Category Archives: Television

Ray Donovan: Breakfast of Champions (recap and review)

Ray and Terry Donovan at the Fite Club
Last week, Ray Donovan made a deal with the devil to get Terry out of jail and in Breakfast of Champions he is learning what it means to work for the Finney’s and Terry is getting used to his freedom. Abby has run away from home, back to Boston, and Mickey learns just how much Terry does not want to have anything to do with him. While Ray’s family continues to disintegrate, he gets a very close look at just how dysfunctional the Finney family is.

Terry is adamant that Ray tell him the true cost of buying his freedom. Abby heads back to the family business, Kelly’s bar. Ray and Terry talk down at the Fite Club, the brothers have coffee and Ray tells his brother he will get him a new coffee maker. After asking again about how Ray got him off, Terry says Ray can get him a new coffee maker but what he really needs is a new car.

Back at the Donovan home, Bridget refuses to take Conor to school, “Stay home and make love to your mattress,” she says before leaving. Bunchy and Mickey come in to see Terry and Ray is called by Varick Strauss to perform his first Finney duty of the day. Mickey is pleased to see his “little Terry” and their meeting is awkward. Not too surprising since his son took a fall for Mickey.

Mickey tells Terry, “You wouldn’t believe what your brother and I had to do to get you out.” Terry says, “What did you have to do.” Mickey stammers a reply and Terry cuts him off saying he has to get dressed and leaves. Andrew Finney tells Strauss that he is not ready for the meeting and Abby wakes up in Boston and she and Margaret have a chat.

Conor takes the family car to school and picks up a friend.Three older girls confront him and he tells them his parents are gone for the day. They ask for his address. Casey gets distracted by the cereal in the store and asks Ray what cereal his kids eat. Ray says he does not know and Casey replies that it’s a shame as breakfast used to be a family meal. As Ray learns from Strauss that the meeting has been cancelled Casey starts a creative journey with the boxes.

After dropping Casey off at the studio, Ray and Varick talk. “How’s your brother,” Strauss asks and Donovan replies that he is doing okay. “Of course he is,” Varick says, “He’s free.” “Who the f**k are you anyway,” Ray asks. Strauss reveals that he is the “Chief of Staff of the Finney Organization” and Paige’s husband.

Donovan learns where his office will be and Paige shows who wears the pants in her relationship with Strauss. Casey continues his cereal riff. Ray calls home and Conor tells his dad that he is sick. Abby takes a walk down memory lane with Dave and Lauren while flirting with Gus. Ray calls her to tell her to get home.

The girls show up at the Donovan house and Conor learns that they have brought their boyfriends. They head out to different rooms in the place to make out. Bridget learns that her teacher’s wife was decapitated and Terry goes to get a checkup. He learns of Ray’s deal with Finney and Terry says it sounds like Finney made Ray his servant.

Paige tells Ray to collect Tina Harvey (Cheryl Ladd) from her trailer, she is the “wheel spinner” on one of Casey’s gameshows and the man who wants to buy the studio wants to see her at the show’s taping. Harvey is refusing to leave her dressing room. In Boston, Lauren reveals that her boyfriend gave her an STD.

Donovan goes to see Tina and they have a drink and a chat. She tells Ray that she is not leaving her dressing room until she is allowed to host the show. Harvey is upset that she never gets to say anything on the gameshow, “I want to talk,” she tells him. Bridget bumps into her teacher at the coffee shop and has a TMI moment.

Ray bumps into Tommy Wheeler, who tells him that he surprised that Donovan is working for the Finney’s. Tommy tells Ray that he is going to marry Chloe, “for real this time,” and he reveals that Casey will sue him if he does. Donovan tells Tommy that he will talk to Casey. He does and Ray reminds Finney of how they met and that maybe he should give Wheeler a little leeway.

Terry’s coming home party is not going well for him. Ray goes to see Paige who is with Sandy, the gameshow host, and he tells them about Tina’s demands. Ray jumps in when Sandy tells another woman that she will be on. Sandy then rounds on Ray and says that Tina Harvey is “a pair of tits and an arm.” Ray slaps the host on the mouth. Sandy, comes back and asks Ray who “the hell you think you are…” and Ray slaps him again. Paige is amused and impressed. Donovan walks off saying, “I’ll go get her.”

Back at the Donovan house, Conor tells the “guests” that they have to go and gets punched in the stomach. Tina hosts the show and potential buyer Mr. Liu is pleased. Harvey does a great job and Sandy is spinning the wheel. Paige is pleased with the result and then gets a migraine. Ray takes her back to her office.

Conor gets a baseball bat and takes out the boy who punched him. Bridget comes in and tells the group that she is calling 911 and they can either get out or talk to the police. Back at the gym, Terry has a go at Mickey and Daryl shuts the party down. Mickey and Terry talk and he promises Terry that when the shakes get real bad he will not go anywhere.

The studio meeting takes place. Andrew asks that Ray attend. Andrew comes in and tells Casey that Paige will not be selling his studio. She then asks for a word with Andrew. Abby has a heart to heart chat with Margaret who tells her to come home.

Finney tells Ray to remember that he works only for him after revealing that Mr. Liu will be buying Casey’s studio after all. He explains that his family is not a “good one” and that Paige sees him as a competitor and not her father. Terry and Bunchy have a brotherly talk.

Ray comes home and after Bridget tells him about Conor she tells her father off. Margaret tells Abby that she does not have to stay with Donovan. Ray is washing the dishes and he notices cereal boxes on the counter. He zeroes in on the Frosted Flakes and grabs a bowl. Paige calls him asking to meet. Ray tells her he cannot as he works for her father.

As Ray hangs up the phone, Abby’s dog returns and barks to be let in.

The episode looks at both families, the Donovan’s and the Finney’s. Each are dysfunctional in their own way and both attempt to work around their problems. The Tina Harvey storyline was clever and the thinly disguised Vanna White allusion was funny. Terry’s return home was strained and sad.

Liev Schreiber continues to imbue his character Ray with a battered charm and tough guy succinctness that makes Donovan one of the most interesting protagonists on television. His busy first day as the Finney’s “gopher” was odd, fascinating and amusing. Conor (Devon Bagby) did not “make love” to his mattress this week, but he got to show that he is a Donovan full stop.

Ray Donovan airs Sundays on Showtime and is an excellent drama not to be missed by the discerning viewer.

The Last Ship: Safe Zone (review)

Eric Dane as Commander Chandler
Last week’s episode of The Last Ship, had plenty of white knuckle moments as Chandler pulled the president from Ramsey’s grasp and Safe Zone is a slower ride but no less intense. While there were no shootouts this week or any action sequences, the storyline following the new president was emotional and almost as full of suspense as the previous episode.

Safe Zone belongs to Eric Dane, as Commander Chandler, and to new cast member Mark Moses who plays the new president, by default, Jeff Michener. Adam Baldwin proves that he can play understated very well thank you in his scenes with the president. Rhona Mitra only appears very briefly toward the end where she shows the “recovered” commander-in-chief the virus-filled teddy bears that Niels was working on.

The whole of the episode was based upon Michener’s realization that Ramsey’s lies were his aid to dealing with the horror of what he had done to his daughters. This, added to the fact that he brought his son down to the safe zone; who then infected everyone, put the man straight into internal meltdown mode. Ramsey’s group took in the new president with sickening ease. After talking to Baldwin, whom Michener accused of lying to him, the president reveals to Chandler that he wandered around the survivor camps attempting to get the disease.

While the storyline followed the journey of XO Slattery and Chandler “curing” the president of his “brainwashing” from the Ramsey brothers, it was also about trying to give the survivors some semblance of the old order. Chief Jeter (Charles Parnell) tells Slattery at one point that Chandler is working hard to “turn” the president because he needs someone to “salute to.”

In essence Jeter is correct, as proved at the end of the episode when Chandler squares up and salutes the new president, because the commander of the Nathan James realizes that with the Ramsey’s spreading lies and fear, the remnants of the country need a figure head. Sean realized this and it was this knowledge that motivated him to condition Jeff Michener to be theirs.

While the threat of the sub is not directly dealt with until late in the show, when Michener reveals to the crew that the Achilles has a sound matting problem, the mercenaries provided an indirect threat via the president’s belief that he was one of the “chosen.” Something that he was desperate to cling to as it made the horror of what he had gone through easier to cope with. It took a lot of work from Chandler to “break” Michener and to make him realize that the Ramsey’s were not the answer.

This was a powerhouse episode in terms of performance. Eric Dane proved that not only can he be heroic and one hell of an action figure, but he can portray deep emotion that is touching, gentle and moving. The scenes where he listens to Michener talking of murdering his daughters to save them from the horrific death they faced from the virus, were tear inducing, even before Dane’s character loosed a few tears at the presidents story.

As the tormented new US leader, Mark Moses was full of self tortured anguish and he did this so well that it came as no surprise when he tried to kill himself. A brilliant bit of acting that took him from suspicious patsy to tragic figure in one episode. The chemistry between Dane and Moses was brilliant and when Dane’s Chandler tells the grieving man that “We’ve all done things,” the viewer gets caught up in the emotions and the moment.

The clues were there, the presidents distrust and unbelieving attitude while dealing with Slattery, showed a desperate side to Michener. Sean Ramsey had become his talisman, as had the group of the “chosen” and to not follow Ramsey’s doctrine meant his family’s death had no meaning.

As Chandler points out later, why on earth would the man try to infect himself and die in the most horrible way imaginable if not as a sort of redemption. The slow reveal combined with Slattery’s lack of faith in the new president and Jeter’s calm appraisal of Chandler’s needs made this an episode with an almost perfect combination of writing, script and direction.

It says much about the writing of this series that by the end of the episode Michener was no longer a figure viewed with suspicion. Mark Moses and the writers allowed the character to become all too human and tragic. His initial allegiance with the Ramsey’s made perfect sense and the new president was no longer in the category of villain, reluctant or otherwise.

“Creepy Git” (As Ned refers to patient zero) Niels was nowhere to be seen and the only real reference made to him was in relation to those horrific pandemic teddy bears. While Chandler has stated that the next port of call for the Nathan James will be New Orleans, one can only hope that they stop along the way to blow the Achilles and the Ramsey’s crew of mercenaries out of the water.

The Last Ship airs Sundays on TNT and is top notch post apocalyptic fare.

Falling Skies: Respite (recap and review)

Respite Megamech remains
With last week’s climatic showdown, Respite; the Falling Skies episode this week, ends up giving Tom Mason a break from all things 2nd Mass. During his shoot out with Pope, after being shot in the leg, Mason gets carried off by a giant hornet. Hal escapes his captor with Jessica’s help and he immediately sets off to find his dad. Pope is left out of the equation this week and the show focuses on the Masons with a little time set aside for the Marty/Weaver story arc, the transmitter, and the Ben/Maggie thread.

Tom Mason wakes up in a bed, with a woman he thinks at first is Rebecca treating the wounds on his face. He has been reacts badly to her presence and the woman leaves the room locking the door behind her. Mason finds a weapon, something that looks like a big emery board, and a older man enters with a rifle. After a brief standoff explanations are given from both sides.

The leader of the 2nd Mass is in a part of North Carolina that has not been touched by the war. The man, his daughter and her three children are staying out of the fight. Mason gets a break from the war, and it is overwhelming; he cries at dinner and tells the family that he is fine when asked.

The woman is Alicia (played by Chelah Horsdal) and she lost her husband to another war and she wants to protect her family. Her oldest son, Kyle, strains boundaries and wants to know what is really going on. When he learns about the conflict from Tom the 15 year-old wants to join the effort.

Back at the 2nd Mass, Weaver is having a hard time accepting the fawning gratitude of Marty, the grief-stricken and slightly mad father from last week’s episode, who shot Daniel. As they bivouac for the night, Marty is so intrusive that he is making Weaver uncomfortable; arranging his backpack and tent, and finally Weaver asks Marty to find him a bottle of whiskey.

They have followed the signal to a distillery and Weaver has split the 2nd Mass into separate groups to search for the source; the transmitter. Maggie asks Anne to take out her spikes, that Ben gave her, and Anne says no. Glass tells her that later they can talk about removing them, but now she needs her “super soldier.”

Cochise tells the girl that he will take them out. Later, he attempts to remove the three spikes and on the last one, problems arise. The final spike attempts to dig in further and starts cutting of Maggie’s spinal cord. Cochise gets Anne who steps in to finish the procedure. The spikes are successfully removed and Ben is upset that Maggie had them taken out.

“I gave you part of me,” Ben says, “and you threw them into the trash.” Ben also tells Maggie that he loves her. Meanwhile Tom continues to heal and bond with the little family who saved him from the giant hornet. Hal and Jessica are also bonding as they search for Tom. On the way they find the giant hornet, it is wounded but still alive. Hal empties his gun’s clip into the creature and Jessica tells him that it is dead.

At the hornet’s body, Jessica notices wheeled tracks that lead away and they follow the trail. Earlier, Jessica revealed that her father was a diplomat who taught her people were essentially good inside, she tells Hal that she learned differently. These two could turn into an item, they certainly relate well, and use humor in their conversation. Hal mentions Jessica helping him to “escape” and she replies “you mean when I rescued you…”

Back at the distillery, Marty has gone off to find his hero and savior a bottle of whiskey. Just as he finds the elusive item, he sees something glowing underneath some wooden flooring. He pries a board up and finds the Espheni transmitter. Telling Weaver, Marty gets more praise for his find than for the whiskey and it looks like this may turn the tide of the war.

Back at the “farm” or at least a good rural facsimile of a farm, Tom has to tell Alicia’s oldest son about the war that she has hidden from him. The boy finds remains of a Megamech and Kyle tells Tom that he wants to be a fighter like his late father.

The episode ends with the family staying where they are, Hal finding Tom and returning to the 2nd Mass. Ben is upset, as is Anne; although she is angrier at Cochise, “you want to explain to me what you thought you were doing,” she asks him and he replies, “Not really.” Jessica may have bonded with Hal, but when they get back to the new camp, the existence of Maggie, who she was aware of, puts the dampers on this burgeoning relationship.

Director Jonathan Frakes (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction) does brilliant job at his third stint in the director’s seat for the show. Frakes also directed Journey to Xibalba (2013) and Door Number Three (2014) for the series. He exhibits a deft touch at the family scenes and with allowing Noah Wyle’s character to relax and reflect for a moment.

This final season of Falling Skies is moving rapidly along and setting up for a big finish. Several questions remain, will Hal and Jessica become an item? Is John Pope going to spring up later like some evil jack in the box? Will Ben forgive Maggie and will Weaver get fed up with Marty’s hero worship.

Perhaps the only real problem with Respite, was the presence of Alicia’s father who felt quite a lot like a Hershel Green retread. Certainly the character was not a carbon copy, the chap had both of his legs for a start and he was not an alcoholic. In terms of filling the “wise old man” role, however, Alicia’s pop was a dead ringer for Hershel from The Walking Dead. This comparison, which springs immediately to mind when watching the episode, took away from the story although not enough for the viewer to not “well up” when Tom breaks down later at the family meal.

By the time the end credits roll, Tom has learned about the transmitter and Weaver is excited about the thought of defeating the enemy. Falling Skies airs Sundays on TNT and fans of Noah Wyle, Will Patton, Sarah Carter and Moon Bloodgood will not want to miss this final season.

Cilla Black Legend and Icon Gone at 72

Cilla Black dead at 72
Cilla Black, the legend and entertainment icon has died. The singer and television host died in Spain at the age of 72. Cilla’s agent confirmed the news of her death to the BBC. Spanish police have also verified that Black, real name Pricilla White, died of apparently natural causes in Estepona on the Costa del Sol.

Paul O’Grady who was Cilla’s best friend has talked of the mischief that he and Black got up to whenever they were together. Grady, who started his career as Lily Savage, met Cilla on Michael “Parky” Parkinson’s talk show and as he told the Daily Record, the two just “clicked.”

In 2014 ITV produced a mini series on the life and career of Cilla and she was played by Lincolnshire actress Sheridan Smith. When Smith heard about Cilla she immediately expressed her condolences to the family and her dismay at the news.

Cilla Black worked with some of the biggest names in the music business and carved out a career as a singer before becoming a fixture on English television. She presented Surprise Surprise! a popular program that ran for 15 seasons. The show first aired in 1984 and Cilla had presented 137 episodes by the time the show ended in 2001. She also presented the contestant dating show Blind Date which ran from 1985 to 2003. Ms. Black always held out hope that one of the couples who dated on the show would get married so she could go to the wedding. In 1993, one couple finally tied the knot and Cilla did indeed attend.

As well as hosting and presenting these two long running programs on British television, Cilla appeared on many other programs like game shows, variety programs and her own television show Cilla that ran from 1968 to 1976. Between 2004 and 2009 she appeared on her old pal Paul O’Grady’s show no less than six times and guest hosted one episode. She was also a regular fixture on Loose Women, doing 17 episodes in all.

Cilla was awarded the OBE in 1997 and was the holder of many industry awards. She was more than just a legendary performer and an English television icon, Cilla Black was an institution. She was adored by millions and as news of her death became known, her many professional friends rushed to pay tribute to a dear friend and talented entertainer.

Ms. Black was well known for her “down to earth” sensibility and being game for a laugh. O’Grady loves to tell of holding his best friend by her ankles as they entered a window to her home after she had locked herself out. Paul tells the story and adds that she was shouting “Surprise, Surprise” as people walked past.

It is fitting that on YouTube one can find a clip of an unbelievably young Cilla singing Anyone Who had a Heart live. It is also fitting that listening to her sing the Burt Bacharach and Hal David song that became a number one hit for the young Scouse entertainer still gives one goosebumps. That marvelous voice will be missed as will the marvelous personality that was Cilla Black, gone at 72, 2 August 2015. RIP Chuck.

Hannibal: And the Woman Clothed With the Sun (review)

Will visits Hannibal
Last week saw Hannibal becoming aware of Francis Dolarhyde, aka The Great Red Dragon and now he and Will are teaming up in And the Woman Clothed with the Sun, a “two-parter.” Lector warned Graham against taking on the case, baiting the hook that he always intended Will to take, telling him that Crawford would knowingly allow Graham to be sucked into that maelstrom once again. After reading the note, and the news clipping, Will burnt both in the fireplace and then arranged to meet with Hannibal.

The beginning of the episode sees Will visiting Hannibal in his special “Silence of the Lambs” cell and asking for Lector’s help. His refusal to use the doctor’s christian name causes Hannibal to query their relationship and Will’s answer reveals that, in his mind, they do not have one. The two men dance slowly, dipping and turning, giving and taking, all the while nipping at each other’s throats before Hannibal acquiesces and asks to see the file on Buffalo and Chicago.

As Lector looks over the file, there is an interlude where he re-lives his “dance” with Abigail Hobbs. The memory shows Hannibal at the height of his capabilities. Subjugating the serial killer’s daughter and substituting himself as the father-figure who takes her life symbolically as she also, just as symbolically, gives her “virginity” (there can be no doubt that young Abigail had an orgasm after participating in her own death, ejecting her life’s blood across the crime scene while being held tightly in Hannibal’s arms). “Can I push the button,” Abigail asks before she and Lector stage her “murder” and he replies, “Yes.” The psycho-sexual relationship, that Lector amplified and took advantage of, made Abigail his family member and put her firmly under his control.

This particular flashback appears to be prompted by the discussion of children. When Will visits Hannibal, he picks at the aftershave that Graham is wearing, “something a child would choose,” Lector points out. He then discusses Will’s preference of having step-child instead of fathering his own. As usual, Lector hits the metaphorical nail on the head and the Abigail remembrance shows that in all things familial he and Will are more than simpatico.

Will and Alana talk Margo, the Verger baby; “He’s my son,” Bloom declares proudly, Hannibal and Jack Crawford. It turns out that Bloom’s visit is not just about her concern with Will’s well being, she is trying to contain any “collateral” damage.

Later, Hannibal and Will talk about the killer and Lector points out that the man is most likely disfigured. The broken mirrors point to that likelihood and Hannibal points out that the families are picked to die because of how they lived. He also reveals that the outside of the houses are significant. Since the theory is that the killer follows a lunar cycle, he will want to bask in it after the murders.

“Have you ever seen blood in the moonlight Will,” Hannibal asks, “it appears to be quite black.” Will immediately finds him self outside, naked and covered in black blood under the moon. Bloom goes to visit Hannibal, “you’ve come to wag your finger,” he asks. “I love a good finger wagging,” she replies. “Yes you do,” says Hannibal, “How is Margot.” Incarceration has not dulled Lector’s wit or perception, but Alana is not there to banter with Hannibal. She is there to warn him. As at Muskrat Farm, her concern is Will’s safety and she is there to tell Lector that she knows he means Will harm.

Dr. Bloom makes it plain that if Hannibal does not behave, she will take away his dignity, it is, she points out, his big fear. Before she leaves his see-through cell, Alana tells him he will have nothing but indignity and “the company of the dead,” if he harms Will. One look at Hannibal’s face during this speech leads one to believe that he will gladly remove Alana at the first possible opportunity.

*Sidenote* It is interesting to remember that in the book, there is no Alana Bloom. There is Alan Bloom and this “small round man with sad eyes,” is nothing like Alana even without the gender change. The literary version of Bloom also has much less to do with Lector, not interacting until Graham brings him in.

After Alana leaves his cell, Hannibal goes back to his memory of Abigail and his conditioning of the girl. Dolarhyde watches another home-movie and Will places himself at the crime scene. As he watches the movies made of his victims, Francis morphs again, becoming a dragon, the great red one, and not a projector.

It is discovered that the killer kills the family’s pets before he strikes. Will finds that Freddie Lounds (Lara Jean Chorostecki) is back and there is clearly no love lost there. “you took a picture of my temporary colostomy bag,” he says, “I covered your junk with a big black box…You’re welcome.” she replies.

The crime writer guesses that Will has been to see Hannibal and she tries to persuade Graham to work with her. He refuses and she trots out her “news piece” which says that authorities have turned to Lector for help, “It takes one to catch one,” she finishes and Will asks if she is referring to Lector or him.

After their conversation, Dolarhyde reads Lounds’ article and zeroes in on Will. He then goes to see Reba McClane, (Rutina Wesley) who will become an integral part of the plot and fans of the book, and the film Manhunter will recognize the character. The two take the first hesitant steps toward their eventual relationship.

Will and Molly talk over the phone, “I’m feeling Randy,” she says and Will says, “Me too,” and she laughingly explains that she is literally feeling a new dog named Randy. During their conversation, Will projects himself onto her bed while they talk. This action, more than anything else shows how Graham uses his mind to put himself in the killer’s place. At the crime scenes and in his mind. Touches like this can be confusing to those not familiar with the show but it is a masterful reveal that says so much about Will and his abilities and character.

In his mind he is really there with Molly, it is this gift that he shares with Hannibal and this ability to be someplace else, to walk in another’s shoes, is what makes Graham so powerful as an investigator and Hannibal so deadly as a serial killer. It is also how Lector was able to connect so well with Will and allowed the two to merge so completely.

This small scene is powerful in another way, it shows that Will is sensitive to the idea that he may have a criminal mind and that he cannot turn away an animal in need. After his ability to displace is used to facilitate the call with Molly, Will finds himself in the skin of Dolarhyde once again. Hannibal has another visit, this time from Jack Crawford.

The two also dance, verbally, and Lector reveals that The Tooth Fairy already knows who Will is. Lector sinks a few barbs into the widower and then hints that Crawford has thrown Graham to the wolves in his rush to catch the new serial killer. Hannibal re-lives those last moments, with Abigail, before the fateful dinner party with Will and Crawford. Francis Dolarhyde calls Lector to tell him that he is “delighted” that the doctor has taken an interest in him.

While the series has turned back to the Harris books, Francis gets to tell Hannibal that he is the “great red dragon,” it should lose none of its power to entertain. It is, perhaps, this return to the source material that concerned NBC even more than the poor viewing figures. Sadly, it seems that no one else is rushing to see where this can lead. Mads Mikkelsen, who has made Lector his own, just as surely as Anthony Hopkins, may have to wait for a big screen adaptation to continue playing the serial killer. Until then, Hannibal airs Saturdays on NBC.

Dark Matter: Episode Eight (recap and review)

Dark Matter: Episode Eight (recap and review)  Screen Shot 2015-08-01 at 17.26.55
Last week in Dark Matter a huge chunk of Three’s backstory came to light and an entertainment Android almost killed the whole crew. In episode eight, the layers continue to be peeled back and there are some surprising revelations. The issue of One, being a copy, comes up once again. Six attempts to get a little payback on the man who made him a mass murderer and Android learns that her programming is flawed.

This show continues to surprise and delight with all the slow reveals of the characters. Three was shown to be a “heel with a heart” in the previous episode and the crew’s past came up to bite them in the butt with the evil android who was controlled by a disgruntled former victim of the mercenaries. In terms of amusement and backstory surprise the episode ranked very highly.

Transfer Transit 2.0, which was introduced early on in the series, Dark Matter’s version of Rekal (Philip K Dick – We Can Remember It For You Wholesale/Total Recall) but using clones and memories and not just memories, features heavily in this episode. Six, who learned in a prior episode about being made a patsy for a the revolution uses the TT 2.0 to continue his journey of revenge.

At the start of the show, he is seen meeting with a group of criminal’s who are going to lead him to the general. Things go south and Six is shot dead. As two of the group discuss the events, the body disappears in a puff of ash and smoke.

The Android, who was shot at pointblank range last week is still out of action while nanites repair the robot. Two lands the ship for repairs and the crew head off for supplies and some R&R. Three, who is still upset about last week’s death, has to be talked into going by Four.

Once they disembark, Six heads off on his own, much to Five’s disappointment, and the rest of the group go out for a meal. After discussing what the burgers are made of (meal worms asserts Two) they change from solids to liquids. *Comedic moment.* One stops eating his burger and Three, who decides that meal worms are not an issue, says, “You’re not eating that,” and grabs One’s burger and takes a large bite out of it.

Later, when the crew have gotten a bit drunk, Five shows up to tell them about Six and his visit to Transfer Transit. The mercenaries decide to search his room on the ship to learn where he has gone. Three heads for a closet and finds that Six has been hoarding the green food strips. “He lied,” exclaims Three, “I knew it.” When they try to hack into Six’s computer terminal by guessing his password, Three suggests trying “lying hoarder” as he eats a green food strip.

Five agrees to hack the system and the crew learn about the terrorist attack that he was responsible for. Six goes back to the group that killed him before. Despite his clone dying before transferring the memories, Six has worked out that the group were dangerous and kills them all before forcing the female leader to lead him to the general.

Back at the ship, Four suggests that they follow Six and find out what he is up to. Three characteristically refuses to be cloned and left “gift wrapped and helpless” for the GA. Five volunteers, but Two says she has to stay on the ship since the Android is out of commission. Four says he will go and One is ordered to go with him by Two.

Four and One learn what they must do to used the Transfer Transit, and reluctantly One agrees. *Sidenote* Cue another great comic moment. Even Ishida assassins will fight for the discount. When the sales person asks if Four and One are a couple, One says no. Four asks if there is a discount. When she says there is a 10 percent discount, Four replies, “Well then yes, we are a couple.” One looks completely embarrassed and nonplussed.

Six has found the general’s location and is led off to meet with him.

One is clearly terrified of the technology and keeps asking questions until the woman forces the lid on the pod closed. At the other end, as he dresses the camera avoids One’s face. Four enters the room and immediately hits One in the face. Four begins asking the clone, who looks completely different, who he is. One starts relaying information about the rest of the crew to a disbelieving Four. He finishes his description of the other mercenaries with “Three is an a**hole.”

“It is you,” Four says.

Five goes to visit Android and wakes her up. “I’m sorry,” she says. The Android asks why she is sorry and Five tells the robot that it was her fault that Android was hurt. What follows is a discussion between the two where Android says that she is a logic based program and after Five explains her reactions to Wendy and others, Android says that her programming is flawed. Five tells the robot she has feelings and congratulates her with a hug, an expressionless Android looks over Five’s shoulder as they interact.

Four and One learn where Six went. The general meets with Six and the two discuss their past. The leader is unapologetic about the killing of women and children. As they talk, he reveals that the things that made Griff a good soldier now make him a threat and he plans to kill him. He mentions that he knows Griff is checking the time and says he will be dead before his friends can arrive.

One and Four can be seen on a monitor heading to where Six and the general are talking. Six’s shuttle explodes, he set the ship to “critical” just for that reason and in the confusion kills everyone in the room and finished by choking the general to death. As the other man expires, his body disappears in a cloud of ash and smoke, like “Griff” the man is a clone.

Back at the ship, the mercenaries question One about his identity and Three is also in the doghouse because he lied about his shipmate not being the real Jace Corso and then blackmailed him. Two tells him off for both actions and she then has a go at Six. The leader is not happy that the crew are not trusting enough. They must, she insists, try harder.

Two and The Android discuss the rest of the crew after the robot’s diagnostics are read out. Two explains that the morale on the ship is low and they cannot trust each other. The Android asks Two why she has not told the others the truth about herself. Two looks concerned and unhappy.

Five goes to ask Six if he wants to see a movie on the station, “Star Wars 36 remastered.” Six turns her down. Four gets in contact with his brother Hiro, the new emperor of Ishida and One learns who he really is; Derrick Moss, heir to a fortune and a man whose wife was murdered. The main suspect is Three, aka Marcus Boone.

Dark Matter keeps stripping back the layers to show what each “number” is hiding. There are still a few crew members left who have had very little exposure in terms of backstory. Two for example. The Androids question at the end of the episode makes it seem that Two may have wiped the crews’ memories. Five still has a lot of history unrevealed and little is known about the Android.

Anthony Lemke is fighting Zoie Palmer in the comic relief stakes and these two really make this show work. As an ensemble piece Dark Matter works almost flawlessly and each week another crew member is allowed to carry a portion of the show. In terms of characters, it still seems that Five, Jodelle Ferland‘s character, knows a lot more than she is letting on.

Each episode moves the story forward while simultaneously shedding more light on each character and generating still more questions. This formula ensures attention levels do not wane and keeps the viewer guessing. Dark Matter is part of SyFy Friday and is great television that should not be missed.

Killjoys: Kiss Kiss, Bye Bye (recap and review)

Amanda Tapping as Dr. Jaeger in KIlljoys
Killjoys last week saw Dutch get sidetracked by Khlyen who put a neuro-link transmitter in her brain and this week in Kiss Kiss, Bye Bye Johnny tries to crack the device so they can find her old tutor. On top of all that, D’Av and the rest of the killjoy trio track down the elusive Dr. Jaeger, played by Amanda Tapping.

Killjoys has, thus far, been a cornucopia of science fiction performers in terms of guest stars and it does not get much more iconic than Amanda Tapping; the Brit born, Canadian raised actress who is almost synonymous with the Star Gate verse and Sanctuary.

In this episode she played a baddie, somewhat of a departure from her usual casting as stalwart strong characters who fight for good. Her performance as the person responsible for turning Luke Macfarlane’s character from good soldier to homicidal maniac was perfect against type casting. Her character in Star Gate was also a scientist (and an Air Force captain) by profession, albeit in astrophysics and not neurology. The choice of Amanda in the role science bad girl is another nod and wink from the show’s creators to the genre.

At the start of the episode, Lucy and Johnny get an image from the transmitter and after some group input, they find a likeness of Khlyen just before the device stops working. John decides to put the link into his own brain stem with bad consequences. Meanwhile, Dutch and D’Av do a little bonding over auto-target practice.

One of the best lines from the show come from D’Av this week, “Why shoot the sh*t, when you can shoot at sh*t?” Cue some spontaneous fun from the two while Johnny disregards Lucy’s warning about putting the neuro-link device on his neck. Dutch and D’Av come back to the ship to find John on the floor and in pain.

They decide to take him to Pawter to get it taken out of him. Simms tells D’Av that Hills had her arrested for taking his code. She removes the neuro-link but breaks it in the process. Dutch is angry and D’Av reveals to Simms that he was “doing a fade” as she puts it. She tells him that he is, “officially an a**hole” and he points out that she was “nailing a patient while treating him.” After this little argument it looks like the bloom has gone off the rose in this particular relationship.

Before the two depart, Pawter gives D’Av the address of Grayson Hicks, the only other patient of Dr. Jaeger’s that they know of. He is in a mental asylum and the killjoys break him out. Hicks agrees to help but only if they take him with. The place he was treated in is Utopia a huge club and market, anything and everything is for sale in the area. “Dr. Bliss” treated Grayson and John takes the man to find her.

Dutch and D’Av stick together and he tries some “euphoria in a bottle” while Johnny visits a specialist in fringe science. He learns that the device Khlyen used on Dutch is partly organic, aka mech=organic, and is cutting edge technology while the other two bond a little bit more. A kiss or two later and they have become even more “aware” of each other. John makes a deal with the woman to track the device back to its origins.

Dr. Bliss turns out to be the one who messed with Hicks’ memories and she was Jaeger’s former assistant. She stole the doctor’s technique and modified them. The killjoys steal the procedural files back from Bliss. On the way back from the club, Dutch is arrested for kidnapping Grayson. Delle Seyah Kendry (Mayko Nguyen) who Dutch met, and bested, back in Vessel put out a BOLO on the killjoy leader.

The two strike up a deal where Dutch is released with no charges pending if she and her team do Kendry a favor, unspecified, later on. Dutch agrees, but only if she and her team are allowed 24 hours with Jaeger. They come to an agreement and the killjoys find the doctor in a Westerly black site.

D’Av demands answers, which Jaeger provides rather reluctantly and D’Av then tells her that he wants his memories back. Dutch orders him to back off and really think about what he is asking for. Angry, he leaves and heads back to the ship. Dutch and he compare notes, she reveals that the first time she killed anyone was when she was eight. The two connect.

The two are mid-coitus when John returns with the news that he got the Khlyen device fixed and discovers that they are now an item. He leaves and around the same time Dr. Jaeger uses her program to turn D’Av homicidal again.

After their long sex session, after which D’Av says they need a bigger bed and goes to give Dutch a high five, “Are you naked high-fiveing me right now,” she asks. She gets some clothes on and discovers that Johnny had been back and then immediately left. D’Av suddenly turns.

Dutch goes back to her room to tell D’Avin that Johnny knows about them and he tries to kill her. The two have a prolonged battle while Johnny tells Pree (Thom Allison) all about the problem. He explains that the two cannot possibly last and then he will have to pick a side. Pree tells him that John will pick Dutch’s side which makes him a good friend.

Back on the hip, Dutch finally overpowers D’Av. Johnny finally returns to the ship to find an injured Dutch who explains that D’Avin tried to kill her. She tells John that Jaeger is responsible and that the doctor will fix it, “or I”m going to break her one piece at a time,” she warns John to be careful around D’Av.

Dutch goes to see Jaeger who traps her in a small corridor with security fields on either end. John tries to connect with his brother, after first punching him, and D’Avin stabs Johnny. Jaeger admits that she turned D’Av into a weapon. She also admits that he was not meant to really kill anyone.

The doctor reveals that she was the one who put the kill warrant out on D’Avin as he almost found her once before. Using the auto target, Dutch breaks through the dual security field and gets to Jaeger. John asks Lucy to get a doctor just as he passes out. Lucy is stumped for a moment and then puts out an alert for any doctor to respond. Johnny is, after all, her favorite.

Jaeger explains to Dutch that her work is important and that the killjoy has no idea what is coming to the Quad. D’Av has followed her to the doctor’s office and Dutch forces the assistant to reverse what they have done. After D’Avin is back to normal, Dutch tells Jaeger that she is going to give her something she never gave D’Av…a choice.

“The gun or the memory-wipe procedure,” Dutch asks. Jaeger chooses the gun and Dutch replies, “Procedure it is.”

Pawter comes to John’s rescue. She orders the nearest med ship to come collect Johnny. The ship’s commander initially refuses and Simms responds angrily, “This is Illenore Seyah Simms of Land Simms and if you ignore my call, I will have you staked in the rain.” The med ship then confirms they are on the way and Pawter says, “You bet your a** you are.” Splendid moment for the woman that Hills said in the previous episode had no real standing with the Land family.

In the hospital, John is anxious that D’Avin know that the stabbing was not his fault and Dutch thanks Pawter for saving Johnny’s life. Dutch and D’Av talk about Johnny and he admits that he remembers everything he did. He asks Dutch to tell him she knows that was not really him. She says yes but that was really her and she is not alright with that.

Killjoys suddenly leapt from good old fashioned kick-ass type entertainment to a deeper more complex plot. Jaeger hints at something big and bad on the horizon for the Quad, Pawter Simms obviously is more important than she lets on and Delle Seyah Kendry obviously has something nasty that she wants Dutch to do. D’Avin and his brother may have to work a bit to get back a that brotherly love, but it appears that whatever started between Dutch and Johnny’s big brother has been broken…possibly forever.

Kudos to Sarah Power for bringing that blast of power to her character. Wow. Killjoys is a science fiction show that has not one, but several powerful and positive female characters as main players. This Canadian space action series is a winner and part of SyFy Fridays. Watch it if you like positive female role models along with great story and kick-ass action.

Defiance: Ostinato in White (recap and review)

Last week in Defiance Datak Tarr and Tony Curran may just have had a series “best” when he defeated both Rahm Tak and Amanda. This week in Ostinato in White, the consequences of the tunnel explosion are felt by all. Nolan falls apart, burdened with a guilt he has never had before, and Stahma learns of Datak’s apparent sacrifice. T’evgin punishes Kindzi and Yewll, as worm, turns.

With all the action of last week’s episode, and that personal best of Tarr’s, this week could have focussed completely upon the grieving community, instead it zooms in on Nolan. A total of 27 people died in that tunnel and, apart from Indur and Nolan who are both devastated by the deaths, the town has come together to mourn their losses. Amanda erects a shrine, or wall, for all of Defiance to use as a remembrance to the ones who made the ultimate sacrifice.

The mayor gives a small speech and asks Nolan to do the same, Indur reacts badly and storms out. He does not want to hear anything that the lawkeeper has to say and says so as he leaves. Prior to this touching moment of grief, Dr. Yewll is hunted down by some growling beast and eaten. As the Indogene is drug off to be devoured Rosewater compares the hate from Rahm Tak’s attackers to a raging monster.

After the ceremony, T’evgin speaks to Alak Tarr who reveals that he has not forgiven his mother and as he knows that the Omec is keeping Stahma safe, he asks that T’evgin pass this information on. The Omec leader later tells Stahma Alak’s message and reveals Datak’s sacrifice and her pardon because of his actions.

Nolan sits in the lawkeeper office holding Zero’s rifle, the one Indur made for his son. Irisa comes in and Joshua explains that Indur should have it back. She offers to take it for him and Nolan says it is something that he needs to do himself. He heads to Indur’s home and gets a less than welcoming reception.

Irisa and Amanda go to investigate an Indogene body found torn to pieces in an alley. They take the body to Dr. Yewll’s office and have to wait for her to show up making it seem, for a moment, that the corpse on the examining table may be Doc’s.

Samir, the vet, asks to assist Yewll during the autopsy and they banter, at least that is what Doc believes they are doing, with Yewll explaining that she was being sarcastic when Samir gets irritated. The two discover spores, or glitter as Samir puts it much to Yewll’s annoyance, and that the Indogene body is Doc Yewll, or more accurately a Yewll clone.

The vet is quite perceptive, something that will cost him later in the episode, and again, Yewll appears to be annoyed at his cleverness. T’evgin escorts Stahma back to her home in Defiance and they talk about the Omec “plan” and Kindzi. Despite his earlier warnings, Stahma points out once more that Kindzi is a problem. T’evgin disagrees.

At the Tarr house, Stahma is greeted with the word “terrorist” written on the front door in red and Andina struggling to scrub the graffiti off. She sees Stahma and excitedly greets her, “Favi! Oh, you’re alive.” She hugs Stahma who thanks her and replies that it is good to be home.

Nolan and Irisa are at the crime scene in the alley and T’evgin approaches them. Nolan tells the Omec that he is busy and T’evgin replies that his business is urgent; he is looking for Kindzi. Joshua sends his daughter to look on the roof for tracks as he and T’evgin head to the remains of the creature’s attack.

When the Omec sees the “grizzly” remnants of the Indogene body, he is disturbed. T’evgin knows exactly who killed and devoured this victim, he was talking about her only moments before; Kindzi. Nolan suspects that the Omec knows something and tells him that “If you have any insight at all in to what kind of creature might have done all this damage, now would be a really good time to tell me.” Irisa interrupts this line of conversation to tell her father that more blood is on the roof.

When Nolan turns back to speak to T’evgin once more, the Omec has vanished from the scene. As Joshua joins Irisa on the roof, the growing animal strikes again. This time in broad daylight and it kills three victims, none of which are Indogene. Nolan is furious. After he kills a raccoon, Irisa takes charge and tells her dad to take a “couple of hours and get your head straight.” Nolan leaves her in charge.

Back at the Tarr household, Andina talks to Stahma about Alak. She reveals to his mother that Alak keeps a pistol with two rounds in it. Both cartridges are meant for Stahma, one for his wife and one for the baby. He means to use both when he sees her again.

As Yewll continues the autopsy, Samir annoys her further with his riff on clones. After he tells Doc that he will stop talking, they find the spores in her clone’s lungs. Yewll tells Samir that these are only found in Old St Louis and she is off to investigate. Samir wants to accompany her and she tells him no. She asks that if she is not back at the same time “tomorrow” that Samir “sound the alarm.”

Nolan visits the shrine/wall. He is drinking heavily and remembering his interaction with the dead. After he punishes himself for “killing them” he leaves and goes back to the lawkeeper office where he meets Kindzi. She has been waiting for him and they come very close to sharing a very intimate moment when the beast’s growl is heard again and she leaves. Nolan senses that Kindzi knows what it is and he is right. This time the growl is from T’evgin and Kindzi recognizes it.

After Kindzi leaves, Nolan is still in the lawkeeper’s office. He is still drunk and trying to reload his rifle’s magazine. Amanda comes in as his hailer is going off. He ignores it and tells Rosewater that he needs to question T’evgin. The mayor talks him into sleeping it off and she arranges to go see the Omec in the morning.

Yewll is in Old St Louis and she finds not only her clones but Kindzi. T’evgin’s daughter reveals that she was using the clones to practice hunting. Now she is addicted to the hunt and she forces Yewll to help her. Placing a control device in Doc’s neck, she takes over the Indogene.

Just as she is about to force Yewll to shove her ax through her own hand, T’evgin appears and puts an end to his daughter’s cruelty. Kindzi sends Yewll away, telling her to protect her, Kindzi’s, interests at all cost, something that will end badly for Samir. T’evgin overpowers his rebellious daughter and tells her that he is tired of teaching her. He then tells her goodbye and sends her back into stasis.

Stahma is trying to buy ink for a Castithan mourning ritual. Amanda buys the stuff for her when the shopkeeper refuses. Nolan is hung over and Amanda is not talking to him. The mayor and Nolan question T’evgin and the Omec leader swears that there will be no more deaths. “On your daughter’s life,” asks Nolan. T’evgin pauses for a moment, “On my daughter’s life,” he replies. Nolan wants to push the issue and pulls a gun on the Omec. It ends badly for Joshua.

Yewll lies to Samir about the clones and he notices the device on her neck. He asks about what happened at Old St Louis and she stabs him with a hypodermic needle while she apologizes. Stahma performs the mourning ceremony for Datak and Nolan goes to see Indur. “I got your message,” Joshua says as he forces the door open and finds that Indur has hung himself. Stahma blows out the ceremonial candle.

This week, Defiance belonged to Grant Bowler, full stop. Certainly other characters felt pain from the deaths at the tunnel, but his grief was all-consuming because, in his mind, it was his fault. Intertwined with the Kindzi as free-wheeling-killer storyline, the audience got to see the Butcher of Yosemite at his most vulnerable. Rather interestingly we also see T’evgin being pretty vulnerable as well.

The main difference between the two was that Nolan struck out at everyone, with the exception of Indur (played brilliantly by Tony Nappo) whom he actually attempts to placate, while the Omec father struck out at Kindzi. The two men did have different reasons though.

Joshua was devastated by his failure to keep his troops alive and T’evgin appears to have been motivated by anger, that Stahma was right all along, and jealousy. It was, after all, his growling that interrupted his daughter’s attempted coitus with Nolan, quite revealing after his telling Kindzi off about her jealousy over Stahma.

The big question now is whether or not Samir will survive Yewll’s needle attack in her office. Hopefully, now that Kindzi is in stasis, Doc can overcome the controlling device inserted by the Omec princess. Tony Curran was missed, except for the “previously on” clip, but Jaime Murray and Amy Forsyth both did well in the non-Nolan drama stakes. Forsyth is quickly becoming a favorite character and it remains to be seen whether she and Alak will become an item, post Lucy. All those meals and clean laundry…

Defiance is part of SyFy Fridays and not to be missed. “Defiance!”

Dominion: A Bitter Truth (recap and review)

Michael and Gabriel disagree
Last week’s episode of Dominion introduced a new character; Gates (Nic Bishop), Alex found General Riesen (Alan Dale), Michael sacrificed himself for Mallory and rose up afterward, and the big reveal was that Julien is the banished Archangel Lyrae. Last week also saw Gabriel send an angel to bring him the head of Claire Riesen. Dominion in A Bitter Truth follows the events of last week.

This week Alex gets a tour of New Delphi from Julien, which ends badly for the leader, and Noma is “outed” as an angel, Michael joins forces with Gabriel, Gates and Claire Riesen make a good team and David Whele gets motivation from son William as he struggles to save his own life.

Alex is pushing for Julien to honor their agreement and the New Delphi leader tells the Chosen One that it will take a week for the truck to return from Vega. He does not believe that Julien has sent any trucks and points out that the “fleet” of five vehicles have not moved since his arrival. He believes that Julien is hiding something.

David Whele is down on the streets, after being banished by Claire Riesen, and he is having a hard time dealing till William stops by to visit. As he stands arguing with his “late” son, someone shoves a bag over his head.

Gates receives a visit from Claire, he is practicing his pitch while she presses the buzzer for entry. When he finally allows her in (after making her wait for “five minutes,” she complains) he says, “Claire, I wasn’t expecting company today…or ever…really.” A great comic line that pretty much sums up the character of Gates in a sentence.

The MIT genius tells Claire about a baseball memory, he is watching the taped 2004 Red Sox vs Yankees game that his mother took him to as a child as he throws the baseball. He has a memento, a signed baseball card that his mother got for him. Gates tells Claire that he watches the game when he is trying to solve a problem, in this case, it is the unidentified crate that Zoe Holloway was seen carting away from the warehouse.

His story, about his “ma” getting the card signed, “There was no stopping that woman,” seems to show just why he is attracted to Claire. After this short tale, he sees that someone has followed her to his place. Gates initiates total lockdown.

Gabriel is in a snit with Janeck, who never sent the army he asked for. Janeck gets “lippy” and after being taught that “bourbon is whiskey” has his face planted in the hood of his car, several times. He goes to summon the army as Gabriel told him, chastised and a bit wiser after Gabriel’s “no hands” trick.

David has been kidnapped by Zoe and her henchman Jasper. They plan to film his execution. William continues to taunt his father as they prepare to kill him. Pete tries to convince Alex that Julien has more than five trucks in his fleet. General Riesen agrees with Alex and Noma, Julien is hiding something. Pete and Riesen stay behind while the other two search for the New Delphi secret.

Claire and Gates see the angel that Gabriel sent and Michael meets up with his brother to discuss Uriel, Alex, Noma and the fact that Claire Riesen bombed his, Gabriel’s aerie. He tells Michael that Alex is dead and Michael disagrees. Meanwhile the angel tasked with getting Lady Riesen’s head cuts the power to Gates’ lair.

David is read his list of crimes by Zoe while Jasper beats him. William continues to gloat and Whele manages to save himself for a half hour. Gates starts a backup generator for emergency power and the angel goes to the basement. He tries to break through the floor and knocks a shelving unit over onto Gates injuring him.

Julien and General Riesen talk strategy as Alex and Noma find Julien’s secret room. It is filled with an eight-ball army. There are thousands, or more, of the lower angel possessed humans who are frozen and armed. Alex is stunned and says, “This is not a city of merchants, it is a city of monsters.”

Gabriel admits that Alex is alive and he explains that Uriel died because she had no warning. The angel at Gates’ steel door is using his wings to cut through it. Pete has been taken by Julien back at New Delphi, David Whele has survived a little bit longer and William continues to provoke his father.

Gates and Claire electrocute the angel who is using his wings to cut through the metal door, with the generator. The angel is knocked off his feet, but only stays down for a moment. As it gets up, Claire tells Gates that they have “pissed him off.” David continues to plead his case, this time offering up endless food for the revolution. William finally irritates his father enough that he snaps at the specter of his son and tells him to, “Shut up!”

Julien relates a history lesson to Pete, who is tied to a chair, Alex and Noma. He reveals that the eight-ball army is in stasis and that he adds to it. The key that Alex retrieved was crucial to the process and Pete is soon inhabited by another lower angel.

Claire tells Gates to start using that “incredible brain” of his and he responds by kissing her. Then he explains how her father found him back at MIT. Back at New Delphi, Julien has Noma put in the chair and she fights off the lower angel, knocking out Julien, who is shocked to see that she is an angel. She and Alex escape with the amphora.

Michael and Gabriel continue to argue about “Father’s children” and back at Whele’s old studio as Zoe learns that David’s promise of food was genuine, David grabs Jasper’s gun. He also relates his own little history lesson to Zoe and Jasper about how he rose to power. He tells them that he probably killed William and as his son’s image argues with him, David shoots William and he vanishes.

Alex learns, from Noma, what the amphora is capable of. First, however, she reveals that she wants to use it to destroy Julien, the eight-ball army and New Delphi. Meanwhile, David talks Zoe into letting him help to defeat Claire Riesen.

Gates and Claire escape after she has booby trapped his warehouse, capturing the angel in the building, they kill it with the resultant explosion. Outside, Claire takes charge and Gates asks for a moment to take in the fact that all his life’s possessions have been destroyed. “Not all,” says Claire as she hands him the signed baseball card.

Michael and Gabriel agree to join forces and Noms learns that Julien is a Dyad, half-human/half-higher angel. Julien explains that the amphora can be used to kill not just Gabriel, but Michael and the entire family of archangels. Alex tells him that if he does not use it to defeat Gabriel, Noma will use it to destroy New Delphi and Julien.

The return of Anthony Head, as David Whele, was a welcome addition to events. David’s killing William twice, so to speak, was telling and disturbing, there really is nothing that Whele will not do to take down Claire Riesen. Julien has still not revealed who he really is and the surprising turn of events is that Michael and Gabriel are to team up.

The chemistry between Nic Bishop and Roxanne McKee is still pretty potent and the two are a good match. In the show Gates brings out the best in Claire and she has lost some of that season two harshness. Dominion airs Thursdays on SyFy this is “outside the box” entertainment that may be dark but worth watching.

Scream MTV Small Screen Slasher More Annoying Less Fun

First victim in Scream MTV
In 1996 Wes Craven started the Scream franchise, which to be far came later, and, giving a great big cheeky nod to Alfred Hitchcock, killed off the film’s star in the first five minutes. The film was Craven’s homage with a tongue-in-cheek delivery to all things “slasher film” since the genre took off in the 1970s. The first film, like the rest, featured a strong female protagonist (or two counting Courtney Cox’s character) an endearing, and bumbling cop and some pretty spot on nods and winks to the genre and a lot of humor. It also featured Roger Jackson, who “appeared” (more accurately he was heard) in every Scream film as “Ghostface.”

The idea of taking the “scream-verse” to the small screen sounds like a great idea on paper, at least it must have to get MTV to get involved, but Scream lacks so much and the small screen slasher is more annoying and less fun than its inspiration. Certainly watching the first four episodes (“for free, then just sign into your MTV app and…”) there are things that work, albeit, barely.

There is a fairly good backstory, but it does feel like a Halloween borrow, giving the mask way more significance than Wes Craven or Kevin Williamson ever did. Certainly the creators of Scream “TV” have taken the idea of cell phone culture to heart. Using the young’s propensity to text rather than call on their cell, it almost negates the use of a “ghostface” voice changer, aka Roger Jackson (who, incidentally was never approached by the makers to work on the new series). Perhaps the most annoying thing about the show is the cheap trick by the program makers of having someone do a pretty underwhelming impression of Jackson on the phone and not having the “real deal.”

Certainly the unwillingness of the program’s makers to payout for the “real” Ghostface spells out all that is wrong with this show. Other problems deal with their use of the Internet, which Craven and Williamson opened the door on in Scream 4. Podcasts, the use of the net to promote instant “fame” (“How do you think people become famous any more? You don’t have to achieve anything. You just gotta have f***ed up-sh*t happen to you.” Jill tells Sidney this, before attempting to take over as hero of the Woodsboro story. Of course the proviso is that one has to film it, upload the footage and reap the rewards.)

Presumably the twist of the last Scream opened the door for this small screen version. The end result is one of overall disappointment. Where is the humor? Gone, like Roger Jackson and Kevin Williamson. The wry, sly, delivery that oversaw all the larger-than-life murders, buckets of blood, quips, plot twists and the likable main protagonists are all missing.

Emma Fitzgerald appears to be the small screen version of Sidney Prescott. She even comes from a broken home, single mom, versus Sid’s single dad scenario. Although mom is a coroner and dad is not dead, at least so far, he just does not live locally anymore. There is no Dewy and Gale Weathers appears to be taken over by a podcast crime aficionado Piper Shay, who lacks the career killer instinct that Weathers had in spades.

Noah Foster, played by John Karna, is a sort of Randy replacement, without the majestic geekiness that Jamie Kennedy infused the character with, although he is a crime buff and not a film one. He is also, a gamer.

The main problem with the small screen Scream is that this tries to be all things to all groups. There is a gay character, who was once bestie’s with Emma, who has yet to really prove to be anywhere near the equal of Sidney, but then who can really compete with Neve Campbell?


Not many.

The acting is okay. There are things that stand out. John Karna’s broadcaster style delivery works and his (short-term) girl Riley Marra, played by Brianne Tju, had brilliant chemistry onscreen with Karna and Tju had the best death scene ever. Riley, who stupidly leaves the relative safety of the police station, gets stabbed repeatedly. She climbs to the roof and after slapping one bloody palm on the skylight to get the janitor’s attention, speaks to Noah, via FaceTime. Noah asks where she is, “What can you see,” he asks. As she dies, Riley rolls over to lay on her back facing the night sky. “Your stars,” she whispers and expires.

Not bad.

Unfortunately that two word descriptive fits the show all too well. Rather interestingly, the series seems to be fairly popular. Perhaps these fans are younger audience members who do not get what Craven and Williamson were doing with the big screen original franchise. Thus far the TV version lacks originality, which if would do as it is based upon a successful and beloved film franchise, and it has no humor. It takes itself far too seriously, going for the scare and leaving the humor out of the formula.

Although having said that, Noah does come close to being comic relief, but the working word here is “close.” Oddly, the best thing about the MTV show is the music. It sets scenes beautifully and supports the action very well. This makes sense, it is, after MTV. (Obligatory “Duh” entered here.) Sadly, great music and a kick-ass soundtrack do not a great series make.

One can forgive the lack of a Ghostface voice, since the plot does pretty much rely upon the text function of today’s smart phones, but to then use another actor Mike Vaughn to do a Roger Jackson style delivery is insulting. Not only to Jackson but to fans of the original who so desperately wanted to love this small screen Scream. Granted, it is not really clear if Vaughn is the voice on the phone, he is listed as “killer” rather than phone voice or “ghostface” wannabe. Just one more annoying thing about this show that is much less than the film franchise that inspired it.

Scream airs Tuesdays on MTV. Watch it and “catch up” if you are behind and see what you think. Prepare to be a little underwhelmed, this is a lot less fun than Craven’s films. Fans of horror with humor may want to hold out for Scream Queens on FOX.