This is a transition week, we say goodbye to Continuum and Orphan Black which finish their seasons this week, then we check out two new series, Dominion and The Last Ship, plus Defiance comes back for its second season. This is the busiest week we’ve had for a while, 9 shows, so let’s take a look at what was on this week on TV Thursday – 6/26/14. 24 #9×09 – “Day 9: 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.” – As I predicted last week, President Heller didn’t really die, somehow Chloe hacked into the drone camera feed and made a video loop making it look like Heller was standing in the middle of the field when it blew up. That’s a bad decision on the part of the show-runners, killing Heller was a strong move, a brave move and they proved, once again, that bravery just isn’t in their repertoire. So Jack saves Heller, even though Heller is mad about the whole thing, he was ready to sacrifice his life so that his legacy would make him out to be a hero and Jack had to go and mess it up. I can see where they really needed Heller alive, I’m just not happy that they had to cop out to accomplish it. While Jack is working with the authorities, he gets news that Margot has started to crash her stolen drones, keeping her word that once Heller was dead, she’d destroy the drones. This is where I was wrong, I was sure that Margot would get killed by Ian, who seemed far more interested in blowing stuff up than in getting revenge for his step-father. However, Ian figured out the ruse and managed to rescue the last drone. Jack tells Chloe to find where Margot’s base of operations is and she narrows it down to a particular area of London. Jack heads that way and asks Kate and Navarro to send him all the backup that they can. Chloe knows she needs help so she calls Adrian and he agrees to help her because they’ve been in a relationship. Wow, Chloe, you’ve got bad taste. While all this is going on, Navarro gets a phone call saying that the local police found Jordan’s body, along with another unidentified man. Kate rushes over there, but the unidentified man has no ID and his fingerprints don’t come up in the database. Navarro feigns shock over the whole thing, but in reality, he knows that the other man is the assassin and if he’s identified, it’s his ass on the line. He calls Adrian to whine some more, this time, he wants out of the country. Meanwhile, Chloe identifies the apartment building that Margot and Ian are operating out of, but she can’t find the exact apartment because of all the electrical interference. She says that if Jack shuts off the power, she should be able to give them an exact location. Wait, she says that the cell phone traffic is causing interference. Shutting off the power won’t change a damn thing! Anyhow, Kate shows up to back Jack up and they get into a gunfight with Margot’s troops and Kate has to blow the power with a grenade. With that done, Chloe identifies the apartment and Jack moves in, hanging outside the window. Ian opens fire, but when he goes to check if he hit Jack, Jack pulls him out the window and drops him to his death on the pavement below. Margot gives up, more or less, but she and Ian had locked the last drone on Waterloo Station, where thousands of Londoners were trying to get out of the city. Jack barely manages to move the joystick and send the drone crashing into the Thames. Jack saves the day, but he’s not through, he throws Margot out the window to die beside her son. Sure Jack, while nobody probably blames you, law enforcement isn’t supposed to work like that. Once more, Jack works outside the law. Having recovered the drone override device, they all head back to base and Heller calls Jack and thanks him for what he did, even though he did want to die at the time. It’s that Alzheimers, I guess. Jack makes sure that nobody has access to the drone override device, but Adrian tells Navarro that if he wants out of the country, he has to turn over the device. Chloe tells Jack she’s going with Adrian, again, a really bad choice, and Navarro just walks in and steals the device from under the nose of the FBI’s finest. If we were wondering what was going to happen with the death of the two protagonists, now we know. It’s even more convoluted than we thought. Now getting back to Heller, I can see why, storywise, it was important for him to survive, after all, if he died, it wouldn’t matter that Mark forged his signature to the Russians. This gives Mark a good reason to stab everyone in the back once again as he tries to get out of his mess, so he can die, so Jack and Audrey can get back together. I still think the 12-hour time jump is going to happen at the end of the last episode, as Jack and Audrey go into the bedroom for a little private time. Or maybe they won’t do it at all, we have episode titles up until the last two episodes and they haven’t skipped a second yet. There were some great moments this episode, such as when Jack had Belichick drive Heller around for a while to keep him safe. Heller tries to order him back to the embassy and Belichick says “I’m not an American citizen. This is not America.” You go, dude! The other great line was Heller saying to the Prime Minister, “I’m sure if the roles were reversed, you’d do the same thing for me.” Just looking at Stephen Fry, I could see he was dying to say “and you’d be completely wrong!” Sometimes the lines that just beg to be said don’t ever get said. It’s been suggested that Fox might try to continue the show after his mini-series but honestly, I hope they don’t. Like it or not, Kiefer Sutherland is just too damn old for this, he tries to be a bad ass but he’s just not young enough to pull it off. If you watch the action sequences this time around, he’s slowed down a lot, it’s like Roger Murtaugh from the Lethal Weapon movies. He’s getting too old for this. It’s the same reason old Bonds don’t work either. Please, while it should have been great to see Jack back, let’s not make a career out of this. A better effort in some ways than weeks past but still not all that hot.
Continuum #3×13 – “Last Minute” – This is the last episode of Continuum for the year and they finally did some of the things I’ve been hoping for all season. We start in Brad’s future in 2039, Brad’s commander orders him to go back in time and it really struck me like John Connor sending Reese back so he can become John’s father. There to see him off is an old Kellogg who looks plenty the worse for wear. I don’t think his makeup job was all that convincing, sorry. Back to the present, Brad and Kiera are hanging out in the cabin, after bidding Alec and Emily adieu. Kiera says that she feels like getting back to her son is possible for the first time and then they kiss, because getting back to her son also means getting back to her husband and she doesn’t seem to care about that very much. Meanwhile, Alec and Emily are in a motel and Alec has hacked into Piron to get enough money to get to their next destination. Just then, the room is filled with laser fire and they roll into the floor. Emily pulls a gun but the would-be assassins are gone. The other Alec is practicing his keynote speech and stumbles, Kellogg tells him that he has only one chance to get it right or he could ruin Piron. It’s good that he didn’t tell Alec to imagine the audience naked. Jacqueline is not happy that Alec tried to kill his other self but Alec says that’s her job. Back at the cabin, Alec and Emily arrive and I’m personally thankful this is the last episode I will ever have to describe the actions of two Alec Sadlers. Kellogg goes to the VPD to ask Carlos for additional police security at the keynote speech, he’s afraid that something is going to happen. Carlos isn’t happy but Kellogg says to consider it a personal favor to Alec. The other Alec, Emily, Kiera, Brad and Jason all head to the old Sadtech site where they realize that the other timeline Alec coming to this timeline is what caused Brad’s timeline to exist. Yes, that’s confusing. Therefore, they have to stop Alec from releasing Halo because that’s the instant when everything is ruined forever. Kiera says they need help and that’s why she’s invited Liber8 into the fold. As Lucas says when he walks into Alec’s old lab, “I can work with this!” Kiera tells them that she was once asleep, working for the wrong side, but now she’s awake and she knows that Liber8 was right all along. She doesn’t like their methods but she thinks they share a common goal and need each other to succeed. The other Alec (and yes, I hate that a lot) gets interviewed by Diana Bolton and they talk about his humble beginnings that frankly, I hardly remember at this point. Interesting note, Michelle Harrison, who plays Diana Bolton, is going to be Barry Allen’s mother when The Flash starts this fall. While Kiera and Liber8 work on their plan, she asks Brad how they’ll know if they succeed. He says he brought a beacon that they have to set off at the moment they change the timeline. If nothing happens, they know they succeeded. The day comes for the keynote speech and tons of people are attending, filling the seats of the Queen Elizabeth Theater, some of them even wearing Alec Sadler t-shirts. That’s kind of creepy. Security is supposedly tight, but come on, they’re not doing a very good job because Garza, disguised badly as a man, smuggles a weapon right into the theater. Kiera is also there, invisible, hiding in a cargo elevator. The presentation starts, first with the commercial for Halo that we’ve seen before, then Alec comes out to rousing applause and starts his speech, only to have the screen behind him hacked by Lucas. It only lasts a few seconds but Alec is thrown off by this and tries to make a joke about it after control is regained. However, Garza shuts him up by putting a couple of bullets nearby and the Piron security hustles Alec off the stage. He’s taken to the cargo elevator we saw Kiera hiding in earlier and the whole crew is gassed. Emily tries to leave the building but she’s caught by the police who know her real name and she’s arrested. In the elevator, Kiera and Alec are waiting for the gas to work and when Carlos shows up, they switch Alecs. Carlos takes the bad Alec, presumably to lock him away at the Freelancer prison and Kiera leaves good Alec behind to take over Piron. He goes back to Piron and starts looking for the time orange that bad Alec had gotten from Dillon and finally finds it. Bad Alec, meanwhile, tells Carlos that he has a tracker chip that allows his people to find him wherever he is. His security finds him and extracts him, leaving Carlos standing there with an empty car. Carlos calls Kiera to tell her he lost Alec. Back at Piron, bad Alec shows up and there’s a fight, with Jacqueline surprised to see two Alec Sadlers run past her. Good Alec calls Lucas to get an exit plan and he directs him to the roof to wait while Garza, Travis and Kiera clear out security. However, Bad Alec is on his trail and they fight over the time orange and after they get thrown through a window, a window that is surprisingly not safety glass, they get cut up and covered in blood. Both look identical and they fight over the orange. Bad Alec gets the upper hand, starting to strangle good Alec, until good Alec stabs him in the neck with a piece of the time orange. Kiera arrives as bad Alec is bleeding to death, he tells her that with his death, her future is gone forever. Unsure which Alec survived, she pulls her gun on the survivor until he tells her about being in the Freelancer cage. They hug, finally we’re back to one Kiera and one Alec! My wife pointed out that if they really wanted to save the planet and change the future, they should have thrown both Sadlers off the roof. Kiera and Travis take bad Alec’s body away, I’m not sure what they’re going to do with it but I hope they don’t go sticking it in a freezer. They can’t exactly sent it into the time stream because Alec destroyed the anti-matter lab again. Carlos asks Kiera about her new relationship with Liber8 and she says it’s complicated. Are they friends or foes? Nobody really knows but I think they actually make pretty good allies, especially since Kagame and Sonya are dead and the rest aren’t nearly as fanatical for the cause. Kiera and Brad go out to set off the beacon and when it goes off, nothing happens. They sigh in relief. Back at Piron, Kellogg shows up and reveals to Alec that he’s been tricking his doppelganger into signing over the company to him. Alec is no longer a part of the day-to-day operations of Piron and Kellogg has him escorted off the premises. Back to Brad and Kiera, they’re celebrating when suddenly, there’s a massive power failure and all the lights in the city go off. All of a sudden, there’s a flash of light and a group of heavily futuristic armored soldiers appear. Maybe things didn’t go so well after all? As Brad and Kiera run away, we’re left to wonder what’s going on. What did their changes cause? It’s clear that in the Continuum universe, every minor change causes larger consequences down the time stream, is this Brad’s future, where the Corporate Congress didn’t form, or is this something else entirely? Clearly, the secret is about to be out, there’s no keeping the populace in the dark when there are future super soldiers walking the streets. This cliffhanger has me really wanting more, just like the first season cliffhanger did. The second season end wasn’t as good and a large part of the third season suffered because of it. The thing the first season did right was limit the carnage that time travel could cause, people weren’t pussyfooting around, trying not to step on butterflies like they did a lot of times in the third season. They really need to decide if small changes matter or only the large ones because they’ve done it both ways. So much of the feel of the show has changed and not really for the better. It started off with Kiera wanting to get home to her family, but in order to do that, she had to defeat Liber8’s plans. Now, she doesn’t care if she goes home, the call back to her son this episode wasn’t heartfelt, it was hardly even on the radar. So what’s the point of having Kellogg in charge of Piron? To show us that history won’t change, just because Alec refuses to take part in the actions that ruined the future? Now, it’s Kellogg who is going to make all the mistakes that Alec made in the original timeline? In reality, if you want to think about it, future Alec Sadler won, he sent Liber8 back in time to stop his future from ever existing and that’s exactly what happened. Everything Kiera went back in time to prevent came true. She lost. She’s a pretty poor protector when you come right down to it. Now, as to getting renewed, I feel sure that Showcase is going to give it a fourth season, it’s the top-rated show on Showcase, how could they not? It may not air in the U.S. though, it’s on Syfy after wrestling and the audience that watches wrestling isn’t generally smart enough to understand smart sci-fi. Syfy Britain cancelled Continuum after two seasons for exactly that reason. Of course, that’s what Syfy gets for catering to the lowest common denominator and it really doesn’t matter to me if Syfy shows it at all, I’ll just get a Canadian feed, but it’s a shame that the stupidity of Syfy might cost American viewers a really good show.
Defiance #2×01 – “The Opposite of Hallelujah” – If you go back and read my reviews for the first season of Defiance, you’ll find that I was generally disappointed with it throughout most of the season, it was only at the very end that the plot threads all got tied together and it actually turned into a decent show. Not great, not amazing, but decent. In the 9 months since the show has been on the air, 9 months have passed in Defiance. We saw the Earth Republic took over Defiance after newly elected mayor Datak Tarr killed their commander in a fit of rage. Now, former mayor Rosewater is running the NeedWant and Rafe McCawley is working in the mines after the Earth Republic confiscated them. Datak Tarr is housed in a prison facility 6 miles from town and Nolan has left the town after the events of the season finale to find out what happened to Irisa. Actually, after this episode, we still don’t know exactly what happened to Irisa, that part really isn’t explained very well. At least we finally get to see the world outside of Defiance, Nolan travels to New Chicago and whatever they’re calling Los Angeles now, which was a nice change of pace. We do get some new characters, from the new temporary mayor, Niles Pottinger, the Earth Republic representative Mercado, played by William Atherton, perhaps best known for his role in Ghostbusters (“This man has no dick.”) and all the old characters come back, although we really don’t have much time to get re-acquainted with them all. We do see Tommy and the McCawley children and while we see Datak Tarr and Race McCawley briefly, both of them really need more on-camera time. We also got to see the Tarr boy, Alak, who has been in charge of his father’s criminal enterprises while his father was incarcerated, but we learn that it isn’t really his place, his mother Stahma wants to run the show, using Alak as her mouthpiece because their culture is a patriarchy. We see that Rosewater is pretty upset, even after nine months, that her town was taken away from her and she’s still convinced that her missing sister, Kenya, is going to come back and take over the NeedWant again. I didn’t really get what she was wearing, it looks like she’s in mourning, with a black lace veil, but what is she mourning? It’s never explained and maybe that’s not what they intended after all. In prison, we see Datak and old doc Yewll form an alliance when Yewll says she knows a way out but needs help and frankly, watching Datak seeking sexual gratification from first Stahma, then Yewll, was not just a little creepy, but a lot creepy. The majority of the episode revolved around Nolan’s search for Irisa and he finally finds her in the remains of Los Angeles but she’s not necessarily happy to see him. She left for a reason, we really don’t know why, she said she was captured and taken away but we don’t know if that’s a true story. Certainly, she hasn’t tried to get back to Defiance and Nolan until now, although she says she has to get back there now. She also has a disturbing vision of herself slitting Nolan’s throat, we’ll have to see what that means in the future. In fact, we’ll have to see what happens, now that the MMO that was a big part of the show’s launch has largely failed and gone free-to-play. Certainly, that was expected but that was a big part of the selling point behind the series and now, it really doesn’t play much of a role and the show has to succeed or fail on it’s own. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the strongest season premiere I’ve seen and it really needed to be. They tried to remind people who these characters were instead of just leaping into the action and I think that hurts the show. People who are just tuning in for the first time are not going to be impressed and those who are returning don’t need the recap. They’re also saying that this year will be darker than last, which is fine so long as they don’t go overboard. I just want to see more of the world than the confines of ruined St. Louis and they still have a lot of questions to really answer from last year, I hope they don’t forget about them. It’s a good effort but it should have been better.
Dominion #1×01 – “Pilot” – I decided I’d give this a shot, not because the subject matter really appeals to me, but because I liked the 2010 film Legion that it was based on and, hey, it’s a slow summer anyhow. I’ll be honest, my first impressions aren’t all that high, especially because it’s one of those dreary, post-apocalyptic futures that I utterly hate. The series starts 25 years after the end of the movie, mostly so they don’t have to worry about hiring expensive actors. The archangel Michael has succeeded in protecting the Chosen One, a baby that’s supposed to save humanity from the rampaging forces of the archangel Gabriel. See, God went missing and the angels blame humans and therefore, there is a war going on between the angels and mankind. I think the angels should just have gone looking in New Jersey. Today, man has largely succeeded at keeping the angels at bay by building massive walled cities. The biggest and most successful is Vega, formerly Las Vegas, over which war two families, House Riesen, led by the commander of the military, General Edward Riesen and his priestess daughter Claire and House Whele, led by David Whele, an unscrupulous political leader and his son William, a religiously devout man who is supposed to be married to Claire in an arranged marriage that Claire doesn’t want. Why? Because Claire is in love with our hero, Alex Lannon, a man from the lowest social caste who is part of the military. They keep their relationship secret, but Claire hopes she can convince her father to allow her to marry Alex instead of William. Alex doesn’t really play by the rules, we start off with him outside the walls of Vega where he locates three of the lowest echelon angels, called 8-balls, that don’t have bodies of their own so they have to possess humans to exist in the human realm. Alex gets yelled at by General Riesen for violating orders, but when his father, Jeep, comes back, the character from the movie now played by a different actor (see the 25 year jump in time), things start to get weird. See, David Whele has his eye on complete control of the city if he can manipulate the people into remembering how dangerous the angels really are. Well, most of the angels, Michael is still wandering around, trying to direct the city down the safest path. To that end, at a city-wide celebration, he tries to get the greatest warrior of the city, who has killed 22 angels, to take on one that he’s captured, but Gabriel possesses the angel, kills the warrior and wreaks havoc until Michael comes in and puts him down. This is the sign for three more angels, higher-level angels who cannot be detected by human technology, to attack and try to destroy Vega’s nuclear power plant. Oh wait, let’s get back to that, shall we? Visiting the city is a delegation from New Delhi, who wants to trade marriage-age women for nuclear technology and among them is a child, who they describe as special, but who turns out to be an angel in disguise. So anyhow, Whele and the delegation escape to a special bunker while the angels attack, which could be a really cool reality show: When Angels Attack!, and while all the biggest names of the city huddle and discuss strategy, our angel-kid up and stabs Jeep in the stomach, killing him and transferring his full-body tattoos to Alex, marking him as the Chosen One. This is a show that’s going to have to work hard to keep me watching. Beyond the subject matter, which I’m not thrilled with and the setting, which I absolutely hate, the premiere didn’t do all that much interesting. It was a 90-minute pilot and, other than introducing us to a ton of characters, it really didn’t flesh any of them out. We have Alex, who wants to marry Claire, and his weird relationship with the Bixby, the pseudo-albino-looking girl who apparently, is in the pilot and is never seen again. Why have her at all? Michael really doesn’t impress me. He’s out there taking part in weird orgies, killing angels and generally being an ass. So is David Whele. Honestly, so is Jeep, who at least ends up dead and General Riesen, who isn’t that great either. There aren’t any really positive characters in this show, at least that we’ve shown so far. Like I said, most of the characters are barely fleshed out because they stuffed so many of them into the first episode. I know that pilots aren’t always indicative of what will come thereafter and I’m hoping this is the case here. For all the negatives, there are some potential positives and I could see this becoming a good show if they’d cut down on the number of characters, actually work on developing them and having a plot beyond “Alex is the Chosen One!”. There has to be more to it than that. I’m keeping my fingers crossed, hoping there is.
Metal Hurlant Chronicles #2×05 – “The Second Son” – Honestly, sometimes I don’t know where they get these ideas. Following a massive feast, King Tobias and his guests watch the two princes fight for their entertainment. Prince Tybalt, the elder son, is always faster and better than his younger brother Byron and he doesn’t miss a chance to boast about his superiority. Tybalt plunges his sword into Byron’s chest, apparently killing him, but neither Tybalt, nor his father seem particularly bothered by this turn of events. Suddenly, an emissary from the Techno King arrives and states that it’s here to see if the agreement between the Techno King and the other leaders can be renegotiated. The drone fires into the crowd, killing Tobias, Tybalt and many of their guests, but mysteriously, they don’t die. The castle has been enchanted and no one who dies within the walls stays dead. As Tybalt rises and pulls the sword from his brother’s chest, Byron comes back to life as well. A night previously, Byron looks at his scarred body, all of the mementos of his brother’s many deadly games and he wants nothing more than to be rid of his brother and these daily death rituals. Byron’s mistress, Laerana shows him a bottle of poison that she got from the castle alchemist that she claims is guaranteed to kill Tybalt permanently. She will just go to his bed and poison his drink and then they’ll be through with him and Byron will be first in line to ascend the throne with her at his side. She does just that, but Tybalt refuses to drink the poisoned wine. Laerana leads him to the backup plan, a midnight horse ride outside the castle walls where Byron might ambush his brother and slay him where the magic of the castle cannot revive him. They go outside to a ruined tower and Byron leaps down on him, stabbing him repeatedly, thinking that Tybalt is finally dead, but it’s a double cross, Laerana has brought the king to see his son’s treachery and as Tybalt gets up again, King Tobias reveals that the original enchantment that protects the castle was cast here in the keep, which was destroyed in the process but the enchantment remains and anyone dying in the keep will be revived. Tobias condemns Byron to be tortured to death every day until he dies of old age and Laerana says that she’d rather be the consort of the first born than be with the runner up. I guess the moral of this story is that bullies always win? And what was that drone that announced the Techno King was done regenerating? It looked just like the bots from the first episode of the first season, at least as I saw them, “The King’s Crown”. Was the Techno King the one who stole the warrior’s body in that episode? After all, we have seen sets and characters reused in Metal Hurlant Chronicles, I wouldn’t be surprised. Honestly, this episode wasn’t all that impressive, the idea of two brothers repeatedly killing each other for the entertainment of their father comes off as really stupid and it was clear from the very beginning that Laerana was Tybalt’s girl, I have no idea why Byron ever trusted her and her schemes. There’s only one more episode in the second season, I sure hope it’s at least decent following the bad showing of the last few outings.
Orphan Black #2×10 – “By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried” – Well, here’s the end of another season, these things go quick when there’s only 10 episodes. As we saw last week, Sarah turns herself over to Dyad in a quest to get Kira returned to her and this week, she’s forced to sign a consent form that allows them to experiment on her. Well, not really consent since she is their prisoner and they’re withholding her daughter unless she complies, but close enough, I guess. While all of this is going on, Kira somehow manages to call Cal and ask for his help and that’s when he shows up at the door where Mrs. S is staying. She’s not at all happy that Cal is intruding on her little party, but Cal is useful and he’s got contacts that he’s cultivated inside of Dyad. When he shows her his contact, she wants him to tell the contact that she’s there and once that’s done, the contact says to ask her about Project Castor. This lets Mrs. S know that the contact is highly placed. It turns out to be Paul and Marian, who are working inside Dyad as double agents, trying to bring the whole clone club down. At the same time, Rachel decides to give Cosima a new doctor and sends Delphine away to another Dyad facility overseas. Nobody is happy about this and Delphine begs Rachel not to do this, but Rachel is a bitch and she doesn’t want anyone who is emotionally involved present, clearly something nasty is going to go on. Rachel also has Ethan prisoner and she takes him to her private video sanctuary where they watch home movies of them together when Rachel was young. She says she doesn’t remember the feeling of being loved (no surprise there) and insists that Ethan give her the cipher to unlock the clone genetic codes. He says that he will, only once Cosima has been healed. Rachel says she won’t heal Cosima until she has the codes. Classic Mexican standoff. However, Ethan has another plan. While Rachel makes tea, he has a poisoned tea bag and he gives his own life to keep her from ever making other clones. She actually has some emotions when he dies, imagine that. Cosima and Scott find out what Rachel is planning and they construct a weapon that they hope will give Sarah a chance to escape. Cosima spends some time with the captive Kira and they do a science experiment that closely replicates the weapon and Kira draws a picture that shows Sarah what to do. When they come for Sarah, telling her that they’re going to remove one of her ovaries for study, leaving the other so that she can get pregnant again. Rachel comes in and says that if Sarah doesn’t give her the codes, she’ll destroy the bone marrow that was removed from Kira and since Sarah has no idea what the codes are, she does. Sarah uses the weapon, a fire extinguisher that fires a pencil at high speed, into Rachel’s eye. Scott is there to help Sarah get out of the room, he gives her a Dyad security pass which she uses to go get Kira. If I was Scott, I would have stepped on the pencil, killing Rachel for certain, at the moment her fate is unclear but I’m sure she’s not dead. Back at Kira’s room, Sarah meets Marian who tells her that she can be truly free if she comes to see her in the morning. All the clones meet up at Felix’ loft and when Helena arrives, she gets to meet all the rest of her clone sisters. They’re initially wary, but after a night of partying, they accept her as one of their own. However, when Helena gets ready to leave, she’s grabbed by Paul and Mrs. S and delivered to the military. In the morning, Kira goes to see Cosima and we think that she’s dead, but she finally wakes up and reads Kira a story. Kira gives her the book that Ethan had presented to her, The Island of Dr. Moreau, and Cosima finds all of the information on the clone genome inside. Sarah goes to see Marian the next morning and finds out that she’s raising another clone, an 8-year old who says she’s a cousin to Kira. It turns out that the military has continued the program, Project Leda for female clones and Project Castor for male clones. It turns out that the male clones all look just like Mark, who after their escape from the farm, went to a justice of the peace and married Gracie. Now we’re left with a whole pile of new questions. Why does the military want Helena? Why do they need male clones? Why was the clone that Sarah saw out of his mind? Now what will happen to Cosima since Kira’s bone marrow is gone? I was thinking she was really dead, which is what they intended, and figured losing one of the major characters would be a way to push Sarah and the rest of the clone club into action against Dyad, but alas, that didn’t happen. Now we just have to hope that Orphan Black gets renewed for a third season, which I think is highly likely but you never know. Let’s keep our fingers crossed, this is a really great series.
Penny Dreadful #1×07 – “Possession” – We’re now almost at the end of the season and if I was hoping that they’d finally put all the pieces together, I now know I’ll be disappointed. At the end of last episode, we saw Vanessa floating in front of Sir Malcolm, possessed and given the name of this episode, it was clear that we’d explore that, but unfortunately, that’s all we do. This week, Vanessa wakes up on the couch and she and Malcolm talk for a bit before she starts to tell him things that she shouldn’t know, about his various and sundry affairs, his fat wife and Mina’s upbringing. Just then, the entire room explodes into poltergeist-like activity until Sembene comes in and smacks Vanessa across the face a couple of times, knocking her out. Malcolm, not knowing what else to do, calls Victor and he examines Vanessa for physical problems but finds none. She, however, again knows things about him that she should not know and Victor flees the room. Victor tells Malcolm he suspects it is something psychosexual, but as they talk, Vanessa’s cards on the table lift to reveal hundreds of spiders that spill over onto the floor. Psychosexual my ass. Ethan shows up and talks to Vanessa, who is, at the moment, herself, but that doesn’t last long. She demands to know if he fucked Dorian or if Dorian fucked him and then says she’ll tell Brona. Like Brona has any room to complain, considering she’s screwed everyone and their brother in this show. Ethan asks Malcolm what’s wrong with her and he comes back with the most absurdly obvious answer, “She’s been possessed by the devil.” Nah, you think? I was waiting for her head to spin around. They take turns watching her and this goes on for weeks, which seems absurd to me. Every day, she turns into a destructive animal and it takes a while for them to suggest tying her down. Seriously? A while later, Ethan is sitting with her and Vanessa admits she’s fallen in love with him because of his kindness. That’s clearly why she was in bed with Dorian, right? However, Ethan has now been taken over by another demon who says he wants her to rule beside him in hell. This is getting kind of confusing. Malcolm tells Ethan that he wants him to go to Africa with him to retrieve his son’s body. Ethan isn’t interested, he has no respect for Malcolm. Upstairs, Vanessa tries to kill herself and they manage to sedate her just in time. Seriously, why not keep her sedated all the time? We find that Victor is addicted to morphine, he keeps shooting up and when he looks outside, we see Caliban waiting for him, apparently for weeks on end. Victor and Ethan realize that they might have to let Vanessa die, but they are unsure of Malcolm’s true motivations for keeping her around, there’s something he’s not telling them. Victor asks Ethan to teach him how to shoot and they go down in the basement and shoot bottles until Sembene tells them to knock it off. Malcolm goes into Vanessa’s room and tells her to try to make contact with Mina, now that they’re both stuck somewhere between life and death. What a dick. Ethan pulls him out of the room and they finally decide to call a priest for last rites. It only took weeks of dealing with Vanessa to come to that conclusion? The priest they call is kind of a jerk though, he says he cannot perform an exorcism and he won’t even try to get approval. He’ll just give her last rites and it’s off to molest children for him. Luckily, Vanessa attacks him and rips part of his face off. I agree with Victor on this one, “Give her the last rites and then get the fuck out of this house, you ridiculous man.” Vanessa goes into full demon mode, crawling across the ceiling and tossing everyone but Ethan out of the room. Where’s the split pea soup? There has to be split pea soup! Vanessa reasserts herself and begs Ethan to kill her, he holds his gun to her chest, but at the last moment, presses the Saint Jude medallion that Brona gave him to her forehead and chanting in Latin, he performs an exorcism. She slumps to the floor, cured for the moment. Okay… what the hell? They took an entire episode to do a cheap Exorcist routine? Seriously, what new information of import did we learn? That Sir Malcolm is a horny bastard? That Ethan can cook? No matter how good Eva Green’s acting is, we’re still left with a series that is a mess of disconnected stories that don’t seem to be going anywhere. Sure, we learn a bit about Vanessa here, we follow the loose ideas that started in Seance and moved into Closer Than Sisters, but what does that have to do with the larger story arc? I’m just not seeing it. Right now, we have the Vanessa story. We have the Victor story with Caliban. We have the Ethan story with Brona. We have the Dorian story with pretty much everyone. We have Malcolm and his guilt over Peter. We have the story of Mina and her vampire master. We have the presumed story of Ethan and his werewolf tendencies. That was even pointed to again in this episode with Ethan saying he’ll rip Malcolm’s throat out. We have the Caliban story and his spurned love for the actress in the theater. When are any of these stories going to converge? This is like an anthology, not a cohesive series. And honestly, they spent weeks at Malcolm’s house during this debacle? Did Ethan ever see if Brona had dropped dead yet? Did Victor ever go out and talk to Caliban? Everything just stopped for a couple of weeks? The whole Vanessa being possessed thing is really pretty stupid too. Supposedly, the demon that possessed her is responsible for every evil thing in the world. So let’s get this straight, is this Amunet, the wife of Amun-Ra that’s in there? Or is it another demon? Certainly, while she was talking, it seemed to be a much more Christian-related demon, at least it talked about Christian mythology and not Egyptian mythology. So is she having a party in there? What gives? And seriously, am I the only one who thought that the scenes with Vanessa in her bed, she looked just like Tim Curry from Rocky Horror Picture Show? I almost laughed, she looked just like Dr. Frankenfurter. This show just isn’t blowing up my skirt and if they aren’t really amazing next week, I’m dropping it.
Perception #3×01 – “Paris” – Perception is back and I’m happy! I love how Eric McCormack portrays Daniel Pierce and even though there are some problems with how the show is put together, the acting, especially from McCormack, is always great. Last season, Daniel was removed from his teaching job and he chose to head to Paris, where his girlfriend, an orchestral cellist, was living. At the very end of the season finale, a government agent came up to Daniel at a cafe and told him that his government needed him. We pick up right at that moment. The agent, Drexler, takes Daniel somewhere quiet and tells him that they’ve set up a lecture at the Sorbonne and while there, Daniel will meet a Chinese scientist, Dr. Sung, who will ask him to sign a book. Sung has hidden a secret in his pen and Drexler wants Daniel to sign the autograph and keep the pen and pass it off to the Feds. Of course, we’re not sure if Daniel has hallucinated all of this or not, it might be that he’s playing an international spy fantasy, but when Miranda sees Drexler walking away, Daniel decides that he’s in. Miranda was talking to someone else, Serge, who wants her to go on tour with him through the Middle East, but now that she’s with Daniel, she turns him down. He did damage her cello though and offers to get it fixed. Daniel does his speech at the Sorbonne on being in Paris and how people react to being there and after the speech, Dr. Sung does come to him and have him sign a book and Daniel keeps the pen as planned. Afterwards, he goes to leave the pen under a particular cobblestone and everything seems fine, but he gets abducted by a bunch of Chinese guys in a cleaning truck who threaten him that if he doesn’t give them the pen on 24 hours, they’re going to do something nasty to him. They keep his passport and throw him out of the van. He gets home and finds his apartment trashed, the Chinese were looking for something and didn’t find it. In a panic, Daniel calls Miranda and tells her to get to the American embassy, then he calls Kate and tells her to convince Drexler, at the consulate, to let him in since he doesn’t have his passport. He arrives to find that Drexler isn’t actually a man, but a woman. Something is wrong here. Back in Chicago, Kate and Donnie decide that there’s a problem and head off to Paris together. Must be nice to jump on a plane on the taxpayer’s dime, just because you have a hunch. Meanwhile, Max and Lewicki are depressed that Daniel is gone and hatch a plan to get him back. Max talks to Chancellor Kinney, trying to convince him that if he doesn’t reinstate Daniel, Daniel is going to publish a scathing editorial about the college discriminating against the mentally ill, then file a lawsuit. Kinney agrees, but only of Daniel apologizes, which he won’t do. Back in Paris, Daniel and Miranda talk to the real Drexler and they go to check things out. The apartment is no longer trashed and the cobblestone that Daniel hid the pen under is no longer loose. Drexler thinks Daniel is crazy, which he is. They go home, but later that night, the phone rings and it’s Dr. Sung on the line, he begs Daniel to meet him under a bridge, someone is out to get him. When Daniel arrives, Sung is dead, two in the chest and a gun laying nearby. Daniel goes to the Paris police, who don’t believe his story any more than Drexler did. The dead Chinese guy isn’t Sung and nothing Daniel says can be verified. Kate and Donnie arrive and tell the chief of police that Daniel is insane and that gives him a reason to keep him for psychiatric evaluation. Then, he’s released, someone high up in the government steps in to help for reasons unknown. Kate, Donnie and Daniel go out to lunch and Kate says that they ought to investigate, even though they have no authority in France so they start asking questions, up until Drexler pulls up, says the police have complained they’re performing an unauthorized investigation and, giving Daniel a new passport, orders them out of the country. They get back to the apartment and find Miranda has packed, she’s leaving Daniel because she can’t take his hallucinations. As they’re getting ready to head off to the airport, Daniel realizes something and they all rush to the train station to stop Miranda and Serge. Serge has hidden some illegal technology in Miranda’s cello that he’s going to smuggle into Iran and Daniel smashes the cello and Serge is arrested. He’s an Iranian double-agent. Miranda still leaves him but at least she’s safe. Daniel calls Lewicki and is told that Kinney not only agreed he didn’t need to apologize, he’s giving him a 35% raise to avoid the lawsuit and bad publicity. Daniel tells him to let Kinney sweat a little, then accept his offer and he’ll come home. Donnie and Kate walk through Paris and he proposes. She says she’ll marry him again. Good! Keeps Kate and Daniel from ever being together! Daniel plays a piano while his hallucination of Natalie sits beside him and we fade to black. Now as much as I love the show, I love Eric McCormack’s portrayal of Daniel, I have to say that it makes no sense. I know that if you change the situation, you destroy the show, but I hate plot convenience in writing. We know that, given anti-psychotic drugs, Daniel’s hallucinations go away and he can live a normal life. So why does he refuse to take them? Why would he have a job when he’s caused a ton of problems for his school, the authorities and himself? It seems like such an easy fix, they’ve already shown that it is an easy fix, it makes no sense for them not to fix it. He’d still have Miranda if he’d just take his meds. I could understand if his particular psychosis was drug-resistant, if drugs just didn’t work on him so popping some pills wasn’t a solution, but they’ve already shown that it is! Now, I have to watch every week, knowing that all of Daniel’s problems would go away if he’d just take the pills that he’s supposed to take and wondering why everyone, from Lewicki to Max to Kate and Donnie, aren’t on his ass constantly to do what he ought to be doing to begin with! Great show, painful premise.
The Last Ship #1×01 – “Phase Six” – I never planned on watching this series, it was something I saw go by, but since it’s got Michael Bay involved, I figured it would be nothing but explosions and hanging robot balls but amazingly, I actually really liked it. We start off with American military helicopters flying into Egypt carrying Dr. Rachel Scott. She goes to a quarantined zone where she’s told about a viral disease that kills 100% of the people it infects within 2 days. She takes some blood samples and leaves, knowing she can do nothing to help these people. We move to the U.S.S. Nathan James, a guided-missile destroyer that was created just for this series and the book which it was based on. They are loading up for a mission and Dr. Scott and her assistant, Quincy Tophet are on board for a secret scientific mission that they say involves the Arctic Tern. However, they are really on a super top secret mission to locate the original primitive strain of the virus that she thinks is frozen in the arctic ice. While she and her assistant work, the Nathan James is doing weapons drills for four months under complete radio silence, this is really just to keep them out of harm’s way while Scott and Tophet work. As the ship finishes it’s mission and looks forward to heading for home, Scott complains that her work isn’t done and she gets on her super-secret radio sat-phone to ask for more time and the ship is ordered not to return home for an unspecified reason. While Scott and Tophet are out on the ice, a number of Russian helicopters appear and attack, trying to kill both the soldiers out guarding the scientists, the scientists themselves, and the ship. They all get blown out of the sky and this upsets Commander Chandler and the rest of his crew and he finally corners Scott in her lab, which they converted the helicopter bay into, and she tells him the story about the plague that started in Egypt, but soon covered much of Europe and Asia. She was lucky to be in the Arctic for these past four months because in that time, the plague went from a Phase Two plague to a Phase Six plague, one that covers the entire world and threatens to wipe out the entire human race. Luckily, she has the makings of a cure and the last remaining vestiges of the U.S. government order them back home to start developing a vaccine. The President and Vice President have already died and now, the Speaker of the House is in charge, hiding in a bunker far below the White House. Order has largely broken down worldwide, the power grids are down, worldwide communications are spotty at best and more than 80% of the population is either dead or dying. Commander Chandler and XO Slattery, played by the always excellent Adam Baldwin, inform the crew and then set about to bring the ship back to Norfolk, where a secure lab is set up for Scott to work in. However, they’re almost out of fuel and they set sail for an uninhabited refueling station off of France, but on the way there, a nuke flies overhead and goes off somewhere in the vicinity of France/England. The EMP shuts down the power on the Nathan James and they have to rush to restart the engines before the cloud of radiation floats overhead. Managing to get away, they come across an Italian cruise ship and board it wearing biohazard gear. Almost everyone onboard is dead of the plague, except for one man who is very near death and Scott takes a blood sample to compare to the samples she already has. They transfer fuel to the destroyer and all of the food they can scavenge, but there is one casualty, Seaman Franklin trips and falls down some stairs, knocking his biohazard helmet off and infecting him with the plague. He opts to take his own life rather than die the horrifying death that the virus brings. Working in her lab, Scott discovers that the reason the virus spread so fast is it was man-made, either a deliberate bio-weapon or something that escaped from a lab. Either way, she’s discovered a way to affect it so once she makes a vaccine, it should be universally useful. They receive a five-day old message from the White House telling them not to go to Norfolk, it is no longer safe and redirecting them to a lab in Florida. Commander Chandler also gets an old message from his wife and kids, they’re safe, they got away before the plague broke out. He turns the ship south, but when they arrive in Florida, there is no power, no radio traffic, absolutely nothing that would lead them to believe anyone is still alive and the lab is 200 miles inland. Chandler makes a command decision to remain in the ocean where it’s safe and make for an unmanned supply depot near Guantanamo. He announces this to his crew, who he is afraid might mutiny, but they support him in his decision, all except for the XO Slattery. Meanwhile, we see Quentin, talking on the sat-phone in Russian, using code words like Arctic Fox. Well, we know who our traitor is! The series immediately deviates from the book, which is probably a good thing since, the book being written in 1988, it probably needed it. Whether the move from a Cold War story to a post-apocalyptic tale will work, who knows, but so far, I’m intrigued. Now, of course, this is only the pilot and it’s hard to gauge what will come in the future but even though the characters are barely fleshed out, even though Chandler and Scott clearly hate each other, I’m actually surprised that this was as good as it was. Not great. Not perfect by any means, but good. Really good. I look forward to next week.
Best of the Week: I’m honestly surprised at how much I enjoyed The Last Ship, considering I went into it with really low expectations. Sure, it isn’t perfect but it wasn’t just an explosion fest like I feared, there actually is a plot and the characters actually are interesting and I really do want to see where it goes. When a new series takes top spot over the season finales for two really good shows, that means something to me.
Worst of the Week: There were a couple of problematic episodes this week but I think I have to give it to Penny Dreadful because, with time running out on the clock, the series continues to drag on instead of actually having a single plot. Sure, some of the possession stuff was cool this week, but they dragged it out for an entire episode when it warranted 15 minutes or less. I’m sure we’ll end the season with a mess of independent stories that have yet to collide. This isn’t supposed to be an anthology, is it?
Other Stuff I Watched: Zindy the Swamp Boy (Rifftrax), Fukuie Keibuho no Aisatsu #5-11, The Wil Wheaton Project #1×04