Sunday, May 31, 2015

Orphan Black - Community of Dreadful Fear and Hate




Orphan Black put the brakes on the heavy drama with the light hearted, "Community of Dreadful Fear and Hate." Not that this episode didn't have its brush with tragedy, that came near the end.

After last week's harrowing rescue of Sarah by Helena and the stunning loss of Paul, OB pulled out the comedy and there is no greater comedic character than the do goodie Alison and her pill pushing profession.

I was beginning to wonder how Alison and "Mr. Chubbs" were going to be wrapped into the greater plot line of season three.  Thankfully, the need for speed pee came to the rescue.  Cosima was tasked by "stalkerish" Delphine into collecting urine samples to better help unfold the mystery of the defective protiens.  This, in turn, gave Cosima some needed screen time as this was almost as much her episode as Alison's.


For the most part, our episode centered around Alison's efforts to close the deal on the "Bubbles" soap emporium to use as a money laundering (pun!) front and also open a channel with the drug lord "Pouchy." (There's only one Pouchy.)


Naturally, hijinks ensue when the bumbling Donnie (the aforementioned Mr. Chubbs as derisively noted by Alison's Mum) took the wrong envelope and presented some campaign material to Pouchy.

Donnie got perilously close to losing his schnoz as time wore down but as Cosima needed Alison, Alison needed Cosima just as badly.  Orphan Black got to pull its favorite character switcheroo as Cosima had to stand in for Alsion and give an impromptu campaign speech.


"Bangs that say unhappy sexless marriage."

Tatiana Maslany excelled in the character crossover playing the frail but courageous Cosima acting as the spriteful Alsion.  The high point of which was "Alison" coming out as a lesbian and supporting LGBT issues of all stripe.


Cosima was being true to herself and in turn Alison was emboldened by this act to reveal to her quarrelsome mother that she was really a clone.  This was very much a family episode again as the lines between the clone sisters pulled ever tighter.  



We could go all the way back to the beginning of the episode to see these lines (heart strings?) close as Sarah and Helena redefined their relationship with the addition of Mrs. S as the much needed mother figure instead of that ill suited Virginia Coady.

Sarah turned to Siobhan for help pulling them closer together and after a few jabs Helena got that much needed hug.


As a counterpoint, Alsion's "real" mother proceeded with maximum density and managed to dismiss Ali's reveal and clinged to hope Alison, in due time, would find a way to dump Donnie.

Groan.

I should add my, some-what-of-a-crack-pot theory is.  The money laundering Bubbles will come into play as the font for much needed cash for the clone sisters.  As a bribe perhaps or much needed funding that Dyad doesn't need to know about.  We'll see.  Either way, the money will need to be diverted and Pouchy will not be happy therein opening more drama for the clone club.

And speaking of drama.


As Cosima has her own moment of honesty with Shay she begins to bleed.

Cosima is a fan favorite and no one likes to see her suffer.  OB did need to get back to the clone defect though and despite Cosima's protestations that all was well (she was coughing more than usual also) things were not well at all.

This will return us to the urgency of fixing the clone crisis and wouldn't you know who will  hold the key to all of this.


Rachel is getting pretty sharp again and kudos to Scott for getting over his fears of her.  Rachel can decipher the code within the Moreau book she claims is hers.  Scott pointed out the book was given to Kira and she needs to "learn how play the game" if she pencil in any future with the rest of the clones and find a cure for her own problems.

There are only three episodes left in the season so it is not a surprise all the clone stories will have to dovetail together.  This episode was an effective launching point for that.  Will we see the cure before the season ends?  Or will Delphine's jealously, Coady's evil machinations or Pouchy's interruption of the much needed Bubbles funding come into play?

Odds and Ends

 
Ooh, la, la, take that Delphine.  OB says kiss off to the critics who think things are getting a little racy.  Do we really trust Shay though?  After Cosima opens up to her, Shay may be in bed with the clone crisis in more way than one. 

I'm mad I didn't recognize "Shay" actress Ksenia Solo from AMC's "Turn" fame.


I'm catching up with "Gotham" and picked out Willa Fitzgerald from "Royal Pains" but Ksenia snuck by me.  Maybe it was the hair.


Michelle Arvizu got a  lot of face time in this episode.  It makes me thinks we'll see more of her in the future.  She only gets one OB listing on her IMDB page but they have been more curcumspect in the spoiler casting.


Jesse reference!

After the departure of Paul last episode, I had wondered to myself if we ever were going to see Helena's tow trucking beau again.

Hopefully, these two will get a chance to "hook" up again.

Yep, you can pencil me in for one last pun.


Monday, May 25, 2015

Penny Dreadful - Evil Spirits in Heavenly Places



Penny Dreadful can be so relentlessly dark I thought we might start out with an image of Vanessa Ives in a moment of joy.   There is actually more of this to come as Vanessa and Victor do a little shopping but before we get too far let's pull the shades (and close the window) and start from the beginning.


We pick up nearly as we left off from the last episode where Vanessa had explained her first encounter with the Nightcomers with Mr. Chandler.  Ethan must have prevailed upon Vanessa to share her tale with the rest of the team as they now sit together as Miss Ives ends her sorrowful story.


Things only get worse when Lyle deduces the meaning behind the artifacts and he reveals the story is really the memoirs of the Devil.

Wonderful.  Lucifer has a story to tell.  Are we going to get his side of the story of "the fall" or are the memoirs portentous of worse things to come for Miss Ives?

Was this really a deduction?  Or did Lyle know the story all along and was he abetted by Ms. Kali (Poole) and her Wiccan ilk?

Lyle has proven to be a untrustworthy ally.  As we learned in "The Nightcomers," Lyle is really working at the behest of Madame Kali.  So how much can we trust what comes out of his mouth that is really voiced by Kali?

Lyle did caution Sir Malcolm when he revealed he was seeing Evelyn Poole later on.  He tried to soften this warning by giving it a flirtatious air but the message was received and Sir Malcolm looked twice at Lyle.



 As the meeting broke up Victor bid adieu to Vanessa and asked her if she'd accompany him on an errand.  This gave us that light moment where a rare smile broke upon Vanessa's face.



 I daresay that smile would be short lived if Vanessa knew the "Lions" Sembene was remaining watchful for were just outside her door.  Pity Sembene has a thing for doors and not windows as we learn proves fateful later on.


Out story turns to the investigations of Detective Rusk.  I was happy to see this "real world" or "human" element to our tale.  For all the dark goings on you wonder how the rest of the world is going on with such nefarious deeds occurring daily.

I'm happy we are not getting the "Harry Potter" treatment where the world of magic exists but remains separate from the human eye.  Evil exists in this world and as Rusk exclaims "Magic" must be the reason for these horrific crimes.  Such as the subway murders where motive is as elusive as the perpetrator's means of escape.

I'm not sure Rusk really accepts magic as the reasoning behind the crime.  Does he really believe in magic or is he toying with his assistant?  If he really does believe in magic that would be slightly disappointing.  I don't want everybody to have inside knowledge of the dark arts.  Better Rusk to learn of its existence and come to accept it as part of his job.  (He would therein deserve a promotion and attendant raise.)



I was delighted to see our story return to Putney's waxen house of horrors. Here we find "Mr. Clare" hard at work when he is interrupted by the lovely Lavinia Putney.



Oh dear, someone that sweet, innocent and fragile can't be long for the Penny Dreadful world.  Lavinia is not naive and proved to be quite playful with the creature but "Caliban" is not of her world and he attracts the wrong type of attention.

Caliban is however duly impressed with Lavinia.  She's courageous and insightful and I think Caliban has a soft spot for her.  (Remember the underworld conversation The Creature had with Miss Ives wherein he confessed his hope for the world.  Lavinia fits right in with this optimistic outlook.)

This, of course, stirs the crackpot theorist inside me.

Crackpot Theory

I can see Caliban falling in love with Lavinia.  Yes, he did request a mate of Dr. Frankenstein wherein "Lily" (formerly Brona) was created. But, we all know where that is going, with Victor falling for Brona, er, Lily, and Ethan Chandler subsequently learning of his ex-lover's fate.   

God, what a love triangle that will be.  

So, when Caliban learns of Victor's "betrayal" his lonely eyes will turn to Lavinia if they haven't already.  How will she react to this measure of affection?

Is love truly blind?



The irony of the blind Lavinia having to pick out the right eyeballs for the Gladstone bust  shouldn't have been lost on anyone.  How sad this little tableau was but it did bring Caliban and Lavinia closer together.



 As fate would have it, Ethan Chandler is lingering just outside Putney's where he learns the massacre, born of his hands, is being made light of in waxen form.  This unnerves Ethan but his reverie is shortened when "fate' takes another turn.



The earthly form of Hecate Poole meets Ethan thanks to some equine malfeasance.  Fortunately, Chandler sees right through Hecate's little ruse.  When she mentioned she went to Northwestern in Indiana my college football radar went off but Ethan was quicker to the punch and unmasked her as the fraud she was.



This is the face you make when you've been outed by a cowboy.  Take that Hecate and your ill fitting shoes!  Too bad Ethan didn't realize how deep her perfidy ran.  As it was, he mistook her for an operative of his father's.  Close enough.  It's a good thing Ethan's own radar went off alerting him of danger.  (I'd like to sit in a bar and watch some College Football with Mr. Chandler as long as he doesn't tear the place apart if his team loses.  Go Wolfpack!)

Can we lighten the mood a little?


Here we switch to Victor's quest for suitable woman's clothing.  He looks absolutely wretched and Vanessa looks quite bemused.


This comic turn only gets better when Miss Ives' agrees to help "My non husband" and Victor looks like he is ready to faint.


I laughed out loud when Vanessa decided to twist the dagger in Victor's embarrassed soul.

"Undergarments!"

Thank God Penny Dreadful knows when to take the foot off the horse drawn accelerator. We need a break now and then.  (Not to mention to gaze upon Eva Green's luminescent smile.)

Okay, light mood over.


Lily appears before Victor in her new dress.  You knew she was going to be beautiful when she exited the screen she was changing behind.  (I even said it aloud before she stepped forth.  An angel as she wished to be.)

Speaking of smiles, the look above shows, while Lily has no memory of Brona, she still knows what men like.  And while the the corset proves too much for her, the uncomfortable shoes can stay.

Oh Victor what have you done?

A quick aside to that other romance.


Dorian and Angelique's romance isn't going anywhere but it surely has to.  Where?  I don't know, Angelique is outed and subsequently murdered and Dorian comes out of his own immortal closet to exact his revenge?  Why not?  Enough Victorian Air Hockey or whatever they called ping pong back then, get in the game!


Thankfully, our saga returns to the Malcolm manse where Sir Malcolm himself completes the sentence, "and raised over his head. Thence..."

"Casts Lucifer into Hell!" I shouted to myself.

Not quite.

More like cast out of Heaven but close enough.  The true meaning of the monk scrawled runes is revealed and in no uncertain terms Vanessa refuses to believe she is the "object of some eternal Satanic quest."

Don't be so sure Miss Ives.  But it does beg the question, what does Satan want with Vanessa?  To share some ungodly throne?  To sire a child?

Hmm, a child of the Devil to reign over Earth much like the son of God does now?  Will this son of Lucifer lure the Creator into battle over the fate of mankind?

Crackpot Theory

Lucifer's endgame is indeed to engage God in battle but only as a feint.  The true stratagem is to trick The Almighty wherein Lucifer takes advantage of the diverted gaze and returns to his rightful place in Heaven.

Boom.

That's why they call him, "The Devil."

(Of course God has a plan too but you have to leave a comment to this blog asking "what?" to learn it.)



So, The shaken Vanessa returns to her room.  She, as does Ethan, senses something is wrong.


Something is very wrong.  The Nightcomers have invaded the manse.  See Sembene, watch the windows not just the doors.


They've come for a totem of Miss Ives to empower Madame Kali's ghastly voodoo doll of Vanessa.  (Voodoo, something Lavinia alluded to during her conversation with Mr. Clare.  Nice.  She also spoke of eye color and we get a good look at the gruesome green eyes of the Nightcomer in Vanessa's room.  Double nice.)


"No sensible shoes now Mr. Chandler."

Bitch.

Hecate takes the time to twist her own dagger into Ethan.  

So evil wins the day but the battle is not over.  Vanessa will have to come to accept she is indeed the object of ungodly desire.  Then, perhaps, she will learn what is truly "Above the Vaulted Sky."

Bonus content 

Reader "e jerry" suggested I take another look at the Seance scene from season one to help explain my theory.  So, why don't we all take a look at it together.



I'm not sure what this really adds to clarify my Lucifer theory but I will give it a few more views to see what I can get out of it.

Bonus content 2

Another crackpot theory!

As part of my theory and Lucifer's long term plan, I suggested Vanessa may have a child by the Devil.  Of course that's a bit outlandish but not out of the realm of possibility for this show.  But I completely forgot about another theory concerning children.

After seeing Miss Ives and Victor do some shopping together I thought to myself, "I wonder who would make a nice match for Vanessa and would they ever have a child together?"

Why not Ethan Chandler?  The two will be spending more time together as he her protector or "Lupus dei."  Naturally, she would produce a "Werebaby."  But what if things got worse?  What if Satan possess Ethan as his surrogate.  Then what would happen?  A baby Lucifer with "Werebaby" leanings?

Sure, why not?


Sunday, May 24, 2015

Orphan Black - Certain Agony of the Battlefield



As Pat Benatar would say. "Love is a Battlefield."  And in the last episode of Orphan Black we took some casualties.


No I'm not talking about "Pupok" the beloved muse/irritant to Helena, I'm talking about Paul played by Dylan Bruce.

If memory serves, Paul is the first regular character to be killed off in the show.  It was a bit of a stunner as we were given no indication we would lose Paul as a character.  Certainly death is no stranger to Orphan Black.  We've seen recurring characters come and go on the show.  With the death of Paul (he has to be dead, there is no coming back from a stabbing, four gunshots and a grenade) Orphan Black is bound to take a seismic turn.

The other temblor that shook the OB world was the information brought to light concerning the Castor project and the work of Virginia Coady.



It was Paul's deduction of  Coady's true motivation that led directly to his death.  It didn't take long for the military man to put the pieces together.  The protein the clone lines share (as discovered by Delphine and missed by the lovesick Cosima) effects the brain of the male line and the ovaries of the females.

Apparently Coady's research could lead to a cure for the malady but she is more interested in weaponizing her discovery.  She claimed it would end war, or at least a bloody war, and if I am reading this right, Coady's work would sterilize the enemy and threatened it's existence as a people.

How she plans a delivery system is another story.  I don't suppose she plans on inserting Castor clones behind enemy lines to impregnate the enemie's female population unless she is thinking a real long game.  I think rather she'll isolate the protein and find a suitable vector and distribute it as a virus and hit the enemy without them even knowing it.


What could counteract this nefarious plan?



Somewhere in the addled mind of Rachel is the secret to restarting the lost research into successful cloning.


A healthy assist goes to Scott for matching the scrawl left by Rachel on her drawings to the symbols in Duncan's book.


Also, we the viewing audience caught a glimpse of the young girl who is in the care of Dr. Marian Bowles.  It doesn't take a rocket scientist to put together all the pieces of this information dump to realize Rachel is behind the genesis of this little girl and somehow there is a connection between her and Sarah.

That connection being Sarah's resistance to the harmful effects of the defective protein the two clones lines share and the successful restitution of successful cloning. 

Now I'm sure the race will be on to find a cure for the defective clones and the rebuilding of the clone lines impervious to the genetic defect.

Coady and her ilk will want to stock the Army with healthy Castor clones impervious to the disease while attacking the "enemy" with the defective protein virus.

Dyad, on the other hand, will want to monetize a new healthy clone line thanks to Rachel and her work.  Of course, Dyad doesn't quite realize they hold the key to this since Rachel isn't all together there and Sarah and her group will  seek to "free" Rachel before Dyad comes to this conclusion.


Before I go too far down the rabbit hole of dueling conspiracy theories, let's take a look at Paul's sendoff and the montage it left us with.



The musical score that accompanied this montage was quite moving.   Paul had confessed his love for Sarah and we saw some of the more tender moments the two had shared.


A tearful Beth was glimpsed, she being one of the earliest casualties of the battlefield and the link between Sarah and Paul.


The young girl Marian Bowles is caring for appeared next.  Her reintroduction looms large as she looks to be a new successful clone.   Does she have a defect and will the new research cure it?


Kira appears in the montage.  The stem cells from her teeth proved invaluable and the pairing of her and the other little girl looks to be significant.


What's interesting is, Sarah in her delusional state to start the episode, was seen alone in the courtyard much like Kira.  The connection apart from being mother and daughter is they are also are linked by their genetic makeup.  Kira's healing and other mysterious properties and Sarah's impervious nature to the Castor defect.

Sarah appears lost and alone while Kira, while alone, is carefree and moved to dance.

Interesting.

Sarah no doubt misses Kira but to have them appear in the same setting is mysteriously profound.


The episode closes with Helena returning to rescue Sarah.  I take this to mean the family reuniting to carry on the fight.


We also get one more look at the little girl.   She is seen in a photo with a young man and they seem very close.  New additions to the family?  Astoundingly, Rachel looks to be the key to all of this!

No "Odds and Ends" quite yet.  I'll have to add them later when time permits.  As of now, yard work beckons but I will be back soon!


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Penny Dreadful - The Many Faces of Ives



Say what you will about Penny Dreadful's Gothic nature (and it got decidedly more horrific as of this last episode) it is beautifully shot and has a distinct cinematic feel to it.

It is like every character has portrait done on film.  Even the group shots look like they should be hanging in a museum.  The set direction is gorgeous and are done with the perfect amount of lighting and color.  The costumes, makeup and hair only add to this televisual canvas.

With this in mind, it seems Penny Dreadful takes particular delight in making the exquisite Eva Green as grotesque as possible.   No mean feat.



"Verbis Diablo" opened with Vanessa Ives huddled in a corner, childlike and vulnerable.  She has been traumatized by the events of the night before. (episode S2.1 Fresh Hell)  She gazes across the floor at her creation, a scorpion drawn of blood.


Our next "portrait" finds Vanessa fleeing her boudoir.  Here we have Eva Green without makeup in order to reinforce her gaunt and shattered visage.




She arrives at Sir Malcom's bedroom seeking the comfort she received from the previous day.  Here, Vanessa is on the verge of utter collapse. As the tears stream down her face she sobs to Malcolm, "Then tell me, where am I to find peace?"  "Not even my prayers are safe."

I had asked in my previous blog post why Vanessa doesn't use her "lightening rod" like powers to seek out evil and actively take the battle to the dark forces instead of being manipulated by them.

Here I think she pretty much answers my question by revealing what a tortured soul she is.

"Tell me I deserve peace." she plaintively begs Sir Malcolm.

From this I gather Miss Ives will always be the innocent martyr.  Despite her usual outward appearance and her strong sense of guile, Vanessa will always be on the receiving end of perfidy.

I can't quite remember how much we got of her origin story from season one, if any, but during her conversation with Sir Malcolm I got the distinct impression that her fate was not of her own but rather the company she keeps.

Is it possible that her relationship with Sir Malcolm or even her mere proximity to him attracts evil like iron filings to a magnet?  If so, this should also apply to her relationship to Mr. Chandler, Dr. Frankenstein and the rest.

If I were prone to crackpot theory I would posit Miss Ives is drawn to people like the aforementioned because of the evil that they do.  When Vanessa is compelled by the dark forces that haunt her, it gives Sir Malcom, Mr. Chandler, Dr. Frankenstein, Dorian Gray and the rest the opportunity to purge their souls of evil by acting to protect her.

Therefore, in a sense, she acts as a living martyr, drawn to the people that need the most help.  Despite their ill deeds and formidable guilt, there is a kernel of good in them. It is to be exposed by rallying to the defense of Miss Ives.

Persona

 
In terms of Psychology a "Persona" is "a mask or appearance one presents to the world."  I thought it clever and I hope it was intentional that Miss Ives and Sir Malcolm entered the underbelly of London rife with Cholera masked from the public.  Hiding their true selves in order to help the less fortunate.  

Despite their masked appearance their better angels reveal themselves.  Malcolm and Vanessa eagerly attend to the less fortunate and it proves the tonic Miss Ives sorely needed.


Emboldened by her capacity for charity, Vanessa seeks out individuals to help.  As fate would have it she comes upon Mr. "John Clare" the creature himself. 

The two hit it off magnificently.  Their intellectual wit and philosophical bent are a perfect match.  Soon, the words of Blake and Wordsworth swirl through the fetid air.


Caliban or, The Creature, if you prefer drops his own mask and actively engages Miss Ives with his positive outlook for the world when prodded with the question, "Do you truly not believe in Heaven?"


This stands in sharp contrast to the near homicidal threats he usually levels at Dr. Frankenstein as they part company.  Still, he always refers to Frankenstein as "Creator" and admirably wantsto fill the newly resurrected Brona's heart "with poetry."


A portrait of Victor's persona is etched on his face as Caliban departs his company.  It is forlorn and fraught with the heavy weight of responsibility.  Victor has created another new life.  As the "Creator" he feels a responsibility towards it.  Probably a sense of responsibility that includes Brona turning out a better person than Caliban.  At least in his eyes. 


I was afraid the good Doctor looked at Brona or as she is now called, Lily, with a perverse nature.  Now as she stands nearly exposed in front of him, he handles her with affection and modestly closes her robe for her.


As Victor prepares her for the world she likens herself as a newly formed "Angel."  No doubt Victor feels the same way.  I get the sense Victor will attempt to shield Lily from Caliban.  He'll want to keep her in the Heaven of his own creation instead of the Hell the Creature lives in.


This portrait of our angelic Brona, sorry, Lily, reveals her trepidation as she meets the Creature once again.  This particular episode exponentially tightened the circle of characters in this show.  Caliban now knows Miss Ives and it won't be long before he will decide to "show off" his new love to Vanessa.  Of course, Vanessa works closely with Mr. Chandler and I have no doubt all four paths will soon cross.

Pretty Pictures


 
Our study in portraiture is nearly over but would be complete without these two. Dorian Gray, whom we missed in the first episode of this new season, has returned and he meets the lovely "Angelique."  Angelique hits on him pretty hard and provides the catnip Dorian longs to hear when she tells him to stay young and beautiful forever.

Angelique wears a mask of her own and to be honest so does Dorian.  Hers hides a sexual mystery while Dorian's mask is intended to last forever.  He rarely even looks behind it himself.

Angelique seeks to shock Dorian with her multifaceted "reveal" but Dorian is beyond shock and shame.  Angelique may seek to intimidate but I doubt she's met anyone quite like Dorian.  It will be interesting if she is up to the challenge of Dorian Gray.


Another lovely couple belongs to Sir Malcolm and Madam Kali.  They really are a striking pair.  Sadly, Kali seeks to insinuate herself into Malcom's life via the Verbis Diablo and other means.  She seeks to corrupt Sir Malcolm and remove him as a player on the board.  One that stands to be a staunch defender of Miss Ives.


In another world Sir Malcolm played the role of a man with a license to kill.  Let's hope his aim remains true as Madame Kali is a formidable opponent.  If Kali removes him from the board the final piece would be Vanessa.  We haven't been told what Kali's fascination is with Miss Ives but her use of the "C" word means Vanessa stands in the way of something Kali wants.

Vanessa usually plays the victim but her intuition for evil would probably reveal something Kali would rather keep hidden and therein lies the threat.



The Verbis Diablo doesn't belong to Kali and her minions alone.  Its secrets can be divined through a little detective work and Miss Ives also has an unknown proficiency for the language.  No wonder she is seen as a threat.

Our Final Portrait

 
Our episode concludes they way it began, with a study of Miss Ives' face.  Something has stunned her viscerally.


Somewhere across the city sits a wooden doppelganger to Miss Ives.  It sat lifeless until it was infused with the once beating heart of an innocent child.  Now Kali will be able to pull on Vanessa's strings from afar. 

I think Madame Kali will seek to maneuver Miss Ives against the others.  As her usual protectors, they will seek to defend her.  But if she is to strike back at them they may lose hope and abandon their efforts to save Vanessa.  This will leave her alone to face Kali where even the bewitched Sir Malcom will be unable to help her.

My prediction, Vanessa's new found friend in Caliban the Creature will be the only one in position to help Vanessa.  His love and belief in the world will gird his heart in defense of Miss Ives.  And, fortunately, as they parted company from their first encounter Vanessa remarked, "You have beautiful eyes."  She saw what many miss when they they avert their eyes from his mask of pain.  A heroic heart worthy of a "Modern Prometheus."