A Sashurai’s Review: Hannibal – Season 3×05 (When you absolutely positively have to bring out your inner Morpheus, accept no substitutes)

Hanni 3x05

Chronological deconstruction and a fetish for snails entice and strike forth as the fifth episode of Hannibal draws the killer’s enemies closer than ever before. Rather than postpone events from the third Hannibal book so called by its namesake, the events of one Inspector Pazzi and a bounty orchestrated by Verger are integrated within the prequel plot to Red Dragon making this particular entry a fascinating and duplicitous watch. The cast has been set and a betrayed Will is left on the tracks. As it undoubtedly stands, he will be the last to catch up to our graceful yet pragmatic eater of men, who has earned the ass kicking of a lifetime.

Wonderful job conducting the symphony of murder and violence albeit a bit repetitive for those who have seen the 2001 film. The first half laments, reflects, and establishes moments that narrate the oncoming slaughter that Hannibal is known for when he’s unavailable to taste his victims. The atmosphere drives the existing dialogue into more fractal surmisings of what’s to come. Where the plot out did itself was the last fifteen minutes where it formally reenacted the book/film’s events, replaces key characters in a candid scene, and sets up the best one-sided tussle since the premiere and finale of last season. Every step of the way I was onboard for the carnage and wasn’t disappointed because it’s just not time for Hannibal to be caught yet, but the clock is ticking, and our villain knows it.

Will and Chiyo travel by train and converse about her first meeting with Hannibal and somewhat gloss over what’s to come in finding him. In the middle of the night, Chiyo kisses Will in the back of the train after informing him that Hannibal is indeed in Florence. She then knocks him off the train, presumable to face Hannibal alone. Jack dines with Pazzi and his wife, who the former discovers at the museum under the alias Dr. Fell. Pazzi speaks with Verger via laptop about the bounty and he’s told to attain a viable fingerprint to attain the cash advance. Pazzi visits Hannibal again at the museum but is subdued and disemboweled for his efforts. Hannibal prepares to leave when Jack ambushes him and beats him severally. Hannibal barely escapes while Jack is forced to watch his enemy slip away.

The events on the train I believe were meant to solidify Will’s bestowing of freedom that he effectively puts Chiyo through. This eventually backfires into her wanting to either find Hannibal herself or possibly track down Lady Murasaki. By pushing him off the train, it resets Will’s entire meter of trust and once more changes perspectives on how he’ll engage Hannibal and Chiyo should they cross paths again. It was almost disappointing seeing her do what she did, but I understand that in a few very short scenes this season, she is establishing a vast amount of growth and it’s almost unnatural how quick she’s adapting to this freedom she was force to have due to Will’s involvement. Is she an enemy of Will now, and is her goal the same as Will’s? If it is, then it truly is a race, if it isn’t, then Will has to find Jack soon because Hannibal may still have an ally or yet another enemy gunning for him, we just don’t quite know for sure yet.

Hannibal’s relationship with Bedelia maintains and accentuates her ability to regain some composure lost early on this season. Now she’s freely partaking in his meals knowing which involve humans and which do not. Tonight, they bordered on some possible sexual innuendos which at the moment are not confirmed or denied. She’s showing more control and appealing to his senses that every move he makes is leading his enemies closer. Whether her trips to purchase specific wine repeatedly is her own method of delivering breadcrumbs to those who catch it is not currently known, but either way, it’s working. Now comes the true test to see if she assists Hannibal in staying hidden or if she’ll capitalize on Jack’s surprise attack and either flee or deal with the serial killer herself.

It’s worth noting that in the original 2001 film, Hannibal has the same conversation with Pazzi about Verger being the one behind the bounty, yet as he answers Pazzi’s phone, it’s Dr. Bloom who speaks briefly with Hannibal and not Clarice Starling, who as of yet is not known on the show. It’s interesting they chose to mirror this moment but replace a central character. Dr. Bloom’s reaction is priceless yet I feel their short reunion was over in a flash and we’re left getting less than a taste of familiar wounds. Dr. Bloom is completely allied with Verger who continues to ridicule her for having been so close to Hannibal. It’s all he has to torment and even though she helps him, he can’t help but abuse her the only way he can. It’s textbook inferiority complex, but the truth is it’s demeaning for Alana to be so driven that she only sees Verger as a means to exact personal revenge. Her role is better suited for his sister, but she’s likely being saved for the inevitable fate of Verger, which we may never see as the show has been…well we all know what happened.

The absolute pinnacle of achievement came after the unfortunate demise of Pazzi. He was a believable character but it took Hannibal to convince the audience why Pazzi would go for the money and not the fame, instead of Pazzi himself convincing us. In the books/film, Pazzi wants to give his wife a luxurious life, a life he can’t afford because of his obsession and nature of work. That really doesn’t translate on the show and his death suffers because his debut made him more developed and sincere about capturing Hannibal yet tonight, he just wanted the money because of the way Hannibal explains it. The effect of his death just wasn’t there. And that’s why the next scene was perfect.

Jack followed up and found Hannibal at the museum and a spectacular battle erupted, where Jack attained a good portion of revenge putting Hannibal in a very exposed position. Knowing Hannibal never truly died in any medium, his narrow escape was one of exhaustion and desperation. Jack was a machine and Hannibal was the human this time, blood for blood. It was the most fun watching since their fight in the last season. Very well done.

FAVORITE MOMENT

I stand by the last scene with all my thumbs up. It was raw and brutal, almost depicting Hannibal accepting his fate if not for the way he used Pazzi’s body to survive and hobble to freedom. He’ll lick his wounds and either face his enemies on all sides or disappear with Bedelia his accomplice once more. That’s the exciting piece because we just don’t know what’s going to happen next except that episode 8 is called “The Great Red Dragon” which means he has to be caught by then, if it’s to follow the book’s motif. Aside from that, great finale to “Contorno.”

CHARACTER MVP

Chiyo’s move against Will was a surprise, but Jack’s almost “Terminator” like attack was the revenge we had been waiting for so he gets the edge this week. Not to mention he shared a moment of release as he passed Bella’s ashes into Florence along with his ring, truly letting his wife depart. It was cathartic and also helped telegraph how he was changing in order to face Hannibal as the man we saw at the end. For that, he’s ontop of his game, far different from the man Will talked to in the past, the Jack who wanted to let things go.

ENDING THOUGHTS

How Hannibal will be caught is the crux of this half-season’s mystery. This is a classic case of journey meaning more than the destination even though we know what’s to come. Hannibal is losing his edge, but will he retain his powerful psychiatric persona when behind bars and necessary to aid in the capture of both the Red Dragon and Buffalo Bill?

I’m not satisfied with Dr. Bloom’s role this season. I realize she literally has no place if she’s not with Verger because Chiyo essentially replace her as Will’s compatriot, but there’s just not enough to warrant her position because she’s being set up to fail along with Verger. She might have some substance later when Hannibal is incarcerated, but until then, I don’t mind keeping her off screen to build her up as a credible opponent for Hannibal and not just a bond-villain-sidekick.

Will Hannibal flee to Lady Murasaki for help? I don’t watch previews so I don’t know if something like that has already been given away. But she might be his only hope for survival if Bedelia is set to turn on him at a glance.

OVERALL SCORE

7 out of 10. I’m not going to say I was bored with tonight’s artistic style, but some shots just seemed overzealous such as the close-up of Pazzi dialing the phone which had no significant meaning for me, while other shots, such as the victim dressed in Will’s design was absolutely stunning. Close-ups have their place, but that’s not how to win the Hannibal crowd here. It has to be truly unique and resonate with both the characters and ourselves. Will’s viewpoint tends to be the spark of these fantastic surreal shots, but lately we barely get a glimpse into his mindset as we’re more given the culture of Florence as a substitute. There’s nothing wrong with that, I enjoy the change of style there, but sometimes it’s good to up the ante and it’s been very hard to follow up on that deer/heart/corpse which still haunts me. In any case, the last fifteen minutes were very engaging and brutally terrific. The dawn of Hannibal’s capture is near and this snippet is leading us to the endgame. Until next week. Thanks for reading.

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: Dark Matter – Season 1×03 (There is no sound in space, hence the no one hearing you scream in space)

Dark Matter 1x03

Between the multi-corp territory dispute and the space station repair arc, our mostly questionable heroes of Dark Matter experience another round of trust issues as the Raza suffers damage that may or may not have been caused by one of the crew. During this scenario, Five discovers the body of a male teen that was shot, yet nobody knows who he was. After a tense repair situation involving Three and Four in a mutiny standoff, and the android saves the ship’s FTL and they return on course. At an unknown space bar, a man claiming to be One’s pirate identity (And very strong resemblance) reveals to the bartender he’s looking to settle a score with someone on the Raza.

Returning to the fundamentals of defining what makes a ragtag crew work in space was a good move. In some cases, there’s a lot of reiteration on how each character views themselves and others, but that’s the characteristic of consistency that a show like this needs. Hopefully they don’t overdo it, but for now, it’s a step in the right direction with this kind of storytelling. Another solid piece came in the subplot of the android testing to see if any of the crew are lying about their memories or intentions. Earlier I had my own theory that maybe one of them was pretending to lose their memory, but this at least eliminates that plot point unless the android herself couldn’t do what she said, which is entirely a possibility.

The situation with the dead teenager was introduced early and touched upon again at the end of the episode, neither time revealing anything more than more questions and concern over which crewmember likely killed him. Five presumably believes she knew him and possibly cared for him since they are similar in age while the distrust for three grows due to his anti-teamwork personality. There’s so little to know that to guesstimate any possible connection or reason for the body would be incorrect speculation at best. The obvious direction is to agree with Five in that the two share a connection and that the person responsible for wiping their memory was also the one who murdered him. But a show like this can support multiple angles which I’m aiming for so there can be layered plots that don’t connect as strongly to Five’s memory convergence, which is still a great premise, but hardly enough was derived from it except that everyone now knows of her unwanted ability.

One element I wanted to dive into a bit more were the personalities and the commonplace connections the crew are making which I believe was the focal point of this episode and not so much the inaccurate science of a ship’s issue with faulty craftsmanship. It was important that Two mention that Three and Four didn’t technically do anything wrong, they just followed through with saving themselves even though both men admitted that they’d take the ship if the situation forced them to. Four is more reserved about his stance but he won’t ignore opportunities should they present themselves. One is still the benchmark for the “Goody-twoshoes” role and does counterbalance Two in a positive way, because he’s more morally driven and she’s more sensible but leans on that same moral code to guide her overall decisions. Where one is losing his credibility is that he jumps to conclusions and makes everyone question their direction when there’s usually zero facts to justify doing the “right” thing, such as their decision to jettison the body before they reach the space station.

One and Two’s perpetual bonding jumped into high gear which I must save was better to do now then to waste the next several episodes slowly building the eye rolling until they flat out fell out of my head. If we’re going to see this, then we have to deal with it, but the chemistry isn’t quite there. Just because they’re the two moral center’s of the show doesn’t meant they should be genuinely attracted to each other and then go for all the marbles because they agree on a few things. Not to mention, just because a girl tells you to spot her with weighted situps, doesn’t mean it’s kissy-face time.

Five remains stable and hasn’t changed except for one moment when she called Three’s bluff by showing she did in fact steal his bullets. Good move on her part, though it’s too early to call this a team just because they did one job together.

Six has now been given two scenes in which his nobility has fronted him as the most expendable character that should never be expended. First he was willing to sacrifice himself to save the miners, and now he helped the android and One get back to the ship and nearly died in the effort. They’re laying it on pretty thick this early for us needing to like him, but the it’s not quite as necessary as one might think. His charisma is solid, he’s the experienced actor of the bunch and clashes with Three which automatically puts him in a better standing all around. Let’s hold off and almost killing him for at least the next few eps.

FAVORITE MOMENT

The stand-off and Five calling Three’s bluff. It may be nothing, but the subtext is there that eventually Three will eventually care about Five like a big bro cares for a little sis. It’s entirely too early to call this but the thing with anti-heroes is they end up doing the right thing because of someone else and not necessarily because they believe in that right thing. By establishing this nuisance-style relationship between the two, they are in fact setting up scenarios that should pay off with three finding a way to redeem his attitude by saving her life and or something similar. Think of it like when Wolverine first met Rogue in the first X-Men movie. Unless of course Three turns out to be a villain and in that case, aw well.

CHARACTER MVP

The android probably deserves a little more credit this time around simply due to the fact she’s basic but intuitive at the same time. When she saved Six by using the electricity stored in her system from the EVA walk, that shows intuitive design, something new that we’re not completely aware of the previous two episodes. Her responses are still a work in progress because we still don’t know what base rules the androids of this universe follow, but I think she was genuinely a more tuned character this time around.

ENDING THOUGHTS

Two doesn’t strike me as the kind of strong character that needs to put make-up on in space. Five, yes, Two, no.

Artificial gravity should be stated somewhere in this show if it’s hasn’t already. Otherwise a spinning force needs to rotate around the ship. It’s the little things that make Sci-Fi good and not random.

A type 1a supernova is defined as when a white dwarf star has ceased nuclear fusion. It merges with another star (usually another white dwarf) and the result is a type 1a supernova.

Who is feeding those fish? The android? Also, there really is no sound in space. Firefly did this perfectly, but there are still lots of instances where this is ignored. More of those little things in the Sci-Fi verse.

I’m not making any assumptions about the Jace Corso who was at the space bar. He’s sounds too nice to be a hardcore bad guy, but the face was supposed to convince me, even though I just laughed at the concept of him. No theories yet, we’ll see how this plays out.

OVERALL SCORE

7 out of 10. While playing as a filler episode, it was really more of a character/teamwork piece that brought the good guys slightly closer together while playing up the known personalities of Three and Four a bit more. We still don’t know what’s in the huge door but now Four knows of it. The plot alone was good because paranoia among one of the top go to situations when dealing with trustworthiness in space. Nothing overtly new has been revealed except one more piece of a unintelligible puzzle, but it didn’t detract from getting to know a bit more about how our characters react with each other. Are instincts and personality truly separate from memories? There’s psychological discussions on the matter, but many TV shows have used memory loss as a means to let characters explore new facets and 9 out of 10 times will likely choose a different path than their normal personality would just to overt the destiny paradox. There’s renewed investment on Dark Matter, and I shall await the next episode as always. Thanks for reading.

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: Hannibal – Season 3×04 (Cause and effect transcends the unstoppable force)

Hanni 3x04

Hannibal’s catch-up episode weaves through the seven month gap between the blood-soaked finale and the near present day setting of our esteemed season. It is a mellow tale both in the healing and recovery of the supporting cast as well as the prelude of unadulterated revenge. Everyone wishes to find Dr. Lecter yet the ambiguity of reasons why is like onto an un-translated dream, where images are easy to decipher yet the meaning is left murky and easily changeable. Now that we know the fate of this season and the network that airs it, every episode from here on out will be savored passionately, bringing us to that eventual last bite.

I flip-flopped on my overall attitude about this particular episode. While it was pleasantly good to see characters like Alana and Margot retain their overall personality, returning neutral villains Chilton and Mason are left playing the movie-screen-style schemers that want to methodically capture and toy with their enemy. It was a necessary story to tell yet without the prominent title character at the helm, it was an unfocused piece that drifted from person to person that did little to engage the mind and overall atmosphere with exception of it’s usual creative imagery and layered subtext.

We witness the wounds and survival of Will, Alana, Jack, Mason, and Chilton, each suffering different but painful scars. Will begins his inner journey that involves segments of Abigail’s apparition visiting him in bloody form. Jack returns to care for his wife Bella until her death (Rest in peace Zoe). Alana’s pelvis was shattered but she recovers and counsels Mason with details on how to track Lecter. Chilton, having survived his bullet wound in the face, attempts to enlist the aid of the others to find Lecter himself but is unsuccessful. Will eventually leaves the country in his boat after visiting Jack at Bella’s funeral where they both read a letter from Hannibal to Jack expressing his sorrow over Bella’s passing. Jack comes to his own decision about Hannibal but it is Alana who tells him that Jack has already gone having made his decision about Hannibal as well.

Gorgeous transitions aside, this episode was both unquestionably dreary and kept its pacing very lethargic. There were snippets that brought out the older seasonal attitudes when it came to how characters conversed and how each one ambivalently feels for Lecter with the exception of Mason who flat out wants to capture Hannibal and fed to something, most likely the pigs because that’s the alignment with the book. There wasn’t anything overtly impressive or wicked that stood out which I feel was almost done on purpose for the sake of moving past the serial aspect of the show in the past. The story is keeping true to everyone’s inner nature being in flux, but not everyone gets to chase after Hannibal that is interesting enough, especially Mason, who is likened to Oldman’s performance in the original movie adaptation of the character.

As a character study, we can infer that Alana is just as quietly furious as Mason is and that’s why the two are engaged in plotting Hannibal’s demise. She’s more an aid though, but there’s simplicity in her attitude now that Will has more or less shunned her. She has a brief scene with Margot but it’s not very poignant and even downplays Margot as someone who is going to make an impact this season. I don’t know how to feel about Alana because she’s fraternizing with Mason and no one else even after the way he insults her having been duped by Hannibal so easily. She’s not wicked or relentless in her desires to see revenge on Hannibal, but maybe that’s the problem in that she’s very lukewarm on her direction in the season, at least from my perspective.

Chilton’s survival was never really in question. If the series is to continue into Red Dragon and Lambs, Chilton is an instrumental character in Hannibal’s contempt when he is eventually incarcerated. But now his feelings are more justified and not just overall fascination. In the end, he’s very one-dimensional and uninteresting because we know what to expect from him and there won’t be any surprises.

The key highlight in this episode was Jack’s tale and how he tries to move past Hannibal’s brutal attack but finds he’s still connected to both him and Will. It was sad to see Bella’s passing and it’s easily discernable that Jack likely helped in that departure. His mental pictures of Bella and method in letting her go was well done but we had such a break in their relationship and struggles over the past year that the whole sequence felt rushed to make room for scenes on how the others coped with their survival. In the end, though the sadness was there, it wasn’t as substantial as it could have been had we’d been given more time to remember just how intimate she and Jack were.

FAVORITE MOMENT

It was the collection of each character’s surviving shots mixed with the injuries they sustained, most notably being both Alana’s skeletal transparency on her fall and Mason’s gory facial reconstruction. Each was brilliantly laced in slow-motion and vivid detail. Those valiant effects are always a pleasure to view and I look forward to more landscapes of them.

CHARACTER MVP

Everyone was relatively on equal ground given the screen time and material given. Jack will get this edge this time because he had a genuine desire to move past Hannibal but was forced back in with Bella no longer keeping him close to heart. He prepared as best he could and now he’s ready to chase Will and Hannibal to the far side of the world. He’s the least likely character to chase revenge but understands the dilemma in letting Hannibal run free in the world. How he’ll deal with Will in future episodes does remain to be seen though.

ENDING THOUGHTS

The letter does not reflect Hannibal’s voiceover regarding his sorrow over Bella’s death. In fact the letter is a passage from Jon Donne’s poem “A Fever.” The segment reads:

O wrangling schools, that search what fire
Shall burn this world, had none the wit
Unto this knowledge to aspire,
That this her fever might be it?

Even in death, Abigail haunts Will. Her bloody face was still a fresh reminder that everyone else survived the onslaught at Hannibal’s home except her. It’s sad that we have to be reminded over and over again, but for Will’s character it makes sense that she has to stay in his mind.

I’m not satisfied with Mason’s new actor. Not that he’s bad, because he echoes Oldman quite well, it’s that he echoes Oldman and not creating a new aspect of Mason’s personality. The makeup was okay, but not nearly as fashionable and grotesque as his film counterpart. I’m not seriously interested in seeing his character again, not with the Red Dragon vastly approaching.

OVERALL SCORE

6 out of 10. This was a case of getting the missing gap we needed but feeling unfulfilled because there were pieces that didn’t really mesh well. Every character had time to heal and lament, but the overall look and feel was tapering on boredom than fascination. It’s a cautionary tale with how the show looks when Hannibal and Will aren’t at the center of attention. The supporting characters are alive and now it’s time to forget them until Hannibal is essentially caught and dragged back home. With the exception of Will’s daydreams on an alternate future, there were no surprises to speak of or truly thought provoking moments that guided us deeper into the mindset of a villain’s chaotic mind. It’s truly time to move on and deal with what’s to come. Hannibal’s legacy in the season 2 finale has run its course. From here on out, let’s concentrate on the new hells he intends to ignite in Italy and see who truly eats who.

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: Dark Matter – Season 1×02 (You either die a villain, or wipe your memory long enough to become the hero)

Dark Matter 1x02

The sensible crew of the Raza plant their feet in the ground and assist the miners as the evil Ferris Corp attempt to eradicate the population out with lots of bullets. Each crew member takes another step in supplanting their new heroic traits while a fearful but calm-mannered Five reveals she understands how and why their memories were wiped to begin with. There’s danger in space and if there’s a secret mole in the ranks, the jury is still out on who that individual is.

While the plot and action work heavy to create a fast paced second installment, the follow up to the pilot attempts to reach too fast into the hearts of the viewers by giving our protagonists heroic traits that include, self-sacrifice, noble standings, and hurried camaraderie, all within the confines of the start of the series. Such a pace can have a few drawbacks most notably that our heroes are too easy to fit into their new roles and do what’s expected right from the get go. Even I wasn’t convinced Three would so quickly embrace the “I’m the cool bad guy that just goes with it” personality. That aside, the action and beats were easier to digest and the characters felt more comfortable around each other than in the stale pilot. There’s still a long way to go before they become the “family” that all closely knit groups of this type of arc strive to be. Until then, there’s the obligatory morsel of mystery that drops at the end of the episode, a type of breadcrumb in space that will feed us into the reason why they are in the situation they’re in.

Unwilling to accept their old identities, the crew of the Raza stick with their original plan even though One wants to stay and fight with the miners which Two denies as a course of action. While the weapons are being unloaded, Two and the android discover the arrival of a ship belonging to the Ferris Corp, who are responsible for hiring the Raza crew to take out the miners in the first place. An initial attack breaks out on the planet but the miners along with One, Three, Four, and Six kill all but one, who four interrogates for information on their contingency attack plan. Two attempts to negotiate with the captain of the Ferris Corp ship but relents to a deal to leave the area and does so. The miners and the other Raza crew fend off another attack as Two returns with ships belonging to another corporation who help ward off the Ferris Corp. The miners sign a deal with the benevolent group Two brought with her and the Raza team depart to refuel and decide their next direction. Afterward, Two and Five converse with Five revealing that she knows how and why their memories were wiped; because they’re dangerous.

The pacing was a welcome plus to the show. Now that initial introductions were established the show continued with the forward momentum needed to create an entertaining atmosphere complete with two solid action pieces. While some of the more specific elements of each firefight had it’s flaws, it was altogether a decent setting, putting the heroes in positions to show how badass they can be as they were once mercenaries with particular sets of skills.

Having said all that, I have to point out how understandably sloppy it all went down. In Science-Fiction and in many low budget shows, there’s certain elements that can come across as tacky or rushed. I found the idea of generic bad guy armor to be utterly useless against bullets and knives to be laughable and insulting. If armor isn’t designed to withstand the kind of firepower they themselves dish out, then what’s the use of wearing it to begin with? And like many firefights I’ve seen done in the past, this one suffered the same trauma of the “stormtroopers that can’t hit anything” problem. It’s too early to questions where corporations find their enlisted troops, but they don’t seem like military or ex-mercenary types which means they’re training is probably subpar at best.

Character dynamics had their up and downs as well. Three maneuvered himself adequately into a role where he’s fine with his old identity but aligns with the crew anyway because it’s essentially his best option. He’s not butting heads with anyone specific yet and this makes him more malleable for the time being. His only questionable obsession lies with trying to open the large door (by hand which is humorous), something he hadn’t mentioned to the other members yet. Secrets upon secrets await.

One and Six I had the most trouble with this time around mainly because of how hard they beat us in the face with their good-natured attitudes. Six’s willingness to do whatever it took to take down the enemy ship with the Maurader happened too early in the series and should have been saved for that rainy day plot when the real drama hits the fan. One is entirely too noble for his own good. It’s ultimately fine that he chooses to be as far from his evil profile as he can get, but the risk is that he’ll become entirely too predictable and even worse, will become the most bland of the bunch. The next inevitable sexual tension between him and Two was elevated to “That’s cute” status, but there truthfully isn’t a need for it. What I won’t dive into this time but should at least be mentioned is that if One and Two were gender swapped but had their roles remain the same, it would be an entirely different set of logistical problems. Right now, the strong female lead has the power and control over when and if the two will explore any emotions, but for now it’s a harmless crush.

The android is still iffy in my view. Her mannerisms and function are a bit all over the map and it’s a shame we don’t have some baseline of other robot behavior to compare her to. Maybe in future episodes we’ll encounter other android-like characters, but for now she’s interpreting the dialogue of her human peers and reacting in ways that mimic some of that behavior, the kind of model that adapts without showcasing any real emotions. She’s an intuitive android which means there’s a lot they don’t have to outright explain as her core functions, but it help ground her personality more if we understood her limitations and overall strengths.

The multi-corp subplot does a good job of setting up the universe they exist in. We don’t know anything about the year or where Earth fits in the grand scheme, but right now those two things don’t matter. Humans are essentially the dominant species with no telling if aliens will play a role in the future. Corporations battling over rich resources and territories containing those resources makes sense and allows for the crew to switch sides and use them as needed. There’s room for a lot of betrayals and trust issues which may be a reoccurring theme moving forward.

FAVORITE MOMENT

The second firefight had a few impressive shots. They really tried to swing that camera around a few times to give the impression our heroes were battling on all sides. It warped the overall feel of where all the enemies were coming and going because we never got a real sense of scope in the reactor area, but for the most part it was an honest effort in trying to give us a solid gun shooting sequence.

CHARACTER MVP

I’m giving it to Three this week. I was very critical of his anti-hero performance because I had the impression he was going to be the hated rogue of the group. He may still be the most rogue-ish but at least he won’t be hated. He decidedly fought with the crew and even went as far as to introduce us with some overtly clichéd moments involving naming his guns and firing two hand pistols without aiming them. He’s still the most likely candidate to backstab, leave a friend behind, or betray the crew as a whole, but because of that it’s possible he’s just a distraction to the real threat going on.

ENDING THOUGHTS

When Four pulled his sword out to examine it in the Marauder I had to shake my head again. He acted as though he was still impressed he knew what a sword was but then proceeded to threaten Three with it for good measure. And I lost count how many times I’ve seen this but shows need to stop adding the sharpening sound a sword makes when it’s pulled from a scabbard. If the scabbard is made correctly it won’t affect the sword in that way and be less likely to damage it in any capacity. Swords can go in and out without needing that overplayed sound effect.

When Five was shown drawing her cartoon/anime characters I wondered if drawings were the simplest method in showcasing a person’s artistic nature. First it was a knack for piecing together electronics and now she has an entire innate ability to draw. That’s three for three in the quirky but relatable sidekick department. From this point forward, we shouldn’t be shown any more of those examples until we understand where she came from. Her mystery is connected to the overall plot of this show and it’s important she remain a fixed point. She’s not a Kenzi from Lost Girl, or a Claudia from Warehouse 13, in that she doesn’t have a real distinct personality to match the image she’s portraying. She needs more dialogue with the other characters and not just with Two if she’s going to grow.

Minor note but when Two mentioned having a lot of time to get to know each other, she immediately looked at One, who promptly looked away. The subtext is not lightning in a bottle and probably needs to be dialed down a bit considering One made out with the blonde on the planet earlier that day. It’s too early for this kind of drama.

Was it really necessary for Five to crawl through a human-sized vent to stay in hiding from the enemy ships captain and silent henchmen? I’m pretty certain she could have walked to Four’s quarters through the halls and none would have been the wiser.

Two doesn’t want to be known by her mercenary name, but what about the others? Will everyone but Three still hold their numbered designation or is this just the formula and that’s that? Her motivation for staying as Two is well heard but does she speak for the other members of the crew even as their unofficial leader?

OVERALL SCORE

6 out of 10. Marginally better than last week. The plot was elevated into a pair of mostly average firefights with a few perks of cinematography. The quick montage of the crew doing training moments with the miners was silly and unnecessary but didn’t detract much from the object at hand. Some character traits I felt were rushed, but the overall tone and sense of urgency was much easier to take in this time around. The plot didn’t stick with the miners which is good because a crew like this needs to hop around from place to place to cross with multiple differently shaded people that can help and betray all over the place. They’re going to be tested over and over again, but the goals should always be that they’ll band together to defeat or maneuver through whatever comes their way. It’s not perfect by far, but the entertainment factor is there just enough to keep us going. We’ll see where it leads. Thanks for reading.

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A Sashurai’s Review: Hannibal – Season 3×03 (Witty Jack and the impulse to preserve entropy)

Hanni 3x03

Episode 3 “Secondo” embellishes the merger of Hannibal’s three protagonist actors set on different stages, each with a supporting cast member to reflect and philosophies with. Relationships both internal and external are composed through the evolution of murderous acts and the search for a soft theme of understanding and acceptance. The past is murmured throughout giving the core villain some semblance of a reason for his existence, yet in the end, Hannibal’s vision is clear; he intends to eat Will Graham.

While close-ups of life and death in the guise of animals and victims were the core focus on our voluptuous cinematography, I found the vision in this episode less detailed and more strained than imaginative. Will’s travels into his psyche as well as that of Hannibal’s were less poetic and engaging than the real conversations he had with Chiyo, who is a fascinating new addition to this richly gothic series. Hannibal and Bedelia’s misadventures were a bit of the same as seen in the premiere, but they managed to rotate who had the mental advantage this time around. Jack and Pazzi’s scenes were the least concerning or interesting even though their tones were better matched than Will and Pazzi’s were the week prior. The real struggle is pace and it’s greatly subdued by creative camera work even though we were fairly warned long before the trailers began to start the Hanni crazy once more. The showdown is very clear which is the biggest positive that has been released thus far making the anticipation of Hannibal’s capture that much more enticing, especially if he’s orchestrating the result subconsciously.

During a candid conversation, Bedelia openly states to Hannibal that he’ll eventually be caught. Hannibal determines Will has moved onto his old estate where he cannot return to. Will arrives in Lithuania and finds the Lecter estate. He spies on a youthful woman, Chiyo who kills wild game around the property. She prepares the carcasses and gives them to a prisoner who is later identified as the man who killed and ate Mischa, Hannibal’s younger sister. Will discovers the prisoner and is caught, but Chiyo and Will come to an understanding over both knowing Hannibal and his legacy. Meanwhile, Jack arrives in Italy where he resides at the church where Lecter was last seen and he converses with Pazzi about Hannibal, searching for Will and the religious aspects of life and afterlife. Hannibal invites Sogliato to dinner and during the meal impulsively stabs him in the head. He later cooks him as a meal served to the Albizzo couple. At night, Will lets the prisoner free but he returns and attacks Chiyo who is forced to kill him. Will set up the scenario so that Chiyo would free herself and the two align to find Hannibal. Will prepares the body as a large moth(?) to be displayed as a sign. Later, Bedelia converses with Hannibal about what forgiving Will will entail and Hannibal surmises that he must eat him.

I thoroughly enjoyed Hannibal and Bedelia’s scenes even through they ran the same theme between the two which is both subverted and straight to the point. Her fear still exists on her sleeve but she wears it as prominently knowing it will do her no good to fear him, because in some unknown capacity, he needs her. As a reoccurring motif, Hannibal delights in serving his guests human meat and they adore him unknowing of the ingredients. Yet it is here that Bedelia sees the art for what it is and even trembles a bit at the process of keeping the lie intact. Her resilient nature comes in the form of guessing at Hannibal’s reason for human consumption and uses Mischa as an instrument to goad him. What I like the most is the calm demeanors they elicit while she tells him he’s going to be caught and he’s practically doing it on purpose. Hannibal, in a way is like an entity that requires conflict to satiate even deeper desires than eating flesh. It’s almost incidental at this point because what really drives him is the nature of his own capacity to feel for others. He accepts and states how entropy leads to chaos which poignantly covers the second law of thermodynamics in that chaos must always increase. He embodies that element and does his best to thrive in the moment while still playing chess at the maximum performance possible.

Will and Chiyo made a great pair. She’s a bit of an enigma still because she’s not Lady Murasaki, who has yet to be revealed. How the two are integrated we’re not sure yet, but the mystery is fascinating to discover and Will needs a real ally, one who isn’t the ghost of Abigail. The only part I struggled to understand is the age of the prisoner who was played by Julian Richings, a fantastic actor (His portrayal of Death in the Supernatural show is second to none) We’re in 2015 which makes WWII very far away. Unless they are placing Hannibal’s childhood in the 60’s, this seems like a difficult concept to grasp on when his childhood trauma took place. It’s a nitpick, one that I’m happy to discard in favor of the plot at hand. As for Will, he’s still playing the neutral victim who forgives but doesn’t forget what happened to him. I like Chiyo because she’s new and at the same time someone who suffers at the hands of Hannibal but for vastly different reasons. I’d like to think she’ll be a formidable supporting character, but then again, her nature could be something else entirely given who she’s associated with.

I don’t have much to elaborate on with Jack and Pazzi’s scenes. It’s good to see Jack back, but we know next to nothing about his time spent recovering and why specifically he’s looking for Will. He mentions that both he and Will died when Hannibal cut them both, but it was told in a strange affirmation as opposed to an awakening of the spirit. Pazzi duplicates his mannerisms and concern over finding Hannibal, but at least with Jack the dialogue flows a bit more freely as Jack is normally a very sensible and upfront being. They kept their scenes short and for now what I saw was an acceptable length. I’d like Jack to have more purpose and direction when next we see him.

FAVORITE MOMENT

The dinner scene when Hannibal stabs Sogliato in the head with the ice pick. I swear I felt the point touch my temple for that fraction of a second which was a brilliant quick shot. Bedelia’s reaction was also priceless including Hannibal’s remark about being impulsive and technically not responsible for his death. He banters at the expense of his own amusement while Bedelia struggles to maintain her calm manners as she pulled the ice pick from Sogliato’s head. It was all around a funny and gruesome scene to watch.

CHARACTER MVP

I found Bedelia displayed more bravery and composure during her one on one scenes with Hannibal including the intimate bathtub scene where she threw the preverbal grenade in Hannibal’s lap by asking how her sister tasted then casually slipped away to let her hair rinse in the bathwater. She’s playing at scenarios detailing Hannibal’s rise as a cannibal when he won’t specifically speak to his childhood, yet Mischa’s fate seems to be relatively commonplace among both Will, Chiyo and kind of by Bedelia. She’s stoking the fire, but convinced she won’t be burned. I hope for her sake she doesn’t tread too close the next time she decides to poke at the master villain.

ENDING THOUGHTS

I’m surprised Jack didn’t immediately tell Pazzi that Hannibal had killed a lot of people in America when Pazzi mentioned not hearing from the monster in twenty years. It’s not like Hannibal had been hibernating the whole time with only thoughts of killing in Italy.

Still no sign from Dr. Bloom yet. She’s listed in the show’s credits, let’s get going already! I’m starting to think we need an entire flashback episode detailing the missing eight months between seasons.

I don’t agree with having Will speak to an imaginary Hannibal during episodes like these. Season three is anticipating the reunion and I’m fine with keeping the two separated until the gut-wrenching climax when they must face each other again. Will’s interpretation of Hannibal doesn’t fully represent the monster and I’d like the two to be genuinely real when they speak to one another.

OVERALL SCORE

7 out of 10. Some previous seasonal cliché’s made their way back into the fold of this episode but I feel the show has evolved into new territory and needs to explore those elements while we further dive into the psyche of our tried and tested characters. Some of the imagery just didn’t compare to last week’s episode and that was bound to be a serious possibility because that heart/body/stag/thing was just such a gruesome highlight, it would have been difficult to top. I enjoyed the new character interactions but felt Jack and Pazzi was the weakest of the three, understandably so. The core of Hannibal is beginning to surface which will be interesting to see how far it goes, but I hope it doesn’t include moments where Hannibal truly loses his composure and does more than just react with an ice pick. Hannibal isn’t an angry person and shouldn’t suffer from the indignities of being called out or mocked as a person of intellectual value. He wins when he eats the person who annoyed him, not because of the kill. Thanks for reading all, see you next week.

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A Sashurai’s Review: Game of Thrones – Season 5×10 (To be fair, I threw the book when I read what transpired in the final scene back then)

GOT 5x10

I never thought the writers would try and cram two books into one season since it took two seasons just to cover book 3 (A Storm of Swords). Yet, here we are on the eve of A Dance with Dragons and the final act was like onto the end of Caesar’s reign, only instead of “Et tu Brute?” it was simply “Olly?” And like a band of self preserving troglodytes, they turn greek tragedy into the next sad moment in Westeros. Except Caesar didn’t have a witch like Melisandre to bring him back from the dead like the red priest has done with Beric Dondarrion. After 3 seasons, you’d let us simply forget that people can be brought back from the dead? Yeah, we’re onto you writers.

Like all GOT finales, everyone who had a speaking role needed either closure or events setting up the next stage in their lives and for the next season. Is everyone where they should be? The truth can be very subjective considering the hot tempers that will flair from events taking place tonight. I for one was as prepared as I could be, but that doesn’t change the fact that we don’t have the omniscience we once did anymore on who will live and who will die. Most of what transpired was not fun in the slightest, but more masochism and cringe-worthy moments that did little to answer but more speculative than anything. When the one moment where things seemed decent was when a dwarf and a bald guy reminisce and one says he missed the other, there needs to be a new bar on dismal and sullen finale’s. In any case, It’s done and now as a whole fanbase we can move on as one group, not just the two groups where one laughs on the outside but cries on the inside because they have to relive through this tragedy twice.

Melisandre leaves Stannis once he finds out half his army deserted him over Shireen’s death. Stannis trudges onward to Winterfell and meets the Bolton army. He is defeated and found by Brienne who seemingly executes him for the murder of his brother Renly. Theon helps Sansa escape Winterfell (That or they just committed suicide by jumping off a wall) Arya murders Trant and is later punished when her eyesight is removed. Cersei confesses to only sleeping with Lancel and is allowed to return to the red keep by walking from the church naked and scorned by the townsfolk. Jaime and Bronn leave Dorne with Myrcella and on the moment Jaime and Myrcella come to terms on him being her father she suffers fatally from a poisonous kiss given by Ellaria. In the North, Sam requests to leave with Gilly and the baby to learn to become a maester. After he leaves, Davos attempts to enlist Jon’s help when Melisandre arrives with little to say on Stannis’s fate. That night, Jon is led into a trap where several members of the watch stab Jon including Olly. Jon Snow is left for dead.

I’ve read the theories for years and I’m not truly an expert, but I can give my perspective on the events as they’ve been printed on film for us since season one. Whether Martin and the show writers truly intend for Jon’s swan song to be this moment, I am in denial because of certain pieces of evidence. Unfortunately none of that evidence is present in the finale save for Melisandre herself. She abandoned Stannis after supporting him for so long and as a red priestess, she has the ability to resurrect people, assuming of course if they deserve it. For now, it’s hard to say whether she will or won’t but it’s the best shot we have to saving Jon’s life and for those who think being resurrected completely ruins the character in question. Dondarrion is the only proof that you can be normal if you are properly resurrected pretty much at the moment of death. Otherwise you end up with a Lady Stoneheart in the making and the show just won’t do that to Jon. Is it a done deal that Jon will return? Of course not, but if they don’t they run the risk turning the north into a laughing stock of the whole series. If Jon isn’t there to help at least fend off the whitewalkers then Westeros is completely screwed until Dany comes and even then, there’s no telling what will happen. I’m confident Jon will be back. If they really wanted to kill him, they should have cut his head off like Ned. You don’t come back from that.

By not showing us what happened to Theon and Sansa I’m left laughing at the sheer incredulous cliffhanger that made me wonder just how much snow must they fall into to survive a drop like that. Clearly they didn’t die, but Sansa didn’t end up with Brienne either which was a very interesting way to go. So now, you have Theon, who actually helped Sansa and escaped which is unheard of. I have no doubt Ramsey will be searching for them in no time. Does this mean that Sansa will now be looking for her two little brothers in season 6? If so, she’ll only find Rickon if she gets to find him at all. This show has a way of saying “Noooooope, you don’t get to be happy for 1 second, back to Ramsey with you”. But we’ll see. And a fine farewell to Myranda, she got what she deserved.

I have no love loss for Stannis either. Was it fitting that Brienne took his life? Eh, it doesn’t matter to me. He was the lesser of two evils, but it wasn’t enough to take out the Boltons. What’s done is done. Brienne is very noble and continues to find ways to stay true to her convictions. Now that Sansa escaped it would be nice if the two ran into eachother because it’s highly unlikely that She’ll run into Littlefinger. Brienne’s purpose does seem a bit floundered at this point, but at least she’s still alive.

Arya’s revenge was very quick and to the point. She’s crossed over into a new brutal nature and used what she learned to get the job done. And now it’s at least for the time being cost her a bit of sight, or rather, all of it. This is mostly a book to show translation and for a while she’ll deal with the consequences. I’m not that worried about her because she has more story to fulfill. I liked that she was able to use a face and I absolutely loved that the character who everyone thought was Jaqen wasn’t and that any assassin could look like him. This leads to the possibility that the original Jaqen is on his mission still which in the books leads him on a path around Sam.

Jaime and Myrcella shared a nice moment where he finally felt some small measure of comfort in revealing his truth even though his daughter basically knew. And then she died. That’s what this show is known for doing and it was easy to realize that Ellaria would have the last word in this struggle. What’s important is understanding the calamity that will ensue including Trystane’s fate as well as backlash against all of Dorne. Will Jaime keep this from Cersei? Probably at first, but odds are this will strain their relationship and match it more with how Jaime sees Cersei in the books. Then again, they don’t have to do that if they don’t want to.

Now onto Cersei. That was brutal scene to watch. I read about how the creator’s had to get special permission to film a scene of that magnitude and all the points in the world to Lena Heady for taking the plunge and knocking that awkward scene out. Even as a villain, she had things coming to her, but this was vastly different than a poisoning or any physically hurtful thing she could have gone through. But she swallowed her pride and managed to get back home in the arms of an undead Mountain, who will be her next champion should she need one to fight for her in trial by combat. They could have cut that scene down at any point, but the resonance was so thick that it’s hard to believe she deserved anything remotely pertaining to that walk of shame. Even I thought the mother needed some comuppance because of it. Cersei is no doubt planning it and I’m glad she is, if she is.

Dany’s scenes were relatively unchanged except for it not being in a desert and her not suffering from hunger and, well other issues at hand. But she found more Dothraki and that was the point. She can’t get back to Meereen and now she’s surrounded by people that seemed to have dropped off the map since season two. One notable moment is when she dropped her ring which I assume means she doesn’t want them to know she was married because she in fact was already married to Khal Drogo and I’m certain these dothraki are aware of it. Will they follow her back to Meereen or will she be in for the fight of her life? I’m certain she’ll weave their loyalty while Darrio and Jorah seek her out.

FAVORITE MOMENT

Arya’s scene after the murder of Trant. It was more for her to understand she couldn’t just use her talents to do with what she pleased and further more confusing her on who and what the faceless men really are. They don’t just control faces, but body types as well. They can appear smaller when they are generally bigger and a true face is lost in the myriad of others. Does this mean Arya will eventually lose her true face? I hope not, but it’s certainly a possibility.

CHARACTER MVP

Cersei, hands down. She lost her hair and walked through an entire city naked with bloody feet and the muck of the populace coating her skin. No matter what she would not confess to sleeping with Jaime and stuck to her guns on the matter. Now she’s in full planning mode which she will no doubt act when the time is right. Does she have to play through the High Sparrow’s trial though, or can she just leave the city whenever she wants? She endured a lot to get back to her son and she deserves the credit for it.

ENDING THOUGHTS

Bran will be in season 6 and somehow he has to know what happened to his brother, Jon. If anyone else could help in this problem, it should be him along with Melisandre.

Davos is now free to murder Melisandre after everything she’s done. Even so, he’s without a king now, assuming Brienne murdered Stannis. If she didn’t, then keeping him alive would only mean she has other plans we’re not aware of.

Maybe now that they mentioned Benjen we’ll get a look at Coldhands next season. Then again, we didn’t get Lady Stoneheart, why would we get Coldhands? It’s a conspiracy to remove mostly dead resurrected characters. Only fully resurrected characters are allowed to be on this show…and the whitewalkers.

I’m very glad Tyrion and Varys are once more together. This show suffers a lot on great characters that don’t get to interact with other great characters, but for once they put Tyrion in a great position, that is until Dany left, but now Varys is back and soon those two will get to share scenes together and I can’t wait for that.

Where oh where is Littlefinger at this stage? Does he regret having left Sansa to deal with Ramsey? Will he have a plan should he find her again, or will he betray her as Cersei wanted him to? I highly doubt Peter will betray Sansa but even for that to have a sliver of a chance, he has to find her first, and I really don’t want him finding her.

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. Not the strongest finale from the franchise and the end was entirely bittersweet because book readers knew what was coming. But for consistency of shots, beautiful landscapes and luscious atmosphere, GOT still manages to remain epic and large on a scale to well known after five years. Everyone is out of their element now, and some are dead for the effort. Every season it’s safe to say nothing is the same for anyone. And that’s the great thing about this type of storytelling. Nobody is expected to do what they must and as a result, so many different things can happen. This isn’t the story where the good guys win and the bad guys win, it’s people going through the motions and dealing with choices and consequences regardless of karma or a god’s will. The whitewalkers are that much closer and for now, the commander of the watch is dead. But dead isn’t forever in GOT and I do believe Jon will be brought back with Melisandre’s help. For now, it looks like the show watchers will find out before the book reader’s do and that has to sting knowing how loyal the book fanbase has been since day one. It’s an exciting time even though it’s equally frustrating. Will L + R = J even matter if Jon is dead at this point? That’s why he can’t be dead, because we have to know, and Jon has to know. But really, we need to know. Until next season, thank you for reading.

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A Sashurai’s Review: Dark Matter – Season 1×01 (Discount Pandorum or possibly upscale Firefly…without the comedy)

Dark Matter 1x01

Six amnesiacs wake up in a derelict ship, the android walks up to them and says “What is this a show?” I kid. The series premiere of Dark Matter begins its premise with a kaleidoscope of mysteries surrounding six individuals who have had their memories erased and find themselves onboard an empty ship floating in space. Carrying only their abilities and polar opposite attitudes, they embark on a fact finding adventure that lead them to a shocking discovery. Oh, and Lauren from Lost Girl is an android.

Pilots are often cheap and very hit or miss with tone and substance. Stereotypes are unfortunately necessary when relying on the mystery aspect of a storyline so the audience can quickly gauge who the heroes, sidekicks, and annoying anti-hero types are. Dark Matter quickly chose to support this method and hoped that the ends justified the means. While opting for the safe approach, the premiere episode was flexible but altogether a hodgepodge of ‘Point A’ to ‘Point B’ non sequiturs that threw as many objects of interest as they could before the episode landed on the cliffhanger reveal. There’s just enough to wet the appetite, but for non-comic fans, it could result in a loss of interest if these one-dimensional personalities don’t evolve quickly.

A ship in space is losing life support and several individuals are awoken with no memory of their identity or past. The lead female attacks the lead male before returning life support to the ship. After all six wake (four men and two women) they begin searching for clues as to who they are. Each are given a numbered designation and they split up to search the area. They come across an android who initially attacks the pair that found her. She is eventually subdued and reinitialized with a blank slate memory. Together the ragtag crew avoid an attack from a nearby ship that tried to destroy them and they travel to a planet the ship was originally intended arrive at. On the planet they encounter miners who stress that an alien group known as the Raza(sp?) who work for a multi-corporation, are on their way to wipe them out. The crew return to their ship and debate helping them or leaving them to their fate when the android finds a cache of information including their identities as murders and pirates. They discover the ship itself is called The Raza and that they are the ones who were sent to wipe out the miners.

With the exception of Five and Six, the crew was drop-dead boring to listen to. There’s somewhat of a frustrating angle happening at the start which includes having to throw together incompatible personalities that somehow easily co-exist for the sake of a common goal. This can work on some levels such as the film “Cube” (Also a Canadian-based sci-fi project) where amnesiacs are forced to learn quickly that working together means staying alive. Only these characters on the ship weren’t in any real danger after life support was re-established and the heightened suspense deflates because of it. For the sake of details let’s recap the main traits of our protagonists.

One – The sensible male hero who empathizes with those struggling and quickly finds the lead female character capable and attractive. He is awkward at moments but tries to do what’s right within the context of his situation. He’s bumbling around the lead female because within a few minutes, he’s probably already in love with her.

Two – The strong female hero who assumes command, nurtures the sidekick, and remains straight-faced regardless of the problems before her. She shows no interest in the lead male hero even though they are paired off as the “obvious” but not really obvious sexual tension pair of the show. She’s independent and won’t succumb to flirtation from any character, especially the cocky anti-hero.

Three – The cocky anti-hero. He’s the gun loving sarcastic brute who is out for himself and brutally honest about his self preservation. He thinks he should be the leader because he knows how to point weapons and has no heart for those in need. Everyone is sick of him quickly and he has a 50/50 shot of redeeming himself or becoming so hated that he eventually is kicked off the team.

Four – The quiet and reserve melee expert, or “The sword guy.” He speaks little but supports the team with a neutral code. He’s kind but can easily be misunderstood because of his lack of personality and deadpan responses. He’s likeable because he’s the natural badass with hidden sentiments that will become known once he’s gained the trust of the good-natured heroes of the show.

Five – The melodramatic teen with an unnatural talent for machine knowledge and a shrouded past. She dresses like an angsty rebel but acts demur while carrying worry and pain she doesn’t understand. Knick-knacks interest her and she spouts random factoids that unsettle the heroes which include possible telepathic abilities or other strange phenomena. She’s the sidekick with a heart of gold which the anti-hero will learn to love like a sister, or hate with a passion, like a sister.

Six – The muscle. Simple and well-rounded. He supports the heroes and doesn’t put up with mouthy opposition. Often as sensible as the male lead but with less reservations on making the call on what to do. If he has to punch first and ask questions later, he’s okay with that too. He’s generally nice and caring but can get mean if pushed to the brink.

The android – At first, she’s the misunderstood enemy, then the tool to help thwart danger, eventually she’ll become a valuable member of the crew and friend to the heroes, possible sacrificing herself in one of the future finales. She won’t understand human sentiments but will be able to retort sarcasm in the face of suspenseful transitions.

Some of these elements work, but most of them are entirely tired personalities that contain all-too familiar flaws and beats toward expunging those flaws. Time will tell if these characters fall under the same patterns or if being in space has a different effect on them. As it stands, the first twenty minutes was a race to get as much information as we could without giving anything pertinent away. Again, some of this works especially Five’s scary knowledge on biology and machine work, along with her interpretation of a dream she had.

While the plot as a whole isn’t fresh or engaging, the secondary mysteries were there as a backup to entice singular moments such as the large door that’s locked and can’t be opened. The android’s seemingly blank memory on anything aside from ship diagnostics and basic functions. One’s connection to the youthful miner who sports the same necklace given by a sage-like character not yet introduced. These are conditioning plot-points that will serve to push the viewers into deeper elements of the arc and as long as they don’t overdue it, can be a successful workaround in case the main storyline isn’t solid.

FAVORITE MOMENT

The end reveal was great and utterly necessary to maintain interest. Even though aliens were mentioned, it’s good to know if they exist they won’t be immediately shoe-horned on screen. I like the idea that these “heroes” are all murders and pirates with the exception of Five, who is still an unknown. Three will likely except his identity quickly and move to embrace it even further while the others struggle to believe what they are told. Does this mean they are actually killers? Or is this just planted information to get them to do the multi-corp’s dirty work?

CHARACTER MVP

Five had the most dramatic performance. Her dream sequence details and strange fascinations on the guts of the machines makes her quirky but the most likeable of the cast thus far. She’s the outcast because of her looks and youthfulness, but she may also carry the biggest secret(s) of them all.

ENDING THOUGHTS

I find the miner’s logic on how they explain their claim a bit flawed only in that if they are killed they lose their claim. Space legalities are tricky business when there’s no universal structure of law and policing to mandate that law. But we haven’t been introduced to anything except one planet’s interpretation on life outside the outer rim.

It’s a minor gripe, but straight swords shouldn’t really be fitted on the waist like where a katana blade is normally kept. They generally are hung over the shoulder and back and this is movie aesthetics I’m referring to, not actual historical warrior depictions, because straight swords (of the ninja variety) are an exotic filming weapon and not a real tried and true piece of history. In any case, it just looked a bit silly. But his sword kata was descent.

Since Five wasn’t revealed as a murderer, she will be stuck with a number designation instead of a real name. Questions will be asked such as, who is she, why is she on that ship, how does she know so much weird stuff. At least they didn’t call the android “Seven”…because an emotionless (robot-like) blonde named Seven was already a thing done long ago on a starship…named Voyager.

So does this mean the ship that attacked them was a good ship or a bad ship based on the information we know? Seems like it could go either way and misdirect the heroes a bit if they are attacked again.

In all fairness, Three had a point about One being the first one to wake up. It’s hard to prove innocence in cases like those and since it was glossed over rather quickly, I wouldn’t be surprised if he turned out to be somewhat behind this incident. But a sensible hero-like main protagonist with a dark evil past and full of subterfuge was already a thing done recently on a show…called Agents of Shield.

OVERALL SCORE

5 out of 10. It was a robust start with a lot of hammed moments, but altogether still managed to put a nice bow on at the end. This is one of those instances where perhaps I want to know what happens because I want to know what happens. We still don’t yet know if there will in fact be aliens, dimension hopping, time travel, crazy space battles, psyonic powers, or age-old revenge wars sparked by warring families across the cosmos. I suppose the comic fans know already, so they’ll be ready for the unfolding plot at hand. It’s a cheaply made show with some decent space CGI but very little imagining on the inside. These characters with the exception of Five have a lot of work to do to chisel away their stereotypical traits. Pilots introduce them but they can easily learn to adjust just as fast and make the team likeable and worthy of following. But if Three turns into a Jayne Cobb-like character, just boot his ass out the airlock, or “space” him as he coined it. There’s only one Jayne Cobb, and that was Jayne Cobb.

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