Review

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!

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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.

Top 5 TV Episodes, August 5th-11th

 Another week, another ones of these short TV episode reviews. This time, surprisingly enough, I’m on time. Go me! Once again Skins finds itself here with its Season 7 finale (E06, Rise: Part 2), which ends Cook’s story. I don’t see how “rise” fits in this as he managed to get the loveliest girl ever killed along with her family, ends up separated with the girl he got in all that trouble for, and he’ still the same old douche he always was. Maybe because he decides to not kill Louie? Not good enough for me, sorry.

#5 – Under the Dome: S01E07 – Imperfect Circles

 I’m a little disappointed that all we got from Norrie and Joe touching the mysterious black egg who has its mini-dome and is located at the center of the Chester’s Mill Dome was a flash/hallucination of Norrie’s mother. Yet on the other hand, she (gasp) dies in that same episode. Could the two things be related? We also see a medium-pregnant (it’s not like we got to know which month she was in so we’re going with that measurement, yep) woman seeing her own husband at the other side of the dome (hallucination). Additionally, when she touches the dome the hallucinations stop, her water brakes, and Norrie’s mother gets to give birth (Barbie helps too, as he does with everything else in the city?) to the baby even though it’s early. One life lost, one life given. In general, not UtD’s best episode, but since I already watched the one from last night as well, I can tell you they’re gonna blow up the place next week. Pun intended, for those who saw last week’s episode as well.

#4 – True Blood: S06E09 – Life Matters

 And we finally get to see how all the vampires that met the true death in the compounds in Bill’s vision are saved. Obviously fairy blood is involved, which Bill has excess of so he lets everyone feed off him. A small puzzle is how Eric who had a huge head-start arrived later than Bill who was there to save them first. Not a puzzle but the most annoying this is that Sara got away, but I guess we wanted to see Jason let her go rather than kill her? I’m not sure about you, but I wanted her dead, just like Newlin died. So, now we have these vampires who are free and can walk under daylight and are also pissed off at humankind. Do I sense a blood-thirsty season finale next week?

#3 – Dexter: S08E07 – Dress Code

 A drop of two positions for our former two weeks crown-wearer. While I liked Hannah’s previous appearance on the show, this time around it seemed like too much of a soap opera. She comes back to Dexter with a husband who’s treating her bad, and she cannot get rid of him because his family will be suspicious, but Dexter can get rid of him for her and they won’t be suspicious? Sort of a hole in the plot there, as I don’t see how a person disappearing vs. dying will make the family less suspicious if Hannah gave them off bad vibes in the first place. But, all that aside, I do like the feel of domestic chaos around Dexter that seems to be this season’s point so far. He’s this cold blooded serial killer yet there’s his sister, the doctor who helped create him, the lovely neighbor, a new psycho he might be able to turn into a mini-Dexter, and his son follow in his footsteps (not the killing part, but the lying and the not being very social parts). I’m actually quite curious as to how it all wraps up seeing how the end is getting nearer and the plot seems to be getting bigger.

#2 – Suits: S03E04 – Conflict of Interest

 Firmly placed at spot #2, Suits just does not want to let go. The episode title gives it all away, I think this episode was mostly showing how people at Pearson-Darby have different interests and they’re all ready to do everything in their power to ensure theirs and not another party’s interests win. It’s also refreshing to not just have Harvey & Mike, but see some interaction between Donna & Rachel, Donna & Huntley, Louis & Jessica, Jessica & Darby, etc. In fact, Jessica vs. Darby I believe delivered the best parts of this episode. Classy and witty as always stays Suits.

#1 – Breaking Bad: S05E09 – Blood Money

A new episode for Breaking Bad, and it steals the crown right away. In fact the episode was perfectly done as a way to bring back Season 5 of the show with its additional and last eight episodes that the only thing I would change is its name. Whatever the current name is, from now on this will be known as The Tread Lightly Episode. For those who have not yet watched the episode (who hasn’t?!) that is from Walter’s reply to Hank after he tells him he no longer knows who he is — “If that’s true, if you don’t know who I am, then maybe your best course would be to tread lightly.” There are no means to describe the fierceness of this episode. There was very little of Walt Jr., Holly, and Marie (which is good). Jesse no longer trusts Walt. There was also Hank’s powerful realization scene of who Heisenberg is which was stronger than Linden’s realization of who the Pied Piper is in The Killing, yet they were of similar nature. And let’s not forget that final scene where Walt confronts Hank in his garage about the tracking device he found on his car and Hank’s reaction involves no movement at all, but simply closing the garage door. One just knows sh*t is going to hit the fan at that point!

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Breaking Bad S05E09: Blood Money

Top 5 TV Episodes, 29th-4th of August

And with this, I should be caught up till this point. As intended, my weekly reviews should continue coming up on Tuesday. Consider this Saturday as a double Tuesday of some sort for now. Heh. On my cut off position once again Skins, this time around with their S07E05, Rise: Part 1 episode. This is most probably because Cook was never one of my favorite Skins characters.

#5 – The Killing: S03E11E12 – From Up Here / The Road to Hamelin

I might be ruining my experience with several shows when I set my expectations for them too high, BUT, in all honesty, how bad can you turn a two-episodes finale? Well, the Killing made it quite bad. Not the worst episodes the show has seen, but sadly they did not work well enough as season finale and left both disappointment and a huge list of question marks all around the pied piper case. In fact, if they crammed the two episodes into a single one, it would have been a decent ending, but not as it stands now. Linden realizing who the murderer is after seeing the ring on his daughter’s finger was the most powerful scene present in the hour and half we saw of the Killing last Sunday. But, more on that later in my review of the whole season (along with a 1-10 rating).

#4 – True Blood: S06E08 – Dead Meat

True Blood’s plot is all over the place, sort of like a vampire’s parts after they meet the true death. This does not mean that the show has gone bad though. Quite the contrary, True Blood’s one of the rarest TV Shows I’ve seen running with so many parallel plots but doing it fantastically. A drop of two positions this week due to no drastic changes, and Newlin and Sara being as annoying as Sookie.

#3 – Under the Dome: S01E06 – The Endless Thirst

As we already established, Under the Dome had a barely decent / kind of bad start, but as the episodes kept rolling it gradually became better and better. It is still improving, actually. This episode we saw the town’s water tower being damaged and all the water leaking out, while the town’s lake was found polluted. Quite the town crises, if it wasn’t for Big Jim finding a new water source, though it cost him dearly in the form of propane (we see how much he cares about the city). Angie’s out, thank goodness, and she’s less annoying when she’s not with Junior for some reason (but we’re glad about that reason, whatever it is). Joe is helping Norrie to find insulin for one of her mothers, while Julia and Doddee are trying to locate the power source that is causing transmission issues. Guess what the power source is? Joe and Norrie! Oh and let’s not forget Barbie being the town hero, saving Angie and generally preventing chaos around the place.

#2 – Suits: S03E03 – Unfinished Business

Two positions up this week for the glamorous drama that is Suits. Donna being half of this episode’s center was definitely a huge plus. Her flirting with Huntley was really fantastic and while it is obvious it will be a temporary thing, here’s me hoping we’ll get to see more of it. Huntley seems like a mystery factor here but as soon as he helps with the Eva case we know he’s got Harvey/Mike’s back. Harvey sticking out for Mike with Katrina seemed silly — it’s not like Mike cannot handle his battles. In fact, it only proved that Katrina’s videos where Mike is presented as Harvey’s baby, hold some truth in them. I shall not linger on that thought though, especially because I’m not sure what bigger part will Katrina play sometime in the future. Or, at least I expect her to, as otherwise she’s not really adding much to the story with her drama at this point (well, some “use” from her in this week’s episode but that one goes in my next top 5).

#1 – Dexter: S08E06 – A Little Reflection

 For the first time since I started writing these top 5 lists, we have a TV Show keeping the crown. That’s right, Dexter manages to place itself at #1 two weeks in a row. The previous week it was due to the whole “happy tree friends” feeling and how great they pulled out from the whole fiasco of Deb trying to murder both Dexter and herself with him. This time around, it is due to the whole “trouble at home” feeling. Well that, and Deb and Elway’s chemistry. Now that Dr. Vogel has helped Dexter and brought him back with Debra, maybe she feels she needs to take on another project? Zach Hamilton is her new target, who she hopes to be her new Dexter (teach him the code, yada yada). But, as it happens so, Zach might also be Dexter’s new target, except he’s not interested in teaching him in code, he’s interested in teaching him a lesson on his table while wrapped in plastic. Actually, I could rant on for quite a while on how good the episode was, but I shall only add this — it was so good I forgot I read that Hannah is supposed to return this episode so I was caught off guard when Debra started feeling bad, fell on the ground, Dexter was following her in the same position, and then she shows up all “Hi Dexter. Remember me?”

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Dexter S08E06: A Little Reflection

Top 5 TV Episodes, July 22nd-28th

Alas, this is horribly late, but as the old saying goes — better late than never. This post covers the episodes that premiered during the Monday-Sunday week of July 22nd to July 28th. That week on my cut-off position can be found Skins’ S07E04, Pure: Part 2. Quite a pity that Cassie’s (Hannah Murray) story came out weak and weird and very badly handled. She was my favorite in the early seasons of the show, but this episode did not use its full potential and didn’t do justice to Hannah Murray’s charm. Though those modeling photos of her we saw in the episode were simply breath-taking.

#5 – Under the Dome: S01E05 – Blue on Blue

A drop of four positions for Under the Dome, not because it was a bad episode but because its improvement was the smallest in comparison to the other episodes I watched. In fact, this episode was better than last week’s for Under the Dome, but most shows made a huge jump.  The missile hitting the Dome was a great plus here, and especially Joe and Norrie kissing while it happens and with no resulting seizures from the touching. Oh and there was Big Jim pushing Coggins’ (the priest) head against the Dome, which kills him due to his hearing aid in the ear that touches the Dome. If it wasn’t for this annoying  person called Junior and his story with Angie I think it would have been even better. The puzzles I’m most intrigued by are Barbie’s past and Joe and Norrie.

#4 – Suits: S03E02 – I Want You to Want Me

This might have been one of my favorites non-finale episodes of Suits. It was brilliant and witty and great in every aspect, until the ending came. While a frustrated Louis seeing Mike, who had just agreed to be on his team, and Harvey reuniting their team in his office might be fun to watch, it was the obvious choice and the most predictable move ever. This might be my own wishes interfering with my judgement, but I believe if the Mike/Louis partnership idea continued at least for one more episode, it would have been a better plot twist. Nothing to add beside this, a fantastic episode overall and I think Louis has never been greater than now but alas that ending was far from my liking.

#3 – The Killing: S03E10 – Six Minutes

If there’s one thing this episode wasn’t, it is six minutes.  While the idea of Linden still trying to save Seward just 12 hours before his execution sounds like something one would want to see, going back and forth on whether he actually killed his wife or not made the whole 40+ minutes painful to watch. The high-point of the episode was definitely the ending itself, Seward being hanged and Linden sitting there waiting for the execution to end (which felt like the longest execution I’ve seen on TV, though that might be because they usually involve faster methods). Overall, I do not feel this needed a full episode as it felt super slow and made me gag quite a lot — kind of like the execution itself was. But I did like that execution and Seward made the episode watchable, plus it was better than the previous episode so two spots up for The Killing.

#2 – True Blood: S06E07 – In the Evening

One spot up for the great pile of chaos that is True Blood nowadays. There’s no way my short one-two paragraph reviews can cover up everything that happened in this episode, so we’ll go the short route of simply mentioning the best points and what made the episode so good.  Eric and Norra escaping the compound; Terry knowing about his death — so hyped to find out about this; Sara’s scene when she finds Burrell dead; Pam’s bromance with the therapist; Norra’s death. If there’s one thing that made True Blood step up the ladder this week it’s Norra’s noble death, accompanied with flashbacks from Eric’s early days of Vampirehood, and lots of prayers, requests, and tears, that fortunately do not help Norra at all. Yes, fortunately, I am glad she’s out of the picture.

#1 – Dexter: S08E05 – This Little Piggy

I take back everything I said about the ending from the previous week. It is true what they say, do not judge a book by its cover, and in this case definitely do not judge a show by a single episode. Last week ended in the worst and weirdest fashion, but all of that was forgotten because the starting scene for this week was as fantastic as it can be. Dexter and Debra sitting down in front of Dr. Vogel and discussing the fact that Debra tried to kill Dexter even if that meant she’ll die as well. Yet, as Vogel points out, she did go back to save him from the drowning car. According to her, this was Debra hitting rock bottom and as soon as that happened, she became ready to accept Dexter as he is, hence the saving. At first Dexter has lost all trust in Deb and refuses to accept her back, but once Vogel has been kidnapped by a serial killer, Yates, they’re united once again. Not only do they reunite, they become a team, sort of, and eventually the episode ends in the calmest, strongest, most psycho-moment so far. Dex, Deb, and Vogel sitting on Dexter’s Yacht after throwing Yates’ body in the water. All that’s missing is Harrison, right?

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Dexter S08E05: The Little Piggy

P.S. Masuka and his daughter are a great addition to the show, but the fact that we’re nearing the end of Dexter’s days and everyone is focused on his story, kinda puts a shadow over Masuka’s story.