A Sashurai’s Review: Vikings – Season 3×02 (The game is afoot, or rather an arm)

Vikings 02

The favored Vikings gain a bit of respite between battles, and though the brother of Kwenthrith runs to fight another day, a trap may await Ragnar and his band should they venture too far out to find him. Lagertha and Athelstan are treated to more of King Ecbert’s hospitality, and an ominous dream carried through Helga, Siggy, and Aslaug together brings worry and foreboding in the village of Kattegat.

The second episode gave us a bit more room for the crew to breathe as they rest and entertain themselves after their landslide victory. Torstein unfortunately suffers from his injured left arm and at his request has Flocki sever it at the shoulder, claiming he never liked that arm anyway. There was a brutal calmness for those involved yet like comrades, they supported their brother and ripped away his weakness. Yet, Torstein doesn’t appear to be getting any better. As I start to like one of the supporting characters who’s lasted this long, it’s a shame to venture at the possibility he may not live beyond the next episode. No amount of hallucinogens will save him from his pain, which begs the question, will Ragnar put him to a warrior’s death or will Torstein survive his amputation?

Our next piece of subterfuge comes in the form of Aethelwulf capturing a lone soldier and forcing him to spill the whereabouts of Brihtwulf’s brother’s location. Yet, as cordial as Aethelwulf appeared after the fact, it begs the question on whether or not he’s planning something for the Vikings. A possible alliance with the enemy? I’d believe it.

Where the episode gets a little flat for me is the courting of Lagertha at the hands of Ecbert. There’s a bit more intrigue between Athelstan and Judith involving her attempt at a confession which she reveals her sexual feelings for him. Their fraternizing will eventually spell a bit of disaster, but in the meantime, it seems like harmless fun. Ecbert spots it and even questions Judith about it, but considering his own agenda with Lagertha, he’s a little preoccupied to be truly worried about his daughter in law. This will of course spark some heated confrontation between Aethelwulf and Athelstan, but that’s down in the future assuming Athelstan falls for Judith completely.

As for the strange dream the women shared at Kattegat, I find it fascinating how much more eerie and supernatural events make it through on a show rooted in historical presentation. The man with hot blood asks for help from Helga, and she tears up not knowing what his actual appearance will mean for them. The seer of course offers only more metaphor shrouding future events in confusion, yet like always, his words will land on truth in some aspect, but never what we expect. I like the mythology it’s diving into, but wonder how deep down the rabbit hole they intend to go on such mystical abilities.

Another key note was Kwenthrith’s reveal to Ragnar with what her brother and uncle did to her when she was younger. Her anger and hatred spring forth as she demands the head of her uncle. With it, she stabs and spits at it, finally feeling some sense of satisfaction over his death. Now, is she truly trying to reach out to her brother? I highly doubt it. It seems an unrealistic ploy, one I assume she thought would keep her brother within a blade’s reach. Instead, he wisely flees and the Vikings are left to either meet their enemies further inland or to disengage their assault. Ragnar will likely take the chance to eliminate this last threat before returning to Ecbert. If not, Ecbert’s good graces may be short lived.

FAVORITE MOMENT

It was peculiar watching the way Torstein was going through his suffering. Everyone seemed to know what he was going through, but at the expense of pride, very little was done to ease him of his suffering until he requested his arm be removed. It was such a bold and crazy move that I thought maybe he’d be talked out of it, but that’s not how these guys work, which makes their way of life ever the more simplistic. Arm doesn’t work, get rid of it. No antibiotics to take care of the infection. And that’s that. His dip in the river had a strange ambience that almost felt transcendent, yet all it did was put him in worse shape.

CHARACTER MVP

I believe Athelstan stood out a bit more this time around. He told Lagertha that he loved both Odin and Jesus Christ. It’s not really anything knew, but he’s beginning to be more excepting of his duality and in that there’s a confidence rising. He flirts with Judith and then there’s the haunting ending scene where he mirrors the wanderer’s pose with bleeding hands, similar to his stigmata from last season. It’s hard to know where his character growth is heading, but his allure from both beliefs continues to make him perplexing and interesting as a character.

LONG TERM THOUGHTS

I think that Rollo’s scene was just to give him something to do in this episode. He hasn’t had any real moments to thrive or start some new path, which is a little off putting considering his nature is to strive and sometimes betray in order to rise. He’ll never really betray again, but his efforts to become more important or as important as Ragnar have been fleeting at best.

Is dreaming the demise of the seer something even more daunting than the wanderer showing up? I’ve been expecting more to be revealed about the seer, yet we may not that much more from him this season.

Lagertha appears to be entertaining Ecbert’s courtship almost to the point, I’m surprised by her willingness to be so thankful. It doesn’t seem like her style, unless she’s diverting or really interested in this farmland.

Bjorn asked Porunn to marry him, like a boss. She’s excited. It’s what you do after a hard fought victory with your loved one, right? I imagine they’ll get married the day after they return home, provided that’s in the workings this season.

Kalf is now the appointed leader of Lagertha’s people. I hope this doesn’t mean that he’ll invade Kattegat while Ragnar is still gone. That would be a little too formulaic. He claims he wants fame above all other things. And how does one become famous? I imagine he’ll have to take on Ragnar the old fashioned way.

OVERALL SCORE

“The Wanderer” was a bit more laid back than last week’s premiere. It offered some insight into a few characters, but not much more other than that. Aethelwulf is predictably being deceptive and King Ecbert’s subplot wasn’t very entertaining to endure aside from Judith and Athelstan having their moment. It was the strange dreams the ladies in Kattegat shared that held the most interest and with the physical appearance of the wanderer himself, played by well known actor Kevin Durand, he’ll mark the next phase in which this season will go. It score a 6 out of 10, just one number lower than last week. Should there be more battles to help build those numbers in the future? Why not. Vikings fight and raid and live in the moment. Let them entertain as they do.

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A Sashurai’s Review: Vikings – Season 3×01 (Eh, who needs a braided long lock of hair anyway?)

Vikings 01

The Vikings have returned to plunder, burn, rage, and wage war on familiar lands as the newly appointed king Ragnar Lodbrok takes his people back to Wessex, but this time as allies to King Ecbert. We left off at a new beginning for the people of Kattegat with Ragnar looking on from his glacial precipice. Now he intends on returning to Wessex and claiming the land Ecbert had promised him back when they made their fragile alliance. Ecbert convinces Ragnar to fight with his men against the self-appointed king of Mercia who is still in civil war with Princess Kwenthrith.

It’s hard not to compare this premiere with the capitalizing mayhem that was the premiere of season 2. While we weren’t given the bloodthirsty carnage of a fevered battle, instead we’re given the perception of normal life of Ragnar and his family as they wait for the snows to melt so they may return to the seas and raid. We’re given an informal passage of time, which was easier to discern once we saw Ragnar’s youngest son and Floki’s daughter at least two years, maybe three. Ragnar shed his long lock of hair, which no doubt will have some shaking their fists while Bjorn attempts to grow his. It was a pleasant beginning as characters we’ve known for the last two years are more or less handling their lives as expected. Even Floki manages to capture his neurotic attitude within moments of entering the screen. All is well except for Lagertha who doesn’t realize her closest consort back home is already plotting a coup against her.

Viking relationships shows that the men long for battle and forward momentum with their raids while the women align on both sides of that mentality. Some are eager to join the raids, while others take care of their children. There’s a balance that continues to show that these characters are passionate and full of life, even Rollo, who is shown relatively reserved for the most part.

While not everything is as it seems, the alliance with King Ecbert appears genuine, with him showing Lagertha the lands in Wessex that will be her people’s once the lands of Mercia are in his control. Is it too early to tell if there’s a double-cross in the works? Maybe not from Ecbert himself, but surely from others in his stead. Those seeds have already been planted Judith’s husband, Aethelwulf consorts with Bishop Edmund about his misgivings over trusting the Vikings. There won’t be an episode where someone isn’t plotting such betrayal. It’s the formula of the show and they like to move quickly on these matters, so I expect dissention in the ranks very soon.

The meat of battle comes with the crew traveling by boat to the lands of Mercia and finding two armies on opposite sides. Ragnar opts to go after the side with less men, where King Brihtwulf stands. Kwenthrith’s brother is forced to watch as Ragnar and the team dispatch all of Brihtwulf’s men including the man himself, by Floki’s hand. It was a bludgeoned and bloody one-sided battle, likely a warm up to the some truly epic encounters we’re likely to see down the road. I have to admit, I was imagining Brihtwulf’s forces to act a bit smarter, such as deceiving the sizes of the arms and fooling Ragnar to choose the wrong side, or even a hidden bridge that allowed the sides to join. Alas, it was about Ragnar’s quick thinking that led to an easy victory with no casualties of anyone notable.

We end with Kwenthirth looking on in both shock and awe as her uncle has now been slain. From our knowledge of her personality, you can tell there’s a deeper sense of strangeness going on with her and whether she’s truly enjoying the moment or is horrified, we’re not completely sure yet. One thing is certain, Ragnar is Ragnar, and he relishes the victory in his own passive way.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

As much as I enjoyed the battle I actually thought Flocki’s opening scene to be my favored moment. I haven’t been very supportive of his character mainly because his attitude toward Athelstan last season, but his worry about being happy and right with the world bothers him beyond normal and he continues to showcase his peculiar ways with cryptic words and a sense of gloom on the horizon. I also liked how he both praised and harped on Helga for being such a good and endearing wife.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Ragnar has to start out strong on his own show. While other characters are showing their temperaments and fixations, Ragnar remains stalwart and true to his senses. He had a lingering moment of doubt when Aslaug asked if he loved her while holding their youngest son, who unfortunately still suffers the burden of misshapen legs. We’re not given an answer by Ragnar which suggests that after several children, his mindset may already be moving on to other possibilities. What those are, we’re not quite certain. Could it be leading back to Lagertha or even toward Kwenthirth? His heart can be of the moment when he lets it. Something his son, Bjorn has yet to elicit.

 

LONG TERM THOUGHTS

Is Porunn with child? Even more so, will there be an unfortunate tragedy striking Bjorn’s love before they return to Kattegat? I like her character and hope she’s a mainstay of the season, but if there’s one thing the show has taught us is that like GOT, they’re not afraid to end a character’s run no matter how popular they are.

The Seer remains to be the only element on the show that suggests actual magic or “sorcery” takes place. Lagertha asks when she’ll die and the Seer offers a few cryptic responses, none of which she understands with any clarity. We should be paying attention because those signs are likely to happen in rapid fire if they occur this season.

In some ways Athelstan never catches a break. Judith shows an innocent affection to the man who still elicits signs of the stigmata and Aethelwulf is quick to realize it. It could spell a bit of trouble, some of which even coming from Ecbert himself, who subtly tempts Athelstan by returning an old cross necklace he once carried.

Will Lagertha be the one to tend the lands and rule while her own lands back home remain in the hands of her trusted second, Kalf? Tough to say, but at some point she’ll have to confront what’s being plotted under her knowledge.

Let’s hope nothing happens to Torstein this season. He’s one of the few crew left that’s lasted as long as he has and is remarkably staying fresh among the crew. Maybe we’ll get to know him a bit more.

 

OVERALL SCORE

While not as blood-soaked as last season’s premiere, it was an enjoyable return to the gritty and cold franchise. 7 out of 10. While Ragnar’s passive style continues to shield him against threats on all sides, his supporting cast are really coming into their own. Bjorn is showing his worth as the growing son, Lagertha maintains her status as a powerful woman, and Floki remains uncertain about his future and where he stands with the gods. This show is about deceit, betrayal, and the ability to rise above the odds, and I expect much more murder and chaos to form before we realize who Ragnar’s true enemies are this time. Good start. Let’s see where it goes.

 

 

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A Sashurai’s Review: The Vampire Diaries – Season 6×15 (I swear I thought Caroline was going to start singing that ‘Let it Go’ song)

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The Originals had the wedding, thus The Vampire Diaries has the funeral. Liz’s unfortunate passing left our core cast with the duty to see her get the send off she deserves complete with Damon’s eulogy and a sweet song from Caroline herself. While this saddened event took place, Kai convinces Jo to give him the rest of her power to save him from dying since his merger wasn’t a true one. And Bonnie acquires magic again and returns to the normal plane, except Damon and Stefan’s mother may have also returned as well.

I have to say “Let Her Go” was turning out to be a very lackluster episode as it painfully checked off the funeral to-do list between the principle heartbroken loved ones and the supporting characters who struggle to make sense of their own worlds. What turned it around was the last few segments of the episode. Elena having figured out Caroline’s plan was a stroke of subtle brilliance. I hadn’t figured out that Caroline was going to turn her emotions off, but Elena did and tried to talk some sense into Caroline. And Elena received a broken neck for her efforts. That was an amazing moment. One tiny flub though was Elena didn’t actually shut her emotions off by choice after Jeremy’s death. Damon compelled Elena to shut them off due to their bond. Everything else played out accurately. The question remains is that will Caroline actually go through with her plan to shut her emotions off. This may seem corny, but I want to see this happen. If Stefan saves the day and somehow convinces her to stop, that’s all well and good. But the writers understood all too quickly that once you put two people together as potential lovers, the very next step is to calculate what it will take to break them up. Stefan’s second guessing was the prelude to this scenario and though he made the choice to stick with her, now it’s practically out of her hands, and I don’t believe for a second that Caroline will handle herself if she turns her emotions off. If anything, she’ll be even worse off than Elena ever was.

As far as the funeral arrangement and the collage of music and tender moments, it was all relatively par. The flashback in the beginning was actually a nice touch. Knowing that Caroline did fall from the bike and somehow turn that into a question to her mother about dying was appropriate for the moment. Children eventually ask this question and it’s a parent’s job to make them understand that such sad events won’t happen for a long time and when they do, it’s when the children won’t “need” them as much as they do in their youth. Damon’s eulogy was decent and carefully constructed as he proved to write a nice and thoughtful goodbye to one of the few humans he respected.

The big cliffhanger of course dealt with the triumphant return of Bonnie back in the real world. In a rather sideways move, Kai offhandedly mentions there being more than one limbo, and somehow Bonnie traveled to one which happened to be occupied by Damon and Stefan’s mother who exists infinitely in the year 1903. How she made it to that cave wearing what she wore I have no idea. It’s probably safe to say that the mother returned to the present with Bonnie, but landed somewhere else. What we don’t know is why she ended up in limbo to begin with and whether or not she’s a threat to the main crew or just another passive addition to the cast. It’s definitely intriguing and I’m very much rolling with this concept. I just should have realized the foreshadowing since Damon conversed about his mother for the last few episodes, so it stands to reason that something was going to be up with her in the near future. And here she is.

Kai’s subplot also seemed rather non-chalant considering the adverse effects should Kai had died. Jo forfeiting her magic and suddenly coming to the news of her pregnancy was a bit odd to throw in. It does help keep Alaric and Jo as a solid unit, and from what I’ve seen they appear to be an agreeable couple. Alaric popped the question and it looks like we’ll be getting another wedding rather soon. I hope it’s not completely blown out of proportion though. The Originals already claimed their stake this season on that. With Kai back to normal, will he just pass on by as the neutral guy who doesn’t want to maim and kill anymore? I can’t imagine Liv will let Kai just walk around freely even though his life is essential to the prolonged existence of the Gemini coven. Their entire workflow and power and prestige is rather ludicrous to be honest. One person’s life hinges on the balance of a merger and the birth of twins. And then it hit me. Jo’s going to have twins. Yup, calling that one right now.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

Caroline cracking Elena’s neck. It came out of nowhere and Caroline’s entire scene surrounding it was very well acted. She was a character who was hurting and tried to justify that pain regardless of Elena’s explanations that her choices were a part of her few regrets. Elena will be hurt by this, but I don’t think it will destroy their friendship by any means. If Caroline actually manages to pull this off, the next few episodes will be very interesting. A runner up favorite scene was when Bonnie and Damon reunited. The way she jumped into his arms was very comedic yet elegant in its own right. Plus, she was very excited to see him again. They had a good moment and their chemistry has actually worked this season. We’ll see how Bonnie fares now that she’s back.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Caroline did well this episode. She had a range of sadness to play and kept her true outcome hidden from everyone, except Elena who figured out her plan. But even so, she played a character who understand how tragedy had to be dealt and hid from the pain every step of the way. She needed to hear Stefan’s support and love and when she didn’t get it unconditionally, she made only move left she could, which was the plan to turn off her emotions. Stefan may blame himself for this, but no more than Elena will having failed to stop or convince Caroline not to do it.

 

LONG TERM THOUGHTS

Matt becoming an officer, great choice, I hope it works out. Tyler becoming an officer, absolutely the worst idea ever. I expect that this will be the plot which finally gets Tyler’s werewolf gene activated, because as an officer, Tyler may be forced to end someone’s life. I’m just surprised that wasn’t the first thing Tyler said when Matt handed him the application.

Good unintentional shout to Buffy with Bonnie mentioning being in a “Hell dimension.” Buffy fans will remember that she sent Angel to a Hell dimension for a hundred years after stabbing Angel at the end of season 2 in order to save the world.

Though Jeremy had his sendoff, I can’t imagine him not showing back up to see Bonnie now that she’s returned. Unless something strange happens and Bonnie is whisked away again. The other option is to have Bonnie drive off to see Jeremy off screen and handle their reunion that way. It’ll work. It’s cheezy, but it’ll work.

Thank you for keeping Enzo out of this episode. He would have ruined anything he was in and at this point, I still can’t believe that Matt hasn’t confessed to Stefan what’s been happening with Sara.

So let me get this straight. Damon is the younger brother, but in the flashback he appeared as himself and tied little Stefan’s tie and was supposed to give the eulogy afterward about his mother? What was he in that actual year, six? I’m not sure if I’m supposed to be confused by that or not. (EDIT. Damon is older. Forgot that little bit)

Next episode is being directed by Damon himself. I wonder if he’ll spice it up a bit or change some of the style and tone for his own creative ideas. Nothing wrong with switching it up a little after 6 seasons.

 

OVERALL SCORE

Though the last few segments were red hot, the rest of the episode was a bit bland. 6 out of 10. Funerals are designed to allow characters to cope and work out a slew of internal and external issues while also finding ways to say goodbye to the character who passed. It can allow the growth of a character or stunt one if the tragedy is too great. In this situation, Caroline wants to give up her emotions because the hurt is too much. It was a good result, but the build up to get there took too long. I don’t think I was would have put Bonnie’s return in this episode, but they had to pad the funeral scenes with something and I certainly didn’t want Enzo getting the credit, so I suppose what they went with was the better option. Damon and Stefan’s mother should be the start of the final arc of the season. I’m interested to see where this goes, but I just hope they don’t turn the mother into some weird power hungry witch. We’ll find out in a month.

 

 

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A Sashurai’s Review: Supernatural – Season 10×14 (Cain walked the Earth, learned Kung-Fu…I’m sensing a TV show about this)

SN 2x14

To create a grand presentation, one needs a foreboding musical theme that increases its ominous style, a few glorious camera power shots, and a few dedicated characters representing their polar opposites or their mirror-like qualities. Tonight’s Supernatural killed it in one of the best episodes this season as the arc of Cain comes to a head.

Cain is finally returning to old roots but tries to justify his need to kill by eliminating those of his bloodline, whether guilty of innocent of murder. The brothers track him down and with the help of Cass and Crowley, Dean fights the oldest demon and is forced to kill him, but not before being told that eventually Dean will kill everyone closest to him ending with Sam. Finally the heart of the matter is recognized and pushed to the surface. Dean holds his own but Sam suspects that Dean is suffering now more than ever. And in the midst of a derailed plan to kill the leader of the grand coven, Rowena leaves Crowley, confessing a boatload of disappointment over what Crowley has done with his position as the king of hell and how he’s treated by the Winchesters.

From the start of the opening, everything worked. It was a little different than the typical murder of an unknown element in the middle of a low-populated town. Cain returns and satisfies his need by killing a deathrow inmate. I mention the music being important earlier and you can tell that something prominent is brewing even as the scene takes place. The music played a large role in the formation of this episode and I appreciate the effort the composer took to make this plot feel enhanced and relevant.

The comedy was practically nil except for Rowena’s performance at the beginning as she continues her machination with controlling Crowley. As the two finally drop the curtain on their acts, he agrees to help his mother dispatch the leader of the grand coven. I knew this threat would eventually take a back seat to the Cain arc, but I’m still interested to see where it goes. Though it’s hard to tell where Rowena’s lies start and stop, but she manages to remain integral and interesting rather than a bothersome nuisance that sometimes Crowley sees her as. And I agreed with everything she said at the end. Crowley has squandered his role as the king of hell and hasn’t brought anything new to the table except a bored ruler’s attempt at the day to day duties of demon-kind. There are ways to make hell interesting and it’s been weak as of late.

The crux of the episode is the fight between Dean and Cain. It was very well handled and not overtly brutish. There was a lot to juggle in a short amount of time, enough that Cain and his aikido had to continually subdue Dean and explain what the mark will eventually do to him. In the end, Dean cuts Cain’s hand off with a knife and summarily executes him via the first blade by way of a gladiator’s honorable death. At least that’s how it was usually done back in the day. We didn’t see Dean lose it or succumb to darker emotions, but he still felt the pain of knowing if Cain could no longer fight against his own nature, how could Dean possibly do it. Well that’s easy, it’s called “Main Character Syndrome.” But it doesn’t always work like we think it does. What’s fascinating was how detailed Cain spoke of Dean’s eventual end. He says Dean will kill in the order of Crowley, Castiel, then Sam and explores how each death will affect Dean almost in a precognative state. Now while I doubt any of those three deaths will occur, I have to say I actually believed it for a moment and still wonder in the back of my mind if Crowley will in fact be the first to go.

This show is nothing if not critical with who remains as a supporting character and Crowley has become a mainstay and a temporary ally at best. If Rowena’s summary of Crowley’s performance as of late has any resonance, than we can expect to see Crowley become a thorn in the side of the Winchester’s once more just to prove a point. I however hope that Crowley thinks on a much bigger scale and tries to restart some new apocalypse. That’s not his style, but Crowley needs to go big or go home at this point. That would at least escalate Dean’s prophecy that Crowley will die first. Then we can handle Castiel and Sam later. Now I don’t want to see Crowley die, but at the expense of keeping the show on its toes, it may be a necessary pivotal moment that the show needs.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

The big fight was definitely the highlight. While there were plenty of well shot scenes, such as Castiel finding Cain at the burial site, and the intro to the episode, I liked how Dean and Cain handled their final confrontation. There was a lot of desperation in Dean’s voice and his cry at the final blow was one of regret and sorrow than any battle cry one may elicit in such a heated moment. It was a fine cap to the scene and I enjoyed it a lot.

 

CHARACTER MVP

I’m giving this to Cain. He motivated every character to do what they had to do and had a presence about him that was far improved since his appearance last season. I wondered if there would be a moment where Cain would try and fight his need, but he didn’t at all and accepted that role. It was also bittersweet and Cain really didn’t know anything about a cure, which means Metatron is the only one left who can shed any light on the subject. In any case, Cain proved to be a valiant villain and went down swinging, much as Dean would have done.

 

LONG TERM THOUGHTS

Will Rowena try to eliminate the grand coven leader herself, or will Crowley do it for her? Will this even involve Sam and Dean? I expect it’ll have to, but I’m not sure how evil this grand coven really is.

Demons should know better that when they get interrogated, they’re going to die regardless if they spill their information or not.

Lucifer is mentioned and every fan wonders if he’ll make an appearance again. Sadly, I doubt it.

There really hasn’t been a Sam-centric episode as of yet this season. I’m wondering if they simply don’t have a place to put one or if they’re waiting because they have something in store for us. Either way, the brothers need to share a little main character spots.

Just a little odd that Cain’s knife was able to detach his own hand. I suppose any knife could do the job, but I would have thought Cain was a little more durable than that and it was never explained if Cain’s knife had any special power to it or if it was just a normal large knife.

 

OVERALL SCORE

Very good episode. I was captivated for almost all of it except for the little scene with the crossroad’s demon getting his own end based on Rowena’s suggestion. That didn’t add anything to the episode but the rest was superb. Huge 8 out of 10. For now, SN will be taking a bit of a break but I’m sure once it comes back there will be a flurry of final episodes that will continue to tackle Dean’s urge to control the mark and more on how he might be cured of it. I expect Metatron to be tasked once more with revealing that cure and perhaps one of our main four will be permanently put to rest. Not counting on it, but you never know.

 

 

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: The Originals – Season 2×14 (Stop taking cues from Marvel and actually kill your characters!)

originals-2x14

When the marriage goes off without a problem, the next calamity lies with the simultaneous death of a notable cast member. Tonight’s episode of The Originals solidifies the next stage in werewolf power and also proclaims the incoming threat that is Dalia. The dramatic presentation plays at a few relationship quarrels that don’t really have any significant payoff, and what was considered a heroic display of pseudo-self-sacrifice was nothing more than a delay at ending a Mikaelson’s life. Instead we have the fallen brother Kol instead of Finn who the former finally succumbed to the latter’s mortal spell.

Though we get a little more detail on Freya’s position and motive with keeping Finn alive, the rest of the episode plays at the fancy structure of a wolf wedding and provides very little more beyond Davina’s tears at losing Kol. Shows like these have a way at trying to convince the audience that a major character death is permanent and irreversible, yet this very episode we our eyes roll yet again as the mortal shell of Finn was resurrected and healed. I’m certainly not complaining that the actor continue to shine at the part, because he plays it well, I just find the act of killing characters on TO or TVD to be a practical joke. Nobody stays dead long enough to mourn. Kol will be back, somehow.

I was at first a little blindsided by how cordial and prominent the wedding was. Everything was rather passive and normal for the wedding. No extra strange rituals and it wasn’t performed in the bayou in the wilderness, outside where an inexplicable amount of howling could have occurred afterward. There just wasn’t much to it, and the kiss finalized the passing of power to the wolves. I would have thought a deeper passionate moment would be required but that’s not how it was written. The wedding was alright, but nothing special I’ll remember in the next month.

Klaus tries to convince Elijah that killing Jackson is the way to go because he’s not really part of the family and in some way still poses some strange threat to hope. Elijah forces Klaus to leave Jackson unharmed because if Hayley’s happy that’s what matters and the fact that relations would be strained to say the least if Jackson died at the hands of Klaus. Klaus relents and invites Jackson and Hayley to live in their home, an act anyone can ponder if there’s still motive behind his kind act. I’m not sure how this should play out. If Klaus has truly put away such vicious thoughts, then that’s fine. One can never forget that whenever Klaus does something nice, he needs to do two things that make him despicable again so he can remain the neutral-evil anti-hero.

I want to believe Kol’s death had meaning, but there’s not much here to suggest that’s what transpired. Before the spell began to weaken him, he and Davina apparently completed their spell to the dagger which if I remember correctly is supposed to keep Klaus on ice like a normal dagger would do his siblings. I don’t believe any spell has been completed that would expel Klaus from his bloodline. I don’t even think it’s been mentioned in a while, so it’s hard to say how this dagger will play a part, if at all, in this next big arc coming up. It seems rather moot that Kol would even continue this path even after all Klaus has done after the fact. Does Davina still want to dagger Klaus? I don’t think that’s truly in question, but with Kol gone, will she still go through with it? Hard to say. Not sure what her motivation is at this point, and I don’t know if she’ll blame Klaus for Kol’s death or someone else.

Aiden and Josh shared, at best, a momentary lapse in relationship judgment. It didn’t qualify as a fight or even a sensible argument. Aiden thought about taking a break to help with protecting Josh from some imminent danger and Josh took it as an insult and walked away. They however patched things up with the power of being at the fancy gathering at the same time and realizing the foolishness of their spat. Go drama, way to keep me on the edge of my seat.

The episode ends with Freya telling Finn that Dalia will be drawn to Hope like a beacon because she can sense the magic in her and is far more powerful than Esther ever was. And the only person who has remotely a clue about Hope’s ability is denying it because that’s what her psychological training prepared her for. With any luck, Dalia will show up in the next episode and finally make things interesting for our Mikaelson bunch.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

Not very much stood out tonight. Elijah threatening Klaus was very typical of the suave brother, but I think Elijah’s scene with Hayley before the wedding had more dramatic flare especially since it clearly spelled out Hayley’s feelings for him and her wish that he refrain from speaking of his own to her. She can’t afford the distraction anymore and she’s making that known to Elijah who will always love her from a distance. It’s almost funny considering she had a child with Klaus, is in love with Elijah, but married Jackson out necessity and arguably of free spirit. She says she’s doing it for her, but that’s more of her convincing herself than it was convincing Jackson. He’ll have whatever relationship he can get because he’s devoted and a genuinely good-natured being.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Everyone shared the screen making it rather difficult to pick a single individual who stood out more. Kol had his death scene, and Elijah stood his ground with Klaus. It was Hayley’s night, but it was also Jackson’s. At the end of the day, the one who had the most impact was probably Elijah. If he had said nothing, there’s no telling how Klaus would have handled Jackson, and who knows, maybe that moment is just delayed rather than erased. Elijah watches everything like a hawk and will continue protecting his family and those he loves as he sees fit. And he’ll abide by Hayley’s request because her happiness and freedom warrant that right.

 

LONG TERM THOUGHTS

Why is Rebekah still not in her original body? What’s so pressing that they can’t take the time to revert that body swapping spell? Is this that powerful? Bring back Claire already!

Based on Freya’s apparent fear of Dalia, we are now to believe that she’s against her and is using Finn to help possibly an agenda with stopping Dalia. If so, why concentrate on Finn and not involve the other siblings? We’re still missing something here.

Something we’re missing here is a good old fashioned 3 on 3. If Kol had sided with Finn, than it would be potentially Finn, Kol, and Freya, against Klaus, Elijah and Rebekah. And each having a parental unit in their corner. Familia witches against familial vampires. Come on, I’m not the only one who thought of this cool scenario.

At this point, we have to wonder what Dalia’s endgame is. If she contractually claims the first born of each generation, and there’s magic involved with this reasoning, then why claim them? Is it to usurp their power? Clearly Freya is still magical on her own. Is there some apocalyptic curse being avoided by Dalia’s hand? Or is she just mad and there is no method to her madness after a thousand years or so?

Now that the wolves have power over their transformation, will any of them make a play for power and will Jackson be able to be a leader with Hayley to mitigate any kind of threat that could come from the wolf’s side? They have their work cut out for them.

 

OVERALL SCORE

5 out of 10. It was an uneventful wedding. Tv show weddings are designed to be extravagant and special while a ton of things happen behind the scenes that either muck the wedding up or cause the turmoil of future events. Kol’s death was completely separate didn’t end up disrupting anything aside from causing the siblings and Davina a put of grief at the end. Making sure the act of giving the wolves more power was necessary, but it happened a bit too simply. There wasn’t enough gusto in this episode to feel like it was an important one. Our sign of Dalia’s entry into the series is imminent, but we’ll have to wait a bit longer for that arrival. Until then, stay vampy.

 

 

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A Sashurai’s Review: The Vampire Diaries – Season 6×14 (Finally!…I meant the kiss, not the Liz thing)

TVD-06-14

On an emotional level, this episode took it all over the map. It’s not often but there are times when a show can mash up anger, intrigue, passion, and somberness all within a single hour. “Stay” pretty much nailed that, but not without it’s flaws. It was a send off of sorts to one of the shows most endearing human characters, Sherffi Liz Forbes, mother of Caroline, passed away with her daughter and friends beside her. It was something we all saw coming and each scene lent more easy speculation until the inevitable occurred. What led up to the final scene was a cornucopia of teases, goodbyes, and twisted plans extending between foes.

While Damon and Elena compel a man to allow Jeremy entry into an art school, Liz attempts to make sense of some old case files including one involving Elena’s parents and the car accident with a few unanswered questions. Two things stand out here.

  1. By now, the vampires on this show have to realize what compulsion can really do for them. It’s the Jedi mind trick x10 and considering how many times they exploited it’s use, why haven’t they really dived in and abused it to their advantage? I suppose life is simple in Mystic Falls and one needs to look no further than the one Salvatore home that’s open to any called friend.

 

  1. Liz and Damon literally spend an entire scene going over old case files (murders most likely) that Damon jokingly admits to causing. And Liz just dismisses them with an “aw well” shrug. Now, one can theorize that Damon really was just kidding, but he’s also known for taking a little bit of pride in his own work. If they’re all from his doing I just find it hilarious that nothing is to be done about it because he’s a “good” guy now.

With the subplot of Elena’s parents, I just have to say, way too little and too late to be bringing up that old bit of mystery. At no point was I expecting this to pan out the way we might of thought. And of course, they delivered a half-hearted trump card where all the pieces added up to nothing and there was no foul play at work. That felt a little cheap, because we all wanted there to be something interesting and in the end, there wasn’t. Let’s not go through that ordeal again.

Our next big can of fireworks came with the sunset kiss between Caroline and Stefan, After spending oodles of time at the cabin preparing it for Liz as a surprise, Stefan passes his sage advice and then finally tags Caroline with the coolest high-five you’ll ever see…okay no, they actually kissed. In the breadth of the sunlight, they shared that “Get it over with, please” moment that was long coming. It was set up well, and the payoff was probably what I’d expect, including the intense rise of the music and the slow pan of darkened figures wrapped in the natural light. Will Caroline attach even more with Liz gone? I’d say it’ll work out differently. Stefan will continue his support and one by one, the cast will be informed of their coupling, and all should probably be well, for the short term. Elena and Caroline will finally have something interesting to talk about. I doubt Elena will kick up any fuss over it. She might do that strange stare off to the side for a moment as if pondering if Caroline made the right decisions, but she’ll be fine.

Next, we have the dark machinations of the vampire scumbag, Enzo. Only beginning his master plan, he forces Matt to take Sara to a tunnel by town where Enzo runs Matt over and then heals him with Sara watching everything. I’ll admit, the car was a clever idea, but let’s not kid ourselves, Enzo is on a path of certain death. There really should be no vampire camaraderie here. The second the Salvatores find out about this, Damon needs to do what Damon needs to do, with Stefan helping. I even want Katherine back beating Enzo down.

And finally, we have Jeremy’s departure from town and essentially the show. Alaric saw him off with the promise that if Bonnie returned, that Jeremy would be the first to be called. I’m okay with this kind of departure. Not all characters leaving a series need to do so under threat of death. Besides, Jeremy died before that fool me once scenario won’t happen again. The writing on this subject you could tell was pretty shoe-horned in but the fact is Jeremy lost his sense of path and nothing was going to put him back on short of becoming some maniacal uber hunter, oh wait, they did that already. Until he returns in some reunion episode, so long kid.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

Stefan showing Caroline how to help her and Liz relive an old memory was very sweet and caring. They got to share that final moment and say goodbye in a way that works and didn’t oversell the situation. I’ll admit, I thought for sure, Liz would have passed away while in the bed with Damon, but that didn’t happen and Caroline got to have her seen. Well done.

 

CHARACTER MVP

In a way, this episode was really about Liz and her nature at tying loose ends and making sure everything is in order, much as a Sheriff in a small town is designed to do. She gets the MVP tonight. While Matt is now the last human character (Alaric really shouldn’t count anymore) to interact with the crew, Liz was the most practical and seasoned one there was. And if Damon can show true friendship and caring toward that kind of human, you know they’re worthwhile.

 

LONG TERM THOUGHTS

This can easily be the breaking point where Matt says “screw it” and tells the brothers what’s been happening with Enzo. At this point, it’s too risky not to, and even Matt almost backed Enzo into a wall when he belittled the idea that his mother would still be in danger. With Jeremy gone, what does Enzo really have hanging over his head?

Could Liz’s interest in the car accident be foreshadowing over an darker event that actually claimed the lives of Elena’s parents? I would think they wouldn’t just throw that in this late in the show and not at least consider the possibility. After all, did they rule out why there was luggage in the car?

Now begins the race between brothers to see who will end up losing their GF first. My money is easily on Stefan and Caroline. It’s new, but seriously untested. Either one could be forced into a situation where staying with the other would be more damaging than helpful. Time will tell.

Will it be that easy for Bonnie to get back once she has access to the magic in Nova Scotia? Or will there be some opposing force to keep her once more trapped in limbo?

I’d laugh if Tyler accidentally/or purposefully killed someone off screen and came back in the next episode already wolf-triggered. Maybe he ran off to New Orleans again for another go at Klaus. That would go over real well.

 

OVERALL SCORE

A very high 7 out of 10. Enzo’s ludicrous antics aside, this episode had a lot of good things going for it and managed to pack in a lot of poignant scenes. Caroline and Stefan’s kiss was long overdue and was handled with the kind of care I’d expect from this show. Liz’s passing and Jeremy’s departure were expected strikes but also done with enough care that they had meaning and weren’t wasted moments. It’s truly time to move forward, though all we have are Bonnie’s subplot in Limbo and Enzo’s subplot with Sara. Not much else going on unless Kai relapses and becomes super evil again. He’s still alive right? And Jo and Alaric have been completely disregarded lately. Seems like an odd thing to do. Moving forward though, that’s the key. We need a new villain for the final arc. Bring him/her on!

 

 

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A Sashurai’s Review: Supernatural – Season 10×13 (I know what you IM’d last summer)

SN 2x13

Somewhere between Dean’s lack of internet knowledge and Sam’s intelligence on the matter lies a happy medium known as the base watcher of the program. Here we can lol our way through a show attempting to capitalize on ten year old wifi themes mixed with a plethora of online communication profiles, all complete with the tablet to boot. Tonight’s episode of Supernatural relives a “ghost in the machine” tale smashed into a 90’s clichéd horror plot. These are the ghost stories that live on as they get weaved into each season between the good filler episodes and the truly bad ones. Was this one bad? Not necessarily, but there was more emphasis on Dean’s eating habits then there was on bringing in an original ghost tale to the table.

After Dean pushes another case onto Sam to avoid dealing with the mark, they find themselves on the trail of a vengeful spirit after four college students whose careless driving antics while devouring their phone tech caused the death of an innocent man. His wife more or less represents his anchor and he communicates with her until his need for revenge takes him away as he murdered three of the four students by way of wifi-using objects. This is due to Sam’s quick explanation that a spirit is electrical impulses and his caught a signal to travel in. There’s a little back and forth on Dean and the ghost, but after the wife convinces her husband to move on, the brothers leave with Dean realizing he can’t look for a cure for the mark anymore and chooses to ignore it while he does what he knows best, saving people and hunting things.

The ghost plot in itself was very run of the mill. The brothers chased around ideas as they do and finally understand how this particular ghost works before they’re able to defeat it. There was salt and iron throwbacks along with burning objects and of course the ghost-meter-thingy. All in all it fulfilled the purposes of what a ghost plot should be and tried to throw in various bits of technology once more putting Dean in the hall of shame. Only the older crowd gets to understand the “Lawnmower Man” reference, so there’s that. From beginning to end it maintained the production quality and for the most part the guest stars acted well enough. It felt like it was part PSA and part pop-culture required.

To make fun of itself, the college students are meta into their apps and chat. It’s a pet peeve of mine, but somewhere, the show has to reinstill the use of modern or semi-modern technology along with the genX gap that gets thrown around every now and again. It’s more for the sake of Dean than anything, because it’s funny when he doesn’t get it. That used to be Castiel, but now Castiel gets it, he just doesn’t understand it. In any case, the rampant deluge of tech in an episode that normally focuses on an older generation of the world doesn’t always translate well. At least Sam will always be able to bring Dean up to speed even though they do all the same things, Sam is just more attentive.

I also choose to believe that Dean’s earth-shattering snacking was due mostly in part because of the mark and his attempt to ignore it and the young ladies at the college. I’m amazed the show hasn’t done an episode about Dean’s clogged arteries spawning a life of their own. Maybe the mark gives him a higher metabolism. Curses can be freaky.

In regards to Dean’s choice to avoid finding a cure for the mark. I both agree and disagree with the idea. For one, it allows more free flowing filler plots to get their attention since he’s so jazzed about doing cases again, which is the meat and potatoes of the show when it’s not focused primarily on the demon/angel plot. Some good plots have emerged. However, I find it hard to believe that Dean will blatantly ignore an opportunity if it comes up. He’s tired of holding out, I get that, but Sam won’t stop, and if need be, he’ll search in secret because that look he gave Dean at the end says it all. It says he’ll fight to make Dean normal because he loves his brother. Dean’s new way of thinking is short term, I practically guarantee it. Sooner or later, Cain, Metatron, and the Crowly/Rowena pair will make this season come to a head and bring out the worst in Dean yet. Maybe that knight of hell will get one more shot at the title before the end.

FAVORITE MOMENT

It was a mixture of seeing the second and third victims get what they “deserved”. I’m not always a fan of having the rotten human characters get shoved in my face with their unbelievable way of life, but every now and then it’s refreshing to see characters not so innocent get evil’s recourse. You feel bad for the innocent characters but the bad ones, you sometimes tip the hat. And if anyone has seen Lost Boys recently, the third one was death by stereo.

CHARACTER MVP

Dean wins by a scene. He’s trying hard to put the mark behind him and now this is officially his last trick in the book. The episodic conversation in the car had some musical flair to it that built on Dean’s revelation that he thinks he can beat it by doing what he knows it right. It was hard for Sam to argue because he kind of missed the point, but again, his look at the end spoke volumes of what he might have to do on his own to save his brother.

LONG TERM THOUGHTS

Sometimes it’s worth putting Castiel in a cameo just to remind us how he’s doing. The run down from the brothers doesn’t always do the angel actual state of mine justice.

Will another witch of notable villainy be dispatched from the grand coven to interfere with the Winchesters? Maybe there’s a wicked witch of the Northeast.

In a way, being stuck traveling through wifi is almost worse than how normal ghosts get to operate. Unless they’re generally only stuck around the object they are attached to.

Not that it matters, but it’s interesting that the husband died practically twenty feet from his address. Was he coming or going and where was his wife at the time?

Who still uses AIM?

OVERALL SCORE

6 out of 10. It had it’s moments. Those were mostly reactions from Dean with food, women, and a lack of in depth knowledge of the social communicative structure of the next generation. The ghost plot was subpar as most recent ghost stories are. The ghosts these days are getting more creative with how they exist in the afterlife, that or the Winchesters are finding it harder to keep up with the evolution of the rising spirit. It wasn’t as clever or funny as last week’s episode, but it was nowhere near as abysmal. The ghost plot is usually the safe bet between story arcs but it’s not always the best one. My favorite is still Six from Battlestar. More of those please!

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