Hey Liberal Dead-heads, it’s Ryne from The Moon is a Dead World. This week, we lose two more of our beloved horror shows – From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series wraps its first season, and Hannibal bows out (but never fear, it will be back next year). That means we’ll be left with only a couple of shows for a few weeks until June when some new shows start up!
Salem: “Lies” – Sunday, May 18 at 10 PM
Salem has been toying around with Mary and John’s relationship for a while, but though they’re both main players in the plot, the show has failed to make them believable as lovers. Mary is not a well-rounded character, and that’s due to Salem’s reliance on her as the ultimate villain to Salem’s otherwise peaceful village atmosphere; unfortunately, there’s just no middle ground to her person. Either she’s very evil, or she’s sort of smitten with John, and there’s now no way to reconcile the two disparate pieces of her.
So when “Lies” chooses to focus on her fascination with John, there’s already a large flaw in this approach. Granted, it’s one that’s been surmised throughout this first season; obviously, if John is going to be one of the naysayers about witches in Salem, there’s got to be a reason Mary keeps him around. But the show’s attempts to rectify their distance in the final scenes of the episode stretch their relationship too much. Of course John has killed men – he fought in the war. Most men coming back from war have, and for a woman who has gained power through the deaths of others, it’s weird that Mary is so taken aback.
Besides those points, however, “Lies” brings up an interesting element for Salem. Mary’s pawn in the witch-hunting business has been a girl who she uses to point fingers at potential witches, but now that the girl has overcome her possession, she uses her powers of persuasion to name other witches, and Mary has no control. It adds a new layer to the show, but it does feel like one that will quickly end – Mary won’t let her take charge for too long.
This episode also attempts to dispel some mystery about the Grand Rite, but it actually creates many more questions. Though the witch council that appears to meet in the woods recognizes the Grand Rite and discusses the potential of Mary, Salem hides the actual meaning behind the ceremony. It also relies on characters the audience doesn’t really know about, something that becomes an annoyance since it feels intentionally hidden.
While “Lies” is a pretty good episode of the series, Salem continues to have some major flaws that detract from the experience. Mary is the biggest; her character is meant to be misunderstood, somewhat evil but able to swing to the good side. But it’s hard to believe this when Salem always rams her awful nature down our throats. John remains the one character that the viewer can root for, but that negates the purpose of what the show is trying to do.
Penny Dreadful: “Seance” – Sunday, May 18 at 10 PM
Showtime, is a channel that was in on the horror TV craze at a time that it wasn’t as insanely popular as it is currently. So, when you tell me that they are starting a new horror-themed original show, you’ve immediately got my attention. The first episode of Penny Dreadful did a great job at setting the tone for the rest of the season. Though, judging by episode two, it may have been a little too much to throw at viewers all at once. The second episode slows down quite a bit, with carnage being kept to a minimum, and replaced with slower, dialog-heavy scenes, and a couple of extremely hot sex scenes. That’s not to say that the second episode of the show is bad, it just seems to serve as more of a boiling set-up for future happenings, whereas the first episode roped us in with 55 minutes worth of insanity.
The main focus of this week’s episode, is a seance that takes a turn for the worse. A seance going badly? Who could have imagined such a thing would happen? In any case, Vanessa, after being charmed to the point that she almost slipped out of her gown on the dance floor by Dorian Grey(Yeah, he’s here now, though it hasn’t really established his relation to the story yet), is possessed, and spews a profanity filled demonic rant full of lots of child-fucking towards Sir Malcolm. This was a very Exorcist’esque moment, and exhibited an efficacious usage of sound manipulation to drive the scene home even further than the eerie visuals. Meanwhile, Frankenstein, working with his monster, is shocked at the rate at which he is learning, and retaining information. I’m really interested to see how Frankenstein’s monster is going to fit into the rest of the story. If there is one thing I can say about Penny Dreadful, after only two episodes, it’s that it is an extremely well done horror show, regardless of where the story eventually goes. Even though this was a slower episode, I’m still excited for the next. There are some interesting concepts being hatched, here, so tune in next week and we’ll discuss where the third episode of Penny Dreadful takes us.
From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series: “The Take” – Tuesday, May 20 at 9 PM
The season finale of From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series is finally here. Those of us that have remained curious throughout, as to whether or not they will end this series in a way similar to the ending of the movie. And, what we get here is a mixed bag. Some things are wrapped up in a similar way, while in other, much larger ways, the ending is changed, mostly for the purpose of bringing the show back for a season 2. The good thing, though, is that it also ends in a way that, had it not been picked up for a second season, it wouldn’t have been too terrible of a series finale. Most things for the purpose of continuity are brought to a close, while others are expanded even further, leaving us wondering in the off-season. I still have some major issues with the show, but after the second half, I have a much better outlook for a continuation. Most of the issues, such as dialog inedible by those of us that are lactose intolerant, while still prevalent, take a back seat to a story that suddenly got pretty interesting. And, they threw us a few F-bombs and bare-naked boobies for good measure.
Richie frees Santanico and parts ways with Seth. Scott is a lost soul, Kate sets her father free after Scott bites him. The Rangers makes a deal for his freedom and heads home. After the dust settles, Kate and Seth leave in the Corvette.
When we left off at the end of the last episode, Professor Jake Busey had just kidnapped Kate for the purpose of a blood sacrifice, revealing himself to be faithful to the ancient ideology that powers the walls of the pyramid that the Titty Twister is sitting on top of. Jacob finally gets a real look at what Scott has become, now that he’s been turned into a snake-vampire, and though he knows he should kill him, to try and help his soul reach peace in the afterlife, he can’t bring himself to do it. He has also been bitten by Scott, who reveals that, when he bit him, he absorbed his energy, and saw what he thought to be the truth behind his mother’s mysterious death. Jacob explains to Kate that she has to kill him, so that he can finally be at peace, and that even though he’s become a monster, that she needs to look after Scott. Meanwhile, Richie and Seth have made it to the end of their quest, conquering the labyrinth, and enabling Richie to have the power to set Santanico and her followers “free” from their centuries of slavery. Seth’s plan is to leave his brother behind, where he thinks he belongs, and make off with all of the money from the bank robbery, but Carlos’s double cross of Santanico crumbles that plan to pieces. And, at the end of the day, we see Seth and Kate standing above ground. In the movie, they split the money and parted ways. However, this time around, with no money in-hand, they speed off together into the sunset.
As you can see, this leaves the writers plenty of wiggle room to be able to bring the show back for a second season. And, now they aren’t bound by the rules of the movie as much as they were when creating the story for the first season. As a note, I’d like to recommend to you that you rent the episodes from Amazon or iTunes, or watch them on Canadian Netflix, rather than watching them as they air on El Rey, if you’re lucky enough to have that channel in the first place. In the later episodes, there is a lot cut from the episodes that is in-tact in the digital version of the show. This includes some more gore, some dialog that is a little more risque than what makes its way onto air, and several scenes of bare-naked breasts. One of my main hopes for the second season, is that they dirty the show up a little bit. Until the second half of the season, it was tamer than most shows that you’d see on a channel like FX, such as Justified. I have mixed feeling about the final product as a whole, but I’m planning on re-watching them back-to-back the second I can get my hands on the Blu-ray release of this season. The bad dialog and strange casting choices will still be present, but maybe it flows better if you binge-watch the entire series. This closes out our coverage of this show until it returns next season. Hope you’ve enjoyed the show.
Hannibal: “Mizumono” – Friday, May 23 at 10 PM
It’s hard to imagine the second season of Hannibal culminating in a finale that’s any better than “Mizumono.” The show set a high bar in its first episode this year when Jack and Hannibal faced off in a deadly fight and backtracked to its initial beginnings, but the finale maneuvers to that conclusion so easily that it’s almost difficult to believe things can be topped next season.
There’s a feeling of inescapable forward movement in “Mizumono,” a quick pace of events that can’t be stopped, and it leads the viewer through all 40 minutes of this episode. Jack and Will set their plan in motion to basically entrap Hannibal into attempting to commit murder; likewise, Will and Hannibal plan their own attack, with Hannibal sending a formal dinner invitation to Jack under no unknown pretenses. A battle is prepared, the same way as chef begins preparation for the meal. Unfortunately, Kade Prurnell at the FBI steps in to alter the plan, leading to a few changes that redirect the attack.
It means that Jack has to surrender his badge, and Will has to make a run for it before he’s arrested for the murder of Randall Tier. But moreso, it means that things don’t go as planned. For one, Alana is pulled into the attack, as curious about what she missed in Hannibal as she is determined to bring him to justice. In the first twenty minutes, “Mizumono” is all about the set-up, and a tense one it certainly is.
The last twenty minutes are the pay-off, what we’ve been waiting for since Hannibal showed us Jack and Hannibal’s fight. That occurs, in much the same way we saw it, but Alana’s interference changes the course of the event. Not only does she become a new target, she also uncovers the truth about who Hannibal has been hiding – Abigail is not dead, but has been drawn into Hannibal’s seductive web. It leads to Alana’s descent from an upstairs window into the glittery rain.
But that’s not all. Hannibal’s madness (fantastically achieved by Mads Mikkelsen this episode in particular) finds him confronting Will after he smells Freddie Lounds’ scent. Hannibal knows, and Will knows he knows; the jig is up, and the slow reveal of Hannibal behind Will is wonderfully terrifying. It’s a moment that leaves the fate of nearly everyone that has made the show what it is up in the air, as much a purifying moment as it is a deeply disturbing one.
It’s not just because death is evident for some and not others. The method Hannibal dispatches his victims (his friends? or at least what he might have considered them) is cruel and intentional, and there’s more than a passing resemblance to shore-stranded fish as both Will and Abigail flop on Hannibal’s floor, their lifeblood flowing from their bodies. It is the stream that Will imagines, except he has been caught instead of hooking Hannibal.
Still, Bryan Fuller leaves us with just a bit more. After the credits, Hannibal heads off on a flight, not alone but with Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier. Where they are going is anyone’s guess, and who will survive is also as cloudy as the sky in the final scene. But one thing is for certain – Hannibal’s second season ends on a strong (stronger?) string of events than the ones that began this season, and I hope the brutality has just begun.
Catch us next week when we cover both Salem and Penny Dreadful, the shows that will get us through into June!