Hey guys, it’s Ryne from The Moon is a Dead World. We’re adding The Last Ship to our list of covered TV shows, so get ready to be blown away by Michael Bay-inspired explosions and shit. Shawn is still wading through Penny Dreadful, and Kevin Lovell is back with season four of Teen Wolf!
The Last Ship: “Phase Six” – Sunday, June 22 at 9 PM
It’s supposed to be a fairly standard mission for naval commander Tom Chandler (Eric Dane). His crew is out at sea with no connection to the mainland; they’re cut off for stealth purposes, but it’s not out of the ordinary. A few CDC researchers including the head doctor Rachel Scott (Rhona Mitra) have been traveling with them, doing some science in Arctic conditions, and it’s just routine research. And everyone is supposed to be going home shortly.
But in The Last Ship, that obviously isn’t the case. Shit gets bad real fast, about four months out at sea. Rachel and her band of CDC guys are out in the snow digging when helicopters attack, spraying bullets and missiles all over the place. Assassins drop down with machine guns; more helicopters attempt to blow Chandler’s ship out of the water. Explosions up the wazoo ensue. Helicopters eventually blow up.
Am I being terse here? Absolutely. This is a Michael Bay-produced series, and it has all of the set pieces that make his films so controversial. If you’re looking for some literary genius in The Last Ship, look elsewhere – the plot is incredibly basic, and “Phase Six” spends almost all of the pilot episode explaining the conceit. But if you’re watching The Last Ship, you’re probably already pretty familiar with what’s happening. It’s not complex, at least not yet, and it doesn’t deliver much in the way of characterization at this point.
Basically you’ll meet two people that are actually important: Chandler and Scott. The others are simply stand-ins to make it seem as though this ship is populated with people, and “Phase Six” finds time to work in phrases like, “81 lifeboats for 200 people!” in case you were wondering how many people are left to repopulate Earth. It’s not subtle, but neither are helicopters exploding in mid-air.
Right now, The Last Ship very much feels like Helix, but on a ship. That can go both ways – whereas Helix has really branched out from where it began, The Last Ship will probably stick to its virology plot consistently. The problem will be how the show works to keep its storyline fresh while maintaining a rigid setting. There will probably be no shortage of explosions, over-the-top acting, and gunfighting though, so they’ve got that covered pretty well.
But the show’s pilot isn’t very memorable. Even watching it last night, I’m having a tough time remembering exactly what happened; not much does, at least to further the plot along, and “Phase Six” is more than happy to pretend like its sweeping statements about family members dying are emotional moments. There’s a long way to go to make this show into something satisfying, but we’ll continue to follow for further developments.
Salem: “The House of Pain” – Sunday, June 22 at 10 PM
The house of pain of the title refers to a refurbished whorehouse that Increase takes into his possession, a place where he can torture confessions out of potential witches without the annoying public stepping in to stop him from doing something “harmful” to the demonically tainted. The first victim is Tituba, Mary Sibley’s faithful companion; she’s accused by Mercy in a vengeful spat, then taken in by Increase to divulge all of her secrets.
Now Increase has been one of the best assets for Salem yet, because he really mixes shit up. He’s driven by his one love – to God – and in “The House of Pain” we see his devotion via self-flagellation. While this episode is mostly about the awful things he does to coax Tituba into telling him about who’s behind all of the witches, it doesn’t actually utilize him this time. That’s unfortunate, because there are a lot menacing moments from Increase that just don’t turn into anything.
Most of that is due to the structure of “The House of Pain,” which cuts between Tituba and Increase spouting tons of exposition and Hale and John Alden attempting to find Anne in the woods. The torture scenes could have exploited violence for the sake of it, and while there are some references to grim sexual torture, the brunt of it is left off camera until a couple of quick shots are used in the latter portion of the episode.
But leaving those scenes out makes it all the more obvious that this part of Salem is cramming backstory in about Tituba in an attempt to humanize her, whatever it takes. We get the story of her childhood with the Indians, the reason why she turned to witchcraft in the first place; all of it is delivered nonchalantly and explicitly, unfortunately bogged down by the forced characterization.
Likewise, Hale and John’s excursion is brought about because Anne tries on her father’s leatherface mask, transporting her out into the woods for… purposes. The show doesn’t make it clear what the mask does, unless it calls the demon Anne eventually meets out there. And most of the time is spent either with John and Hale trading veiled barbs at each other, or wandering with a sloshed Cotton Mather.
It is only at the end of “The House of Pain” where things really get good; Tituba confesses about the witches, but gives John Alden’s name. Is it meant to go against Mary Sibley? Does she have a plan? And what will John do now that he’s jailed? One thing is for certain: the show makes it painfully clear that John is owed by Hale in this episode, since he states something like, “I may need your help later.” Pathos, drama, explicit dialogue!
Penny Dreadful: “Possession” – Sunday, June 22 at 10 PM
With the last episode of Penny Dreadful being what I consider the best episode of the entire series thus far, hopefully this episode can continue the trend. I appreciate a slow burn as much as the next guy – probably more so – but what I found to be the fault of Penny Dreadful was that it started off with a highly exciting pilot, and then it immediately slowed things down, not to be picked back up again until 5 episodes later. Episode 7 picks up exactly where the last episode left off, while Vanessa is experiencing some sort of possession, which turns out to either be Sir Malcolm’s daughter, or a demonic force that knows a whole hell of a lot about Malcolm’s life. There are several visual references to The Exorcist in the first part of this episode. As time passes, Vanessa begins to succumb to her possession almost entirely. The group decides that they shouldn’t bring a priest, or anyone else into what is happening, so they decide to sedate her, and stay by her side while she fights the possession off herself.
This episode somewhat returns to the slow side of things, but there is a lot going on, and a lot of visual effects, due mostly to the Vanessa’s transformation from a normal person, to a full-on scabby victim of possession, that is crumbling on the outside just as much as within. This is the kind of “slow” that doesn’t bother me at all. There is no frenetic gunplay, or quick-paced action, but what’s happening is both haunting, and fascinating. The group of characters begin to clash, as it appears that Sir Malcolm is letting Vanessa die so that he can manipulate her into using her possessed-state to further assist him in finding his daughter. This causes the tension between he and Ethan to boil over, as Ethan threatens his life to get him to bring a priest in to read Vanessa her last rights. Once the priest arrives, though, things go bad as she lunges at him, bites part of his face off, and begins the standard possessed spider-walk suspended from the ceiling. Shortly thereafter, she begs Ethan to shoot her, and he somehow gains the ability to exorcise a demon. Why, if he had the capability to do so he didn’t try that in the first place, I have no idea. Perhaps it will be explained in the next episode, or perhaps I just missed something. If it was explained in this episode, comment below telling me why I’m an idiot. Until next time.
True Blood: “Jesus Gonna Be Here” – Sunday, June 22 at 10 PM
True Blood returns for its final season, and in a lot of ways I’m glad to see it go. I have a love/hate relationship with the series, because it started off extremely strong, transcending any preconceived notions I might have had before giving it a chance. Vampires, as you may well know, have been done to death since the success of Twilight. They’ve also been romanticized to the point that they’re no longer even considered a monster, so much as an immortal friend or lover. True Blood retained some of that lovey-dovey crap, but for the most part, it presented the creatures as the bloodthirsty beasts that they are. Sure, they have full consciousness, and can(in most cases) choose whether or not to attack their prey. They have relationships with humans, but when it comes down to business, they are vicious, brutal animals. True Blood did a good job at portraying that for a while. At some point, I don’t know if they ran out of ideas, or if the writers just become lazy with what they considered a guaranteed hit now that the show had become ingrained in pop culture, but there was a significant drop-off in regards to quality. If the first episode of the final season is anything to go by, the show seems to have returned to form to close the whole thing out.
This was a pretty impressive episode, especially in comparison to the last couple of seasons(at least). Characters that I had grown to hate, have stepped up to the plate, and appear to be closing the series out in strong suit. Andy, probably more than others. Andy has been a despicable character for most of the series, but it seems like he has finally grown a pair, and is taking charge for the first time in his life. This episode begins directly after the final of last season ends, when a vampire/human mixer, is blitzkrieged by a pack of hungry, Hep-V infected vampires. A lot of people from the town is killed, and the show would have you believe that even a character as major as Tara was killed off-screen. I have my doubts about that. I have a feeling she’ll be showing up later, because you can’t just have someone so important(as much as I’ve wanted her to die for a while now) killed off and not even show their death on-screen. While Andy and Jason try to sort things out and get the situation under control, a redneck gun nut starts rallying people from the town, and leading them towards carrying out vigilante justice. It makes it even harder for Jason to control the crowd, as he is undermined in front of the group by his vampire lover, who is also denying him sex. Once the group is dispersed, Jason demands that he “fuck her” and her “fuck him back”. And finally, copulation ensues. This was a really good episode of True Blood, and based on the coming previews, it’s going to get even better. It would be nice for a once-great show to exit our lives forever on a strong note. Like they always tell you in class, always close on a strong note, as that is what the reader, or in this case the viewers, will remember more than anything else. Until next time, signing off.
Teen Wolf: “The Dark Moon” – Monday, June 23 at 10 PM
Another summer is upon us and that means a new season of Teen Wolf although from what I can tell the shows fourth season will move back to the standard 12 episode season, similar to seasons one and two, keeping the series to simply a summer season run.
Following the aftermath of last season in which Scott and his pack lost one of those closest to them; while trying to deal with their grief, they discover that Derek has gone missing. Scott and a number of his closest friends go in search of who might have taken him and find themselves in Mexico trying to meet with a group of hunters on their home turf in hope of gaining some insight as to Derek’s whereabouts. Naturally things get out of hand and soon they realize that they don’t have Derek, now Scott will be forced to find the truth before they have any hope of getting out of here and the truth will lead to revelations that will only make things more difficult.
I’ve personally been a huge fan of this show ever since the first season wrapped and I continue to find myself impressed with how much the show continues to develop and even surprise me at times. It also delivers a surprising amount of gore and it’s pretty great to have a series that avoids vampires for a change and instead focuses on the hugely underused myth of werewolves. The show is credited as being based on the 80’s film, but merely by name alone and possibly a few of the character names. Although if you’re reading this summary of the season four premiere, I’m sincerely hope you’re not new to the series and already knew that.
So far the season looks like it could be quite promising, especially considering it has yet to disappoint me in the previous three seasons, if anything only getting better with each subsequent season. While things haven’t really started moving too much yet, only one episode has currently aired and things are sure to get far more crazy with each new episode, therefore make sure that you keep checking in each week as I continue to cover the whole fourth season.
The fourth season of Teen Wolf is currently airing Monday’s at 10 PM on MTV. -Kevin
Dominion: “Godspeed” – Thursday, June 26 at 9 PM
Last week, there were a lot of political undertones to Dominion, and this week there are more. “Godspeed” is mainly focused on the counsel after Giles, I mean fucking David Whele, allows an Eight Ball into the city of Vega; everyone – and by everyone I mean some of the people we know and a lot of people who are just talking heads – is unhappy with the way things turned out, but there’s also a dissent over whether Whele was just trying to show Vega that they are never safe from angels, especially with a few in their midst.
“Godspeed” is paced a whole lot better than Dominion‘s pilot episode, and this time it’s able to effectively juggle a couple of different concepts along with the characterization of its main protagonists. We’re jumping right into a Chosen One arc thanks to Lannen’s new tattoos, and immediately there’s an angel attack to try to get rid of him. How Vega is so populated with guards yet allows an angel into its territory is somewhat confusing, but “Godspeed” would be pretty action-less without this event so, hey, whatever.
There’s quite a bit of time spent with Lannen and Claire Riesen this week (some time spent on Roxanne McKee’s butt, too!). Claire apparently did not know that she was slated to be wedded to William Whele, but she tells her father in no uncertain terms that that shit just ain’t gonna fly. She loves Lannen, dammit, and she doesn’t care if he’s a bulls-eye for angels – she’ll stick with him!
In other events, Michael and Gabriel meet up to have a little chat about Chosen Ones, and Whele keeps the mysterious Arika detained with her girls until she uses them to rise up against him. This subplot is still the most confusing and tedious, as everything spoken about Helena and New Delphi is veiled in secrecy; we haven’t seen those places, and we barely know how Vega runs, so the show’s emphasis on another community only solidifies the fact that Dominion should spend some time figuring out Vega’s inner workings.
Still, “Godspeed” is much better at organizing its ideas than the pilot, perhaps because it doesn’t have to cram as much world-building into an hour. It’s still not as effective as it could be, and the angels are only a secondary thought in comparison to the political strife going on in Vega, but there’s a chance that Dominion could be more; or, at least, better than Legion.
Next week, we’re going to add another goddam Sunday night show to the mix with HBO’s The Leftovers. Plus, Under the Dome will be covered by Kevin! Stay tuned for more.