We’re still playing catch-up after all of the Halloween celebrations, and we’re having a tough time with it. So far, Kevin will continue his Stalker coverage as well as covering for Gotham again this week. He’ll also add Grimm. I’ve got American Horror Story: Freak Show, Sleepy Hollow, and Resurrection still. Shawn will be posting a separate update with his updated coverage of Z-Nation, The Walking Dead, and more. Also, be on the lookout for a complete overhaul of the formatting of DEADtime TV.
Resurrection: “Old Scars” – Sunday, October 19 at 9 PM
A Langston family reunion is the subject of “Old Scars,” bringing together both the alive and the returned for a feast reminiscent of Thanksgiving, especially with all of the family fights and glares across the table – and the wine is flowing too. Watching Resurrection week-to-week, it’s easy to forget that most of the returned have some connection to the Langstons; Jacob was the first, of course, and now Fred and Henry’s mother is back, but the show left Barbara out of the proceedings until now. I forgot about her and at least Resurrection makes a point to try to heal some of the wounds of the past.
“Old Scars” is mostly about this event, an attempt to round all of the Langstons up to get them to celebrate the return of the dead instead of mourning their loss years prior. It doesn’t necessarily work, because Lucille can’t forgive Barbara for causing the death of her son. One can imagine how Lucille feels, or if you’ve ever had a child return from the dead as his young self then you know how she feels, but at the same time this exchange is played out to cheesy extremes: it wasn’t Barbara’s fault insomuch as she caused Jacob to fall into the river, but that they both happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Even if the dinner itself feels somewhat forced, there are a couple of intriguing scenes thrown in for good measure. It’s clear that Margaret Langston has something to hide – quite literally, she’s hiding bones in the furniture factory – but at the dinner table, when she gives a slight smirk after Barbara and Lucille get into a verbal assault, the hint of mischief is there, and welcome!
More than that, there are a few flashbacks to Margaret’s childhood, where she helped burn a man with a brace after they hunted him down and hanged him. She tells Jacob a story, exchanging “handicapped man” for “demon” (yikes, Resurrection, I get what you were going for but that’s still kind of offensive) and explaining that she has now become a demon herself. What this means is really up in the air so far, and Resurrection doesn’t bother to explore what this guy did to deserve such an awful fate, but at least there’s the notion that the show is finally going somewhere besides “people return, then they try to resume their lives.”
“Old Scars” throws a new development into the mix for returned, too. Bellamy and Maggie find that now a lot of the returned are sick for some reason, coughing and wheezing and all around not looking very good. This feels more like a ploy than an actual important piece of returned news – the show has been skirting around sickness and returned people for a while now, and with the others being relatively healthy, I would expect these people to have only caught the flu or something.
But I think Henry says it best in “Old Scars,” explaining the returned but also defining Resurrection: he doesn’t know why the returned came back, and he’s not sure they’ll ever know why. While that’s not a problem per se, Resurrection doesn’t have much else going for it right now. The Leftovers is doing a similar thing, just with disappearance instead of returned people, but it at least effectively explores the psychoses of its characters after the event. But “Old Scars” hints at getting to its characters’ backstories, and that’s something to look forward to at least.
Gotham: “Viper” – Monday, October 20 at 8 PM
This week yours truly, Kevin Lovell will once again be taking a trip over to ‘Gotham’ for the latest episode in the new DC pre-Batman spin-off series, but rest assured that Shawn Savage will be back covering the show soon and I’m merely making an extended guest appearance. This week’s new episode of ‘Gotham’ marks the fifth episode in the first season and the series as a whole. The episode is titled ‘Viper’. The episode begins with young Bruce Wayne continuing to comb his way through files and pictures, still intent on discovering who was truly responsible for the murder of his parents. While Alfred tries to pull him away for even a moment, Bruce is unrelenting and it’s obvious his mind is only on one thing. We then cut to a man playing guitar on the street corner in the hopes of getting money when a man drops a mysterious vial into his guitar case and walks away. The green vial simply notes ‘Breathe Me’ and appears to be some form of narcotic. The man breathes in the green mist with little hesitation and soon finds himself seeing glowing colors around the borders of his vision, calling other men mortals, drinking milk in bulk and also suddenly capable of enough strength to pull an ATM machine out of a wall with his bare hands and carry it away on his back.
This week’s episode focuses for the most part on a new drug making its way throughout the city (the before mentioned substance in the vial the man inhaled) called Viper and while providing people god-like strength for a period of time, eventually results in their death and soon people on the street are dropping at an alarming rate. Jim Gordon, along with his ever chipper partner Bullock investigate the drug and discover from their PD lab geek Edward Nygma that the substance would only be possible to create in the most sophisticated of labs, such as the one run by a division of Wayne Enterprises. As the facts start to get pieced together Wayne Enterprises also appears to possibly even have a direct link with Viper. At the same time Penguin begins to build his way in Maroni’s crew after revealing himself in full to Maroni (and Maroni getting confirmation of this by Gordon himself) and just may be back on his way up as Maroni’s secret weapon against Falcone. Bruce meanwhile comes to troubling conclusions about elements of criminal interaction and associations within certain dealings at Wayne Enterprises and decides to try and confront the board members to demand answers.
After five episodes I must admit that ‘Gotham’ is certainly starting to grow on me and while being the picky son of a bitch that I am I know I’ll always continue to be troubled by the tinkering of such huge plot elements of the Batman story. Nonetheless I find myself continually enjoying the series more and more each week. It’s really more of a crime-noir cop show than anything else and one can’t help but love it for that aspect. It also continues to do a fantastic job with the imagery and really bringing this town and its inhabitants to life and I’ll definitely keep watching for now and hopefully the rest of you will do the same.
‘Gotham’ is currently airing its debut Season Monday’s at 8:PM on FOX.
Sleepy Hollow: “The Weeping Lady” – Monday, October 20 at 9 PM
Weeping ladies are pretty common for ghost stories, and on a Monday right before Halloween, Sleepy Hollow comes up with a variant of those old tales about women with unrequited loves that just barely touches on its overarching theme about Henry the Horseman of War and his foibles with Ichabod and Abbie.
The Weeping Lady, per Sleepy Hollow lore thanks to that weird thing that holds books called the library, has been seen numerous times in town, sniffling and covered in a black veil that hides her luminous green evil jealousy eyes, but for the most part she hasn’t attempted to attack anyone. That all changes after Ichabod meets a woman who shares his interest in historical period garb; she winds up dead, and soon after that Abbie’s also attacked, leaving Ichabod to surmise one thing: that the Weeping Lady is a woman that obsessed over him in his past, and she’s trying to kill off any woman who might steal his heart.
Ichabod is always the reason for bad things happening, and part of that is his relationship with Katrina. But in “The Weeping Lady,” the death of another and the near-drowning of Abbie is directly related to him, not just because of his associations to Katrina and the Headless Horseman. It’s a different sort of narrative that leaves him mostly responsible for the actions despite his best interests, and that makes this a strong episode in its own right.
Not only that, the Weeping Lady is quite creepy. There are definitely some computer effects in here, but Sleepy Hollow has done a good job of making the woman scary without losing her ethereal qualities. It’s a great ghost story, and one that feels like a large change from the monter-driven episodes.
Again, “The Weeping Lady” pulls in Hawley for help, and the show is really making him into a main player. A lot of this feels way too coincidental – bumping into him in the library is not an average daily occurrence – but it’s nice to see a new face added, one that doesn’t always get along with Ichabod.
But “The Weeping Lady” succeeds in another way, too. Katrina, who has always felt sort of shady even with her association with Ichabod, is forced to explain why she lied to Ichabod after her association with the Weeping Lady’s death. Her lie highlights the distance between Ichabod and Katrina, something that the show hasn’t addressed much until now. Katrina has been on the outskirts of Ichabod’s life in the present, and though she is often a crutch for him, she’s also untrustworthy. It opens up a lot of exploration for the show, something I’d expect to see more of in the future – if she lied about this, there’s most likely other stuff she hasn’t told Ichabod.
In this string of strong episodes, it’s easy to forget that Sleepy Hollow does sometimes feel too coincidental. “The Weeping Lady” is perfect for Halloween, though, and it’s a ghost story that we don’t normally get from Sleepy Hollow.
Stalker: “Phobia” – Wednesday, October 22 at 10 PM
This week’s new episode of ‘Stalker’ marks both the fourth episode in the first season and the series as a whole. The episode is titled ‘Phobia’. The episode begins with a woman coming from a blind date with a man who pushes for the night to continue, but not feeling the same she tries to politely turn him down. Upon getting inside her home and jumping into the shower, she comes out to find no workable lights in her house and soon discovers all of the light bulbs stashed away inside of a dresser drawer. Next thing she knows she is being tormented by a man in the dark as one of her deepest fears is realized and she’s stuck in pitch black darkness, her furniture rearranged so that she’s lost and stumbling in her own home. She miraculously finds her way out of the house and fortunately her stalker doesn’t follow.
This week’s episode focuses for the most part on a new case for the unit, as usual introduced in the opening sequence detailed above. This time around the team seems to be dealing with a man who gets off on making women realize their darkest fears and feeling their terror as he watches. While the initial thoughts on the first victim would lead one to believe it’s naturally the blind date, they soon find him locked inside of his own trunk in an empty home nearby. When a second victim is attacked, it becomes obvious they are dealing with a serial stalker. The second victim is awakened in her home surround by snakes, naturally her worst fear coming to life and the stalker unit realizes that whoever is doing this has no intention of stopping.
The fourth episode of ‘Stalker’ continues to do an excellent job of merging the standard crime/cop series with horror elements and plays phenomenally well on the fears that are so relatable it can’t help but hit home. This week’s episode also delves much deeper into the whole scenario with Beth’s creepy new stalker who was introduced in the series premiere. We discover that her friend has met a new great guy and it’s no surprise to discover who that great new guy is when we see them together. The whole situation is really getting into some deliciously creepy territory and I can’t wait to see how it unravels as the season progresses. I hope the rest of you out there are enjoying ‘Stalker’ even half as much as I am and I’ll see you all back here next week for our continuing DEADtime coverage of the series.
‘Stalker’ is currently airing its debut Season Wednesday’s at 10:PM on CBS.
American Horror Story: Freak Show: “Edward Mordrake: Part 1” – Wednesday, October 22 at 10 PM
Edward Mordrake is a man with two faces, one of the faces looking like something straight out of a Troma film. He’s a man who comes on Halloween night to take a freak back to the underworld with him, chosen by the face itself. “Part 1” doesn’t involve Mordrake too much, but it does at least introduces this true historical character, much like Coven did with Papa Legba.
This Halloween-themed episode of American Horror Story: Freak Show finds the show tossing around a couple of cool ideas, and also succinctly tackling the backstory of Ethel. Not one to skimp on subplots, “Edward Mordrake: Part 1” introduces Maggie Esmerelda (Emma Roberts) and Stanley (Denis O’Hare) as freak hunters that sell parts to museums for money.
This is a relatively overstuffed episode of the American Horror Story, one that tries to juggle too much at once. There’s a lot thrown at the viewer – the duo of Maggie and Stanley getting involved in the freak show, Dell’s marital problems because of his erectile dysfunction, Dandy’s Halloween activities as a clown, the visit of Edward Mordrake – without really sticking with any of it. That’s been a problem in the past, and this week it is certainly a point of interest; it would be reasonable enough to assume that Freak Show could deal with two or three of these events, but all of them happening in the same episode is quite overkill.
It’s simply because Freak Show doesn’t have time to deal with all of these areas. The one that’s best fleshed out is the discussion between Mordrake and Ethel, which, while a bit convenient, is at least a nice look at a dying freak’s past. Ethel hasn’t had much time to grow as a character, mostly relegated to giving Jimmy advice from the background, so Freak Show taking the time to focus on her as a person, rather than the label of “freak” that the show so often tries to eschew, actually gives credence to that theme.
At the same time, Freak Show has to drop some of its other plot lines to make room for Mordrake and Esmerelda. The Bette/Dot conflict with Elsa is there, but certainly not the main priority of this episode; with that, “Edward Mordrake: Part 1” attempts to drop in a short scene with Bette and Dot where Dot threatens she will have surgery to cut Bette out of her life. It’s not as effective as it could be because it really does feel thrown into this episode, just like Elsa’s song – Lana Del Rey’s “Gods and Monsters.”
However, “Part 1” does have some great successes, including Dandy’s weird costume dress-up. It’s clear he’s psychotic, and he’s now copying Twisty’s MO, but Freak Show does a good job of showing how laughable Dandy is in his everyday life. More than that, director Michael Uppendahl features a few homages to Halloween, including POV shots straight from Carpenter’s flick and a similar score.
In all, “Edward Mordrake (Part 1)” is a successful enough episode; it certainly begins to find more of a direction for the show, dealing with Esmerelda and Stanley’s attempts to conjure up some money by using the freaks. But it’s also a significantly jumbled episode, one that is much more unfocused than the rest of the season so far. With the upcoming “Part 2,” though, it’s possible that this will all be cleaned up with the conclusion.
Grimm: “Thanks for the Memories” – Friday, October 24 at 9 PM
This week we welcome back the fantasy/horror series ‘Grimm’ as it finally returns to kick off its fourth season, once again on Friday nights. This week’s season premiere of ‘Grimm’ marks the first episode in the fourth season of the series and is titled ‘Thanks for the Memories’. The season premiere picks up just where we left off in the season three finale, following the mayhem at the wedding with Nick discovering that his powers as a Grimm have mysteriously vanished. This is surely once again the doing of the conniving Adalind who tricked Nick into sleeping with her by taking Juliette’s appearance but that doesn’t provide any answers as to how (or if) it can be reversed. This unfortunately also leaves Trubel as the only Grimm at the moment.
The episode focuses on a new case with an Octopus appearing Wesen called an Esser attacking folks. Nick and Hank must deal with this by bringing Trubel into play with Nick currently unable to figure the case out on his own lacking his powers. At the same time Nick must discover what happened to his powers and if there is any possibility of reacquiring them. Against the protests of Nick and the rest Monroe and Rosalee call off their honeymoon, refusing to leave with things currently so hectic and insist on staying here in order to help out in any way they can. Meanwhile Captain Renard also fights for his life in the hospital following his encounter at Nick’s house that left him dangerously wounded and things continue to look grim (no pun intended) for him.
The fourth season of ‘Grimm’ has finally arrived and I’m sure the fellow fans out there are as thrilled as I am about it. Once again, the new season kicks off with a bang, not wasting any time and diving straight into the plethora of issues and insanity left at hand when season three wrapped. While it’s of course a bit early to begin forming any sort of opinion on the season as a whole, it’s certainly off to a good start if you ask me and it’s great to finally have the series back at last. I hope the rest of the fans out there enjoyed it as much as I did and I’ll see you all back here each week for our continuing DEADtime coverage of the new season.
‘Grimm’ is currently airing its fourth Season Friday’s at 9:PM on NBC.
That’s it for this week. We’ll be posting next week’s very soon after this one, and we’ll also be starting a new format around Thanksgiving. All new stuff for DEADtime, and we hope to get back to our timely postings.