A Sashurai’s Review: Hannibal – Season 3×08 (The smashing of mirrors begins)

Hanni 3x08

The design has returned and with it Will’s new test against a distinct villain engulfed by the painted entity known as The Great Red Dragon. In the midst of the landmark capture of Hannibal, his legacy has been dissolved to make room for the up and coming killer of families. Now Will’s been reintroduced to old methods of mind games knowing full well his investigation will bring him once more in the sights of Hannibal the Cannibal.

This marks the third on screen interpretation of Thomas Harris’s 1981 piece that introduced us to Will and Hannibal. But this time there’s a unique focus on their relationship that was built for two seasons before Francis Dolarhyde came to be known as The Toothfairy. Familiar themes mark their return including Will’s process with looking into the killer’s mind, something he hasn’t done in quite some time. There’s simplicity at work now, because at this point The Red Dragon storyline will be following the script as opposed to taking the characters and making their own stories from them. The visuals and close-ups excel as usual, but the time jump and fast introduction to the killer’s origin make the 8th episode slightly rushed in execution. Will and Hannibal have to share screen time with The Toothfairy, and there’s only so many ways to make the bad guy interesting before we’re left wanting more conversation time between Will and Hannibal. Still, it’s an impressive new take on old literature and the two biggest selling points thus far are knowing Will is headed down a dark path again, and Hannibal is essentially attempting to keep him from stepping into it. Or maybe reverse psychology works best to those who can’t stay clear from evil.

Three years have past since Hannibal’s surrender at Will’s home. Hannibal plead to insanity and everyone who knew of their part in Hannibal’s capture and release remain quiet about it. Meanwhile, a man is seen growing into his role as a new killer dubbed The Toothfairy who has a painting of William Blake’s Red Dragon tattooed on his back as part of his transformation into the beast. He murders two families each on a full moon. Jack eventually goes to Will for help and finds him with a mother and son who he has become a part of. Though a letter from Hannibal urges him to not pursue the murderer, Molly, his wife convinces him to investigate. Meanwhile, Dr. Bloom and Dr. Chilton both converse with Hannibal with Chilton attempting to capitalize on Hannibal’s opinion of The Toothfairy. Will goes to New York and interprets the crime scene once more getting into the mindset of the killer. After a partial print and teeth imprints are recovered from the scene Will decides he has to see Hannibal sooner rather than later to get intel on the new killer. The episode ends with Will and Hannibal once more in the same room.

One of the main aspects that’s been redesigned to fit Hannibal’s more romantic solitude is his current cell. It’s not the harsh and dull atmosphere that we’ve recognized in the past but a rather suave and spotless room befitting the man who couldn’t be named appropriately for the kind of killing he did. It works for the character, but I wonder if the man would have been better suited in the same line up as more mundane psychopaths. He’s enriched and likely kept alone due to Chilton’s hold on him. This Chilton doesn’t antagonize Hannibal and even more so, he dines with him even sampling a dessert that he apparently let Hannibal create for him. That part sill has me perplexed considering such an act would never be permitted under the authority of any real security. Still, in a way it’s almost as if Chilton is allowing him more privileges due to the arrangement of his capture and other extenuating circumstances. Hannibal is after all a rare speciman.

Will’s venture into the mind of the Toothfairy was a welcome sight through a savage one filled with relentless slaughter and a pension for putting broken glass on human faces. In the grand scheme of serial killers in the past two seasons, this one honestly feels a bit tame in the style. I mean, compare this to the plethora of bodies stitched together in a lucid form of human shading based on a color scheme and then there’s this. Different times and to be fair, this storyline has to stick to a script so if watchers have never read the book version, it might be give some extra insight on the murders at hand. In any case, Will slipped right back into the role of profiler and it didn’t take him long to feel the urge. Right now it’s not very defined, but you can gather that his hesitation stems from becoming the darkness again.

The Red Dragon himself, Francis is more or less what we’d come to expect both from the original interpretation and the stylized version we now see on TV. Without uttering a single word we understand he’s of two minds, one methodical and thorough, and the other almost childlike in the qualities of his day to day activities. There’s a monster in the background of his psyche and he intends to become it one piece at a time. He’s strong and on his own and he keeps a scrap book of his killings as well as the man known as Hannibal. Here’s where things get interesting fast.

The script jumps everyone into assuming that The Toothfairy is essentially the only killer in America that’s worthy of the attention of Chilton, Hannibal and furthermore the F.B.I. The whole feeling this episode rushed into the book plot was because Hannibal knows about the Toothfairy already and has little morsels of knowledge presuming to know that Francis doesn’t like being called the Toothfairy. I don’t know why, but I would have liked to have seen the machination behind how Hannibal discovered this killer and some relevance to why he cares about this new creature at all. Hannibal’s greatest selling point at this juncture is his prominent omniscience about what The Toothfairy will become and what he believes everyone is thinking during all points. He’ll play on that in many ways which is fantastic, I just think there could have been some more room to ease into it rather than just skip through 3 years. It wasn’t hard to believe that Will would settle into a family of his own, but this method makes me feel that the family is a band-aid and the real problem he has wasn’t going to be solved by trying to live a normal life in the woods and snow. I have a lot of respect for Molly in that she’s the one who convinced him to go which means she probably knows next to everything Will went through, but we’re not completely sure on that.

FAVORITE MOMENT

Will’s descent into the murder flashback. The light cascading across the screen and his face was monumental and almost creates this eerie atmosphere of transformation, making Will once more the pinnacle of superhuman qualities. He ran through each murder step by step and drew just enough to know he needs help from old acquaintances. I doubt we’ll get many more of this type of scene because there will be only one killer to focus on for the rest of the season and there’s only one more family to discover how they were killed. It was a well shot scene and the bloodspatter background was a creepy moment of transcendence for the profiler as he slips back into the old coat.

CHARACTER MVP

The Toothfairy has a lot of pressure to become a character worthy of his namesake. What I think worked best for him is his silence in telling his tragic story. He won’t be eloquent or jovial as Hannibal, but there’s respect for the man and he’ll want to reach out to him. Francis so far is integrating into the show at a descent pace, though he seems slightly too charismatic considering I don’t recall any other version of him being depicted that way. He’s smart and it shows, but he’s also controlled and that shows even more. I think he’ll do just fine with the time remaining this season.

ENDING THOUGHTS

Seeing Dr. Bloom engage with Hannibal is interesting. She still has a part to play but we don’t know if she’s still seeing Margot or what the status of that relationship is currently at. I can’t imagine she and Will have a lot of things to talk about, but it’ll be nice to see them have a few scenes together.

Speaking of Bloom, she and Bedelia have this strange visual acceptance that one day they’ll both be killed by Hannibal, and presumably eaten. It’s probably the most peculiar yet exotic personality trait they’ve both exhibited. We’ll never know for sure because the fates of TV deemed Hannibal won’t reach a 4th season, but still, I wonder if that’s the intention or if people just randomly see it that way.

I liked the scene interaction between reality and the landscapes that Hannibal puts himself in, even during conversations with characters like Bloom and Chilton. It’s a fascinating style that helps show us that Hannibal is forever resolute in his mind, never at the mercy of anything except his own desires. I didn’t get a good look at the audience with the child choir singer which led me to believe it was an actual flashback as opposed to a point he created in his mind. He usually doesn’t fill it with people, so to me the scene remains ambiguous which is fine.

The one person who’s likely going to become more of a minor character from here on out is Jack. He has little to do except direct Will, guide him from time to time, and play the concerned friend when he begins to recognize Will’s descent. To be honest, he may not have any more growing to do except to be that mentor to Will he always was.

No sign of Chiyo after three years. Is she close by or did she return to Lithuania? Hopefully she hasn’t disappeared forever, though a reunion with Will would probably be in bad spirits considering she threw him off a train when last they spoke.

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. Falling back into the old formula is good for this show. The one main difference is we get several episodes dedicated to a substantial villain while Hannibal becomes the visceral psychopath behind a glass cell wall. Will’s back in the driver’s seat and will need to play all the roles of profiler, father, and friend to Hannibal considering their relationship is deeper than they’ll ever admit to anyone else. Tonight’s episode spent a great deal letting us know who the killer is instead of typically only viewing the aftermath of their killings. We know more than Will does and Hannibal knows more than anyone. Pacing, visuals, music, and acting were solid all around. The humorous pair of Price and Zeller are the only characters I consider to be outdated, but they only shared two small scenes so it wasn’t at all too distracting. I’m looking forward to the last run of Will and Hannibal, so make them count. Thanks for reading.

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: Dark Matter – Season 1×07 (Dubstep made it to space? Figures)

Dark Matter 1x07

The Raza crew finally opened the big scary door. What was inside helped them in a pinch, but also created dilemma which included some much needed backstory for the resident gun-loving anti-hero, Three. Australian model turned artist, Ruby Rose guest stars as the luscious and fiendishly clever entertainment robot, Wendy, who creates this episode’s provocative and enjoyable subterfuge plot.

At first, I was rolling snake-eyes at One’s bumbling and constant awkwardness over his fixated emotions on Two, but as the episode bobbed and weaved through Three’s mercenary with a heart subplot, One and Two finally found common ground which routinely elevated their feelings at the right place, but still the questionable right time. Wendy was a fresh delight as she infiltrated the unsuspecting crew with the exception of Two. Three and Sarah’s relationship was touching for the time allotted and Sarah’s end to the story was exceptionally emotional considering the efforts in attempting to save her. This was another story based squarely inside the ship and helped build more connections with the crew that proves to be the strongest formula the show has exhibited thus far. Nitpicks aside, this was initially a well balanced episode with some genuine funny moments that remind us that this show doesn’t always have to take itself too seriously.

Five remembers the name Maplethorpe as the door code and informs the crew who use it to unlock it. Once inside they discover supplies, munitions, money, and two bodies. One is in stasis and the other is a disassembled entertainment robot named Wendy. Sarah, the woman in stasis is revived but also suffering a terminal illness brought on from the mining done on her planet. She recognizes Three as the man she rescued and nursed back to health. They fell in love and he vowed to find a cure for her illness and brought her aboard the Raza. Three reconnects with her while Wendy attempts to satisfy the crew by cooking and pleasing various members of the crew including One, who attempted to continue pursuit with Two with no positive result. Wendy eventually turns on the crew and reveals she was sent by a man named Cyrus King, who is getting revenge on the crew for what they did to his. Wendy attempts to fly the ship into a nearby star but is eventually thwarted and disassembled. Three attempted to put Sarah back in stasis as her conditioned worsened but damage to the ship caused power shortages resulting in Sarah’s death in the stasis pod. Later, Two finds One in his quarters and the two presumably have sex.

In my honest opinion, the start of the episode had me cringing bad, because of One and Two’s inability to communicate properly with each other. Two clearly isn’t modest and One couldn’t help but continue to sneak peeks and eventually try and make a move the second he found out she and Three were no longer “seeing” each other. It was a disaster for One and frankly it felt like a disaster watching him crash and burn, again. But luckily the plot of the episode picked up and really made up for it.

Wendy’s role was simple but effective. I wonder if the choice to let her use her normal accent was preferred or if she just sounded better with it. In any case, the role of the infiltrating guest star isn’t new, but spins on the tried and true method can produce positive results. In this case, the underlying theme was the android and the crew understanding and appreciating what she does for the ship. Five was the one who only really recognized and spoke to her about it, but it was a meaningful step in treating her as more than just an extension of the ship. Several questions as to how Wendy got on board are raised. Did she belong to any of the crew specifically? How did this Cyrus character manage to sneak it on-board. And of course the most obvious question, why didn’t she just kill each member of the crew when they were alone? It’s not a glaring plot hole persay, but if she had the programming to fight, she could have broken all their necks easily, one at a time. I imagine Cyrus wanted to gloat and make them aware of their demise at his hands which does make sense albeit foolish considering it didn’t work. Still, she was a fun character to have on the show and I wonder if it’s her only appearance.

Three’s backstory was definitely something I suspected. Not necessarily the actual plot but the idea that in the past his personality was more genuine and kind to the right people, thus making his present personality the real jerkface. It helped deconstruct him a bit and ultimately the moment he really made a significant change was when he didn’t blame One after One felt guilty over what happened. Three did some humane things earlier, but they were more heat of the moment scenes and at that point he had enough time to really reflect on her death and react in a way she would have wanted. This only thing this conflicts with is in the previous episode when Three was about to blast Five out of the airlock. I get the attitude but I dunno, it seemed counter-productive a bit after seeing how he truly cared for Sarah. You’d think he wouldn’t go around spacing young girls because they happened to stowaway on a ship. But there’s a lot we still don’t know about what happened in the past.

The android is still a complete mystery to me. I want to analyze her personality more and more, but I find it may just be better to hold off until we know more about her creator and mission outside of what she does for the crew. On the one hand, she has some innate obsession with bonding with the crew and will throw in subtle to obvious hints on the matter. In this case, she attempts to perform similar traits to Wendy like changing her accent and attempting to be sexier by having her suit unzipped a few inches more than normal. Again, Five caught onto this and expressed her gratitude for the android’s help, but that’s just one person, the whole crew will have to eventually catch on and start treating her as a normal person. I’d say she deserves a name, but none of the crew have even graduated officially to that stage yet and just won’t accept their previous identities no matter what.

FAVORITE MOMENT

Probably the fight between Three and Wendy. It wasn’t intense or anything wild like that, but the tongue-in-cheek references to the “donut” comments were actually funny because I can see Three being distracted enough to question the validity of the term while trying to kill his enemy. Good moment, there should be a few more like those peppered throughout the show.

CHARACTER MVP

Three gets the spot this time. Wendy was awesome and dressed to impress, but she was essentially a tool to help move the plot along. Three went through actual development and is now starting to show signs of compassionate qualities. Whether they last or not is the real question, but he may start to show more signs of it as time goes on, which hopefully is the call they make. I’m certain if he sees it as weakness he’ll hide it by getting rambunctious again and hating on One and pretending not to care about anything, which people like Five and Two will probably see through, because intuition.

ENDING THOUGHTS

Unless those were magical thumbs, a standing backrub of that nature should have done absolutely nothing for Four’s shoulder. The was the absolute most basic form of shoulder massage you can possibly do with little to no effort.

I’m glad they’re still showing consistency with Two’s bandage, but unless that thing’s waterproof she probably shouldn’t have been wearing it immediately out of the shower.

Why build in pleasure receptors on a robot? That opens up a lot of questionable ideals and morality concerns considering if they can feel pleasure they have to be able to feel pain and if they can think for themselves then…well it’s Bicentennial Man all over again.

Is Cyrus a genuine villain or is what he did justice for what the Raza crew presumably did to him and his crew? This could get murky, but I lean toward Cyrus being a typical bad guy. It’s good that there isn’t a singular villain on this show and there’s villainy all across the cosmos. It keeps them on their toes.

The reason why that door was locked has yet to be known. Right now it doesn’t seem to make sense that a lot of standard items, even weapons, would require a special holding room that’s coded unless there was something really super-secret someone was trying to hide. This method allows for several episodes where they uncover different things that propel the show forward, but so far it wasn’t what I was expecting. With a show called “Dark Matter” I’d have to consider that what’s locked away is the very thing the show is called. And real dark matter is no joke.

Will One and Two make three? Sorry, had to say it, I can’t be the only one who thought that, right? Oh, I didn’t mean three as in Three, I meant…*sighs* nevermind. Moving on.

OVERALL SCORE

7 out of 10. It had some funny moments and a bit of genuine heartache over the death of Sarah. The episode was self-contained and manage to unlock part of the mystery with what was hidden in the locked room. I appreciated Three’s development and liked he finally showed some heart. I hope it lasts for his sake. An new off-screen bad guy was introduced along with an exotic guest star that helped soften the serious moods of our cast. The only parts where I felt it didn’t deliver were the plot to drive the ship into the sun which was a bit too James Bond-style for me, the android’s contradictory attitude between wanting to be viewed as important but being a robot and not caring one way or the other. And of course the entire first scene which to me was a colossal mess. Not that it wasn’t acted in the best way, but the scene itself drew too many awkward cringe-induced moments that luckily were settled by the episode’s end. And the door closing was a good finishing touch. One and Two are now a couple, but how long will it last and will Two’s past cause issues with this later? Just as importantly, will One’s past do the same thing, after all, he is a clone, correct? Or is that just the red herring? Either way, good episode this week. Thanks for reading.

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: Hannibal – Season 3×07 (A zero sum game continues to play)

Hanni 3x07

It’s like waking from a dream. Florence has the art and surreal scope of beautiful and enriched storytelling, and now the watcher must wake and remember how this show got off the ground to begin with. Tonight’s episode of Hannibal concludes the arc that kept the lead antagonist outside of capture as we know the lore and wraps up all loose ends with Verger preemptively leading into unknown territory. Although we all know that territory is the soon to be unleashed red dragon.

As inevitable as journeys are, Will and Hannibal’s reached a point that suggested Will finally let go of the monster and because of it, Hannibal reasons that he’s not ready to do the same. Getting to that moment was rough because Verger’s tempest was one of the least complex storylines that the season had to offer. Expectations and memories of earlier versions kept bombarding me and I was left with conflicted feelings over whether this version held a better standing or if it was just a strange interpretation. I’m going with the latter because the problem was never with Verger and his agenda, it was with Will and his decision to let go. But I have to give the final act credit, I really thought for a few seconds that Will’s face was being removed. Kudos to those close ups for fooling me.

We’re given a flashback to Hannibal cutting into Will’s head. The corrupt investigator and his team storm in and capture both Hannibal and Will. Two remain behind to kill Jack but Chiyo assassinates them. At Verger’s estate, Mason has Will and Hannibal prepared in suits to dine and converse over the subject of being cooked and eaten. After an incident involving Will biting a piece of the cook’s cheek off, he and Hannibal are separated. Margot speaks with Mason about an heir and he offers a clue to the whereabouts of a surrogate that’s holding their baby. Meanwhile, Alana speaks briefly with Will over Hannibal and her alliance with Mason. Later, Margot and Alana release Hannibal under the condition that Hannibal keep Will safe. Hannibal accepts and kills the cook, then leaves with Will and being watched by Chiyo. Margot and Alana then take to Mason and reveal their plan to create an heir of their own and subsequently kill Mason by drowning. Will is then seen back home and he tells Hannibal that he will no longer pursue him and doesn’t expect to see him again. Hannibal then leaves. That night, Jack and the police arrive and find Hannibal remained to surrender. He is taken into custody and Will realizes that Hannibal wants to remain close to him.

It was the bookend to a very outlandish plot. What centers around this kind of engagement is how Hannibal treats his captors. There isn’t disdain or ridicule, there’s just more conversation and even embellishment on his part. It’s what really sets him apart from other basic villain types. He doesn’t endure nor show fear, there’s just his interpretation of other people trying to claim his evil seat on the hierarchy. You can tell he’s studying and biding his time because nothing is accomplished by showing his hand while those hands are tired. It was easy to let Mason to all the talking and that’s what he did. And a lot of credit for Will by dishing some unexpected violence of his own, one last hurrah in the art of using teeth to rip flesh, which is the very definition of the parental evil that sustains this show.

Alana and Margot’s scenes were the least enticing, mainly because it was very choreographed especially when Hannibal told Alana that Margot would be the one to kill Mason. Verger explaining there was a surrogate on the farm, of course it would be a pig and of course the baby wouldn’t be alive. Maybe I’m still wrapped on why Alana was so smitten with Margot to begin with, but it’s the change in her life that she needed. What I did appreciate was her questions to Hannibal about understanding him and him saying “no.” It wasn’t cheap honesty, it was meaningful because it’s rare to get a one word response from the master of manipulations. And his promise to Margot in regards to keeping Will safe had much more lasting relevance than it could have been known at the time. It was a clever foreshadow into his surrender at Will’s house.

The imagery was very minimal, only coming out during Will’s decline in the flashback viewing Hannibal and the horned-beast. Very little was introduced, which I can’t blame the episode for. Verger’s plot was at a single location with no real value or rich atmosphere that necessitated a lot of hallucinations or extra-dimensional CGI. It was fine, though the back and forth between the pig and the cook’s face being sliced off was exquisitely dramatic and a touch of the bold and eerie.

FAVORITE MOMENT

Will and Hannibal’s last conversation. That was the last time they could speak like that on equal ground. For once, it was Hannibal that almost wished for more and Will was the one who was saying goodbye, and it was truthfully convincing in the telling. Plus the music helped illuminate Will’s perspective in letting go. It really did feel like the two were never going to see each other again which made the surrender that much more compelling to watch because Hannibal absolutely had to be caught by this episodes end.

CHARACTER MVP

Hannibal gets the top spot this week. In every act he was the hero this time around, and Chiyo the sidekick. He saved Will, the “damsel” and did the presumably right thing and turned himself in. Of course the layers involved are numerous, but he never wavered and essentially helped subdue the real villain of the episode. I would have liked more banter between him and Mason, but it was never for those two to clash the way Margot and Mason needed to. Is Hannibal truly alone with Will? His surrender shouldn’t suggest he’s giving up. There’s too much going on in Hannibal’s head and I assume Chiyo will be the liaison to that freedom when he needs to once more claim it.

ENDING THOUGHTS

What will the future hold for Alana and Bedelia now that their parts have essentially been played? Bedelia probably won’t be on any more episodes but I would find it odd if Alana just disappears outright.

One aspect I wonder if they’ll keep is the red dragon’s interest in Hannibal and their communication with each other. No doubt Will will force himself to speak to Hannibal to understand this new villain, but how much insight is Hannibal willing to give and whose side will be play toward?

Does this also mean Chilton will finally weave Hannibal back to his asylum as the lore would have it? We can’t forget about the little villains who protrude onto the screen every now and again.

OVERALL SCORE

7 out of 10. This was a little above average because it told the story to its completion and gave us a new lease on the future of the main characters. Hannibal’s time was always borrowed, something Bedelia warned him about but Hannibal still made it his own choice to be captured. That’s the genius of his nature because he’ll always be in control no matter what situation he’s in. Most of the beats were on point with the exception of Margot’s subplot which took a wicked turn. Her mental state and choices were the subject of a harsh yet rich living style, and now she’s free to pick up the pieces with Alana at her side. Not sure if that’s a long term investment but for the moment they need each other. Very good halfway point and now we’re back to familiar ground with a new killer on the way. Can’t wait for next week. Thanks for reading!

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: Dark Matter – Season 1×06 (So you’re sayin’ there’s a chance?)

Dark Matter 1x06

By the 6th or 7th episode of a first season, it’s always good to investigate the core focus of the show’s premise after spending some ample time getting to know everyone that matters. There’s usually some vast arc development and events are pushed forward in all sorts of complicated directions. Tonight’s episode of Dark Matter reveals both character insight and embellishes in both revenge and justice-centric desires. Elements of joint-dreaming allow for the technological background of the show to explore while we discover the tragic past of three key characters. To move forward, they have to look back and understand where they came from. Only then, will they understand what must be done to settle old debts.

Fantastic episode, world’s different than last week. Perhaps I was a bit spoiled in what was introduced and how I like to witness Japanese culture dipped in science-fiction, but I also enjoyed the concept of joint-dreaming. In this case it was memory sharing, but the template is the same. Four, Five, and Six took us on a great trio of past journeys that helped ascertain what led them to join the Raza, and it very much felt like a reward after spending the last several weeks scratching our heads on who these characters were. No top complaints thus far, though maybe one or two nitpicks which I’ll dive into later.

Five convinces the crew to let the android hook her up to a device that will potentially allow her to witness her compounded memories of the crew. In doing so, she discovers that Four was a prince in the Ishida family and was framed for the murder of his father. She also finds out that the young boy who was found dead in the cargo hold was in fact a friend of hers who was shot over the supposed “key card” she stole that a group is after. In her deep sleep, Five has negative emotional responses and can’t be woken up. Six volunteers to reach her through a joint state of memory sharing and learns that his past includes a planned insurrection that cost the lives of thousands to topple the Galactic Authority who presumably control or nurture the multi-corporations. Six murders the team that caused the deaths of those people and singularly blames a character called “The General,” who was responsible. Eventually, he finds Five in a calming memory either belonging to One or Three and convinces her to return to reality. Five then tells Four of his true history and Six is later seen investigating The General for his own agenda.

To begin, it was classic to have Five assume the role of Four in his past. She carried some weight with acting as Four but still retained her main personality while doing so. They’re giving her chance to explore her range and that’s a good thing to try out on likely the most endearing character of the show. As for Four’s past, it’s simple but has enough driving force that gives Four the justification for whatever he plans to do. What’s interesting in this tale is that though he and his father were at odds, there’s an underlining form of honor and loyalty that can’t be ignored, so he’ll pursue who he has to to ensure the Ishida line doesn’t become corrupt. The scenes don’t explicitly state if his half-brother was involved directly, but for now it’s not important.

Six’s past was delivered well enough, though I question if it was slightly rushed in the effort. Six’s past self had so little time to process the sheer horror of discovering his team killed so many people for a “cause” that he summarily executed those near him and attempted to kill himself over the guilt. It’s unfortunate that he really did pull the trigger because it means he really did give into the massive tragedy that was his choice to trust the men he worked with rather than change his perception and go straight to the source. Now, he does this in the present, which is fine and gives him a real chance at personal redemption, but at the time I thought the deaths and attempted suicide went too fast. We were given so much room to breathe with Four’s history that I honestly wasn’t expecting Six to be thrown in so quickly. The points are known and I’m onboard with his vendetta, I just would have liked a little more time to process the weight of what happened, but time constraints will happen.

What’s mildly amusing about the farm scene in Five’s perception is that I really want to believe that it in fact is Three’s memory and not One’s, just because of the irony of it and that Five finds it hard to believe it could be Three’s past. So far though, the show hasn’t tried to pull too many over on us, so I’m willing to stick with Five’s assumption and not really question it for the time being. What this more or less tells us is that the characters do in fact retain their core personality traits that Four mentioned in a past episode. Or at the very least their skills and basic traits. If you’re essentially a moral but snarky character in the past, that will continue to resonate even if the memory is wiped. The foundation is fine to go with as long as the consistency remains.

As for One and Two’s small moment of character interaction, we’re given a little insight into Two’s reasoning for sleeping with Three. One’s response is interesting because clearly he has no right to ask such things but can’t help it because, feelings. The nugget of chance comes through when Two candidly says that she didn’t want to be alone but also didn’t want complications. The hopeful expression on One’s face is enough to make me chuckle, because he’s less concerned that she slept with another guy and more giddy over the fact that there is spark between them and feelings trump casual sex, for him at least. For the most part, I’m glad this scene went down because Two doesn’t dilly-dally with avoiding One and that’s not in her character anyway. She’s somewhat receptive to some marginal possibility that the two will align on their feelings in the future, but for now, she’s still standoffish, and One is eagerly prepared to play the waiting game.

FAVORITE MOMENT

The kendo fight scene. I’m a longstanding fan of kendo and anything sword related. There was a something about having Five experience it personally that also made it fun to watch. The plot itself was a-typical as you have the overbearing father who barks of discipline and the son who sees the code of combat a little differently. It establishes his moral core and helps justify his attitude in the present because now he wont make any real betrayal-like decisions if he’s declared loyalty to the group. At this point it shouldn’t be questionable unless his mission to restore the Ishida line comes into conflict with the group.

CHARACTER MVP

It’s easily Five. She was the focus and she delivered on a few considerable levels. Her plight is that she’s tied to her emotions so much that she can’t focus and make decisions outside of what bothers her about the show’s situation. I actually would have preferred if Four was the one who went in and helped her because the main flashback was about him and he was the one who initially tried to help her by stating she needs to control her emotions. Six coming in and helping her felt like that Four’s message got kind of drowned out, but it’s the minor nitpick of the whole. She did awesome.

ENDING THOUGHTS

Gotta praise the music. It’s getting better. The score playing during Four’s revelation from hearing Five explain his past and when he bolts on his own was an inspiring piece that I want to hear again in the future. I hope it’s a mainstay theme.

Miss Maplethorpe. It’s a code and Six is never supposed to forget it. Is that related to his memories in that it’s a trigger to get them back or is it something unrelated? We don’t have much more than that except that he was speaking to One and Five didn’t remember to mention it to Six after she woke up. Guess we’ll find out later.

In Five’s flashback, Three discovers her and downright stuffs her in an airlock with the intention of blasting her out into space. We don’t know how Five survives but it’s probably not from Three having a change of heart. This more or less deflates my theory that Three will eventually care for the young lady like a little sister. That’s fine, she’ll likely never trust him and this just adds fuel to that fire. Not to mention that move makes him even more of a jerk-face so there’s not a lot working for him right now in the way of redeemable qualities. Unless he is in fact the farm boy in which case, that’ll be amusing to see play out. He’s no Sawyer that’s for sure.

The handler was a bit over the top and really hammed up his role. Even though Six referred to him as “their only friend” I’m kind of hoping he’s a one-off and we’re not forced to endure many more scenes. The weird urn-like container/statue has me wondering what that’s all about though.

If Four high-tailed it off the planet or wherever it is he’s from, when did he find time to collect all those swords and melee weapons? I imagine he spent anywhere from months to possibly years out in space and acquired them periodically, but considering his background, there shouldn’t be much reason for him to have such a massive collection of weapons. The one sword should about do it and he’s not officially labeled as an “assassin” so unless he just decided to become one because, screw it, why not, then I dunno, the set piece itself just seems overkill.

Two kept her bandage on even though it was healed. She’s sticking with the healing reveal on her own for now.

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. Solid storytelling, good reveals, the right character to focus on, and very meaningful flashbacks. I wasn’t very sold on the farm flashback because it was more about Five’s desire to stay in a time period that was non-threatening than it was to know what happened in that character’s past, but I get why they went that route. Six covered that aspect by simply stating bad things will eventually happen to that character so there’s no point in waiting around for it. The show is building on their drives and gives them each a reason to push forward and accomplish a specific goal. Once we figure out One, Two, and Three’s official pasts, we’ll finally be rounded out. Although I’m suspecting that their memory wipes were an agreed plan, I do like that each character isn’t tied to another in any specific way. Good diversity. More episodes like this please. Thanks for reading, all.

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A Sashurai’s Review: Dark Matter – Season 1×05 (Some space zombies still know karate)

Dark Matter 1x05

Sci-Fi has a tricky gift in that it can usually absorb other genre’s without diluting the core aspect of it’s root tone. You can get great combinations like Blade Runner (a futuristic noir tale) or Event Horizon (horror in space). When a show tries to pull this off, it can be both entertaining and disastrous depending on the approach and plot. Tonight’s episode of Dark Matter opted for a standalone treatment that introduces a rather tired look at the zombie in space concept. The concept and mythology of the show twists more corporate agendas in the background while the cast contend with ravenous crew members aboard a derelict freighter. And for two episodes in a row, Two discovers something new about herself and we discover she’s not as into the nice sensitive guys as one was hoping.

I wanted to like this episode because I’m a huge zombie fan, but this wasn’t the best platform to try and experiment in the horror cliché quite so soon. The show is still trying to figure itself out and the only consistency thus far have been the characters, which we’re still deciding if we truly like or not. The setting and tone of the series jumps from one episode to the next with snippets of a bigger story that will be coming into play, yet there still isn’t a solid grasp of scope on this series. At any point, I half expect to find out that Five is really a princess from a land not quite dissimilar to Druidia. Before they start pumping in different types of experimental cross-genre plots, I’d like for them to be more consistent in their story telling and really flesh out these characters. This isn’t a show you can be episodic with like ST TNG, there’s an ever growing plot here and we really haven’t received our baseline yet on what this show is trying to tell us.

The Raza crew receive a message from a disgruntled benefactor who had given them the original job with taking out the miners. They receive a new mission to find and return a freighter no questions asked. After locating the ship, they dock and discover bodies, mangled and torn up. One crew member attacks and bites Two in the neck. She is quarantined back at the Raza as the crew find out the freighter had contact with a planet that was off limits due to a virus that was created through the misuse of the planet’s resources thought to make humans immortal. One and Three are cut off and trapped on the freighter while the android attempts to research a cure for Two. One and Three fight off against several infected crewmen and rejoins with Six piloting the marauder. Later, Two is scanned and found no longer infected for unknown reasons. That night, she observes the wound on her neck has mysteriously healed. Other subplots include One and three arguing over the deal Three forced One to make regarding the real Jace Corse. Five shows the android the card she found near the dead boy which is revealed to be some kind of mechanism to access parts of space. And Two has been sleeping with Three, much to the disappointment of One.

The plot as a whole wasn’t solid or well thought out. Firstly, you can’t just half-ass the zombie idea. Now granted, they weren’t “resurrected” persay, but you can clearly draw parallels with Resident Evil when you add words like “virus” and “corporation” into the mix. The crewman who fought Two confused the situation because if there’s a root need to feed, the crewman wouldn’t fight her like he did. It just doesn’t overwrite that core need to eat and sustain hunger. If the crewman tried to fight off the virus while attacking that would have made more sense, but it had already succumbed to it. The rest of the crew acted as though they were already dead and only being powered by the brain to tear flesh with teeth.

Secondly, I always find it peculiar how some space shows understand the physics of what happens when there’s a hole in a ship and what that would actually do, and those that don’t. One and Three would have been completely sucked out, no questions asked. And the build up of carbon dioxide would have made them weaker. When they passed out, they really shouldn’t have woken back up with enough strength to do what they did before the oxygen came back on. That’s just main character syndrome kicking in and Three hasn’t earned that right quite yet.

I kind of want to dive into Two mentality with sleeping with Three so suddenly, but I think there’s aspects we just don’t understand quite yet. It could be that the friction caused by One put her in a weird spot so her only method to distance herself was to sleep with the most despised character on the show to keep One from pursuing her. Or, she’s trying to gain Three’s trust to such a degree that he’ll be more receptive to whatever agenda she has. Or, her moral compass has been flipped and she’s trying to figure out for herself what she’s capable of, good or bad. That could be an interesting take, but considering she once more went to Three after the virus incident, it’s rather obvious she’s looking for a short series of no-strings-attached, where she can get what she wants and not have to worry about a relationship because that just complicate things. I have to give points to One who not only feels the competition rise, but actually believes he’ll still win out in the end. Though, his pursuit isn’t really justified because she’s not consistently showing him the same moral qualities that he found attractive to begin with. Maybe that’s the whole exercise here.

The subplot with the key card has to just go in the back of my head until something new happens. The breadcrumbs continue but the interest is very limited. And they can only face the vault door so many times and “not” open it before I start to lose interest in what’s within it entirely. I give it three more episodes. If they don’t open by then, I give up on that subplot.

FAVORITE MOMENT

I liked the ending scene with Two discovering she has an unexplainable healing factor. If that didn’t happen I would have really given this episode a low score because they almost completely dismissed the reason why Two was immune to the virus. She’s essentially a female Wolverine, as I’m reminded of the 90’s era cartoon of X-Men when Cable infected Wolverine with the techno-virus. Wolverine’s healing took out the virus and created anti-bodies that rendered the virus useless. But I digress. Two has some kind of accelerated healing or possibly something similar that keeps her from sustaining wounds which opens up all sorts of questions.

CHARACTER MVP

I can’t say anyone really stood out this time around except for One. He saved Three’s life when he didn’t have to, and declared that maybe he isn’t lost in the make-believe competition to win Two’s heart. At least he’s not backing down in his own mind even after finding out Two slept with Three. Sometimes that can affect the pursuer when events like that go down.

ENDING THOUGHTS

I’d like to get a roundabout figure with how many corporations exist in this universe. I believe we’ve been introduced to two in person and one by name giving it three total, unless I missed another one somewhere. I keep thinking there’s four total for some reason, but it’s likely a higher number considering the sheer size of space and that FTL exists. I do wonder who holds the patent for FTL in this storyline and how long its been around.

The android is trying, I get that. She throws in one or two human-like responses that come off as awkward or misinterpreted. It’s endearing and the motif is well recognized, but sooner or later they need to give her a background that helps us understand the character better. Even Data had a thorough past that gave great insight into his nature as an android. Oh, and she needs a new name.

Speaking of names, shouldn’t characters like these pick alternate names at this point? If they want to distance themselves from their murderous, piratey profiles, it’s okay to call yourself Joe or Joan, or even Green-Haired-Short-Nightmare-Lady. Number designations seem a bit trite after a few episodes.

No more breakfast/lunch/dinner gatherings about complaining about the quality of food. That’s tired and reminds me of The Matrix. Move on to other space cliché’s. And why are they so insistent on eating together anyway? Shouldn’t Four and probably Three just eat on their own or not interact as much based on their personalities? They’re not family quite yet.

Not a single character said to shoot the infected crewmen in the head. Interesting observation considering shooting anyone in the head renders them pretty inert instead of just pumping them with lead.

OVERALL SCORE

5 out of 10. It had a beginning, middle, and end, but that’s about as far as I’ll take it. Had the crew of the Raza went to this planet and did a little more digging instead of being told to locate a derelict freighter, that could have been more flavorful and interesting. But I get it, budget and what not. By not adding anything different like lingering human qualities in the infected crewmen that could have added emotional triggers for the crew, or style up the makeup so the infected look more unique, this episode suffered a very standardized tale that never really put me in the zone to care much about the result of this plot. I never believed Two was in any real danger because it’s not time to sacrifice a main character so soon. Even Ned Stark got to the ninth episode before he got whacked. (Spoilers, sorry). Two and One’s rocky relationship just skyrocketed to “sleeping with the annoying guy for any one of a dozen reasons” that will continue to make things strange for half the crew moving forward. It’s just an odd time to start introducing that kind of drama, which I’m all for, as soon as we start caring about these guys and girls and aside from Five and kind of Six, I’m just not quite there yet. I’d like Four a lot more if he wasn’t so self-centered. Baby steps to greatness, but we’ll get there, hopefully. See you next week and thanks for reading.

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A Sashurai’s Review: Hannibal – Season 3×06 (When you’re exotic, you can afford to be villainous)

Hanni 3x06

The abstract, the overly sensual, and the contemptuous freedom all pay tribute to the opus that is Hannibal’s near dark achievement upon his show’s namesake. Episode six, “Dolce” recounts why the subtle but maddening pair of Will and Hannibal are both electric and necessary to see engage each other as intellectual sages. As cunning as they can be, there can sometimes be no greater friend than luck and the dark mistress, misfortune, tossing their lives around and reducing them to hanging slabs in a freezer. The art of the ironic becomes karmic flattery as whoever eats first in this climax, wins.

What I both love and despise simultaneously on this show is the repeated mode of characters unwilling to say whether or not they intend to subdue and/or kill Hannibal. What boiled over was finally seeing Jack Crawford put the action to the test and try to beat Hannibal to death. Now, Will and Chiyo race to find the killer but never do we know what they intend to do until the moment comes. It’s agonizing to witness but that’s the metaphor with how to enjoy really well made entrees. Most aspects of this episode were well played and toppled with a feverish need to skip straight into next week while other particular moments were left with some eyebrow-raising actions that I’ll try my best to decipher. As a whole, there was much greater good than bad, but it’s also safe to say there was much more evil than good this time around.

Bedelia nurses Hannibal’s wounds and after declares that he must leave her. She prattles mockingly that though one day he may get to eat her, today is not that day. Will and Jack reunite and together they search for Hannibal. After Hannibal leaves, Bedelia prepares to inject herself with a concoction of sedatives and likely drugs when Chiyo arrives wanting to know where Hannibal is. They converse briefly and Chiyo departs. After Bedelia injects herself, Will and Jack arrive. They question her in her deluded state but she maintains that she is Dr. Fell’s wife and that Dr. Fell is not Hannibal. Meanwhile, Mason discovers Pazzi was killed and prepares a contingency plan involving paying the Florence police. Margot and Mason discuss bringing a child into the world even though she is unable to bear children. Later, Margot and Alana are seen having sex and converse over plans of their own. Will leaves Jack at Bedelia’s home and finds Hannibal at an art museum. The two settle on old topics but Hannibal leaves Will to decide how events will end. As they leave, Will reveals a knife in his hand but is gunned down in the shoulder by Chiyo. Later, Hannibal drugs Will at an unspecified home and prepares him at a dinner table. Jack and Chiyo ride an elevator together at the complex where Hannibal is but divert paths. Jack then discovers Will in the home at a table but is cut in the ankle by a hiding Hannibal. Jack wakes in a drugged induced state and watches as Hannibal begins to cut into Will’s head with an electric circular saw. The scene ends with Will waking inside a freezer hanging upside with a captured Hannibal. They are greeted by Mason Verger.

Will and Hannibal’s reunion was the grand moment that paid in droves. Whether they truly understand each other or not, their words are minced with regret, longing, reflection, and in some ways a sense of finality. Even though there should have never been doubt about Will’s intentions, there in fact was enough reason to consider that maybe the two would leave Florence together. Though, it was silly for Will to believe he had the upper hand by simply letting Hannibal walk out in front. Granted, he didn’t anticipate Chiyo’s involvement, which almost makes her a strange “Chekhov’s gun” in human form. Because she hasn’t properly met Hannibal again, it’s rather absurd how close she’s treating the situation that only she can subdue Hannibal, or not, whichever the case may in fact be.

Where the show kind of loses me is Bedelia’s actions from near start to finish. Her line to Hannibal about him one day getting the chance to eat her but not today, was masterfully said. It just oozed such a gross accomplishment that I could’ve just imagined Hannibal proving her wrong right then and there. And then I felt they blew it with her. The drugs, the groggy conversations, and the impractical exchange with the corrupted inspector just felt weak and winded, almost as if they didn’t know what to do with her now that her scenes with Hannibal were over. As a purpose driven character, I have no surface level understanding on her nature and desire except that she’s the embodiment of Will had he chosen to leave with Hannibal. Now, I’m uncertain if she has a place on the show and what the future will hold for her. She’s entirely too charismatic to remove, but now that we know she didn’t just create breadcrumbs for Hannibal to be caught, she’s even more layered than we could have ever figured. Evil or not, she’s condensed psychodrama.

Alana and Margot’s relationship took an unexpected left turn. What fits is Margot’s personality. We know from the book that she’s into women and she does in fact want to bear a child using Mason as the father. That all translates accurately. Alana’s place as basically her mistress is just sudden and unprecedented. Granted the mirrored imagery and kaleidoscope fragments of their love scene was tantalizing and sexy, but altogether thrown in without a lot of context. Maybe that comes later, but a few hints would have been nice to have, unless I missed them.

The climax had raw and gruesome moments as Will’s head became a fountain of CGI blood dancing upside down and turning into the finale season 2 would have shown if things had gone differently. Everything about it was almost perfect except it felt slightly rushed and Chiyo never showing up seems rather convenient. Unless she’s the one who breaks up the mid-murder scene and is responsible for Mason getting his prized possession, I can’t imagine it going down any other way. Perhaps Bedelia came to her senses and told the corrupt inspector where to find Hannibal. There’s just not enough information to know. What I will say is that until Hannibal started cutting, I wasn’t sure who he was going to feed to who. Hannibal did mention needing to eat Will to forgive him, but that also means that he had to rush the meal, unlike Bedelia who had not marinated long enough yet which confesses that in order of eating priority, Bedelia is actually on a higher list than Will.

FAVORITE MOMENT

Will and Hannibal conversing in the art museum. It’s what puts the exclamation point on a show that has dozens of great things going for it. These two guys can have a conversation about anything and they will make it interesting because they rarely get straight to the point. They dance and dawdle in higher meanings while keeping their true intentions dark and hidden. Separately they are capable, but together they form the yin and yang that makes the metaphorical constructs and vivid hallucinations that much more poignant.

CHARACTER MVP

Tough one between the top two billing stars. So, the hell with it, Hannibal and Will both get the MVP slot. They’re a working duo and should be recognized as such. Will for his trance-like monologues and never-ending duality, and Hannibal for being able to funnel it all into clever poetry phrases like a “home again, home again, jiggity jig.” The best moments between the two are, I believe, still to come.

ENDING THOUGHTS

Kind of a side-note, but if Mason is going to imagine himself walking up to a marinated Hannibal, glazed in whatever that was, wouldn’t he imagine himself without the scarred face? I know, I know…different actors.

If Hannibal and Will have been caught, where’s Jack? Not to mention, were they just shipped all the way across the seas and if so, how did Will survive the trip with such a nasty head wound? We’re missing a lot of pieces here in-between scenes.

It’s almost ceremoniously sad that we’re getting all the book 3 plots before Red Dragon even starts. Sadder still that I think it was done in anticipation of the show being cancelled before it’s time. After all, how would the show write if they managed to do the Silence of the Lambs storyline and what would happen after?

Why Will was willing to kill Hannibal outside in broad daylight is beyond me. Was he expecting to survive himself? And if so, was he planning on returning home at all?

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. Very solid episode with only a few supporting character flaws that didn’t resonate as well as it could have. The slow-motion and close-up art style mixed with the surreal images worked out better this time. There seemed to be more meaning behind it and I think they were better placed, visually as well. There’s a bittersweet moment coming and it will be the overdramatic capture of Hannibal, assuming they stick with the basic script. Lady Murasaki had yet to be mentioned or seen, which means we may not get to that character at all. As tensions are brought to a final meeting between villains, Will literally hangs in the middle. The outcome is all but pretermined, but it’s always about the journey, right? Great episode and very twisted cliffhanger to contend with. Until next week, thanks for reading.

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A Sashurai’s Review: Dark Matter – Season 1×04 (It’s no trip to Babylon 5, but I suppose it’ll do)

Dark Matter 1x04

The crew of the Raza divert into smaller groups once they arrive at the space station where less hilarity and more shifty reveals are discovered. Among them includes the real Jace Corso who captures One and Three with intentions to find out who One really is. Everyone except the android is placed in vicarious positions with a few more clues to their identities and possible scenarios given by the end of the episode.

One or two moments stood out, but as a general observation, this was not the show’s finest hour. Pairing the crew off seemed like a good idea on paper, but the pairs themselves were not the one’s I would have chosen to further develop their personalities and quirky dialogue. Most of the station’s varied music was standard but slightly catchy and the set pieces were abysmal with cheap ideas on how to make the world futuristic and multi-cultural. What remains consistent and positive is the overall arc involving who they really are, what they’ve done, and how they came to be in the position they’re in. No one is forgetting that this is the driving force of the show and everything else is relatively incidental. With that said, let’s recap.

Arriving at the station, Two pairs One and Three up to find and sell the remaining weapons on board the Raza. They hang out at a “classy” club to venture on a contact but are then captured by the real Jace Corso. Jace questions One’s existence but doesn’t believe his story until Three offers the weapons for his own survival. Jace steals the weapons giving One and Three enough time to escape. Two and Five sell trinkets from the ship and come across a casino where they win a substantial amount playing cards. The owner has Two and Five taken into custody but Two fights them off, killing the entire group and frightening Five. Six visits an infirmary for his burned arm and as he’s treated is discovered to be wanted. The doctor attempts to subdue him but Four easily knocks him out and leaves. Four discovers the ring he possesses belonged to his father, an emperor who he apparently murdered and is widely at large.

One of the more noticeable pieces in this episode was the space station and how thrown together it was. There was a lot of attempts to show how unkempt most common areas were and how stylized the more richer portions tried to be, but it all breathed the same design. Florescent lighting used to be an easy way to showcase shifts in the environment and some tech, but there was too much going on here and not enough digesting of where and what this space station represented. Was the station run by a single group or even one person? And is it easier to maintain by conducting a free market along with questionable casino tactics? I suppose the general rule is that when you’re in an undefined sector that’s not under scrutiny, the rules are essentially thrown out the window for all walks of space life. This place could have used a bit more historical background and possible some tighter design to show the difference between classes and economic stability. But the truth is, this was a one off place and wasn’t meant to be anything more than a stopping point for the crew. Duly noted.

As for the pairings. We’ve already seen twice within two of the four episodes how One and Three react together and how Two and Five are as well. I’m not saying they shouldn’t continue to pursue these specific engagements, but I’m not done seeing how each member deals with everyone else and the last thing we want to get is super repetitive. One and Three already established their distrust and more importantly, how they handle threatening situations. As a pair, there wasn’t much new to uncover except One’s bare bones opinion on why he distrusts Three. They share in the same discontent, but when it was time to work together, they managed it with but a sliver of teamwork. Three will always be a smartass with whomever he’s in contact with so there’s consistency there that’s tried and true, but One still hasn’t hit his mark yet as a standalone hero. Three called it when he mentioned One thinks with his heart, but that’s not necessarily a great trait to start off with since he’s more or less designated as the main character. He’s supposed to have a major flaw and realistically, thinking with his heart is that flaw because it could get him or someone else killed.

The real Jace Corso is a classic case of the actor not really reaching to the depths of changing his personality. This Jace is not a convincingly evil character. I know evil is a rather harsh word, but mildly annoying just doesn’t have the same ring to it. I don’t see why a mercenary/killer would apologize to anyone for not showing up at a job. Reputations aside, he’s trying to save face to his commitments, but it came off as awkward rather than prideful. What tidbit of information he gave was that clones with transferred memories only last a short set of days which he ruled out on One’s existence. It’s too easy to toss that idea aside just because one antagonist didn’t believe in it and it bring me to my next point.

Six watched a very important commercial involving how Transfer Transit was selling it’s services as the preferred method for space travel. This was the highlight of information on the arc of the plot and it also hit us in the head like a hammer that this is or may have happened to the crew of the Raza. I liked this happenstance moment that Six completely ignored, because he’s preoccupied with the boredom of waiting to be called, but the idea should be enough to come back to when it’s useful information for him to bring up. It’s not entirely an unheard of concept, but this could help define who is real on the ship and who isn’t. I wouldn’t say every character is a clone, but the 2-3 days a clone can live could just as easily be a smokescreen or even more, a new version that can last indefinitely. We just don’t know yet.

Two and Five went through too many clichéd moments that it’s hard to critique beyond the obvious scenes that came about. The point was to showcase that both Two and Five have more hidden talents they either didn’t realize or didn’t utilize until now. Five’s handling of the cups and ball trick I thought would have carried over successfully into the casino but it didn’t, which means Five isn’t a savant, just very attentive to detail. Two in fact knew how to handle the card table and also how incredibly violent she can get when provoked. Overall, we’ve seen these two have enough scenes together that we understand them as a pair and this didn’t create anything new to figure out. It’s good to pair up the ladies of the show, but they also need to have enough compelling scenes with the other crew mates if they’re going to grow as a group.

Four remains his own solitary figure. Nothing quite embellishing there except now we know one strong possibility that he took out his own powerful father. It may not be just that simple, because it was the news he got the information from and how reliable is the news in any century? One note I thought was interesting was that he’s the one who suggested the money they retain go toward the ship and its defenses when he also mentioned previously to Three that he’d take the ship himself when he thought he needed to. Definitely sly, I’ll give him that.

FAVORITE MOMENT

Two’s annihilation of the casino crew was impressive enough I think stood out the most as an effective tool to prove how capable she is of taking care of herself. She’s the captain for a reason and we’re beginning to see how many layers she has. It’s easy to show through action why some people are to be followed and Two is on that path in doing what she feels is right but also doing what she has to to survive.

CHARACTER MVP

Normally I’d give it to the actor to does dual roles especially when conversing with one’s self, but this wasn’t very good quality conversing. One and Jace are too similar, there just wasn’t enough going on there that made this interesting to me. In any case, I’m giving the edge to Two. She gave the same reason to One and Three in regards to watching the other which was thought was funny but clever. I wouldn’t have expected Three to buy into Two’s reason to watch One, but he’s gullible and she’s a female, so he doesn’t take much convincing.

ENDING THOUGHTS

Mercurial means changeable, volatile, fickle, flighty, and erratic. Yeah, that makes sense.

The shop keeper closing his business after realizing the ring was authentic was dumb. I get that there’s a need to show and induce fear over an object, but that was just overdoing it in my opinion. I would have had the shop keeper actually try and buy it off of Four for substantial amount, something that would have given Four a moment to see what he wanted more at the time, the ring and it’s secret or money to have that the other crew doesn’t.

One of the most unattractive things you can do on a show like this is announce to everyone your plans to find a prostitute or the space equivalent once you dock at a space station. I mean, Five was sitting right there, you’d think Three would have at least some tact.

I don’t think One should be all that bent out of shape over kissing Two that we needed a unsaturated flashback of it. It was awkward and she didn’t reciprocate. Unrequited love is a pain in the ass and he’s about to get all the doses of it.

I thought there’d be a better climax with Jace and One then there was. The former seemed to be on his way to kill One, but their final confrontation didn’t even come close to happening. I guess they’re saving it for a rainy day. Not to mention, by not trusting Two with the real story, One is in fact feeding into Two’s thought that she can’t trust him, even though we’re supposed to be sure she can. This won’t end well for One.

Amanda Tapping directed this episode. I mainly know her from Sanctuary, but I’ve spotted her on Supernatural (Season 9) and a few other sci-fi shows from time to time.

OVERALL SCORE

6 out of 10. Not as well rounded as the last episode. Some clever elements played their parts, but the overall look and feel was too rushed and not very engaging. I feel like there’s struggles on coming up with reasons to keep the crew together. Three really can just leave whenever he wants, but he’s trying to plan ahead, possibly. Next to Three, Six is the one who has the least reason to be on the ship. He has good traits, but as a motivated character, I don’t know quite yet what he’s really looking for beyond the same answers the rest are. The crew are barely able to survive in smaller numbers, but as a group they’re surely not ready to take on a bigger threat. The premiere battle was just an anomaly, now they really do need to start trusting each other in order to make it. Until next week, thanks for reading.

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