Hey Liberal Dead-heads, it’s Ryne from The Moon is a Dead World, back again with reviews of all your favorite horror TV shows. This week, Bates Motel checks out until next year, and we also lose Resurrection. More From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series from Shawn, and we’re still missing Kevin Lovell since The Following ended last week.
Resurrection: “Torn Apart” – Sunday, May 4 at 9 PM
“Torn Apart” suggests a much more eventful episode than what Resurrection delivers for its season finale (yes, it will be coming back next year). While that’s been the case throughout all of this first season, one would expect something a bit more climactic from the close of the show’s premiere run. There are some new developments to the show, but the rather closed-off premise doesn’t allow to go much further than its pilot episode.
Last episode, a ton of people started coming back from the dead, to the point where in “Torn Apart,” all of the people are forced to congregate at the church (there’s a pun for you). Tom takes them all in, and they begin to tally up names to try to find families. Maggie meets up with her mom, who has decided to leave Maggie’s father (that’s Sheriff Langston) because back when she was alive he was not a nice man and he could be very cruel. No one takes this well, although Langston does allow Maggie to do what she wants.
That is, until he makes a very bad decision, telling the FBI/army that all of those people in need of assistance aren’t flood victims (how this excuse worked I have no idea) but that they are actually dead people returned to life. The government immediately sets up a quarantine, and everyone is trapped inside. Bad news!
So Bellamy tries to get Jacob out of the county, ultimately failing once a huge army helicopter swoops in overhead and blocks off their only exit. So concludes the first season of Resurrection, an eight-episode arc that could have probably been told in only four. It’s been a slow slog throughout, and “Torn Apart” only continues to define the major problems with the premise in general.
For one thing, I’m not sure where else there is to go with the show. Now that the government is involved, there will probably be something about guinea pigs and experiments and a secret cover-up. Detainment will become the status quo; things will probably stagnate, devolving into telling multiple stories about returned people and how they left their families. Maybe multiple arcs will deal with multiple people.
But it’s certain to be very similar to what we’ve been dealing with in this first season, and adding government involvement severely limits options for where the story can go now. While it might add a tinge of excitement in this finale, I actually think it a firewall for the writers, who now must figure out how to get the rest of the returned people involved in the story as well as telling us why they keep coming back.
The conclusion might suck people in for next season, but it’s also somewhat frustrating. There is still no explanation on the horizon, and the cliffhanger feels like just another episode; it’s also fairly obvious. But that’s how Resurrection worked throughout its first season, and I’d like to see where the show can go next season without utilizing the same story tropes.
Salem: “In Vain” – Sunday, May 4 at 10 PM
Mary Sibley continues her reign of terror in Salem, this time forcing the town to put to death one of the main women who helped with childbirthing and running the orphanage. As she explains to her underlings, it’s all part of a grand scheme that the audience doesn’t really know about yet, but she only needs one more innocent’s death to complete it. She’s quite close in “In Vain,” but she can’t follow through.
She has planted a lot of seeds to help, though. One of them is the doll that we saw Mary make last episode, placed in the bedroom of Magistrate Hale’s daughter Anne. Initially, the reasoning for it is suspect. Is it because she fancies John Alden, the man Mary used to love? Is it because she’d make a good innocent Mary can frame? Or will it be some other device. Answer number three is correct, but we’ll get to that shortly.
It is the collusion of John and Isaac that takes center stage in this episode, because Hale is concerned who saw their powwow in the woods. The Seer knows that Isaac was one of the men who saw the sabbath, but the other man cannot be made out. Therefore, Mary casts a spell on Isaac to make him go sort of insane, spouting off and groping whores before being thrown in jail to be tried as a witch.
John knows that someone is framing Isaac, so he sets out to stop Hale from executing him. Unfortunately, he’s pretty helpless to stop it. But Mary is not okay with Isaac’s murder; in fact, she wants to use him as another mouthpiece, and she mystifies him until Isaac tells her that John was the other man that was with him during the sabbath.
Mary practically screams, “Not John!” The only thing that tethers Mary to the human world, to a portion of goodness, is her love for the man, and Salem has failed to characterize Mary as anything but evil besides this emotion. Part of the show’s flaws as a whole stem from Mary as an adversary, and in “In Vain,” they are very apparent: Mary is not only unstoppable when she wants to be, but she’s also meant to be a tragic villain. Salem attempts to weave this into the plot – root for Mary despite the terrible things she does because, well, her beau was taken away from her – but it’s hard to want someone who stuffs frogs down people’s throats to succeed.
The other major issue within “In Vain” is that John has made his dissatisfaction of the witch hunts well known, and now he steps in directly to stop Hale from killing Isaac. By now, if the witches really wanted him gone, they could have easily cast a spell or planted evidence that made John look like a witch, and then the show would be over without a hitch because the witches could do whatever they wanted. But Mary’s “love,” if that’s what we want to call it, keeps him alive. It’s okay for now, if you believe her character, but it won’t last long when Hale and the others decide that he’s not worth keeping around.
But at least “In Vain” and the previous episode were much more cohesive than Salem‘s pilot episode, and a certain semblance of plot has continued to form. While there’s still no overarching thread throughout the series, the show is at least setting Mary up for a rise to power. Still, the success of Salem will depend on how well the show can develop its main villain, because right now, Mary is not the type of person the audience can root for. And if that continues, it won’t make sense why Mary keeps John around.
Bates Motel: “The Immutable Truth” – Monday, May 5 at 10 PM
There’s a moment in Bates Motel‘s season finale “The Immutable Truth” where Norma offers a touching series of compliments to Dylan. It comes after Dylan saves Norman from certain death, killing Nick Ford in the process and enlisting the help of Sheriff Romero to track down Norman’s whereabouts. She tells Dylan that he’s always been a part of the family, and even though he’s the product of a terrible part of Norma’s life, she doesn’t regret his birth despite how she sometimes acts towards him.
That’s touching, and Vera Farmiga delivers it with such emotion that it’s no wonder Dylan sheds a couple of tears; it hits the audience just as heavy. But there’s a dark undercurrent beneath what Norma is saying: Dylan’s importance is only gauged by his worth to Norman, and thankfully he came through this time. Dylan has always been the black sheep of the family, and though Norma takes the time to thank him, he will always be less important when Norman is around.
Bates Motel has continually hinted at this throughout the season, but it finally makes an ugly appearance this episode. Here the audience really sees Norma’s nature, and “The Immutable Truth” doesn’t skimp on the awkward moments of incest where Norma smooches Norman right on the lips. It’s not like the audience needs to be told that this is the Norma and Norman show, but the irony of the situation is that Norma is always trying to fool Dylan.
Even better this episode, though, is that both the drug storyline and Miss Watson’s murder are cleared up for next season. Bates Motel has been carrying the marijuana crime ring along with it since the show began, but now that both Nick Ford and Zane and Jodi have been taken out, there’s room for the show to either ditch that agenda or figure out some way for Dylan to become a kingpin. Interesting times for Bates Motel either way, and at least the weakest part of this season – Zane and Jodi – have been eliminated.
But where “The Immutable Truth” truly excels is in Sheriff Romero’s determination to get Norman to take a lie detector test to determine whether he killed Miss Watson. The viewer knows that Norman killed her, and Norman knows he killed her, and Norma has a good idea that he killed her; it leaves Norman open to some heavy fire if something doesn’t change.
Thankfully, it does. Norma is able to sow enough seeds of doubt in Norman’s head – she says he might have dreamed or hallucinated the whole thing while in the metal box – that he can effectively deny his own culpability. Not only that, but the conclusion of the episode seems to indicate that Norman’s thoughts of his mother have now come to be a mental break in his head, where he associates the murders he commits as his mother’s actions. This is where Bates Motel introduces Norman’s delusional schizophrenia, the dual nature of his personality, and it’s an ingenious move.
“The Immutable Truth” is somewhat of a slow burn, but its final moments, like most Bates Motel episodes, give the episode an intensity that should carry the viewer through to next season. Where do we go from here? Who will come back? What is the arc for next season? Bates Motel started fresh this season and won big, so it’s not too much of a stretch to imagine next season working just as well.
From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series: “La Conquista” – Tuesday, May 6 at 9 PM
Further down the rabbit hole, we go. In this week’s episode of From Dusk Till Dawn, we’re still inside the lair within the strip club, The Titty Twister. And as you may have expected, things go much deeper than one would have originally thought, considering there wasn’t much more to the mythology in the movie except for a quick shot of a temple underneath of the club as the camera backs away at the end credits. This being a full season of episodes all based upon that one night in the movie, though, things get expanded, explained, and added, in an attempt to flesh out the story behind it. The upwards trend seems to continue here, in this new episode, in that the quality of the show has greatly improved since the first few episodes. There are still some lingering issues, but I have a feeling those will be dealt with as the show finishes out its first season, and begins the second season, which has already been announced.
In this episode, Santanico sits by a wounded Richie’s side, as she tries to explain to him, the benefits of coming over to the dark side. It’s somewhat surprising to me, after all of the things we saw him do on his mission to find Santanico in the first place, that he seems a little taken aback by the evil/supernatural side of the mysterious woman that has been calling for him to set her free. At this point in the movie, the character had already came back as a vampire, and was ultimately killed by his brother. This is entirely new territory, so where they go is pretty much a mystery. One big difference in the story that has now been established, involves Scott. In the movie, he was bitten, and asked to be killed so that he didn’t return from the dead. This time around, he gets lost in the dark, and when he shows up later, he has already made the transition from man to monster. On top of a change in species, though, it appears as though his loyalties have changed as well. Ranger Gonzlez, who we saw bitten on screen, has somehow managed to fight off the infection, but an up-close-and-personal encounter with Carlos may change that. This scene also serves as a bit of exposition, a disclosure of Carlos’ past that leads to a brutal sequence of flashbacks.
While all of this is going on, Seth, the remaining Fullers, and Sex Machine, are still battling it out with the undead in the lobby of the club. I didn’t know what to think at first, of Jake Busey as Sex Machine, but I have to say that I think he’s fitting into the role rather nicely at this point. He’s definitely a cheeseball, but I think his constant sarcasm, and terrible sex-puns and one-liners suit the character quite well. This is episode eight of the show, so we’re pretty much at the home-stretch at this point. it’s going to be interesting to see how this plays out, if Seth and Kate ride off into the sunset together, or if the ending will be similar to the movie, in that they part ways. It’ll also be interesting to see what happens with the start of the next season, because at that point, we’ll be venturing into uncharted territory. Instead of trying to write around already set events, Rodriguez and his writers will be creating all new events to unfold. It may have started off pretty rough, but I think From Dusk Till Dawn has finally sucked me in. I am genuinely excited about each new episode now, where as for a couple of them, it started feeling more like a chore. It still has its problems, for absolute sure, but the entertainment value of of the series has finally begun to overpower the negative issues.
Hannibal: “Ko No Mono” – Friday, May 9 at 10 PM
Hannibal drops a surprise on the audience, and one on me, at the end of “Ko No Mono” that got me excited for the last two episodes of this season. As season 2 has progressed, Will Graham has gotten sucked into Hannibal’s psychology more and more, to the point where Will claimed he murdered Freddie Lounds last episode. They even prepared and ate her.
This has always been difficult for me to accept, especially because Will was never swayed in the later portions of season 1 despite Hannibal’s best attempts to turn him into a killer. For Will to finally succumb to Hannibal’s pushes into killing territory would negate the powerful moments of strength Will had while in the mental institution. In “Ko No Mono,” most of Will’s time is spent in talks with Hannibal, as well as a couple of scenes where he discussed Freddie’s death with Alana Bloom.
It had me worried, especially when Will seemed to know a lot about Freddie’s apparent demise – after she’s killed, she’s pushed down a parking garage ramp, flaming in a wheelchair, then reanimated and made into a Shiva skeleton. Freddie gets a lot of shit thrown at her, but they’re also significant moments for Hannibal and Will.
The flaming body is meant to signify Will’s rebirth as a killer, and then the Shiva skeleton is Hannibal cementing his trust in Will. They are trading structure back and forth, two psychologists understanding the other through murder. When Hannibal and Will consume their whole bird together, they create a bond of power through death.
But Will has succeeded in playing Hannibal, as Jack Crawford reveals to Alana late in “Ko No Mono.” Freddie is still alive. The body was a plant. It is an attempt by Will to draw Hannibal out, and while there is no evidence thus far, it’s only a matter of time. Hannibal is playing a game with its audience as well, and it’s a risky one. Not allowing us to see whether Will is a killer or just playing Hannibal forces us to question whether we want Will as our narrator.
“Ko No Mono,” though, clarifies. Thankfully, Will has not gone totally insane, and he’s working on getting multiple people to go against Hannibal. The Vergers are two of those people. Mason plays a much bigger part in this episode, especially since Hannibal allows more characterization of him including his teardrop martinis. But Margot is also significant, because her pregnancy is in direct opposition to Mason’s attempts at an heir.
Interestingly, this is very much planned. Will has thoroughly thought out his strategy, and that makes for an amazing hour of cat-and-mouse where the audience is also out of the loop. It also sets up the final climactic battle between Jack and Hannibal, because for a while I was wondering how the show would even get there since Jack has been absent for much of the last few episodes.
Hannibal’s second season is, dare I say, even stronger than the first, and that’s due to the show’s structuring. It gets rid of the procedural arc of the first for a much more defined arc, and that has helped the show figure out exactly what the relationship is between Will and Hannibal. As Alana remarks, it’s somewhat dangerous – but Will knows that more than anyone. Moving into the final two episodes, I can’t wait to see how the Vergers, Jack, and Alana help to bring Hannibal into the spotlight.
Next week, DEADtime TV takes on Rosemary’s Baby! Both parts will be reviewed in their entirety, so stay tuned for a rousing discussion on a television remake miniseries. Resurrection and Bates Motel leave us, but Shawn will be tackling Penny Dreadful! And we’ll still have Salem, Hannibal, and From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series.