A Sashurai’s Review: Dark Matter – Season 3×08 (Someone out in the cosmos said “Make me a shirt with shiny pineapples on it”)

Dark Matter 3x08

 

SUMMARY

After Six and a group of independent colony delegates escape a Ferrous Corp attack, one of the members is found dead on the Raza. Shortly after, the android begins exhibiting strange behavior as Five discovers she’s been hacked by a servant of Ishida. The android uses the clone pods on the ship to replicate Ishida and several men as they take over the ship. Five hides and with Sarah’s help reconnects with the android while Two, Three, and Six deal with Ishida and his group. After Ishida is thwarted, he returns to his body with Two swearing should they meet again she’ll kill him. While repair work continues on the blink drive, the crew find out several colonies have joined Ishida and the League of Autonomous worlds which has helped replenish his ranks for the internal war he faces. When the android and Five perform a test on the drive, it emits a high-intensity burst, rendering the crew unconscious.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

Dark Matter turns inward and pits former crew-member, Ishida against Two and the crew of the Raza as a skirmish erupts for control of the blink drive. There was a positive change in flavor with tonight’s episode most notably the fight scene between Two and Ishida and the android’s darker behavior under the control of a “hacker”. The interactions with Six and his fearful delegates dragged in some aspects, but the overall crux of the story was most certainly one of the highest ones this season. Some prior plot points were handled with good sense of logic behind it while one outlier still has me wondering why steps weren’t taken to solidify an answer, but we’ll get to that later. Excellent episode with a satisfying cliffhanger showcasing a time-travel journey for next week.

 

THE GOOD

Having Ishida confront Two was necessary and handled with an effective outcome. History didn’t let either forget what losing Nyx did to them and it was about time they dealt with it. Organically, Two shouldn’t be in a situation to forgive Ishida in any capacity regardless of his involvement in her death because their situation are beyond a simple misunderstanding. She isn’t bluffing and neither is he that the next time they meet one of them could perish indefinitely. What should be noted is when they meet again and not if. I wouldn’t count on either being killed off, but what a way to handle some heavy endings if it did come down to that. Now was a good time to finally come clean with Nyx’s death and who was responsible for it.

 

I enjoyed the android’s switch in alignment. When she’s emitting her emotional switch normally, she has a very human personality, but this one was more catered to wicked schemes and Five’s interactions with her was fun to watch. Finding opportunities to let the actors shine past their normal characters is always a treat and it was the android’s turn this time around.

 

THE BAD

The delegates were very minor in their role only providing some cannon fodder toward the plot with “who killed the former Ferrous Corp delegate? Which in actuality wasn’t resolved making their departure oddly incomplete. I thought Five was going to raise an alarm because the real killer was getting away, but in the end no one cared. It was an odd change of pace and adding the detail from the android that she didn’t kill the man leads me to wonder if she was being literal or figurative as maybe she just meant she was hacked and that technically doesn’t count. Just felt odd.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

That fight scene. There’s no denying when they concentrate on action, they can do a good job and here it was a rambunctious one-on-one with a nice steady camera angle that let the fight breathe on its own, something I have great respect for in the world of cinematography. Two and Ishida are the most capable hand-to-hand fighters on this show and it was only a matter of time when they would clash against each other. Very enjoyable fight to watch and it was given a substantial amount of time to tell. It’s tough to say if I agree with specifically how it went down considering Ishida’s background in martial arts and Two’s genetic make-up with her nano-technology. It’s difficult to say who really should have had the advantage, but I do want to lean toward Ishida because he should have studied his allies as well as his foes for weaknesses in their fighting style. Good job all around.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Five gets it on the count of her censored comment. Who knows if the Five from seasons past would take Ishida’s word when put in a similar circumstance, but it’s obvious she won’t trust him in any capacity from here on out. Not to mention, Ishida doesn’t sound exceptionally convincing when bargaining for freedom. It’s part of his schtick that he thinks he can get what he wants because he has positional power and characters like Five scoff at that sort of thing now. Her continued development gets more interesting by the episode and soon she’ll be running that ship all on her own. She’ll have to if the future is fixed, that’s for sure.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

It’s a good thing they clarified that the independent colonies and the league of autonomous worlds are not synonymous with one another. If Ishida has his way, he’ll scoop up the remaining colonies and let them die for his world all for the sake of simulated freedom against other worlds that likely want the same thing. Ishida using them just proves more and more that he’s not connected to anything save for his own title and ability to govern. We were given a short moment where he grabbed his sword and almost began his old kata routine only to put it back. I know it was meant to be sentimental for his own sake, but he’s a bit past the point of return considering the choices he’s made. In a way he’s trying to straddle that fence, but his reasoning will clash with the crew easily from here on out.

 

One aspect I can’t decide if I like or not is how misdirected we were with last week’s ending showcasing the android under the influence with who I easily thought was Sarah. I fell for it because I had literally nothing else to prove a different theory. In some ways I like the bait and switch technique but in others, it was too jarring considering all eyes were set on Sarah who seemed relatively “off” in her performance under the crew’s radar. Ultimately it carried a purpose that was better suited for tonight’s episode, but next time I hope we can find the clues more easily.

 

Still no movement on Five’s elusive hidden sister we found out about earlier this season. I know they won’t forget to include this plot detail, but I’m also less hopeful that her sister will be anything more than a one-off episode that will likely end in that characters death, demise, or disappearance considering most fates of side characters on this show. We’ll see.

 

When you stop and think about it, letting Ishida return with his memories intact was the smarter move as not doing so would mean he wouldn’t know about the blink drive’s defective status and likely hunt for it again. I could feel the itchy trigger fingers wanting to destroy the clone, but it was for the best as well as the threat that came from both parties. They really need to have those pods on lock-down moving forward.

 

OVERALL SCORE

9 out of 10. Dark Matter reads solid as Two and Ishida face each other in an action-packed episode over control of the blink drive. Twice Ishida’s been thwarted with another attempt likely meaning the short demise of someone substantial, but rest assured, it won’t be Five as she cleverly finds a way to help save her crew once again. The ending promises more sci-fi shenanigans with a tease of time-travel next week which could hopefully include some foreshadowing as to Earth’s evolution into space. In the meantime, tonight’s episode was a pager turner that delivered in good action, some high-suspense and great acting by the android and Five herself. Take root and prepare for next week’s look at the 21st century. Thanks for reading.

 

 

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A Sashurai’s Review: The Originals – Season 3×08 (In a way, aren’t all vampires bi-polar?)

TO 7x08

 

SUMMARY

With both Tristan and Camille captured separately, time is of the essence as Freya and Elijah attempt to discover Tristan’s half of the coordinates leading to Rebekah while Klaus searches for Aurora. Marcel is given the task with retrieving Tristan or the Stricts will revoke his membership and Aurora creates new vampires with the intention of letting them feed on Camille for making her jealous.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

While not exactly a filler episode, there wasn’t much push in the direction of plot save for being one step closer to finding Rebekah and placing Marcel directly in the Stricts good graces. Most of the characters are no better or worse for their worries and woes though Klaus is now aware of Camille’s dark secret that originally put her on a path to learning the psychology she uses on a daily basis. The prophecy is only mentioned twice which means we’ll be stretching this out longer than may be necessary, but it’s a slow boil until everything rips itself apart. It’s no longer a sire war as it is a delicate game of tug-o-war mainly dealing with short tempers and fragile alliances. Aside from an interesting final scene, there wasn’t much in the way of considerable moments that exist as the payoff to what we’re anticipating as a war of the originals.

 

RECAP

With Elijah present, Freya binds Tristan in a circle while Hayley bites and tortures him to procure half the coordinates to Rebekah’s location in the ocean floor. Meanwhile, Aurora takes Camille to Marcel’s gym and begins turning a group of men there who want to be vampires. Klaus searches around through clues Aurora left for him as Lucien follows with complaints that Camille should be left to die. Klaus eventually discovers Camille’s location and snaps Lucien’s neck when he becomes too annoying. Marcel is approached by Aya and told to resure Tristan to prove his loyalty using the same stake she used to render Rebekah near death. Aurora forces Camille to tell her a dark secret while passing the time leading her to admit to severely hurting a man in college for abusive acts on another woman. This drove her to learn psychology to study her behavior as she enjoyed the feeling of retaliating. Marcel finds Elijah and requests Tristan be released. When Elijah refuses, his sireline appears and they fight. Hayley helps until Marcel stabs Elijah from behind. Meanwhile, Aya finds Tristan and stabs Freya in the stomach. The pair leave as Marcel stays behind and heals Freya. Later, Tristan allows Marcel to join their ranks and discovers clues to Rebekah’s location which he later texts to Elijah. Klaus finds Aurora and attempts to persuade her that she doesn’t care for Camille. Unfazed by the move, Aurora intends to kill Camille but Klaus removes Aurora from the gym as Camille is knocked unconscious. She wakes to find the new vampire group hungry and one attacks her. She stakes her as Klaus returns to rescue her. Aurora laments her grief over losing Klaus to Lucien who consoles her while Freya summons Finn’s spirit from her locket with a need to speak to him about something important.

 

THE GOOD

Learning of Camille’s history with a violent act was an interesting way to further connect her with Klaus who likely feels more kinship with her than before. That kind of backstory makes sense for her character as we never really knew why motivated her to learn psychology. I’m also glad they didn’t decide to throw Klaus and Camille together right then and there. The music only brought the notion but they didn’t explore it. That will come later, but rest assured it’ll be a done deal this season unless something extremely tragic occurs.

 

There wasn’t much, but reintroducing the original Finn is an interesting development as he wasn’t very focused on except when he took over Vincent. As Rebekah was trying to resurrect Kol, Freya seems to have plans or at least wants to discuss something with Finn, but right now we can only speculate. In retrospect we have two ghosts, two vampires, and a hybrid. That makes for a merry Mikaelson bunch, right?

 

THE BAD

It seems minor, but I’d like to point out that there are references to objects that seem to have powerful effects against the originals and we’ve never heard of them before including that coin Lucien gave Klaus and Aya’s mystical stake that seems to have the same abilities as the daggers we all remember back in the TVD days. I’m hoping they don’t continue to conjure these powerful artifacts out of nowhere without at least some explanation as to how they came to be, who made the, and why.

 

I’m not sure I completely understand Aurora’s endgame here. Granted she admits she has bipolar but that hardly means she’s incapable of devising well thought out plans to convince old loves to choose them again. If she was going to prove Camille wasn’t important regardless of what she found out about her, why go through the charade at all? If she killed Camille, her fate would have been sealed. She took a chance that Klaus would choose her and lost that gamble horribly. Klaus also recanted his earlier claim about caring for her which makes showing us his painting of her locked in a brick wall almost a moot moment. Klaus may be twisted but he’s generally an honest person because his ego needs his audience to know how justified he feels in any decision he makes because he’s too powerful to be refused.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

Camille’s backstory on her one and only violent act was an unexpected bonus to finding more about her nature and history. She’s by no means a violent character but she had a moment that she couldn’t control and in the result she drew pleasure from it. Klaus now knows this and though he wouldn’t exploit it on purpose, I can see him using this to flesh out more of their relationship? What that means is anyone’s guess, but at some point he’ll stop being just a protector and make a move that will really define if he’s capable of changing for the better or if Aurora is right and Camille is nothing more than a plaything to him.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Marcel is definitely putting himself on a limb to help Elijah and Klaus. It’s easy to tell that he will never truly betray them, but there stands to reason that something might compel him to turn later, because he’ll never do it of his own accord. He remains quick witted and cunning as he not only successfully kept his cover but he found the clue needed to nearly locate Rebekah. Hopefully he won’t have to prove himself further which could mean Aya will give him some slack. This is a good part for him to play and helps keep him not only relevant but useful to his strengths.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

Aurora’s two clues scavenger hunt was completely pointless. In the end it was to bide time for the new vampires to awaken and to give Klaus a bit of something to do between scenes with Elijah and Tristan. They could have made this more involved and interesting, but it really felt weak.

 

For that one brief moment I actually felt bad for Lucien as he looked at Aurora with that expression that only unrequited love can produce. Maybe she’ll turn to him for attention to try and get over Klaus, but I think she’ll be a bit more destructive. Truthfully I can see her still going after Camille for what happened.

 

Jackson’s absence being explained as his activities in the bayou is something I mentioned in my TVD review earlier that when characters are notably absent there should always be some reference if normally they should be present. Granted, Jackson left Hayley, but we didn’t know where and I always feel those kinds of non-explanations are weak reasons to write characters out of certain portions of shows. Tonight, is a good example of how to do it right.

 

 

OVERALL SCORE

6 out of 10. A little higher than average. The Originals used an entire episode to cover two points, that Camille had a dark secret we now know and that Marcel is now fully immersed with the Stricts. Everything surrounding that information was a bit dragged out and probably didn’t need so long to tell. The prophecy continues to be referenced, but it’s more for reminding exposition than it is to draw out fear because I’m certain Elijah and Klaus are tired of hearing it. Elijah knows what’s looming, but even he can’t overprepare for what’s coming, and we still don’t know what. We’ve always known how deeply Klaus cares for Camille, but like most intentions to be good it revolves around being accepted by the ones you love and what you’re willing to do for them. Klaus’s acts will always be hollow in nature until he does them for himself. We’ll get one more episode before the winter break, hopefully to develop Freya’s relationship with Finn and her plans with him. Thanks for reading.

 

 

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A Sashurai’s Review: Vikings – Season 3×08 (If at first you don’t succeed…)

Vikings 08

The tempting fragrance of a new city to conquer was enough to fuel the northmen, but the might and numbers simply weren’t enough to overtake Paris. Ragnar suffers potentially his worst defeat at the hands of Princess Gisla’s rally and the men who fought under her anointed banner.  Many were slain and wounded, but the bulk of our Viking cast remains intact for the next round. The siege isn’t over yet, and there are only two episodes left in this rambunctious and blood-thirsty season.

Entire episodes dealing primarily on sacking a city are not unheard of (I’m talking to you GOT season 2×09). They have a different pace and a non-stop fury of intense moments that spark the imagination and of course warrant deadly concern over any character’s survival. Here we get an unrelenting view of both sides trying to manage their duty and purpose which plays incredibly well for both parties. Gisla isn’t afraid and she not only pulled out the heart of her city, but she showed it to the soldiers who found new strength in defending their home. I give Gisla a lot of credit for standing her ground and witnessing the onslaught first hand.

On the opposing end, Ragnar, Floki, Bjorn, Rollo, and Lagertha stage their double-sided attack and perform at their more cunning capacity, which for a short time had the perception of being in their favor. Men and women climbed Floki’s towers and screamed their war cries of victory, only to be shot down or burned alive for the effort. Lagertha fairs no better at the front gate where long spikes and arrows greet the group after they spent an enormous amount of time just getting through the front door. Bjorn suffers near fatal injuries as he, Rollo and Ragnar storm the castle walls and take on the entire squad stationed there themselves. It was a moment to take in because main characters get to have moments to shine where normal reality would dictate they’d likely be killed if they were the only three battling so many. But they each fell in their own way and retreated as they had no choice.

Floki experienced an almost ethereal awakening while surrounded by fire from under one of his towers. He questioned the gods and blamed Athelstan for his failure, even going so far as to cut his own throat to avoid either shame or worse. Yet, he expels the thought and survives like the rest not knowing how his Viking brethren will react knowing the plan was consciously his under the guise of Ragnar’s choice to let Floki manage the siege. Floki’s performance and confusion was masterfully played even if I never believed for a second that he would die in this episode.

Rollo shined as the brute who would cut down his own men for the cowardice they showed by refusing to climb the towers in front of them. Shirtless and bearded, he charged ready to battle all of Paris himself. His warrior spirit won’t die that easily and it should be noted that when he fell into the river, there was a moment of kinship between that scene and how Siggy succumbed to her fate. Yet Rollo will do no such thing, and that’s a good thing.

After Paris celebrates their victory, the wounded Vikings tend to their own, restoring Bjorn and dealing with their massive setback. Kalf warms up to Lagertha who gives in to his advances under the condition that sometime in the future she’ll kill him for taking over her land. He seals the contract with a kiss and all I could think about is this is what it must be like if humans acted like spiders or praying mantis’s. If the male goes into the deal knowing he won’t come out of it alive, he must think it’s worth losing his life over. And I don’t doubt Lagertha will uphold her end of the bargain regardless of Kalf’s future scheming.

The episode ends with Ragnar finding a quiet place to speak to Athelstan once more, declaring through his wounds that one way or another, he’ll take over Paris. He stares off in his beguiling gaze as we prepare for one more charge into Paris next week.

FAVORITE MOMENT

Many rampant and stylized moments consumed the screen, but my top scene goes to the trio (Rollo, Ragnar, Bjorn) fighting their way to the top and ultimately suffering defeat as each are expelled from the wall in different gut-wrenching capacities. By this point in the attack it was clear the three of them wouldn’t make much of a difference but the surreal rage and violence of it all lent to a classic moment that really defines the Viking culture of that period and those who showcased it. They wouldn’t quit. Even at sure defeat, Ragnar joined his on and brother and did what he set out to do, even if it killed him. For the moment, they’ve been denied their glorious deaths.

CHARACTER MVP

Floki once again takes the trophy for his maniacal behavior and cathartic awakening to the carnage blazing around him. He showed absolutely zero doubt that his towers would be the key to victory. When the damage and death became too great, he retreated under a tower and proceeded to argue with himself the gods over why such a defeat came to be. In a way he’s an antonym to the  brutal nature of the Viking era, with his high-pitched laughter and shameless dancing, yet he captures the essence of their beliefs every time he’s on screen. It can’t be easy playing such a layered character, but Floki is an ever complicated man who just wants to be rewarded for his faith.

LONG TERM THOUGHTS

Porunn is seen briefly traveling away from Kattegat, alone. Without any more evidence to support her sullen attitude as of late, she leaves her home without her child toward who knows where. I’m hoping we haven’t seen the last of her. Kattegat seems to have some tragic effects on our supporting characters as of late.

While it appears obvious that Ragnar allowed Floki to plan the attack so not to suffer the blame of defeat, I wonder if he had a different plan of his own from the get go. He knows he doesn’t have the manpower to fail again, which of course suggests a more stealthy approach (Having peeked at next week’s promo). I also think they should have just tried to raid at night.

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. This is what we wanted to see last week, a no-holds-barred action packed wallop. Though the end result wasn’t what Ragnar wanted the extreme effort was fuel for our entertainment. The sweeping shots showed us great scale though I wasn’t as impressed with the CGI as I was with the backdrop of Paris which was much better rendered and detailed. The intensity was there with each player screaming and riling for their chance to maim and kill and the end showed promise of things to come. Ragnar may have to deal with another loss in the future, but for now he’s dead set on keeping his goal intact. Until next week.

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