A Sashurai’s Review: The X Files – Season 10×04 (Exalted is not the mystery of truth, but the belief in finding peace)

X Files 10x04

 

SUMMARY

Mulder and Scully travel to Philadelphia to investigate a series a murders centered around the relocation of a homeless group. The murders are tied to a nomad artist who conjured the form of an invincible character named Trash Man who rips his chosen victims apart as an act of justice. Meanwhile, Scully receives word that her mother, Margaret is ill and unresponsive in a hospital. Though confused by learning of her mother’s rekindled interest in Scully’s brother, Charlie, Scully contacts and convinces him to speak to Margaret. She wakes briefly and tells Mulder that she also has a son named William before succumbing to death. Distraught and anxious to be distracted, Scully and Mulder track and find the man responsible for creating Trash Man but they are unable to stop the last murder as Trash Man inevitably disappears quickly after. After Margaret is cremated, Scully realizes that her mother attempted to string together a message of responsibility for Mulder and Scully in regards to their parting of their son, William who Scully deeply regrets letting go.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

This episode was in top form, a true testament to the style, tone, rhetoric, and one-liners that brought The X-Files through its many seasoned success in the 90’s. Never missing a single beat, it delivers on all fronts including more family sentiments than perhaps we were prepared for regarding the fate of William. The mysterious X-File itself is a robust concoction of gross evisceration, but topical enough to warrant such a tale to be told and dabbles in the usual case of what many episodes have been deemed as unsolved. I would personally consider this the best episode of the season by far.

 

THE GOOD

At first, there doesn’t seem to be a tangible connection between Scully’s mother passing and the murders that are taking place. It takes a resonant and emotionally strained Scully to marry both situations into a conclusion that what’s missing is a form of responsibility toward what we create. While Mulder seeks to understand the nature and creation of the creature itself, Scully relies on the perception and accountability that she herself understands by the episodes finale and how it relates to the artist. This was wonderfully woven and brought back a lot of much-needed nostalgia that showcases The X-Files is not telling good stories.

 

Scully’s mother passing is indeed heartbreaking for the agents as Margaret had dealt with many tragedies in her family. Yet, it wasn’t just thrown in as a moment meant to push Scully down some dark pit for no good reason. It brought to light just how important finding William is and somehow getting Mulder and Scully to a point where they either need to find him or find some evidence that he’s okay. This is becoming more of the driving force of the season and less about Cancer Man’s new syndicate or the government’s true motis-operandi. I can’t imagine our final revelation of the world’s most kept secret on aliens out-shining the need to find resolution on this family that never got to be. It’s strictly opinion, but Scully needs her peace just as much as Mulder needs his.

 

THE BAD

My one gripe about this episode is the jargon and attempt to quantify and scientifically explain the perceived existence of the Trash Man’s physical being. We’re in 2016 and we’ve become much more adept at explaining things even in molecule form. The X-Files never truly needed to be a show where Mulder sits down and is told why something supernatural exists from a scientist’s point of view. Imagine the episode “Kaddish” from the 4th season in regards to the Jewish Golem that is created to revenge the death of a man. Had we discovered more scientific roots on this creature I think some of the passion and theme of the story would have been weakened especially if Mulder was the recipient of such information. He knew exactly what the artist was talking about when he created the Trash Man and we as an audience should be satisfied that Mulder understands and accepts the culture’s belief in such a manifestation whether it’s Jewish or Tibetan. It’s a minor gripe that didn’t really derail anything in tonight’s episode.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

When Scully began to flashback the birth of William and realize how much she needed to know what happened to him. Her conclusion about responsibility was such a poignant moment that brought the story full circle, so much that it didn’t matter if the creature was stopped or not. If anything it accentuated the theme of responsibility even more-so because learning from our mistakes doesn’t mean we get to correct them. Scully knows that and that’s why she laments the way she does with Mulder at the lake. Very good stuff.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Scully is hands down the MVP tonight. She brought the classic mantra as well as a refreshing look at her regret for giving William up. The loss of her mother weighed so heavily that she ran right back to the case without dropping a beat just so she could deal with the situation. She had a personal mystery to solve and to her credit, she did solve that mystery albeit without the resolution with what that quarter meant. And by far her best lines came at the end when she committed to being with Mulder when he found his truth but that she had her own as well to consider. Brilliant actress with a lot of heart left to give her character.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

For a moment my brain froze when Scully got her call from William Scully Jr. I honestly thought that was her son calling him but then I realized William wouldn’t have her last name. I just forgot she had a brother named William.

 

I loved that the Trash Man wasn’t captured or stopped. It lends to the mythos and so many stories in which the supernatural element continues to exist along with so many others, unsolved, or unending. Even the artist was free to roam and continue his work.

 

At this rate, I’d be a bit upset if they didn’t somehow reunite the agents with their son, somehow some way even if its to stare at him unseen across the street. They need a reunion and I suspect Cancer Man knows exactly who and where young William is.

 

Whenever I hear that “downtown” song I will always think of Lost and the premiere of season 3 when Juliet plays it to deal with her time on the Island. Every.Single.Time.

 

Scully mentions Ahab and Melissa to her mother which are Scully’s father and sister respectively. Both died previously in the series, her father having a massive coronary and her sister killed by Krycek.

I loved all the throwbacks to their journey into the basement of the building especially with the flashlights and Scully’s takedown of the guy with the gun.

 

OVERALL SCORE

9 out of 10. The X-Files can be episodic at times, telling a monster tale with no true conclusion except how the agents choose to understand and move forward. This episode brought us that kind of theme and really delivered on it from those angles of heart, loss, justice, and longing. The agents are in dire need of closure and tonight Scully’s loss brings her and Mulder closer together than what we’ve seen as of late. The monster of the week had its moments of gruesome death, but no more so than what a show like this is capable of producing and with it the eerie atmosphere that comes with searching the unknown. The X-Files is coming back strong and with two more episodes left, needs this momentum to take us into a mind-blowing finale that should hopefully keep this world alive for years to come. Thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: The Originals – Season 3×11 (These convenient witches shall aid you in your quest to figure everything out)

TO 3x11

 

SUMMARY

Klaus attempts to quell Camille’s darker side as a vampire while Elijah enlists the help of the Stricts to gain knowledge on the prophetic weapon that will destroy the Originals. Davina joins the Stricts to gain access to the other side where Kol is found avoiding Kara and the ancestors. Hayley continues to deal with her grief over Jackson’s death and Camille not only discovers the weapon Klaus is searching for, she steals it to bargain for the dark objects he took from her.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

A flash of brilliance came in the guise of an innocent carved figure made from the familiar substance capable of ending an original vampire. It brought back to focus a very real threat and not a fantastical new kind of weapon that no one’s heard of before. The threads pulling everyone closer together makes for a captivating episode that may have over done it with Camille’s alluring dark personality, but capitalized on a few other points namely Davina’s inclusion to the next arc. Mostly satisfied moments to be had with the exception of one or two oddly handled situations. I may not get the war I want, but instead we’re getting fear in Elijah and Klaus and that says a lot considering their indestructible personalities.

 

THE GOOD

Maybe it was a spur of the moment idea, but I honestly didn’t think they’d pull out more white oak substances, yet here we are, a small piece of it now in the hands of Camille who is quickly developing an agenda of her own. This kind of turn was better than Klaus nurturing her dark side, something that would have been overtly cliché. It doesn’t help that Camille played every “old trick all new vampires play” when they think they already have it all figured out, but in her case, the therapy aspect was played rather well since all of her realizations of being bad were all an act. She’s quickly becoming an adversary and after studying Klaus for so long, it makes perfect sense that she’s the best character to go rogue given the stacked side of “heroes” we have.

 

For Kol’s sake, I’d like him to reunite with Davina even though her return seems a little too perfect time-wise. It’s not easy to change a character’s demeanor even though love is usually the catalyst for all vampires who start off as evil. If there’s a ghost/witch plot to be had here, it’s interesting how it’s forming. I’m not sure if this other side is a one-shot, but its a good place to start now that most of our resident witches have been reduced to cannon fodder for the vampires.

 

THE BAD

I stated it earlier, but if every vampire group has their own witches working for them, then what’s the point of having these allied covens? It’s arbitrary to be honest and furthermore, why give us this keen back-story on Ariane who seemed like a character who should have at least been in a few more episodes and just kill her off like that? We’ll never know what she got out of this bargain with the Stricts or all the details on Elijah beyond what we already know. We need more likable witch characters and they already ruined it by killing an untrained seer who was at least interesting enough to get to know. Way to go, team!

 

Marcel’s tiny moment at the beginning may have been staged or not depending on how you look at Ariane’s character. If she knew how Marcel’s role would play out, then it makes sense that she would purposefully trick Aya into thinking he was a loyal character by giving him a non-threatening tarot card. However, maybe it’s us that are fooled and Marcel really is playing at staying loyal to the Stricts. The truth is, Marcel shouldn’t be actively betraying the originals and in believing so I felt the dinner scene had no barring in the episode at hand except to give Marcel confidence that his ruse was still in effect.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

When Klaus realized the horse he carved for Rebekah was made out of the white oak stake. You’d think it would have been more pale on the eyes, but nevertheless, it was a cool revelation because that carving has been around since near the beginning of the series. I don’t know if that was always the plan, but I liked how cleverly it was put in the background without us every suspecting its origin.

 

CHARACTER MVP

I didn’t really like where Camille’s scenes were going, but the more she fooled the cast the more I realized her skills to misdirect and cut to the core of their problems is something a vampire without cares really would do if they felt the need to react. Camille gets it tonight for her smooth delivery and dangerous game she’s begun. I still would have liked it if she kept the curls though.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

If Josh is going to continue sharing scenes with everyone, it’s high time he started becoming a credible character and not the on-going sidekick he’s made out to be. He’s survived as a minor character for three seasons now and it shouldn’t be just to bounced conversations with Davina every time she needs a partner in crime to utilize.

 

I thought the ending was an interesting highlight of Elijah’s style to be near his loved ones but not quite embracing. He understands Hayley’s pain and won’t seek to comfort her beyond just being close by and listening. Even though he killed a witch in the previous scene, he maintains a very casual and caring form especially when it comes to Hayley who will always be under his protection.

 

The prophetic visions originally showed a vampire character who seemed more brutal and monstrous (Still think its Marcel) yet it wasn’t mentioned tonight at all. The weapon itself was the focal point and now that its in the hands of Camille, there’s no telling what it will become. It’s too small to become a stake, but maybe it could be added to a hollow dagger of some sort and transformed with magic of course.

 

No Freya, Aurora, or Lucien tonight. Is Lucien just being written out for the time being? With Tristan gone, I’d expect he and Aurora to bond and ally since he was always in love with her, but that’s an easy one to figure out. Maybe Camille is on her way to him as we speak with ideas on how to manipulate all parties involved in this crazy plot.

 

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. Very enjoyable episode. Camille’s attitude was very run-of-the-mill based on how new vampires act when they turn and can’t control themselves. But she took it up another level by outsmarting Hayley, Klaus and everyone she could compel. Davina’s allegiance with the Stricts is purely based on her need to get Kol back and now that we know he’s in some afterlife danger, she’ll stop at nothing to see he lives again. Her role has meaning again, and it’s worth reuniting them together at least for Kol’s sake. The beats were good and the weapon being under Klaus’s nose the entire time was a nice reveal at the end. The originals have something to be afraid of and fear can lead to some desperate moments especially when the threat is real. I look forward to next week. Thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: The Vampire Diaries – Season 7×11 (We’re out of bourbon, and I burned up your ex. We cool?)

TVD 7x11

 

SUMMARY

Coming off the effects of time served in vampire-limbo, Damon embarks on a new stage of hell laden with hallucinations and uncertainty as how to free himself from them. Stefan reveals to Caroline how he inevitably survived his own hell and the state of Mystic Falls has been driven into anarchy with Julian the center of its new development. On the eve of Damon’s darkest day, a new unseen enemy is given a name; The Huntress, and she is the one responsible for capturing Damon in the future.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

While a lot of great scenes came through with the sentiment and bravado one would come to expect from the Salvatore brothers, there were also an equal and opposite amount of moments that turned tonight’s episode of TVD into a kaleidoscope of mixed feelings. For every resonate scene came the candid trope of casual conformity that left the episode in a strange spot not withstanding the monumental death scene that contradicts what we already know to be essentially false. What does stand out is a multitude of promises that things will get more interesting and crazed before we somehow match up with our 3 year gap, which is slowly inching closer to that time period. And it needs to come sooner rather than later.

 

THE GOOD

We’re given both Stefan and Damon’s inverse look at how they deal with the stress of eternal limbo. Stefan giving up his brother to survive is an interesting step because without any real love of a spouse, his brother is all he has. Stefan has turned into quite the empty fellow considering his place as a main character. His not giving up on Damon at the end was both a message for himself and for Damon that giving up and letting go doesn’t need to mean forever. It’s a shame we only got snippets of his time in limbo, although repeating the same drowning moments probably wouldn’t have made much of an interesting episode. One thing to consider though is that Stefan didn’t mention of seeing Elena during and after his time in that prison.

 

Speaking of Elena, having Damon inadvertently set her on fire was a genius move, plot wise. The guilt trip alone will keep him sullen and crazed for eons. Given that she was turned human before becoming sleeping beauty, one would think her ability to survive being set on fire would be slim. However, she is in a magical state so the truth can be whatever it needs to be. What we do know is that Damon had himself put into torpor and wasn’t meant to be reawakened until Elena came out of that curse suggesting that no matter what, she does in fact survive. It’s a very strange cliffhanger, but I think its safe to see Elena isn’t dead.

 

The slow introduction of the huntress is both interesting yet questionable. I’m putting this as a good thing because it introduces someone new who can still be a game changer for the season and as far as I’m concerned Julian isn’t and shouldn’t be the main villain of this season. And just so we’re all clear, the police officer that took Matt in has to be the huntress. If it isn’t, I’d be very surprised. They both had pony tails, slim figures, and a youthful appearance. Plus, Matt’s scene in the future referenced the huntress in the same episode. Way too much of a coincidence there. I do look forward to see what she’s all about and where her weapon came from and most certainly, how she lost it to begin with.

 

THE BAD

I’ll start with the condition of Mystic Falls. I had no way of knowing if the entire city was overrun by vampires or if there were a lot of humans acting chaotic. Are there a 100 vampires in the city, or just a dozen? It’s rampant and while all this is going on, Caroline has the most pointless baby shower which really contrasted to the state of the town which suggested a cesspool of craziness that should be stopped. Matt and Bonnie try to do their part, but even that seemed random that they knew the drag races were going on that they were vampires and that they were in the right spot to contain the threat, which is all Matt seems to be doing as a lone warrior here. If I had to sum up one person’s personality that fit the dynamic of this episode it would be Tyler Lockwood.

 

I was fine with Bonnie including Nora into the mix because she felt bad Nora was left out and seems like the only “redeemable” heretic of the bunch, but when she non-chalantly mentions the threat of the huntress I was left wondering why there was no earthly mention of her before that very moment. Only after she’s dealing with solitude does she fear that incoming threat of this woman? Was it strength in numbers that deviated from such a fear or was it just too soon to reveal that plot point because of the future? Either way, it didn’t help the episode much until we began to piece together her inclusion during the last scene as Matt is revealed helping her out of at this point spite it seems.

 

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

When Damon unintentionally burned Elena. I do want to point out that a hallucination shouldn’t have been able to hold him back and the fire sure as hell shouldn’t have stopped Damon from diving in and pulling her out. There’s a lot of seriously deep subtext here that involves Damon knowing subconsciously that letting Elena go is what he needs to truly survive. And thus he let the coffin burn. Now, we don’t know truly for sure that the end result was her death. Damon kept that from Stefan and for good reason because Stefan would have had to rethink his place as the loving brother who won’t ever give up. Still, it was both a tragic harmony and a graceful cop out because killing Elena in the middle of the season just seems a tad bit too overdramatic right now.

 

CHARACTER MVP

This was still a Damon episode and he deserves a lot of credit for going through his multitude of emotional traumas. His pain is very real because he just can’t get past what he needs to feel better and comfortable with his life. He’s used to creating his own answers and making them work for him and when that’s taken away, he’s left with selt-loathing and accepting that solitude may be his only refuge. It’s why he doesn’t tell Stefan about Elena because his brother is all he has left. As always, great acting on his part.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

I was a bit disappointed that Matt and Bonnie were technically still alive to drink Damon’s blood to survive. I wanted it to be more of a screwing of the mind, but I guess that episode had played itself out. I’m guessing Damon missed Caroline’s heart too.

 

Not that I mind, but are we forgetting what happened to Enzo and Matt’s part in that kidnapping? Bonnie still has to fall in love with him for some odd reason. Maybe the Huntress will have more information on his whereabouts and fate.

 

It should have been a quirky fun little moment, but showing Matt had a dating profile and Bonnie making fun of it seemed like the most out of place “look we’re still humans being” in the entire episode. Even stranger than three blindfolded men attempting to change a diaper in a futile race to prove Alaric was a master of the craft. All the comedy just seemed very miss tonight for me.

 

Tyler’s got a point. What kind of a stake does he or should he have now that Mystic Falls is under vampire control? He really had no happy memories there and he’s not the “do what’s right” kind of guy. He was originally portrayed as a bully and since wolves are kind of no longer a plot point in TVD, his camaraderie with Matt isn’t a necessary thing. He’s essentially expendable at this point while Matt still has the fortitude to keep things very human capable, which is why he’ll side with the Huntress when the time comes.

 

Without her dagger/sword, what threat does the huntress really possess that a vampire-witch can’t defeat. Witch abilities tend to trump most other power sources and if she’s at all linked to the hunters that Jeremy was involved in, well that doesn’t lend to her being very powerful of her own accord. We’re missing a few more key bits of information on the subject at hand.

 

OVERALL SCORE

7 out of 10. Drawing in on more of the sanity and salvation of the Salvatore’s we’re given a glimpse into Damon’s understandably wrecked psyche. It’s unfortunately mixed with Julian’s control of Mystic Falls, Caroline’s mixed-feelings over raising the babies with Alaric, and Nora’s fear of a new threat, all of which compound the episode with a lot of sub-plots that don’t really connect that well at the moment. Life isn’t supposed to continue like normal with most of our characters and there needs to be a necessary collision of sides, but everyone is still semi-copacetic with one another which includes Stefan and Damon letting Julian keep Mystic Falls for some reason. Damon’s plight was the highlight and did standout plenty against the remainder of scenes. Stefan’s own wake or realizations did compliment the main plot and at is stands, Damon is once more harboring a secret that could undue the relationship he has with his brother. The future is back in play as we understand everyone’s place in it now from Matt’s perspective. With the season half over, it’s time to bring out the new bad villain and see what she can do. Thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words

 

A Sashurai’s Review: Supernatural – Season 11×12 (You can tell there’s sibling rivalry when one of them is dressed like Sam)

SN 11x12

 

SUMMARY

Sheriff Jody, Alex, and Claire return in this standalone episode where the Winchesters help Jody deal with the struggles of raising two late-teens and Claire’s obsession with hunting the local supernatural. When a body turns up dead at their local high school, Claire’s suspicions are proved real as the brothers deal with a new vampire threat in North Dakota.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

If this storyline were a trilogy, this would be the bookend of that plot in both Claire and Alex’s development. This is one of the few natural progressions on this show that could be made into its own spin-off if ever a thing was conceived. Not to say Claire, Alex, and Jody should team up and face off against creatures on a weekly basis, that’s what the Winchesters are for, but the pursuit of the normal life in the rampant conditions of an unnatural world wouldn’t be boring to watch with the right characters. There’s a good dynamic here and I applaud their use in this break between the Darkness and Lucifer’s return. The villains were the only weak link, but it didn’t drag down the episode’s overall story about teen drama and the awkward sex talk at the dinner table.

 

RECAP

Claire has been investigating on her own the disappearance of multiple people in her town and hasn’t found any real evidence supporting her claim that a creature of some sort is involved. After she calls Sam and Dean for help, they arrive and find Jody having to deal with Claire’s rebellious nature and Alex’s positive adjustment combined with undertones of a developing sexual relationship with the popular kid in school. When Alex’s favorite teacher is found dead at school, Claire pushes to be involved in the investigation as Sam and Dean attempt to sway her from living a life exclusively bent on hunting. That night, Jody, Sam and Dean interrogate and suspect the school’s janitor is involved with the death. The janitor later confronts and kidnaps both Claire and Jody while Alex is taken by her boyfriend, Henry who is revealed to be a vampire, the same as the janitor. At an closed down pool by the school, the janitor reveals that years back he was lured to the vampire next Alex was living with and was turned. He killed his family and sought revenge against Alex. He turned Alex’s boyfriend and killed the missing people Claire had been investigating. Sam and Dean find the pool as Alex attempts to convince the janitor to use her like the old nest to save Jody and Claire. Claire is bitten but Sam and Dean intervene and kill the Janitor as Claire kills Alex’s boyfriend. The next day, Jody, Alex, and Claire reconcile their differences as Sam and Dean head back home, convinced everything will be okay for the family.

 

THE GOOD

Claire and Alex dealt with opposite problems, but they both centered around Jody’s confidence in raising both women even though no one’s related. The dinner table scene was one of the episode’s highlights in acting and reacting to both of their plights. Alex is painted as the reformed student but with motives to begin a sexual relationship with her boyfriend, something Jody is quick to highlight the issues that come with it. I found it interesting that Alex and Claire didn’t yell at eachother or that candid moment when one storms off in a frustrated mood, something that would have been more geared toward Claire and being shut down with her activities toward hunting. Some of the dialogue was a bit textbook as were the reactions of Sam and Dean, but it also made sense that they wouldn’t know what to say let alone take part in the conversation except to awkwardly stare and eat. The drama was a part of showcasing how they’ve adapted in this family lifestyle and it was done enough maturity that didn’t involve shouting matches.

 

It was also important in showing that Claire was right about supernatural forces being in town. Had she been wrong, this entire episode would have been a bad attempt at getting her to stay away from hunting, but in so many cases, that lifestyle is unavoidable. Sam tried to encourage her to not take such a drastic step, but even Dean understands how impossible that can be. All Dean wanted was for her to respect what Jody had given her and at least try to engage that normal life. Now that Claire was accurate in her suspicions it only compels her further to be a part of that lifestyle, one which Jody is now facilitating but at a pace she chooses.

 

THE BAD

As I stated, the villains this time was a very cheap revenge plot that didn’t sell well this week. The evil boyfriend was easy to spot and the janitor whining about how he was turned didn’t paint the kind of picture vampires have when they become vampires. He killed his own family which sent him on this revenge but as a vampire why did that end up bothering him so much? If he hated what he became that’s one thing, but it just felt like a loose attempt to create a suitable villain to include Alex in on this plot. At least the boyfriend had the one-track mind to be the run-of-the-mill-evil-boyfriend-vampire-type. Even Dawn Summers had to deal with that trope.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

As much as I thought the dinner scene went, I liked how the family came together at the end both in the finale and in the last scene. No one died and both Alex and Claire are stalwart in their decisions to continue in the direction they’re going. Claire wants to embrace hunting and Alex wants to be free of it. But they’re doing so under Jody’s guidance and in that there’s hope for the two of them. I’m confident nothing bad will happen unless the show decides to kill off Jody, which you never know, but hopefully they won’t.

 

CHARACTER MVP

I liked Jody a lot. She’s always level-headed and is quick to take responsibility including raising two “daughters”, which as a Sheriff can’t be an easy task. She continues to be an endearing character on the show and one of the few Sam and Dean implicitly trust. I’d like her to have a few more appearances this season, at least one to keep us in the loop on how her family is doing.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

Okay, so there’s this doughnut burger that’s introduced as “The Elvis” and though there are many interpretations on the meal, the doughnut burger is essentially known as the “Luthor” burger, though I’m sure its called all sorts of things around the states. The actual Elvis burger involves a peanut butter topping, not to be confused with the Elvis sandwich which also involves toast, peanut butter, bananas, and bacon. Now I’m hungry.

 

Why is it when a big bad villain doesn’t appear for a while, it’s assumed they’ve “gone underground” or is hiding? The states are quite large and not everything makes it on the “news” internet. Amara is probably stalking more angels as we speak.

 

Two episodes without Crowley which could still be nothing, but it’d be nice to know very soon the result of our ruler of Hell and Lucifer’s little meeting from two weeks prior. At this point, if nothing’s happened, is he batting for Lucifer or will he be attempting to recapture the first angel?

 

OVERALL SCORE

7 out of 10. The brothers checked in on a the few remaining minor characters who have survived their last few encounters together. Though the weather in North Dakota was crummy and windy, the episode detailed some fine moments with how the everyday life is going when the world isn’t in definite peril. Claire and Alex have settled into their lives with Jody who remains a positive influence on both the young women and on the brothers as well. A very simple episode with a few bland villains that didn’t take any focus on the drama both Claire and Alex brought to the dinner table. When supporting characters are given the reigns its important the brothers don’t overshadow their development by dealing with their own problems which thankfully wasn’t the case tonight. With any luck, we’ll get to see Jody and company one more time before the Darkness becomes completely unstoppable. Thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words

 

 

A Sashurai’s Review: The X Files – Season 10×03 (I almost made a reaction video to this episode…almost)

X Files 10x03

 

SUMMARY

Mulder and Scully track investigate a series of murders suggesting a lizard-man is involved. Through a series of light-hearted calamities and tech-mishaps, Mulder discovers the creature represents the reverse telling of the were mythos and struggles to believe in such an entity after years of dissolving his own conclusions on such matters.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

It originally took three seasons to generate the concept of unusual humor diced in with the serialized serious tone the series had normally been known for. After two episodes into season 10, the decision to return the agents into that comedic paradigm has both good and bad elements to explore, most of which are centered around Mulder’s middle-age crisis on his belief in not just the paranormal, but the creature-aspect as well. It was a rough plot to sit through, but the last act did manage to resonate on old fears and reinstitute that just because most things don’t exist, doesn’t mean all of it doesn’t.

 

RECAP

A couple in the woods decide to get high on spray paint and notice a…you know what? I can’t write this recap. It’s too ridiculous. I’m just going to skip to the next section if that’s alright.

 

THE GOOD

The last act helped put things in perspective for Mulder and it’s interesting that they chose a comedy episode to do it in. Twice we’ve seen Mulder give in to the charade that has plagued his life. What baffles me is how after so many years he’s so ready and willing to discount everything he’s personally seen including the existence of so many forms of creatures. By seeing one again, he’s back to the wonder of his youthful self when it was easy to believe in that phenomena. I doubt this will have a lasting effect on the agent, but at least the story is generally centered around a defeated personality that is too cynical even for Scully. What this season needs to remind us in so few episodes is that Mulder is in a lot of denial over what he’s seen over the years. It’s all being washed away by simpler concepts and only when it hits him right in the face will he return to those roots and be as he once was.

 

I’ve always believed that all X-File related comedy episodes take place in their own universe apart from generally accepted darker tone of the franchise. Episodes like “Hollywood A.D” “Dreamland” and “Improbable” are given such a fantastic approach to the world they live in that to view these episodes in their hilarity means to suspend all disbelief that the world they inhabit could be this sardonic and bi-polar in nature. In any case, They wanted to remind the fans that they didn’t forget about this funny dimension where everything is just a little out of sync and even the agents just don’t notice because they’re too busy living their cynical lives to wonder.

 

 

THE BAD

Having said that, this was still a very awkward episode to watch, and placed too soon in the list of episodes that “need to be told” in season 10. New fans simply won’t understand the sudden switch into the comedy realm so quick and now will expect it probably by the 5th episode. The concept of the reverse were tale was something I would have expected in a show that once aired and ended on SyFy. What saved it was how the lizard-man connected with Mulder and how it parodied the status-quo life of a human in general. In a way it represents that aspect of Mulder that also grew up and became disillusioned with his life and whether Mulder understood it or not isn’t the point, but that he found a spark of his old self in seeing the unbelievable before him. Still, this was a hard episode to sit through based on the plot alone.

 

I also wasn’t expecting such a wild moment with the way Scully was depicted in the lizard-man’s fantasy. If I was in my 90’s mindset, I’d have probably watch that part a dozen times, but seeing it now was just strange. Not to say it wasn’t a surreal and candid moment for the actress, but it just made little sense except to accentuate the robust nature of a man who sexualizes in the same manner as the “typical” male would given his vanilla-driven life. Even Mulder didn’t think of her like that…allegedly.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

When Mulder rants to Scully and doesn’t let her rebuttal with him on her thoughts about the case. It was classic Mulder but this time he finished Scully’s sentences for her. I almost feel the entire episode was written just for this scene in mind. It shows they can still perform at a caliber that seems like nothing’s changed over the years, and even more so, it’s like how a married couple would react if one just knew what the other would say given any typical situation in their lives. Mulder is just good at ranting.

 

CHARACTER MVP

The lizard-man was unbelievable and for this moment, he deserves some credit for at least playing the part of a crazed middle-life male who adapted to conformity as an instinct just as a werewolf would when it became the creature. I just wonder why they played at him having such an over-done accent.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

I’m still at a loss with why Mulder would be so out of touch with things like phone tech. Just because we haven’t seen his character interact with the world for years doesn’t mean he just lived without some form of progressive technology at his disposal. Sure he’s avoiding the “government”, but he also gave up that part of his life, twice.

 

The grave that Mulder passed out in front of is Kim Manners, a producer and writer of the show way back when. I couldn’t find anything on the other gravestone.

 

Also, I refuse to believe Mulder actually has the X-Files ringtone on his cell. I guarantee that ringtone will not go off in any serious episode from here on out. Still, it was funny to hear.

 

This season so far has been extraordinarily well lit which is something I’m not used to on this franchise. Even in comedy episodes, there’s still a resonate tone that fits with the same lighting scheme, but now we’re digital and it’s all too clean. If they’re going to remind us how 90’s and out of touch Mulder is, they should probably dust off that old film quality too, I wouldn’t mind.

 

They never really clarified how a human bite could turn the lizard-man into a were-human as it were. Does that mean anyone could have done it, or did it have to specifically be that animal catcher?

 
OVERALL SCORE

6 out of 10. Even with a sentimental ending that gave Mulder a moment to reflect on his beliefs in the supernatural, I think it was way too soon to introduce the comedy genre that gave the X-Files a different lens to view through. We’re already halfway through the season, and we’re nowhere close to understand what this show is trying to do. Is it only using these 6 episodes to bring about a new set of characters to breathe life into the show? Is it just a reunion that isn’t meant to have longevity therefore we’ll get an episode that details all the different tones this series has come across? At this point, I just can’t make a real guess except that nothing will be essentially wrapped up by the finale. As a stand-alone, this episode was over-the-top, goofy, and lackadaisical, offering nothing more than the over-satirized theme that the older we get, the more bland our reality becomes. Mulder is better than that. Let’s hope he continues to find his belief that the truth is out there. Thanks for reading, we’ll see you next week.

 

 

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A Sashurai’s Review: The Originals – Season 3×10 (Do all females magically develop curly hair when they turn?)

TO 3x10

 

SUMMARY

While Tristan forces Vincent to activate the barrier device, Hayley and Jackson are captured by Tristan’s men. Klaus is distraught over Camille’s compulsion driven suicide only to find she had Aurora’s blood in her system. Revived but weak, Klaus attempts to convince her to feed and become a vampire. Elijah attempts to salvage the situation and attempts to bargain Hayley for Aurora who they capture. After tragedy strikes a seasoned member of the group, Camille makes her choice to survive or die.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

Tonight’s return of The Originals marks the beginning of someone’s vampire life and the end of a noble one. The plotting and scheming of our oldest sect of the undead leaves a tremendous gap in the werewolf world but new opportunities arise for our resident therapist. Is it the resolution we were expecting? Essentially yes, but Klaus is nothing if not the king who somehow always gets what he wants. In the long run, keeping Camille around is meant to satiate Klaus instead of turning him into a raging monster of violence. Had this happened toward the end of the season, I’m convinced she would have been killed for good. As it stands, the episode told a good story, but the repetitive nature of turning loved ones into vampires themselves isn’t as “original” as it should be these days.

 

RECAP

After Klaus rages over Camille’s death, she revives and remembers that she ingested some of Aurora’s blood. Klaus attempts to lead her to becoming a vampire, but Camille refuses and wants let herself die as a human. Meanwhile, Hayley and Jackson and captured by Tristan’s group as Vincent is forced to activate the barrier device or suffer the return of Finn’s soul into his body. Elijah rescues Vincent and uses him to help put a stop to Tristan’s plan. Camille continues to want death forcing Klaus to trap her in an attempt to change her mind. Tristan confronts Hayley and tears Jackson’s heart out, killing him as a message to Klaus and Elijah. Together with Camille, Vincent, and Freya, they devise a plan to lure Tristan into a trap. As they meet at a warehouse to trade Hayley for a captured Aurora, Tristan is captured in a container with the barrier device activated. His forces are convinced by Marcel to flee rather than risk complete annihilation by the originals. Elijah promises to send Tristan to the bottom of the ocean as Hayley dooms Tristan for killing Jackson. That night, Elijah and Hayley send off Jackson in a funeral pyre within the bayou and Camille convinces herself she can do good if she remains alive and drinks Vincent’s blood to turn completely. Klaus later finds her drinking his blood stash at home and delights in seeing her as a new vampire.

 

THE GOOD

Was it the right storyline call to turn Camille? The reason I’m saying yes is because Klaus isn’t ready to launch himself into vengeful hysteria. That moment will come later at the real cost of Camille’s life, this was just a prelude to what will happen when something really devastating happens to her. I’m also excited to see how deep down the rabbit hole Camille goes with this darker personality that she always feared would be let loose. Knowing Klaus, he’ll encourage this dark change because it fits more with his tone and demeanor. Even if she decides to murder for pleasure, Klaus will still be fine with it. There isn’t any reason to protect her from monsters anymore. She is one. Whether she’ll turn out like the others on the show who become vampires remains to be seen, but we know she’ll have that wild shadow accentuated by an original’s embrace. It’s the same old song and dance, but this time with an actress I like. So, I’m essentially fine with this development, for now.

 

This is bad to put here, but Jackson’s death may have been a necessary tragedy to put Hayley on a stronger path of discovery. In a way she’s turned into a single mother, and from a relationship perspective, she and Jackson had already reached their plateau and love and happiness. He supported her in every way, and compromised when they needed to. Once a television couple reaches that stage, the only logical course is to break them up or kill one of them. I would have preferred a stronger exit for Jackson, but he went with the nobility you’d expect him to depart with. He wasn’t necessarily an influential character, but he stuck to his roots and his beliefs and maintained his integrity. His loss could really bring down any werewolf plot, but let’s face it, they weren’t going to make much of an impact this season anyway.

 

THE BAD

I feel like I’m missing a key moment, but the last time I remember seeing Aurora before Elijah and Vincent captured her was two episodes prior after she snagged Camille. In that episode she sits on a bench with Lucien and then all of a sudden she’s being fed tranquilizers in a car? Did I miss a line where Tristan said for her to get collected? I must have because I feel like there’s a weird plot hole here. Hopefully I wasn’t paying attention otherwise something feels sloppy.

 

Marcel’s spy game isn’t resonating with me anymore. I kind of liked where it was going, but now with Tristan seemingly out of the picture, why keep up the ruse? Aya is a Lt. of Tristan’s group but not nearly charismatic enough to warrant leadership or a fellowship. Hopefully Marcel takes over quickly and we can dispense with this possible coupling which I hope never takes place.

 

Lucien was remarkably absent and though I didn’t mind that, why was he the odd man out in this current plot? Doesn’t he have as much stake to lose with Tristan being defeated since they’re technically allies? Is there any reason Klaus should keep him alive at this point? This second half of the season seems to be going in a slightly different direction than I thought, but that still leaves the prophecy to look forward to.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

I liked Vincent and Camille’s scene at the cemetery and how she rationalized becoming a vampire. I honestly thought the scene was going to be something like Vincent forcing her drink blood because Klaus threatened to put Finn’s soul in him, but that was more Elijah’s earlier threat and would have been a tired one at that. So, in keeping with Camille choosing one way or another, It’s better that it went down like this so Klaus doesn’t take the blame for what happens when she goes completely berserk and starts painting the town red.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Camille sometimes gets a bad rap because she really shouldn’t be on Klaus’s radar, but after three seasons, she called it herself. It was bound to end with her dying or becoming a vampire. In this case, she gets to stretch out her acting a bit and to be honest, I think she’s taking to the change quite well. I think it is kind of typical that when a good character becomes a vampire they tend to fall prey to that intoxicating world and lose themselves. It’s just a question of whether Klaus will accept this new darker Camille or whether he’ll train her to be more patient with her hunger.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

Both Hayley and Klaus had very honest and combustive reactions toward their loved ones being killed. Hayley’s was more rooted in paralyzing dread though, but it was interesting to view their particular worlds come crashing down in the same episode. Only Klaus gets to retcon his loss while Hayley must endure hers. And where was Hope during this time?

 

Tristan having his own witch threaten Vincent seemed a little superfluous. Are there other witches that are going to be against Vincent’s leadership as regent? Will Davina make a comeback after being written out of this last story arc?

 

With Jackson gone, does this mean Elijah and Hayley will eventually rekindle the romance they once shared? I’d say there’s a fair chance of that, but maybe further down the road. She needs to instill some kind of new leadership with the werewolves otherwise they’ll dissolve much as the witch plot has been. The vampires are kings in New Orleans, but they’re not the only supernatural force there. I balance needs to occur soon so this prophecy can start to feel genuine.

 

 

OVERALL SCORE

7 out of 10. We have a new vampire and a dead werewolf as are openers with the return of The Originals now on Friday nights. What began as a promising lead into a triple-sided ware between sires and originals, now looks to have been pressed into a one-sided tale where the originals claim victory as a family. I feel they’re winning too many battles, but with the season barely half-over, I can understand why the status quo of Klaua and Elijah staying ontop needs to be met. Now comes the prophecy’s turn to enact subtle but insane

changes to the dynamic that is our sibling bonds. Camille’s change promises to bring about a dark side she’ll want to perpetuate and it will be up to Klaus on whether he’ll embrace that change or subdue it. He’s not one to subdue anything unless he has complete control, and I father Camille won’t let him have it for long. Let the chaos begin. Thanks for reading.

 

 

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A Sashurai’s Review: The Vampire Diaries – Season 7×10 (Even vampires experience that pesky Groundhog Day curse)

TVD 7x10

 

SUMMARY

Damon is trapped in the phoenix stone and undergoes a trial meant to make him face his guilt while reliving a day during his time as a confederate soldier. Though Bonnie helped pull Stefan from the phoenix stone, she is unable to help Damon. During a crucial moment of discovery, Damon seemingly finds his path back to normal reality, but his obsession with having another chance to find his mother comes at the cost of destroying those closest to him.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

This was a tremendous return for TVD and I was greatly impressed by both Damon’s performance and the setting which earned its likely tight budget. The struggle to reclaim Damon’s soul took a lot of interesting turns, most notably how he finally deals with Lily’s death and the result of that anguish. This kind of mind-screw capitolized on the kind of cliffhanger ending that really grips and makes it frustrating that there’s another week in-between episodes. Well acted and well directed, tonight’s episode of TVD marks a return to form for the seventh season.

 

RECAP

Damon wakes in the height of a skirmish during the civil war in the south. After he accepts a mission to retrieve deserters in exchange for a leave of absence to find Stefan, Damon begins to piece together what’s happened and where he truly is. Forced into a gun fight, the deserters are killed along with the sympathizers who took them in. After encountering Lily, Damon returns to the present with Bonnie having saved him. He tracks down Julian who ends up lighting an unconscious Stefan on fire. After encountering Lily again, Damon wakes back in the civil war repeating his mission again. He attempts several times to bring the deserters in only to fail with them dying each time. After he deserts the confederates himself, he comes across the same house with the deserters trapped in a circle. Lily draws him inside where she attempts to gain answers to his feelings toward her. Eventually, Damon breaks down and finally confesses that after he was originally forced to kill the deserters he wanted to be with his mother and has been secretly angry since. Lily dies again but Damon wakes back in reality with Bonnie, Caroline, Stefan, and Matt nearby. Frantic over wanting to see Lily again, and believing he’s still in the phoenix stone, Damon murders everyone in the room in hopes of restarting the sequence all over. Damon is then shocked to discover he may actually have killed his friends and brother for real.

 

THE GOOD

The character forced to relive the same moment/day is a trope long utilized in sci-fi, and supernatural dramas. Buffy, Supernatural, 12:01, Groundhog Day, and others have gone through this and to varying degrees each version has their own unique way of evolving the character they are in. This was an excellent opportunity for Damon to go through this method and it really fleshed out his frustrations and belief that he could solve his own problem. I’m glad his “hell” didn’t consist too much of the current cast acting evil with the exception of Stefan he played an early version of himself, but it was actually done well. The civil war backdrop was perfect because we barely ever got to know what Damon was like during that time. I was impressed by the production quality as this felt more of a specially designed episode rather than the run-of-the-mill town drama we’re very used to seeing.

 

Damon’s acting was phenomenal. The highlight really came as he slowly began to remember his present self and the inflection in his voice changed so slightly, until he was completely present day Damon again. The subtle shifts worked great from his youthful naive personality to the cynical and impatient immortal he became. He truly made this episode with his behavior and methods of dealing with madness.

 

I’ll get to the cliffhanger scene in a bit, but I do want to mention that it was done with such a chaotic sense of urgency that even though I know these characters aren’t dead, I really can’t tell if he’s still stuck in hell or not. I assume he for the moment because of the insinuating result that if these main characters are dead, he’s in a world of trouble and the future makes no sense.

 

THE BAD

This was almost a perfect episode in the realm of how TVD produces its content. I might have cringed a little when the music started playing during Damon’s montages with trying to capture the deserters, but in order to keep the flow going, I understand the comedic element. There’s only so many times you can experience the same situation before it just becomes ridiculous and laughable.

 

It’s hard to say if its bad or not, but it’s definitely tragic that Damon’s confession with wanting his mother over what happened in the past led to his obsession with seeing her again and becoming deluded into killing what he thought were apparitions of Stefan and company. Damon’s growth throughout the episode hinges on personal discovery and being selfless for himself rather than for others. His introspective reveal is the crux of how he’s supposed to deal with and change his behavior but this moment cost him a lot more he was prepared for.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

When Damon finally tells Lily it was her she wanted and not Stefan when he wanted to leave the war. Good acting all around, but he really laid it heavy on the sorrow because a vampire bottling all those emotions is bound to release is epic droves. I also loved the last twenty seconds. Pure carnage without understanding where Damon actually is.

 

CHARACTER MVP

No surprise but Damon was on fire tonight. Not like Stefan who was actually on fire, but Damon ruled the screen in comparison to some other dry performances that haven’t aged as well over the seasons. Ian has depth and the writers let him really dive into Damon’s psyche with good cause resulting in some crazy moments that were plenty heartfelt and worthy of the top 5 episodes of all time.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

Okay, the ending was crazy in lots of ways because there’s very little evidence to suggest which side of reality he landed on. In my experience, these kind of cliffhangers are hardly without a flaw in that what we see is almost never what we get. If I had to bet, I’d say we’ll learn very fast that his next stage of hell involves a different approach than reliving the same memory over and over again.

 

I honestly couldn’t grasp if Lily was just a representation of Damon’s guilt, or if she was an entity conjured by the phoenix stone itself. We really don’t know enough about its internal structure that in truth, anything is possible. It’s not the real Lily, just like that wasn’t the real Stefan, but again, in a world of make-believe hells, what is real is always a subjective trait, perpetuated by the victim who must endure it.

 

If the ending was real, maybe everyone but Stefan was wearing a protection ring. Not that there’s three of those lying around. Do they work on vampires too? Maybe a spell was performed to keep everyone alive…I’m reading too much into this.

 

One thing to note is Bonnie was wearing a different shirt in the third scene where Damon wakes up in the present. In fact, everyone was wearing something different including Damon who was actually wearing a shirt. And the third scene was at night suggesting again that Damon woke in reality.

 

Or maybe, just maybe, Damon woke up in Stefan’s hell, and killed Stefan’s apparitions of Bonnie, Caroline, and Matt and now the brothers must collectively work on their issues and escape together. Okay, I peeked at the preview for next week and it lends toward this possibility.

 

OVERALL SCORE

Very high 8, almost a nine tonight. Production quality, writing, acting, and that stunning cliffhanger made for a crazy return from the holidays as TVD shows it can still pull great episodes in its seventh season. This was one of if not the only episode this season not to feature any moments in the future, but considering the content of Damon’s hell, that would have interfered too much with Damon’s story in the stone. I’d like to believe every episode from here on out will be of this kind of quality, but I can’t say I’m too terribly optimistic. Hopefully the reviews are good and the ratings hold steady, because this was definitely a top 5 worthy episode of all the seasons combined. Damon told a unique story through his frustration, cynicism, confession, and obsession with wanting to do the right thing, but he’s still Self-absorbed and will make unthinkable decisions even if he’s sure of the result. Excellent episode, keep them coming. Thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words