Wednesday, May 31, 2017
--The CGI/stop animation/whatever it was of the opening "Coming to America" was amazingly well done. There's a takeaway from this scene that the old cannot stand against the new, at least not without a great sacrifice.
--"The gods are great, but people are greater for it is in their hearts that gods are born and it is to their hearts that gods return."
--Laura's heart beats while kissing Shadow. That's a bit different than it is in the novel. I enjoy that her role has been expanded in the TV series to make her more complex, not just a literal ghost who shows up wherever Shadow might be.
--Media has been around since at least the 1930 "War of the Worlds" drama, one of the first (if not the first?) time millions of people gathered around a media outlet--radio--and not only listened but truly believed what the media was telling them.
--Media as Bowie is also fairy ironic, no? These new gods wish to strip Mr. Wednesday of his individuality. Bowie was nothing if not an individual.
--In Gaiman's novel, there are more new gods than just Mr. World, Media, and Technology but it's a smart move on the TV show to really focus on those three and make them out to be a sort of dysfunctional family. Mr. World talks about how everything is a system interlaced and surely globalization is helped--and perhaps even caused--by media and technology. Could the world be as connected and known without those two?
--"You're a fucking asshole, dead wife!" I enjoy that, so far, Mad Sweeney's only role is to get beat up.
--"All you do is occupy their time; we gave back, we gave them meaning."
He often wears a small pin, either on his hat or his jacket of a large tree who's branches run deep into the earth. This tree is the World Tree, Yggdrasil, which is said to hold the nine realms of the universe together. From the Voluspa: "There stands an ash called Yggdrasil/ A mighty tree showered in white hail/ From there come the dews that fall in the valleys/ It stands evergreen above Urd’s Well." The tree, then, is at the center of the cosmos and it too has a story of Odin's quest for knowledge. In this case, his quest to understand the mysterious runes of the Norns, the female maidens who spin out destiny and fate while sitting at the base of Yggdrasil. Like with his eye, Odin had to sacrifice something in order to obtain the wisdom of the runes. This time he didn't just sacrifice a body part; he sacrificed himself. Odin hung himself from Yggdrasil, pierced his side with a spear and hung there for nine days and nine nights slowly dying, waiting for the universe to accept his "sacrifice of himself to himself" and eventually he was rewarded with knowledge of the runes. There is nothing stronger in mythology than a god sacrificing himself; it's a moment of intense mythological significance that usually heralds a new era (think, Jesus on the Cross or any iteration of a John Barleycorn vegetation god). There are other stories about Odin and his importance is not just as a seeker of wisdom. He's also a creator god; he built this realm's land and sky out of a giant called Ymir. Odin also created the first man and woman out of an ash tree and an alder tree. He's also at the head of countless lineages of gods; it's because of this that he is often referred to as the All-Father. Popularly, Odin is known as a war god though not necessarily as a god who enjoys strategy and the outcome of war; Germanic men and women offered up prayers and praises to Odin before a battle in hopes that he would grant them victory but Odin was more concerned with the chaotic frenzy that war inspired. The famous berserkers were held in particular regard by Odin. When a hero or warrior of renown fell in battle and had died a good Viking death, they would be transported to Odin's hall Valhalla in the realm of Asgard where they might drink and play war games for all of time. There are many more stories about Odin, more than I could relate here. He is also associated with poetry (there's a nifty tale there too!), kingship, and with the dead. He has several other animal familiars, a unique relationship with several of his children (like Thor and Baldur) and his ultimate demise at Ragnarok is also fascinating.
Sunday, May 28, 2017
--If the Monks can choose to look like anything (in this case, corpses) then it follows that they can make their ship look like anything. So why a pyramid?
--"I wouldn't have voted for him. He's...orange."
--"The end of your life has already begun."
--There's a nice ticking clock music that plays throughout certain sections of this episode. It's a nice touch given the countdown to midnight.
--"It's not my first dead planet."
--"What do you depend on?" "Air, water, food, beer."
--The sonic glasses can do everything possible except see numbers on an old fashioned combination lock. That's some pretty silly writing, sorry.
--"Hello, I'm the Doctor! Saving the world with my eyes shut."
--"Enjoy your sight, Doctor. Now see our world."
Monday, May 22, 2017
--There's a nice moment early on where Laura learns that she and her card shuffling talent are going to be replaced by a machine. It's a continuation of the through-line established with the likes of Czernobog. Even humans are being replaced by the new god, Technology.
--"All I know is there's more than I know."
--There are a few really great visual touches throughout the episode, like a fly constantly buzzing around Laura before she actually dies and, on the night Laura and Robbie take off on their last car ride, two ravens are perched just outside Laura's house, watching and possibly following.
--Also, a not so subtle visual, but Laura Moon kicked a man in the balls and his entire brain and spinal cord shot out of his head. It was maybe one of the coolest things I've ever seen.
--We meet Anubis's other half, a tall thin man with spectacles. More on him in future weeks, I'd wager. Also, if you were looking close enough we actually met the third companion of this Egyptian trio of gods.
--"Are you haunting me?" "Not on purpose. I needed craft supplies."
Sunday, May 21, 2017
--In a move that is shocking to almost no one, Missy is in the Vault. The Doctor has agreed to watch over her for 1000 years instead of taking the easy path out and killing her.
--Bill's face when the Pope entered her kitchen moments after comforting a skittish girl about them being together was hilarious and felt, if this is at all possible, like classic Bill.
--"You're an idiot." "Everyone knows that."
--I always suspected the Pope had a secret tunnel to get to and from the Pentagon. Didn't quite think it'd come out in a broom closet, however.
--"Are you trying to get rid of us?" "What makes you say that?" "Cause you're sending us into the dark after a man with a gun."
--Surely these aliens have an easier way to learn about Earth? This is not the first time it has been invaded.
--I know the aliens are monitoring everything but their attention to detail is almost a bit too much for a computer game. It was Simulation Nardole that spoke truths to a Simulation Doctor about why the latter won’t tell Simulation Bill about the blindness.
--"I am doing what everyone does when the world is in danger...I'm calling the Doctor."
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
--I have to applaud the djinn/human sex scene in this episode. It was deeply erotic, but also deeply passionate, without being pornographic.It was not meant to titillate nor was it meant to be seen as unnatural. There was a sense of connection and intimacy that is usually not found in cable TV sex scenes.
--Kissing, according to the youngest Zorya, is like blue cheese.
--"You'd rather die than live in a world with bears in the sky."
--"We're gonna rob a bank. You want some coffee?"
--Ricky Whittle's delivery of the line, "Yeah, I like marshmallows" was damn near perfect. For a guy best known for a CW teenager centered show, he's doing some amazing and next level work here.
--"That's a lot of Jesus."
--"The fuck is this?" "You the fuck is this." Wednesday and Shadow could theoretically have their own comedy sitcom in the vein of The Odd Couple.
--Without giving anything away, I would start making note of anytime Mr. Wednesday enacts or speaks of cons, con-men or how to pull off a really convincing con.
--Oh dear; Mad Sweeney lost his coin. And Laura Moon appears to be out walking about. Hm, that's troubling.
Monday, May 15, 2017
If there has been one major through-line for the entirety of season six, a season that has jumped around from plot thread to plot thread more than other seasons before it, it was Emma Swan. Emma has always been at the center of the story as Savior, Mother, Daughter, and as just Emma, but this year she's come more into focus as large portions of the story were devoted to giving Emma her happy ending, pushing her past those final hurdles to self-actualization. I suppose it's appropriate then that this finale, this final hurrah for Emma Swan, is derivative of season one. Around and around and back home again, the circle of the heroes journey goes like meticulous clockwork. But before you can reach the final destination, it's important to look back from whence you came which is really what this season finale is; Emma Swan this is your life! Yes, there's some plot nonsense about the Black Fairy but this finale could easily swap in any old villain into this story because it's less about the actual villain and more about what she represents: isolation, loneliness, those things that Emma has been fighting for six years. In order to show how far Emma has really come, the writers take her--and us by extension--back to an inverted season one. Emma's cursed this time around, a new set of memories in which believing Henry about fairy tale characters, magic, and curses put her in the mental hospital. This new curse also has the neat effect of casting all her family members (except her son, tellingly) into another realm. Once again, like she was for the first twenty-eight years of her life, Emma is seemingly alone and cut off. Except, of course, she's not and never was, which you'd think the Black Fairy would note and remember given that Emma literally sang her way to togetherness last week but that's all of apiece with the (and here's that word again) haphazard approach to this season. Nothing quite gels the way it should even though the writers are reaching deep into their and our collective memory to make everything feel like a nice full circle back to season one. If there was one reaction I constantly had during this two hour finale, it was "huh?" Emma's belief keeps all the realms alive and active (but wasn't affected by the 28 years she didn't believe in anything or for the whole span of human history before Emma was born); only light can snuff out light and Gideon is apparently light enough to go up against the Savior; the Black Fairy's curse is broken with her death not by any true love's kiss and Emma is saved from her sword wound by true love's kiss even though she's no longer cursed! All of it was rushed and sloppy and really underwhelming but the intent behind it softens the blow a bit.
--I suppose we need to discuss the elephant in the room, huh? OUAT has been renewed for a seventh season but with a massive cast shakeup. The actors and actresses who play Emma, Snow, Charming, Henry, Belle, and Zelena will not be returning for another year. This leaves Hook, Rumple and Regina as leading the series. I have committed myself to watching (and reviewing) OUAT until the (possibly bitter) end but for the record, I'm not sure this revamped and rebooted series is going to be the fresh start the writers and network are hoping for.
--“If she thinks she can rip this family apart…curses have never stopped us before.”
--The musical cues while Hook was walking around the giant's table were really cool.
--How does Emma have third person omniscient memories? She actually remembers seeing herself walk down the aisle!
--Holy horrible outfits, Aladdin and Jasmine! Wow those getups the costume department forced on to them are miserable.
--"Hello there, Mummy.”
--Sven is my very favorite character. More Sven. Always.
--“Truthfully? The beanstalk that fell on me gave me pause” (I will miss Snowing. I will miss them, miss them, miss them.)
--Belle’s cursed personality is a shut in. That actually makes loads of sense given that she’s famous for wanting “adventure in the great wide somewhere.”
--Belle and Rumple get a fresh start without having to actually talk through their issues! So many healthy relationships on this show.
Final Episode Ranking for S6B (lowest to highest):
12. "Awake" (6x17)
11. "A Wonderous Place" (6x15)
10. "Ill-Boding Patterns" (6x13)
9. "Where Bluebirds Fly" (6x18)
8. "Mother's Little Helper" (6x16)
7. "The Final Battle, part 1" (6x21)
6. "The Final Battle, part 2" (6x22)
5. "Tougher Than The Rest" (6x11)
4. "Page 23" (6x14)
3. "Murder Most Foul" (6x12)
2. "The Black Fairy" (6x19)
1. "The Song In Your Heart" (6x20)
Final Grade for S6B: C
--See you all in September!
Sunday, May 14, 2017
"space station" wouldn't be on anyone's list of places or times to travel when the entirety of universal history is open to them. It seemed a fairly standard piece of NuWho, a one-off that doesn't leave any lasting impressions and is quickly forgotten a few days after airing. Boy, was I wrong about all of that. It's true that this is a very classic episode of Doctor Who with a whole lot of running down corridors and an inexplicable and close save at the end of the day, but there are a few points that make this week's episode more than just a typical danger-in-space sort of romp. Take a deep breath, monitor your oxygen levels and let's go!
--"Space....the final frontier." Yes, let's combine all my favorite science-fiction things into one. I approve!
--The BBC should probably get the rights to the idea of "The Walking Dead in Space" before AMC snatches it up and makes it into a seven series show.
--"What do you want from me?" "The truth." "Don't be unreasonable."
--I've been questioning what Nardole's purpose is, and I still don't quite know, but he's got excellent comedic chemistry with Bill and the Doctor so that's a step in the right direction.
--"I thought I sent you to Birmingham for a packet of crisps!" "Yeah. I saw through your clever ruse."
--I don't have much to say on Bill this week but she continues to shine as our new companion. I thought her "death" scene was very emotional. I also like that the Doctor doesn't seem bothered by all the hugs.
--"Do people ever hit you?" "Only when I'm talking."
--So, what does dying in space have to do with crop rotation?
--"I've got some spare eyes somewhere. I think they're from a lizard..."
Tuesday, May 9, 2017
Shadow Moon has a lot of reasons to be angry. After three years in prison, he's released early only to learn that his wife died in a rather compromising position; Mr. Wednesday puts it a little more aptly, bluntly, and frankly crassly than I shall. In the wake of his newly found freedom, Shadow is tasked with the thankless job of cleaning up Laura's mess. It's a dirty and sad job but Shadow is almost clinical and methodical about it. He has to be; if he pauses in his tasks then he remembers what Laura did to him while Shadow served his time. He packs the boxes, he tapes them up. He puts everything that was the Moon's life together in neat little packages that he can safely store away. Until, that is, Shadow comes across a photo that reminds him that while he was off serving time in jail, missing Laura and counting the days until their reunion, she was getting erect penis pictures from Shadow's best friend. When confronted with these (ahem) hard truths--that Laura claimed to love him but was also screwing his best friend--Shadow has two options. On the one hand, he can process the grief slowly, go through the motions as they come from sadness to confusion to regret to anger. On the other hand, he can bottle it all up. Suppress the rage because as Mr. Wednesday says, "you only obligated to feel bad about this for so long." It's an interesting way to look at this whole sorry situation because Mr. Wednesday is equally angry. Not about Laura Moon, to be sure, but about the situation he and his people are in. The show is still dancing very vaguely around what these plans are, why Mr. Wednesday is so enraged, and even what exactly Mr. Wednesday is so I'll refrain from laying out his grand plan but make no mistake that under this calm, jovial, and charming exterior Mr. Wednesday is all thunderclaps and lightening bolts. He's on a mission; this is a mission he needs Shadow for and when he hears that aberrations like Tech Boy and Not-Really-Lucille-Ricardo are talking to him, engaging him, tempting him to their side of whatever war is going on, Mr. Wednesday is pretty angry. And that gets shit done. This week, we get to see more of Mr. Wednesday's opening gambit. It has something to do with recruitment of old friends; friends who, like Czernobog and his relatives, aren't exactly thrilled to see him.
--"Take swimming lessons. This is how we get stereotypes!" Everything about Anansi's introduction was breathtaking and I'd love to quote the whole speech but to pick up the social commentary of last week with Shadow's lynching we have the extra powerful, "you don't even know you're black yet. You just think you're people!"
--Did the show try to find the smallest bathtub possible for Ricky Whittle to sit in?
--It's a nice touch that the icon for "Motel America" is a buffalo, similar to the one Shadow saw in one of his dreams last week. Though, the one on Shadow's t-shirt is lacking in the whole fire-from-his-eyes thing.
--"I'm not going to steal from you!" "If you can't look out for yourself how the hell are you going to look out for me?"
--Gillian Anderson as Not-Really-Lucy-Ricardo was magnificent.
--"We are now and tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow; and he's ain't even yesterday anymore."
Monday, May 8, 2017
Let's face it: this episode was always going to be a tough one for me to blog. I'm not exactly CaptainSwan's biggest fan (lolz). But, I was an Emma Swan fan from the beginning and while I believe her character has undergone a radical and negative transformation over the past three years into someone I don't particularly like, I do believe the show can be at its best when it focuses on Emma's journey into both being a true Savior and into selfhood. With that said, I was delighted that this episode did not turn into a full on, no holds bar, CaptainSwan love-fest but instead was really about Emma, her parents, and her son. It's where the show began and it's still the sweet spot for OUAT. I do want to start with some negative aspects of this episode first before dovetailing into the more positive moments of the show so let's consider why this final hurrah for Emma's character is happening on the day of her wedding. The culmination of this week's plot is Emma realizing that she's never been alone, that she's carried her parents, and everyone's, magical "song" in her heart; she does this with Henry's help. All of this is in the wheelhouse of OUAT's own specific brand of family relations. The issue happens that directly following this moment is Emma's wedding, in fact the scene transitions from Emma's triumph to Hook standing at the alter as if the final moment of selfhood is marriage and that for Emma to truly complete her journey she has to be unified with another person, while wearing a (truly ugly) white gown. It's fairy heternormative and misogynistic that a woman's big moment is a wedding; the question to ask is did this episode and this moment in Emma's journey need a wedding to feel complete? No; it didn't. Emma's emotional growth would still have happened if the wedding had not. So, you might be asking yourself, why not have the wedding if the emotional growth would happen regardless, the answer is that the wedding adds a sour note to that emotional journey.
--For the sake of my own sanity, I am going to skip over even thinking about discussing yet another memory wipe.
--Emma's wedding dress isn't the only unfortunate outfit here. Putting Hook in velvet takes the tux to a cheap place and makes him look like a black hole. Also, Snow? Get rid of whatever you're wearing...quickly.
--Favorite song? Probably the opening number "Powerful Magic;" Hook's pirate rock song "Revenge Is Gonna Be Mine," and Emma's solo "Emma's Theme"
--Least favorite song? "The Charmings vs The Evil Queen" because it's just a rehash of two previous songs. Something new there would have worked better.
--"And my! Do I sound...good!"
--Oh, hey. The Black Fairy cast the Dark Curse and apparently Emma now has to do what it once took her a year to do in two hours. Cool.
--Speaking of, does anyone really understand the motivations of the Black Fairy? Why is she even doing any of this? Simply because she's dark and Emma's light?
--"I'm sorry, dearie. Do you think the Dark One sings? I'd rather scratch my eyes out with a rusty fork."
--A big ol' whatever to the nonsense that is Hook and Rumple reigniting their feud.
--So was Belle not even invited to the wedding? Even after she went through the trouble of finding Snow's wedding dress for Emma? You know for a season that focuses heavily on her son being controlled by the most evil being in all of existence, she's had shockingly little to do or say.
--Two to go! See you all next week for the season six finale!