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

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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.

 

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

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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.

 

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

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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!

 

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

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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.

 

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A Sashurai’s Review: The Originals – Season 2×02 (Understudy’s have it lucky when vampires direct Shakespeare)

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Sometimes finding out about hidden relationships can help strengthen the bonds of characters that normally don’t associate with each other. Tonight, we learn that Elijah had taken to schooling young Marcel in the 1800’s and Klaus reawakened Cole as a show of envy. It was short lived as Cole’s murderous antics were soon put to the dagger once more by Klaus and Elijah feigned annoyance with young Marcel so Klaus could reestablish his connection to humanity with the boy.

Flashfoward to the present and both Elijah and Marcel shared a moment of the latter giving Elijah a fresh new vampire, Gia, in the hopes he can be a better mentor than Elijah was in the past to young Marcel. The plan in itself is for Marcel to rebuild a vampire community to battle against the wolves and witches were have allied with Cassie (Ester) save for Hayley’s pack who have taken refuge at the plaza for the time being.

Tonight’s episode “Alive and Kicking” is a bit all over the map with a few varying themes on familial relationships. Nothing to overtly concrete but I gather the message is that the relationships that draw on humanity are important for the supernatural and that vampires themselves are the ones who are limited the most by it’s most basic concept. Beyond the metaphor, we’re treated to a few realizations as Klaus discovers Ester’s consciousness within Cassie and Elijah is reunited with Michael, who still intends to kill all his vampire children.

There are parts I think definitely worked well tonight. Klaus speaks with Cassie and slowly deduces her as Ester through both the way she speaks to him, calls his full name, and drinks tea she used to love. I know it’s part of Klaus’s makeup but it wasn’t completely necessary to tell her step by step how he figured it out. What’s odd is Cassie didn’t outright admit, but it’s now one of those “She knows that he knows that she knows” kind of things and eventually that won’t matter.

I also don’t buy for a second that Oliver will “spy” on Cassie on any legit way. He’s a neutral DB that may be protective of his pack but will also likely seek his own survival first when it comes down to it. He might volunteer his own defection, or Cassie (Ester) may force him to, in which case, his loyalty won’t matter. He’s not the right character to put in that position, because he’s not someone I care about that if put in danger would matter to me.

Klaus and Hayley have another rerun on their anger and hatred over not being able to see or be with their daughter, Hope. I understand, it sucks and the pain is shared differently by both parties. I would have liked to have seen how Hayley killed those witches in the beginning rather than see a forced sexy moment with her in the tub and two dead witches lying like pieces of uneaten dinner. It’s an aspect of her wolf nature interwoven with the brutality of being a vampire. I get the image, I just think her acts are more important to show rather than the aftermath. Hayley is getting better at being expressive, but when she’s moody, everyone suffers.

Cole (Kaleb) was also very heavily focused on in this episode. I find it interesting that he’s shown in the past to have just as bad of a destructive, killing nature as Klaus had yet they tend to part on sides quite frequently. In the present, he follows Ester’s plan but hates how he was attacked by the wolves while he was with Davina. Once he knew Ester caused the incident, he wanted to leave but was forced to remain loyal. In his own defiance he lies about knowing how Davina stopped the werewolves, namely having Michael and the white oak stake in his possession. This likely means that Cole will play to his own survival and find the means to leave her mother’s grasp and utilizing Michael to some degree may be the key. He already has an establishing relationship with Davina that he can exploit.

Let’s also get something straight. Cole is evil, he’ll do whatever he has to to meet his personal agenda. At no point will I suspect he’ll turn over a new leaf for Davina or anybody. Now that he’s mortal with a put of witch power (Still trying to figure that one out) he’s susceptible to a normal death. He’ll have to play it safe if he expects to live.

The episode puts to light all the major players of the game. Klaus and Elijah are aware of their parents’ return and Klaus devilishly questions which one will they go after first. The set up didn’t take long in season 2 and looks to deliver some awesome segments of family ripping on family. If Ester wasn’t so righteous in her views I’d almost say her details on how New Orleans used to be before the vampires arrived made sense and was balanced. But as far as this series goes, it’s never about good vs evil, it’s about who thinks they deserve the city the most and what they’ll do to see to that end.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

I enjoyed Michael’s return to violent action a lot. He’s just as ferocious as Elijah can be and hasn’t lost a step in his bloodlust. He even had Elijah dead to rights with the white oak stake slowly plunging his chest until Davina retained control of Michael. In a way, he’s the most dangerous out of everyone. Cassie has an army, but Michael is just one man on a mission. They reflect each other quite nicely but it was a good reminder that Michael has serious strength on his side.

 

CHARACTER MVP

The spotlight goes to Cole (Kaleb) Both from his flashbacks and the present. He displayed characteristics akin to an old vampire I remember seeing on the big screen played by a youthful Mr. Cruise and it was a bit nostalgic to be reminded. The scene with him playing out Hamlet with people actually performing murder was gruesome but something I’d expect from a vampire who doesn’t view humanity as anything more than pawns to play with. He excelled at his own deviousness and he barely got to bite into those old methods in the present. I’ll be amazed if he can hold onto his charade with Davina more than the next pair of episodes, but tonight he was the most entertaining of the lot.

 

LONG TERM THOUGHTS

Are these new moonlight rings tied to Klaus’s power at all? It wasn’t mentioned, so I’m guessing not, but I’m not sure at the moment.

How hard would it be for Ester to put Finn or Cole into another body if they were killed? They could essentially last forever like that.

Could Klaus make a temporary alliance with Ester in the hope of taking out Michael? Would that even work?

How important is Gia going to be on this show? Her playing the violin before she was turned suggests that she has that unspoken desire and the “it” factor that Marcel was looking for, but he completely throws her to Elijah for tutoring. I don’t expect Elijah to take too much time with this new raising, unless she proves to be very promising. We’ll see.

Michael is convinced Davina won’t be able to unlink the blood from the originals to the other vampires. Which basically means Davina will eventually figure it out. It may not be a quick fix, but it’ll become super evident as time goes on. It might take a few arms, legs, and hearts, but it’ll happen. Now that we know it’s a possibility.

 

OVERALL SCORE

Not too bland, it had a few notable moments. It gets a 6 out of 10. Everyone played their role as expected. Marcel still cares for Davina. Elijah still cares for Hayley, and Klaus still longs to be the true king of NO. I do enjoy Cassie’s representation of Ester. She plays that older personality with enough dramatic flair that I do buy the character as she’s shown. Plus, having short hair helps with the heightened age. I’m waiting for the inevitable scene with Ester and Michael reuniting, let’s not wait too long on that encounter. And ease down on the werewolf fatalities. You make me think there’s only so man last season and now there’s plenty to be used as cannon fodder to the point Cassie could have hundreds at her beck and call. That many could overrun the city in no time. Stick to a plausible number and their deaths may be a little more heartfelt.

 

 

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A Sashurai’s Review: The Vampire Diaries – Season 6×02 (Damon’s middle finger points to the weather)

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Enzo just might be the new vampire you love to hate, or actually hate. Either way, he’s proving somewhat of a point to Stefan about not giving up on a brother. Tonight’s episode “Yellow Ledbetter” actually blends a cohesive balance between three equal plots, all compelling enough to create a good episode. There’s a lot going on, but the pacing was actually done rather well. There are some natural moments of heavy cringing, but other than that there’s a lot of forward progress to be made.

Examining plot #1 “LOST…in the 90’s”

We’re treated to a flashback of Bonnie and Damon stuck reliving May 10th, 1994 during a solar eclipse. Mystic Falls is empty and they have no idea why they’re stuck where they are. They return to the Salvatore house and decide to set up shop there. Damon makes a grip-ton of pancakes and Bonnie tries to rationalize what her grandma did to help save her existence. Damon thinks he’s in hell and pretty much offers his usual barrage of insults over Bonnie having no magic to get them out of there. Eventually, Bonnie finds that a crossword puzzle she had been working on has been completed and she believes someone else finished it and is in the vicinity, likely in the house.

This arc has a good vibe to it. There is a clever amount of mystery without saturating it too much with expositional fluff and characters. Damon plays the role he’s meant to and accepts what’s happened to him, but complains on end that Bonnie can’t fix it. It’s typical Damon complete with a sigh of sadness that she recognizes after 4 months of berating each other. No, this doesn’t mean they’re going to make out, far from it actually. I currently have no idea who else is in this empty dimension that reminds me of The Langoliers. Hopefully no menacing mouth-balls make an appearance.

Examining plot #2 “Elena and Alaric play ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’”

Alaric has Elena recount memory after memory of her feelings about Damon but she can’t find the one where her true feelings began. Finally, after some coaching from Caroline, Alaric and Elena discover that she felt love for Damon back when he performed a selfless act and gave Elena the necklace that Stefan gave to her originally back on an earlier birthday. Alaric’s compulsion then works and Elena now thinks Damon was a monster for having once killed Jeremy and doesn’t care that he died.

Is it a cheap way out? Yes. But given the alternative with hearing Elena whine and cry and lose herself to more maniacal panic attacks, I’d say this is the lesser of two evils. Elena will always be a character study in passion gone array. She represents a large piece of the puzzle in how to react when true love can’t be felt with the person they’ve lost. Co-dependency is something TV drama relishes even though in reality, it can be just as destructive as any unstable emotion in a relationship. For Elena, this was her only option. I accept that for the time being, because she’s the main character and the story has to somehow propel forward with her and this love of Damon is holding it back. Will things return to the way they were? I honestly hope not. Elena has dealt with the love of two brothers for six seasons. It’s time to see what she can do on her own as a principle character. I also wouldn’t force-feed her another male character to oggle over, that won’t accomplish anything right now for her.

Examining plot #3 “Stefan’s guide to a two month relationship”

Enzo and Caroline are searching for a group of witches called the Gemini coven, who may have information on communicating with the dead. On the way they stop by Stefan’s place to see what he’s been up to, and likely to get his help. They find that he moved on two months ago and is dating a human named Ivy. Things get sour and Caroline leaves after realizing Stefan truly did give up. Enzo isn’t happy with the situation either and kills Ivy, saying he’ll continue to make Stefan’s life miserable until he agrees to resume helping find his brother.

What I like about this dynamic is everyone’s right. Caroline was hurt that Stefan would A)Give up and B)Never listen to her pleading voicemails. But it doesn’t discount what she’s trying to do and is fed up with Stefan’s lack of caring. Enzo, reluctantly, also has a point. Brothers shouldn’t give up like how Stefan did. He’s using some harsh methods to prove his point, but I think Enzo believes what he’s saying. And Stefan is also not wrong. He tried, he went through the motions and decided it couldn’t be helped. He was done torturing himself and deserved to rest. In hindsight, nobody’s really getting older. Whether Stefan retries later or never gives up, time is endless for vampires and it’s only Caroline and Enzo that feel so compelled to solve the situation at lightning speed. Stefan isn’t ready but has little choice now. I expect this trio to get more volatile and they search for this Gemini coven.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

I thought the trip down Elena’s memory lane was actually done very tastefully. It reminded me of the 5th season of Buffy when Buffy realizes in a trance-induced memory the exact moment she lost all hope and thought everyone was doomed against Glory. Slight parallels, but for Elena, I was interested enough to want to know just what scene would be her true moment of love for Damon. It honestly made sense and was figured out in a way that wasn’t too overtly cheesy. I also want to believe that this was a final farewell to the grandiose 5 year journey it took to get those two together and that maybe, likely it won’t happen again. But, Damon is Damon and may try to rekindle what they had as soon as he gets back.

 

CHARACTER MVP

I’m giving the MVP to Caroline this week. Simply put, she called Stefan a dick for what he did which included ignoring her messages and giving up on his search for Damon and Bonnie. Stefan couldn’t even look her in the eyes when she called him out and if he wasn’t such a blockhead he’d understand that all of her tears were because of what she feels for him. It’s not quite “love” in the deep sense, but it’s a compassionate partnership on equal terms which has been severely decimated. For once I wasn’t rolling my eyes at Caroline’s plight. She was hurt emotionally and it was enough to send Enzo back inside and set things horribly straight. I give Caroline props for at least making a point. Her feelings weren’t completely put on the line, but that will come later I’m sure. She did a good job of selling her pain.

 

LONG TERM THOUGHTS

I still have no sympathy for Jeremy. I know it’s supposed to be touching that he continues leaving voicemails on Bonnie’s phone as if she was able to hear them, but you can’t introduce that “after” all the women that Jeremy has been sleeping with. Don’t make him a pigheaded jerk then show why he’s so vulnerable. It’s all backwards and because of it, I don’t care that he’s in emotional flux.

I do like Trip’s character. He’s another human on a vampire killing crusade, but I think he’s got a bit of a psychotic style that works a little more than what I’ve seen from human hating vampires of the past. How he got a bunch of vampires captured in his van, I’m not sure. Maybe the group he’s works with helped. Maybe he’s acting alone. As a human, he won’t last too long and probably won’t make it out of this first arc. We’ll see.

Ivy died one episode later. Called it.

Bonnie and Damon’s time loop in another dimension is seriously baffling and I think that’s great. Don’t keep us in the dark too long and hopefully it won’t be a far fetched explanation. Also, Damon likely only survived because he held Bonnie’s hand. That dimension was supposed to be meant for her alone.

That Caroline and Stefan kiss scene is probably a long ways off now.

Elena mentions hanging out with Tyler to Caroline when she wants her to come back and party. That’s odd. Why Tyler? Why anyone? Won’t Tyler and Caroline still have at least some issues with what happened? Maybe they’re over it.

I consider Damon and Enzo polar opposite neutral characters, if that makes sense. Damon being neutral-good-like and Enzo being neutral-evil-like.

 

OVERALL SCORE

This ep gets a 7. It didn’t drag on or over-polarize the sad states of everyone on the show. Elena, Caroline, and Jeremy were the biggest emotional jarring characters, but there was enough balance with the rest that I didn’t feel too burdened by it. Pace is good and Elena has once more been rebooted with a new lease on vampire life. Does this mean the slightly strange doctor-in-training guy will be after her soon? Kinda hope not. Elena doesn’t need relationships to move on, she needs good connections with people. The Damon and Bonnie plot is moving in a good direction. Let’s hope they don’t muck it up. I’m indifferent on Stefan’s situation. He does need to get passionate about something. Angst only gets a character so far, most times.

 

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A Sashurai’s Review: Sons of Anarchy – Season 7×05 (And this one time, at the pawn shop…)

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This is one of those moments where I want to talk about the end first and work my way back. It dawned on me that after seven seasons SOA has always told its tale in such strict chronological order that I almost wished this one episode started with Juice and Gemma in the car and the ep doing a flashback to what led to it. It’s okay, it keeps the scene new in my head as I begin tonight’s review of “Some Strange Eruption.”

Strange indeed. As Jax’s long term plan unravels, he gets assistance from Barosky and plants a new trap for Lin and his men to fall into. It nearly succeeds until Wayne’s tip to Jarry allows the S.W.A.T to intervene forcing Jax to leave Lin alive even though he was beaten severely. It doesn’t stop Jax and crew from making a hit on Lin’s remaining men while Gemma leaves town with Juice.

Very well played episode from start to finish. I had some confusion earlier on last week about Gemma and Juice both loading their guns with silencers until the next day when discussions revealed that Gemma’s plan all along was to kill Juice. For a split second I wasn’t convinced, and then it suddenly made perfect sense. Regardless of Juice helping her, he’s a loose cannon and she can’t trust that. I give a lot of props to Juice for seeing through Gemma’s lie while on the road. It helped put things in perspective again with why Jax wants him dead and really paints a detailed picture of Juice’s survivability rate. He really doesn’t want to die and now, once again he’s forced to train a gun on someone who has the potential of leading him straight to his death.

This means Juice has to make his hardest choice ever. Kill Gemma (Which just won’t happen) to save himself, or find Jax and tell him the truth about what she did. As much as I want him to confess, I don’t think that will earn him his place back with Samcro. It will only undo Jax in a way he’s all too familiar with and retaliate all the same regardless of who’s in the room. I like speculating because Juice is very abstract in his thinking, and although his kneejerk reaction is to fire on everything. He’s going to hold off on Gemma for the time being until he figures out what to do. But rest assured this will have to be settled soon. Very soon.

Again, my hat’s off to Nero for standing up to Jax and doing what he felt was the right thing to save his son. The more smart decisions he makes the more I’m convinced he won’t make it out of Charming alive. The flip side to that theory is Nero could be in a position to survive, learn the truth about Gemma and turn his back on her for what’s happened. In truth, I don’t think that’s something Nero will do. Maybe his character is too rich with love and he won’t leave Gemma no matter what. Tough to say either way and that’s what makes watching this show fun, because we simply don’t know these people as well as we think we do, most times.

Chibs and Jarry shared both an insulting and caring moment together. They did a much better job at selling their feelings this time around having had their night of fun previously. Chibs even has a peculiar look on his face when she tells him to be safe and just stares oddly with an “aye” at the end. He is subtly awesome.

I also think Wayne’s choice to inform Jarry about what he learned from Gemma was interesting. Not saying it was Gemma was a smart move but he still played into the lie that Gemma had started. He wants to stop people from dying, and in the short run, he succeeded. But by not killing Lin and his crew, it sets up plenty of hostility to turn back around in other ways. Lin may be down and out, but Marks won’t be so easily trapped. I’m certain he’ll make good on threat to Jax in an earlier episode. As far as Wayne is considered, I know he feels he did the right thing, but he’s just as much an instrument for unintended outcomes as Gemma is, but on a different scale. Those two can inadvertently be the causes of so many potential character death’s from here on out giving this show the tragedy finale it was fated to have since it’s inception.

Jax won’t settle on this win. He won’t waste time getting to Lin and finishing what he started. That could prove disastrous, but at the same time, he can plan ahead. I’d like to think his subconscious is reading into Lin’s denial with Tara’s murder even though on the surface he’s not buying the excuse. If he had a better chance to look at the man’s eyes, maybe he could see the truth better, but his rage won’t allow him, not for anything.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

Almost a tie. Jax’s one on one fight with Lin was set for tonight radiant scene, but once Juice and Gemma crashed the car and he watched Gemma beg him with apologies over not knowing what she was going to do, that really sealed my favorite moment. It was a taste of Gemma’s fear and anxiety over what she’s done that settled it. For a brief moment I sympathized equally with both characters. I wanted to believe that Juice was capable of shooting but somewhere he knew killing Jax’s mother would be something far beyond a death sentence. Gemma knew exactly what she was going to do and still played ignorance while crying on the ground. It shows that she’s just as afraid to die as Juice is. Those two were practically mirrors of each other in tonight’s episode. Their alliance is surely done for now. Juice will think of some awkward plan to use this to try and save himself from execution, but right now I have no idea what that will be.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Since Jax doesn’t win the favored scene I am giving him the MVP. The star character finally wins one! His fist fight with Lin was very well done. He wanted to enjoy the beating and slow it down, but he couldn’t and had to somehow turn the rest of his rage outward on the man he thought was responsible for Tara’s death. His calm manner was especially noticeable this time around. Even in the face of the Diosa strike and everything Lin put him through, Jax remained one step ahead of the game. He did an amazing job selling his character’s plight and strategy. How he figured Lin wouldn’t shoot him on the spot at the warehouse is beyond me. I thought Chibs brought the body armor for a practical reason, but it didn’t end up being necessary.

 

LONG TERM THOUGHTS

Poor Colette. I know I mentioned this last time, but I liked her. I guess Jax isn’t allowed to have any more love in his life, or at least this season.

I’m teetering on Barosky being the one who told Lin where to find the guns. Two things that come up are:

  1. Why would Lin and his crew let Barosky leave the sandwich shop at will while they conduct their interrogation of Nero. Granted it wasn’t bloody but it was still threatening and when Barosky spouted out that this wasn’t his war, it clicked that his greed could easily be toyed with given the right cash. Something Alveraz made note of earlier.
  2. Barosky didn’t need to kill Dez, not over that kind of mishap. This was slightly similar to Watchmen when Ozmandias hired a hitman to kill him but then killed the hitman to make it look like he was innocent. Just something that struck me as odd. He yelled and yelled about how someone could get a hold of Dez’s number and since that wasn’t resolved, Barosky is clearly the only person available who could have known that and set up the bribe. Food for thought.

Gemma didn’t talk to ghost Tara this week. Given her predicament, I doubt she will again. I liked those moments.

I’m starting to feel more and more like Brooke will be on the receiving end of an unfortunate death. Both Wendy and Wayne have spoken to Ratboy about Brooke and the more it plays out the more I think she’s going to be at the wrong place and wrong time at some point in the future. I’ve been wrong before, so hopefully I am again.

Tig heals pretty fast.

 

OVERALL SCORE

Tonight’s episode gets an 8 out of 10. Strong performances all around from Jax, Chibs, Gemma and Nero. They sold a lot of their scenes and made it an enjoyable episode to watch. The plot didn’t feel stale or repetitive and as always, things escalated to proper levels of chaos that we’ve come to recognize on this show over the years. It’s hard pinpointing if this is the entire arc or if it will be divided into two smaller arcs. Arc one being Jax dealing with August and Lin while Arc two is dealing with Jury and Gemma. It can all flow into one solid piece of storytelling but things with Lin and Marks may start to drag if they don’t keep to their normal pace with all guns blazing around. Still, solid episode, great ending, and spot on moments of charm, in Charming.

 

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