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 Shawn Savage will be picking up the remainder of From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series. This week, Bitten ends its first season run. Will it be back next season? And better question, will I get up the courage to review it again?
Resurrection: “Insomnia” – Sunday, April 6 at 9 PM
Everyone is having a hard time sleeping in Resurrection, and that’s because the newly resurrected Caleb keeps claiming that there’s going to be more people coming back from the dead. But “Insomnia” generally put me to sleep because it continues to prolong the storylines that can’t really be taken much further; Jacob is still not accepted as a person by the town, or even his father, and the new woman Rachael, who Tom took in despite his wife’s hesitance, is fairly disregarded throughout the episode besides a couple of quick scenes that drop a bombshell that’s she’s pregnant.
Most of “Insomnia” is dedicated to figuring out just what the hell Caleb was trying to do when he stole that money. Was he trying to give it to his daughter? Did he kill that guy because he came back as evil Caleb? What does he know about the other side? If you’re looking for answers to these questions, Caleb isn’t telling. He lets on that he knows about the happenings in dead land but he refuses to explain, and he also can see some of the past in people.
That flashback comes from Bellamy, a character who has been around for a while but without much incentive guiding him. In “Insomnia,” Resurrection tries to provide the reasoning behind it. Back when Bellamy was a detective, he had a kid he was looking after who was killed by his abusive father. Bellamy feels like it was partly his fault; now, looking after Jacob gives new meaning to his life.
It’s nice to get this small development with Bellamy. However, “Insomnia” relies too heavily on the Caleb-Elaine relationship; Caleb is a character that has been a mystery throughout the series, and rather than surprise us with his talk of new returned people coming, it’s more annoying that Resurrection continues to hide things from the audience.
It’s also kind of a cop-out on the show’s part, because Caleb conveniently disappears in the bubbling of a water jug. Neither the audience nor the characters will get their answers from him. Likewise, the talk of added returned people doesn’t get me excited, but instead makes me worried that Resurrection will simply rely on “returned person of the week” procedurals instead of tackling the bigger concepts.
The show has also cut out a lot of what had started to make its characters more likable. There’s less attention spent on Jacob’s parents, and the relationship between Bellamy and Maggie has stalled out; Resurrection‘s intense focus on Caleb has left a lot of its other pieces stranded.
Here’s hoping the next episode gives us more to work with, because now that the Caleb storyline has ended, the show will probably give us more returned to deal with. It’s not terrible, but there’s nothing happening within the show that makes it very worthwhile tuning into each week.
Bitten: “Ready” – Monday, April 7 at 8 PM
Bitten‘s season finale finds the mutts mounting a battle with the “pure” werewolves at Stonehaven; they’re storming the castle, and ready to kill Jeremy and take Elena hostage so they can use her to make pure werewolf babies. “Ready” has already had much of this idea set up in the previous episode, but the first twenty minutes or so are still devoted to preparation, both with Santos and his mutts and Jeremy and the werewolves.
Bitten has been doing this sort of stalling all season, but this time “Ready” delivers with some momentous fight scenes. After Santos rallies the forces, and after Jeremy and Clay go all Home Alone on Stonehaven, the troops descend on the house; a bunch of mutts Santos has called upon crash through windows, throw flashbangs in, and start boxing with Clay, Jeremy, and Elena.
The moment is pretty exciting, because it’s one of only a few moments Bitten has given us in terms of action. But there’s also a ton of unnecessary slow-motion, and one scene in particular is pretty ridiculous as Jeremy hucks an ax at a running werewolf. Still, “Ready”‘s combat is a welcome change from the rest of the show’s tempo.
There’s a traiter in Santos’ midst as well. Marsten swaps sides, finally sick of all of the terrible stuff Santos has made him do, and it looks like he’s potentially open to join Stonehaven. Good stuff for the show, since a new character added to Jeremy’s ranks gives the show more time to explore different character development.
“Ready” does tend to highlight Logan’s girlfriend’s weaknesses, however, and it also rewards Clay for all of the shit he’s put Elena through. In this episode, Elena forgets about her old boyfriend Philip, who’s still in the hospital, and celebrates her love for Clay. While it’s not like she’s still with Philip, it makes her seem like a pretty terrible person, and it also reinforces Clay’s dominance over her. In short, it’s a step back from Bitten‘s usual characterization of Elena as a capable woman.
In the last few minutes of the episode, Jeremy’s father shows his face – his name is Malcolm, and he’s not ready to allow Jeremy to maintain his role as head alpha. He also lets us know that he really doesn’t like Jeremy all that much. While I don’t want season 2 to continue with the same mutts vs. Stonehaven theme that season 1 had, it will be interesting to see how Bitten integrates Jeremy’s feelings about his father. Similarly, Elena finds the head of Philip in her room, so there will be some strong feelings to deal with there.
In summary, Bitten‘s first season has been fairly hit or miss, but the strong moments leading up to this finale hint at what the show can do well. Perhaps the lack of werewolves has left me with a bad taste in my mouth, or it could be the mobster-esque pacing of this season; but “Ready” is a pretty good wrap-up of Bitten‘s debut, and hopefully the show can find a better way to tell its stories next season.
The Following: “Betrayal” – Monday, April 7 at 9 PM
This week’s new episode of The Following marks the twelfth episode in the second season of the series and is titled “Betrayal.” The new episode begins where the previous episode left off with Claire arriving at Ryan’s door and his realization that she is actually still alive. Claire explains everything that occurred since he believed her having passed and she expresses her desire to kill Joe as well as insisting that she be allowed to work with Ryan in order to guarantee that outcome. Naturally Ryan is hesitant to allow her participation knowing that it could endanger her further. Unfortunately the realization of Claire being alive also results in some friction between Ryan and Mike due to the fact that Mike had known she was alive all along.
The episode also focuses on Joe and Emma as they decide to respond to the numerous insults and badmouthing directed toward Joe from TV preacher Kingston Tanner. Joe initiates a response and retaliation for said insults and all out insanity naturally results. Meanwhile Mandy finds her way to Lily and her family only to be subjected to numerous acts of cruelty and torture for refusing to give up Joe’s location to Lily.
Only three episodes left in the second season of The Following and things are getting pretty wild. With the cliffhanger last Monday’s episode ended on you know things are going to be getting even more intense than normal for this already fast paced series. I hope all of you fellow fans out there are enjoying this season as much as I am. I personally can’t wait to see what’s in store for the final three episodes of this season and I’m also quite curious to see where this series might take us in its third season.
Don’t miss all new episodes of The Following every Monday at 9/8c on Fox. -Kevin
Bates Motel: “Plunge” – Monday, April 7 at 10 PM
There’s a moment within “The Plunge” where Norma seems to figure out that the course of her new life in town is going in the wrong direction. She goes to meet with Nick Ford, one of the most important (and dangerous) people in town to discuss the recent death of Lee Berman of the city council, and he tells her that Berman’s death was pretty convenient. She replies that no death is convenient, but he disagrees; “Then you’d be lying,” he replies. When Norma tells him that she doesn’t want to be a part of this anymore, it’s only an attempt to convince herself that the risks don’t justify the end result.
But “Plunge” forces all of its characters into places where actions have consequences, and they can’t be undone. For Emma, it’s the peer pressure to take the titular plunge into freezing water, jumping off of a rope swing without her oxygen; she’s warned by Norman not to do it, but she thinks it’s okay – until she nearly drowns. The same is true of Cody, who decides to tell Emma that Norman’s been having black-outs with her, even when Norman specifically told her not to tell. And Dylan, who is featured less in this episode than most, takes on an even bigger promotion as the weed boss’ head guy, sent to look after Zane.
Unlike previous episodes in this season (besides last week’s), these moments tend to occur simultaneously with all of the characters together. Before, Bates Motel‘s plot had been attempting to scramble up all of the different sub-stories, resulting in a less interesting drug B-plot. But in “Plunge,” those seem to be pulled together much more effectively, and even Cody is fitting into the ensemble nicely, though Norman is now fairly pissed at her.
“Plunge” does skimp on Dylan’s story a bit too much here, especially because Bates Motel has now brought in a new character – Zane’s sister. Even Zane is nowhere to be found here, decreasing the tension from Sheriff Romero’s incidents in previous episodes. Juggling this much plot, the show does risk losing some of the steam of this angle, but it’s likely that Bates Motel will get back to it next time.
While “Plunge” focuses heavily on character study between the most important characters in Norman’s life, it gets deeper into horror territory late in the episode, once Norman has a run-in that reminds him of a previous memory in his life. I won’t spoil it, but it does add a new kink in the hose, and next week appears to be about this new development. It’s exciting, because besides the fight with Caleb a couple episodes ago, Norman’s darker side hasn’t come out since Miss Watson.
“Plunge” is another good episode, one that seems to be bringing Bates Motel out of the cold streak of late – that cold streak being a relative lack of horror motifs within the show, with an emphasis on drama development. Next week seems to be an episode devoted to Norman’s misdeeds, and with his recent black-outs, it will be interesting to see how the show deals with his “problem.”
From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series: “Self-Contained” – Tuesday, April 8 at 9 PM
We appear to have reached the point in the story now, that a lot of you have been waiting for. Yes, we arrive at the Titty Twister at the end of this episode, and yes it is actually called the Titty Twister, and not the Bikini Snapper or some such nonsense. No, we probably won’t see any nudity once we get into the bar, but hey, maybe that’s why everything has felt a little sanitized thus far? Maybe they’ve been saving all of their cards to show us a few nipples inside of a strip club? No, probably not, but one can dream. If you haven’t noticed yet, I’m not Kevin. He’s usually the one that covers this show for DEADtime TV, but since The Walking Dead is gone until October, I thought I’d take one over for him, while I wait for Penny Dreadful to start up on SHOWTIME in May. As for my relationship for this show, I thought the pilot was really good, save for a few minor gripes. However, I think that most of the episodes following have been going further and further downhill. There were still things to like within each episode, but the flashbacks are causing the actual narrative of the show to craw by at a gruelingly slow pace. I’m no the type of person that needs constant action in my TV shows. Clearly, since I’m such a fan of The Walking Dead, even if I did join in on the bitching there for a minute, after the show came back from break this season. I just feel like, if you’re going to do flashbacks, do them right, and make sure they apply to, and drive forward the current narrative. Otherwise it’s just filler, and the viewers will pick up on that and collectively examine their watches when watching your show. I have been defending this show since it was announced, because I think it has some true potential. I’m just hoping that they’ve seized that potential, and the current trend of better than average episodes continues into the recently announced second season.
This episode picks up directly where the last one left off. The brothers have managed to escape the hotel after hijacking a family and their recreational vehicle. Despite the fact that Ranger Gonzalez is hot on their trail. They even get to exchange some bullets this time around. After narrowly escaping, the RV and its inhabitants are making their way towards the border checkpoint. Some of the changes seem to be only for the sake of being different than the movie. I don’t think any of the new happenings added anything new, nor did they feel better executed than they were before. If you recall, once they arrive at the border, Cheech the border guard boards the vehicle, and was greeted with Kate on the toilet with her panties around her knees, and Seth and an unconscious Richie hiding out in the shower. Here, Jacob purposefully rams the rear-end of the vehicle in front of him, in hopes of putting a stop to a fight going on between his kids and the Gecko’s in the back of the RV. Apparently Scott smuggled a revolver in his duffel, which nobody thought to even check. It also shoehorns in some weirdo explanation about bullies, and how Scott has been carrying this gun around with him at school to ward them off. He even calls Seth and Richie “bullies”. The whole thing is extremely heavy-handed, and wholly unneeded. If I have any gripe at all with this episode, it is this.
Jacob tries to convince the man that he hit that there is no need to exchange insurance information, and when he refuses, he knocks him out and brings him aboard the RV. It is decided that Scott will have to drive the man’s car across the border. After Scott is detained, a female border guard boards the vehicle, and just as she is about to discover Seth pointing a gun at her face in the lavatory, in steps Carlos. Fez/Carlos, in addition to being a snake/vampire hybrid, is also a full-on shape-shifter . Carlos has murdered a high ranking border control officer, and transformed into his visage. Carlos will now used his new looks, to assist Seth and Richie as they make their way across the border. Carlos, appearing to be the ranking border control officer, instructs the woman to return back to headquarters, and sends Richie and Set on their way to the next checkpoint. Realizing that something is off, Ranger Gonzalez, who has also been detained at the border, attempts to get his men. However, he is greeted by several of Carlos’ heavily-armed Cartel friends, and an exciting border shootout ensues.
And yes, as I promised in my first paragraph, once the RV makes its way across the border, we end the episode parked outside of the Titty Twister. This is pretty much where it ends. There is a long shot of the entire group standing outside of the RV with the bar visible in the distance. It’s hard to tell how the actual bar scene is going to be handled, but if the trend continues, I have, not high hopes, but, I’m confident that it will at least be entertaining. Some shows just take a while to find their groove. I can think of several of my favorite shows, animated and otherwise, that I absolutely hated in their first season on air. I haven’t even hated From Dusk Till Dawn up until this point. I’ve been disappointed in some of the choices they’ve made, but as I said before, I recognized the potential, even after the filler-heavy second and third episodes. The actors that play Scott and Kate are still pretty interchangeable. There’s nothing that stands out about either of them that makes their portrayal of the characters anything but serviceable. However, I think I may have been converted on Robert Patrick. He got off to an iffy start, but he seems to be slipping into the groove of his role, now. There were also some kind of flashback scenes/dream sequences Ranger Gonzalez was constantly experiencing, that features Don Johnson as Earl. I love Don Johnson, but he’s not Michael Parks. Despite that, he is also stepping up his game as well, which is odd to say, considering his character is dead. I’d say it is safe to say, though, that he will appear all throughout the show, so long as the Ranger Gonzales story arc continues. It seems about pointless, but I enjoy seeing Don Johnson in a role like this so much that it doesn’t really bother me. All in all, this is one of the better episodes of the show so far. It still has some problems, mostly the odd editing choices here and there, and the cringe-worthy dialog where you can tell the writers are attempting to mimic Tarantino’s style, loaded up with constant pop-culture references. But, if you aren’t Tarantino, it is impossible to emulate Tarantino, especially in the writing department. At least now, I’m actually looking forward to the next few episodes, whereas before I was flirting with the idea of writing it off entirely. Stay tuned, as I’ll be back next week with my thoughts on episode six, titled Place of Dead Roads.
Hannibal: “Yakimono” – Friday, April 11 at 10 PM
“Yakimono” is the execution of Hannibal’s ultimate plan, the defining moment of his scheming that comes to fruition thanks to Will’s release from prison and Dr. Chilton’s intense rallying against the man. In this episode, Chilton feels the wrath of Hannibal, and he tells Will he doesn’t want to end up on the menu; what he doesn’t realize is that Hannibal has much bigger plans for him, ones that don’t include eating him, perhaps because the pretentiousness soaks into the meat.
Last time, Jack Crawford found Miriam Lass in a cistern out in a deserted farmhouse. Lass was his student at the FBI, and he always held himself accountable for what happened to her when she was abducted by the Ripper. It turns out she was never killed, only held as a means of toying with Jack – the Ripper took her arm, but, as she explains, he was always very forward about what he was going to do.
Will’s release from prison coincides with this case, because there’s too much evidence that says he couldn’t have been the Ripper. Will realizes that the most recent murder, started last episode with the man with the poisonous flowers in his stomach, is meant as a distraction, the kind of thing that will lead the FBI away from Hannibal. Hannibal has imbued Will with an aloofness that wasn’t there last season; when he looks at the crime scenes, or when he’s speaking with detectives about Hannibal, there’s a nonchalance to him that makes him even more dangerous. It’s because he realizes Hannibal is losing control, even if things are still going well for him.
Jack does get led down the wrong path after Hannibal kills two FBI agents in Chilton’s house and also plants the dying body of Abel Gideon in his basement. This plot is somewhat lessened by Jack’s insistence to believe in Hannibal; Alana Bloom would most certainly argue on behalf of Hannibal, but Jack doesn’t trust the man anymore. To not even proceed to investigate Hannibal besides basic questioning and Miriam’s testimony that the Ripper was not him is sort of suspect.
Still, Chilton does make a good fall guy, but the most shocking part of “Yakimono” is Miriam’s role in all of this. Though her character has been on the outskirts of the show, the choice to have her take Chilton’s life is strong development for her. It’s unfortunate to see Chilton go, since he was one of Will’s only allies, but Will’s insistence on returning to Hannibal’s therapy sessions indicates that Will has not given up, but wants to head into the lion’s den to use Hannibal’s work against him.
“Yakimono” is not perfect, in part because the actions of Jack and the FBI are a tad unbelievable. Hannibal’s execution of this plan seems a bit too forward-thinking – it seems unlikely this could be part of his plan, and instead seems more like some good luck. Whatever the case, Hannibal has been continually less focused on Hannibal as a character than as a person who is slowly losing control, whether he knows it or not. The big battle is coming, and the show is making it easy to get excited for it.
Next week, Bitten is gone… Never fear, though, because Salem will premiere next Sunday, April 20, so DEADtime TV will be picking that up. The summer also has a slate of releases that we’ll be covering, so stay up to date with us.