Category Archives: Television

Mr Robot Season Finale: Where’s Wellick: Or Who Is Wellick (recap and review)

Mr Robot - Season 1

It should be noted that the Mr.  Robot season one finale was delayed a week after the WBDJ shootings on air last week. As the last episode ended with Tyrell searching out Alderson to make him reveal what was going on with the Evil Corp database, this installment started with  Elliot in Tyrell’s SUV sans Tyrell, and this suddenly turned the show into “Where’s Wellick.”  As the episode progresses, however, it starts to feel a little bit more like “Who’s Wellick.”

Alderson is frantic about his lost days, what happened to Tyrell and who executed the take down plan. He awakens after a two day slumber to learn that the world has been hit by his planned hack and that debt has apparently been wiped clean for everyone.

The show opens with Krista’s former lover, and love rat Michael/Trevor, asking for her help. (Typically the douche lied to her about his health.) He wants to go after Elliot. Despite the hacker not telling his wife about his infidelity, the Ashley Madison leaks passed his indiscretions on anyway. He now wants payback and his dog. Krista refuses to help, lying to him about what Alderson has  or has not told her.

Standout Moment Number One:  After a pretty hostile reception from the rest of the fsociety team at the arcade, Elliot  goes online to verify what Darlene and the team have said is true. He sees that the Internet is full news about the hack.  Alderson goes to Evil Corp to speak with Wellick. As he walks toward the offices, E Corp’s hallways are full of  panicking employees and television mounted on the  walls are showing news of the hack. Elliot maintains his internal dialogue. All this is set to a lilting electronic version of Dmitri Shostakovich’s “Waltz No. 2.”

At the office of E Corp, Elliot learns that Tyrell is no longer employed there.  He sees the masked spokesman for fsociety on one of the mounted television’s spreading the new message that the world is free of debt and awake for the first time and that Evil Corp have been “owned.”

Angela gets shouted at by John Plouffe as he gets ready to go on air; live, to talk about the hack.

Standout Moment Number Two: The fsociety team, sans Elliot taking the incriminating computer hardware down to the local pound to burn it in the “puppy oven” aka the unwanted pet incinerator. As the group toss the gear in the incinerator and then release all the captive dogs,  the Jim Carroll Band song from the 2004 “Dawn of the Dead” remake, “People Who Died” soundtrack overlays the sequence and continues to play as Elliot knocks on Tyrell’s house door (the footage is sped up to match the quick cadence of the song) which brings us to:

Standout Moment Number Three: Elliot meeting Tyrell’s wife Joanna. We already learned that this Danish housewife and mother was the driving force behind Wellick’s quest for power and money last week.  As a “beaten” Wellick sits by his wife’s bed,  she is holding their new baby and Joanna  hisses, that he will not be with the family till he “fixes this.” Elliot meets the new mother as she returns from walking the baby. “I’m looking for Tyrell Wellick. Is he here? ” Elliot inquires nervously. “No,” answers Joanna, “He is not.” This is the last utterance from Mrs. Wellick that does not make her seem to be a predatory animal waiting to pounce on its next victim. In a word Joanna Wellick is terrifying. (After watching this interaction between Elliot and Joanna, one feels like doing a freaked out “Arthur.” “Have you met Tyrell’s wife?”)

This whole scene feels like another important reveal.  The odd and knowing looks that Joanna Wellick gives Elliot. The probing and knowing questions that she asks Alderson and…the most important part of the conversation…is in Danish. She and Tyrell speak it to one another all the time, at home and when they plan their strategies. She speaks to Elliot in her “mother tongue” and when he says he does not understand her expression changes…yet again.

In that Sam Esmail has acknowledged the show’s huge Fight Club connection, it stands to reason that Elliot Alderson is not only Mr. Robot, but he might just possibly be  Tyrell Wellick as well.  At the end of the previous episode, Tyrell shows up, just like Alderson’s dad used to. (Although it has to be acknowledged that if Elliot is Wellick why didn’t Tyrell’s former secretary recognize him. Still, there is something there…)

Standout Moment Number Three: John Plouffe provides the Evil Corp statement and answers the questions posed by the reporter on the live transmission. After admitting that the public should be worried and that his life is over, he pulls a gun from his bag, puts the barrel into his mouth and shoots his brains all over the window behind him, seconds after telling the world that the hack will be impossible to fix. This happens scant feet in front of Angela who was pushed to stop Plouffe mid interview. (The FX for this scene shocked and overwhelmed the viewer. The blood pouring from Plouffe’s nose was disturbing and unexpected.)

After the death on air, Angela sits waiting to go home she is, understandably,  in shock. Phillip Price tells Angela to go home and recover and then tells her to attend a PR event later in the day, he gives her some money to buy new shoes, as her’s have Plouffe’s blood on them. He gives her cash since  credit cards have been rendered obsolete by the hack.

Mr Robot - Season 1
Angela, I’ll try the Prada’s next…

(Later on Price reveals to Angela, by his actions, that she really has sold her soul to the devil by working for E Corp. Telling her that he is glad that Plouffe killed himself and that the world will be a better place as a result. He then goes on to present a “tribute” to the late Evil Corp exec.)

Elliot is desperate to learn what happened to Tyrell Wellick. He wants to ask his father, aka himself, but he needs to get the manifestation of his dad to show up. He forces Mr Robot to appear. What follows is a surreal “out in the open” event where we see that in Elliot’s mind he is talking to his dad. (Comic line of the episode goes to Christian Slater as Mr. Robot. After admonishing Elliot for how weird he looks at the moment, Robot says, “I recommend you get one of those bluetooth headsets. That way people will just think you’re the local douche.”)

Standout Moment Number Four: The music playing at the celebration, being held at the arcade to cover up fingerprints, is Kelis’ “Got Your Money.” Listen to the lyrics…it is self explanatory. Darlene’s final line is “We’re finally awake.”

(Add this line to Elliot/Mr Robot’s upcoming rant and this episode suddenly leaves Fight Club and enters The Matrix territory.)

Outside, in the streets, people are celebrating the elimination of debt and Elliot and his father argue. His younger self shows up along with her mother. He asks his friend (re: episode 1) what to do and Mr Robot tells him to stop. Elliot begins the mantra of “you’re not real.”  His father says, “What. You are?” He looks around at the crowd, ” Is any of this real?” He grabs Elliot’s face, “Look at it.”

“A world built on fantasy. Synthetic emotions in the form of pills, psychological warfare in the form of advertising, mind altering chemicals in the form of food, brainwashing seminars in the form of media, controlled isolated bubbles in the form of social networks. Real? You want to talk about reality? We haven’t lived in anything remotely close to it since the turn of the century.”

Certainly sounds like The Matrix, or something awfully close.

The rant continues and Robot/Elliot wraps it up with “hypnotizing us into the biggest slumber mankind has ever seen,” and his final statement in the tirade, is “We live in a kingdom of bullsh*t.”

Mr Robot - Season 1

Elliot fights himself for control…and loses. To the music of Alabama Shakes’ Sound and Color Christian Slater, as Mr. Robot, aka Elliot’s dad, aka Elliot, “sing/talks” (Think Dr. Doolittle, the Rex Harrison film) directions to Elliot on what he needs to do. Alderson follows the instructions and ends up at his apartment watching the coverage of the “carnage” he’s created. Suddenly there is an insistent knock at the apartment door. Which leads us to the end credits and:

Standout Moment Number Five:  Price is at the PR function “afterparty” (?) and talking to…Whiterose, played by B. D. Wong, gone is the wig, the female clothing, but not that beeping alarm watch. Whiterose talks about Nero watching Rome burn while the fire crackles in the fireplace and the harp plays on.

Sam Esmail has given the world sheer perfection in terms of modern entertainment. Rami Malek, Christian Slater, Portia Doubleday, Carly Chaikin, Martin Wallström and Stephanie Corneliussen have all stood and delivered in the tale of hacking, truth, deception and reality. USA’s Mr Robot finishes strong and leaves its fanbase eagerly anticipating season two. 

Mad props to Mac Quayle for scoring this series with some seriously stand out moments. Look up the definition of brilliant in the dictionary and you will find the definition of that word; brilliant, which Quayle is. (Apologies to Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang for that borrow.)

So what do you think? Is Tyrell yet another personality of Elliot, or is Alderson another facet of Wellick? Answers below, please and thank you.

Killjoys: SyFy Approves Second Season “You Are Locked and Served Again”

Killjoys - Season 1

On the same day that Dark Matter, another popular science fiction series,  learned it now has a second season  Killjoys also heard that they were officially renewed. SyFy has announced that the series about bounty hunters in space, “You are locked and served,” will be around for another season.

SyFy announced on September 1, 2015 that  Killjoys has been given the greenlight for a further 10 episodes and a second season that will premiere in 2016. The joint produced series, Space are the co producers of the show, follows a trio of Killjoys, aka bounty hunters.  The interplanetary warrant chasers, who work through the “Quad,” is from Temple Street Productions (Orphan Black) and stars Aaron Ashmore as Johnny Jacobi, Luke Macfarlane as his brother D’Avin Jacobi  and Hannah John-Kamen as Dutch the kick-a** female leader of the bounty hunters.

Thom Allison is Pree , Sarah Power is Pawter Simms and Rob Stewart is Khlyen the mysterious level six.  Executive Vice President Original Content SyFy Bill McGoldrick  expressed confidence that the show has a great future with the channel, stating that the show was exciting and that show creator Michelle Lovretta would be bringing some great adventures to the next season. Killjoys averaged 1.5 million viewers  in its first season.

Co-Presidents of Temple Street productions and executive producers of Killjoys, David Fortier and Ivan Schneeberg also expressed excitement that the show will be back. The series is distributed worldwide by Universal Cable Productions, and the two men stated that they were looking forward to working with the SyFy team again.

Season two of Killjoys is another addition to an exciting 2016 lineup, Dark Matter based on the graphic novel by Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie , The Magicians,  based on Lev Grossman’s bestselling novels. Gale Anne Hurd’s Hunters, the 10-part space drama The Expanse (which will premiere this December), and a new season of 12 Monkeys was also announced one the same day.

Dark Matter: SyFy Says Yes to Second Season

Dark Matter Season 1

A  September 1, press release from SyFy has announced that the popular science fiction drama mystery Dark Matter has been given the greenlight for a further 13  episodes in a second season. SyFy will premiere the Prodigy Pictures property in 2016 . Dark Matter follows the six member crew of the Raza who initially wake as strangers in a ship that is about to crash. With no memories of who they are  the group bond and the first season followed their journey as they became a team and then a family.

According to SyFy the series got around 1.8 million viewers during its first season on the network.  The Senior Vice President of Program Strategy for SyFy, Chris Regina revealed that the series has a passionate fanbase who are “loyal and engaged with the show’s creators.

Show runner, executive producer and creator  Joseph Mallozzi told MikesFilmTalk that he is “Looking forward to blowing audience minds for one more year!” Joseph gave the site an in-depth interview about Dark Matter and it’s season one finale.

Dark Matter was created and developed from Joseph and Paul Mullie’s graphic novel of the same name and was developed with Prodigy Pictures (who produce Lost Girl). Dark Matter stars Melissa O’Neil, Marc Bendavid, Anthony Lemke, Alex Mallari Jr., Jodelle Ferland, Roger Cross and Zoie Palmer, with a  recurring role by David Hewlett.

Joseph Mallozzi, Paul Mullie, Vanessa Piazza and Jay Firestone are executive producers for the show.

For anyone who watched the first season this will be exciting news. The season finale was a two-hour surprise ending that left many questions for fans. Now there will be a chance to learn more about this fascinating verse.  The season one finale can be viewed here and the MikesFilmTalk recap and review can be read here.

Congratulations to Joseph, the cast and the crew for getting a second season. Fans will be, as I am, excited that this brilliant show is coming back.

The Whispers: Game Over Season Finale (recap and review)

LILY RABE as Claire Bennigan

With one deft move, The Whispers has turned into the Village of the Damned meets the prequel of The 4400 although one gets the impression that these missing are never going to be coming back, at least not in a recognizable form. Last week’s episode was a gut wrenching race which ultimately the grown-ups lost.  Minx was saved from extinction, just. Wes may have gotten his daughter back but the president’s girl, who is now Drill, got out that message and the family is coming for a visit…and a bit of takeaway.

At the beginning of the episode Henry and Minx bond and he apologizes for  being a bad friend. Minx asks to learn sign language so she can say Drill should pay for what he has done.  Drill, née Cassandra, is in a cage placed in the middle of a darkened room. The scene borders on surreal black comedy.

Drill, in the body of the president’s daughter and using her voice, tells Claire Bennigan that Cassandra was  dead, “The moment I took her. What you see here,” Drill says, “is nothing more than a suit. A husk. Does that make you feel bad Claire?” The thing that makes the scene both blackly comic and surreal is the lisp. Kayden Magnuson (the young actress playing Cassandra) is apparently missing a tooth in real life, ergo the lines become “more than a thuit, a huthk. Doeth that bother you…”

The lisp is not over the top, but just enough to make the scene suitably creepy yet comic, to a huge degree. During the same conversation, Drill then, using that same lisping delivery, provides a bit of unwanted feedback on the parenting skills, or lack thereof, of Earth’s parents.

Claire tells Drill, in response to his finger wag for not thanking him for all the “good things” he has done, i.e. Henry’s hearing, Sean back, et al., “You corrupted our children.” Drill’s reply is scathing:

If parents paid more attention to them, I wouldn’t have been able to. But they’re always alone, watching TV, playing video games. So who’s really corrupting the children, Claire?

Wes joins Claire. Drill tells the two adults that they would have won, if they had sacrificed. They were not willing to sacrifice the child at the building. Drill tells them that if they had killed the boy, during the blackout, he would have been unable to reach his friends and they would have won. Drill then tells Wes that his wife would also still be alive. Wes reacts badly.

“Don’t even mention her,” Wes says angrily. “Or what?” asks Drill, “you’ll kill me?”  Claire says that it would be  a shame for Drill to miss his friends after he had done all the work. Drill responds saying that he has not yet done all the work.

He berates Claire for not listening and Drill then reminds the two adults, “If you want to win the game, you must be willing to sacrifice.” With that pronouncement, Drill moves back to the seat in the cage and self-destructs, destroying Cassandra’s body.

*Sidenote* This was a brilliantly creepy scene and the glowing eyes really did pull one right back into that English village with all those blond-haired genius alien kids.

Wes is stunned and asks if Drill just killed himself. “Why would he do that,” Wes asks Claire. “He wouldn’t,” she replies, “Not without a reason.” Seconds after her line, the children, who had all been acting normally, go silent for a moment. Drill is now in all the kids.

Henry and Minx begin packing things up, communicating without talking. There is an issue  with the flashlight and after an unspoken command from Minx, she gets the device and puts it in her bag. Another child is seen spiking her mother’s glass of wine with pills. Another lad, Nicholas, has “locked” his mother in her room, he too has a bag and is leaving the house.

Jessup gets a visit from his significant other Tamara who is carrying his baby. She talks him into leaving his desk at the FBI and spending time with her.

*Sidenote* At first it seems like her odd behavior may be down to Drill controlling her unborn baby which is controlling her. Right after she talks Jessup into leaving with her, Claire goes to check on three kids by the side of the road and she is approached by a group of adults…since the grownups have men as well as women that theory was wrong, as is proved later.

At the Department of Defense “1982 Drill” is mentioned. Ron Harcourt tells Sean Bennigan about the signal received back in 1982 from the first Drill and Harcourt tells Sean that he got an answering signal when this Drill sent out his message. Henry comes in and tells his father there is a strange woman staring at the house. The woman and a group of other adults take Sean and Henry asks if they are ready.

Drill, it turns out, is using his friends from 1982. Claire and Sean are being held captive and their guard is the woman who approached Claire by the roadside. It transpires that “once a friend, always a friend.” Drill keeps his contacts. They may have been children before but Drill never leaves, lying dormant so to speak.

At the DoD Frommer learns that Drill’s friends are coming. Massive amounts of blue glowing rocks are heading to Earth. Harper has a adult friend of Drill’s taking her to where she needs to be. Jessup sees Harper and approaches the two asking about who the lady is. As he gets back in the car, Tamara sighs and tells Jessup she really wishes he had not seen Harper.

Wes comes looking for Claire and Sean, along with Minx. He finds the signal that Ron Harcourt was showing Bennigan and he finds Ron…dead. Wes grabs the laptop and leaves the house. Frommer is shown the approach of Drill’s family. There are so many, he confuses them with stars…at first.

Wes goes to his house looking for Minx and Henry when more of Drill’s grown up friends arrive to take him. Wes fights them off and as he is leaving the house Anderson calls Jessup. The FBI agent answers the phone and tells Wes he is in a trunk, “I think its mine, Jessup says. Henry shows up at a cordoned off area and a policeman asks the boy where his parents are. “Where they can’t cause any further trouble,” Henry smiles.

Anderson finds the Bennigan’s and Jessup. He also sees a marked map on the wall of the building. He takes a picture. He helps Jessup get away from Tamara. Sean gets loose and the woman who has been guarding them starts to kill Claire with a knitting needle. Wes shoots the woman before she can shove the thing in Claire’s neck.

Wes tells Sean and Claire that Henry is with the bureau. Suddenly the world is infused with blue light, Claire says, “They’re here.” They ask Henry where Minx is and he replies that she is “Where she is supposed to be.”

Frommer tells Anderson that they are sending a warhead into space to detonate a massive EMP to neutralize the rocks. Wes asks his boss to wait and Frommer does not. They send the warhead up and it is a “direct hit.” The blue light is extinguished but they have not won. Henry reveals that Drill’s family are still there.

Claire and Henry talks via sign language. He tells his mother that the message is a question, “Are you ready?” Sean then realizes that they misunderstood Drill’s mission, he was not after Earth, but Earth’s children. Bennigan then deciphers the marking on the map that Wes got a picture of.

Henry takes them to Minx and he then goes to his spot, each dot on the map was where a child needed to be. Wes heads toward Minx and Henry leaves his parents to be in place. Once he steps on his mark, blue lights come down and envelop each child. Wes rushes to Minx but as he reaches her she is “dissolved” and pulled up into the light.

Claire reaches Henry and pushes him out of the light and it is she who gets taken by Drill’s family as Sean and Henry watch. Wes has lost his wife and Minx. Sean has Henry back but Claire is gone. The three survivors stand in the dark forest as newscasters report thousands of children have been abducted all over the world.

The final line of dialogue is “Where are our children?”

ABC has produced a cracking show which has been “edge of the seat” viewing from the very first episode. After last week’s white knuckle ride, it seemed that the finale might just be anti-climatic. This was not the case as the show’s producers upped the ante and kept the pressure up till that last frame.

It is to be devoutly hoped that The Whispers comes back for a second season.  While it seems that the children might be gone, in their present form, forever, there is that question of what will happen now that Claire took Henry’s place? Not to mention that cryptic message from Drill, via Harper, about domination.

Grade ‘A’ performances from all the leads and the child actors in the show have made this a brilliant offering. Rabe, Sloane, Milo Ventimiglia, Kristen Connolly, David AndrewsKylie RogersAbby Ryder Fortson have all performed brilliantly in this series. Special kudos to Derek Webster as Special Agent Jessup Rollins. He and David Andrews both got their character’s arc down pat. Mad props for young Magnuson as Cassandra, even without the added FX to her voice in this finale, she sold it, lisp and all. 

The Whispers has been a treat, great storyline, excellent cinematography, top notch acting and a completely immersive experience. Great television. For those who missed the season finale, Hulu has the finale for viewing, along with other episodes.

The Last Ship: Cry Havoc (recap and review)

Eric Dane as Cmdr Chandler in The Last Ship Cry Havoc is the penultimate episode of The Last Ship season two. Last week saw the Nathan James lose four crew members and Sean Ramsey openly challenged his nemesis Commander Chandler. This week saw an increase in action and excitement as the destroyer and the sub face off at last. The episode also allowed Adam Baldwin as XO Slattery to get his hands dirty and prove that, like his character, Baldwin is not getting older, he is getting better.

*Sidenote* In terms of action, it is always annoying to see London born Rhona Mitra have to take a back seat to the action. One can almost see her gritting her teeth when the “menfolk” get all booted and suited to kick arse while she has to remain behind.

The crew of the Nathan James are bruised and battered this week, before they even start their face-off with the Ramsey’s and their group of international mercenaries.  Chandler decides that he is tired of playing hide and seek with the Achilles and he orders that the James flank the sub and end the whole thing “today.”

“Valkyrie” aka Valerie is being shadowed by Lt. Granderson who really does not like the technical wiz. When Val makes a joke about security Granderson jumps down her throat.  Chandler tells the president that he, Dr. Scott, the kids and a few crew members, along with the cure, will be off the ship until they have taken Ramsey’s bunch out of the picture.

President Michener is not overly pleased to be out of the action, but he goes along with the plan. Valerie points out where all the civilians are that have teamed up with the Immunes to blockade the destroyer. When it looks like the crew may have attack the civilians, something that Michener says is not acceptable, Valerie comes up with a  plan to divert the civvies to a fake sighting of the ship.

As the away team arm themselves and sort out supplies, Tex shows he is still attracted to Dr. Scott. Lt. Wilson and Lt. Green have a moment and Wilson tells him that he had better not make her raise their child on her own.

The XO tells his commander that it “really sucks” that he will not be there when Chandler sinks “that sub,” and similar to Wilson and Greens, “Lt., Lt,” greeting, the two men call each other commander after Tom hands his XO a letter for his family. Slattery calls the landing team away.

Once they reach the shore, the XO tells the group that they are on radio silence till the Nathan James tells them that the sub is dead. Back on the destroyer, Jeter and Garnett are setting up their jury-rigged sonar.

Valerie (Tania Raymondeand Granderson share a comic moment. As Val swamps her system with false leads for the Immunes and the hostile civilians, she and the Lt. have a very short chat. Granderson does not trust their new friend and Val knows it.

“Relax,” Valerie says, “I’m not a double agent. I’m on the ship too.” 

“I’m not worried,” says Granderson, “The first sign you’re not on our side, I’ll kill you myself.”

 

Valerie smiles at the Lieutenant  who stares back at her, stony-faced, and the smile slowly disappears.

The bickering Ramsey brothers continue to disagree about almost everything. When they learn, via Val’s mis-information that the Nathan James has gotten out to sea, Ned’s response is scathing.

“So much for your bloody Armada…They let a 500 foot ship get right past em,” says Ned. Sean is not fazed, “Fear not, Bruv. I’ve got a contingency on land for this very reason.”

What the leader has is a rocket battery ready to be aimed at the destroyer the moment it appears.

While the crew try to outmaneuver the British nuclear sub, the landing team set up in camp. A couple with a child wander by the tents. The woman and child are obviously sick and Dr. Scott wants to treat the child as she is now a contagious cure. Against the wishes of  Lt. Green and XO Slattery, she approaches the trio. The man, Mace, points his gun at Rachel until his wife tells him to lower it.

Rachel Scott tries her healing touch out.

Rachel touches the child and begins the healing process. The parents of the girl relay information that they got from the Immune camp (the Immunes infected their daughter by wrapping  her in  an infected blanket). They tell Slattery of the rocket battery that Sean’s men are manning and the XO takes Green and Tex to take the team out.

The last part of the episode has action aplenty with the ship and the sub competing for the upper hand. After a lot of tension, and naval jargon, the Nathan James ends up right on top of the Achilles. Each vessel then jockeys for position. The destroyer squeaks to a position to fire ahead of the sub and shoots four torpedoes at the Achilles.

The sub returns fire, which floods the magazine and limits the destroyer’s access to ammunition. With four rounds left in the five-inch guns, Chandler decides to force the sub to take the battle to the surface.

Meanwhile, back on land, Slattery, Tex and Green find the rocket battery. The XO briefs his three man team on their strategy. “Okay boys, here’s the plan. Win.”  Tex approves, “Good plan.” The men take on the seven mercenaries and a prolonged fire-fight takes place with all three of the Nathan James ground team taking hits.

Slattery heads to the mercenary manning the battery and the two go head to head. As the destroyer maneuvers for a shot, the trio on land overpower the mercenaries, “Aren’t you a little old for this,” says the one fighting with Slattery just before the XO shoves a knife into his opponent’s torso, killing him.

The XO fires rockets at the Achilles and all are direct hits. He also gets the last word, “Cheer’s a**hole.”

The Nathan James has won more than the battle with the Ramsey’s they have won the contagion war. Rachel’s touch has healed the little girl.

The sub sinks to the sea bed and we see the Ramsey brothers laying side by side. Ned is clearly gone, his glazed eyes stare at nothing. Sean sees his brother’s lifeless body and screams, “Bruv…”

Somewhat amazingly, The Last Ship took out the “big bad’ in the penultimate episode instead of the season finale. This can only mean one of two things. Either Sean Ramsey has a trick up his  sleeve, or the Immunes are still a vital threat. With one episode left in the season, there is not a  lot of time left to end the show with a huge cliffhanger.

*Sidenote*Kudos to Eric Dane, guest star Tanya Ramonde, Adam Baldwin, and Brían F. O’Byrne  as the mad leader of the mercenaries who wanted to take over America. All of the actors did well in their roles and only one bit of complaint is appropriate here, more Rhona Mitra please. Mad props to the writers again this week who got the slang and jargon so right with the British submarine crew. Well done chaps.

TNT have come up with a real winner. Something that is a combination of drama, action, and patriotic hodgepodge. The Last Ship airs Sundays and has only one more episode left in its second season. Tune in and get excited.

 

 

 

Falling Skies: Reborn Series Finale (Review)

Tom Mason, Hal and Weaver planning strategy, guest star Jeff Fahey watches.

Falling Skies finishes their five season run with Reborn, the series finale that brings everything to a head, including allowing Pope a finish somewhat more befitting his status as resident madman. Last week saw the 2nd Mass trapped  by a wave of hornets attacking the camp before they could make the move to Washington DC. This week the first of a few new character’s bought the Espheni farm when Marty gets taken down by a hornet.

In many ways this series finale felt a little “by the numbers.” Although whoever thought to give the excellent Jeff Fahey a cameo should be congratulated. (It may well be that Fahey is a fan, in either case, his being in the final show was a great touch.) It may well be down to sour grapes, this was a popular series that could have gone on that little bit longer, but this did feel rushed.

Certainly some things worked pretty well. The new “big bad;” the Espheni queen, was a nice touch. Even more impressive was using science fiction  actress Tricia Helfer (well known from TV’s  Battlestar Galactica, Tron and Ascension) to voice the creature.  Lt. Wolf was another new character to bite the big one in the slow move to Lincoln’s foot (The foot of the giant).

Perhaps the only real complaints had to do with the lighting and setting of the final move to the statue, the appearance of the queen and the “almost” death of Anne. It should also be mentioned that a lot was forgiven when a battered and bleeding Pope shows back up. His offering the pistol to Tom Mason was a great moment, but not as much as his own admission that his mad quest to make his adversary suffer did nothing to help his grief.

*Sidenote* His wheezing finish was sad, poetic and much better than being smashed beneath the rubble back at the 2nd Mass camp. Kudos for the show’s makers for bringing John Pope, aka Colin Cunningham back for one last moment.

Back to the camp, after poor Marty dies, this was a particularly touching moment with a choked up Colonel Weaver telling the dead man he will remember him, a group of bikers headed up by Jeff Fahey’s character Enos Ellis head into the camp and are to become Mason’s back up.

Annoyingly, after introductions are made, we have to go through the same old drill of questioning motives and the presence of Cochise. This is cut short after Anne brings out the Dorniya’s magic bullet and things move forward. Not before allowing Anthony his chance at redemption.

The game plan has to be altered after Mason and his team learn of a giant wall around DC that has to be breached via underground tunnels. As the two groups move through the old political tunnels they come across a slew of Overlord eggs. Cochise urges caution as the baby Overlords are more violent than the fully grown ones.

*Sidenote* The complaints: The trip through the tunnels really does feel like a cheat here. Too dark and too minimal to the extreme in terms of set dressing. The eggs are meant to be the focal point here and being the only source of light in the scenes they are. Much more than the actors who are difficult to make out in the dingy surroundings. With all the build up on the danger that the eggs pose, when one is finally “awakened” it proves to be anticlimactic. The death of Anne felt forced and contrived and I really felt that the queen was almost comical in appearance.

As they move closer to the queen, there are casualties. Anne is wounded, literally after telling Tom that she is pregnant. One comic moment; Hal asks Maggie to marry him, twice. Her first response being one of disbelief forces him to ask again.

Tom Mason, after the explosion that kills Lt. Wolf, and the baby Overlord, goes to meet the queen. Cue an exposition scene using stick figure paintings to show that this queen has been punishing the denizens of earth for the death of her “daughter.”

The show has mentioned Peru and Inca before and presumably this earlier queen died after the locals rose up and attacked once the glyphs were constructed. After some white knuckle tension, Mason feeds the magic bullet, via his bloodstream, to the queen. She dies and so does every Espheni on earth.

Anne dies.

Tom remembers the Dorniya reviving him after the moon attack and he takes her body to the water begging them to help him.  After they take Anne away, John Pope shows up. His body is broken and bloody. Pope offers Tom a chance to kill him after wheezingly explaining that he was wrong about everything. John dies, not at Mason’s hand, but of his wounds.

The voice over, that began at the start of the episode (against the recording of the Star Spangled Banner) begins again. It is Matt. He is writing down thoughts and he has to stop for a ceremony where Tom Mason will speak to the survivors of the world.

By the time the end credits roll, we see Anne has been revived by the Dorniya, Anthony has been completely redeemed, Maggie and Hal are together and  the Lincoln Memorial has been repaired. As Tom Mason gives his speech, the sound goes out and into space.

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Tom and Matt Mason “pre-speech.”

Falling Skies has had a long successful run. Noah Wyle and Will Patton as Tom Mason and Colonel Weaver will be missed, as will the rest of the cast, including Doug Jones as Cochise. TNT produced some solidly entertaining science fiction that entertained thoroughly for five whole seasons. Now it is so long to the Mason clan and all those who fought along side them for humanities sake. You will all be missed.

Ray Donovan: Tulip (recap and review)

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It is hard to define just what made last night’s episode of Ray Donovan so pleasing. Tulip felt like a lot of things; a touch of Breaking Bad, for instance that opening with Ray in the desert breaking up that hard dry soil with a pickaxe and flashing back to this scenario throughout most of the episode, and a final  touch of musical genius. The music playing at the end of everyone’s day, Barbarossa’s Bloodline, overlapping Father Romero praying, Bridget laying her head on Donellen’s chest, Avi driving to Mexico, Terry asleep on the bed; clutching the family bible, Ray coming in seeing his brother and reading the note from the pedophile priest and Abby saying “Come to bed,” shows the masterful touch of director Michael Uppendahl.

Perhaps it has little to do with the dressing. The storyline, continuing from the previous weeks has Ray still juggling the football deal (and now Paige) along with the Bunchy problem, aka Father Romero and this newest episode has him karmically getting one over on Andrew Finney. Tulip feels a lot like “what comes around, goes around.” There is a message here, those who are patient get the brass ring, or if you are Ray Donovan, you jockey things around rather than wait. Ray is, after all, a fixer.

Andrew Finney gives his lover Varick the push after Paige serves him with divorce papers. Daryl’s cadillac goes up in flames, via a good sized explosion, and Ray gets Lena and “Helen Miller Game and Fish” lady to help set up Napier with vipers full of heroin.  The last bit is easily the funniest sequence of events in the season thus far.

After injecting the snakes with sedative, the vipers are put into a bag. Helen is to stand by while Lena inserts the bag of snakes into Napier’s golf bag. As the trio stand in the hanger Miller gets increasingly nervous as Ray briefs her on the part she is to play. Helen panics and grabs for the bag.  Yelling that she will give back all the money while holding on to the bag of snakes.  Lena punches Miller knocking her down. Laying on the floor, with the now open bag of vipers, Helen complains that Lena hit her. A lone viper slithers out and bites Miller on the leg.

*Sidenote* This sequence as completely laugh out loud funny. Stephanie Erb rocked it as the bribed official who “bottles it” (loses her nerve) and gets bitten, beaten and driven away. Sidesplitting does not even come close to describing this comic interlude.

The camera moves back to Ray, working that hard soil to dig what can only be a grave. This is, after all Ray Donovan, why else would the man be digging in the desert? Avi shows up in a small mini-van and he brings a shovel to help Ray. Back at the hanger we see Lena shoving Helen into the back of a car (with Miller complaining nonstop, she  clearly believes she is going to die) to be taken to the hospital. The question now is, did she make it or is this hole in the desert going to be Helen’s final resting place after that snake bite?

As the show moves through its paces, other characters become candidates for that hole.

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Father Romero shows up at the Fite Club and tells Bunchy that he needs to speak with Ray. Bunch calls his brother and Ray immediately heads to the gym.  Meanwhile Varick has gone to see Andrew Finney after his former lover has fired him and booted him out of the company. Back at the club, there is a tense meeting with the cleric who asks Donovan to accompany him outside. As they head to an alley behind the gym Ray tells Brendan to clear the gym out and to lock it up.

The camera heads back to that hole, which now has a body in the bottom of it and Ray takes the box of evidence that Romero was seen with earlier in the show. Is the body in that bag Romero? Ray tosses a book of burning matches into the hole that Avi has poured petrol in.

Back at the alley, Ray takes a gun out and points it at the priest. Father Romero pauses for a split second and then he recounts Ray’s backstory with his family tragedies. He explains, as he hands the box of evidence to Ray, that Donovan has suffered enough. “Excommunication, ” he says, “Is not a punishment. It is a rest.” Romero gets in his car and drives off.

Clearly the burning body is not that of Romero.

Back at Mansion Finney, Varick has accosted his former lover. Andrew tells the man it has been over for a long time. He kisses Varick and tells  him that he felt nothing. Paige’s soon to be ex husband starts goading Andrew until he gets angry and grabs a fireplace poker. Yelling that “I’m not f**king gay,” Finney  hits Varick killing him.

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We now know who was in that bag…

Before Varick expires, he calls out to Andrew “Oh. Finn.” Back at the gym, Ray tells Brendan that everything is alright with Romero. Bunchy beats himself up, blaming himself and SNAP for whole thing. Ray tells him that the priest is not going to the police. Ray, somewhat predictably,  gets a call from Andrew Finney.

The remainder of the episode deals with Ray taking care of the Varick problem and getting Paige’s deal for the football stadium sorted.  Abby wins Terry over and he decides, seemingly, to stay with his brother’s family. Bridget goes to Donellen’s house and he is not pleased. The man is on a load of pain medication and not doing at all well. The Donovan girl has found what she wants.

Mickey ends up doing a deal with the cops after the Armenian’s bomb Daryll’s caddy.  Avi and Ray sort things out between the two of them while digging that hole and burying the burnt evidence.

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Mickey celebrating with his boys before the caddy gets torched.

The tulip theme appears  throughout. Mickey gives Theresa tulips when he welcomes her to the Donovan family, there is a program on television about the flower in the scene where Varick sneaks into the Finney Mansion. At the pool side, just before the cadillac is destroyed, Mickey talks about tulips. He tells about a beautiful girl from Amsterdam who died of cancer. The tulips, like the flashbacks to the grave digging, is an underlying theme of this episode.

Oddly enough, everything works out for Ray and Paige. Donovan uses his new “Varick” leverage to force Andrew to give Paige what she wants, giving him the 3 percent back. Terry allows Abby to woo him into the room she prepared. At the end of a busy day, Terry lays on the bed and looks through the family bible. Abby asks if he is ready to leave and he says he wants to give Ray something.

Later Ray tells Paige that the football deal is back on. She is suspicious. Earlier, Ray had come to her house to get Varick’s passport. Paige was annoyed that the Napier problem was not solved. “It still needs to be fixed [sic],” Paige says. “The passport is the fix,” Ray tells her. At the end of the show she repeats this to Ray. Strangely, she is not overly happy that she has won.

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Paige, the morning after…

Back at his house Ray finds Terry asleep on the bed and takes the bible. Looking inside he sees the note from the perverted Father Danny. Irony at its finest.

It looks like Ray may have problems with Paige, she too is addicted to the fight.

This episode had Andrew Finney’s daughter getting what she wanted all along, and it was not the football stadium deal, and Andrew himself now owes Ray a great deal.

Performances by Liev Schreiber, Ian McShane an Steven Bauer were all spot on, as was Kerris Dorsey as Bridget. Kudos to Stephanie Erb as the hapless Helen Miller. Her comedic timing was just perfect. 

 

Tulip, with its “back and forth” to that hole and the trotting out of suspects for that body bag was spot on. Add to that the other things on the periphery and it was Ray Donovan at its finest.

Ray Donovan airs Sundays on Showtime. This crime and drama show continues to entertain almost effortlessly. Miss this one and miss out.

Hannibal: Wrath of the Lamb Season Finale (recap and review)

Hannibal Season 3

It is fitting that the season finale of Hannibal is a blood drenched and painful looking spectacle. The shocking end of the Lector/Graham love affair has the two working together to kill The Great Red Dragon. The scene, at the end is almost balletic and is horrifically beautiful. Hannibal and Will make a good team. Too good, apparently, hence Graham’s fatal decision at the end. The finale starts where last week’s episode ended.

Last week in Hannibal we saw Dolarhyde had taken Reba and brought her to his home. This week, in The Wrath of the Lamb, she is in the house. Francis “tests” his former lover by giving her the key to the front door. He tells her to lock the door and when she opts to open it and run, Francis is on the outside. He takes Reba back upstairs and forces her to put the key around his neck and feel his shotgun.

After splashing petrol (gasoline) everywhere, he sets it alight and saying that he cannot bear to watch Reba burn to death “shoots” himself. In essence the shotgun blast blows a huge hole in his head, one that Reba can feel as she takes the key from Francis’ neck. She wraps a blanket around herself and crawls out of the house as the fire spreads.

The beauty of this scene is both overwhelming and surreal. The disjointed and distorted piano notes caressing the set piece along with the fire caressing the ceiling and walls, is fluid and sweeping. As with all of the scenes in Hannibal the crowning glory is  the jarring gore; that piece of Francis’ flesh stuck to Reba’s forehead. The tissue that landed there when she put the key around her neck.

*Sidenote* Rutina Wesley, kills it in the first of this season finale. Her performance as the blind Reba has been memorable from day one and her own “finale” was just perfect.

After the opening credits, Reba speaks with Will Graham as she recovers from her harrowing ordeal. McClane may be scarred “He shot himself in the face, I put my hand in it,” she says, not once but twice, this is clearly something Reba will never forget.  Graham tells her that in the end, Dolarhyde could not kill her, nor could he stand to see her die.

Later, we learn that this is not true. Francis never intended for Reba to die, she was meant to escape and verify his death, leaving him free to exact his revenge on Will Graham and Hannibal Lector.

She points out, to Will,  that she drew a freak.  He corrects her and says she drew a man with a freak on his back.

Will: “There is nothing wrong with you.”

Reba: “I know there’s nothing wrong with me. In making friends, I try to be wary of people who foster dependency and feed on it. I’ve been with a few. The blind attract them.”

Will: (He knows. He has attracted his own.) “Not just the blind.”

Graham goes to see Hannibal and tells him “Ding, dong the dragon’s dead.” Lector asks if congratulations are in order and Will tells him that he did not kill Dolarhyde. “I was rooting for you Will,” says Hannibal. He then taunts Graham over Chilton’s punishment and congratulates him for the job he did on the doctor.

Will tells Hannibal that he will go home now that Dolarhyde is gone and Lector tells him it will never be the same. Graham reveals to Hannibal that he knows why he turned himself in.  “Will,” Hannibal asks, “was it good to see me.” “No,” Will replies.

After their exchange Will returns to his motel. At his  room, Francis Dolarhyde incapacitates Graham, attacking him from behind. The Great Red Dragon is not dead after all. After knocking Will out, Dolarhyde wakes him up and Will says, “You didn’t break my back.” The two talk and Francis reveals that he believes that Lector betrayed him. Graham tells The Dragon  that he needs to change Hannibal Lector.

Later, the Coroner double-act reveal to Jack Crawford that the headless and burnt body was not that of Dolarhyde but the man he kidnapped earlier, Arnold Lang. Afterward, Will sells Jack on letting Lector be the bait for Dolarhyde. “Allow” Hannibal to escape drawing the Dragon to him so he can be destroyed.

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Jack Crawford, Dr. Bloom and Will talk strategy and Hannibal’s fate.

Will tells Bedelia of the plan and she is furious and terrified. Du Maurier believes that Hannibal will be after her to kill and eat her.  “Who holds the Devil, let him hold him well,” says Bedelia. She warns Will, “He will hardly be caught a second time.” “I don’t intend  Hannibal to be caught a second time,” Will responds.

“Can’t live with him, can’t live without him,”  Bedelia taunts Will, “Is that what this is?”

“I guess,” Will replies.

After a little more conversation, Will gets up and tells Bedelia, “I’d pack my bags if I were you. Meat’s back on the menu.” Du Maurier gets her claws out, “You righteous, reckless, twitchy little man. He might as well cut all our throats and be done with it.” Will gets the last word, “Ready or not,” Will says, “Here he comes.”

Alana visits the burnt and scarred Frederick. Chilton reveals that he blames Bloom as well for his disfigurement. He tells Alana that he would like to have Hannibal’s skin. “You were never comfortable in your own skin,” she tells Frederick, “you would not be comfortable in Hannibal’s.”

“Are you,” asks Chilton.

Dr. Bloom tells Hannibal of the deal, he gets all privileges restored for playing along. Lector requests that Will ask him personally, and he wants Graham to say “Please.” Hannibal also threaten’s Bloom. (Later, after the “escape” Alana, Margo and their baby flee their mansion in case Hannibal comes calling.)

The plan is to release Lector into police custody and “let him escape” allowing Francis an opportunity to contact Hannibal.  The real plan is to kill Dolarhyde and Lector, according to Crawford. Will goes to see Lector and after a short “reprimand” from Hannibal “Now you have to pick the mic back up,” Graham does indeed say “Please.”

After delivering Hannibal to the federal authorities, he and Will are transported via a small motorcade. A police car comes up and, lights flashing, pulls up to the lead car. Dolarhyde is driving and he shoots the cop driving the lead vehicle causing it to crash. The domino effect of the first car crash takes out the entire convoy of vehicles. The van crashes and Will smacks his head into a window, he is semi-conscious when Dolarhyde arrives.

Dolarhyde releases Hannibal from his cage in the back of the van and drives away.

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The Dragon goes to the police van and releases Hannibal.

Hannibal climbs out of the van and takes off his straightjacket. Going to the closest police car, he drags the dead cop out of the driver’s seat while Will gets out of the van. Driving the car around, Lector pushes the other dead policeman out of the passenger seat, “Going my way,” he asks Will. Afterward, Jack Crawford surveys the carnage and we see Alana leave Mansion Verger with her little family.

Will and Hannibal are at the cliff-top house and Lector points out that the bluff is still eroding. He tells Will, “You and I are suspended over the roiling Atlantic. Soon all of this will be lost to the sea.”

Back in the house, Hannibal has wine and two glasses, he pours Will a glass and tells him  “My passion for you is inconvenient.” Will responds, “If you’re partial to beef products, it is inconvenient to be compassionate toward a cow.” After a little more conversation Graham tells Hannibal, “He is watching us now.”

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Dolarhyde moves in for the kill.

“I know,” Hannibal replies just before  a silenced bullet passes through his torso and smashes the wine bottle. Thus begins the long, protracted battle between the two men and the Great Red Dragon. It is brutal, dark, bloody and akin to a slow motion ballet. Blood spurts in fountains of black as the battle goes outside the house and into the moonlight and the two men, who are two sides of the same coin, orchestrate Dolarhyde’s death.

Disturbingly, yet not surprisingly, the men work as an effective team. Both suffer dearly from the wounds dealt by Francis as the Dragon. (One shot has Will seeing the Dragon approach Hannibal, wings extended, as it reaches for his intended victim.)

At the end of the battle, the Great Red Dragon is bloodily and violently banished. Will looks at his claret covered hands:

Will: “It really does look black in the moonlight.”

Hannibal: “See. This is all I ever wanted for you, Will. For both of us.”

Will: (laughing softly) “It’s beautiful.”

The two survivors embrace on the edge of the Atlantic clifftop and Will leans out over the edge, toppling the two out into space and down to the ocean below. After the end credits, we see Bedelia Du Maurier sitting at a large table groaning with food. In the middle is a rolled “long pig” (slang for human meat) and she is clearly waiting for Hannibal to arrive.

This episode, while a bit final (surely no one can survive that long drop to the rocks and ocean below) was a satisfactory ending to the series. NBC may have opted to end the story of Hannibal Lector and Will Graham but they have, at least, left us with a  brilliant legacy of dark beauty and horrible visions.

Surreal and sublime, the show offered feast as orgasmic delight, all the more so if the meal was of “long pig” dressed with sauces and side dishes to “die for.”

Kudos to both Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen for their double act  and the fitting finale. Director Michael Rymer never let us forget that these two actors made their character’s so alike that they became the mirror image of one another.

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Hannibal, in the reflection is clearly the reflection of Will and vice versa.

Despite the disappointment of having both main characters apparently expire, this was clearly the right ending for the series. Graham was never going to be comfortable with his transformation (his Becoming) to Hannibal, even if it was necessary in order to kill Dolarhyde.

This show will be sorely missed. Its dark beauty and horrible specters will have to haunt via reruns now. RIP Lector and Graham.

Dark Matter: Joseph Mallozzi Talks Season Finale and Season Two [UPDATE]

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[UPDATE] For those fans of Dark Matter who watched the season finale and read this interview afterward, the actor seen walking the “long slow walk” off the ship with Six (Roger Cross) is none other than Canadian actorJeff Teravainen who plays Galactic Authority Officer Lt. Anders in episode 8 and the final episode of the season. To all those who ventured guesses via social media thanks for playing.

On August 26, after watching the season one finale of Dark Matter, MikesFilmTalk (MFT) got to interview show runner, creator, and executive producer Joseph Mallozzi.

Dark Matter is the latest offering from the man whose name is synonymous with science fiction. The award winning writer/producer has been involved with all three Stargate shows, SG1, Atlantis and Universe.

Joseph and I have been direct messaging on Twitter since I began writing reviews and recaps of Dark Matter and the first thing I discovered when talking to him on the phone is that Mr. Mallozzi is one heck of a nice chap.

During our call, Joseph spoke of many things; not, however, ships and sails and sealing wax,  but the topics were varied.

Dark Matter Cast: Anthony Lemke is not like his character but in some  ways, he can be. When someone new shows up on set, it is Anthony who automatically  meets and greets the visitor.

Jodelle Ferland is the most experienced in terms of acting. Jodelle has been working since the ripe old age of 2 and now at 20, she has a total of 18 years in front of the camera.

Jodelle and Roger both lived near Joseph, as did many of the cast and crew,  and it made for a real feeling of family.

Roger Cross and Jodelle  Ferland used to watch The Walking Dead at Joseph’s place, along with his girlfriend, and he would make  milkshakes for the occasion.

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Jodelle Ferland (Five) and Roger Cross (Six). “The Walking Dead Fans.”

Alex Mallari Jr came across as such as nice and open person in conversations after auditions that Joseph actually began to secretly root for him to play Four. Once he had been cast,  Alex also had to come in very early each day to have his tattoos  covered up before filming. He got up even earlier to work out every day.

Julie Benz (Star of Defiance, another SyFy Friday show) used to walk her dogs in the same park that Joseph walks his and they talked quite often. She is, Joseph says, “A very nice lady.”

None of the Dark Matter cast knew the ending until right before shooting on episode 1.13 began. Joseph took the entire group of actors aside and revealed “the reveal.”

Dark Matter Season Finale:

MFT:  Thank you so much for having a chat with me tonight. I’ve got to tell you I just finished watching the season finale and have one thing to say, “Wow!”

Joseph: Well, when I first envisioned this show, or conceived the show and had the initial concept,  I had two big moments in my mind that I wanted to hit.  Everything else sort of fell into place. Those two big moments were; the big reveal in the pilot where they find out  that they are murderers and mercenaries and the last sequence of the finale where the Galactic Authority sweeps in and you see all our familiar surroundings…The feeling of the ship was like a home away from home in many ways.  Not just for the characters but for the viewers as well and to see all these strangers come and take it (the ship) and to see everyone carted off and the last shot is the empty corridor and   Andy Mikita, the director of the episode, did a wonderful  job there.

MFT: Plus you get that moment of unreality where you see that Six is walking out. And you’re like “Oh no!”

Joseph: Right. Exactly.

MFT: The first thing I thought was, “Six?? He’s the grown up of the group. It can’t be him.”

Joseph: Well, I’ll just say, there’s more to the story there. It’s not as simple as…on the surface it looks like he’s just turned against them but there’s more there…A few hints that are in the episode and then if we get a season two…Well, we’ve already got a game plan and everything will be explained in the second season. And there will be a lot more questions.  If you thought season one’s finale was big, ooh you wait till you see the end of season two.

MFT: Jumping now to Five and the conversation that she had with Six – it seemed to me that everyone kept putting a gun in her hand over the last two episodes.

Joseph: Yes, yes…

MFT: And she tells Six now I’m more like you and he says that ironically they’ve all be trying to be more like her and failing. To me, Five is the most mysterious member out of the entire crew, we know least about her out of everyone else on the ship. She is my favorite character, I refer to her as the “Artful Dodger,” she was the street kid who picked pockets to survive and I thought it was interesting that when she heard the recording her level of trust went right out the window. It shows just how fragile their relationships all are.

Joseph: I’m curious, Michael, as you watched the finale and you drew toward the end…Did you have any suspicions, a suspect?

MFT: I decided it was Five, especially after the tape (recording) and the reveal that she could do so much more than we ever suspected, like programming and so on, and that the dream, at the beginning of the episode, revealed that her experience with this bunch on the ship was pretty abysmal and  this caused her to wipe everyone’s memories so they could all start fresh. Am I miles away here?

Joseph: Not really, you are fairly close.  All the pieces are there to figure out. I said to the crew, the cast, just before we started filming on episode 13…We actually had 12 out of 13 episodes scripted before we went to film except for the last one. Even then. we kept  the reveal a secret except for the last day and I gathered the cast on the bridge like an Agatha Christie moment, “I’ve gathered you all here…” Which, incidentally, we ended up filming and that we’ll release as a  special feature.

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Five, the memory wiper…

Joseph: I told the cast that the person who wiped their (character’s) memories may not be the one to worry about. She (Five) finds the recording,  she overhears Two and Four threatening someone and she confides in him and Six, who at this point becomes savvy about certain things has pieced it together and realizes that she is the one who wiped everyone’s  memories. Like the Android points out in Episode 3, the code was rushed because they had to get to the stasis pod, maybe that was not the original intent…And again this is something we’ll explore further down the road…But in all probability she was going to target certain memories and as a result of the accident,  or the rushed code,  wipes everyone’s, including her own. She asks Six, “Well why would I do this” and he says to protect someone. It’s clear now why she did it and who needed protecting.

MFT: Well, I’ve got to say that I love everything that you guys have done and for me everything clicks into place. Sorry, this is turning more into a fan-boy gush than a  Q&A.

Joseph: That’s all right I love it, I love feedback.

MFT: I mentioned, in my notes for the finale preview, that we finally meet Two’s Geppetto and he turns out to be an evil bugger strapped in a bed. It is not even Will Wheaton’s character as he is the tool, or instrument, of the bed-ridden man.

Joseph: This is another one of those moments where more questions arise. You know the man ask Alex, “How old is this body?” Alex replies “24,” so you see what happens. Indeed, what does happen? Why does  this individual need a body and his regular forms deteriorate so his team are working on developing a superior form which is why they created her (Rebecca/Two/Portia Lynn) and why they are working on another prototype. And the work is so secret that they cannot allow  her or the crew of the Raza to survive. If we do get a second season there will be more to come on that front.

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Rebecca/Two the first prototype…

MFT: I love that whole part of that storyline. I mentioned  in my review that the first thing I thought of was the video game Mass Effect 2 with Miranda Lawson, the genetically enhanced “perfect” human character. I love the way the show gives nods and winks to other works in the genre.

Joseph: My influences for the show were varied. I mean I grew up being into comic books and anime, science fiction and television, film. We like to drop the occasional tributes throughout, and we used to do the same in “Stargate.”

MFT: I just love it. Going back to show and the actors, a lot of whom (my apologies to the cast here) I’d never heard of before the show, Zoie Palmer’s Android goes through the ultimate of almost sacrificing herself for Two, will she get a chance to do that again, but this time for more than just Two?

Joseph: Well, you know, Paul (Mullie) and I have convened an early writer’s room, we haven’t heard whether there will be a season two but we are fairly confident…We have the 13 episode game plan, we have the beginning, middle and the end. We have the major moments that we want to hit and we have 7 out of the 13 episodes outlined and we have some great stuff planned for all our crew, including the Android.

MFT: Speaking of other cast members, my first question for Alex Mallari Jr as Four, is did you channel your inner Caine. [Joseph laughs] You know, “Accused of a crime he did not commit, Caine is forced to flee his country…”

Joseph: It’s funny you know. That when we held auditions, I had to call several actors back, around 50 or so, and Alex was so honest and open that I ended up secretly rooting for him to get the part of Four.

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Nice chap…Alex Mallari Jr, aka Four.

Joseph: He does a great job as do the entire cast.

MFT: Alex does come across as incredibly sincere on screen. I’ve sort of (rightly or wrongly) classed him as a sort of Jean-Claude Van Damme, a very fit chap, martial artist who wanted to act and is very good at it.

Joseph: He makes it look easy but Alex is the one, I mention it on the blog, who gets up at three in the morning to get his tattoos covered each day and then on top of that has to work out. It is amazing how many weapons he mastered for the first season.

MFT: I’ve got to ask, re: Two…Are there any other personalities in there, First there was Two, then Portia and now Rebecca…

Joseph: No. Those were just names, not personalities. Alex called her Rebecca and when she left she became Portia. It is interesting to note that the name she took for herself, she abandoned Rebecca for Portia and essentially she also abandons  Portia  to become Two.

MFT: I’ve just got to mention Will Wheaton’s character. I adore Wheaton anyway, since his days as Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation, and everything else he’s done. His Alex was so snotty as a villain and yet the second things get rough, he’s gone.  Alex points out that Rebecca has nothing wrong with her. There is no flaw, so essentially she is just naturally aggressive.

Joseph: Yes. [laughing]

MFT: Just out of curiosity, did you have an “alternate” ending set up? I know that you said this was your ending from day one, but did you have a “plan b” if things went a different direction? Or was it always going to be that situation where everyone was all out and “down for the count” at the end?

Joseph: Yes! I always approach each installment of each season like a book with a  definite beginning, middle and end. So basically as a result of what happens in the finale, season two heads off into a wild and very different direction. But it was always that way…I knew who the mole was going to be and one of the great things about the show was we had time to really develop the stories. Basically it allowed us to seed in little clues and hints along the way.  

Dark Matter - Season 1
Zoie Palmer as The Android

Joseph: You know it’s funny, I just saw, on the internet, where someone posted a photo from episode 3 where the Android is about to go out on her EVA and she turns to Two and Two says, “We can’t do this without you.” And Android says, Well, you can” and then turns around and leaves. I remember people going on line and saying what a weird inflection for her to say “you can.” And other people going “no, no, no, that was just the way the actress’s delivered the line.”  The entire first season was peppered with little clues and hints. One, I’ll leave with you, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the individual who flanks Six in the “slow walk” out at the end, you’ve seen before.

MFT: I thought he looked familiar! But to be honest, I was still too flummoxed at Six walking out while everyone else was carted out…I did think,  “Blimey he looks familiar” and the more I think about it, I seem to remember seeing him at the mining community, if I’m not mistaken.

Joseph: You are mistaken!

MFT: Darn! I’ll have to look this one up now [I’ve still not figured out where this chap was before, although I think it was at the General’s camp where Six went for revenge.] I’ve got to ask, was it One that Two and Four wanted to “off?”

Joseph: Well, all that will be revealed in season 2, it could have been One or it could have been Six…That will all be explored more in the next season. It is safe, though, to assume it is one of those two.

MFT: What was the biggest difference between working on Dark Matter and Stargate?

Joseph: Miles different. For a start I was playing in someone else’s sandbox essentially. In Dark Matter we got to tell our own stories, although we did to an extent in Stargate as well. There were differences in budget obviously and things were set up differently. Of course we were working on 13 episodes for Dark Matter versus 22 or 20 and in Stargate we had all the stories in advance and that was such a luxury.  In terms of our own show, everything was planned accordingly, Paul and I planned for each episode and we knew we weren’t going to run out of money at the end of the year.

The interview finished shortly after and Joseph revealed two things. One, he is a huge Stephen Chow fan (Shaolin Soccer) and he is pretty confident that Dark Matter will get the pick up for season two.

Sadly, it looks like the Time Zone God, or perhaps the Jet Lag Deity has sabotaged the Alex Mallari Jr. interview for now.  MikesFilmTalk will be covering Dark Matter, season two, if it is picked up and I have already put in requests to speak with Joelle Ferland and Anthony Lemke and Zoie Palmer and Alex and…

MikesFilmTalk would like to thank Joseph Mallozzi for taking time out of his busy evening for chatting about: Dark Matter, why Canadian TV has so many great shows out at the moment and a slew of other subjects that did not make into this interview.

Dark Matter - Season 1
Melissa O’Neil and Anthony Lemke, Two and Three…
Dark Matter - Season 1
Mark BenDavid aka One – opting not to kill Three…

Defiance: Upon the March We Fittest Die (recap and Review)

Defiance - Season 3 Last week on Defiance the episode saw things come to a head with the Datak Tarr family being threatened with the “unhinged, unstoppable” daughter of the dead T’evgin. It also saw Doc Yewll released from the control of Kindzi and the Omec were being stopped from feeding. Kindzi had Luke and Andina died.

This week in Upon the March We Fittest Die, aka the season finale, Yewll finds complete redemption and sacrifices are made by many, some are ultimate in nature and others are life changing.

At the start of the episode, which begins where last week’s ended, Kindzi has knocked out Alak and has baby Luke. Stahma pleads with the new Omec leader for her grandchild’s life. Just as Kindzi tells Stahma that the baby will die anyway, Datak shows up with his bionic arm and that long “Wolverine-type” blade.  He shoves this through Kindzi’s neck pinning her to the wall. The Omec “All Mother” screams with rage and pain as she struggles against the sword shoved into her neck.

“You’ve upset my wife,” he yells and as the family Tarr escape, Alak (Jesse Rath) gets the line of the evening.

It is the actor’s delivery that sells it, “How is she still alive??” Alak is amazed and terrified and Rath shows it with this one line. Just brilliant.

*Sidenote*This line does almost get overshadowed by Grant Bowler’s performance towards the end of the finale. That “big-kid” grin of excitement as he prepares to leave is just brilliant.

After Datak rescues his family, sadly losing that cool blade in the process,  and the lawkeepers are talking strategy. This is a brilliant scene, the group (Nolan, Irisa, Berlin and Amanda) are eating while Yewll observes. The topic is about the Omec being weak when they arrive and getting stronger when they feed. Great set up as that is exactly what the lawkeepers are doing. Tarr comes in with a shotgun to kill Doc Yewll.

Nolan talks Datak down and tells the Castithan that Yewll is “back on our team.” “Yeah? Are you sure,” asks Datak. Doc gets the second best line of the episode as she shouts back, “Yes! I’m sure! We’re all sure!” The camera pans over to Irisa and Amanda who nod affirming that Doc is back on Team Defiance.

Yewll goes on to prove her good intent by outlining how to blow the Omec ship to pieces. When Nolan asks Doc how she knows so much about Omec ships, she replies, “it is entirely possible I’ve done this before.” This answer reveals a lot behind the question of who sabotaged the Omec ships before. Yewll asks for volunteers to go to the ship.

Nolan and Irisa volunteer as does Datak. “If the mayor will have me,” he says. Amanda replies, “Ship full of Omec…A violent psychopath could come in handy.” “Be my pleasure to serve,” Tarr says and Stahma mutters in Castithan, “I married a fool.” She is not, obviously, pleased at his decision to go on what could be a one way trip.

Amanda goes to tell the citizens that the Omec are no longer allies. Her speech is combination warning and a mea culpa admission. She apologizes for putting her constituents in harm’s way. Irisa and Alak have a moment with Luke. Apparently he is not too disturbed by Andina’s death as he invites Nolan’s daughter to come visit after everything has calmed down.

Berlin and Amanda are talking when they hear gunfire, it is one of the Omec’s intended victims from last week shooting an Omec who is collecting “food.” The man collapses after being tased  and Amanda is wounded after a brief standoff. Berlin shoots the Omec who badly cuts Rosewater.

Defiance - Season 3
Nolan carries a wounded Amanda to get treated.

Nolan comes and grabs Amanda taking her to Doc Yewll’s office. She is treated and it looks very bad for the mayor of Defiance.

The team of volunteers leave Rosewater at the clinic, where Samir monitors her process and Stahma tends to Amanda’s needs. The group of volunteers head to old St. Louis and use the pods to access the Omec Ship. Yewll asks for someone to go first and Nolan leaps to the platform, “I’ll be point,” he shouts.

Yewll says dryly, “Like I had to ask…”

When they arrive, Doc places herself in a control pod. She has to be plugged in to manipulate the ship. The plan is to start the engines and have Nolan shut the vents causing them to overheat and explode. Datak and Irisa help Doc while Nolan fights off security bots until Yewll can shut them down.

Back in Defiance, Amanda wakes up, despite the sedative that Doc Yewll ordered for her, and hears a baby crying. Rosewater picks up a gun from the floor and with her wound steadily dripping blood she follows the noise. Slowly she goes out of the infirmary and into the street. The Omec have taken everyone from Yewll’s. Earlier, Amanda sees one of the Omec decide not to take her “Spoiled meat,” the creature grunts , turning away from the mayor’s drugged and inert form. Rosewater sees the Omec in the street and shouts, “Hey a**holes!” As they turn to take her, she fires killing them all. As Stahma approaches, Amanda smiles and collapses.

Defiance - Season 3
Doc Yewll back on Team Defiance

Doc Yewll continues to operate the ship while fighting off the system’s firewall.

*Sidenote* Trenna Keating as Yewll, rocks it in this episode. Her delivery as the Indogene “savior” was spot on and she almost pipped Jesse Rath to the “line of the evening award” with her response to Tony Curran’s Datak Tarr line, “No, you’re a real person with enormous honor and infinite soul.” Yewll pauses for a moment and then says, “Just stick it in me, sailor. ” She is amused and obviously pleased at Tarr’s comment.

Earlier in the episode, before the “Hey a**holes” incident, Amanda and Stahma share a moment in the infirmary. Both are strong women and very different. Stahma reveals she is frustrated by the fact that the one woman she admires can never be her friend. Amanda reveals that Stahma frustrates her as she often does not do her best. Two frustrated women who will most likely never be friends but who know understand one another.

As Nolan begins the process of destroying the Omec ship, Kindzi (Nichole Galicia) shows up and the two battle for control.  As she and Joshua fight, Kindzi tells him that he is a “natural born predator.” “You are no better than me,” she says. The Omec leader begins to open her jaws to feast on her one time pet and Nolan, as he pulls a knife from Kindzi’s belt, replies, “When you’re right, you’re right.” 

He plunges the knife into the side of her head and heaves Kindzi over the edge of the platform and she falls down to the engines below. Her snarling and screaming  descent is interrupted twice by beams before she falls into the whirling blades at the bottom.

Kindzi is chopped to bits.

*Sidenote* Even if Nolan had not killed Kindzi, or if they had not opted to destroy the Omec ship, it was apparent that her days as “All Mother” may have been very limited. Her madness was obvious to her own people. Her edict that it was alright for Omec to eat Omec may just have been that despotic, and insane, step too far. 

Nolan starts the ship back up, Kindzi had stopped the process that Yewll started, with the taser she used on him. Doc tells him and the rest to get out. Irisa tells Joshua that she is staying. The two share a moment. Irisa tells her father that the Omec deserve a chance to live. Nolan asks Doc if there is a way to vent the energy and not blow up the ship.

Yewll reveals that they can vent the energy but it will “slingshot” the ship out into space with no chance of it ever finding Earth again. “Well, that’s kind of what I was going for,” Joshua says. He goes to hug his daughter and  taser’s Irisa, he then puts her in the descent pod.

The “Butcher of Yosemite” has decided to go with the Omec ship. Later Irisa says, via voice over, that the people of Defiance say Joshua “saved the world” and name the rebuilt arch after him. Irisa finishes her narration with, “He’d laugh his a** off about that if he were here.”

The season finale of Defiance was an adrenaline fueled mix of comedy (Doc Yewll) and tragedy (Doc Yewll and Nolan.) along with some pretty satisfying moments. Kindzi finally getting her just deserts and the Tarr family finally getting over the death of Luke’s human mother were two of these satisfying moments as was Doc Yewll and Datak Tarr regaining their friendship.

Kudos to Trenna Keating, Grant Bowler (who obviously will not be back if the show is approved for a fourth season) and Nicole Galicia as Kindzi. The Defiance writers pulled out all the stops for this end show of the season and it was appreciated by all who watched the finale.

*Final Sidenote*Julie Benz proved, yet again, what big chops she has. It was a cold hearted viewer who felt nothing when she had her scene with Julie Murray (another performer with mammoth chops) and then that beautiful smile (at Stahma) before she collapsed…Whew, tissues required for both of those scenes. Aw Ms. Benz, “We are not worthy…”