A Sashurai’s Review: Dark Matter – Season 3×13 (Darkness looms as the tendrils of hell have been unleashed)

Dark Matter 3x13

 

SUMMARY

Two suspends Ishida’s execution when Teku communicates with the Raza demanding his return. Meanwhile, new information uncovered leads the group to the real Phoenix shipyard containing a massive fleet of Ferrous corp ships. With Truffault’s help, Two, Three, and Six blink drive near the shipyard and attempt to detonate a white-hole bomb. They are sabotaged and captured as Mikkei’s allies, Traugott, betrayed them and joined Ferrous corp. Three and Six are separated but later released by Wexler who became an agent for Mikkei. They recover Two but not before Three is taken down forcing the rest to retreat without him. On the Raza, Two learns that Ferrous corp is sending their cruisers to intercept leaving her to broker a deal with Ishida and Truffault, gaining their ships to fight against them. As the battle begins, Two is revealed to be taken over by the alien species as she manipulates Six into using the blink drive to open a dimensional rip, taking out the shipyard. Meanwhile, Three is taken off the shipyard by Portia with their destination unknown. Six sacrifices himself to open the rip as Ishida is released to subdue Two after the android warns Five. With the rip open, Five and Wexler watch as massive black ships emerge from the opening leaving all corporate ships and the Raza in their path.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

Now that’s how you slam a cliffhanger into our faces! Dark Matter gives us one more look into the harsh reality of space-war and the unforgiving atmosphere of truth as their universe becomes the unwilling participant to a full scale invasion. Not without its layers of tragedy, one of the crew’s shining stars is seemingly incinerated but like all science fiction stories, there’s plenty of room for doubt. The last ten minutes alone were worth the wait and things can only get darker from here on out.

 

THE GOOD

Putting Four and Two in opposing sides at the end was a rousing moment to give the fans something different to look forward to. Up until now, Two has been a very capable leader, making hard calls and sometimes handling business herself. Now she’s overtaken by the monsters that plague her universe and it’s up to Five and Four to make it right. Changing the dynamic means we can expect a multitude of different outcomes next season, but for now, I’m just enjoying the merit that Four is providing now that he’s assuredly once more a part of the Raza crew, for now.

 

The overall plot was stylish and very plot driven, giving the crew plenty of chances to make split-second decisions and suffer multiple set backs leaving them very few choices including Six’s sacrifice at the end. The main thing to pull away from the finale is that the crew held onto their central theme that they needed to help save the galaxy from itself. Morality played big with Six questioning the use of the white-hole device on innocent people and Two trying to give Four a way to be with his people again. Wexler’s inclusion to the group was kind of a bonus since his journey as of late had been a relative wash. But collectively, everything built itself to a climactic reveal that means the corporate war will be nothing if not banished in the eyes of these aliens. Let’s hope for that to take root rather quickly.

 

THE BAD

My only real complaint is that the episode wasn’t longer. Some of the hooks that were put in didn’t necessarily have a pay off this time, such as Five’s sister reveal and where Three and Portia will end up, but it’s the show understandably working out its long-term plots for future seasons. We know Three is still thinking about Sarah, but she never appears but they made sure to let us know she’s still out there and he doesn’t remember the tragic tale Four had told him. In fact, when I saw Alicia Reynaud’s picture I genuinely forgot she had a stake in all this, but again, that’s the show thinking long term, so we better start thinking the same.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

Let’s go ahead and showcase that last minute starting with Six’s sacrifice all the way up to the ships themselves breaking through. The CGI budget made its mark and gave us a blasting visual of twisted shapes ripping through the fabric of space and a daunting sensation that they were there to consume anything in its path. Five knows the darkness they contain and with the corporate war just reaching its apex, now the real threat begins. I must say I’m not convinced truly that Six is gone, but stranger deaths have occurred before. We are talking about the blink drive here and everytime it goes haywire, the crew doesn’t end up dead, just distorted and out of place, and one way or another, I think Six will be saved in some capacity, but we won’t know that for sure until next season. Still, this was a mega moment that definitely dropped the jaw in the closing seconds.

 

CHARACTER MVP

I’d like to give it to Six just in case this was his swansong. I would certainly say it was heartbreaking for Five to deal with Six leaving, and if though he went out on his terms, the fact that he meant so much to her should speak volumes about their nature to care about life and saving people no matter who they are. Six classically demonstrates that episode over episode and will make the decision in a heartbeat to save others over himself because it’s his duty. In the worlds of storytelling, when a character can no longer grow, they either leave, fade away, or die. Someone like Six would go out in a blaze and that’s just what he did. But at the end of the day, I believe he’ll return.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

I don’t truly think this will be the end of the corporate war. That kind of has to be the on-going epic between warring factions. Ferrous corp will retreat and rise again in their own time. I don’t see the corporations making a dramatic cease-fire over the long run, but maybe just enough to deal with the threat until it’s been reduced to vapor. Who knows, if this will turn into a triumph of humanity or just another age where the darkest aspects of humanity will try and harness the aliens and their power for their own sinister agendas. I’m looking at you, Rook.

 

This may not be in the workings, but if Five’s sister is a twin, I’ll probably laugh. I think in some regards, a twin with Alicia’s upbringing would be an interesting reversal of fortunes and then maybe we can see Jodelle with red hair.

 

This may be looking way too far into the looking glass, but if Portia is in any way an ally to the Raza next season then how will Two’s discovery of her daughter affect both characters? Will this be looked into at all and if so, how will Dr. Shaw be involved as well once the android uprising is in full affect? Even if Portia wasn’t an ally, she’s still important as the details of her survival shouldn’t be all that different than Two’s.

 

I’m hopeful that season 4 will be Dark Matter’s “darkest” chapter as the invasion should take absolute precedence for I’d say the entire season if not the first half at the very least. The Raza needs to be recollect itself with Ishida rejoining the ranks for the short term. He trusts Five and without Six to look after her, maybe Ishida can take over that role assuming he doesn’t reconnect with Teku immediately after this invasion is resolved. There are a lot of possibilities and it’s good to start theorizing right about now.

 

OVERALL SCORE

9 out of 10. The world of Dark Matter is about to get a whole lot bigger as the Raza deals with a massive loss and an invasion of evil. The crew is split once again as a crippling blow is delivered to Ferrous corp, but at a price they weren’t expecting. The aliens have engineered their dominance into the universe and if humanity doesn’t put aside their corporate difference, they may not survive long in their own galaxy. Stellar writing to the end, Dark Matter hand delivers a spectacle of battle and intrigue forcing us to agonize over waiting until next year to find resolution. Is Six truly dispersed in the cosmos? Will Two be subject to possession permanently? And will Three ever get a chance to punch Boone in the face? Hopefully we’ll find out soon. For now, I’ll wait and campaign to cameo as Ishida’s next sword-fighting opponent. As always, thanks for reading and we’ll see you next season.

 

 

No more words

Advertisements

A Sashurai’s Review: Dark Matter – Season 3×01 (We’re back, in outer space!)

Dark Matter 3x01

 

SUMMARY

As the station nears destruction from last season, Six finds two and helps her get to the Marauder. They survive the explosion but are left adrift with minimal power and communications. Meanwhile, Truffault helps Five get off the station and back on board the Raza while Three is taken by Anders to an abandoned facility on a rogue planet. On Zairon, Four (Ishida) releases his old teacher from imprisonment and offers him an advisory role much to the dismay of Misaki who distrusts him. As the android makes contact with Two and Six, they are attacked and boarded by a Ferrous Corp ship. With the help of Trufaullt, the Ferrous Corp intruders are all killed while Three helps Anders deal with a drone threat and explains he’s the lesser of two evils amidst a Corporation war bound for greater problems. Anders allows Three to escape when the Galactic Authority arrives. Just before the Raza finds the Maurauder with draining life-support, Two has a hallucination of Nyx who suffered poisonous wounds inflicted by Misaki, an act Two believes Four perpetrated himself. After the crew are reunited, Truffault expresses she will remain neutral until they’re ready to strike, leaving the crew of the Raza to deal with Four and getting the blink drive back.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

A split crew and a race to save two of them defines our return to Dark Matter and its ragtag group of space-faring bad guys. Our ability to perceive every main character’s survival left our plot as much a formality than a driving focus on new territory, but nevertheless, each member of the Raza dealt with their own personal growths including a trust game with Anders and Two’s guilt toward Nyx’s death. Our corporate war has been kicked off, but for now there’s no telling how much of it the crew will experience as Emperor Ishida on directly on the Raza’s path. I’d like to highlight Three’s ability to stay level-headed while a gun-toting Five ups her A-game, no longer a member of the crew who needs to hide all the time. The team is back for more sci-fi ass-kicking!

 

THE GOOD

It’s an aftermath where the pieces must be picked up before everyone can successfully move on. Each crew member had a concern and a moment to flesh out their personalities for the season and I think they did it well. Two faced her guilt in the form or Nyx who showcased an interesting action by kissing Two goodbye. Six remained the voice of his own regret in reflecting on his treatment of the crew last season. It’s not necessarily tired, but I’d wager this is the last time he has to confront his betrayal and should be able to move on from there. Three was more cavalier with Anders during his capture, but somehow he’s adopted a more cool-minded approach and actually helped barter his freedom. Is Anders the new Kierkan of the season? I’m thinking no, but we’re still not sure what Anders is all about. Five showed a fiery spirit by helping dispose of the Ferrous Corp henchmen. She’s going to continue growing in confidence and ability, and that path is already starting. Our resident Android maintains her illustrious wit and now apparently she’s an expert chef who seems more than happy to make the meals. Four is a little tricky because he’s showing patience and trust while trying not to lose sight of his position and what it means to be Emperor. We know he’s not a “villain” but right now it’s important we see him continue to be benevolent to an extent so we don’t immediately side with the Raza crew when they inevitably clash.

 

THE BAD

My investment in the corporation war isn’t quite there yet. It was basically prophesized that it was coming and it’s essentially started, but it feels very much like an epic war poised forever in the backdrop of a mission by mission storyline for the Raza crew. We don’t have enough villainous faces to really see who they’re up against except for specific self-serving bad guys who already have personal vendettas from the crew. I want to see more of the corporations influence and how much space they really occupy. With the station destroyed, the chaos will no doubt be rampant, but I’d still like to see how many total we’re dealing with and where they fit on the alignment scale.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

Quick and to the point, when the android popped up and merc’d the remaining Ferrous Corp team. Her exhale on the smoke trails from the barrels was an interesting feather in the cap as we’re seeing more and more attributes assimilated by the android even when others aren’t around to witness her. She’ll continue to showcase moments like these I’m certain.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Everyone had an equal amount of screen time, but I’d like to give it to the unlikely Trufaullt. She didn’t betray the Raza crew which actually says a lot and even helped Five get back as well as help defend the ship showcasing she’s a decent threat when her survival is threatened. She understands the pros with staying out of the main fight and isn’t hindering Two from staying on their own course. I’m beginning to like her more and more and maybe in the future if she continues to make these kinds of decisions, things will work out for her, unless she pulls the ultimate betrayal card at the end, then her life is forfeit.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

Did Three tell Six that Anders was still alive? Would that make much of a difference to Six either way? I’d like to think it will, but what influence will Anders have on Three or Six in the future when they cross paths again? He’s their only “ally” in the Galactic Authority but even now we’re not sure what that even means. The next move will be on Anders himself.

 

It will be interesting to see how news of the stations destruct will affect the lives of the crew. If Ferrous Corp or anyone else spin the disaster into an attack perpetrated by the Raza, then they’re in for some serious setbacks in the near future, otherwise we may not hear much about it except that the destruction indeed led to some fierce corp. war that will seemingly be in the background for the immediate time.

 

I realize Two would probably keep all this grief to herself, but it would have been nice to see some kind of funeral send-off for Nyx considering the effect she had on Two. It’s almost funny that no one else really batted an eye-lash with the exception of Six, but we all know his reactions are over the top emotionally driven.

 

I’m not expecting Four’s teacher to last very long on this season. In fact, I’d wager Misaki finds a way to kill or exile him within the next 4-6 episodes. He’s the only new supporting character on the show and since they’re not likely killing any more main characters, he’s very high on my list for the next big death.

 

OVERALL SCORE

7 out of 10. After a lengthy break, Dark Matter returns with a strong foothold in the height of its cliffhanger madness. The crew of the Raza survived with the exception of Nyx and now the race is on to reclaim their stolen device and exact a comeuppance for one of their own. There were very little loose ends taken care of from last season giving us a bit of time to let our characters breathe and deal with the next onslaught of episodes we’re getting for the next several weeks. We’ve caught a glimpse into their role as a family onboard a space-ship and now time will tell if this family can pull together and save the galaxy from all the corporate fallout happening in their very midst. One thing is for certain, the more whacky tech they find, the brighter the bulls-eye will be on their exhaust ports. Thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words

 

A Sashurai’s Review: The Vampire Diaries – Season 8×15 (Waaaaaay too much fun handling that skull there, Damon)

tvd-8x15

 

SUMMARY

Stefan and Damon plan to bring Katherine out of hiding by initiating the wedding between Stefan and Caroline. Together, they gather Katherine’s bones and with the help of Matt’s father, fashion a dagger capable of killing her. Meanwhile, Alaric and Dorian research an alternate plan by destroying hell completely with psychic energy. Enzo convinces Bonnie to attend the wedding and share in Caroline’s happiness as Alaric brings the Gemini twins to attend the wedding as well. Matt’s mother, Kelly returns to Mystic Falls though it is revealed that she returned from hell in a limited fashion and is helping Katherine enact of plan of her own. Prior to the wedding, Kelly attacks Peter and after, sets off an explosion during the reception that encapsulates Bonnie and the twins in a house. With Enzo’s help, Bonnie discovers she still retains magic and allows the twins to siphon her allowing them to escape. Before Kelly succumbs to her expired time, she reveals to the group that not only did Katherine escape but so did Vicky, who is shown returning to the Maxwell bell and begins striking it. Stefan watches in shock as Bonnie collapses from the bell’s initial strikes.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

Only a handful of moments remain as The Vampire Diaries revel in the machinations of one silent and observant Katherine, ruler of hell. The wedding theme came and went, more as a plan to lure out the enemy, but also as milestone marking the union of Caroline and Stefan. The moments were crisp and elegant in both the reflective moments and the somber background of looming events. Still absent is the lovely Nina who will only appear in the final episode, as the lone hero and villain colliding one last time. If there’s one thing this show has defined for its watchers, is that they won’t leave you without a colossal moment to shock and awe you. Does that end with Bonnie’s death? I think not. It’s only the beginning.

 

THE GOOD

Let’s start with the subterfuge of making us believe Katherine was observing the wedding and aftermath when in fact it was Vicky, complete with the curly locks familiar to young Katherine, hell’s new look. For reasons oddly considered, her involvement in the destruction of Mystic Falls makes perfect sense. After all, her death by the machinations of old-school evil Damon sparked some early controversy regarding the vampire with an obsession. Who better to convince her to wipe away the slate by annihilating the town that nearly forgot her? Revealing that instead of a watchful Katherine was a fantastic move, bottom line. The hits continue to rise and there’s no shortage or stoppage of great moments leading to the last. Will Vicky actually chime the last strike, or will she be stopped in time? How fast can Damon run?

 

The more Enzo delights in Bonnie’s presence, the more obvious it becomes that those two will exist in that dimension together forever. It’s poetic and tragic, but simultaneously necessary for Elena’s appearance. The spell placed in her only had one way of ending, and the sad truth is unless magic itself is removed completely, Bonnie won’t make it out of this series alive. And in the tale of love, she may not want it any other way. Enzo needs her, and she needs him. The world is there for them to be together, and like all love stories, when it’s powerful, it’s destined. There may be deep sadness by the group, but Elena’s return will be the silver lining.

 

THE BAD

Kelly had an odd place throughout the episode, both as a distraction from Vicky’s presence and as a general nuisance among the group. I’d forgotten about her and her role long ago and struggled to remember if she actually died on screen or behind it. After she explained the situation I understood which also led to her rant over Damon’s responsibility for killing Vicky. I suppose no one else would have made the same impact, but at the same time, the impact just wasn’t there until we all realized who the woman behind the curtain really was.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

The Vicky reveal. I’ve stated my opinion in the past about supporting Vicky over Caroline as a the vampire who should have been long-lasting. This moments brings a lot of that first season full circle, something I’m glad is kept in house with Katherine as the final villain and not someone like Cade who made such a small impact on the season as a whole. Without a single line, she delivered the killing blow that may see Bonnie into the afterlife. I’m anxious to see if she’ll stop there or find some way to forgive the man who turned her to begin with.

 

CHARACTER MVP

It’s a bit of a Damon and Enzo split. Both characters supported their loved ones effectively and remarkably. Enzo was more spirited in love and confidence while Damon remained passive but authentic. His toast to the late Liz Forbes was a shining moment that illuminates Damon’s charisma and loyalty toward close friends. Enzo has somehow turned the tide with his love for Bonnie and for that I applaud his character making a difference in someone’s life that deserved happiness. They both earned it.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

Based on the one brief moment shown in the final episode, we know Elena wakes and everyone isn’t on fire. Therefore it’s basically safe to say that Vicky won’t make that last strike and Bonnie’s heart will stop long enough for Elena to wake up. Whether that means Bonnie will or won’t recover remains to be seen. I guess it all depends on whether this shows wants Enzo and Bonnie to cling together now or if Enzo’s spirit will watch for years to come.

 

I can’t truly imagine any more characters succumbing to death unless Katherine herself kills Elena, which would endcap this series in a way that the Salvatores will never expect, and possibly the audience. While death scenes are a means to give us tragedy and heart-crushing moments, what’s important is whether those characters have learned the life-lesson they were meant to learn. Did they fulfill the act the show needed them to and at the end of the day, is their life complete as we understand it? If the answer is yes, then anyone can die in the final episode including the brothers themselves.

 

Okay, let’s get this theory out and about even though I haven’t purposefully looked for it online. Is Elena actually Elena, or will it be Katherine posing as her when the big wake-up scene happens? That’s the first trick Katherine played at the end of season 1 and it worked perfectly. It stands to reason that history may repeat itself and the real Elena is trapped somewhere, or worse. Katherine is reliably the smartest most devious character on this show, we all know it and she won’t just show up without making the kind of entrance that really sells the return. Having her pretend to be Elena one more time is perfect and I support that possibility. And it will really piss Damon off.

 

While The Originals has its own mythology to tell and not too long ago I thought bringing Hayley in would be cool to have, I also think having someone be in the last season of The Originals will be equal to or better. Some characters may have a story to tell outside of TVD and I wouldn’t mind watching them progress into the spin-off to satisfy that storyline. Who knows, it could really shake things in New Orleans.

 

OVERALL SCORE

9 out of 10. The Vampire Diaries is being careful but very smart in the last few episodes it had. Tonight, it shook up the status quo once more and brought one more old character into the fold, someone who is capable of destroying the town and that is the missing element the finale needed, widespread upheaval. It may be cut short, but the threat is there and the town is as much a part of the family as are the individuals. One last party wouldn’t be against the tradition of this show, but I hope before things are said and done, the group face real fears and dread before saving the day. Caroline got her wedding and Damon got to play with Katherine’s skull, the rest is semantics toward bringing Elena back. But will Katherine instead emerge from the coffin for one last scare? We shall certainly see. Thanks for reading. One more to go.

 

 

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: Supernatural – Season 12×12 (Bro, do you even chronological order?)

sn-12x12

 

SUMMARY

In chronological order, six years ago, Crowley give two artifacts to a prince of hell named Ramiel, one being the lance of Michael and the other, the colt. Ramiel refuses to become the new king of hell, giving the opportunity to Crowley himself and wishing for him and his sibling, Dagon and Azmodeus to be left alone. In the present, Mary is instructed by Mr. Ketch to retrieve the colt in a remote location. She conjures a story to distract her sons and a new hunter into killing a demon. Along with Castiel, they set a trap at the house but when the demon arrives he easily deals with the group and reveals his yellow eyes to Mary. With the lance, Ramiel deeply wounds Castiel as other demons sent to watch over Ramiel arrive and kill the new hunter. Mary and the others hold up in a barn where Crowley arrives to try and bargain with Ramiel for the lives of the Winchesters. Ramiel refuses and confronts the brothers, demanding back what was stolen. As they fight, Sam gets the upper hand and stabs Ramiel with the lance destroying him. Crowley then breaks the lance which causes Castiel to instantly heal. He then disappears back to his lair where he talks to an imprisoned Lucifer, once more played by Mark Pellegrino. At a diner, Mary gives the colt to Mr. Ketch after threatening him the next time he puts her and her sons in harms way.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

Wow. Just when you thought you knew the hierarchy of hell, they go and give you one more layer to peel off. Where the knights of hell were feared, the princes of hell are even more dangerous, equal to Azazel in position and power. I’m not bothered by the least that these creatures haven’t been mentioned in over 11 years on this show, but relating them to Azazel really does help bring the series into a circular pattern, one that sees a tone and personality akin to the beginning of this show. I can’t help but applaud that kind of return and I’m truly fascinated where this tale goes next, including the natures of our two missing princes, Dagon and Azmodeus. It’s like I’m playing Diablo II all over again, looking for those prime evils and their lesser evil servants.

 

THE GOOD

In the past few years, the demons had been watered down into less than humorous complexions of their former badassness. Now, with the inclusion of the princes, it seems that they can once more take on an evil shape that makes the Winchesters fearful of what they originally hunted way back when. Ramiel is the new template for the old demons that continue to live on Earth, unencumbered by Heaven or Hell’s plans with Earth itself. Ramiel may not be actively evil, but that doesn’t mean his siblings harbor the same idea of retirement. In any case, there can be no greater return to form then to struggle against a new threat likened to Azazel.

 

THE BAD

Okay, let’s get this one out of the way. The unapologetic association with Tarantino-isms wasn’t necessary to fulfill the episode with its splendor and supernatural awesome-ness. The disjointed chronological plot device mixed with the black and white title bumpers hardly seemed to fit the overall point of the story. The real conundrum was how they wanted to keep Mary at the forefront with her shady background and strange reasoning for keeping her sons in the dark about her alliance with the men of letters. I’m not certain if the ideas were too similar and they just decided to go full-monty with it, or whether that was their intention all along, but in all fairness to Sam and Dean, the box with the golden aura, the slow walk to the diner, the ramblers and the rambling, the ally with the wound in his gut, all of it just felt too distracting and out of place. I get the homage and it was done well, for that I have no complaints, I just don’t think it was needed with exception to Castiel’s development and acceptance with dying.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

There was a lot to choose from here, but I favored the part more when we got our initial flashback from six years prior. It was a brief but laced attempt to fill in several gaps such as Crowley’s unexpected rise to the king of hell, and the mysterious reappearance of the colt. Ramiel commanded much of that sequence and rightly so. He set the tone for the power level of the princes of hell and all he had to do was not care about the role he was given freely. It was an excellent set up and again I want to see these two other princes sooner than later.

 

CHARACTER MVP

It was short, but Crowley pulled through for the Winchesters in a way they probably never expected. These are the reasons why he is such a mainstay, because he too has more layers than most villains on this show given his understanding of both a balance to most things and a necessity to keep valuable allies close to heart. He could have very easily let Castiel die, but Crowley enjoys that debt, knowing he does need to matter at times to people like Dean and Castiel. Maybe he’ll never be redeemed, but he certainly can work toward being accepted and maybe that’s enough.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS
There’s no real way Mary will be able to make her sons understand the choices she’s making behind their backs. At this point, we can’t really ascertain those reasons either. Vetting the Men of Letters is one thing, but handing over powerful artifacts like the colt seems really fishy even though she’s received enough help to save a lot of people.

 

I may have lamented once about this, but I want to see an episode that details the actual creation of the knife and its path to becoming in Ruby’s demonic hands. Knowing it was forged by the Kurds is one thing, but I want to see it through the ages in a historical backdrop that covers moments we never got to find out until now. Make it happen season 12!

 

We’ve been given two small glimpses into the other princes namely how Ramiel references Azmodeus’s hobbies and Dagon’s toys. So it would seem they have more active roles in society, probably an evil and playful nature with humans unlike Ramiel who just wanted to be left alone. I’m curious as to who will play them and how powerful they actually are. Two are dead, two remain.

 

Now that the colt is back, will we be given the remaining things that the gun can’t kill outside of Lucifer himself? One would think Death, God, and the Darkness would be on that list, but since Death is gone, we could still see one or two more entities that can’t be destroyed. I doubt the princes make that list considering Azazel was destroyed by the colt. Still, now that it’s resurfaced, we should know more about its limitations.

 

OVERALL SCORE

9 out of 10. This was undeniably a fun tribute even though it seemed a bit much. Mary’s ordeal, Ramiel’s origin, Castiel’s plea, and Crowley’s quick wit all served a grand purpose and reuniting the devil with Crowley, now in reverse positioning was a great way to end the episode, complete with Mark as the original bad angel. We don’t know yet why he is in that vessel or how it survived, but for now, just savor in the fact that this season is in great shape. The best is yet to come as the ultimate plan of the Men of Letters becomes more clearer as they collect even more powerful objects than before. Thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: The Vampire Diaries – Season 8×08 (If I went insane every time I heard the definition of insanity on a TV show…)

tvd-8x08

 

SUMMARY

After killing a self-help group, Stefan challenges Damon by attempting to corrupt a young doctor into killing Damon by compelling a false story about him killing her parents years ago. Meanwhile, Matt and his father discover at the armory that their Maxwell ancestor created a bell capable destroying the sirens but was split apart shortly before the Founders created Mystic Falls. One part of it was the tuning fork which Alaric possesses while he’s under witness protection. Sybil forces Caroline to locate another piece of the bell by threatening the lives of several high school students. Together they find that Seline already has the piece as Matt and his father save the students. Stefan’s plan to corrupt the doctor succeeds which later convinces Damon to throw away Elena’s necklace and end the doctor’s life even though she resembled Elena. Later the next day, Damon returns to the field and recovers the necklace while Stefan returns to ripper form and murders a hall full of people at a hospital. Damon finds him in feeding wildly and in a savage mode.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

The final journey of the Salvatores begins with Stefan’s return to ripper status, once more consumed by the vampire fury to kill and feed. It’s up to Damon now to diminish the effect or possibly to share in his brother’s fate all while an ancient weapon may hold the key to stopping the sirens once and for all. I’m less enthused about the scavenger hunt toward this relic and want to stay focused on Stefan’s fall into darkness again. What’s humorous is Stefan’s inhumanity actually tried to stave off the urge to be truly evil which goes to show how many variant evil layers vampires can have on a show like this.

 

What really stood out is the brothers and their pursuit to dignify their existence with some aspect of human worth. They are each falling further toward a darkness that by their own definition isn’t salvageable yet the women and friends in their lives differ to believe so. If I had one guess I’d say Elena is the key to saving both of their souls, however if the necklace has no effect on Stefan, what good will the real Elena have?

 

THE GOOD

Stefan is playing a dangerous game because his method in weeding out evil people is the value of corrupting innocence as opposed to hunting those who have already succumbed to their fate. This allows his ripper form to weigh more on the murders he’s performing because even with his humanity turned off, he was trying to maintain some semblance of order in obeying Cade. Ripper-Stefan needs to dangle that necessity and prove that no one human or otherwise is above the act of evil if given the proper motivation. Damon relents while still finding ways to save himself some moments of peace. Whomever loses this struggle first could be the one brother that loses their life for all time and that is what’s continually driving this show into its last hurrah, not finding a bell.

 

THE BAD

Sybil’s entire attitude and method in controlling Caroline made this tough to watch. She’s still all over the map in both motivation and capability. Somehow her abilities are getting stronger as is her obsession with the bell that is the siren killer as far as we know. At this point in the show, Cade should be the main on-screen villain delivering his evil speeches and performing mad acts rather than Sybil who remains a gifted brat if we’ve ever seen one. And as clever as she may be, Caroline should seen through her threat to kill the twins. Not the best writing thus far.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

When Damon speaks to the inmate and then finds the necklace. Damon is fantastic when he’s in a calm reflective state of mind, something not often seen with his humanity off. It’s interesting that we’re still acknowledging his humanity is off given how he’s acted as of late. True inhumane Damon wouldn’t try and stop the doctor from killing him. That necklace has already started the ember of humanity in him, he just hasn’t truly accepted it aside from saying it makes him feel better. Keyword here, feel.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Stefan is back to true form as he plays the devil on the shoulder. Classic villains have the ability to be both menacing and patient, and so far he’s delivering on both with the exception of the final moment, which I hoped would be saved until a later episode. We’re not entirely sure if Stefan’s ripper personality will actually conflict with Cade’s plan, but Damon understands what will happen if he doesn’t stop his brother. Finding an Elena look-a-like and actually convincing her to play out the role he gave was truly sinister and worked in every way if not for a quick one-shot which for the time given was done well enough.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

Speaking of Elena look-a-like’s, this is the second time since last season they brought on an actress who had her traits. It’s amazing how many actresses actually look like Nina that if need be they could find a “real” doppelganger to bring her back for the final episode(s). I wouldn’t put it past them.

 

Now we know what that heirloom ball is and I’m glad it didn’t’ just wither and disappear. We have an official MacGuffin, something to chase down, it took long enough to discover its use. But considering what it can do, shouldn’t it be more tied to stopping Cade and not just the sirens? I feel we should already be moving past the issue with Sybil and Seline.

 

If anyone is discovering lost roots it’s Matt. Now he’s realizing just how important his bloodline is as to the origin of Mystic Falls. In retrospect, this also does tie back into the town which is also a cool concept as we’ve spent so many seasons within its boundaries. I think it’s time for another flashback episode.

 

One aspect I never understood with supernatural entities on this show is the lack of empathy for human strangers that die on it. Caroline is all “tra la la” she knows Stefan is out killing people who likely don’t deserve it. Enzo and Bonnie are vacationing off in another country even though the threat of death is looming on people they’ll never cross paths. It’s only when it hits home that they take action. I guess vampires are evil for a reason whether they have their humanity or not. It has the potential to desensitize its viewers to the absurdity of vampire-violence so that when main characters shrug at the deaths of strangers, so do we.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

7 out of 10. TVD’s return is promising brotherly conflict in the form of ripper Stefan versus inhumane Damon, a build up that hopefully gives us the proper finale as the main villain grows closer to immortal godhood. I don’t think the sirens should be central to a scavenger hunt plot, but our other supporting characters need something to do while the Salvatores ransack neighboring cities. Everyone is split for the moment which is never really a good sign. The team works better when they’re closer together. Stefan and Damon performed admirably mixing in thoughts and trails of Elena dip into their consciousness and give us further clues into her eventual return. The brothers are doing great, everyone else is lagging. As always, thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words

 

 

 

A Sashurai’s Review: Game of Thrones – Season 6×02 (Turns out he was only mostly dead)

GOT 6x02

 

SUMMARY

Through the power of the Three-Eyed-Raven, Bran wanders through a past Winterfell where his father is still a child training with his brother Benjen and sees Lyanna for the first time. One of the Raven’s followers tells Meera to help Bran as eventually they will leave. Meanwhile, the wildlings arrive and help Davos expel Alliser from the wall. Once situated, he calls to Melisandre and asks she attempt to resurrect Jon. Though reluctant at first she tries but appears unsuccessful. In Meereen, Tyrion shows Varys that the dragons shouldn’t be kept chained and unchains them. They show no signs of hostility toward Tyrion who is relieved. In Winterfell, Ramsey murders his father Roose upon hearing the birth of his brother and then has the mother and child killed by dogs. As Brienne tells Sansa that she saw Arya, Theon then informs her that he’s returning him to the Iron Islands. At the Islands, Victarion Greyjoy returns and throws his brother King Balon over a bridge during a storm and killing him. At King’s Landing Tommen reunites with his mother Cersei and hopes she’ll help him be a strong king again. At Myrcella’s funeral, Jaime confronts the High Sparrow who is protected by his followers. Across the sea, Arya is once more confronted by the woman but is then taken in by another assassin who looks like Jaqan. At the wall, when everyone leaves after Melisandre’s attempt at resurrection, Jon is seen waking up with Ghost at his side.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

I’m not going to parade around and pretend the internet wasn’t completely on top of their game about Jon’s return. I think it was more about how long it was going to take and whether Melisandre was going to be up to the task. Luckily, the fans got what they wanted and even though resurrection shouldn’t be messed with, Jon will make a speedy recovery and now he’s “technically” off his loyalty to the wall. Though I’m not certain that will be of any concern moving forward. I think the most surprising moment here was what Ramsey did to his father and subsequently the mother and son afterward. There’s cruel and despicable and then there’s Ramsey Snow. You can rest assured it will be Snow vs Snow just like Cleganebowl is still a thing. Let’s just hope Sansa makes it to the wall before anyone finds her, like that no-show Littlefinger, who is still mysteriously absent from this season.

 

THE GOOD

Jon’s return is too obvious of a good thing. After all the trials and inescapable deaths that this show has caused it was high time they gave one back to the fans and for once, the show acquiesced. Hopefully the cold kept his body in a state that he could afford to be dead for that long, and who knows, maybe he’ll have a connection the white-walkers he didn’t before. Now that would be an interesting addition to his being back.

 

The two other major deaths were of Balon and Roose, two characters trying to hold onto some lordship and wouldn’t you know, their direct kin caused their deaths. Balon was a bit late as his death in the books was more glossed over in telling but it was if I recall one of Stannis’s three kings that he had Melisandre curse with her spell, the other two being Renly and Joffrey. That death was shot well, but wasn’t very impactful unlike Roose who Ramsey decided was more a threat than ever and knifed him in the gut as personal thanks for always thinking of him as his first son. It propels Ramsey into full on villain with an actual army at his disposal.

 

Also, welcome back to Bran who is already well on his way to shifting through time to experience the days of old. We were teased short scene with young Ned and Lyanna which could spell more secrets in the future as Bran is essentially the only character who can piece together the truth of Jon’s lineage but right now he doesn’t know and isn’t searching for it. But this is a good start to giving us that Sean Bean cameo later in the season we’re all expecting in another flashback. Who knows.

 

THE BAD

With every scene constructed in its unique and short way it’s a shame that the rotation of these stories pick up and continue no discernible way to determine when which plots will co-exist into one final arc. Will anything happening in King’s Landing truly matter by the time the White-Walker War begins? One could speculate that Tyrion and Dany will return to Westeros and their first stop will have to be King’s Landing on their way North, but the thing about predicting stories like these is that it doesn’t exist except in the realm of Jon’s return. This is also speculative but with Sansa and Brienne making their path toward the Wall I am absolutely expecting something to happen where Sansa gets veered off course for one reason or another and is never reunited with Jon. However she is a Stark and since Ramsey is searching for her, who knows how this will play out. Hopefully she’ll be in a position to be of use as right now she still isn’t becoming part of the “game” as it is so plainly known.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

It’s more outside of Jon’s return and centered around Melisandre’s new found vulnerability in not knowing what to believe or what to trust in her visions. Originally, I would have thought she would just know how to conjure a return of the dead, but it makes more sense that her abilities weren’t rooted in that kind of power. Now that she knows she has them what’s to prevent her from rezzing up anyone and everyone who takes a bad stab to the gut by her side? She didn’t seem to be drained of any energy by the attempt, but who knows, she’s good at hiding things like that.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Once again, Davos pulls through and is the one person who puts all the right people where they need to be to make the Wall safe and secure and even convinces a woman he’s learn to hate to do what she’s meant to do and help Jon. This guy is seriously more than an MVP, he’s a staple of the north now and will unquestionably do the right thing which means he’ll probably die by this season’s end, but now Melisandre can probably bring him back if such a thing were to happen. I know, that’s probably thinking way too far ahead. But he really is burying his issues with her and that’s commendable.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

Some new information came to us in Hodor’s origin in that he used talk and act normal which suggests he went through some traumatic event to make him the man we’ve known him to be all this time. Interesting little mystery thrown at us which begs the question, why Hodor? Is he or has he tried saying something else all this time, some clue into the past that Bran is meant to understand or any Stark for that matter?

 

Tyiron’s assumption that the dragons had great intelligence was put to the test, but he passed with flying colors though I half-expected Missandei to accompany him as he kept asking about her time spent with the dragons. I didn’t think he’d face the dragons alone, but that’s what happens when you’re plied and the first thought is “I want to hang out with some dragons. Points for Peter’s acting when he finally touches a dragon for the first time. You can tell Tyrion’s been wanting to do that all his life.

 

Not that it wasn’t a cool scene but when how did the Mountain (Robert Strong) hone in on the guy who told the raunchy story about Cersei? I can’t imagine anyone reporting to him or telling him, “Hey, go kill anyone who bas mouth’s the king’s mother. Seemed that was thrown in there just to keep us remembering who she has guarding her at all times. This will come into play later no doubt.

 

Jaime’s confrontation with the High Sparrow gave the interesting premise that at any point he could storm King’s Landing the take over if the seven gods willed it I imagine. There’s still the political versus religion vibe here and now that Jaime’s involved, he’s quickly learning that simply threatening to kill won’t earn him any brand of servitude from someone like the High Sparrow. All I’m expecting here is Jaime and Cersei planning to completely decimate the High Sparrow and all his followers, but probably going with more covert techniques. They might as well follow Tommen’s advice and bring down the entire sept.

 

I wouldn’t be surprised if this particular persona that’s leading Arya is in fact the real Jaqan. In fact, whenever I see one I’m just going to say that until I’m eventually right. Although it doesn’t really matter, such names mean nothing in that business and once Arya begins changing, she’ll look just like him too. Weird thought of the day.

 

OVERALL SCORE

9 out of 10. I’m a Jon and they brought him back which really wasn’t asking much considering this was the only telegraphed play they made since the show started and they’ve surprised us a lot in the past. A few deaths for some characters who essentially deserved it came to pass and all in all, this episode gave us a lot of positive momentum which is rarely seen. Granted Ramsey is still the prime evil concern, but he’s moving pieces in a desperate way because he’s impatient and insane. He won’t be prepared for the wildlings and the giants. Bran’s return marks some interesting scenes that will undoubtedly come in the form of crazy flashback sequences that could be anything at this point so the fan theories should skyrocket after this episode which I’m looking forward to reading. By next week, we’ll see Jon back in action and hopefully he’ll get some much needed payback against Allliser and Olly. Thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: Vikings – Season 4×01 (How much French did Rollo learn to set up that ambush?)

Vikings 4x01

 

SUMMARY

Back in Kattegat, a weakened Ragnar dreams of the doorway to Valhalla being shut to him while his son Bjorn arrests Floki for the murder of Athelstan. Queen Aslaug attempts to discover from the seer if she’ll be the ruler of Kattegat after Ragnar dies. He is reluctant to tell her. In Kalf and Lagertha’s town, Einar proclaims defiance against Kalf sharing rule with Lagertha. Through a trick of admittance, Kalf has everyone against Lagertha killed including Einar. Ragnar returns to moderate health and openly conflicts with Bjorn’s arrest of Floki as it forces him to act publicly. Bjorn decides to leave to prove to his father he can survive on his own. Meanwhile, in Paris, Rollo marries Emperor Charles’s defiant daughter but does not consummate the marriage. Later, Eirick confronts Rollo that his people don’t wish to follow the Franks and Rollo promises to ease his people’s worries. He then has them all killed with a dying Eirick swearing vengeance from Ragnar when he returns.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

The haunting words of the seer and the mythical doorway to Valhalla mark the return of Vikings as its fourth season ignites. The familiar battle between brothers may not be far behind, but for now, the ruler of Kattegat is regaining his strength. In a way, this season feels like a clean slate on many attitudes toward characters I felt were on their way to remaining villains. While Kalf is gaining Lagertha’s trust, Rollo is once more choosing to serve his own ambition all the while Ragnar must deal with consequences he assumed control over before he fell ill. More political than brutal, tonight’s premiere carries with it a modern pace of building momentum before the vikings are once more unleashed onto the world. Satisfying in most aspects, I look forward to this arc with shield and axe as my companions.

 

THE GOOD

What we’re looking for here is a clear depiction of internal desires from our main cast. Aslaug wants to rule Kattegat alone, Rollo wants to use this alliance with Paris to finally break out of the shadow of his brother, Bjorn wants to prove his own independence as well, and Kalf wants his alliance with Lagertha to be ironclad. But what does Ragnar want? He’s one of the few characters who’s motives are only revealed at the tipping point of the plot and as he dawdles around with his decision on Flocki’s imprisonment, he also catches the small hints that his wife isn’t happy that Ragnar is still around. His jokes are a way to assess and navigate his next path while he likely ponders why his dreams show him a closed doorway to Valhalla. I’ve no doubt he’ll journey back to Paris when the time is right, but for now, I like when he’s still seeding his intentions and staying unpredictable.

 

Rollo’s arc is also one of many dark chronicles he’s enduring. How he gets away with so much betrayal is a testament to his way of life and as much as he’s supposed to be despised, I find myself rooting for the guy simply because we need a worthy villain that can face Ragnar as an equal. I don’t ever expect this to conclude with Ragnar killing his own brother, but if that’s the direction we take this season, so be it. He plays at being kind to his new wife while sacrificing his people to his allies using the tactics necessary to achieve his goal. How he moves forward now that his people have been decimated is unknown, but he won’t be short of an army when Ragnar does return.

 

THE BAD

Rollo is a distraction from a threat closer to home in both Aslaug and Floki. While I like elements that are being played out, I’m not very keen on how survivable Floki is. Ragnar hasn’t decided what to do with Floki, but delaying such a choice isn’t costing him anything. Everyone is already on Ragnar’s side with maybe the exception of Aslaug who has her own issues to work on. Floki is a popular character and I get that, but he’s also reached the end of his tenure as a valued member of Ragnar’s allies. Unless he gets a full pardon, I can’t imagine him escaping will do any good unless he finds his own allies to war against Ragnar with and I’m not seeing that as a good thing at the moment.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

I really liked the opening with the seer and Ragnar’s dream. The doors close on him for some obvious reasons and maybe a few hidden ones. Notably his more accepting of the Christian faith automatically denies him such an entry, but at the same time, he has work to do as a leader and he needs to be alive to do it. We don’t really know how Ragnar personally views his dismissal into Valhalla and for now he’s mulling it over like his decision to execute Floki or not. In a way if he kills Floki it could very well be against the wishes of the gods. On the other hand, Floki may just try to assassinate him again if the gods so wish it. Great seasonal opening. I enjoy any scenes with the seer because he’s entirely mystical and represents the amused wall to anyone wishing to gain the truth.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Bjorn was trying to serve his father and in doing so made the wrong decisions in his father’s eyes. Even at the cost of alienating his daughter, he’s going to seek his truth out in the world as it pertains to his survival and independence. He’s trying not to be conflicted, but he certainly has issues to work out. I’d like to think he’ll return a stronger more assured character, but we’ll have to wait and see.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

I liked the inclusion of the cross-bow to the Viking society. It serves a valuable purpose in eliminating everyone against Kalf and Lagertha’s share of ruling and it was utilized again as Rollo’s weapons against his own people. They represent swift justice and agonizing pain to characters like Einar and Eirick who couldn’t defend themselves against such technology. As the age of weapons grows stronger, so too will the warfare as factions collide.

 

As normal, Ragnar is eyeballing a new prospect in his life, this time the slave, Yidu, who remains voiceless but someone Aslaug saw and procured for reasons unknown. Perhaps she’s meant to be a distraction to Ragnar to serve a darker purpose. It’s too early to tell, but I’d bet Aslaug has some kind of plan.

 

Though she seemed reluctant to do so, will Helga help Floki escape? She’s never defied her husband as far as I can recollect, even though helping him is very risky to both her and the safety of her daughter. With turmoil running that deep, I wouldn’t be surprised if she tried anyway.

 

Is Kalf really turning over a new leaf, and if so, is it enough to genuinely change Lagertha’s opinion of him and her oath to kill him one day? If I were just tuning into the show Kalf would seem like a real stand-up guy. But there’s also Erlendur to worry about who still harbors ill will over the death of his father. That won’t simply go away and with him close to Kalf, there has to be some kind of plotting to be seen.

 

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. It was an enjoyable start. I wasn’t expecting a harsh battle like season 2 or 3 right out of the gate, but a slow ramp up to something epic we’ll see later. These characters need to marinate in their positions and homes before we can really gauge what it is that they’ll do to retain the power they have. Rollo, Aslaug, Ragnar, and Lagertha are important characters, each with their own agenda in mind. How it all crosses is what will make season 4 the best season yet. Rollo and Ragnar will meet again, and Eirick’s dying words mark that as the episode to watch out for. The seers vision was simple and hidden as Aslaug attempts to secure her place in Kattegat. I’m looking forward to hearing more visions blur the lives of our characters. I would like resolution with Floki to happen sooner rather than later and if that means a quick death, then so be it. His devotion to the gods helps and conflicts with Ragnar’s changes over time, and if he’s pushed too far, he may do unspeakable things. Thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words