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, and Shawn Savage joins in with a review of The Walking Dead! No premieres this week, so it’s a pretty quiet week.
Resurrection: “Unearth” – Sunday, March 16 at 9 PM
Resurrection‘s pilot episode focused on the return of a child named Jacob, who died in a drowning years ago and finds his way back to his now aged family thanks to an immigrations officer named Bellamy. This week, the focus shifts mainly to Caleb, a mysterious returned person who’s the father of Elaine known for being a failure at the role. He’s back, and he’s better than he used to be, although “Unearth” shows us that just because Caleb can act like he’s nice, it doesn’t mean he really is. (In another note, this is the second sinister Caleb of this week’s episodes, counting Bates Motel below!)
“Unearth” is a better episode than Resurrection‘s pilot if only because it has a bit more plot to work with. Now that Caleb is also a recurring character, the show has the ability to switch between the two returned’s plots; being an adult with more secrets, Caleb is the more interesting of the two, but Jacob gets his own features this week as well.
Part of Resurrection‘s major problem is that it dwells on some pretty obvious dilemmas about people coming back from the dead and making them into giant storylines. In this episode, people have a hard time dealing with Jacob’s return: parents call their children to come home when Jacob tries to play with them, and people give him funny looks when they see him with his significantly older mother. Even Tom, the local pastor and childhood friend of Jacob, has a difficult time accepting that this child could be the same as the one he grew up with.
“Unearth” really hammers this point home, with nearly twenty minutes of its running time devoted to people giving Jacob dirty looks. Kurtwood Smith gets to play the angry old man again as Jacob’s father Henry, mainly relegated to looking upset or yelling at people about how he doesn’t want to believe Jacob is still his son. That, and he really opposes Bellamy and his niece Maggie opening up his son’s tomb.
The same goes for Maggie’s dad, Sheriff Fred Langston, who gives Bellamy the what-for by bringing up the fact the guy has some secrets he hasn’t shared. Is one of them something about Bellamy losing his job as an immigrations officer? Because he sure isn’t doing any part of his job sticking around to care for Jacob. On the other side of things, we learn that Fred’s wife, who also drowned with Jacob, had some postpartum depression and stuff.
Ultimately, though, Caleb is the most interesting part of Resurrection because it actually seems like something can be done with his character. He’s not as nice as people seem to believe, and the end of “Unearth” sees him taking a hammer to some dude’s face, so that’s kind of cool. It’s the most action we’ve gotten from the show so far, and it’s a promising step – maybe resurrected people aren’t always good!
“Unearth” seems to think finding out whether Jacob’s body is in his tomb is important, but honestly, it’s not. Who cares whether his body is in the casket? It won’t change the fact that he’s alive and walking around – even if his body is gone, then he’s been risen, and if it isn’t, then he’s been sent back from some other land. Either way, it’s some voodoo shit that no one understands, and it won’t be understood if they find a body or not.
Resurrection isn’t a terribly great show because it lingers on its melodrama; its script isn’t intelligent enough to sustain such lengthy diatribes on the acceptance of life after death, and here’s why: this episode, Kurtwood Smith and Frances Fisher try to put a Wii U together, calling in Pastor Tom for backup who replies, “I think I can figure this out.” Has scriptwriter Thomas Schnauz ever set up a Wii? It requires plugging two cables into their respective slots, not exactly a task that necessitates an MIT computer specialist.
The Walking Dead: “The Grove” – Sunday, March 16 at 10 PM
Well, we knew this was coming, right? Not this in particular, but the way the show has been for the last several episodes, we knew something major was about to happen. By the laws of television it was required. I’ve had my suspicions for a while, that Lizzie was going to recreate one of the more shocking occurrences from the comic book. They’ve been hinting at it for as long as I can remember. Of course, if you’re not familiar with the comics, I can see how The Grove could have felt complete out of left field, for you. This episode focuses entirely on Tyreese, Carol, and the children. Holed up in a random farmhouse, within eyesight of the fire that Daryl and Beth set in their Fuck You episode, the faction entertains the idea of making a life there. Obviously it is wishful thinking, just caught up in the emotions of being sheltered for a few moments, and in Walking Dead fashion, things quickly begin to deteriorate.
Lizzie is still having trouble understanding that walkers aren’t people, and Mika is still having trouble grasping that the world is a different place now, and she may actually be put into a situation where it is either take a human life, or be killed herself. Carol spends almost the entirety of the episode, trying to reign them in from their respective neuroses, while at the same time, experiencing unbearable guilt for having not confessed to Tyreese that she is in fact the one that took the life of the woman that he has been obsessing over. Out on their own, Carol and Tyreese return to a crime scene. Lizzie has murdered Mika, to prove that when they come back to life, that they are not monsters. She was also about to do the same thing to Judith. Visibly shaken, Carol and Tyreese attempt to manage the situation, without alerting Lizzie to their true emotions. Lizzie has not only just murdered her sister, but she was also holding a gun on the two, in an effort to force them to wait for Mika to come back from the dead. Now Tyreese and Carol have to make a tough decision.
As you know, this is the apocalypse. There are no padded rooms or psychological treatment facilities anymore. Whatever is wrong with Lizzie, it’s permanent, and Carol is either going to have to learn to deal with sleeping with both eyes open and eyes in the back of her head, or she’s going to have to tackle this issue head-on and eliminate the threat. What follows, is a decision that rocked the general audience. Carol decides that Lizzie just cannot be around other people. So, she takes her out to the grove in back of the farmhouse, instructs her to look at the flowers, and blows the back of her head off. Some people are pissed off, which is understandable, considering they just executed a child on national television. However, what these people fail to realize is that there is no help for Lizzie. She’s already killed her own sister, planned on killing a baby, and threatened to kill the only mother figure she has, and her mind is completely FUBAR. There is no rehabilitation. There is only murder in her future, and nobody that knows her will be able to rest knowing that she could flip her shit at the drop of a hat, and murder everybody in their sleep. Carol made the only viable choice she could have made.
I rewatched the last four episodes of the second half of this season, as my wife was four episodes behind. I still feel like it has been a mostly weak continuation of the season, but in all honesty, there was really only one majorly bad episode, in which Daryl and Beth owns up to it and gives us the finger at the end. The Grove is definitely the best episode since the return from the break, though. I can understand how this will be shocking to the more delicate viewer, I only ask that you try and understand the situation. What would you have done different. It’s easy for us to say “Well I wouldn’t have…” because we’ve never been in a situation like this, and likely never will be. Don’t look so deeply into things, to the point that you’re backseat driving through the apocalypse. There is no “I would have”. I’m sorry, but no you won’t Most of you would have been dead long ago, and if you managed to survive, you’d probably be shitting your pants in the corner. Only two episodes left of the season, so stay tuned until the next issue of DEADtime TV.
Bitten: “Descent” – Monday, March 17 at 8 PM
If Bitten thinks I’m invested in whether or not Elena and Philip will break up or stay together, it better think again. Maybe if Elena didn’t make so many bad fucking decisions, or maybe if she was likable in the least, or maybe if I even thought this part of the show was important, I would be interested – but none of that is true. “Descent” spends nearly all of its running time doing a whole lot of nothing, whether it’s visiting Toronto for Elena’s art show or Jeremy interviewing some asshole that could be either their friend or part of Santos’ crew.
Guess what, and you’re going to be surprised – it’s all for naught! This entire hour, all of “Descent,” leads up to Philip leaving Elena, something he probably should have done a long time ago. At the same time, we find out that all of the mutt attacks are actually targeting Elena because, again, we’re reminded she’s somehow important to everything because she’s the sole woman wolf or something. Honestly, I find it hard to care at this point because the show is just so bad it’s nearly unbearable.
Other than that, you can skip all of the posturing between Philip and Clay, fast-forward through Nick and Jeremy questioning the new guy Joey. I’ll save you all some time so you can just delete it from your queue. Bitten always intersperses its episodes with inane stuff you don’t need to see, and “Descent” is no different. In case you already don’t find art gallery showings boring, why not take a trip to one with Bitten to really put you to sleep?
There are a ton of puns I could make here. Bitten is a “descent” into annoyance. “Descend” into sleep early on Monday nights if you watch Bitten. Bitten is not even a “descent” show. If it seems like I’m filling space in this review, it’s because I am trying to show you what it’s like to watch every fucking episode of Bitten.
The Following: “Unmasked” – Monday, March 17 at 9 PM
This week’s new episode of‘The Following marks the ninth episode in the second season of the series and is titled “Unmasked.” The new episode begins with Joe and Micah (the leader of the new cult in which Joe, Emma and Mandy currently reside with) beginning to develop plans in order for Micah to make a splash in the fashion of Lily Gray. This is a task in which Joe is more than happy to assist, though as we have all surely come to realize by this point in the series, one can never be quite sure of Joe’s intentions when he is so eager to help and he rarely does so unless it is beneficial to him. Emma and Robert are sent out on an errand shortly after to make an impression and all that I will say regarding this is that it ends in some blood filled insanity.
The episode also focuses on Ryan, Mike and Max as they attempt to discover who in the FBI could be the mole feeding Joe information from the inside. One of the few names that come to their attention is that of Agent Mendez, but Ryan is doubtful it could be her. Though however unlikely the possibility may be, they decide they must investigate regardless, if for no other reason than simply to prove her innocence.
Only six episodes remain in the sophomore season of The Following and I continue to be impressed with the flat out intensity and insanity this series continues to deliver on a regular basis, on a level that is nonstop and yet somehow additionally manages to increase these factors and take them to the next level every episode.
Don’t miss all new episodes of The Following every Monday at 9/8c on Fox. -Kevin
Bates Motel: “Caleb” – Monday, March 17 at 10 PM
“Caleb” is, for the most part, a rather boring episode of Bates Motel. In fact, you could fall asleep for nearly the entire hour and, waking up for the ending, still recognize what happened. Part of that is because the episode is stalling for time, sort of stuck in a mire about where to go now that Bradley has left town and everyone’s mourning her suicide; it feels like the show is hoping to give her a send-off because it has to, as though she was a major character the audience cared about.
This isn’t true, and even Emma gets in a good jab at Bradley in “Caleb” after she goes to a memorial service out by the beach; “She’s dead, and I still don’t like her,” she says, and I think that’s kind of what everyone is feeling at this point in the show. Bates Motel has been sitting pretty this season not doing much of anything; all of the excitement about Miss Watson is over, the death of Gil has been wrapped up, and Norman really doesn’t have much to do at this point besides try out for musical theater.
Norma is sorting through her own business with the motel’s potential ruin after a new highway is put in, but the show hasn’t been focusing on that as much as it probably should. Instead, in “Caleb,” Norma gets ousted from the musical but finds rich friends to spend her time with, which is probably a social plateau she’s never reached before. However, her attendance at a party doesn’t exactly make for exciting television.
The better arcs of “Caleb” involve Emma’s memorial service for Bradley, one that turns into a huge beach party attracting all the teens from the surrounding area just because it’s got beer. Emma learns that people don’t really care when someone dies, they just want to have a good time at the person’s expense, and it’s more exposition we’ve seen for her character than this season has allowed.
Norman runs into his own problems with a girl named Cody he first met at the grocery store. They hang out at the bonfire, then she makes out with some guy, then the guy starts touching Norman’s leg. We all know how Norman reacts during lustful situations, and he freaks out, and Cody tells him they just thought he was gay. He is not, he declares defiantly.
But the main topic of this episode is Caleb, Norma’s brother who she claims raped her when she was younger. Norman knows this, but Dylan does not, and so when Norma freaks out at Caleb, Dylan suspects something even though she won’ tell him.
Dylan gets closer to Caleb, going out for drinks with him, and he actually seems like a nice guy. They both hit it off, and Dylan confronts Norma for being so rude to him. When she tells him what he did, Dylan denies it, thinking Norma is turning it into something about herself like she always does (and in truth, we don’t know if Norma is telling lies).
In the conclusion, it’s dropped on us that Caleb is Dylan’s father – yikes! The episode is a lead-up to this reveal, but it all seems a bit too stretched for its own good. It’s one of the slowest episodes of Bates Motel that I can think of, and even though that secret is sort of a bombshell for people who couldn’t see it coming, it probably doesn’t warrant such a filler episode. I’d like to see the show get back on track, or at least find a groove to fit into for this season, but right now the show has been meandering around topics including the drug trade and Norman’s involvement in multiple murders without settling on anything. Next episode should definitely cement where this season is headed or risk losing viewers.
From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series: ” Blood Runs Thick” – Tuesday, March 18 at 9 PM
This week on the second episode of From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series titled “Blood Runs Thick” we start to see a lot more depth regarding the relationship between the Gecko brothers and the odd behavior
Richie continues to display. We are also treated to a look at a lot of what really happened during the bank robbery as well as provided some more insight into the character of Carlos who Seth stays in frequent contact with in order to try and secure his help in getting them across the border and to the promised land of El Rey.
This episode also introduces the Fuller family consisting of Jacob Fuller and his two children Kate and Scott. Many will recall that the role of the father, Jacob Fuller was portrayed by Harvey Keitel in the film. Here in the series the role is portrayed by Robert Patrick who I felt did a tremendous job, so much so in fact that I couldn’t help but feel an eerie sense of déjà vu as if it actually was Keitel for a few moments there.
While I must admit that events are unfolding a bit slower than I expected, I still think the series is off to a pretty decent start and with the wonderful casting choices in addition to Robert Rodriguez’s heavy involvement in the production (for those that may not have been aware, he directed both of the two episodes that have aired thus far) I think we are all going to be in for a treat and I’m quite excited to see how this all plays out. -Kevin
Helix: “The Reaping” – Friday, March 21 at 10 PM
“The Reaping” is the last episode before the season finale of Helix, the show that defines the arc for a cliffhanger conclusion. And yet the episode feels unfocused, a rushed attempt to pave the way for this season’s surprise. Helix has been moving pretty steadily throughout, casually introducing many different avenues for the story, but up until “The Reaping” the developments have at least felt reasonable; not so with this episode, and it jumps around all over the place throwing stuff at the wall and hoping it will stick.
Now that the Scythe has infiltrated Arctic Biosystems, everyone is endangered. Hatake is the target, since the Scythe’s mother was Sutton and Hatake murdered her, and the Scythe has mission objectives that are coming from Ilaria’s bigwigs. He’s meant to take Hatake, kill everyone on the base, and bring back the Narvik virus, and so he uses any measure necessary to get to Hatake.
There are a number of issues with Helix‘s credibility, though. Things don’t add up, and it makes for a strange hour of television that hasn’t generally happened with the show. Characters make unreasonably dumb decisions, namely Daniel, who puts himself in danger to bring the Narvik virus to the Scythe so nicely; a trap is set outside the base to allow one of the Scythe’s minions to fall into an ice crack; Julia is abducted from an elevator without anyone knowing; and Sarah is unbelievably stupid, continuing to open the Narvik safe and flashing the code to anyone who’d want to take the virus.
“The Reaping” is one of the weakest episodes this season because it uses all of these strange and unrealistic events to build to the finale. Every scene feels rushed, and the episode’s focus on the Scythe as a character bent on revenge doesn’t work well because the audience has barely met him and his writing is pretty terrible. Helix didn’t need to try to explain all of the secrets in one episode, but it sure sets out to do so.
Ultimately it leaves Helix floundering before its final first season episode, with all of its arcs scattered across the spectrum. Hey look, Peter is all better now, and during an extremely stressful sequence attempting to save Julia, they have a brotherly argument! Hey look, Hatake’s pleasure of beheading people is brought up, but Helix would rather not explain why! Hey look, Julia’s mother has been kept in an oxygenated chamber for who knows how long, but why? And what are Balleseros and Anana doing?
I’m not quite sure that Helix knows what’s going on anymore, and, much like American Horror Story, the show has created a lot of various plot elements that have now become difficult to corral. It will be interesting to see how this first season brings the elements together (if that’s possible), but it’s unfortunate that the final episodes are stretching credibility so thin.
Hannibal: “Takiawase” – Friday, March 21 at 10 PM
I’ve been saying for a while that if you’re not watching Hannibal, you’re missing out. But “Takiawase” is the episode that you simply must watch if you enjoy horror, murder mysteries, or just good television in general. Because if you don’t see “Takiawase” and think that it’s a spectacular depiction of Hannibal Lecter as a character, there might be something wrong with you.
We know this season marks the beginning of the end for Hannibal as unknown serial killer because we already saw the forthcoming fight with Jack Crawford. “Takiawase” builds upon this as the main characters of the show begin to get this creeping suspicion that Hannibal is not the helpful psychiatrist that he pretends to be.
It all starts with a couple of murders of individuals with chronic pain symptoms; they’re left in the park or under trees as human beehives, numbed into death by bee stings that hide pinpricks. It culminates in a terrifying scene where our murderess acupuncturist sticks pins in a man’s pressure points, then forces a huge needle up through his eye and into his brain.
It’s an idea that ties into Jack Crawford’s life significantly. His wife Bella is suffering through lung cancer, and everyday is a struggle for her to remain whole enough to even warrant continuing her life. She wants to commit suicide, a sentiment she expresses to Hannibal; and Jack realizes this is something that has been raging inside her for some time, an added metaphor to the murder of the week.
But the connection is twofold as Beverly continues to hold up her end of the bargain with Will Graham as she investigates his case. After Will undergoes testing with his psychiatrist Dr. Chilton, he uncovers a few memories with Hannibal that implicate the man; Will realizes that Hannibal was using drugs to induce seizures so that Will would not remember anything about lengthy periods of time, and Dr. Chilton recognizes Hannibal’s involvement. So when Will brings this up to Beverly, she begins to dig deeper with Hannibal’s involvement in the mural killer’s death.
Since the bee stings cover up the puncture points of the pinpricks, Beverly reexamines the mural killer’s body to discover that the stitching marks cover up other stitches that hide the man’s missing kidney. It all leads to a very surprising and powerful finale that I really don’t want to ruin for anyone, because it just has to be seen.
Moreso than any other episode of Hannibal, “Takiawase”‘s weekly killer ties in fantastically with the other ongoing themes of this season. It opens up interesting dialogues about chronic pain and the release that death can provide, focusing extensively on Bella’s own prognosis with lung cancer. It’s also one of the most disturbing episodes of the series thanks to a number of excellent shot choices, hypnotic lighting, and a wonderful soundtrack of intense, noisy organ.
“Takiawase” is almost like a surreal dream, one that I couldn’t get enough of, and the episode is a pivotal point in the show, especially since it feels like Hannibal is getting continually more desperate as the season moves along. It’s an episode that must be experienced, and the show hits on both fronts dealing with a stand-alone killer and the arcing narrative. It’s just another reason why Hannibal is one of the best shows on TV right now.
Next week we’ll have reviews of all the shows you love. Helix will air its season finale, and The Walking Dead will air its last episode before its own season finale. Keep tuning in, because new stuff will soon be on the horizon for DEADtime TV!