DEADtime TV: Week of 7/20/14

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Hey Liberal Dead fans, it’s Ryne from The Moon is a Dead World. This week we’re adding The Lottery to our continual rotation of Sunday night horror shows. Extant and True Blood are being covered by Shawn, and Kevin Lovell is picking up The StrainTeen Wolf, and Under the Dome. I’ve got the rest!

el toro

The Last Ship: “El Toro” - Sunday, July 20 at 9 PM

Well, I thought The Last Ship had lost its extreme right-wing stance after last week’s episode, but thankfully “El Toro” gets things rolling with a storyline about a stereotypical Hispanic tyrant who takes over an island with his goons and then forces the people living there into slavery in exchange for protection.

You might ask why the crew of this last ship are in the jungles of Nicaragua; I’d remind you that this is The Last Ship, and anything is possible. Tom Chandler and company are looking for monkeys so Dr. Scott can test her vaccine on them, so the coastal islands seem their best shot. Some places are overrun by infected, and unfortunately Chandler is forced to skip on by so they don’t risk contamination.

But what they don’t realize is the other part of the island has been taken over by El Toro, who gets all the young poontang he wants because the mayor is too scared to say no. When the American navy gets there, though, you just know that we’re going to take things into our own hands, even if there’s only four of us and 15 of them. Because diplomacy, and freedom for everybody, and blowing up shit.

Now El Toro is a pig, and The Last Ship really drives that home after 40 minutes of him eyeing very young girls. The whole idea of “El Toro” involves saving a little girl from El Toro’s bed. It’s kind of gross, and really stupid, but I get a laugh because there’s supposed to be a huge surge of pride that Americans will drop their mission (one that could save the world, our only hope, and if they don’t get the monkeys back to the ship then everyone is screwed) to save a group of people from machete-wielding evil-doers.

Only Americans can liberate, don’tcha know, and we’re the only good guys in a world that has been ravaged by virus. The Last Ship, again, feels that its political views are more important than the main conceit of the plot, so there is no real focus on the virus. Sure, we see people affected by it, but the threat feels less real than many different races trying to kill all us ‘mericans.

But hey, the stupidity of these episodes makes for funny television, much better than last week’s nearly inoffensive show.

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True Blood: “Lost Cause” - Sunday, July 20 at 9 PM

After the events of the last couple of episodes, Lafayette convinces Sookie to go home, and to sleep. She awakens to a table full of food, and being informed that the entire town has been invited to the house for a party. Sookie, of course, is mourning the loss of her boyfriend Alcide, which happened not even two days before. She makes her case for wanting to be alone, but Lafayette refuses to take no for an answer, so the party ensues. Pam and Eric are heading to find Sarah Newlin’s vampire sister, Amber, based on some information given to them by Willa in exchange for being released by Eric. When Ginger finds out that Eric isn’t planning to take her with him on his trip, she throws a fit, reminding him that she’d been his sex slave for 15 years, but they’d never has sex. She tells him that if he can’t take her, then he’d better fuck her, but unfortunately for ginger, neither of those things will happen.

Jessica is still brooding, beating herself up over the fact that she lost control and killed most of Andy’s faerie children, but Andy consoles her, telling her that seeing her kill herself with guilt is keeping the hurt alive for him as well, and that she’s done so much to protect Adylyn that she needs to just let it go and forgive herself. He also asks her to help him find a ring, so that he can propose to Arlene. Jessica retrieves the ring that Jason’s granmother left him to give to the woman that he would one day marry, but since it’s not looking like that will happen anytime soon, he gives it to Andy, turns the music off, and Andy gets down on one knee and proposes right in the middle of the party. Thankfully, Andy’s gesture causes Jessica to loosen up, and she goes to find James so that she can sprinkle him with affection, but she’s too late. James is in their car, being taken from behind by Lafayette. We all knew this was going to happen eventually, and now it has. Jessica is furious, but when Lafayette confronts her, he makes her realize the errors she has made in her relationship.

Jason opens up to Jessica to voice his concerns about Violet, and why he was so comfortable giving the ring to Andy to give to Holly. Jason is in-lust with Violet, but it has become clear to him that he is not in love. When he tells Jessica this, the two of them kiss, and then kiss again. Maybe that will become a thing again? Pam and Eric have arrived at a Ted Cruz fundraiser, this scene, as well as the line “Republicunt” used by Pam earlier in the episode caused some of the dumber members of the republican party quite a bit of butthurt. I think they’re still bitching about it, honestly. That innocent kiss between Jessica and Jason soon turns into hot sex, and of course, Violet catches them in the act, though for some reason, opts not to confront them.

Sarah shows up to the Ted Cruz fundraiser, and informs her mother that the Yakuza are after her, and soon after, they crash the party, shooting anyone that gets in their way, including Sarah’s father, who made the mistake of telling the truth about not knowing the whereabouts of his daughter. Sarah and her mother attempt to escape down a back hallway, and right after Sarah’s mother is mowed down by machine gun fire, Sarah runs directly into Eric, who wastes no time laying to waste the Yakuza that are chasing her, going so far as to rip one of their jaws completely off. The episode ends with Sookie, curling up in bed wearing Alcide’s leather jacket, finally alone to mourn his death, as well as Bill, in his bathtub, reflecting on the promise he made to his family to return from the war. In the closing scene, it is revealed that Bill has now been infected with the Hep-V virus. Like I said, man, Reservoir Dogs. Who will survive, and what will be left of them. If True Blood is going down, it appears to be taking the entirety of its cast of characters with them, and so far, it has been a hell of a ride.

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The Lottery: “Pilot” - Sunday, July 20 at 10 PM

There was a moment where I thought Lifetime’s new television series The Lottery could directly relate to Shirley Jackson’s short story of the same name. Set in a dystopian universe in 2025, The Lottery establishes that humanity has been unable to produce offspring for some time, the last children born six years before in 2019. For whatever reason, people are just unable to reproduce, and it has become the government’s mission to figure out how to restore order while protecting the six youngsters.

There’s a sense that The Lottery has something to do with population control, which was also the case with Jackson’s story. But this Lifetime show is less about the horrors of sacrifice and more about imminent collapse of civilization because babies can’t be born. Women are desperate – they sign up for fertilization donors from any willing man, and men sell themselves out if they believe they’ve got some strong spunk. People are forced to undergo fertilization tests to see if they’re able to reproduce. It’s all a government-regulated sex party.

That’s where Dr. Alison Lennon (Marley Shelton) comes in. She’s been working on figuring out how to engineer reproduction for some time, and when “Pilot” begins, she’s managed to fertilize 100 eggs. This is dangerous – while the government doesn’t want an uproar, they also need 100 women to raise these children. That idea comes at a price; the women who donated the eggs will surely want to raise the children, but the government, and namely Vanessa Keller (Athena Karkanis), want to create a lottery system to disperse the eggs fairly.

Alison doesn’t believe in such a thing, so she steals the eggs to deliver them to the 100 donors. The government has different plans, sending out a hitman to get those eggs back. They want to be able to control what happens throughout every step of the pregnancy, espousing themes of government regulation in everything from health to sex.

Other main character Kyle (Michael Graziadei) finds this out the hard way, after his son (one of those born in 2019) is taken from him for government regulation. Obviously Kyle and Alison will meet at some point, but the “Pilot” refrains from that connection for now.

Lifetime’s show isn’t very tight-lipped about its metaphors, and the pilot moves at such a fast clip that there’s little going on besides initial exposition about the show. Future episodes may dive into Kyle’s past, or Alison’s, but right now the characters are only developed so much as it’s necessary for the plot.

While “Pilot” effectively relays what The Lottery is trying to do, the quick pace means the show must leave out more of the inciting pieces for quick climaxes. It’s also so grim that it’s functionally cheesy. But there’s something interesting about the show that will most likely keep people watching into at least the first few episodes, just to see the direction it will take.

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The Strain: “The Box” - Sunday, July 20 at 10 PM

This week’s new episode of ‘The Strain’ marks the second episode in the first season and the series as a whole and is suitably titled ‘The Box’. The episode begins by introducing us for the first time to the character of Vasiliy Fet who is one of my favorite characters from the novels; a rat exterminator who is portrayed pretty wonderfully here by Canadian actor Kevin Durand (Lost, X-Men Origins: Wolverine) as he prepares his gear to go on a call to a restaurant with an apparent rat problem. This scene is followed by us catching up with Gus as he makes his way to successfully deliver the odd old box he has been hired to drop off.

The episode focuses largely on the four survivors, who after being released against the wishes of Eph and his team make their way back into their normal lives. Unfortunately shortly after the survivors are released, they begin acquiring strange symptoms and even going so far as acting out in disturbing and even violent behavior.

At the same time, Eph and his team make every attempt possible to get these people back under quarantine before it’s too late and others are infected, still believing it’s very likely a contagion that can be easily spread. Eph just doesn’t have any clue how right and wrong he might be at the same time, but one odd discovery after another leads him to start believing there is definitely something very strange and unprecedented occurring here. Not to mention he still has yet to discover that all of the bodies at the morgue have miraculously risen and that at least one of these bodies (the young girl) is (or at least somewhat appears to be) alive and has returned home to her father.

‘The Strain’ continues to deliver in episode two, building the story at a properly creepy slow burn pace, yet not afraid to throw in some pretty gnarly moments at the same time. As I’ve previously mentioned, I’m a huge fan of the novel trilogy by Del Toro and Hogan in which the series is based on, both of whom created the series as well, so I guess it should really come as no surprise that I continue to be both impressed and thrilled with how the story is coming to life so far. I hope the fellow fans of the novels and newcomers alike are enjoying it so far as well and will continue to check back in here each week.

‘The Strain’ is currently airing its first season Sunday’s at 10:PM on FX.

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The Leftovers: “BJ and the AC” - Sunday, July 20 at 10 PM

This week on The Leftovers, it’s Christmastime. You know, that time of year when people are supposed to be jolly to one another, drinking eggnog and enjoying the festivities. But in this show, there is no happiness, no sense of alleviation: it’s always grim, dark, and depressing.

That’s okay with me, because I revel in that shit. And so far, The Leftovers has been my go-to show to make me feel really shitty. With Christmas on the horizon, everyone is pretty miserable in Mapleton; perhaps it’s because the holidays remind of who was lost, or maybe it’s because the Guilty Remnant are lingering around waiting to ambush the Christmas party. Or maybe it’s because someone stole the baby Jesus doll from the town manger.

Whatever the case, Christmas isn’t so great this time around. Turns out Jill stole the baby as an act of defiance, against her dad or maybe just because she thought that’s what she wanted. The obvious metaphor is obvious – not only that the disappearance of the baby is like the vanishing act that occurred three years ago, but also because God or Jesus or whatever higher power is dictating life has seemingly left the world stranded in their time of need.

“BJ and the AC” draws heavily from the idea that it’s important to not let that one baby Jesus  that was stolen go. They can’t just replace it; that’s like saying that things are interchangeable, that whatever goes missing can simply have a stand-in. So Chief Garvey goes on a chase to find the baby, mostly unsatisfactorily.

It’s like that metaphor with the toast from two episodes previous, but this time it’s a lot more in-your-face. It’s not as subtle as it should be, especially since it uses the heavily symbolic Jesus, complete with kids blaspheming him with alcohol and nearly setting him on fire.

And in a way, it’s difficult to understand why Jill did it in the first place. The show can make excuses – she doesn’t know why she did it either, she is rebelling against her shitty father figure – but in the end the reason for the plot of “BJ and the AC” is missing.

Still, there’s forward motion here. The Guilty Remnant stage an attack during the Christmas party that looks menacing, when in reality they are taking all of the pictures of people who went missing. It’s a terrible thing to do, something out of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, but it’s also sort of fun in a masochistic sense.

There’s a large focus on Tommy, too, trying to get Wayne’s girlfriend out of dodge. She’s pregnant with his kid, and we don’t know what that means, but it seems to be important. It’s tough right now to figure out exactly whether we should be investing a lot of interest in this – in “BJ and the AC,” Tommy’s not a particularly likable person, and The Leftovers hasn’t given us a ton about Wayne yet.

Though the baby Jesus metaphor is a pretty obvious part of this episode, The Leftovers continues to hold interest by divulging secrets and keeping them at the same time. What will be interesting to see is how the show works in characters who now seem to be interacting, like Garvey with Nora and Matt Jamison. And next episode is titled “Gladys,” the leader of the Guilty Remnant, so hopefully it is another stand-alone episode about an individual character. The Leftovers does those well.

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Teen Wolf: “I.E.D” - Monday, July 21 at 10 PM

This week’s new episode of ‘Teen Wolf’ marks the fifth episode in the fourth season of the series and is titled ‘I.E.D.’. The episode begins with Violet (one of the couple at school who were revealed to be assassins taking part in the Deadpool) chasing an injured female werewolf at the school. The girl barely escapes from Violet’s clutches and Garrett (Violet’s partner, although this is of course unbeknownst to the girl) pulls up and offers her a ride to safety. The girl accepts and upon entering the car, Garrett himself kills her. Shortly after, Scott and Stiles must try and explain the Deadpool, as well as how they acquired the part of the list they did to Stiles’ father, Sherriff Stalinski. They also explain their assumption that the money being used to pay the offered prices for these killings was very likely the same money taken from the Hale vault.

The episode focuses largely on the groups desperate attempts to uncover the remaining two thirds of the list so that they will know all of the individuals at risk, seeing as with only a third of the list in their possession, they have no way of knowing who else may or may not be included on it. While the only person able to decipher this information is Lydia, she is unfortunately not having very much luck in doing so. In a last desperate attempt to solve the problem, they decide to contact the one other Banshee known to them, Meredith Walker, whom previously escaped from Eichen House.

At the same time Scott and the others must figure out who at school is an assassin, and following the discovery that it is someone on the Lacrosse team, they must take extra precautions in order to try and avoid another death at the upcoming scrimmage, an event which already has landed them with enough to worry about simply with trying to keep Liam calm enough to control himself and his recent changes and his old school and classmates being the team they are competing against.

As we are now nearly half way through the fourth season of ‘Teen Wolf’ at this point, things are certainly continuing to build up and get crazier with each subsequent episode. I can’t wait to see where the rest of the season takes us and I hope the fellow fans continue to both enjoy the latest season in addition to joining me back here each week for our DEADtime coverage of it as well.

The fourth season of ‘Teen Wolf’ is currently airing Monday’s at 10:PM on MTV.

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Under the Dome: “Revelation” - Monday, July 21 at 10 PM

This week’s new episode of ‘Under the Dome’ is the fourth episode of the shows sophomore season and is titled ‘Revelation’. The episode begins with Big Jim going through the various census entries the townspeople have provided and he seems to be seriously starting to question this idea, so naturally Rebecca is there to try and force his hand and convince him it’s the right thing to do (am I the only one who just really wants someone to kill Rebecca already?) even though he has his doubts as to that really being the case.

The episode largely focuses on the confliction with Rebecca and Big Jim’s census plan. As they decide to make their move, Rebecca apparently already steps ahead having concocted a variation of the swine flu as a means of accomplishing this task, she begins to bring Jim around to her way of thinking. At the same time Julia and Sam are making every desperate attempt possible to thwart them and prevent the two from accomplishing their plan.

The episode also focuses a great deal around Junior, who unwittingly frees Lyle from prison in exchange for the promise of information regarding his mother which he is desperate to obtain. The only problem will be making sure he can keep Lyle in order and prevent him from betraying his trust and escaping custody, therefore laying the consequences at Junior’s feet should that occur. Elsewhere in Chester’s Mill, Barbie comes into contact with Joe and the teen girls and discovers that they had brief internet access. Joe and the others have also discovered that this mysterious girl just may be a girl who attended their school decades ago yet miraculously still looks the same age and therefore try to get to the bottom of yet another secret the town may have kept hidden.

The second season feels a little tired and stretched at times when compared with the first in my opinion. Nevertheless, season two is still some solid and entertaining television that continues to deliver twists, surprises and plenty of crazy happenings, in addition to actually providing us some answers in a surprisingly quick manner and I will certainly keep tuning in every week. The rest of you keep tuning in as well and I hope to continue seeing you all back here each week.

The second season of ‘Under The Dome’ is currently airing Monday’s at 10:PM on CBS.

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Extant: “Wish You Were Here” - Wednesday, July 23 at 9 PM

Under normal circumstances, I would have given up on this show already. I’ll be the first to admit that I am not having a pleasant time watching this show each week, which is mostly why I’m always the last one finished with DEADtime for the week. This show pisses me off so badly, that I put it off until there is no more putting it off. I wouldn’t even go as far as to say that it’s a bad show. There is clearly some talent involved, I mean, Halle Berry is a fantastic actor. I think most of the problem lies solely with the writing. I can appreciate that the creator of this show was a huge fan of Science Fiction movies and TV, I am as well, but it’s like, he worked so hard on incorporating so many things he clearly enjoyed from other, better examples of Sci-Fi, that it feels shoehorned, and his story is the one that suffers because of it. There is a difference in wearing your influences on your sleeve, and churning out a finished product that lacks coherency, due to the creator assigning a higher value to the parts of the story that pay homage to other Sci-Fi stories than  his own characters.

It is a strange feeling. On one hand, I have no idea where this show is going, or where it could possibly go. On the other hand, I know exactly what this show is doing, because I’ve seen it all before. Extant’s greatest sin is that it lacks any and all originality. Perhaps that is why it is on a channel like CBS. Their core viewership are not genre fanatics. They are casual viewers, and they very well could be loving this show, and thinking that it is the most original TV show they’ve ever seen. I have no trouble buying that at all. However, for any person that has ever seen a Science-Fiction movie, TV show, read a Sci-Fi book, or hell, even reads comic books in general, you’re going to be bored with this show, because you’ve seen, heard and read it all before, and it has been done in much better incarnations. I will continue reviewing this show until it is over, but if you’re a fan of this show, you’re probably going to want to skip my reviews, because unless something drastically changes, I will be bitching about Extant ad nauseam.

There’s noting overtly exciting about this new episode of the show, Molly is STILL acclimating to being back on Earth’s soil, we STILL don’t know whether or not her baby daddy is a space ghost, and their battery-operated son, Ethan, continues to act strangely. Except now, apparently he’s going E.T. on us, and building a device that will allow him to phone home, or catch fish. I can’t tell. Ethan is starting his first day at school, which seems a little unnecessary. I mean, I know he’s supposed to be a kid, but in actuality he is a computer. He doesn’t need nap time and assholes trying to take his lunch money, he needs an RV full of encyclopedias so he can Johnny 5 that shit, and forgo the education process. Of course, the parents of the other children are upset that their precious little babies will be playing next to somebody that’s different than they are, why wouldn’t they? People are assholes, and they all think their kid is much more important than anybody else’s, especially if they’re brown, or, you know, a robut. Yeah, I said robut. I just watched Chopping Mall, so sue me.

In all honesty, I understand what they’re going for with this confrontation with the parents, but the way it was handled was so heavy-handed that I know for certain now that I can never take this show seriously. Halley Berry’s speech about how you don’t have to be afraid of different, is one of the most vomit-inducing things I’ve seen on TV for a long ass time. This show started out sloppily-written, overly vague and ultra-cheesy, but the first, and in some ways even the second episode I was left intrigued, wondering where they would eventually take the show. At this point, I don’t even care. It could be cancelled tomorrow and I wouldn’t bat an eye. I can’t imagine anyone that would be reading an article on this site enjoying Extant, but maybe I’m wrong. If you are seeing something in this show that I am not, please, either let us know in the comments, on facebook, or shoot me an email to Shawn@liberaldead.com, and tell me what an asshole I am for poo-pooing on this show. Until next week.

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Dominion: “Black Eyes Blue” - Thursday, July 24 at 9 PM

The cat is out of the bag – now Claire knows that her mother is an eight-ball, because Alex thought it was the right thing to do. It causes her a lot of inner turmoil, but Michael and Alex think they can change her back. There’s an expelling ritual that only Alex can read thanks to his Chosen One powers, and perhaps they can rid the body of the lesser angel so that Claire’s mother can come back.

Unfortunately, they’re wrong. Getting rid of the angel simply leaves the body a husk, and so worse than Claire’s mom being evil is Claire’s mom being nothing. It’s a great idea for Dominion, namely because the show has not done much with angels or eight-balls in lieu of dealing with the politics of Vega. But the show is just not that great as a whole, whether it’s figuring out political setpieces or dealing with action-oriented stuff.

But “Black Eyes Blue” is less boring than previous episodes, so it’s a step in the right direction. Involving Claire was a good idea, since she’s been on the outskirts of everything so far. And Whele is drawn into Gabriel’s dominion after he confronts William about his allegiance to the angels. Things are spiraling out of control in a good way.

Still, I can’t help but feel Dominion squandered a lot of time on Vega’s underworkings in its first few episodes. It’s finally getting to plot that feels important, but six episodes has taken too long to get there, leaving me restlessly wanting out of this show.

We’re right in the thick of all the shows, so keep reading next week, when we get back to regular schedules. 

About Ryne Barber

Ryne Barber writes primarily for his own horror blog, www.TheMoonisaDeadWorld.net, but he also does '80s horror movie reviews for Horrornews.net. His love of horror started as a child, amid the vast rows of horror VHS boxes at his father's video store. An overwhelming passion for coffee and beer keeps him fueled.
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