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 reviews of The Following and From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series, and Shawn Savage joins in with a review of The Walking Dead! Helix ends its run this week, and we’re one episode away from The Walking Dead finale.
Resurrection: “Two Rivers” – Sunday, March 23 at 9 PM
“Two Rivers” picks up right where last week’s “Unearth” left off; that episode ended with an annoying cliffhanger that felt done for the sake of exploring it next time, which is exactly what happens. Bellamy and Maggie opened Jacob’s tomb, and what they found was the remains of Jacob with the exact shirt that he was wearing when he returned. Though Resurrection doesn’t show us what’s in the casket, Bellamy rips a tag off of the shirt and compares it to the one in Jacob’s room, and it’s an exact match – almost like a clone.
Meanwhile, Caleb is still around, and we know he took a hammer to some guy’s head last episode, so he’s not the nice guy he pretends to be. However, he is helping Elaine and her brother with their porch and the groceries; maybe he’s not so bad after all? Everyone in Resurrection is trying to figure this out, and one woman even voices her disagreement over Pastor Tom including Jacob and his mother in the church; in a paraphrase, she basically concludes that the devil has sent back dead people as his minions.
Maggie and Bellamy get closer this episode, which will probably become the reason why Bellamy stays in the area in the first place. He makes mention of his extended vacation in this episode, but he never really says how he’s getting out of work back home; it’s getting a little ridiculous to believe that he can continue to stay on without any problems, but whatever, I’m over it.
There’s also an exploration of Jacob’s relationship with his father; Henry alternates between affection and disgust, because, as he explains, he never let Jacob go in his heart so it’s hard to accept him back. Something like that – “Two Rivers” doesn’t do too much more explaining of this and though it doesn’t really make sense as Henry puts it, the idea that accepting a person back without any questions is understandable.
There are two trains of thought about the returned people in this episode. One is that the river where both Jacob died and Caleb’s ashes were spread helped to bring them back (makes sense, since the title card involves water bubbles); or the crazier approach, that an alien ship landed the same day they both died and aliens took their bodies.
For some reason, I’m hoping it’s the second option, because that would give the show a bit more life than it has right now. Resurrection isn’t terrible, but it’s going through the motions, serving our expectations to us on a silver platter. There’s nothing too intriguing about the drama in each episode, and the finale of “Two Rivers” indicates we’ll be repeating the whole thing next episode: a new returned person is back!
The Walking Dead: “Us” – Sunday, March 23 at 10 PM
Ahh, The penultimate episode of this season of The Walking Dead. Believe it or not, we’ve made it to the end. Despite several slow and annoying episodes, we’ve reached the end of Season 4. And, judging by how this episode played out, we’re in for a doozy of a finale. This episode’s theme is, as the title says, “Us”. Glenn and Maggie are still desperately searching for one another, while Abraham and company try and convince him that their mission to “save the whole damn world” is much more important. While technically correct, Glenn is doing exactly what a lot of us would do. No rules left, no law enforcement left to assist in personal matters; if a loved one vanishes, you’ve gotta grab your sack and solve it yourself. Glenn is the type of person that would help this new group, if Maggie were with him, but he’s not going to focus on a single thing until he finds her, especially now that the he and the group his is with have seen signs(literally) that she is still alive, in that she has been leaving him messages on the Terminus signs to meet her there.
Those of us that are familiar with the comics, know exactly who/what Eugene is, but we’re really just now treated to a little bit of revealing character development for him in this episode. He’s a nerd, that rattles on about the various times of gamers, and says things like “for reals” when being awkward around women. Are they going to adapt his character accurately, and have him turn out to be completely full of shit, or will they change it up and have there be a small amount of validity to his claims of being a scientist that has the answer that will save the world? None of us can know for sure, but based on his ramblings tonight, I’d say it’s pretty clear to the viewer that he’s full of shit. I’m not saying that scientists have to look and act a certain way, but if I were on those tracks listening to him go on and on about video games, and ranting, however awesome the thought may be, about a zombie outbreak being the cause of the extinction of dinosaurs, I would definitely have some questions.
On their way Terminus, the group comes across a tunnel. Abraham delivers his best line to-date, with “That there is a long, dark tunnel full of reanimated corpses”. While he’s playing the voice of reason, based on the time he’s spent with Glenn, he knows he’s not going to waste time and take the easy way, so he gives he and Tara some supplies, so that they can venture on their own through the long dark tunnel, and he can get Eugene through the safe way. To some, this might seem like the actions of a coward, but for a person that cares about nothing but “the mission”, it makes complete and total sense, and is undoubtedly the correct decision. Soon after venturing through the tunnel, Glenn and Tara find an area where the roof has collapsed, trapping dozens and dozens of walkers right in the center of the tunnel, and making it impossible to carry on. Glenn, being who he is, dives right in, to make sure that none of the walkers were Maggie. In doing so, Tara gets her leg caught under a fallen rock, and instructs Glenn to go on without her. Of course he’s not going to do that. He gets into stance and prepares to fight off the onslaught, when suddenly, automatic weapon fire starts tearing down the encroaching walkers. Not only has Abraham and company made their way to the exit of the tunnel to help Glenn and Tara out, BUT, they have met up with Maggie, Bob and Sasha, for a dramatic reunion. Also, while in the tunnel, if you were paying attention, you would have witnessed yet another cameo from a classic zombie. This time, Bub from Day of the Dead(AKA the best zombie film ever made) makes an awesome appearance. It wasn’t exactly hidden, the camera focused directly on him for several seconds, but if you’ve never seen Day of the Dead, or if it’s been a while, you might have missed it.
The way this episode ended, and honestly the way the executives have been talking things up, would lead us to believe that the final was going to end similarly to Reservoir Dogs. The men behind-the-scenes though are all about breaking trends, though, so nothing is a guarantee. History dictates that a penultimate episode with a happy ending, will lead to a tearjerker of a finale, but The Walking Dead has a long history of jerking the rug out from underneath our feet, just as we’ve gotten comfortable, so in all honesty, anything at all could happen. It could be an epic bloodbath, or every single main character could be completely safe. You tell me, which would be more shocking to you? Would you be more shocked by the sudden, forced death of a main character, or that they had the balls not to kill off a single one, even in a finale? Tune in next week, for my reaction.
Bitten: “Settling” – Monday, March 24 at 8 PM
Things get a little more chaotic this week on Bitten, thanks to a couple of plots mingling together to create some action that has been sorely needed throughout this first season. The show has continually struggled to find a medium between aimless wandering setting up expository developments that never lead to climaxes and fights with people the audience doesn’t really know or care about; “Settling” actually does a little of both, with a few tense moments of careful plot development before an explosive multi-character fight scene.
We’ll get to that, but first, we have to deal with “Settling”‘s A-plot, which is Elena’s break-up/trial separation with Philip. It’s unfortunate, but yes, Bitten does deal with this in detail. First, Philip heads out and sleeps in a hotel because he’s pretty upset about Clay and Elena’s relationship (and little does he know they slept together even after Elena was hooked up with Philip); he takes some time to clear his head, but Elena’s flipping out because she knows that Santos and his gang of mutts are looking to hurt Elena in whatever way possible, and that might mean attacking Philip.
Bitten does think that the audience cares about Elena and Philip’s relationship; it has been only a small part of the season, but it makes sense for the show to deal with it now, since Elena is risking his life staying with him. She has to make a decision, but there really isn’t a choice – she has to go back to Stonehaven or else everyone is put in danger.
Jeremy’s got his own problems, since LeBlanc’s fingerprints turned up on a body planted on the Stonehaven property; the FBI gets called in, does a little bit of digging, and finds nothing linked to the Danvers family, but it’s still keeping Jeremy from heading to Toronto to deal with Santos.
On the other front, Logan tries to get Rachel out of Toronto for good, deciding to leave the pack instead of risking his life and leaving his family. They are headed out of the country when LeBlanc attacks. At the same time, Santos and Victor Olson attack Philip and Clay, forcing Elena to change into a wolf in front of Philip in order to protect him.
What’s different about “Settling” is that there are a lot of different plots happening at once, and whereas much of previous episodes of Bitten have taken place within the confines of Stonehaven where all of the characters have gathered, this episode is forced to branch out to split its focus. It makes for a more exciting episode, one that effectively pairs action with the quieter moments of the show. Bitten has needed this balance, and it finds it this episode, just in time to get the show ready for its season finale in two episodes.
It’s an episode not without its flaws – the writing is always a mixed bag – but it’s a welcome break from the monotony of the previous three episodes. Here’s hoping Bitten will continue to amp up the tension with the blossoming of suspenseful plot points right up until the end of this season. And more wolves, please!
The Following: “Teacher’s Pet” – Monday, March 24 at 9 PM
This week’s new episode of The Following marks the tenth episode in the second season of the series and is titled “Teacher’s Pet.” The new episode begins with a flashback to the beginning of the season where Ryan and Claire are first brought into the hospital after the attack, and explains why her being
alive was kept from Ryan, even against her wishes on the matter. It then jumps ahead to where we left off last week with Mike talking with Claire and informing her that Joe is alive and therefore they must move in order to protect her son as Joe will certainly come looking for him. The episode focuses a lot on Ryan trying to use Dr. Strauss as a pawn to bring Joe into the open.
The episode also focuses on a group of Joe’s cult members who are sent out to select individuals at random to murder and as a result they leave the FBI guessing. Ryan, Mike and Max are forced to try and uncover a pattern to the attacks (even though one does not seem present) in order to prevent the next attack and stop this murdering rampage.
Only five more episodes left in the second season, so you know (as impossible as it may seem) things are only going to continue to get crazier. I really love where they have taken some of these characters. I can’t wait to see just what happens when Ryan finally discovers that Claire never died as he believed to be the case and considering his descent into this place he’s currently at was pretty much sealed by her death, the outcome cannot be good.
Don’t miss all new episodes of The Following every Monday at 9/8c on Fox. -Kevin
Bates Motel: “Check-Out” – Monday, March 24 at 9 PM
The fallout from Norma’s reveal that Dylan is Caleb’s son quickly culminates in “Check-Out,” and it seriously harshes everyone’s vibe. Dylan takes it the worst, obviously; he’s the product of incest and familial rape, an unwanted addition to the family that only further ostracizes him from the Norma/Norman dynamic. So he goes out to get drunk and comes home totally shwasted, the natural thing to do in this situation.
Norma and Norman are having a hard time believing why Dylan’s so shaken up about this groundbreaking discovery. Dylan tries to put it into perspective by hinting at Norma’s coverup: what if you learned something about yourself that changed how you saw yourself? Still, Norman sides with Norma on this one, because she was raped and what she says goes.
However, Dylan’s run-in with Caleb later on reveals that one of the two are lying; Caleb claims “things were different then,” but he also remarks that Norma shacked up with her husband real quick back then and everyone thought the baby was his. It makes for a game of he-said-she-said, and it’s difficult to decide who is the more trustworthy person.
If anything, we probably should stick with Norma’s story, because Norman finds out some painful truths about Caleb. “Check-Out” spreads its time between Dylan, Norman, and Emma, but Norman’s story is the most interesting, because he’s been hanging out with the troublesome Cody and she influences him to take a tire iron to Caleb’s hotel room.
At first, he chickens out, and even threatens Cody with the iron, scaring her into silence. But eventually, after visions of Caleb raping his mother (at least, visions he must have imagined) flash through his mind, Norman takes things into his own hands to confront Caleb. In a weird moment, Norman switches his personality to mimic Norma, his voice becoming hers and his emotional stability shattered.
Emma finds a dude she maybe wants to lose her virginity to, at first afraid she might have slept with him in a drunken stupor but then encouraged that she didn’t waste her cherry without realizing it. I like how Bates Motel has been trying to add her into the plot so far, and although she doesn’t have a huge role right now, there’s room for her to move in.
“Check-Out” also features a pretty badass showdown between Sheriff Romero and Zane, the new head boss of the drug dealings; Romero confronts Zane on his home turf, trounces him verbally, and leaves, but Zane gets back at him by burning down Romero’s house. Youch! Some shit’s a-brewin’.
More and more, Bates Motel has been tackling the incestuous relationship between Norma and Norman. This time, Norman holds her and kisses her cheek in bed, and he also helps to zip up her dress as she’s changing. They’re not subtle moments, but, in a way, this is marked progression from last season’s occasional touching.
“Check-Out” is a step-up from last week’s episode, and even if it does dwell on the same themes, the development of the characters adds tension to the growing plot. Likewise, there’s still that looming frustration about the new highway bypass that will take business away from the Bates Motel, and thankfully, the show has been able to juggle its major characters’ stories.
From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series: “Mistress” – Tuesday, March 25 at 9PM
This week’s new episode of From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series marks the third episode in the first season of the series, and is also the first episode not to be directed by Robert Rodgriguez and is this time directed by Eduardo Sánchez (The Blair Witch Project). The episode focuses a lot on the events occurring around their checking in at the room in the Dew Drop hotel. As Seth goes out to get food and also (unbeknownst to Richie) meet his ex-wife, Richie stays at the hotel room with the hostage and is forced to start confronting the strange visions that continue to plague him.
This episode also focuses on the Fullers RV breaking down and their attempts at finding help and getting the vehicle fixed. At the same time, Ranger Gonzalez meets with Professor Tanner (portrayed by Jake Busey in what to my knowledge will be a recurring role) in an attempt at gaining some insight into the mysterious logo found on the knife.
The series has its plus sides and in many ways I quite enjoy it, but at the same time the incredibly slow pacing and the seemingly unnecessary plot elements that are so jumbled into each episode which only usually tends to focus on such a small moment for the entirety of each episode can’t help but get a bit tired. Some of the casting is fantastic, while others aren’t quite as impressive. Only time will tell how this one will go, though as the series is only three episodes in, I will certainly not give up hope just yet. I will definitely keep watching, as I’m sure most other fellow fans of the film will do as well.
Don’t miss all new episodes of From Dusk Till Dawn every Tuesday at 9pm on El Rey. -Kevin
Helix: “Dans L’Ombre” – Friday, March 28 at 10 PM
What happened, Helix? Where did it go wrong? Perhaps it was the million different plots you had going on, or maybe it was the introduction of too many characters that seemed to matter a lot but then didn’t. Either way, “Dans L’Ombre” is an American Horror Story-style mess of combinations that just don’t go well together; it’s like combining macaroni salad and gravy, a new dish I’ve heard people love even though it sounds fucking disgusting.
Alan and Julia are still trying to deal with the Scythe, but after Daniel’s head explosion last episode, they’ve got the Scythe all tied up attempting to plan what to do next before Ilaria comes to nuke the entire facility. He’s still got some friends in Arctic Biosystems, and a master plan has been hatched: someone leaked the Narvik A strain to a remote city, and now the media is dubbing it the “Black Blood” virus. Alan, Julia, and Hatake have a lot of work cut out for them, but first, they must make it out of Arctic Biosystems.
That won’t be easy considering it’s let slip that the Scythe actually had all of this planned out – Peter is actually his accomplice, and he lets the Scythe go to do his business. Meanwhile, Julia meets her mother, who has been held hostage for years? decades? some amount of time. And then, Balleseros and Anana come back to help everyone get off the base, because, lest you forget, there are a bunch of scientists still alive in the cabin underneath the facility. Oh yeah, Sarah’s pregnant, let’s just drop that in there.
The biggest problem with Helix has been its rushed plotting, and with all of these events happening at once, and in the finale, “Dans L’Ombre” is bound to drop something; but nearly all of its emotional moments fall flat because such little time is spent on them. There’s a reunion scene with Hatake, Julia, and her mother, and yet just a week ago her mother was never an important figure in anyone’s life. The same is true of a hilarious moment at the end of the episode when the Scythe, taking off in a helicopter with the Narvik viruses and Julia, is subjected to seeing his mother’s head rolling around the cabin thanks to a hucked throw from Alan. Where the hell did that head come from, and why was that the last-ditch effort Alan decided might work?
Helix also effectively destroys all of Arctic Biosystems, leaving nearly everyone’s fate in the hands of the writers. Do they want to deal with Sarah’s pregnancy next season? Should Balleseros and Anana come back? Do we care about the rest of the scientists who will most likely die due to exposure? Probably not – this deus ex machina is pretty much the worst wrap-up Helix could have chosen, negating any sort of stakes that the show had created thus far.
The conclusion, and opening sequence, jump ahead to day 235, with Alan in France tracking down Ilaria with Peter and Julia the head of the Ilaria corporation. Apparently Narvik has been released to the public, and now Ilaria is a major facility with tons of people being turned into silver-eyed freaks. Season two will, it seems, jump ahead to deal with a wider spread of the virus, changing the plot and feel of the show entirely, but it’s hard to not feel disappointed about how quickly Helix fell downhill from where it began. It’s not a terrible show, but it’s also the so-bad-it’s-good variety of television that American Horror Story continues to deal with.
Hannibal: “Mukozuke” – Friday, March 28 at 10 PM
In “Mukozuke,” a sense of desperation sets in for everyone involved in the Hannibal universe. Beverly Katz’s body is found in an abandoned conservatory, partitioned into six separate pieces held between glass, and the whole FBI team is struck by the morbidity of her death. It prompts them to move forward with their investigation of the mural killer, who is now linked to Beverly’s death as well.
As the FBI continues to feel unable to put the pieces together, Will is coming to grips with the fact that whoever he uses to try to get to Hannibal is put in danger, since he knows that he’s the reason why Beverly died. Will’s knowledge of Hannibal as a killer is cemented – since Bev got too close, Hannibal killed her. Now Will needs to strike back at Hannibal, so in a desperate attempt to contact his psychopath secret admirer, he talks to Freddie Lounds in a special interview so that the admirer will get in touch.
It works out well in “Mukozuke;” turns out the killer was an orderly at the Baltimore criminally insane asylum, right in front of Will’s nose. So he orders a hit on Hannibal, a last-ditch effort to take out the patriarch of murder before anyone else gets hurt. Dr. Alana Bloom interviews Abel Gideon, however, who lets her in on the plot.
“Mukozuke” is an exciting episode, not only because of all of the drama with the attempts to kill Hannibal but also because the stakes are at an all-time high now that Beverly’s gone. Her death is gruesome but fitting, a cross-section of who she is, taken apart painstakingly by Hannibal almost as an homage to her work. It sets the rest of the episode in motion, and gives everyone a heavy dose of fatalism.
It’s also Hannibal at his weakest, a man who is now forced to rely on a couple of people’s trust in order to remain out of the spotlight. He is slowly losing control of the situation as Will grows stronger by the day, and the inequality of their positions makes for some very tense moments. It’s punctuated by the always wonderful soundtrack, this time with a heavy score of what sounds like percussive PVC tubing.
It’s unfortunate to see Beverly go, but it allows Hannibal to continue moving steadily forward while forcing the characters to understand the dangers involved in pursuing their leads. It also puts Will in a pretty damning position, or at least a place of intense guilt. I could just eat Hannibal up.
Catch us next week for everything minus Helix. We’ll have The Walking Dead‘s season finale, and soon, we’ll begin coverage of Salem on WGN. Stay tuned, more great stuff headed your way on DEADtime TV!