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! This week, we say so long to The Walking Dead season 4 as the series ends for this year.
Resurrection: “Us Against the World” – Sunday, March 30 at 9 PM
Resurrection‘s plot is often frustrating, because it withholds information from the viewer knowingly. The characters who have come back from death simply refuse to tell their stories, or what it was like in death, even though the audience realizes that they’re hiding something. And when it comes to the main characters like Bellamy and Maggie, they choose to not ask Caleb or Jacob what’s going on.
“Us Against the World” explores some of the more minor characters’ plots, however, which works a bit better than previous episodes in the series. A new woman, Rachael, returns from the dead after a suicide, and she visits her old boyfriend Pastor Tom to give him some emotional baggage to think about. Resurrection spends a few moments with Tom and Rachael, allowing Tom’s past life to factor into the story as well as giving another hint towards the water that seems to bringing people back to life.
Meanwhile, Caleb holds up the Arcadia bank using the same method he did right before he died, so Bellamy and Maggie’s father Sheriff Langston are out to find his hideout before he can make a getaway. Maggie’s focus is on Jacob, who has been eating a lot and never sleeps – it turns out when you come back from the dead, you don’t sleep and your metabolism is super fast.
However, much of “Us Against the World” moves fairly slowly considering the amount of subplots the show has running, and as mentioned before, the intentional lack of explanation gets to be a bit much. Even at the end of the episode, Caleb, being taken into custody, replies, “This is just the beginning,” as though he knows something will happen. But what he means is left to the audience to figure out. But Resurrection isn’t nearly interesting enough to warrant this sort of cliffhanger each episode; it just signals that there will probably be more dead people coming back to life, and we’re going to have to learn about all of their life stories before any resolution comes about.
The Walking Dead: “A” – Sunday, March 30 at 9 PM
Well guys, we made it. We’ve finally reached the end of the fourth season of AMC’s The Walking Dead. It was quite a ride, with more good than bad, and some major moments from the comics recreated perfectly(within the context of the show). If you’ve kept up with DEADtime TV, you’ll know that I was getting a bit worried there for a couple of episodes, but I never lost faith. I figured that, if they were wasting so much time with filler, things were going to get intense in the finale, and I was right. Now, granted, they didn’t give some viewers the traditional, cliche elements of a finale that we’ve grown used to with some lazier shows, such as major character deaths, etc. However, if you’re watching the show for the journey of it all, the intended purpose of the show, you probably walked away fairly satisfied. I know I did.
In the season 4 finale, titled “A”, we join Rick, Carl and Michonne, slowly making their way through the woods as Rick heals from injuries sustained from the fall of the prison, and his fight with The Governor. As they sleep, Joe and his happy band of murders find them, and recognize Rick as the man that killed their friend before escaping the house that they invaded. And now, one of the more disturbing events from the comics will be recreated within the context of the show. I’m speaking, of course, about the group of bandits that attempt to rape and kill Carl, and kill Rick. The same characters that it involved in the books are not present in the show, and the setup is a tad bit different, but all of the important elements are there, and man is it wild. If you remember correctly, Daryl is riding with the bandits now, and he comes across them as they are assaulting his friends, and offers up his life in exchange for theirs. This is somewhat removed from Daryl’s normal response, which would have been shoot first, sort it out later. But, as Rick is about to come full circle, and turn back into the badass he once was, Daryl appears to be evolving as well. Perhaps it was all of that time he spent with Beth, that still remains “gone”, as Daryl puts it. Perhaps he’s just tired of the bloodshed. That’s what is called “character development”, folks. Speaking of which, how about Rick’s breakdown as he watches the bandits physically threaten to rape Carl? Left with no other options, Rick takes a page out of the book of walker, and rips Joe’s throat out with is teeth. And then, he picks up a knife and viciously saws through Carl’s captor’s chest cavity.
Once all of that excitement was behind us, Rick and Daryl have a moment together, in wich Daryl explains to Rick, that for Carl’s sake, he needs to get his shit together, and Rick explains to Daryl, that despite the fact that he was traveling with those psychopaths, the attack is not on him. Going one further to explain to him that he looks at him as a brother. Carl, after witnessing what his father had just done to those men, seems to be a a little scared of him. So, Michonne takes him to the side, and explains to him, that in this new world, there are no rules, and sometimes you’ve gotta do horrible shit just to survive the day, sharing with him one of the most horrible things she’s done to survive. After which, Carl explains to her, somewhat, the reason that he’s upset. He feels like he is a “monster” as he describes it. It’s clear that, even though he plays it cool as a cucumber, Carl feels remorse for all of the things he’s had to do to survive.
Once all of that pleasant stuff is behind us, our group finds itself on the outside looking in at the, now-famous Terminus. Learning from past mistakes that, people are to be trusted less than Walkers, even, Rick buries a bag of guns outside the gates, and leads Carl, Michonne and Daryl around the back of Terminus, which is extremely poorly guarded, mind you, so that they can get the drop on them before they are spotted. Once they arrive, things seem to be odd, but friendly, until Rick spots one of the Terminus people holding the pocket watch Hershel gave to Glenn back at the prison. Taking no chances, shit pops off at that point. Rick takes a hostage, to try and learn where their friends are, and as it turns out, Terminus has its own band of roof snipers. Though it is made clear that they are not to kill Rick and his group, they fire at their feet to lead them to the area they need them to be for containment. They are forced into a train car, where they are reunited with Maggie, Glenn, Bob, Sasha, and also, introduced for the first time to Abraham and his group. The episode ends by taking a line directly out of the comics “They’re fucking with the wrong people”, and PG-13’ing it to the point of making me cringe. “They’re screwing with the wrong people”, delivered in a way that you could tell even Andrew Lincoln wished desperately that he could say the word fuck.
So there you have it, not a single character death in the season 4 finale. This upset some people, that are used to the more “accepted” form of delivering the end of a season, but I thought it took balls to end it that way. Everybody is expecting them to kill someone off, as if it is required, but they chose not to. I admire that decision. You can’t have a great story, AND bend to societal expectations at the same time. Sometimes you’ve gotta go against the grain, and that’s what I feel they’ve done here. We’re left with lots of questions, and DYING to see the continuation of the story as it picks up next season, and that’s exactly the feeling you want to generate with the closing of one season. I’ll admit to getting a little concerned around the time that Daryl and Beth were sticking their middle fingers in our faces, but I feel as if the show started strong, and came full circle to end on an extremely strong note. Sure, there were a couple of filler episodes, but you’ve got to expect that with a story as massive as The Walking Dead. The show will not return until this October, so I won’t be back with any more recaps until then. Penny Dreadful starts on Showtime in a few weeks, so I think I’ll pick that one up for my coverage in the meantime. Until then, in the words of Jeff Konopka, Don’t fucking die.
Bitten: “Caged” – Monday, March 31 at 8 PM
In Bitten‘s “Caged,” Elena is caged. This is the episode directly after her boyfriend gets stabbed by Santos’ group of mutts, and it comes right before the season finale, so there’s a lot of development given to Elena’s story; Clay has been captured, so he’s being tortured by Santos, and it allows Bitten to explore how motivated each of the characters feel. They want to get him back, but they also want to protect Elena from whatever Santos has in mind.
He tells Clay as he shocks him with electric cables – he wants to mate with Elena and create some crazy strong werewolf babies, changing the entire population into something different outside of Jeremy’s reign. Bitten has never fully explored why mutts and the Stonehaven werewolves are different, but “Caged” does quite a bit to show how Jeremy is more of a tyrannical ruler than we first thought.
He stoops to locking Elena up, and he also takes the code of the Stonehaven society very seriously. When Logan and his wife arrive at Stonehaven, needing medical assistance for Logan’s slash, Jeremy warns that it was the right thing to do – at that moment. But he also hints that they might have to deal with the outsider’s presence later. Jeremy has always had flashes of sinister actions, but in “Caged,” it’s difficult to tell who the bad guy really is.
Elena is finding out about that too; she wants to get Clay back at all costs, so she frees herself from the cage and goes after Santos at a meeting spot. She finds out that Victor Olson is going to finish off Elena’s boyfriend Philip, so she intervenes and kills the man, but not before finding out Santos’ location.
Yet Jeremy is reticent to intervene, and he tells Elena that what she doesn’t know about Clay is that he only bit her to stop Jeremy from killing her. It was an act of salvation that she thought was selfishness, and it changes her entire understanding of Clay. While this isn’t exactly something that should draw Elena back to him (for other reasons, including not respecting her wishes), she does at the end of this episode.
“Caged” sets up the final battle between the mutts and werewolves, with Santos’ group planning a siege on Stonehaven. This is something that probably should have happened ages ago; if they want Jeremy and the rest gone, attacking their home base is the best idea. Bitten does this stalling to continue its character development, however, and even Elena makes some stupid choices not to kill Santos and the rest of his group when she has the chance. Why? Because we’ve got a show to prolong, that’s why!
But “Caged” is another fairly good episode that readies the show for its season finale. It’ll be interesting to see if Bitten decides to end the werewolf/mutt war and head to different territory next season, or if Santos will get away drawing out this sequence even more. I hope for the former over the latter, but I guess we’ll find out next episode.
The Following: “Freedom” – Monday, March 31 at 9 PM
This week’s new episode of The Following marks the eleventh episode in the second season of the series and is titled “Freedom.” The new episode begins with Joe beginning to push his new cult in the direction he wants and tests them by taking one of the disappointments and asking for a volunteer to ‘send her home’. A lady volunteers, though while hesitant she stabs the lady and kills her. Emma begins to push Joe to handle Mandy and Joe reluctantly agrees with her noting his disappointment with Mandy. Unbeknownst to them, Mandy hears this and begins trying to make her own plans to get out before it might be too late, while Emma deals with a doubtful Patrick by trying to sway his opinions with her feminine charm.
The episode also focuses on Ryan and Mike as they investigate a multiple stabbing at a coffee house, but this time there is no note left behind, unlike the previous random attacks by Joe’s group. As things continue play out so drastically different than they have been recently, they must try to find out what might really be going on here and what the reasoning for it may be. At the same time Claire continues to insist upon seeing Ryan before agreeing to further cooperate which will certainly cause even more friction with the fact that Ryan actually appears to be somewhat happy for the first time since losing Claire.
Only four more episodes remain in the sophomore season of The Following and I can’t even begin to imagine just how insane things are about to get considering the level of intensity already present and the fact that it only manages to increase in every subsequent episode. I continue to absolutely love this season and at this point I am starting to feel it might even be far superior to the first.
Don’t miss all new episodes of The Following every Monday at 9/8c on Fox. -Kevin
Bates Motel: “The Escape Artist” – Monday, March 31 at 10 PM
Bates Motel branches off in “The Escape Artist” yet again to tell the stories of the four most important characters in the show; it’s a method that has worked well in the past, and it continues to find stable ground throughout. This time, it explores the love interests within each of the characters’ lives; Norman spends more time with Cody, while Emma goes on a date with Gunner, and Norma juggles between Nick Ford, a man who can help her stop the highway bypass, and Sheriff Romero, who has been shacking up at the hotel since his house was torched.
Dylan also goes on a date, but not the same kind; he goes to a restaurant with Zane to talk business, and when they come out, they’re victims of a drive-by shooting, with Dylan run down by a car in the process. It’s a way to tie the drug trade into the rest of the series, which has always been fairly tenuous, but it also seems like Bates Motel is working on making this a bigger part of the Bates’ problem.
That’s because Nick Ford is somehow a part of the drug business, Sheriff Romero warns, and Norma would be wise to stay away from him. He’s been making it easy for her to stall the bypass, and then, the one person on the board who is negotiating for that new addition to the town mysteriously dies. Does Norma realize what she’s gotten herself into? And does she recognize the irony in her speech to Norman about hanging out with the right people?
“The Escape Artist” is perhaps a bit transparent in this explicit connotation, but it does at least seem to be moving this season into territory where all of the parts can connect. Before, Dylan’s drug business was on the outskirts of the other familial drama; however, Romero’s increased involvement with Zane seems to indicate there will be a clash of clans, and it’s a mystery who will go down with the ship.
One of the most interesting aspects of the episode is Norman and Emma branching out of their comfort zones. Norman is falling for Cody, and he has sex with her, and so too does Emma with Gunner; it’s a movement for both of those characters, who have often been stagnated by each other. And Cody will most likely find Norman’s bad side, either because of his discomfort with intimacy or because he’ll haul off on her father one time when he disrespects her. Or maybe Norma will put a stop to all that with her tyrannical rule.
One thing’s for sure, though; despite Bates Motel‘s meandering plot among the drug trade, the bypass, and Norman’s life with Mom, it’s still a show that continues to engage the viewer in the disquieting social life of the Bates’; and the recent episodes have been quite instrumental in bringing the rest of the characters further into the plot. There’s just a question of where this season’s overall theme seems to be headed.
From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series: “Let’s Get Ramblin'” – Tuesday, April 1 at 9 PM
This week’s new episode of From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series marks the fourth episode in the first season of the series, and is this time once again directed by Robert Rodriguez. The majority of the episode focuses around the initial meeting of the Gecko brothers and the Fuller family at the Dew Drop Inn. After forcing their way inside the Fuller’s hotel room, Seth lays out the plan of how things will go down and recruits the reluctant Fuller’s to help them enter Mexico by using their family and RV in order to avoid suspicion. While Seth lays things out for the male members of the Fuller family, Richie is sent to retrieve Kate Fuller from the pool which leads to an interesting interaction between the two, although they could certainly have done without the lame rewritten ‘watered down for TV’ line that fellow fans of the film will likely cringe at upon hearing.
This episode also focuses on Ranger Gonzalez as he slowly puts piece after piece together and starts to find his way to the Dew Drop Inn himself. This certainly helps add to the intensity of the situation in the episode by always teasing the question of whether the ranger will catch up with the Geckos at the hotel and result in a confrontation, or if they will already be on their way before he discovers and arrives at their location.
The series has had some episodes that were quite decent, and a few others that were a bit more painful to endure. While this episode does continue to bring some pretty laughable and cheesy dialogue, it feels a bit less excessive and aside from that factor, this might just be the best episode of the series yet thanks to some intriguing new elements being brought into the fold. It also really helped that this episode seemed to finally find a more focused and prepared direction and pace than the previous episodes. While I still can’t say I’m fully on board with this series as of yet, I’m definitely starting to be more open to it and I must admit that I’m once again intrigued to see what’s to come.
Don’t miss all new episodes of From Dusk Till Dawn every Tuesday at 9pm on El Rey. -Kevin
Hannibal: “Futamono” – Friday, April 5 at 10 PM
Will Graham has increasingly gained power over the past few episodes of season two of Hannibal, and last week’s episode found him nearly victorious in murdering Hannibal thanks to a nurse swayed by Will’s charm. Hannibal’s murderous spree has been slowing, not only because of Will’s continued targeting of him from within his asylum but also because the FBI has taken a new interest in him. It has caused Hannibal to become sloppier, to trust in people that he normally wouldn’t, and ultimately the character is now at one of the weakest points in the series. As Hannibal comments to Will, “You are in complete control.”
This is true, but Will is still not out from under the avalanche. Hannibal knows that Will knows, if you will, and he’s not just about to lose everything because a framed madman says he’s a cannibal. That’s just the kind of suggestion Will poses to Jack after he comes under fire for trying to kill Hannibal; the man eats his victims not to worship them, but because he feels superior. Though Jack is at first hesitant to believe this crazy story, the thought gets to him – there are too many holes in Hannibal’s story, and some taped evidence of Gideon admitting his presence in Hannibal’s house, generously donated by Dr. Chilton, provides Jack with the kind of suspicion he needs to carry out an experiment.
The biggest event in “Futamono” is Hannibal’s dinner party, which he throws to assume an air of normalcy after such a harrowing experience. He invites everyone to join him in a large feast of meats, and Jack takes this opportunity to grab a bunch of food to test for human parts. Except, as the audience, we know this isn’t going to work: Hannibal is cocky, but he isn’t reckless, and by now he has been getting the feeling that Jack no longer trusts him.
Interestingly, Hannibal pulls Dr. Alana Bloom to his side, however. He uses her as an alibi when kidnapping Gideon, allowing him to do whatever he likes without repercussions. The show has been steadily hinting at a twist of allegiance, and the audience knows that Jack will come to lose all trust in Hannibal later. But “Futamono” sets up a premise that allows Jack to die by Hannibal’s hand without Hannibal losing face thanks to Alana’s account.
There’s a murder as a side story in this episode, but it’s touched on only briefly before the show drops into the A-plot territory. That’s a shame, because “Futamono” doesn’t spend enough time with the reason for the murder. Yet Hannibal’s final actions make up for that; after he kidnaps Gideon, he prepares his own leg for dinner. It’s quite a gruesome display, and yet satisfactory at the same time.
But now it’s clear Will can’t remain imprisoned, because the newest murder links all of the Chesapeake Ripper’s kills together. He’ll get out next episode, and I can’t wait to see how Will proceeds next – the freedom will allow quite a bit of research into Hannibal’s life, an added threat for the serial killer.
Next week, we’re down a couple shows, but we’re covering all the others that will still be airing. Soon, Salem comes on and we’ll have another show about witches featured on DEADtime TV.