Friday, February 27, 2015

Sleepy Hollow - The End?


As I write this Sleepy Hollow has closed its final chapter for season 2 and has yet to be renewed.  I'd like to impart some thoughts about the finale and cover how our players fared this season.

I thought Sleepy would go out with a bigger bang.  You know, throw everything against the wall in a valiant attempt to ensure that renewal.  Instead at times it was rather a pedestrian affair.


Nothing more exemplifies this than having Crane and Abbie literally walking together on their way to Grace's house.  I thought to myself, "Are you kidding me?  You're taking up valuable air time for more exposition on how valuable they are to each other and the importance of trust?"  We get it already! 

I think the writers wanted to ensure we understood these two were our main player and the show revolves around them.  Nothing should come between the Witnesses!


Like Katrina for instance.

I've been calling for her removal for a long time.  Just kill her off already! 

They did.

I had also predicted Abbie would have a lot to do with Katrina's demise.  I was right in some regards.  Abbie did kill her son although Kat pinned the blame on poor ol' Ichabod.  Abbie also manged to follow Katrina into the past to foil her plans of rewriting history.  Katrina wasn't too happy with that. 

I thought it was a bold move to have Katrina die at the hand of Ichabod. 


It added that element of a Shakespearean tragedy to it.  It makes you wonder what the repercussions will be for Crane.  Will this prove to be divisive for the Witnesses?  I mean, they spent an entire season doubting their loyalty to each other and resolving it by the end of every episode.  I think, if renewed, they should add an element of subtle doubt between Ichabod and Abbie.  Nothing overt, just subtle.


Here's a clue as to why I think this could happen.  Ichabod grabs the "Grand Grimoire" (Tip of the Sorcerer's cap to Steve Salyer for the book name.) as he exits the room.  (Seen above.)  I don't think either Abbie or Frank picked up on that.  Is there a hint of doubt for Crane?  Will he use this powerful book of magic to bring Katrina back?

Here's another clue.


Look, Henry's not really gone.  He's moved to some astral plane where he awaits his mother.  Interesting.  If you're not completely gone then you can come back.  (Comic book rules.)


Other high points.



Holy sh*t they cut off Ben Franklin's head!  I mean, holy sh*t!

I think everyone loved Timothy Busfield's Ben Franklin.  What a loveable perv.  Maybe they can bring him back next season.  The timeline was preserved so good ol' Ben is still on the $100 bill.  Our Ben also connected with Abbie right away while Crane wavered.  The next thing you know, chop!  It was an awesome shock.


Wow, they almost went there didn't they?  For a second I thought Crane was going to lose his head.  That's what you call a close shave.  Had they done it, I think people would have fallen right off their couches.  Abbie would to be on her own to fix the timeline, which no doubt she would.  Sleepy chose a different ending.  Good thing.  (I think.)



Fun to watch Kat and the Horseman work together.  I had a scenario where Abraham actually tried to stop Katrina from going full on Dark Side.  This was cool.  Together again!


Grading Our Players

 
A+

Would Tom Mison deserve any less? His comic timing is impeccable.  He not only gets the "fish out of water" thing but his body language does the same.  Terrific actor.  If there is no renewal I can see him on the "New, New, Avengers.  (With Lyndie Greenwood as Emma Peel)  I think Mison would make a terrific Sherlock Holmes and I would love to see his Richard III.





 A

You don't need to sell me on Lyndie Greenwood, I already have a TV crush on her.  That gunfight sequence between her and Frank was amazing.  She can really handle the action set pieceMore work for her please!


 A

Speaking of acting chops, John Noble is a master.  Like Tom Mison, he possesses a wonderful voice.  It's like the low rumble of thunder rolling in from a great distance.  As Walter Bishop, Noble could pull off quaint and funny.  As Henry Parrish his countenance shifted to a deep and malevolent place where few dared to tread.  Pity he is probably off the show.  (If its renewed!)

 

 B+

Orlando Jones makes a terrific Frank Irving.  When he pleads for understanding and patience you want to give it to him.  So what if he doesn't have a soul!  He is a master of the "broken" look.  I'm glad they didn't kill him off.  Let's hope if Sleepy returns he is back in the Captains chair.

  
 B-

I was going to grade Katia Winter lower but when they gave her something interesting to do she excelled at it.  She got a little screechy in the final episode but it was evident she was having fun with her new role. 


C-

Did Nicole Beharie regress this season as an actor?    The look she using in the above frame is one of my least favorite.  Lower the chin and the death stare.  Who told her to do that?  It was employed way too many times.  And what was with all the stammering and rapid eye blinking?  Did no one notice or was she coached to do that?  I'm sure all the gratuitous cleavage shots weren't her acting choice either.  Let's hope for a rebound next season if there is one.

Now What?




So where does Sleepy go from here?  The above image may suggest they intend to downsize the show.  By including Miss Jenny and Frank at the very end may mean they intend on concentrating on the "fab four."

So who is likely not to return?

Kat and Henry are probably gone.  I can't see why they would bring Hawley back.  Ditto for Abraham Van Brunt (too bad, the Horseman was the show for a while.) Moloch's gone.  Cynthia and Macey Irving?  Hmm, maybe but why?  Let's hope Sheriff Reyes is gone, what a sourpuss.

Who do I want back?

Find a way to bring John Cho's Andy Brooks back.  I'm sure they can fit in a spot or two for Clancy Brown's Sheriff Corbin.  Definitely Busfield's Ben Franklin. Steven Weber's  Jefferson wasn't bad either.  (Did he tell you about the Fenestella Mark II?)  Whatever happened to the Angel Orion?  I thought Max Brown did a great job with him.  I'd like to see Victor Garber return as Crane's disappointed dad too.  Anyone else? 

Oh yeah, the Chat lady from Onstar.  Too funny.

Monday, February 23, 2015

12 Monkeys - The Red Forest


You'll have to excuse my confusion and consternation.  Time travel does this to me.

When one has to deal with "Jinns," "Causality Loops" and as Jonesy said, "Breaking the unwritten rules of the universe" well, it's enough to give someone a nosebleed.

There were seemingly some disparate points contained in this episode but I can't help but think there is some interconnecting threads that link everything together.

This post will be an attempt to connect those threads.


This was how I was going to start this post.  With a study on "splintering" and causing different timelines.  I wanted to see how 12 Monkeys was going to explore what happens when you enter a different timeline and what are the consequences of fixing or attempting to fix said time line.

As you can see in the above image there are droplets of blood on the headrest of the Machine.  This is how our episode opens and for the next ten to fifteen minutes we see a time gone terribly wrong instead of a time gone horribly wrong.

At first I wondered why Cole had to fix the terrible timeline when the horrible one was just as bad.  But then again, if you're not using the Machine to do anything but dry laundry then changes must be made.

It was the droplets of blood that intrigued me.  You could be excused from thinking they came from something hanging over the chair that was bleeding but there wasn't anything there.

No, I'm now convinced the droplets preceded Cole to the chair.  It's his blood.  One of the interconnecting threads comes from the following image and what "The Striking Woman" (Alisen Down) tells us.


As the "Anti-Barbie" has Cassie held captive, she has fed her some hallucinogenic "tea."  (We're jumping ahead here.)  She tells Cassie, "Most of the blood has washed away" by the rain.  All of this was in prelude to Cassie meeting "The Witness" or as I affectionately call him, "Haz-Mat" face. 

Now, I'm thinking no one knows the ravages of time travel better than The Witness.  I have a theory where he is one of Jones' guinea pigs that actually survived her earliest time travel experiments unbeknownst to her.  He's dubbed "The Witness" because of all the things he's seen.  First and foremost the ravages of time travel.  (It's even possible he wears his haz-mat gear to hide what time travel has done to his physical appearance.) 

The physical toll is so bad that the earliest "practitioners" were turned inside out before it was "perfected."  The blood "The Striking Woman" refers to is the blood of the failed time travelers.


Jones from the "terrible timeline" implores Cole to follow the path of sacrifice.  We're to understand it is the only way to save things.  Of course this is a double edged sword.  She could be speaking of herself and Cole but she could also be referring to all the poor souls that were sacrificed in order to achieve her aims. 

As an aside, the rest of my "Witness" theory is that he is exacting his revenge on the future for what it has done to him and the rest of the "guinea pigs" or as I think he calls them, the "12 Monkeys" in their honor.


As the episode closes, Jones from the horrible timeline (our current one) tells Cole she agrees with her doppelganger's assessment that sacrifice is necessary.  Time travel is killing Cole and he only has so many splinters left in him.  He must make them count even if it means sacrificing himself.

So the connective thread is the ravages of time travel in blood, the sacrifice necessary to fix the future and one man's war against that future for the sacrifice he was unwilling to make.

Did I explain that okay?

So what about the blood that precedes Cole into the terrible future?

Jinns and Causality Loops


A "Jinn" comes from Islamic mythology for a being much like a Genie that, "inhabits an unseen world called Djinnestan, another universe beyond the known universe. The Quran says that the jinn are made of a smokeless and "scorching fire",[1] but are also physical in nature, being able to interact in a tactile manner with people and objects and likewise be acted upon."  (See more on Jinns here.)

To me that sounds a lot like our friend, "The Witness."

I got this idea from two connective threads.  The first being the "jinns" or causality loops the "Terrible timeline Jones" tells Cole he is being afflicted with.  Add to that, the times where Cole is looking about the failed Machine room but seeing flashes of the Machine room he knows where everybody is still active in it's operation and upkeep.

Like being in two places at once.

The second connective thread is the "tea" Cassie had to drink in order to meet "The Witness."  Is this the only way to see him?  Does he exist in between  timelines much like the mythological Jinns?  Being able to interact in our universe but living in another?  Another price to pay from time travel?

Jennifer Goines also had to "drink the tea" before she met the witness.  I wonder if its herbal properties act as a hallucinogenic that allows you to see him as he exists between two worlds.

A "Causality Loop" is a popular science fiction trope wherein you, as a time traveler, become involved in the very same timeline you are trying to correct.  Much like when Cole went back in time to defeat Deacon's attack on the Machine facility and was inadvertently the reason Deacon found the secret way into the facility.

It's a difficult and paradoxical concept to follow.

So the connective thread which runs between what Cole is, experiencing with his "flashes," the headaches and the theoretical existence of "The Witness." 

Jones warns Coles in two timelines that this is killing him and "The Witness" may well be suffering from the same affect except to an extreme degree wherein he lives in two timelines.

Yes, no, maybe?

Of Milk and Monkeys


Speaking of "flashes," here's another that Cole has been experiencing.  I think we saw it twice in the "Red Forest" episode and it caused Cole to double over in pain.  In the flash, Cole sees a glass of milk break, a solitary figure and then a shadowy face.


Here's the image of the solitary figure.  What's that at its feet you say?  Does it look like something Cole folded and stuck in his pocket?


Yes, I'm saying it is a monkey. (It took me about 15 tries before I could capture that frame, so, yay me!) At first I thought it was just a shadow or outline of a monkey.  But no, it has dimensionality to it as it casts its own shadow on the floor.  In fact, in Cole's second flash of this image the monkey appears alone and the solitary figure is gone.  (I didn't bother to try and capture that frame as I nearly drove myself half crazy getting the other one.)


The connective thread here is reliving a memory that you have yet to experience.  Cassie got one when she drank the "tea" and the "Striking Woman" tells her it is from a memory from some place she's been, just not yet!

I think the same thing is happening to Cole as he is seeing flashes of the Milk/Monkey event.  It just hasn't happened yet.

I was hoping we weren't going to see any monkeys in the show, at least those of any import.  But this looks significant.  Part of my "Witness" theory is that he names his "Army of the 12 Monkeys" after the fallen time travelers that Jones had experimented on.  The "fallen" were monkeys figuratively. 

My theory isn't over but it might have taken a hit.  We'll see.

Odds and Ends

 
Here's a picture of "The Striking Woman" as played by Alisen Down.  She seems to be an acolyte of "The Witness" much like "The Pallid Man" is.  They live in the universe of quotation marks.

I'd say she was striking!  And if she hears I called her the "Anti-Barbie" striking may take on a whole new meaning for me.  Smack!  Right across the face.


Here's the look on Aaron's face as Cole disappeared.  "Been there done that" says the look on Cassie.  Nice to see Noah Bean get something meaty to do.   Next up, some time on the gun range.






The Pallid Man appeared in Cassie's "tea" vision.  Super creepy because he winks at her here much like he did earlier in the episode.  Super creepy.


Take note of the Snow White costume that hangs from the ceiling of the party store Cole reappears in.

Snow White awakes from a long slumber after falling into a "sleeping death" when her stepmother gives her a bite of the apple.  Who is going to be Snow White for 12 Monkeys?  Cassie?  Is "The Striking Woman" the evil Stepmother?   What will Cassie's "sleep" consist of?




I'm a little nervous about the introduction of the military into the 12 Monkeys plot line.  But I love Greek mythology so bring it!


Worst picture of Amanda Schull ever!

The CDC can fix diseases but they can't take a photo.  Fire the low life underling that is responsible for this outrage.  I've been guilty of teasing Schull for her good looks but this is is terrible.

This is how you take an I.D. photo of Ms. Schull.




Of course, security would keep her extra long in line just to gaze at her badge but dammit it's worth it.  She's important to the future!


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Helix - M. Domestica & The Master Plan



Was this an episode of Helix that answered more questions or left us with more questions than answers?

To be certain, it didn't leave us with one of those "big bang" endings they are famous for.


Unless you count the choking of Sarah by Alan.  Really, does anyone think Alan is going to choke Sarah to death?  By the next episode Kyle will have burst through the door (with another bruise on his face and break up the whole thing.  Or Sarah will stick Alan with a syringe or something and he will slip out of the "Seraphim's breath's" thrall.)

I'm resisting calling this entry a "place holder" or "building block" episode.  But I do think we got quite a bit of exposition that will set up the season and move the plot line along.

Okay, so it is a "set up" episode.

The Ilarian Plan


Alan's bombing of the Ilarian building last season didn't seem to be very effective.  The board was meeting as usual and their plans for reset the world were moving quickly apaceIn fact, with the introduction of the "Narvik C" virus they will have whittled down the world's population by 75% in three to five months.  

It seems the Immortals have run out of patience and since they've suffered through things like being burned at the stake for centuries.  I thought this interesting because it puts the Immortals into the larger mythology of mankind such as sorcerers or witches and they were put to the torch because they consorted with evil.

The evil being living longer than anyone else I suppose.  Strange magic.

Julia cried foul but in all honesty her plan was going to do virtually the same but it would take a lot longer.  Her protests fell on deaf ears.

 
Well, not all the ears were deaf to her protests.  Madam Chairperson thought genocide a bit too harsh also.


She put Julia on to a Mam'selle "Durant" who would also sympathize with Julia and apparently carries enough weight with the Immortals to get things done.

So, to recap, we have the mainstream Immortals that want to purge humanity "tout de suite" (See that?  Fours years of French comes in handy.) We have a subset of Immortals that kind of like having humanity around and we have a further subset of "renegades."


I cringed a little when I saw Mlle Durant was a child.  "Oh, no, not another adult trapped in a child's body" I thought.  The creepy powerful kid is a pretty old trope in my opinion.

None the less that is where we are going and she represents a faction within the larger faction of Ilarians that can live with humanity.  She also refers to another subset known as "renegades."

Seriously, the Immortals need a flow chart so we can understand their structure better.

Durant referred to "The Scythe" as a renegade which means he is out of the mainstream despite the fact that his taking of Julia put her in the mainstreams hands.  She then referred to another renegade.


Brother Michael!

So Michael is definitely outside the mainstream of the Immortal group except for one thing.



The pendant that Durant gives Julia is the same as the wall hanging in Michael's Abbey.

Geeeeez.  So now is there a subset of the Immortals that share a love of trees?  I'm kidding but the tree logo may represent some sort of religious ideal or philosophy that some of the Immortals follow but not all.

See what I mean about a flow chart?

Brother Michael


Brother Michael learned something about the Immortals also.  They can carry a child.  All his internal bells went off at once once he found out Sarah was carrying a fetus.  And to think he spent all this time making sure his daughters had daughters.  Now the master genecist can figure out how Sarah got pregnant and turn his talents to that.  


That's good news for Amy but not so good for Sarah.

So in all this exposition did we learn why the Immortals are interested in Michael's work and why he was left alone?  Come to think of it, did we learn why Hatake was ultimately there?  I'm assuming he is a renegade also.  No?


Apparently, Michael is not opposed to a little purging himself when it come to winnowing his own island population.  He's got all those "Veggie Vectors" running around outside the wall (should we call them "Fungi Friends?"  And he doesn't mind a little chaos inside the compound and uses that event to throw Anne under the bus.


Sorry Anne, I guess you're not his "honey" anymore.  I'm not sure what his endgame is here but it involves sparing Amy for some reason.  Maybe Michael saw through Anne's powerplay to start the show.


A little hand holding didn't work Anne.  You should have tried Sergio's plan.

The Cure for Morning Stiffness


Nothing like killing your partner's mood like calling your lover by another man's name.  Julia hasn't come up with a sure fire plan for humanity or a cure for the next Narvik virus but she can put an end to a little nookie.

To be fair, Sergio said he was still game, but there was a meeting to get to that Julia wasn't apprised of.

What is Sergio's game?  By bedding Julia does he hope to join the ranks of Immortals?  Does he have a long con for Ilaria or is he just a rat?


Speaking of bunk buddies that Julia has shared a bed with.


Peter sure does dance around his knowledge of the Immortals and Ilaria.  He won't cop to Michael about being an Immortal but he did spill the beans about Sarah.

Do you suppose he got in bed with The Scythe in order to join the ranks of the Immortals?  Would his dreams been fulfilled to share an eternity with Julia together?  He didn't know about Hatake changing Julia did he?  I didn't think so but he should know now and he needs to get out of that damned hole!



Back to Sergio.  

C'mon Julia, a little nookie with Alan, I mean Sergio (Ha!) and you hand him the Narvik cure?  Sheesh, now Sergio really does have some leverage with Ilaria.  You better be working that long con dude.

I need a hug.


Yikes, not from you Mr. "Touchy feely throw your daughter under the bus guy."  Michael has a new plan but I guess he hasn't seen the flash forwards to when his abbey is a smoking hole thirty years into the future.

Hey!  By the way, we didn't see Caleb with the Densho sword!

Yeah, so this was a more questions than answers episode.  But it was done in true X-Files fashion where we were teased with a few answers to the long game but left with a lot more in the short run.


Say, did these two ever jump in the sack with each other?  If I was Mulder I'd keep an eye out for Sergio lurking about the hallways.