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! Plus, find a review of the premieres of Resurrection and From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series!
Resurrection: “The Returned” – Sunday, March 9 at 9 PM
Throw all of the confusing relationships to ABC’s new series Resurrection aside – its close proximity to The Returned or Les Revenants, its shared storyline – because none of it matters. What you need to know is Resurrection is based off a novel by Jason Mott called The Returned, and the show is an adaptation of said story. All comparisons besides that are moot.
With that said, it’s obvious that Resurrection swims in waters that have been charted before. The series, in a nutshell, centers on a town where people who should be dead, who were thought to be dead, have now come back from the grave, except they’re perfectly normal. No rot, no flesh-eating tendencies – just amnesia about what happened to them.
“The Returned” begins with a young boy named Jacob who wakes up in a paddy field far from home; he’s wet and half-drowned and not in his own time period, as we soon find out when Agent Bellamy takes on Jacob’s case. Bellamy is tasked with bringing Jacob home to Arcadia, Missouri, but when he gets there he finds Jacob’s parents, significantly older than one would expect, claiming their son died over thirty years ago.
But Jacob knows them as Mom and Dad, and he knows all of the nuances of their lives from thirty years prior. He remembers his death in the river behind his house, and attempting to save a woman who fell in. Jacob remembers a man there as well, someone his family knew well because they have a photo of him on their piano.
It’s a lot for everyone to take in, naturally, and Jacob’s dad rejects the fact that a boy could die and then be brought back thirty years later. But Mom allows for this mysterious miracle, and brings Jacob to church, where there is an obvious outburst of gasps.
“The Returned” is mostly all about Jacob and his return to his family, and the show handles it much like you’d expect. There are people who turn away from the events, completely unconvinced that they could occur. And yet there’s DNA evidence to prove Jacob is who he says he is – scientific fact that can’t be disputed. Bellamy believes; others do not.
One of those people drawn in is Maggie, a doctor who happens to examine Jacob after his return. Her mother also died in that river drowning that claimed Jacob’s life, so she has some investment in his tale, but this kid can’t possibly be the same one from thirty years ago, she thinks.
But there’s more to the story. Apparently Maggie’s mom was cheating on her father, and perhaps there was some foul play involved… What we know is, things aren’t as they appear, as the characters have come to find out.
Yet “The Returned” is clearly just following the natural plot progression of learning that dead people have come back to the land of the living. There’s nothing too exciting about Resurrection‘s first episode; in fact, it’s so sterilized and rigidly plotted that, despite not being a terrible premiere, it’s also not very memorable. The worst thing a pilot episode can be is “just okay”; if a show sets out for big things and fails miserably, at least it tried, but Resurrection plays it safe throughout and lacks any excitement because of it.
The trailer for the next episodes promises big things are coming, like more resurrected people and maybe some tension between people who believe in the miraculous and those who would turn away from what they can’t imagine. But if Resurrection continues to be anything like “The Returned,” this miniseries won’t revitalize its viewers – it will bore them.
The Walking Dead: “Alone” – Sunday, March 9 at 10 PM
This week on The Walking Dead, we are treated to one of the first real flashback for the purpose of character development that we’ve had for an extremely long time. The result of which, is that I now actually like a character that I was previously rooting for their death with every passing episode. I’m speaking of course, of Bob. Bob has been a pain in the ass since he randomly showed up as a seemingly important character, even though we’d never met him before, and knew absolutely nothing about him. His stupid struggle with alcoholism cost lives, and repeatedly put the rest of the survivors in danger. Prior to this flashback, it was just annoying, and caused many viewers to hope for his death to come quickly. I’m not sure how many people were converted after learning a little bit about him, but I am one that has reconsidered.
Once the pre-credit flashback sequence with Bob is over, we rejoin Daryl and Beth, who previously made no bones about putting their middle fingers in our faces after what I would refer to as the weakest episode of the entire series. This time, Daryl and Beth have holed up in an abandoned funeral home, along with some well-preserved corpses of the non-reanimated variety. There’s still this cutesy little romantic element of Daryl and Beth, which feels entirely forced. They hinted back during the first days of the prison that there was going to be a romantic involvement between Beth and Carl, but that never came to fruition. You and me both know that this one won’t, either, but as annoying as it sounds, I have to say that it would be a ballsy move for them to put these two characters together in a sexual way. I can’t remember how old Beth is supposed to be, but I’m fairly certain her character is underage. Even if not, ewww. I know many of the female viewers of the show imagine themselves together with Daryl, but as a popular internet meme has pointed out, this formerly racist hillbilly(He has a Super Soldiers emblem on his bike) hasn’t been doing much ball-washing as of late.
After Daryl and Beth have their cutesy moments, Beth is abducted by a car full of unknowns. Could this be by men sent by Negan, one of the biggest badass bad guys from the comics? Could it be in reference to the hunters that attacked Rick and Carl, and made the suggestion that they were going to rape Carl? Or, could this be an entirely new plot element all together? Only time well tell, but to me, I kind of have a feeling that this is one of the things that will introduce us to Negan in the season finale. After Daryl gives chase, and realizes that he can’t catch a car moving at full speed on foot, he collapses, and is found by a group of guys that are clearly not looking out for the greater good of mankind. Daryl, feeling defeated, turns himself over to them, surrendering in a way. I find it hard to believe, that after all he’s been through, he’s just going to return to his criminal roots, but he may feel like he lost the only other person in the world that gives a shit if he’s alive or dead, so who knows? I guess we’ll find out soon, hopefully, anyway. I’m anticipating that they won’t even make mention of Daryl in tonight’s episode. That seems to be the pattern they’re following – Introduce a new situation, and completely ignore it until an episode or two has passed. Unfortunately for them, they don’ t have too many more episodes left to fuck around with.
Maggie still hasn’t found Glenn, and now she’s ran off, leaving Bob and Sasha behind. Sasha seems to be of the “fuck her” mind, and wants to set up shop somewhere with Bob, who with a single kiss, we learn are either previously involved, or about to embark upon a romantic entanglement. In any event, Bob decides that he can’t abandon Maggie, gives Sasha a kiss, and goes off on his own to find her. At first, Sasha goes her own way, looking for a place to hole up, suddenly, when a horde of Walkers closes in on her, out of nowhere, Maggie shows up and helps her out. From that point, both of them venture off to meet up with Bob, and continue on their journey towards “sanctuary” down the abandoned railroad tracks. By the rules set by The Walking Dead history, Bob has totally been set up to die, now. Normally it happens within the episode where a character is treated to a little extra back story, but since he didn’t bite it at the end here, do you think he is safe, or are you convinced that now that we’ve been formally introduced, they’ll be taking him out soon? Tune in tonight to find out, and come visit us again next week to see our recap of the new episode.
Bitten: “Vengeance” – Monday, March 10 at 8 PM
“Vengeance” is an episode that seems to be where this season has been leading towards; it encompasses a lot of the action and fighting between packs and mutts that has been hinted at but never explored. Whereas most of Bitten‘s episodes find Jeremy and his werewolf cohorts planning how to attack their enemy Santos, this time “Vengeance” follows through with multiple coordinated sequences.
It doesn’t mean that Bitten has gotten much better as a drama, but it does allow the viewer more entertainment watching Nick and Jeremy fend off a fairly skilled contract killer named Jimmy Koenig. Elena gets in the fight as well, targeted by another one of Santos’ henchmen, Thomas Leblanc, and she gets shot in the process.
There are some stakes in “Vengeance,” mostly that Nick would like to get back at Santos for having his father murdered; Jimmy Koenig is the pawn that is sacrificed, and though the show attempts to characterize him as someone dangerous with a storied past relating to the pack, the effort is futile – before this episode, we’ve never even heard of him, so Jeremy’s opening story about Koenig forcing Nick’s father Antonio to kill an innocent man falls short of emotional impact.
But “Vengeance” is concerned more with the action of the episode than it is with the reaction from the audience. There’s good choreography throughout, and the fight with Koenig is frenetic. Yet it all leads me to question why, when there’s a big standoff, no one changes into a werewolf. I was under the impression Bitten was about werewolves, and yet there’s only half of a wolf to be found in this hour-long episode.
Why does Bitten continue to eschew its main idea? Is it because the CGI is expensive, or because the characters just don’t like the change? Bitten has yet to show us why it’s not advantageous to become a wolf instead of trying to flee from a guy shooting a gun in human form, and so often the show feels like a bad mob story masquerading as a horror tale.
“Vengeance” is still juggling Logan’s potential father woes, especially now that he knows he’s having a son. Phil is worried that Elena is cheating on him; she wasn’t before, but after he near-death experience she gives in to Clay’s temptations for a romp by the fire before realizing the next morning she made a terrible mistake. This passionate exchange is depicted as sexy and delicate, but the viewer should be rooting against Elena – she’s making some dumb decisions, and with that in mind, she’s becoming an unlikable protagonist.
Also on the spectrum is Cain’s girlfriend Amber, who is desperate to become another female werewolf and goads Leblanc into biting her so that she can become just like Elena. Amber’s an annoying character, not helped by the lackluster script-writing for her dialogue; I found myself rooting for her to die during the change, and it seems I might actually get what I wish for. As long as I don’t have to see Eve Harlow whine anymore, we’ll be good.
“Vengeance” is a step up on the octane scale for Bitten, an episode with actual action in it instead of the constant posing of ideas about how to stop Santos. And yet it doesn’t make up for its glacial pace in previous episodes, instead lingering on a fight that doesn’t feel as monumental as it should. You’re getting there, Bitten, but the lack of werewolves is confusing to say the least.
The Following: “The Messenger” – Monday, March 10 at 9 PM
This week’s new episode of The Following marks the eighth episode in the second season of the series and is titled “The Messenger”. The new episode begins with the funeral for Mike Weston’s father following Lily’s senseless murder of him broadcast live in front of Mike, Ryan and the FBI. Ryan is visited at the wake by the director of the FBI who also personally believes Joe is alive and asks Ryan to work for him off the books and find Joe at whatever cost necessary. While Ryan tries to get Mike to step down so that he doesn’t start becoming Ryan himself, Mike refuses and continues in their personal hunt for vengeance, while Ryan’s only purpose is to find Joe and kill him, now Mike’s sole purpose has become finding Lily and killing her. I think that as disturbing and heartbreaking as the whole event with Mike is, it really needed to happen in order to really utilize this character on the series to the fullest, and while it definitely got to me, I must relent that I’m also glad to see Mike’s character developing in new ways and continuing to become a more integral part of the story and this season.
The episode also focuses on Joe as he, Emma and Mandy still remain with this new cult that they have joined for sanctuary. While Emma insists on leaving, Joe has plans of his own and intends to mold this cult leader into someone he can use for his own means. At the same time the leader’s wife is not fooled by Joe and her husband’s blind fondness for the man and she will do whatever is necessary in order to make certain that if Joe does have a hidden agenda in play here, he will not be able to accomplish it.
We are now over half way through the sophomore season of The Following, things are definitely continuing to get more and more insane and (at least so far) I absolutely love it. I also love the break-free fifteen week consecutive airing schedule that Fox has (shockingly) kept in place for the series both seasons so far. I hope all of the fellow fans out there are continuing to tune in each week and enjoy where this show is going as much as I am and I hope to see you all back here yet again next week!
Don’t miss all new episodes of The Following every Monday at 9/8c on Fox.
Bates Motel: “Shadow of a Doubt” – Monday, March 10 at 9 PM
Bates Motel‘s premise works best when it’s confined to Norma and Norman. It’s not only because Freddie Highmore and Vera Farmiga are a blast to watch, but because this is the main reason one tunes in to a show about Norman Bates: there’s drama and history between the two to lead to Psycho, and how that happens is important. The other stuff involving Dylan and Bradley is good too, but it doesn’t feel as important, and it’s often so loosely connected to Norman in general that there’s no reason for the audience to find it so captivating.
But it is necessary to keep the show moving, or else Bates Motel would be a show about nothing more than mother and son bickering, then making up, then holding hands, and then bickering again. Perhaps that wouldn’t be such a bad thing to watch, but I’m thankful for Max Thierot’s appearances all the same.
“Shadow of a Doubt” continues season 2’s focus on Bradley as a player, at least for these opening episodes. Her murder of Gil last episode has obviously caused an eruption in town, and Sheriff Romero is desperate to find the killer; he’s also still trying to wrap up the Miss Watson case. That one he’s intent on pinning on the last guy who had sex with her; while it’s only a few scenes, it puts less emphasis on Norman as the potential murderer who blacked out and killed her without knowing it.
Though Bradley is a central figure, her story this time is on the outskirts of the A-plot. Norman is tasked with getting her out of town, and he buys her a bus ticket to Boston to secure her safe passage. But when Norma gets wrapped up in trying out for a local theater’s musical, he can no longer offer Bradley a ride. In steps Dylan to save the day, also helping to wrap up the confusion of who murdered one of his partners in the drug trade.
But Bradley’s story has always been less interesting in Bates Motel, because the show hasn’t characterized her as much as it has tried to guilt us into emotional attachment to her. “Shadow of a Doubt” really takes off because of the sheer awkwardness that is Norma’s own obsession with her son.
One gets the feeling that she means well but is unable to see the consequences of her actions. She wants to return to a sense of normalcy after suspecting her son of murdering Miss Watson, so she thinks taking up Norman’s childhood pasttime of musicals could be a way to get her mind off of her son’s guilt, and to help them bond. But her strange choices, from her forceful attempts to get Norman to do something he doesn’t want to do to the musical numbers she decides to sing with or about Norman, offer up a sinister undertone that hints at an obsession at best, and incestual relationships at worst.
While “Shadow of a Doubt” continues to delve into areas of drugs and Bradley’s storyline that seem to skirt the true intentions of the show, it’s always great to see the odd relationship between Norman and Norma. This week, we saw them get into a really embarrassing argument right outside their theater; they’re also caught holding hands inside. The repercussions of Norman’s actions (or innocence?) are still lingering in Bates Motel, but it feels like there are new developments about fling wide their doors.
From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series: “Pilot” – Tuesday, March 11 at 9 PM
The long awaited and heavily debated television series adaptation of Robert Rodriguez’ film masterpiece has finally arrived with the pilot that premiered this Tuesday. The series will continue with new episodes every Tuesday on the El Rey network. For those that aren’t aware of the El Rey network, it is Robert Rodriguez’ new cab e network in which the series is airing and the network is available on most cable providers, though you will have to check your local listings personally to see if you have it yet. If you are one of the unlucky ones, and aren’t able to access the El Rey Network, there are multiple ways for you to view the show. The day after it airs on Cable, it will be available in HD on both iTunes and Amazon Instant. Also, it will be on Netflix, week-to-week, in several other territories, including Canada and the U.K. If you are a crafty citizen of the united states, you can convince your browser you are from Canada, and view it there, as a last resort. The point I’m trying to make is, if you want to watch this series as it airs, you have options.
For those who continue to badmouth this series without giving it a chance and say how horrible it is to remake this film, please keep in mind this is not your ordinary remake. The series was created, written and directed (at least the pilot so far) by Robert Rodriguez himself as a way to build upon and expand the story of the Gecko Brothers, and he additionally consulted Tarantino (who starred as Richie Gecko and wrote the screenplay for the film) about numerous new ideas which apparently he loved for the most part. Therefore consider all of that before you bad mouth the series, and please at least give it a shot, because you might just be pleasantly surprised. The events in the first episode concentrate for the most part around the liquor store robbery (the opening sequence in the movie) and provides all of the different perspectives of the individuals and what events occur at as well as preceded their arrival at ‘Benny’s World of Liquor’. It also adds in at least one (seemingly) crucial new character to the story that it looks like might be a very integral part of the series as a whole.
While a number of events from the film are present here, it really expands on that and starts opening us up to a large number of new possibilities that I think could really work well if executed properly and bring us all a much more detailed and insane version regarding the already known (by many) tale of the infamous Gecko Brothers. The actors who play the Gecko Brothers (D.J. Cotrona and Zane Holtz) also do a pretty great job handling the lead roles and I think most fans will be pretty satisfied with the casting selections.
Helix: “Black Rain” – Friday, March 14 at 10 PM
The vectors in Helix have gotten smarter, led by the grandmaster baddy Peter because, for some reason, he’s become patient zero. And, as Julia remarks in “Black Rain,” the humans have kind of gotten dumber; they allow the vectors to control them, forcing them to do things that they’re manipulated into doing, and the result is a scene where many of the innocent scientists at Arctic Biosystems are doused with black goo from the veins of one of the vectors.
Helix treats its minor characters as fodder for the virus and vectors, and it’s never more apparent than on “Black Rain.” Sure, Alan wants to save all of the scientists from becoming infected, and Julia and a now somewhat recovered Sarah work to craft an antidote out of Julia’s DNA so that they can inject all vectors to cure them; but the workaround doesn’t factor in the Ilaria group’s plan to infiltrate Arctic Biosystems in six hours now that Constance hasn’t checked in. And unfortunately for all of the non-infected scientists at the site, they’re not part of the main cast like Alan, Sarah, Julia, and Hatake, so everyone’s fair game.
Sarah and Julia do come up with a working antivirus in three hours or so, something that’s really quite astonishing considering how long it took to figure out the plan. It has something to do with Julia, and we know this because Hatake explains to his other son Daniel that Julia’s his daughter and she’s special, but there’s really no other reason why Julia is the way she is. The show wants us to take it at face value and also accept that she can cure people with her DNA, and that’s a big stretch.
But “Black Rain”‘s greatest moment is when Ilaria’s henchmen visit the site, because Helix excels when it’s not stuck in the lab; the episode introduces a new character named The Scythe who, naturally, carries two scythes around with his main job title being “slaughter anyone who might cause us trouble.” Though he’s only in the last ten minutes or so of the episode, his presence allows for more bloodshed unrelated to the vectors, one who treats the survivors of the base who have not gotten down to Level R’s safe zone to violent and unfair deaths.
It feels like Helix‘s time at Arctic Biosystems is coming to an end, and that’s a good thing; next season will hopefully expand outward, maybe to other towns or perhaps to a new virus in general. There’s not a lot more to be done at Arctic Biosystems, and already “Black Rain” stretches incredulity with the speed of creating the new vaccination and the uniformity of vector attacks. Still, the Scythe is an interesting character to add to the show last minute, and it’ll be a surprise to see where he takes Helix.
Hannibal: “Hassun” – Friday, March 14 at 10 PM
Hannibal enters the courtroom with “Hassun,” an episode where Will stands trial for the killings and a lot of posturing ensues. In Will Graham’s case, it’s unclear where each witness stands in relation to his innocence; while many believe Will could be innocent, Jack Crawford in particular, their testimony could still incriminate him whether they hope it to or not. Alana Bloom particularly is a witness who will not let her emotional relationship with Will cloud her judgment of the facts; she, as well as Will’s doctor/captor Dr. Chilton, realize that personas outwardly projected can in fact be illusions.
This means that “Hassun” does not simply work as a courtroom drama about the facts. Emotions and relationships are continually clouding what has been said; the viewer, even as a knowledgeable witness, is left to judge the proceedings much like the jury, attempting to unravel the confusion between what is meant and what is said. Crawford is part of the prosecution, yet he implicates himself by clarifying that he does not think he believes Will could have done this.
Thankfully for Will, there’s a killer out there that admires him, and that person begins to kill people of the court in a similar method to the murders Will is accused of committing. A bailiff winds up pierced through with antlers, his ear cut off; when the judge will not allow a defense that uses this murder as a similar connection to the murders in Will’s case, the judge winds up dead in a grisly poetic display.
The audience is meant to presume Hannibal is behind the killings; he seems to know quite a bit about the metaphors of the murders, and he brings it up repeatedly in conversation with Will. It’s not clarified yet, though, so the viewer is left to speculate if there is someone else out there who doesn’t want Will to be put away. Hannibal has molded Hannibal into a person who is fueled by experiments on the people around him, and he’s a frailer man without Will to test.
In a way, “Hassun” lacks the characterization of Hannibal that previous episodes this season have had, in part because of the increased focus on the court case. Hannibal is on the outskirts of this episode, and his involvement is blunter and more direct than it has ever been. It would seem like someone else would suspect him at this point with how much investment he has in the case; it is perhaps “Hassun”‘s greatest weakness.
Over time, though, Hannibal will come under fire for his potential murders, and that time is coming very soon. While “Hassun” centralizes on the court case a bit too much without taking time out to explore the psychological perspectives it usually does, there’s still strength in depicting the secondary characters’ own doubts and how that affects the case. It’s one of the most interesting court cases I’ve seen, and sure to get juicier as Hannibal goes along.
Join us next week for all the regular coverage on DEADtime TV. No additional shows to be added at this point, but we’re coming up soon to the season finales of Helix and Bitten.