Monday, June 29, 2015

X-Files Photos!



EW magazine has released the first photos from the set of the X-citing X-Files return and we've got 'em!

(And when I say "we" I mean  me.)

I thought it would be fun to take a closer look at the pictures and see what we can learn from them

Kind of like alien autopsy.

The topmost picture shows David Duchovny's Fox Mulder a bit disheveled.   He looks like he hasn't slept in days.  He's unshaven and frankly a bit unkempt.

I'm disappointed to see Mulder like this.  I had envisioned a man on the rebound, embraced by the FBI and rewarded for his years of service by an agency that realizes they needed him more than they knew.

Instead Mulder is fatigued, literally.  He wears the trapping of an ex-soldier in his olive green fatigue jacket.  The kind of jacket the soldiers wore in the sixties to eighties.  The children of these soldiers often wore these jackets as a counter culture sign of protest.

Is Mulder protesting something?

No doubt.

Mulder wears the trappings of a soldier that has been drummed out but hasn't given up.  He looks beaten but he is still in the fight.  But how much fight is left in him?

Scully on the other hand looks vibrant and alive.

Her uniform is one of the business professional.  Smart, sharp, sophisticated.

Note how Mulder's brow is furrowed while Scully's countenance is open and unnerved.  Mulder's trademark openness is traded for Scully's usual skepticism.

There is a set of curls in the topmost picture and a doorjamb to the left.





 Those curls belong to actress Annet Mahendru.  She answers the door to television's seminal power couple.  As Seveta, she portrays a victim of numerous alien abductions and experimentation.

Here, she looks youthful and alive.  She is dressed comfortably and she betrays no sign of the terrible hardship she has endured.  Behind her is a photo placed on a shelf.  It looks to be a couple.  Mother and child?  Two lovers estranged? 

Around her neck ply two strands.  Do they meet to hold a Cross?  If so, will this be the connection that forges a bond between the ever faithful Dana Scully and her?


The door jamb belongs to a modest residence.  A pitched roof complimented by one that is flat and at an odd angle.  Modest shrubbery and flowers festoon the abode giving it a semblance of normalcy.  A cheer in opposition to the dark.

And what of the darkness?

Two lights remain ablaze despite the sunlight. 

Despite the modest cheer supplied by the greenery and attended to faithfully as evident by the tools against the propane tank, the lights are probably always on.  Weak guardians against those things that go bump in the night.

A pair of boots lay at rest by the door step.  Should the night's "bumps" become too terrifying they are slipped on quickly and Seveta escapes to the car awaiting at the far right.

She hopes.


Her benefactor is one Tad O'Malley played by Joel McHale.

McHale's trademark snark left over from "Community" is evident by the look on his face.  Joel McHale plays a conservative talk show host and one wonders what his interest could be in a woman that claims to have been abducted by aliens.

An avenue to prop up failed ratings?  A sensationalistic headline grab to counter the purported rise of big government.  The rise of a secret governmet?

Pablum for conservatives.

He looks sharp in his blue suit.  American flag pin firmly attached to his lapel.  The halls of big government or even bigger business loom in the background.

In the immediate background rolls a black SUV.  Are the Men in Black still trailing Mulder and Scully?  If we're lucky, will the trail of cigarette smoke rolling from the windows be far behind?

Scully looks slightly bemused as she seemingly waits for Mulder to finish his remarks.  McHale looks on in obvious amusemnt and perhaps a little skepticism. 

Mulder is wearing shades in the frame.  One must keep an identity secret for as long as possible.  You never know who may be listening in.  A healthy dose of paranoia goes a long way.


No paranoia here as Scully attends to Seveta.  The power suit is traded for scrubs and a lab coat.  Hair back, Scully is all business.  Seveta seems to be finishing a sentance as she gazes just beyond Scully.  Body language from someone trying to remeber something?

Despite her lack of expression, Scully's reaches out to her patient.  Her right hand looking to comfort someone to whom trauma is no stranger.  It's good to see Scully still practicing medicine.  He life remains in focus as opposed to Mulder's. 

Her trademark Cross still around her neck, testament to a faith unshaken.


Who knows what secrets Seveta has to reveal.  She is similarly garbed in each one of her pictures suggesting all the events happen in the same day.  Here she seems to be in an office.  She sits mutely in an eighties era office chair.  Mulder's office?  The older furniture suggests something Mulder has been holding on to for a long time.  Not working as a professional anymore.

There looks to be a storage rack on the floor in the background.  A repository for Mulder's infamous porn collection?

The shades are drawn keeping that "healthy" sense of paranoia firmly in place.

An "in tray" sits at the corner of the desk.  It contains papers.  So, whomever this office belongs to is still keeping busy.  Does the office belong to Scully?  Perhaps the older chair suggest a practice suffering from a lack of patients.

The two strands that ply around Seveta's neck are still there but the endpoint still remains hidden beneath her blouse.   Perhaps that vestige of her faith is better served closer to her heart.


The X-Files returns in January 2016.  Clad in blue with a background to match.  Mulder and Scully remain as cool as the color they are clothed in.  Perhaps there is a bit of a chill as the partners remain close for warmth and comfort. 

The cold will only deepen as winter approaches.  The skies will darken.  Our minds will race as the frost gathers on our windows.  We'll  shutter those windows and turn the locks.

Because, who knows what truth is out there?


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Penny Dreadful - Momento Mori



Take a good look in the mirror

The mirror metaphors were reflected everywhere in this past episode of Penny Dreadful, "Memento Mori."  It seemed as though every character had to take a hard look at themselves

The best piece of exposition into the nature of mirrors and the human psyche came when Sir Malcolm tried to give advice to the love lorn Victor Frankenstein.

Our purest instincts are undone.  We become strangers to ourselves. 
 But it can't go on forever.  Finally, we must look in the mirror.


He was speaking of the "enchantment" of love and unbeknownst to him, he was closer to the truth than he could ever imagine.  For in his case it was quite literal.  


At that very moment, Madame Kali was finalizing her plan to fully seduce Sir Malcolm and bring forth her Master into the world of the living.  


It was a very near thing.  If it wasn't for the timely intervention of Sembene (Know who your are!) Malcolm may have stepped fully into the abyss.


This intervention gave us one of the great moments of this episode as Sir Malcolm danced with the pale apparitions of those whose love he once spurned.

The lyrics to "Reflections" from Diana Ross come eerily close to capturing this very scene.

Through the mirror of my mind
Time after time
I see reflections of you and me

Reflections of
The way life used to be
Reflections of
The love you took from me

Oh, I'm all alone now

 
Mina and Peter also made ghostly appearances. Their presence along with Sir Malcolm's sheer force of will broke the spell that led to mirror shattering as Kali gazed dejectedly into it.  (Seen in the topmost picture.)


Alas, Kali knows her prey too well.  She predicted the gallant knight that lives within Sir Malcolm would come to her.  The mirror captured Sir Malcolm as he descended the stairs and left without telling his compatriots.  Perhaps this reflection knew the shame of Kali's bewitchment and he sought to atone for his sins alone.

Portraits are Mirrors Also
 


Angelique sat alone waiting for Dorian to return.  Her image seemed to be captured by the portrait of the lady behind her.  Yet Angelique does not cast a true reflection.  The lady in the painting is something she aspires to be.  She told Dorian she wanted to be accepted as she was but she still persists in the trappings of someone she cannot truly be.


As for Dorian, the mirror captures him as becomes enlightened to Angelique's discovery.  Dorian can be a many faceted person as the mirror above reveals.  Existing perhaps as many different people sharing a common face stretching across time.  (The many shades of Gray?)


As Dorian and Angelique look upon the great portrait of Dorian Gray the reflection of Dorian's sins stare back at them.  He knows what they are but unlike Sir Malcolm he refuses to be chained by them.

That is the Portrait's job.


I've been waiting a long time for this.  How ghastly, how pathetic and pitiable.  Dorian's reflection in the portrait, bound by his sins and scarred by his wickedness. 


Despite Angelique's willingness to accept Dorian as he is, they are quite alike in masking who they really are, Dorian cannot share himself and poisons her.


The best part of this interlude was when the portrait twitched against it's chains.  This startled Dorian.  Enough to shake him from his false reverie? 

No, never.

Lily


And what of Lily, did she like what see saw in the mirror?  It seems she did.  At least she accepted what she had become.

 
This was my least favorite part of the episode.  It seemed a bit forced.  In my opinion, we never saw what should have been the horrible realization of what Lily once was and Brona had become.

Instead we got a profanity laced diatribe in what it meant to be a monster.  At least Caliban has poetry in his heart.  (I don't think the cows in the pasture want to hear Lily's version of all things poetic.)


The Creature seemed horrified at Lily's transformation.  She went on to cast them both as demons and characterized him as her brother and her lover. 

What went so horribly wrong that Lily would want, "the blood of mankind to water their garden."

Lily layed bare the sins that were done unto her.  The raping, the befoulment by men.   Surely she is damaged and just as surely she has a problem with men and not without good reason. 

But why didn't she give voice to all her pain when she met with Victor the morning after?  Why keep up the charade?  Is she a different person to different people?  Did Caliban's shock snap her out of her stupor?

Personal Hell

 
The episode ended with Sir Malcolm trapped in his own personal Hell.  The bodies of Gladys, Mina and Peter rise freshly from their coffins.  This has to be an hallucination.  A trap to drive the urgency of Vanessa's return.

Sir Malcolm seems oh so ready to atone for his sins.  But are the dead willing to accept this atonement?

Must he look into the mirror once more?


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Orphan Black - History Yet to Be Written.





Victory

It was a victory for the Clone Club wasn't it?

All the girls survived. Castor is defeated and Coady captured.  



 Alison conquered Marci for the school council seat.





Krystal, whom I thought we'd never see again, is back from pre-op hell thanks in no small part to her awesome manicure.


Gracie has been exposed and shamed whilst Mark has been forced to look beyond his own short lifespan and work for the greater good.


Ferdinand has been brought in from the dark side.  (James Frain is so great.  I hope they find more room for his character next season.  The tenor of this last episode made me feel as though he will be back.  Especially considering his adhor for Rachel.)


Speaking of which, Rachel has a new peeper.  That's good news right?  Nobody cares?  Okay.


The tortured and slightly psychotic Rudi is out of the picture.  He and Helena had a lot in common didn't they?  No wonder she mourned him in her own way.  Their steel cage (garage) match  was a long time coming.  You had to love the way she biffed him with that roll of tape.


Biff!


That Grinch known as Kendall Malone grew a conscience.  All it took was a meeting of her "extended" family and some compassion from Cosima and her heart grew three sizes that day!


We had a Jesse sighting.  How about that for a blast from the past?  Kudos to Orphan Black for not forgetting the slightest detail.


It seems as though Art got some closure of sorts.  Yes, he is sad about Beth and it probably stings to be so close to Sarah.  I'm sure he wouldn't haven't any other way though.  And extra kudos to OB for letting Art have his moment in this season finale too.


It looks as though Cosima and Delphine got a measure of closure also.  They still care for each other but they seem to realize that life has taken them on separate paths now.


Best of all we got a mother and monkey reunion.  No Cal sighting though.  He must be trying to figure out a mother of dragons reunion I guess.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

 
Ah yes, Delphine gets shot.

She seemed to recognize her assailant.  She asked, (to paraphrase) "What's going to happen to her?"  I take that to mean she is speaking of Cosima and the shooter knows of her also.

So who are the chief suspects?



  • Shay for one.  We never did learn much about the military background but she apparently has one.  The innocent act may be just that, an act.  That wasn't exactly a kill shot but if Delphine doesn't attention soon she is a goner.  
  • Marian Bowles.  We didn't see her but that doesn't mean she is out of the picture.  (Availability issues for Michelle Forbes?) I don't remember her as a Neolutionist but that doesn't mean this isn't a power grab.

 (I thought of Bowles because we see Charlotte again and Marian is usually with her.  Not this time!)

  • Susan Duncan.  Possibly, but that would be awfully fast move for her to get back to Rachel and Charlotte.  This is TV but even that would be stretching it.
  • Dr. Nealon seems to be quite dead.
  • Virginia Coady should be under lock and key.  Should be.
Here are some dark horses.
  • Gracie Johansson.   She has motive and knows all the players.  Nah.  C'mon, no.
  • Bonnie Johansson.

 Hmmm, it didn't have to be a Dyad crony or Neolutionist in the parking garage.  Bonnie sure has an axe to grind.  I can't think of how she knows Delphine but we can't sell those Proletheans short.  They have quite the network also.


Super Dark Horse.



Scott.  Oh, they wouldn't dare would they?  Then again they did fool us with Gracie.



Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Penny Dreadful - Little Scorpion


"Little Scorpion" sounds like an affectionate nickname.  Unfortunately, affection of any kind was hard to come by in this eponymous episode.

Dark Victory

Vanessa Ives earned a dark victory of sorts when she sought to flee the city and seek solace in the countryside abode that once belonged to the "Cut Wife."


After the events of Dorian's Ball, Vanessa no longer felt safe in London.  She had felt a vibe from Sir Malcolm that was unfamiliar and after she had passed out in a room full of people she realized she couldn't be safe anywhere.

(And to think she had invited Madame Kali to the London townhouse at that very same Ball!)


Sir Malcolm registered his consternation at Vanessa's decision and she countered that she would choose her own prison cell.  I actually sympathized with Sir Malcolm's position but as Dr. Frankenstein put it, it is hard to argue with Miss Ive's intuition.

Ironically, this decision born of fear, actually led to a greater danger for Vanessa.


As viewers, I think we all thought it was a good idea for Ethan to volunteer to go with her.  In the end was it a good idea?  



They did make a pretty cute couple.  Foraging for berries.



Setting rabbit traps.



Even trading childhood war stories.

Eerily, Vanessa's story involved her disdain for dolls.  She recalled looking at them at night, "Waiting for them to come to life."  The Cut Wife said Vanessa was born with her gift.  It seems as a child Vanessa was perspicacious enough to divine the future workings of Madame Kali.  (I loved how Eva Green bugged out her eyes in the above frame to replicate her spooky playthings.)

It's too bad Vanessa's prescience didn't involve the very near future.

Mr. Lyle had told Victor Frankenstein they call the evil that is Lucifer, "Legion" because he is seemingly everywhere.


The hand of Satan seemed to be behind the storm that drove the fiery lightening into the cottage.


It also seemed to guide Ethan and Vanessa into an impassioned embrace.

This is the moment I had been waiting for.  I thought for sure Lucifer wanted our "Scorpion" and "Wolf" to be together so he could absorb them as one.


This is the lesson Sembene had told us at the beginning of the episode when one animal becomes the other when it consumes its prey.  How better for Satan to absorb the Scorpion's sting of love and defeat God after Ethan and Vanessa "consumed" each other with their lovemaking.




Somehow Vanessa stepped back from the abyss.

There was some exposition from Ferdinand Lyle as this scene played out.  It then faded back to the conversation between Lyle and Victor Frankenstein.  He concluded his brief treatise to Victor by telling him the Hound, the Scorpion and the Demon were fated to circle each other.

Did Vanessa sense this and use it to push Ethan away?



If she did, the serenity it gave them didn't last long into the next day.





Their idyll was broken by the pernicious presence of Sir Geoffrey Hawkes.

"Young flesh burns the best."




This meeting served as a trigger point for Vanessa.  Where once was unity now became division.  Ethan and Vanessa got into a heated argument that drove Ethan from the cottage.  His intent, to rid the world of Geoffrey Hawkes.  For her part, Vanessa stormed upstairs and opened the book the Cut Wife warned her would separate her from God.


Therein lies my own consternation at Ethan and Vanessa retreating to the cottage together.

If they hadn't, they wouldn't have fought and the enchantment used against Hawkes wouldn't have come with such great cost.  Was this Lucifer's plan all along?  Or did Vanessa unknowingly play into his hands?


"Now that you are a murderess, you'll never get your soul back."

"Welcome to the night Vanessa."

Oh, Miss Ives what have you done?


That Other Trigger Point





What could possibly go wrong on a date between Lily and Dorian Gray?

While many of the events of the night between Ethan and Vanessa didn't come as a surprise (although no less shocking) the events following Lily and Dorian's tryst were a surprise indeed.

A visit to Putney's house of wax began the descent  for Lily.  She seemed titillated and disarmingly excited.  Everything is so new to her it easy to forget her horrid past.  You'd think such horrors as the wax museum offered would just make a naif such as Lilly giggle with fear.  Yet deep down inside they served to stir latent terrors.



As Lily departed the company of Dorian her cab ride took her past a Pub.  She ordered the handsome to stop and proceeded to sit at the bar.  Most of the men seemed stunned at her presence as a men's bar is no place for a lady.  As Brona, Lily spent quite a bit of time in bars, as back then she was not considered a "lady."

One particular "gentleman" took a keen interest in Lily.



It wasn't long before the house of cards that is Lily's life began to collapse.



Why did Lily turn to murder in her moment of ecstasy?  Certainly the horrors of the wax museum triggered something as did Dorian's presence and the subsequent pub visit.


My guess goes all the way back to season one when Victor cared for Brona as she lay deeply ill.

You may remember Victor actually suffocated Brona while Ethan was away from the room hastening her demise.  It may be her last thoughts were that of murder at the hands of the person that gave her rebirth.  Those last thoughts became imprinted on her soul.

I can't wait till those two meet again.


Odds and Ends


I loved the image of the heroic boyfriend chopping down the tree that gave Vanessa such awful memories.  Well played Ethan.

How do win the hand of a fair maiden?




As we learned from "12 Monkeys" teach her to shoot and let her teach you to dance.

 Much to Ethan's chagrin, Vanessa proved quite adept with firearms.

 As for dancing, Vanessa proved every bit as adept at instruction as Cassie did.



Come to think of it, Frankenstein got a reference in 12 Monkeys.  No wonder I enjoy these shows so much.

Speaking of the good doctor.



Interesting how Victor was paired with the crucifix in Vanessa's room.  We know resurrection is a theme of this show.  Any deeper meaning?  Victor will die for our sins?  (Not likely.)

Vanessa gave Victor her location.  A wise move?  It didn't come into play as of the last episode.  If it does it may lend credence to my theory Caliban will come to Vanessa's rescue.

A parting shot for Sir Geoffrey Hawkes




Didn't he say something about dogs learning to eat from the hand that feeds it?

Wasn't that his hand that went spinning off to the side as his animals gorged themselves?

*Snicker.*