermath of Piper’s fight with Pennsatucky (it was hardly a fight though, Piper was beating the crap out of Pennsatucky). However, we weren’t given that pleasure right away. The season starts with Piper being woken up in solitary, only to learn that they’re getting her on a bus and they refuse to tell her where they’re headed. Apparently Piper doesn’t remember the outcome of the fight either, and fears she’s killed Pennsatucky so this ride is leading her to the punishment for that. Soon enough she’s forced to board a plane as well, filled with other inmates, both male and female, and yet again it seems no one knows or wants to tell them where they’re headed or why. Once they land, half the mystery is revealed — they’re in Chicago, relocated to another prison, but still no why, though Piper believes it’s for murdering Pennsatucky.

Thankfully for her, in a way, Alex is there too. From her she learns that they were relocated here because they’re to testify in the trial of Alex’s drug boss, Kubra Balik. Alex thinks its best for them to lie, fearing the police won’t be able to hold Kubra forever and that once they’re out they’ll be in constant danger from him. Piper on the other hand wants to tell the truth. Larry’s dad as her lawyer also advises her to tell the truth. A last-minute change of heart takes place, and Piper lies while Alex says the truth — surprise, surprise! Alex earns her freedom and gets released, while Piper faces perjury charges and gets additional time. Luckily for us, that means more Piper time in the old prison (the stay in Chicago was temporary for the trial).

Through flashbacks we see the long-awaited fighting scene end and it appears while Piper was beating Pennsatucky, Crazy Eyes came from behind and punched Piper in the snow, so what the guards found was Piper and Pennsatucky both lying on the ground unconscious and beaten up. Since no one saw Crazy Eyes, to everyone it seemed like both sides were equally responsible, hence Pennsatucky spending time n solitary as well. But all is not so black for Pennsatucky, since she knows Hailey was there when the fight started and he left, she manages to get herself new teeth for her silence — no one seemed to be impressed, regardless of how much she showed them off.

I think what made this season so strong, just like with the first season, were the back-stories of the other inmates.

  • We got to see Taystee as a child, then known as Tasha, trying to find a home at a Black Adoption Festival. She’s noticed by a drug dealer, who later becomes her mother figure, while she does drug trade for her along with other kids, out of which one boy is really close to Taystee, and we learn that Vee, Taystee’s mother figure, killed that boy when she found out he’s created a drug operation of his own. That same episode ends with Vee joining as an inmate. But more on that later.
  • We saw Crazy Eyes’s, Suzanne’s, rough time growing up. She was always marked as special and had trouble fitting in, despite her mother always pushing her to prove she’s just the same as everyone else.
  • Morello who was a scam artist, ordering fancy clothes for herself but claiming they were never delivered so she despite their financial status she looked like a rich actress. In fact she met Christopher while she was collecting several deliveries at the post office, who after helping with the boxes offers to buy her a cup of coffee. What’s more shocking is a trial scene where Christopher explains how he only went on one date with Morello, but despite showing no interest in her whatsoever, she kept stalking him even after he got a restraining order, leaving threatening messages and trying to place a bomb in his girlfriends’ car. She makes a quick visit to his house after she leaves Miss Rosa at the hospital and before picking her up.
  • Poussey had to travel around a lot due to her father’s work, during the period from her flashbacks she’s in Germany. She met and fell in love with a girl there, but their love is not to great to overcome their surroundings — her girlfriend’s father sees them and manages to transfer Poussey and her father back to America. In return Poussey attempts to kill her girlfriend’s father, but her own father stops her. This closely resembles her relationship with Taystee, now that Vee interrupts their time together.
  • Sister Ingalls apparently was an activist and not because of her fate, but because she loved being a leader and having lots of followers behind her. The actions she took, clearly shown in her book — NunShall Pass: The Sister Ingalls Story, were an embarrassment to the church so she’s basically a former nun since she was kicked out. She attempts to go on a hunger strike in the prison, asking for improvements and for old inmates not to be given “compassion release”, but all those following her gave up quickly when the guards offered them pizza.
  • Black Cindy was a highly inappropriate TSA agent who stole lots of things from passengers, and we see her bringing a stolen iPad for a girl’s birthday at her mother’s place, but if you thought it’s her sister you’re wrong, it’s her daughter. Yep, she has a daughter that her mother is raising as her own, and one could say it’s because BC is horrid with kids as we see her listening “Death to My Enemies” with her daughter and leaving her out in the car for hours while she gets high with her friends.
  • Gloria was a victim of domestic violence, and she’s in prison because of fraud with food stamps in her store. What she’s not in prison for is the death of her husband, who gets stuck between rooms when he steals the money Gloria was saving — he forgets the key for the store’s backdoor in the other room and the other door locks itself behind him. The room shortly sparks in flames. We’re left to ponder if this is a coincidence or if it is because of some “magic” candle ceremony her mother performs.
  • Ms. Rosa was a queen of bank-robbery. Only problem is, those closest around her kept dying. She got involved because of her boyfriend, they make a “kiss before, kiss after” deal, but he was apparently shot. Some robberies afterward, the same happens again now that she’s with one of the other guys. Eventually she thinks every man she loves ends up dead, and in a rush of adrenaline tries to rob a bank at random, alone, which puts her in jail.

Let’s get back on track now. When Piper returns to prison, she has two new notable inmates — Vee, Taystee’s mother figure, and SoSo, an Asian inmate who seems to be well-read but highly annoying. This is the second time Vee ends up here, the first time around she was running her own gang and basically ruled the prison, showing Red how she can use the kitchen business to start smuggling in items, but having the gang beat her up when she refused to share on the profits with her. Vee manages to get a business going for her once again, first by befriending Crazy Eyes who helps her obtain cigarettes she had hidden in the prison, which she uses to buy a cake from the kitchen, which gets Taystee and the rest of her friends on her side.

With Vee on the rise, Red tries to get herself back in a proper position as well, but the only ones showing interest in her are a group of old women (who can be quite scary, apparently). She manages to get the prison greenhouse back in work, and conveniently for her it has a tunnel she can use for smuggling in items, which helps her get back her family. Only problem is, Boo rats out on her to Vee, and in the process ends up alone since none likes a rat. But this leaves Red in a vulnerable position now that Vee knows how her business operates. One of the old women “kills” Vee, accidentally confusing another inmate for her, and it’s up to Red to try to finish the job herself. She could have, but last-minute her morals kick in and she decides she and Vee can be friends. But Vee is a treacherous and vicious woman so she repays that kindness by almost killing Red when she beats her up.

And investigation ensues where Crazy Eyes gets blamed since Vee used the lock from her locker for beating up Red. Hailey, who throughout the whole season is trying to rekindle the trust with all the inmates, manages to save the day by having Joel state Crazy Eyes was with him when the accident happened. This puts Vee as prime suspect, but unfortunately she’s used the tunnel in the greenhouse to run away.

Piper finds herself in a horrible position now that Alex has betrayed her again, and on top of that Larry ends up cheating on her with Polly, since they got really close while he was helping her with the baby. She learns he slept with another woman during her 48-hour period outside, since Hailey helped her to get a furlow when her grandmother passed away, but she doesn’t learn who it was till Larry and Polly visit her to “ask for her blessing.” She decides she’ll be okay with their relationship if they help her reach out to the officer in charge of Alex to warn him that Alex is trying to leave the country, which would put her back in prison (she’ll be joining the main cast next season and appearing in every episode).

Miss Rosa learns she only has about three weeks left to live as her cancer has become too aggressive. Just before her and Morello are to enter with the van in the prison, Morello uses the lockdown which takes place because of Vee’s absence as a distraction to let Rosa run away with the van. This will put Joe Caputo in a bad light next season now that he’s on probation to become the next assistant warden, since Natalie Figueroa was fired because of embezzlement (but not before giving some special services to Joe, thinking he won’t reveal the truth). Doesn’t help that he fired Fischer in a rage moment, nor that he put away Pornstache in prison as the father of Daya’s child, now that Bennett confessed the truth to him.

To wrap it all up, we have Rosa feeling just like in her young years when she’s fleeing with the prison van. Driving down the road she sees no one but Vee, who reached the road there through the woods after escaping from the other end of the tunnel. Unfortunately for Vee, she was rude to Rosa several times throughout their prison time together. So she speeds up and hits Vee with the van as fast as she can, presumably killing her, while driving off and mumbling “Always so rude, that one.” We’re left to wonder if it was a coincidence or because of the “candle magic” Gloria did with Norma in the kitchen. But it was definitely a happy ending!

A wild season, I would even say better than the first season and the only downside is that with binge-watching I went through the episodes in a whim, so now I’m left waiting for a new season. Might as well put me in solitary till the new season’s here! More back-stories please, the ones from this season were fantastic, and they all fit so well with what was actually taking place in the prison. I also love Piper and Alex, but I hope they don’t keep screwing up each other, I feel like that will get repetitive soon enough, if it isn’t already. Larry/Polly was a fun and shocking twist; Vee having history with both Taystee and Red, as well as being the “leader” back in her day was awesome; Morello’s Christopher story was absolutely mind-blowing, and Rosa’s victory ride was the cherry on top. Keep it up, OITNB.

Hannibal Season 2 Review

SPOILER ALERT: This post includes spoilers from the second season of Hannibal (NBC). While it does not provide all the details of each episode, it does discuss the season in entirety and as such contains lots of elements, including some from the season finale episode. If you’re not yet caught up with it and you mind spoilers, please come back after you’ve finished the season and feel like reliving it through this post. The post also includes some details from IGN’s interview with executive producer and showrunner Bryan Fuller (which you should also read, I loved it).Hannibal Title CardMy, if that wasn’t one bloody season finale! And I’m starting with the finale because the season in fact started with a flash forward of the finale — a glimpse of a confrontation between Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen)and Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) in Hannibal’s home. A fighting sequence so thrilling you’re not sure which character you’re rooting for. That is, until we see Jack getting stabbed in the neck with a shard of glass, at which point I’d like to think we were all hoping he makes it alive. But all we get is a glimmer of hope as he runs into another room, while Hannibal is shown grabbing a knife and trying to bang the door open. At this point we go back to the present, twelve weeks before this supposed encounter, all we know is that the show is headed toward it and that we do not have all the details (what you don’t expect is how big that final scene actually is).

So we get a fancy dinner between Jack and Hannibal, where Jack tells Hannibal that Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) insists that Hannibal is to be blamed for all the crimes he may be convicted for, and Hannibal expresses his wish to be investigated by Jack in order to put those thoughts behind. Beverly Katz (Hettienne Park) inspects Hannibal’s attire and takes a saliva sample for that purpose, and Hannibal’s innocence is proved, as they cannot find any evidence pointing toward him, it all goes back to Will. Alan Bloom (Caroline Dhavernas) believes Will to be innocent as well, but without proof he cannot be saved. Hannibal visits Will in the Baltimore State Hospital, despite Bedelia’s (Gillian Anderson) disapproval of the idea, where Will tells him he is fully correct about Hannibal and that once his mind is clear and he remembers everything he currently doesn’t, he will know the full truth. And while imprisoned there, Will does from time to time receive these flashbacks of the past, such as Hannibal shoving a tube down his throat and using it to place Abigail’s ear in his system without being chewed.

On the other hand, we still have ongoing cases. The first one in the season is with a muralist, someone who is making a palette of people with differently colored skin. Their first hint toward him is in fact given by Will, due to Beverly seeking his advice on the case. Hannibal manages to locate the man before the FBI, sews him in with the rest of the people in the mural, but not before cutting off one of his legs for some delicious recipe. When presented with a photo of the mural, Will tells Beverly that the one person does not fit the mural, he is in fact the muralist and was sewn in there by someone else who took the leg as a trophy. The following two murders are in fact done for Will, by a third party murderer. One is a bailiff impaled on a set of antlers, but it was sadly proved that it was not done by the same person who impaled Cassie Boyle so the trial continues. Until a janitor finds the judge strung up dead in the courtroom, which obviously postpones  the trial.

Bedelia bids her goodbye to Hannibal, saying she believes him to be dangerous and cannot continue her sessions with him, and decides to visit Will and whisper to him that she believes him [regarding Hannibal]. Beverly also visits Will, and through their conversation she starts believing Will about Hannibal and in order to find out the truth she decides to visit Hannibal’s house. Bella Crawford (Gina Torres), who has lung cancer, takes a lethal amount of morphine before her sessions with Hannibal, who after flipping a coin she gave him as gratitude for showing her that death is not defeat, decides to save her. Beverly uses the opportunity to break inside Hannibal’s home, but unfortunately is caught when Hannibal returns. Freddie Lounds (Lara Jean Chorostecki) finds her vivisected and the parts pressed between glass panels like for a museum display.

Will is allowed to visit the crime scene as well, and realizes that she must have found the Chesapeake Ripper and the copycat killer who are the same person because those glass panels also held some organs from the muralist. Will being reassured that this was Hannibal, he sets on to stop him, one way or another. Conveniently for him, one of the orderly in the hospital reveals to him that he murdered the bailiff because he admired Will’s work, and Will asks him to kill Hannibal. What’s even more convenient is that Abel Gideon (Eddie Izzard) overhears this, and tells Alana Bloom, giving her the chance to save him. Jack and Alana come rushing to the crime scene, on time to shoot the orderly who is cutting Hannibal’s wrists, but a minute too late to see Hannibal’s revelation (the orderly asks him if he’s the Chesapeake Ripper, saying he does not have to answer him, his pupils will dilate with certain mental efforts and we see Hannibal’s pupils dilate).

Jack pays an angry visit to Will because of the attempted murder, but Will manages to pinch his thoughts with the idea that if the Chesapeake Ripper is killing, that means Hannibal is planning a dinner party. And of course, he does. After hearing a tape from a conversation between Gideon and Will, Jack starts suspecting Hannibal as well. In fact, he comes to Hannibal’s party, mentions he has to leave quickly but would love to take some food for home, but instead takes the food for testing in FBI’s lab. No worries, the food is only food (just this once) so it proves nothing (but it was apparently very good because after the party Alana gets in bed with Hannibal). However, some evidence from a case leads Jack to an abandoned cabin where he finds Miriam Lass (Anna Chlumsky), obviously missing an arm. She’s asked to confirm the identity of the Chesapeake Ripper, and she confirms it is not Hannibal, but upon seeing and hearing Dr. Chilton (Raul Esparza) she becomes disorientated and shoots him, leaving us to think that Hannibal conditioned her to think Chilton is the Ripper. All of this helps Will, as both the murders and that “confirmation” free him of his charges,and he decides to continue his therapy with Hannibal, slowly appearing to be under Hannibal’s influence.

At this point we take a different turn, adding in Margot Verger (Katharine Isabelle) as a patient of Hannibal’s, who has been abused with years by her brother, Mason Verger (Michael Pitt). The latter loves spending time with the pigs he has trained to eat human flesh, and in facts manages to catch Hannibal and hangs him there, though Will comes to his aid, after which he finds Mason in his house feeding Will’s dogs bits of his face (though he survives that and last we see him he is in the hospital telling Jack how he means to repay Dr. Lecter for his great therapy sessions). Margot, on the other hand, becomes somewhat close to Will using the “oh we’re both Hannibal’s patients” card, to the point where they have sex and she becomes pregnant. That was apparently her plan all along, as she needs a male heir in order to inherit the Verger business after she gets rid of her horrid brother. But Hannibal can’t have Will tied to the place when he envisions the two of them leaving together at some point, so he tips off Mason on it, eventually leading Margot to a car crash and waking up with the information that she’s now infertile.

Moving back to our favorite duo, we have Will appear further under Hannibal’s influence when we see him killing Freddie after she finds out human organs at his place. Technically though, we don’t see the murder taking place, we just see Freddie disappearing and her last call being panicky screaming which through her phone is tracked back to Will’s place. And that’s the beauty of it, you’re lead to believe he killed her, when in fact he’s been working with Jack to make it seem like he’s Hannibal’s partner so they can finally catch Hannibal. Jack shows the alive Freddie to Alana, so they’re all in the same boat. Unfortunately, the FBI isn’t — Jack is suspended because of everything, while there is a warrant for the arrest of Will. Alana warns Will, who in turn warns Hannibal that “they know.” Prior to this we see Hannibal and Will discussing their leave together, at which point Hannibal notes the smell of Freddie on Will and is likely when he realizes that Will has been working against him all this time.

And, 1500 words later I reach the finale again and that confrontation scene we mentioned at that start. Do you see now how different the scenario actually becomes? Jack visits Hannibal, we get to the point we mentioned (Jack’s neck is stabbed, he runs to hide in another room) and we have Alana coming in Jack’s rescue, with a gun. Unfortunately, Hannibal has previously taken out all the bullets, so she ends up running on the second floor to hide in a room, where we have the shocking reappearance of Abigail Hobbs (Kacey Rohl) who pushes her out of the window. Alas, Will arrives, and seeing Alana he phones for help. Inside the house, in the kitcher, he says “You were meant to leave.” to Hannibal, in such a way it makes me think he was secretly hoping he’d leave and none of this would have happened. Hannibal responds that he and Abigail could not leave without Will, and swiftly guts him with a knife after which he cuts Abigail’s throat just before Will closes his eyes. We see Hannibal leaving the house, and thus ends the so-called Red Dinner (a fan-made name as a nod to the “Red Wedding” in A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones where many characters died).

But, if you watched till the credits then you missed out on a lot! By pulling a Marvel move we were shown Hannibal on a plain, with a french-speaking stewardess and Bedelia sitting to him with a lovely smile on her face. What the heck, right?! Bryan Fuller says we can imagine they had a conversation off-screen which is why Bedelia decided to go with him. My own personal opinion is that Bedelia realized just how dangerous Hannibal is, and that the protection the FBI promised her would likely not suffice. She’d be better off pretending to be on his side than to openly be against him. We’ll also be getting a lot more of her next season, and apparently the first episode will focus solely on Hannibal and Bedelia, so we won’t get to find out who survived this lovely dinner this the second episode. What Fuller mentions is that we can expect not everyone will make it out alive.

Personally, I think Abigail, having her throat sliced open, will definitely not make it. I’m having trouble decide if anyone else will bite the dust — Jack would be too important now (I see him leading a hunt after Hannibal), Will as always is such a fascinating character that I don’t think they can let go of him yet (he’ll likely be helping Jack), and with Alana I just don’t think her injury was fatal. I’m practically torn here. But I do believe this was one crazy good season and would probably give it a 9.5 out of 10 or something. I know the show is not for everyone, it’s quite complicated and very graphic with the deaths, but I truly believe not enough people appreciate how good Hannibal is (it’s sad to think it keeps getting “threatened” with cancellation after every season). If you got through the whole review, please do let me know your thoughts on that ending and which character you think (or at least hope) will make it out alive.

Fall/Winter 2013/2014 Top New TV Shows

I figure a good way to cover most of the TV shows I watch is split them in two starting periods, this post being about the first one, new TV Shows that started during September – April. If they started during May-August, I’ll cover them in a post sometime after that period. In no particular order, here are my top 5 picks of new TV shows.

I’ll be honest, I only started watching this because of James Spader, who players Raymond “Ray” Reddington, one of the central characters. He’s the FBI’s most wanted who suddenly surrenders to them, offering to help them catch criminals, but only if all his communication goes through Elizabeth “Liz” Keen (Megan Boone) who was on her first day as an Agent. The trailer does the show no justice, it makes it seem like another crime drama with a single interesting character. It is not. The characters they include, both on the white list (fellow agents and workers) and the black list (criminals) are all unique in their way and certainly make the series worth watching. The stories the Blacklist tells, both with the individual criminals on the blacklist they go after, and the stories surrounding our main characters, are told so well I often feel that each episode should last longer. I can’t even say which criminal/villain I like the most because they are all fantastic and I certainly do hope they continue introducing more in the following seasons (yes, seasons, it needs to go on!), although I’m not sure how they’ll do the team after that season one finale.

Probably one of the strongest new shows we’ll see during the 2013/2014, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re a top nominee for various awards considering the cast— Matthew McCounaghey as detective Rust Cohle, Woody Harrelson as detective Marty Hart, Michelle Monaghan as Magie Hart. This is the cast solely for season one though, if there is a second season then they plan to tell a different story with a different character list. Which is probably for the best, I feel like they told their story just fine and adding new cases for them would be a poor move. Especially since what we see here is the detectives revisiting a 17-year old case of theirs, which works just perfectly for telling both the tale of the past and the on-goings of the present. To sum this up with “2 detectives revisit their 17-year old case after some new discoveries” would be ridiculous. It’s likely one of the better crime drama shows with a brilliant storytelling, editing, writing, and all the other things that make a show good.

Did you start watching The Vampire Diaries and thought it looked promising, but then it turned out to be another soup opera? Well, you’re lucky, as the CW just took everything good from The Vampire Diaries and put it in this new show, The Originals. The name should sound familiar, it does indeed revolve around the Originals from TVD. While it does not take place in the past (that would have been too good to be true) it still has all the flashbacks we used to love. Where TVD kept going boring, repetitive, or simply silly, the Originals keeps going interesting, innovative, and is full of surprises. If you’re one of us who does not like their vampires sparkly, their werewolves weak, and their witches weird, then give the Originals a chance, it will sure keep you entertained.

Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison), enough said. Being resurrected after two and a half centuries since his death, he sure has a lot to tell and complain about our current community (and he says the truth in a perfect amusing style). But his role is far more serious (which makes it so much funnier) as he is here to unravel the tale of the four horseman with the help of Lieutenant  Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie), her sister Jenny Mills(Lynda Greenwood), Captain Frank Irving (Orlando Jones), he is set on a quest to solve the mystery that haunts Sleepy Hollow and possibly save his wife Katrina Crane (Katia Winter) while at it. I’d mark Sleepy Hollow as one of my favorites, it has the perfect amount of fantasy, mystery, drama, and humor for an adventure of this type.

I’m going to be brutal here, I don’t know if it was because of the hype that was building up, or because the fact that it was written by Joss Whedon, or that Marvel’s budget was obviously going to allow them quite a bit of things, I felt overall it was rather poorly done at the end of the day. At least the starting few episodes gave that impression, and while it improved somewhat over time, I still feel they did not use the show’s full potential (far from it, actually). Which does not mean it is a bad show, quite the contrary, it is good, both dark sometimes and funny other times, I just think it leans more toward being an average show than something great. Too much cliché moves and poor character development at the start, and barely and signs of some of our favorites from the Marvel universe. But the potential is there, so let us all keep our fingers crossed that they keep improving.

Again, in no particular order, here are the rest of my picks in the top 10 list of new TV shows.

I wanted a comedy on the list and I feel like Brooklyn Nine-Nine was the better out the new ones I saw, definitely worthy of finding itself on this list. And I’m not the greatest fan of Andy Samberg, who players the main character, detective Jake Peralta, so that says something. A good comedy placed within a crime/drama setting, so if nothing else it at least distances itself from all the shows we’ve seen. Different means good in my book, especially when the writing and production are decent.

I wanted this to be good, it seemed so promising. I’m still not sure it is going to deliver on its promise though. So far it has been decent, good story, fine plot points, but what it lacked was more action and ship/sails elements. I understand that those scenes are expensive to shoot, but if you’re going to do a series about sea voyages and adventures, then you must have known these are a must. Instead the show spends too much time with brothels and sex scenes. Yes, some of these are crucial for the story as well, but I say too much because some of them are obviously filling in to bring in more viewers (though I would argue that if you’re going to try to get viewers from nude scenes, you’re filming for the wrong industry). Here’s hoping that they start improving though.

Mentioning different on Brooklyn Nine-Nine made me think of Masters of Sex — if I had to use a single world to describe the show, I would use ‘different’. It the center of it all you have Dr. William Masters (Michael Sheen) and Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan) who are conducting research on sex to answer all kinds of questions about the act which Masters believe to be the study of the beginning of all life. For once on tv, the sex scenes are not there as fillers or trying to capture the viewer’s attention, they’re there because the story needs them. Quite a fun piece of tv, really.

I love how the newest trend seems to be doing old stories into TV shows or creating TV shows loosely based on old stories, and while I hate when they are ruined when poorly done, some are simply a thrill to watch. The Musketeers would definitely be in the second group here (both with being just loosely based on the books and a thrill to watch). I like that they’re doing individual episode stories while a bigger story arc is taking place behind all of them, because I do not see solely the original Three Musketeers story being used for creating a long-running tv show. It’s a very light drama, has some funny moments, but it is overall pretty decently done. If you can watch it without being annoyed by the differences from the Three Musketeers story, you will enjoy it.

I’ll be honest, I’m not fully caught up with this show, and I’m not sure if I want to finish the season knowing that Fox has already cancelled it. It was far from the best sci-fi TV has seen (some of which were also cancelled — I’m looking at you Fox because of Firefly), but it was decent and promised a lot. I feel any sci-fi story needs space and time to really kick off, and Almost Human was definitely not given enough time. It’s about a cop (Karl Urban as John Kennex) paired up with a lifelike android (Michael Ealy as Dorian) in a quest to protect and serve in a 35-years-in-the-future world. I don’t know what is up with Fox, but from the little research I did it seems that the show was doing good and people liked it, the only issue I see is that new TV shows planned for this fall (2014) seemed to have a lot of hype and I guess they thought they will do better in ratings. Oh well, your loss, Fox.

There’s a number of TV shows I did not have the time to check out, maybe because by “check out” I mean see at least half of the first season (I don’t like basing my opinion on the pilot alone, in fact I prefer having viewed the entire first season to get the full scope of the show).  However, I have went through their description and saw trailers, so below I’ve listed some promising ones (even though a number of them have already been cancelled). If you have watched them, do leave your impressions in a comment.

About a Boy (NBC) – renewed

Believe (NBC) – cancelled

Chicago PD (NBC) – renewed

Dracula (NBC) – cancelled

The Goldbergs (ABC) – renewed

Reign (CW) – renewed Resurrection (ABC) – renewed

Star-Crossed (CW) – cancelled

Surviving Jack (Fox) – cancelled

The Tomorrow People (CW) – cancelled

Us & Them (Fox) – cancelled

Witches of East End (Lifetime) – renewed

Top 5 TV Episodes, August 19th-1st

Due to the fact that I’ve been busy and will remain busy for about two more weeks, I decided to head for the impossible and try to combine two weeks worth of TV Show Episodes in two consecutive posts. By that, I mean instead of doing 4 posts, one for each week of a month’s time, I’d instead do just 2 posts and they would each cover two weeks of that same time period. By impossible, I mean placing TV Episodes of the same Show against each other. This post covers the TV Episodes I’ve seen during the period of August 19th and the 1st of September. On my cut-off position I’d like to place Dexter’s S08E09 Make Your Own Kind of Music episode. With a single episode during this 2-weeks period, it was definitely the weakest link in the pile. Now just 3 more episodes left till the Show’s end, and no sign of a big  finish.

#5 – Under the Dome: S01E10 – Let the Games Begin

This episode was full of revelations and general information discovery in many directions. Linda finding a key in Duke’s sheriff hat that leads to a safety-deposit box in Chester Mill’s bank, which reveals quite a bit of the bad work in the city to both her and Julia, who additionally opens a safety-deposit box of her own which tells her of the whereabouts of her husband. Maxine opens a bar where people gamble possessions on bare-knuckled fights and the star of the fight is the town’s new hero. Big Jim pays a visit to a lake house in hope to find information regarding Maxine and Barbie’s relationship, but might find a bit more than he’s hoping for. Dodee sets on a mission to discover what Joe and Norrie are up to and comes across the mini-dome which apparently is a character of its own now. Meanwhile, Angie realizes she knows the identity of the person whom the mini-dome’s fourth handprint belongs to.

#4 – Breaking Bad: S05E12 – Rabid Dog

This was not a weak episode for Breaking Bad, not at all, the only reason it’s placed lower than the preceding episode is because this one has less action. It was obviously there to get things rolling for the next episode. We see Jesse’s loyalties changing now that he realized Walter poisoned Brock, and we see Skyler that she’s no longer the whiny witch from the previous seasons, she’s ready to ride in Heisenberg’s car (in fact, she’d prefer to drive!). It was a good episode, I cannot imagine Breaking Bad having a weak episode at this point, but an obvious slightly slowing down with so the plot can get ready for the final race.

#3 – Suits: S03E07 – She’s Mine

Slightly behind its preceding episode, but only because I greatly missed the flashbacks we had in that one. This was a fun and witty episode, as always. I enjoyed the mock trial between Louis and Nigel as to who should get custody over Nigel’s cat. While they are very few, I’m definitely a fan of the mock trials in this TV Show. Mike heading head to head with Jessica, I think it’s safe to say he feels part of the family (Pearson Specter) when we see him just walking in Jessica’s office as he does in Harvey’s office. Then we have Donna standing up against Huntley because he screwed up Harvey, obviously proving she still loves him. And finally, that was that ending scene where Harvey delivered the beating up he promised to Huntley. Might just be one of Suits’ best endings so far.

#2 – Suits: S03E06 – The Other Time

A fantastic episode spiced up with flashbacks from 10 years ago! Suits could not have had a better scenario than this one. There is not much left to discuss here, seeing the early days of Donna, Harvey, Donna & Harvey, Jessica, Trevor, etc. The present and 10 years ago versions were mixed up together in a great fashion, capturing messages that still haunt our characters even 10 years after. We also finally found out why Mike couldn’t have went to Harvard after coming to work with Harvey (it always bugged me why no one even mentioned this, so thank goodness that possible plot hole has been filled). A look back on its own would have been great for Suits, but to add to the level of quality, it was executed brilliantly. A must-watch.

#1 – Breaking Bad: S05E11 – Confessions

Skyler, Walter, Marie, and Hank, are out for dinner which turns out to be one of the several unbearably tense dinners the show has seen in its existence. Obviously telling someone “Just kill yourself” is a bad thing to do at dinner, Marie. Could have at least waited after you finished eating. The waiter offering margaritas and tableside guacamole did not help at all. But, Heisenberg is Heisenberg and he will not let some crazy Marie who cannot differentiate between rocks and minerals have the last word. He had videotaped his confessions as a meth cook, which he made sure Marie and Hank had a copy of before leaving dinner. Your reaction was probably close to mine – WHAT?! But, as it happens, the confessions are false and point toward Hank as the muscle behind the whole operation, obviously putting the Schrader family in a tight position. Jesse on the other hand, has no idea what he’s doing but on Walter’s suggestion he decides to leave town. Except just as he’s about to pop in the getaway car, he realizes the truth behind poor little Brock’s death.

BreakingBadS05E11

Breaking Bad S05E11: Confessions