A Sashurai’s Review: The Vampire Diaries – Season 6×04 (How many years in limbo before Damon fake proposes to Bonnie in a bar?)

TVD-06-04

Just when you think Damon’s evil antics were all but revealed, we’re given one more dark chapter in his life that defined an era of Mystic Falls. “Black Hole Sun” is full of character revelations and tattered feelings that carefully resonate for everyone in the right direction. It’s a theme of self diagnosis for our major protagonists as Elena, Stefan and Damon assess their compass in life, two looking forward and one looking back. A lot of elements went right in this episode and I’ll be diving into those details in this review starting with Damon and his self professed “Worst thing I ever did.”

I’m actually surprised he used a line like that when many of his past evil deeds centered around Stefan and by proxy Elena and could be argued as worse. Damon is also known for being overdramatic and may have settled on that memory as his worst action because it was more recent than the others. In any case he slowly tells the story about returning to the Salvatore house when Zach was still alive and near the time he was to become a father. Damon, in a Sabretooth-esque moment promises to continue griefing Stefan for not joining him and slaughters all of the guests in the house on the date that Bonnie and Damon are stuck in, including the mother of Zach’s child. Little did Damon realize that the child would survive and grow to become Sara, our resident newcomer who returned to town looking for answers to her mother’s death and past.

My first impression was a bit disjointed because I’m no longer interested to seeing how Damon used to be evil. I’ve been seeing that every season for years. It’s like I’m being handfed a new reason to dislike Damon even though he’s “supposed” to be the most likeable character on the show. In fact, it was Bonnie who realized that Damon is silently punishing himself over the event and finds that as hope for him. I wish it was Damon who admitted to that, but I suppose realization from Bonnie is better than no realization at all.

I’m also satisfied at Kai’s storyline and I think it’s an interesting take on a witch plot. However, I still don’t think his personality fits the profile, but he’s not longer a dismally unfitting character. He’s just a terribly acted character.

Stefan attempts to convince Elena that starting over is a good thing for him and proves a point by pretending to propose to her in a bar where he explains how fresh starts are easy and necessary for him. Elena buys it until she witnesses a man beat Stefan up as Stefan let’s it happen. He too is punishing himself but insists he needs to do what he has to on his own. This is about as much character development as we’re going to see from Stefan this season, I’m calling it now. With a resurrected Ivy now back in his life, we might see him connect and fall in love again, but I’m not expecting him to break new ground over what’s happened. He’s a cautiously pessimistic character who dawdles over opportunities but settles on mentally self-inflicted pain. He’s once more dodging his vampire instincts by trying to live a human life and human rules and will quickly find, he just can’t.

Elena worked out a very important, yet overly cliché character trait. In most situations of fictional drama, a character suffering from amnesia or a lack of pertinent memories will more than likely refuse or denounce their past in order to move forward what their new personality. It’s extremely disassociate but proves that humanity can and will turn away from old paths when presented with the same choices again. Elena decided not to gain her memories of love for Damon back and that was the right move. The event itself was a cop out and I’ll always believe that, but now that’s she’s aware of it and still decided not to regain those memories shows she’s thinking for herself in a way that makes sense. Who knows, maybe her trained disgust for Damon now will always propel her from knowing the buried truth, but I’d like to think she wants to have her fresh start just like Stefan does.

Alaric and Jeremy trade complaints about their emotional states and I’m left wondering how Jeremy could recover so fast from an apparently massive hangover. They shouldn’t have made it seem so bad by taking him to the hospital. Truth be told, that entire seen was filler and unnecessary. Alaric having a love interest is great and all, but now just seemed an awkward time to start it, at least in this episode.

We’re also given a sympathetic background for Trip who revealed he was compelled to believe his wife’s death was his fault, but now knows a vampire was involved. Was it Damon? Yeah, probably. But in the meantime, he has Enzo locked in a room where Matt has seen him. Best part, Enzo didn’t say a word, and I’m thankful. I think Trip could have interrogated any number of vampires he’s previously killed but he’s taking his time with Enzo for his benefit of finding other vampires to capture. Nobody else will understand that Enzo isn’t bringing anyone else positive vibes. True, he turned Ivy into a vampire which was a smart move, but it isn’t enough to want me to have him saved.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

I think the mock wedding proposal was done in good humor and just barely poked the top of this episode. I wasn’t expecting that kind of scene and it’s ironic because it calls back and makes light of the fact that Stefan and Elena were once fitted for that kind of future. Not by any audience standards but by a concept that those two were supposed to be soul mates. Now that we know they’re not, it’s easier to digest this kind of scene in its basic humor and for that I think it worked for the point Stefan was trying to make. Plus Elena adding she was pregnant was good too. Definitely threw Stefan off guard.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Elena gets this week’s MVP. She indulged Stefan’s explanations with why moving on is necessary and in the end let him go while at the same time taking the effort to continue choosing to leave Damon in the past as well. She made two important decisions that meant not being tied to either brother which is something she should be doing until the inevitable return of Damon. The show has trained us to believe and root for one of the two brothers keeping Elena until the end. I think there’s room for her to grow without pursuing either character and it could make her stronger for it.

 

LONG TERM THOUGHTS

Was Elena’s dad the one who delivered Sara as a baby?

Will Matt speak for Trip when the vampires eventually get their hands on him?

That’s twice now the Gemini coven have been referenced. How much power do they have and will they be a malicious group?

Kai’s hell doesn’t fit with the date and is too much of a coincidence that it’s the day Damon thinks he did the worst thing ever. If the murders done by Kai were already in the paper, why put Kai in an empty world a few days after the fact? This hell doesn’t really make any sense. And does this mean that Kai traveled from Portland to Mystic Falls even though the days reset every morning? Was he not bound by any borders?

Bringing Ivy back as a vampire does help Stefan’s case but it doesn’t excuse Enzo as any less of a chauvinistic and self righteous character.

 

OVERALL SCORE

Tonight’s episode gets a 7 out of 10. Most of the major characters were able to reach a pinnacle in their woes and a few are readily able to move onto their next arc. The reveals were decent but had one major flaw. With Kai and Sara, they may be interesting characters now that we know where they’ve come from, but they weren’t interesting characters before those facts were revealed and when new players come onto a show, we need to have investment in their current personalities and now how their past effects them or the characters we know. Beyond that it was a very decent episode and look forward to see how the developments turn out. Hopefully Damon and Bonnie aren’t stuck in limbo for too much longer or it still start to drag. My thought is Damon will convince Bonnie to let Kai back into reality with a promise he’ll somehow try and kill him once they return. Not that I think it’ll work as a plan, but it’s how Damon would act considering the situation.

 

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: Sons of Anarchy – Season 7×07 (The times are a changin’)

Sons07

Some of the best laid plans are covered in tiny flaws, while those who pursue justice find vengeance the big brother of two evils holding sway. Tonight’s episode “Greensleeves” offers up the cold definition of miscommunication and the mistake of revealing dark secrets in empty rooms. Jax attempts to put all his pieces in play to remove the last piece on his chessboard, only, he found the dismal truth resting in a small box. That truth is that his crew is in every bit of danger as his enemies are.

Let’s begin with the moment where we all felt we missed the actual beginning of the episode. Juice is given his coat back by Jax and sent off be arrested by the cops by way of motorcycle chase. Later, we’re given the full run down and Juice was sent by the crew to be captured and placed in prison to personally take out Lin with the help of Tully. All we’re given as an explanation is that Juice will do anything for the club. Does this mean he was told there’d be a chance at redemption, or does Juice and the crew know it’s a one way ticket? Juice has had his survival instincts kicked into high gear since last season. There’s every chance he’ll succeed and every chance he’ll be flipped before that gets to happen just for the chance to stay alive. Who’s to say which way he’ll turn if the situation goes sour. Club loyalty has been on his brain and Jax knows this. But one thing’s for certain, he didn’t confess to Jax what he knows, and that information was utterly crucial for Gemma to know.

The mother of the crew prepared herself for the worst and was within an eyelash at pulling her gun on Happy and Rat at the cabin. Everything leading up to that moment knowing Nero was on route was fantastic and almost made me forget that I knew something was going to go down with Bobby. I’ll get to that in a second, but for now, Gemma lost her composure enough to tell Thomas the truth about Tara. But who understood it? Why little Abel in the hallway of course. His traumatic experience recently mixed with tonight’s revelation about the woman who he called mother will no doubt add to an already compounded issue in his mind. What will he do? Will his words come out during an most inconvenient time when Jax is at his lowest? Or will become violent again and try to take it out on Gemma herself. He may not be strong, but he can still swing a hammer. We all expect Jax to confront Gemma about the truth, but what if the poetry of this show makes so he never gets the chance to? Morbid thoughts all around.

Due to the season getting nearer toward the end I find I can’t avoid watching the promos for next week episode just to know if Bobby is alive or dead. Based on the promo, I know what I need to, but that doesn’t chance that the second he suggested driving alone, that something was going to happen. I was predicting something more close to the cabin, but that wasn’t meant to be. There’s a lot of pain and retribution Bobby is being forced to endure and somewhere in Jax’s mind, he knew August wasn’t going to be that easy to coerce. I have to give August credit in that he’s making a stronger point by keeping Bobby alive rather than kill him outright which Jax and crew have had no problem doing as of late. It’s meticulous and tactical and now August has all the leverage he needs to convince Jax to back off or worse, submit.

Our episodic subplot delivered it’s usual points of violence, extortion, murder, and comedic undertones. There isn’t much to comment on except that it served the agenda of the plot and gave Jax the same credibility he’s always had in that he does what he has to for the things he needs. He won’t make his crew do anything he wouldn’t do himself and even finds a bit of pride in it. He’s always dedicated and will help those in need even if the situation doesn’t appear altruistic.

As always, the episode ends with foreboding and a new breath of fear for Jax to live with. When you commit to praising your crew about love and family, you can always expect that to turn around and strike back like a curse of poison, and it did. Everything about this episode roared classic Sons. We can even take to heart that when Jax’s bike was trashed, it was a sign of things to come. His world is about to become unraveled in a way he’ll never expect.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

When Gemma reached the cabin. There was oodles of tension supplied and I wanted to believe things were about to go down, but Gemma plays her cool till the very end and breathed her biggest sigh of relief when what Happy told her was true about why she was there. She calms an arriving Nero and all is well. This shows why she’s so good at what she does. Gemma knows how to distract, deflect, and maneuver herself where the advantage becomes hers. Her one fleeting moment came when she told Thomas what she did to Tara. It’s interesting that she chose to tell the son who wouldn’t understand, the son whose mother was horribly murdered. Gemma has been talking to an emptiness and disguised it as Tara, yet she didn’t apologize to thin air, she apologized to Tara’s child. There’s a lot there to understand about how Gemma’s mind works but, ultimately it was the tension created by the cabin scene I thought was done really well. It played on my expectations and pushed them further down the road to wait a little longer.

 

CHARACTER MVP

With Jax being entirely too soft spoken tonight, I’m giving the MVP to Gemma. Watching her play every scene like it’s her slow walk to an execution really helped make her more sympathetic. But in the end, it’s the fear that’s causing her to confess and react the way she’s been. Once she’s back in control, it’s smiles and arrogance all over again. She did a wonderful job selling that fear and downplaying her knowledge with what’s happening around her. As frustrating as it is to know more than the main character does, I find how they pushed Gemma to be emotionally compelling.

 

LONG TERM THOUGHTS

Nice addition by having Juice and Jax part ways at JT’s site where he was killed. That could have happened anywhere, but it gave the short moment much more meaning and that’s good story telling.

Once again, Wayne is on the hunt and suspects too much. His intuitive nature makes him the most dangerous character on the show, most times. What would Wayne do if he knew first about Tara’s murder. Would he protect Gemma or tell Jax? Very tough questions.

With having two scenarios where someone could find out about Tara’s murder makes me think one will intentionally be a red herring while the other will be set up to happen at an unexpected and dismal time.

Brooke and Rat are still a thing and with Brooke still taking about him, it can only mean one of those two will eventually be suffered with a loss. I don’t want either character to expire, but there may be a law within all final seasons where not everyone makes it out alive.

By keeping August out of direct contact with Jax it sets a tone of hierarchy where a king would never deal with subjects, that’s what the court and guards are there for. It will be interesting to see if Jax can formulate an actual meeting with August. Then the real violence will unleashed.

 

OVERALL SCORE

Solid and tense as always, I’m giving it an 8 out of 10. Sons has had consistent high scores and doesn’t seek to slow down. Pacing is always high and on point. The subplot dragged a little bit as we’re forced to listen to the entire plan with getting Winsome(sp?) to flip on Greensleeves. Other than that, this episode brought all the correct emotions out and then some. Jax has been dealt his first seriously blow since Tara died and knowing him, it’ll have the exact opposite effect that August intends. Will Juice get the job done and how unpredictable is Abel at this point? Keep watching and thanks for reading!

 

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: Supernatural – Season 10×03 (Well that was…anticlimactic)

SN 2x03

I’ll admit, I envisioned at least two more episodes for a big awesome showdown with Deanmon and Sam wrecking the gates of hell for the 200th episode and even beyond. Yet, we’re given an 8th season resolution coated and impaled in Dean, turning him back into a human that seems to understand the gravity of his choices as of late. I’m thrilled Dean is back to normal, I just think it happened too fast. This was a golden opportunity to turn demon Dean into a bloodthirsty chaotic arc that saw the brothers stepping into morbid disaster after another for the sake of bonds and hell. What we got instead was a The Shining 101.

That aside, “Soul Survivor” was a patented display of character development for our quartet. Crowley and Castiel stick to their vices as supporting characters do, you also see glimpses into their core as each one relents in familiar ways. Castiel tries to accept his death in battle but is saved by Crowley who treats it like a business transaction when we know a little better. The end result is Castiel saves Sam from killing Dean and the rest is history.

What we’re given is a new clean slate on the demon plot and a promise of new demonic threats to come. Just who is the lady in Oklahoma at the end of the episode and what is her role? Given the amount of episodes that have aired, if she’s someone who’s already made an appearance, please let me know. At the moment, she’s unrecognizable.

Dean’s demonic attitude, as predictable as it was, leaves a few unanswered questions with the demon aspect and what it truly represented. In cases like these, the human counterpart stresses that the force controlling the one they care about isn’t the real version of them. The person in question frantically dictates that it’s the “real” version of them and there’s a lot of back and forth and using words and actions against the protagonists while the power of love, friendship, and family overcomes all, most times. Now that we know that Dean’s demon aspect has been dissolved, all of Dean’s personality was in fact tied to the demon mold and wasn’t realy Dean. In a way it’s like saying he was re-ensouled which always tends to be the driving force of the human conscience. Take away the soul and it’s no holds barred. In Dean’s case you could argue his soul was corrupted, but with the demon aspect gone, he’s literally back to normal. Was Dean in real control, or was the demon aspect it’s own personality? Is it really gone? And how does the mark of Cain fit into the rest of the season?

Speaking of the mark, something is strangely odd and I know I’m not the only one who’s come up with this theory. But is it possible, Sam did something to his arm that is somehow similar to the mark of Cain? For three episodes we’ve been given barely a glimpse into Sam’s dealings with searching for Dean and Crowley except for one flashback which pinpoints how he captured the crossroads demon from the first episode. Now that Sam could have somehow stole the mark for himself, but is there something else going on that’s more supernatural in nature and just a broken arm?

And as great as a sidekick Hannah has become, I’m wondering if she’s overstayed her welcome at this point. Castiel is forming a small bond with her enough that neither will allow themselves to be cornered by Metatron’s offer. As far as angels go, she’s not as annoying as the rest of the bunch, but I wonder if this rogue hunting subplot has a real agenda or if it’s just a plot device to keep Castiel full of grace that isn’t his. The problem is subdued for now, but in the future, we know Castiel won’t kill any more angels to gain that grace back and Crowley no longer has a reason to help him in that capacity, unless he needs serious favors.

There’s a major demon arc coming and I’m excited for it. The ground has been set with some unhappy demons making their voices heard with how Crowley has been running things. He still wants to make the perfect hell. What will he do to attain that goal? What will Sam and Dean do to make sure that doesn’t happen?

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

Around the second conversation between Sam and captured Dean when it revolves around Dean making Sam feel guilty over what he had done to find Crowley. Either brother is capable of being reminded with the horrible atrocities they’ve gone through. It was Sam’s turn and Dean knew how to drive it home. It didn’t stop Sam from driving more syringes in his brother, but we understood the pain involved. When the show continues to address and tackle over their strained relationship, it brings out the best in their characters, and who knows, maybe we’re in for a comedic treat now that the worst of it is behind them, for now.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Very hard to choose as everyone had an equal number of great scenes. But Crowley and Castiel didn’t have Dean and Sam to play off of and Dean was rather predictable in his capture and how he would react. Tonight’s MVP goes to Sam. He stuck with it, and found that no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t kill his brother. It helps do away with Sam’s attitude in season 9 when he point blank admitted he wouldn’t save Dean if the same life threatening encounter had happened to him. I believe this episode helped wash that away and has once more brought Sam back into the right mindset when dealing with his brother. Whenever they get torn apart, there has to be a way to bring them back together again.

The tally road so far

Dean = 2

Sam = 1

Castiel = 0

Crowley = 0

 

LONG TERM THOUGHTS

Is closing Hell still a priority for the Winchesters or is it back to the monster of the week again?

Could Dean have been turned into a Knight of Hell and not just a demon, and how does the Mark of Cain fit now that he’s no longer demonized? Will Dean still need to kill even though he has no access to the knife?

Will Charlie ever return from Oz?

Will someone else inevitably let Metatron out of his cage?

The 200th episode will be called “Fan Fiction” I’m hoping for a few alternate takes on how events could have gone down in the universe. Hopefully there’s plenty of room for cameos like Lucifer and Death!

No sign of Cole even though we last saw him looking into demon lore. Could this spark an unexpected play with returning the demon back into Dean later this season?

 

OVERALL SCORE

The episode itself didn’t disappoint me, I just though it should have been pushed further down the season. For what they did pull off and for the story they told, I give it a 7 out of 10. Evil Dean works on a lot of ways, but perhaps not long term. An overly cocky and careless Dean has the potential of being great or stale over time, but we’ll never know now. Castiel’s performance, while solid as always, needs more plot to keep his adventure interesting without the Winchesters involved. That or shoehorn him back into the brother’s main quest, whatever that may be now. Crowley remains the best out of the four that can operate solo and keep the scenes interesting and enticing. Let him work his magic how he wants. We’ll see you at 199 next week!

 

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: The Originals – Season 2×03 (At least Klaus didn’t take an arrow to the knee)

originals-2x03

Mommy dearest strikes at the cores of Klaus, Elijah, and Hayley in tonight’s 3rd entry, “Every Mother’s Son.” Though Rebekah and Cole were missing from the dinner reunion, there was enough spite, temper, and revelation to keep the undead blood boiling between allied brothers against their foe, Esther and Finn, the ever the loyal follower and eldest brother. It’s not every episode one can showcase a tale about Klaus that brings sympathy out in the open, but to his credit, Klaus finally understood the meaning behind the necklace Esther once gave him to wear as a child. Meant to keep his strength low so that he’ll never kill and trigger his werewolf gene, Klaus understood it as a means for Esther to keep her secret from Michael that Klaus was the son of the wolf leader whose pack were responsible for one of her son’s deaths. Even thousands of years ago, the drama was pretty intense.

For once, Elijah and Klaus stood as true brothers and took ownership over their decisions over the centuries and both managed to keep their vanity at bay. Well, certainly Klaus who took the brunt of the emotional attack that Esther and Finn brought to the dinner party. We’re treated to a few flashbacks which showed Esther in her original body and young Klaus who needed the love of a mother, while a fazed Finn watches on. The jumps were well placed and didn’t feel too much like filler. Klaus’s long haired look brought the old viking image stuck in the wrong part of the world. The sword stuck in his shoulder was also a clear indicator of that heritage, ironically speaking.

As strong as the family drama was, the subplot with Marcel forcing Elijah to bond with Gia, a new vampire, wasn’t quite as thrilling or entertaining. Gia started with some silent charisma but quickly faded into an every day vamp who complains about what she doesn’t know. Elijah was bored very quickly and so was I. He eventually succumbed and gave her some helpful advice about learning how to play music again in the hope he can offer the kind of encouragement that he felt his siblings should have gotten long ago. Gia was proud of her accomplishment as was Marcel who had hoped the pair would be successful. That moment made me question whether Gia was in fact tricking Elijah for his help, but there’s no sense in that process. Marcel is growing his vampire community and will soon be looking for his chance to return to the city.

I was looking forward to seeing Hayley give Oliver a quick “make it look good” beating, but that was sadly skipped. Aw well. The introduction of Lenore was decent and I thought she’d make a good witch addition, but now she’s Esther which also makes me sad because I thought Cassie did an excellent job portraying her. Does this mean Cassie and Davina will mend their friendship that we never saw? It’s hard to know how relevant Cassie will be now that she’s not possessed anymore.

Hayley and Elijah are also returning to old habits with her driving the wedge further between them. I’m not particularly surprised by this act, because I recognize this as a sign we may need to hold off on their union either indefinitely or for a good chunk of the season. Elijah is returning back into the “Watchful Avenger” role he’s been known for around her only Hayley isn’t buying it this time. Given that’s she considering Esther’s offer is a bit comical, because Esther doesn’t know that Hope is still alive which gives Hayley all the reason to keep fighting with the strength that she has. If Hayley was a bit more traumatized with becoming a hybrid I’d buy the offer, but right now it doesn’t click and I would be surprised if Hayley went for it.

Since this was a Esther centric plot, I’m expecting Michael to play a bigger role coming up to switch the violence up. As the mother, Esther was calm, precise, strategic, and offered a loving way out of their curse. I expect Michael to be very rude, terrorizing, and all the thing Esther was not. While Esther is “willing” to end the curse, Michael just wants to end them. It’s a cool dichotomy but still their paths have yet to cross. May that rainy day confrontation happen soon.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

The dinner seen was exemplary. Finn (Vincent) showed his aggression, something the character himself had been lacking as the least developed brother of the bunch. Everyone in the scene shined in their own right with Klaus the most hurt and angered over his desired revelation about the necklace and truth behind it. The family drama needs moments like this to liven up the conflict with all familial characters. All that’s missing is Rebekah and Cole’s input on the dilemma at hand.

 

CHARACTER MVP

It was a toss up between Klaus and Esther (All three variations). But I did like the look and feel of Klaus’s struggle in his flashback after he failed to confront his father. Klaus is fully capable of showing pain and fear, and it’s something we don’t get to see often. Emotional pain that is. He hides it with violence and a knack for lashing out but in that moment under a mother’s embrace he was a child again and in the dinner scene you could see his heart breaking all over again. Good use of conflict and reinstalling his hatred for Esther.

 

LONG TERM THOUGHTS

Davina wants to disconnect the bloodlines from Marcel and Josh. Esther wants to end the curses. Michael wants to see heads on pikes. Chances are one of these three will happen this season.

Would Caroline or Stefan be a better fit to show up in New Orleans to make things interesting?

Marcel needs more free thinking vampires under him. Making Gia the only one worthy of actual dialogue forces us to like her and that isn’t intelligent writing.

Does Cassie have a loyalty or a power level worth keeping her on the show?

Cole is technically a wildcard, but I can see him striking up a deal with Michael or even worse, stealing Davina’s bracelet and using Michael to hurt/kill the others.

 

OVERALL SCORE

The dinner seen was fantastic, but as a whole the episode had too many dragging scenes that didn’t help the characters deal with what they needed to. It gets a 6 out of 10. Hayley and Elijah need to stop avoiding each other and Marcel needs to be thrown back into the fold of the struggle. We were given glimpses of crucial moments such as Marcel giving the necklace to Klaus and Hayley’s outburst toward Elijah but the scenes we really need to see with those interactions are being pushed for the moment. They can still fit in this storyline, just give them room to breathe and they’ll handle it.

 

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: The Vampire Diaries – Season 6×03 (Liv likes Tyler…Liv Tyler…Arwen. Oh no. It’s a conspiracy!)

TVD-06-03

This episode is brought to you by unrequited love, the fast acting, never fail, key to maintaining a 100% frequency in annoying personalities. Tonight’s episode “Welcome to Paradise” keys in on several transparent friendship and pseudo-relationship problems for our resident supernatural Mystic Falls residents, sans Mystic Falls. The turbulence shown here was a way to move along a new vampire hunting plot with a King-esque storyline looming in the background. While not an impressive chapter in the season, it managed to stay luke-warm with the exception of the last minute.

With Elena returned to a super peppy state of mind, I found her compulsion and oblivious nature a rather saddened trait. It might as well be Elena doing her scenes with a cactus tied to her leg, painful to watch but eerie nonetheless. Until Elena returns to her more depressed ways, she can’t move the storyline much as a main protagonist. I’m not sure why I’m worried about that concept because Elena hasn’t been that moving force in quite some time. Everyone is now tip-toeing around her including a very emotionally charged Caroline, who finally admitted she “had” feelings for Stefan, but was shunned by broody McBrood brood. And since Elena and Caroline aren’t that worried about Sara knowing she was attacked by Vampire Elena, I’m not worried. Fans live vicariously through the characters making us heightened to their woes and since they’d rather sit around in a dorm and talk about missing Bonnie and feelings for Stefan, there’s not much worry here.

What did move forward in an awkward way was the introduction of Kai, a “human?” who is as much stuck in the 90’s empty Mystic Falls as Bonnie and Damon are. Just when things were getting interesting, Kai delivers a very yawn-ful debut as a slightly clever watcher who manipulates Bonnie into reacting her witch powers by nearly killing Damon. Since Kai confirmed what Bonnie already deduced about magic being the key to leaving that world, there’s nothing more than a third party hitching a ride. I’m not very interested in this person’s story, but I’ll roll my eyes with it and see where it goes. I give Bonnie credit for calling Damon out on his hopeless attitude. Damon can be very standoffish and tends to require strong women to put their foot down on his careless way of life. He can see the error of his ways, it just sometimes takes an aisle full of vervane-flavored bourbon to get the job done.

In terms of character arcs I just don’t get who I’m supposed to root for between Enzo and Stefan. Enzo is still a cheap Damon has even less of a reason to do anything good and saving Stefan from a vampire hunter doesn’t excuse his reasoning that Stefan gets to suffer greatly because he stopped looking for Damon. There’s not a lot of sense in his motivation right now so with Trip on the verge of slaying Enzo in his own vicious way, I can only say…meh, he had it coming. But, we all know Enzo is a mainstayer, and somehow his death will be thwarted, but likely not Stefan who handed Trip the man personally to him.

There’s also the perplexing segment where Caroline all but threw herself to Stefan, who walked away not admitting to any of her reasons why he should stay. I do honestly feel bad for her because this is the joining that’s been destined to happen since last season. This is one of those cases where I want her to be happy, but Stefan shouldn’t be with anyone right now. Luckily, Stefan understands this and doesn’t pursue it out of silent anger and the fact he just lost a girl he was decidedly interested in. Give him at least a darn week to grieve, then ask again later.

That brings up to another “toxic” pairing in Liv and Tyler. We shall call them…Liv Tyler. Okay, I’ll stop. Tyler maintains angry face during Liv’s bashful confession that she’s falling for him. And in the most amateurish attempt imaginable, Tyler, with angry face, tries to zero in on some kind of mean-mannered kiss, only for Liv to squirm away, graceless and irked over the whole encounter. On screen, Tyler has done nothing to gain Liv’s attention in a way that makes sense. If she has feelings for him, they’re completely residing on the side of physical attraction, and possibly the need to have a guy in her life she can fix, because Tyler is currently in high-maintenance mode. Their delivery and conversations needs a lot of work, but it can succeed if the writers put them in better situations to play off one another. Right now, they’re a trainwreck.

Tonight’s episode had very little direction. Three deep and the basic outline of the plot is a founding father, late to the party is busy killing vampires with his crew while Bonnie and Damon seek to understand where they are and how they can get back home. It’s not an apocalypse, which is typically the way to go when seasons nearly end on one, but this start to season 06 seems very flawed right now. Caroline feels more the star of the show and that’s only because she’s trying to drive some semblance of character cohesion and at least wants to try and bring down the spell surrounding mystic falls. At the moment, she’s fighting her battles alone.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

The last scene. Stefan got a taste of payback and Trip’s polite and cheerful demeanor is turning into a psychotic highlight. He’s still human and will likely suffer a human-villain’s fate, but for now he’s embellishing in his role and I support it. Is there a reason why Trip is so bent on torturing vampires as they die instead of just killing them? It’s worth finding out as I suspect deaths in the family to be a stimulator in this case. Stefan leaves Enzo to Trip and is probably going to skip town once and for all, until he gets dragged back in, by Caroline.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Most everyone were on equal ground tonight. I’m giving it to Caroline by a nose. While Elena gave the audience a bit of bikini eye-candy, and Bonnie stood up to Damon’s whiney attitude, I think Caroline showed a bit more depth and had the most interaction with the ensemble cast. In a way, she’s been turning into a potential “heart” of the show and is trying to take care of everyone it seems. She won’t re-break the news to Elena that she was compelled, but she can clearly see she’s upset by the cop-out, even though she was always anti-damon. Caroline admitted her feelings which means it’s just a matter of time before she reels Stefan in. And it will have to be her, because Stefan is too stubborn to accept what’s in front of him. He knows it’s there, he’s just reluctant.

 

LONG TERM THOUGHTS

I try not to think about vampire logistics, but why would Stefan feel the need to compel himself a raise? By that count, he should never have to worry about money ever, so how does that serve to benefit him? I suppose it’s a matter of principle, but it felt cheap.

Kai can’t be completely human. There’s no way Damon, as a vampire would not somehow sense/smell/see his presence for the entire four months like that, especially if Kai mentioned all the times he watched them arguing. It may not matter, but that also felt slightly lazy in the telling.

Sara doesn’t fit very well into the mold of this plot right now. She’s very obviously hiding something, but I’m not sure what or why. Is she tied to Trip and the vampire hunters or is she a part of her own agenda? Caroline and Elena are going to regret not chasing her down sooner.

Where will Stefan actually go? Caroline drilled home that he missed Mystic Falls and the friendships he made. Stefan didn’t deny it, but where will he go if he’s done with everyone? Maybe he should stop by New Orleans for a bit, say hi to old friends.

Bonnie is going to be so upset when she finds out how many women Jeremy has slept with while she was gone.

 

OVERALL SCORE

I don’t feel this episode deserves the kind treatment. I give it a 4 out of 10. How these characters act and react are principle to driving this show. Almost everyone played at being annoyed and frustrated with at least two other characters and very little of that was resolved. A lot of scenes were either dealt with the wrong way or didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. How many times are we going to have to put up with someone ripping on Jeremy for his floozy and careless attitude? He’s got that stumbled no response down to a T but it’s getting old fast. The end was a great scene because I want Enzo to be eliminated from the series, but Caroline, for some reason doesn’t want him gone. I’m guessing because he’s the only one who actually wants to put things back the way they were. They’re goals are similar but not at all the same. Not a lot felt right in this episode and will need to get some issues sorted out to bounce back from it. No real worries, the season just started. Plenty of weeks left in the season.

 

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: Sons of Anarchy – Season 7×06 (Gemma needs to stop winning all these one-sided conversations)

Sons06

Normally I avoid watching promos for next episodes, but tonight I couldn’t avoid it, because there simply wasn’t enough of tonight’s episode “Smoke ‘em if You Got ‘em” going around. Luckily I wasn’t given any hard proof of my suspicion that Juice is going to tell Jax everything he knows. That is the crux of the issue in this arc as we near the halfway point of its final season.

I want to address everything with Juice first before I comment on the rest of the plot. Even though he’s admitted to being a coward I find he’s taking his reunion with Samcro rather well. He manages to display a hefty amount of sympathetic anxiety over what’s happened. While Nero potentially forgave Juice over the death Jax made him do, it feels father swept under the rug given the nature of Juice real problem here. That problem is that Jax and crew are adding too many pieces of Juice’s messed up life that seem to paint the worst picture a member of Samcro could have. With Jax the smartest of the crew, I have to believe there’s something in there that he needs to have explained to him so that Juice won’t be silently put to death without a shred of dialogue to make him understand. Will Juice admit what he saw with Tara’s murder. One would think, absolutely, if it saves his life. But realistically, how would that in fact save his life? It unravels everything Jax has set in motion and even worse, pins the dark deed on his mother, which is the truth, yet not a saving throw I can see that will stick. Something else has to happen, and it has to start with Jax willing to talk to Juice, man to man.

Even though some of Jax’s plan seem to scatter away, much of his entire goal was brought back into the flow as he makes peace with Marcus and the Mayans and maintains an uneasy truce with Tully’s outside man, Leland. They want distribution of drugs, Mayans want the gun trade, which means they have to work together to remove August from the picture. The bridge was the executions of those responsible for killing members of the Grim Bastards. The bodies then place in August’s construction yards to send a message. It’s brutal, but by next episode or two, August will be retaliating as promised. What I find scary about the situation is August’s original threat. I don’t think this takedown will run as smooth as Jax thinks and people on both Samcro and the Mayans may be taking heavy hits. I’m also not 100% sold on Tyler’s loyalty to Jax either. It’s not much of a hunch, but we’re just not seeing the large picture.

Gemma, our resident ghost talker has a few candid moments with a waitress after being let go by Juice. Wayne takes her back to town where Jax tells her to give Sheriff Jarry the statement marking Lin as responsible for Tara’s death. Though very reluctant, she does so. And afterward, tells Wayne to take his RV off the property. Her scenes end with an upset Nero consoling a freaked out Gemma over what Juice may admit to Jax now that Juice is in his custody. Again, this goes back to things not being cut and dry. I’m not expecting Jax and Gemma to go through this showdown this early in the season. Part of me thinks it might be best to get it out of the way before the real bloodshed goes down, but the climax of the season isn’t about guns and retaliation, it’s about family understanding what they’ve lost trying to keep that family together. But I trust the writers to do what’s best, so if Jax finds out the truth by next week, then so be it.

I also wanted Gemma’s scene with Gurdy the waitress to be my favorite tonight, but ended up being my least favorite. It was one of Gemma’s more softer reflective moments but completely wasted on a character we’ll never see again. All it did was show how much she tries to deflect and avoid what she really needs to say. Granted, she admits that it was her fault Tara died, but it given to a near complete stranger which didn’t serve to be any kind of cathartic moment for her. It’s at the end of the episode that we’re treated with a likely possibility that she’ll tell Nero the truth with what happened to Tara. I can see it happening if she’s truly backed into a wall. Nero will have to pry because she’s that upset and he was the one who was supposed to be angry over her helping Juice. Back to the earlier scene. I just felt it was a long filler moment that could have been better spent on other characters.

One more element of chaos is that we’re assuming that Wayne is being told what the wounded female officer (Eckerty?) saw when she and her partner were gunned down. Wayne is getting all sorts of tactical information on the groups and their dealings and may need to make even harder choice to maintain the dignity of doing the right thing. If Gemma has cut herself off from Wayne, that may not bode too well for her.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

It was simple and very effective, but I liked the end with Juice being escorted out by Chibs and the crew. Juice avoids looking at Bobby and just has this overwhelmingly sorrowful look while also accepting his fate. It made me wish the entire season was playing out tonight and that’s the key to good writing. They set up a really solid ending to entice our return next week.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Little tough this week, but I’m giving it to Gemma. She had very hot and cold moments but she did resume her talk to Tara and showed plenty of varying emotion throughout the episode including her freakout with Nero over Jax possibly learning the truth. No matter how cool she performs and how sneaky she is with her words, nothing can stop the flow of anxious tears when she feels the roof is coming apart around her world. It was interesting that she was playing reluctant with telling the sheriff what she “witnessed” with Tara’s murder. I would think if she had to play out the role than she’d do what was necessary. The guilt is breaking her down little by little. She’s still very strong in her position to maintain the secret, but somewhere inside is a lot of fear and it’s slowly starting to trickle out and we can visibly see and hear it. She did great in tonight’s episode.

 

LONG TERM THOUGHTS

What will Wayne do with his new information? Will he tell Jarry first, or Jax? How long until the officer tells everyone else?

I wouldn’t put it past August to hire professional hitmen to take out Samcro at this point. I believe August when he made his threat to Jax earlier this season. Money can buy a lot of powerful enemies including the ones close.

No word yet on Jury and his revelation. Based on the names of the future episodes, I suspect not next week, but the week after is when we’ll get the stinging result we’ve been waiting for.

Jax proposing the Grim Bastards patch into Samcro is an interesting idea. If it happens and Leland gains wind of it, it could shatter their already fragile bond.

I thought Charisma Carpenter was supposed to appear this week, but I guess that’s later.

Somehow, I have to believe that Juice will find a way to be spared without telling Jax the truth about Gemma and Tara. Stranger things have happened, but if not, it might be time to say goodbye to Juice forever.

 

OVERALL SCORE

Excellent episode this week. 8 out of 10. A few tense moments, all of them Juice related. I wasn’t expecting him to be as desperate as he was with robbing the liquor store and offering to sell intel on Samcro in exchange for travel to Mexico, but I also give him more credit considering he does fly off the deep end when pushed against a wall. Jax was especially sure footed as well. His fist fight with Leland his crew was amusing and could have gone on longer on screen. My only gripe was the use of Gemma and Gurdy and whether was served a purpose or not. I’m all for character scenes, but it didn’t feel completely necessary. The biggest plus is how it makes us bite our nails in wondering how things will turn out next. That’s the mark of a great last season now nearly half over. Keep them coming!

 

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: Supernatural – Season 10×02 (Demon kung fu is best kung fu)

SN 2x02

Being a demon means not having to succumb to brotherly love. Dean shares this fact and a few punches and stabs in tonight’s episode “Reichenbach” I searched but only found several regions, rivers, and areas regarding the name. I’m fresh out of research mode to go diving into the meaning, but it’s not a mega concern at the moment.

We quickly learn Dean’s action against our marine character Cole. As it turns out, a year before Dean found Sam in season 01, he encountered Cole’s father, Edward and through an unseen struggle, Edward’s throat was slit and Cole saw a young Dean’s face complete with a knife in hand. Vengeance was born and built since. We know the what and when, but not quite the why. Not seeing the struggle formally take place, I think it’s safe to say Dean may not have been the actual murderer here, but Demon Dean (Double D) won’t fess up an explanation as he pummels Cole to a bloody pulp. Props to CGI for creating a younger, thinner, and more acceptable Dean of 2003. No amount of makeup and gym routines could have sold that in the present, so this is one case where CGI is approved.

This was a bit of character arc for most of our quartet. Cas is quickly losing his limited grace and refuses a deal from cameo Metatron to gain what’s left of his original grace back. I don’t blame Cas for choosing this route but I scarcely believe this is will be Castiel’s final trek through Supernatural. There will be other options, maybe it will involve another dose of other angels, it does create a polar opposite feeling to Dean’s necessity to kill. But now that Dean doesn’t have the blade, how will that affect him? Is the mark of Cain even an issue at this point?

Aside from last season’s falling out between brothers, Sam is back to chasing Dean with a mission to save him based on their entire relationship and hardship. While it’s good to see that kind of attitude back on Sam, I struggle to wonder if Sam truly contemplated letting Dean go. It’s something I think earlier season 9 Sam would do, even though they seemingly reconciled during he finale. Seasons have a way of wiping a previous years tribulations, and this could easily be one of them. Sam is back on track and wants to save his brother. It’s virtuous, altruistic, and commendable. And for the moment, completely useless as Dean seriously doesn’t care about being saved.

Crowley continues to dance around his relationship with Dean and ironically makes fun of the fact that he “broke up” with him when Dead kills a client who sold his soul to watch his cheating wife get murdered. If it wasn’t for Crowley staring at a picture of the pair happy and wearing cowboy hats at a bar, I might have thought Crowley was being facetious. In truth, the picture wasn’t necessary, we all know Crowley has been sentimental since the end of season 8. He’s managing quite well, but I wonder if his need of human blood is still a thing for him or not to feel good again. He still has an agenda to create the perfect hell with or without Dean’s help. So what does a perfect hell entail? Will that be the focus for this major arc of the season, or is Dean’s soul the issue at heart? It’s time to see if Sam can really purify a demon’s soul.

We’ve seen human characters who are Anti Sam and Dean make their rounds in a season before. Is Cole a main stayer, or is he destined to end the same way as his father? I’m still interested in knowing Dean’s involvement in Cole’s father’s murder way back when. It can’t be cut and dry as the memory suggests. I’m not keen on Cole’s family being monsters of some kind as Cole would have exhibited something of that nature by now. There could be a light conspiracy at play here, meaning I hope it doesn’t turn out to be a no brainer.

The episode ends with Sam capturing Dean and driving to an unknown location. Dean admits to nothing beyond what he plans to do to Sam if he escapes and what keeping Cole alive will do to the man who couldn’t stop him. Sam may be winging it, but it’s very likely another round of demon exorcism will commence soon. Castiel only knows about Dean as of this episode. His cringe suggests Dean’s turn is in fact catastrophic, but hopefully he can help. Does this mean Metatron could have one more play in his book that could help Dean, or was this in fact Metatron’s only appearance for the season?

Reichenbach had an old school feel to it. The humor was dialed down, save for a few moments of Hannah trying to understand a bit more about humanity. Though, it’s funnier when Cas is the one trying to understand and reflecting on it. I still feel like the writer’s aren’t 100% sure with how Dean should be portraying himself. Demon’s have no conscience as we know it and Dean is selling that point to home and back. He’s shown to have accepted his role as a demon, but wants no collar on him from Crowley or anyone. He just wants to do as he pleases, as a rogue demon does. It’s early, but we still need to see Dean in a desperate state of needing to kill, maybe then we’ll get the ferocious nature along with the black eyes.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

Sam confronting Dean in the bar. The show wouldn’t sell well without putting the brothers in the same room together and this needed to happen sooner rather than later. Sam won’t give up and prepares to cuff Dean up, which strikes me as odd. But I assume the cuffs are special seal wearing cuffs so demons can’t just get out of them. Dean has refrained from showing a shred of decent humanity and won’t give Sam the time of day. How much of it is a cover though. Could Dean be in a lot more pain than we realize. That annoying and condescending smile of his as of late certainly doesn’t help with the diagnosis.

 

CHARACTER MVP

For the second week straight, Dean gets the vote. I overall liked the personality Dean was selling. His cockiness goes completely through the roof, but to be fair, a demon is designed to be evil, but demons in the past can be genuinely neutral characters if they choose to be. Which is why I wonder if Dean’s need to kill is stuck no matter if he has the bone knife or not. You can tell Jensen is enjoying some of the breaks with how normally aggressive he plays Dean. Demon Dean is surefooted, bored, and plays by his own…okay that sounds a lot like normal Dean. Okay, there are some difference, and not just the amount of times the kid smiles. His willingness to kill humans now. Will that extend into innocent people?

The tally road so far

Dean = 2

Sam = 0

Castiel = 0

Crowley = 0

 

LONG TERM THOUGHTS

Does Dean know enough martial arts to have beaten Cole the way he did? Something felt off there and demon’s don’t suddenly gain omniscience in combat unless I imagine their host knows of it. Strength I get, but Dean wasn’t displaying strength over Cole, he was displaying an ass kickery that actually had some finesse to it. Doesn’t really need to be explained, just wondering.

Sam’s arm injury was dodged twice now. The longer we go not knowing, the more we want to know what happened. It may not be anything big, but then don’t treat it like it’s no big thing.

Can Crowley beat Dean if need be? I get the “Friendship” they share hindered Crowley from taking action when Dean pushed him down, but I’d like to think the King of Hell has the power he needs to subdue Dean should the time come.

Where did Sam get that suit, if all he had was his bag of weapons and no car?

I can still see Dean’s identity as a demon lasting for quite a while. Could there be a scene in the works where mentall, Demon Dean and Human Dean confront each other? Sam’s gone through it, and Dean’s gone through similar moments. Who’s to say it won’t happen again?

 

OVERALL SCORE

Tonight, SN gets a 7 out of 10. I go back to this episode had an old school feeling. Certain camera shots and the ambience of the plot didn’t make me roll my eyes when the angels were involved. I was tired of seeing Metatron, so I kind of hope he’s done for the time being, but Hannah and Castiel I thought worked well together. Castiel won’t turn in the towel until he knows the Winchesters are safe. That could lead to him making rough decisions on his own. It was an enjoyable episode and Dean showed his delight by doing what he does best, wrecking shop wherever he goes. We’ll see what happens when Dean tackles a monster of the week as a demon. That’ll be fun.

 

No more words