season 2

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!

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.