Fellow Liberal Dead-heads, this is Ryne from The Moon is a Dead World. I’ve signed on to do a sort of recap/review of each week’s horror hits, so welcome to DEADtime TV. Again, Kevin Lovell helps out with a review of The Following.
The Following: “Trust Me” – Monday, February 3 at 9 PM
This Monday, The Following continued its sophomore season with its second episode in its normal timeslot and sadly hit yet another series low in ratings, even with an all new episode of Almost Human as a lead in. I hope all of the fellow fans of the series will make sure to tune in each week so that we might see a third season of this great show.
Now on to the new episode, which this week I felt was a far superior episode compared to last week’s. This week brought some surprises we didn’t see coming, as well as an adequate amount of screen time balanced pretty fairly between all of our favorite characters, in addition of course to all the fun nastiness we expect from this show.
This week we balance between storylines involving Hardy, Carroll, the new and ever creepy twin brothers that have been brought into the fold this season, as well as bringing Emma much more front and center for the first time really this season. I was very pleased to see the character of Mike Weston (Ashmore) get a lot more screen time this episode as well as appearing to start becoming a more crucial part of the ongoing plot. It looks like they are still planning to keep him in tow as a vital character on the show, which certainly pleases me as I’m both a huge fan of the character and a fan of Shawn Ashmore as well.
The second season of The Following continues to move forward strongly, and I’m finding myself to appreciate a few of the key characters (namely Joe Carroll) far more in season two than I ever did during the fifteen episodes of the first season. I’m also really enjoying seeing Bacon’s character go into a very different mode and can’t help but feel it couldn’t be more appropriate for the character to take these actions and move in this direction based on what we have come to know of him thus far.
The second season of The Following is currently airing Monday’s at 9/8c on Fox, followingall new episodes of Almost Human so make sure you tune into both! -Kevin
Bitten: “Grief” – Monday, February 3 at 10 PM
It’s difficult to say if Bitten is getting better or worse as it goes along. Generally, a show can be defined as one of the two; if we like the characters, understand their drama, and enjoy seeing where an originally questionable plot takes us, then it becomes an entertaining experience. If the characters fail to develop into personable people, or if the plot doesn’t jive with the show’s themes, or even if the script continues to suck, then viewers tune out. But Bitten, to me, is worse than being a “bad” show, because it’s ultimately just a boring experience every episode.
Now there are a lot of fans of the book series out there, and I can understand having read all of the novels and wanting to like a show based off of them. I struggle with that myself, hoping that adaptations will live up to expectations. Though I’ve never read the original works, I sure hope they were never as boring as Bitten‘s first four episodes, because those novels would be an unbearably difficult slog.
“Grief” suffers much the same way as “Trespass” did last week: it really doesn’t go anywhere until its final scenes, leaving the best surprises for that last bit of episode after the last commercial break within the four minutes before end credits. When the rest of the hour is dedicated to fluffing the plot – exploring yet another mysterious mutt’s abode while trying to remain cautious, or grieving for Peter who we barely knew besides the two bullet points “plays at Warped Tour” and “did some drugs” – you’re bound to leave the viewer hoping for something a bit more exciting.
Bitten has even stopped giving us the nudity that we all thought shouldn’t be a necessary part of the show (or maybe I’m the only one in this camp). Elena and Clay get naked in “Grief” but we only see some elbows and knees and Clay’s hairy chest, but that’s a staple of every episode.
There’s just too much setup and not enough action. Sure, we see wolves running or maybe a dramatic scene where Elena and Clay are potentially in danger yet as we know, really aren’t, but Bitten is so scattered about with its characters that it doesn’t know how to reign anything in. “Grief” basically is exactly the same as the other episodes about finding a mutt, and it’s like we haven’t progressed at all from the beginning of this season.
Finally the show seems to be moving into territory that could potentially yield some interesting results, but it all depends on the structure of the episodes; if Bitten continues to stick with Elena and Clay as they annoyingly flirt/abuse each other in a will-they/won’t-they/do-we-really-care-if-they situation, running amok in the brush without much aim, then it doesn’t matter what kind of arching plot it has. It’ll still just fall into the category of “boring.”
Helix: “Aniqatiga” – Friday, February 7 at 10 PM
Helix is under the assumption that revealing things slowly across the course of its first season is a good thing; fortunately, that has worked fairly consistently throughout these first six episodes. “Aniqatiga,” day six of the viral outbreak at Arctic Biosystems, sees the show revealing quite a bit more about its mysterious characters, and even attempting to define why it has been so hesitant to reveal character personalities and backstories. The show very nearly blurts out, “It’s because we’ve been hiding something, dammit, and we don’t want to ruin the surprise!”
That “surprise” (although, if you read the Internet, it’s been surmised all along) comes to light mostly because of Julia, who is stuck in her own kind of hell after the viral infection leaves her hallucinating in the beginning stages. She sees Peter, alive and well, who takes her to a cabin with a roaring fire and a little girl who’s also named Julia. At first, she goes along with it – “My name’s also Julia, and hey, I used to go to a cabin in the summer with my mom too!” she replies naively – but it becomes apparent that this little girl is Julia in the past. And when all the other characters of Helix begin to shuffle into the dream, Julia realizes that she’s attempting to piece together something important from her past.
What that is we’re still not sure. Helix leaves her cutting open a turkey with blood inside, wondering what the hell she needs to remember. But Balleseros’ part in “Aniqatiga” gives the viewer a bit more info. He’s saved from dying by Anana, a cop from a neighboring town who says that ever since Arctic Biosystems moved in, children have gone missing. And one of them happens to be her little brother, who looks exactly like Daniel the security guard.
Helix is certainly giving the viewer the ability to put the clues together without actually telling us, which is a good thing. If the show were to blatantly come out with, “So yeah, Julia was probably kidnapped by Hatake long ago,” we probably wouldn’t appreciate the show doubting our ability to figure shit out. But “Aniqatiga” also leaves a lot of stuff open to interpretation; Sarah and Alan put Peter into a cryogenic freeze because they figure out that the virus reacts poorly to intense cold, but whether that will work out is anyone’s guess.
There are a number of flaws within this episode, including the obvious romance between Sarah and Alan and the strange naivete of Julia throughout. But those are small qualms when you think about how well Helix has cleared up some of its mysteries, only to reveal new and exciting ones. Having Balleseros taken away from the base adds all kinds of dilemmas, including new characters and a potential release of the virus. The military is also called to the scene, leaving the show open to explore new infections and possible consequences of the government’s involvement in creating new viruses.
Ultimately Helix is still maintaining its claustrophobic atmosphere while continuing to push forward; opening up the show to new areas (outside of the base) gives Helix the chance to expand its scope later, maybe not in this season but looking ahead to later ones. There’s so much potential for the show, and so far, there have been many more effective moments than missteps.
Join us again for DEADtime TV! Next week we’ll have more of The Following, Helix, Bitten, and the return of The Walking Dead!