tv-recaps

Riverdale: my new obsession

On the outside it looks like your average teen drama. But after three episodes we are beginning to see the heart shine through the facade. It is with this latest episode ‘Body Double’ that the show begins to break out of the archaic formula that high school dramas have been created by. Although the show began with some cringe worthy teen drama archetypes at least it is self-aware in its stereotypical depiction.

Cheryl’s comments regarding Kevin Keller being the ‘gay best friend’ and Beronica’s ‘faux lesbian’ kiss prove that the writer’s of Riverdale are aware of the stereotypes they are portraying, they are commenting on them as they are being performed. If this is in fact the case then why are they choosing to include these antiquated archetypes?

Let me propose a theory. The writer’s know exactly what they are doing. Presenting the audience with the stereotypical teen tale. One where the pretty girls only kiss to garner attention, a gay character is only a two dimensional punch line, and the ridiculously good looking football star is fought over by two cheerleaders that put their romantic feelings above any friendship. But with each passing episode Riverdale shows more and more how it will be breaking out of these old fashioned norms and putting them in their place.

Episode three forged B and V, a friendship that is stronger than any crush, ‘they walked through the fire and survived’. They are women who will not be pitted against each other, fighting for the attention of a man. But come together in times of need, as strength and support. This episode is filled with strong, intelligent women who have more depth than how they relate to a man. They are more than just objects. Betty and Veronica fight back against the male objectification that has been forced upon them by Chuck and his football goons. Cheryl repeats the sexist adage ‘boys will be boys’ as a way to explain why these young men feel it is acceptable to assign each girl a numeric value and score themselves on their ‘conquests’. But Veronica puts Cheryl in her place and the women of Riverdale High unite against the demeaning way they are being treated by the male populous. Even Cheryl Blossom joins operation #justiceforethel, which is justice for us all. 

Betty explains so eloquently the struggle women today face, “we’re objects for them to abuse. And when they are done with us they shame us into silence”. But no more will these strong, intelligent, beautiful women stay silent. Betty and Veronica enact vengeance for not only Veronica but for the collection of wronged women in Chuck’s playbook.

Not only does this episode discuss sexism and female objectification but it also talks to the patriarchy and struggle of women of colour. Josie breaks it down for Archie explaining that he can’t “write [her] experience” because he can’t possibly understand the struggles she has to face in life, “we have to claw our way into the same rooms you just waltz into.”

Archie is a privileged white male, with so many doors open to him, which he takes for granted. He strolls in to the Pussycat’s rehearsal assuming he is good enough to write music for them. But what he fails to realize is that Josie and the Pussycats are trying to use their music as a way to fight the patriarchy, to empower women to stand up against the gender roles they are forced into everyday, “I don’t care what you want me to be cuz it ain’t for you and it’s all for me.” Live your lives the way you want to live them ladies. Archie has rarely had to deal with this struggle. The closest he has gotten is his father preferring him to play football then write music. So at least he has a small insight into what Josie is trying to explain to him.

With this wonderfully feminist episode I am optimistic that Riverdale will put all of the other outdated stereotypes in the trash where they belong. Hopefully next we will see Kevin break out of the stereotype of gay best friend and actually show us who he is as a person. 

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Hey guys! What the hell about this Wynonna Earp episode! Can you believe what Emily Andras did to us this week. I didn’t see that ending coming, or that Wayhaught development.

American Gods 1x04: There’s Something About Laura

I was looking at this title and thinking it could equally apply to the Twin Peaks regroups I will be doing, but unlike the vague sense of existential angst I feel when watching that show, American Gods brings me nothing but joy. This show continues to improve and surprise with every episode, and this weeks dive into the life and times of Laura Moon was the best outing so far. Last week I talked about how successful this show has been in it’s ability to tell stories that are able to stand on their own, a particularly difficult feat for a show that also boasts an extensive fantasy universe. This episode was the perfect example of the strength of American Gods storytelling. While Laura’s story is another thread in the richer tapestry of the show, this episode also worked on it’s own simply as a story about a woman struggling to find meaning in her life. This episode also marked the first real divergence in terms of faithfulness to the source material as well, and it’s a testament to how well the show has been able to grasp Gaiman’s original vision that this episode felt seamless. The first three episodes have been almost rote in their following of the original novel’s first act and the major events therein. But Laura, although important to the larger plot, is a character that is never really flushed out in a meaningful way in the novel. The show’s choice to spotlight her in an episode highlights one of my favorite things about Bryan Fuller as a show runner which are his efforts to expand/create roles for women and POC (most notably in Hannibal).

In episode four we jump back in time (many years) to follow Laura’s life from the time she first met future husband and protagonist Shadow, to the the surprise reunion with him that ended episode 3. Laura is a complex character, and there are many potential pitfalls in her portrayal. Up until this point all we really know about Laura is via other people’s perceptions of her. To Shadow she was a perfect wife, beautiful and serene. To Audrey (Betty Gilpin), Laura was a cheating whore. We know Shadow loved her, and that she had betrayed that love by having an affair with his best friend Robbie (Dane Cook), an affair that would lead to both adulterers untimely deaths. It would be easy to make Laura a villain, she did after all break the heart of the handsome hero we have spent three prior hours getting to love. Conversely it would be just as easy to make her overly sympathetic, someone to be pitied or condescended to. But to Fuller, Green, and Emily Browning’s credit, Laura falls into neither trap. She is simply an unhappy person who does not ask for or need your deeper understanding. As she tells Anubis, “I lived my life, good and bad, definitely not light as a feather.”

In a story that is about celebrating the power and possibility of belief, Laura is a character who (at least in life) believed in nothing outside of what she could see. She struggled with finding contentment in her life, even when on paper she should have been happy, and she often sought dangerous alternatives in an effort to feel emotional connection. As someone who often struggles with depressive thoughts, Laura’s struggles were all too familiar. Although she loved Shadow, she was not able to pin her happiness on him the way he had on her. No matter her feelings, life was never going to be more than the reality of living.

So being transported to a magical afterlife after her violent death comes as somewhat of a shock to Laura. When the curtain is pulled back revealing that there WAS something more to life all the time, and Laura will still be receiving only the darkness she expected, she can’t help but feel cheated. Luckily Shadow tries to save her from herself one last time and throws Mad Sweeney’s lucky coin into her grave returning her earthly soul back into what’s left of her body. Zombie Laura now perceives Shadow as a bright beacon of light against an otherwise colorless world, and she resolutely sets out to help him in any way she can, now finally able to return the consuming and singular love he felt for her all these years. Who needs true love’s kiss when you can have true love’s Droog massacre. In a revisit to the lynching scene from episode one, we now see it was Zombie Laura who cut down Shadow and dispatched of his attackers in SPECTACULAR fashion. You go zombie girl, you punch out that guys skeleton.

However during all that ass kicking Laura’s arm is torn off (despite her super strength, she is still just a corpse), and she pragmatically attempts to fix it via her friend Audrey’s scrapbooking room. I would like to take this moment to talk about the performances in this episode. American Gods has boasted great acting, but this episode had some standouts and a real MVP. I’ll start by confessing that I have never been a real fan of Emily Browning or Dane Cook. I found the former pretty but bland, and the latter deeply unlikable in every possible way. As meathead adulterer Robbie, Cook exceeded my expectations by playing him with a surprising vulnerability instead as a stereotypical asshole bro. And I will concede with Browning the roles she has played previous as a “pretty girl” often do not hold much in the way of material. But I was also pleasantly surprised by her as well, as discussed earlier Laura is a difficult character and Browning clearly grasps her complexities. She is putting in the work and (theme of American Gods) really going for it, which I always respect. I am looking forward to seeing where she will take Laura, especially as the character sets off into uncharted waters.

That being said the standout performance of this episode was unquestionably Betty Gilpin’s Audrey. Holy shit. Gilpin’s performance of  Audrey, a widow grieving both her best friend and husband while wrestling with their combined betrayal, and then discovering said friend as a zombie in her house… is just beyond. Even though her previously described situation is completely ludicrous, Audrey’s pain remains tangible and serves to ground scenes that could have easily spiraled into lunacy. But even though Gilpin is able to keep Audrey’s sadness and anger central, she is also poignantly funny. I don’t know about y'all but I will be yelling “Get out of my house you zombie whore,” at friends and family for years to come. The scene in Audrey’s bathroom where Laura attempts to reconcile the relationship she may have irreparably destroyed with her best friend, while also passing embalming fluid through every orifice and being, you know, a zombie, is one of the best scenes I have ever seen on television. It is a female friendship that is pitch perfect in terms of complexity, pain and love. It is also a woman dealing with a shitting zombie cheater in her house. To sum up, if this show just turned into an Audrey/Laura road trip that would be a-okay with me.

So Laura is picked up by Ibis and Anubis, or Mr Jacquel and Mr. Ibis if ya nasty, and brought back to their funeral parlor. Ibis is a character we have seen briefly penning the Coming to America sections, and is also an old god by way of Egyptian mythology. You also may have noticed they have a cat ;). The two Egyptian gods patch up Laura properly, although she is still a corpse prone to decomposition and loss of limb, and she sets back out in pursuit of Shadow, the now literal light of her life. We then meet back up with the ending of the previous episode, with Shadow being brought face to face with his undead bride.

What could happen next week!!! I don’t know, but I am DYING to find out. Get it? Zombie joke. What if I’ve been a zombie this whole time? You don’t know I’m not. Okay I haven’t eaten in a while. Love ya.

XO MD

PS. Oh yeah this episode had an original song with Shirley Manson! Like as if it hasn’t rained enough gifts down upon us. You can listen here: “Queen of the Bored”

Bonus gifs:

Bughead: Finale Reactions

When Betty was totally cool with Varchie being a thing (not to mention Jugheads smirk)

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Archie then trying to seemingly bring up to Betty he has feelings for her

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And Betty shutting him down

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Betty refusing to give up on FP…

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….leading to the locker scene after she published the article

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Betty telling Jughead Riverdale is his home and their whole walk in the snow

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Betty standing up to Alice and demanding answers 

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Jughead telling Betty he went to Southside high to protect her

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Jughead talking to FP in jail

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When Jughead showed up for Bettys speech and starting the clap

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When Jughead took off his hat when they got back to the trailer…

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….THEN THEY SAID THEY LOVED EACH OTHER

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Originally posted by thecynicalcrayon

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WHEN JUGHEAD SLAMS BETTY IN THE KITCHEN SIDE/HOT MAKE OUT 

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The knock at the door interrupting them

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The serpents handing Jughead the southside serpent jacket 

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When Jughead actually puts on the Jacket 

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The End. 

Then me realising we have to wait until October for new episodes 

Originally posted by toqaahmed

Episode recap/review 12.22: "Who We Are"

THEN: Once again, we enter the Wayback Machine, and watch Roy and Walt murder our boys (does that mean one or both Winchesters are going to be murdered in this episode?) And some other things, culminating in the bunker being an excellent fortress and/or tomb. Come along, Mary.

NOW: Mary’s killing hunters and I don’t particularly care, except that she gets a text listing her next victims, which includes Jody Mills and suddenly I do care; I care quite a lot.

Title card!

The guys where we left them last week, locked in the bunker. Dean’s throwing switches, Sam’s talking about the garage and air vents, and Toni’s pointing out why every option he suggests won’t work. But she doesn’t know who she’s dealing with, does she? Dean says what we’re all thinking - let’s kill her to save on oxygen. But she says since she’s the one who programmed Mary, so she’s the only one who can deprogram her. Neither brother really believes it, but Sam seems to think they have nothing left to lose by keeping her alive. (Oxygen, Sam. That’s what you have to lose.)

Actually, she’s fairly useful, because knows an awful lot about the bunker. Like the fact that there’s a manual override that would undo everything Ketch did. And it’s outside the bunker. You know, if these guys happened to know anyone who wasn’t actually in the bunker with them, maybe that person could activate the manual override. Huh. Too bad they don’t have phones, and even if they did, they don’t know a single person on the outside. (Seriously. Did Ketch say something about blocking cell phone signals? Is praying to Cas really no longer an option?)

Sam suddenly realizes they have access to all sorts of spells and stuff, and maybe they should try that. And, being Sam, he finds a spell that might work - except it requires the blood of virgins. You’d think the MoL might have some of that in a vault somewhere, but instead, Sam suggests they “fake it” with a purification spell. Won’t be the first time they’ve re-virginized themselves, right? Toni refers to purfiying the blood and then using it in the spell as “two-step magic,” which I guess it is, and she seems maybe a tiny bit impressed. Maybe you’re finally realizing how awesome the Winchesters are, huh? Unfortunately, Ketch installed some kind of magic blocking, so the spell starts to work but then fails.

Day two. Dean says it’s time for brawn, not brains. He points out the one wall in the bunker that’s made of nothing but concrete, and behind it is an old sewer pipe (ew, how old, and does that mean unused?) that leads to the surface. They’re going to “straight up Shawshank this bitch.” In one of my favorite scenes in this entire episode, Dean heaves a sledgehammer at the wall and gets a faceful of concrete chips in return. “Goggles?” says Sam. “Goggles,” agrees Dean. It’s my second favorite scene ever that features Dean and a hammer.

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Nicks silent treatment speaks volumes

Nick giving OfFred the cold shoulder, after her forced tryst in the sex club with The Commander, is an act that is layered with more than just a feeling of jealousy:

-Hopeless as he’s come to realize that his relationship with OfFred, will most likely, never flourish into anything greater than their nightly sexual encounters.

-Helpless as he knows that he can’t save her from the constant suffering, of which, a part of him feels at fault for not being able to do more than just stare from afar and watch things happen.

Lastly I believe (at this moment) he is also trying to detach himself from her emotionally, cold turkey style.…I say this because of the flashback we got of the previous Handmaid who took her own life. The fact that he was crying as they took her away in the stretcher tells us that Nick also built somewhat of a relationship with her and was crushed about the outcome. A moment he does not want to relive again, let alone see it happen to Offred who he’s clearly infatuated with. I guess the intention here is that if he stops all emotional connections with OfFred, it’ll hurt less to see her with The Commander. It’ll hurt less if she decides to kill herself or gets killed. It’ll hurt less if she is somehow banished from the compound. Ultimately he’s building a psychological shield so that he is prepared for whatever evil is to come.

Overall I like Nick. I think he is a well-intentioned guy who’s legitimately fallen for OfFred. I don’t know how well he’s going to serve her in the end but as of now it is apparent that their chemistry is absolutely electric. Even their most minimal displays of affection come across fully sexually charged. Like the moment when he put on her coat & grazed her arms gently, you can see it in his face how much he wanted her at that moment…their heat radiates out of the TV.  

I am shipping them so hard and I hope they’re able to find somewhat of a happy middle ground, at least for OfFreds sake, as she desperately needs someone on her side.

DWTS S24 Week 2 Recap / Review

1. Nancy Kerrigan & Artem Chigventsev -Cha Cha (7+7+7+7=28) Nancy has a really compelling narrative. For her to be so talented, accomplished & beautiful, the fact that she harbors so much insecurity & can’t take a compliment is endearing & heartbreaking all together. Artem is a really good partner for her, I think he’ll keep chipping at that wall she has up all season. This was one of my favorite cha cha’s of the night, I had to re-watch cause I missed it the first time, it had so much recognizable content. She really has amazing footwork, she just needs to step with more confidence & keep her control but she’s so much better than she gives herself credit for.

How cute is it to see Artem so happy about having a good partner. lol

2. Erika Jayne & Gleb Savchenko - Foxtrot (7+7+7+7=28) The dance was good, Ericka has great legs & potential for amazing lines, she’s very aware of her body & very confident which is awesome. The foxtrot could’ve been more graceful was a bit rushed & hectic at times. 

Now.. Here’s my problem with Gleb & his partners as of late, they seem to not grasp the concept of sexiness AND substance, equally mixed. I’m all for liberation, especially for women, I think it’s beautiful when women such as Ericka embrace their sexiness & sensuality so fearlessly. It’s one of the reasons Peta is one of my favorite pro dancers. But based on her package, I fear she doesn’t understand that sexiness being your personality or dance concepts entire driving force will eventually become one note. Being one note on a show like this doesn’t get very far, you have to be a symphony of different notes. In other words, versatile. I hate that she thinks that the criticism of her is that she shouldn’t own that part of her womanhood so much cause it’s not. Women are complex creatures, sexuality is one singe part of who we are, there are only so many weeks, I would like to see at least one or two different aspects to who she is as woman and dancer. What I mean by substance is something more tangible than just, “Oh a cop pulled me over, let me seduce him to get out of a ticket. “ That’s such a fly by night, unmemorable concept. You don’t have to fall in love with the cop & sing Ave Maria but connect to some emotions that make me connect to the human inside of you. Sexiness is not something you do or should seem try hard. It should naturally exude without you telling us. There is real beauty in sex & sensuality that’s deeper than this dance ever tried go. 

This is not meant to be specifically a take-down of Erica she seems like quite a lovely person inside & out, their package & dance just happened to be the catalyst for this rant. If anything a lot my issues on this subject lie with Gleb, I don’t find he has a lot of the ability or willingness to push his partner past the sexy surface. As the pro, I would like to see him try to get his partner out of their comfort zone more often. Of course the celeb is going to want to do what makes them comfortable but maybe guide them down a more diverse journey.

3. Charro & Keo Motsepe - Paso Doble (6+6+7+6=25)  She might be extra as all get out. but I’m living for these two after tonight . If she reigns her energy in, she could really impress. She had great legs & seemingly great stamina, I’m really interested to see how much she can improve in the next few weeks. 

I love how outgoing, confident & naturally exuberant Charro clearly is, it’s definitely not a put on, that’s really her everyday & I can’t even be mad at that. I would like to see her reign it in & show some restraint, because like Erika & Gleb, it can become one note quick.

4. Nick Viall & Peta Murgatroyd - Foxtrot (7+5+7+6=25)

In Nick’s defense that was some challenging choreography, but good on Peta for trying to push him but it was probably too much too soon. You could see it on his face that he wanted to do better than he was doing. He’s really got to relax, he’s more going through the steps than dancing. Hopefully Nick will get more comfortable in the coming weeks.

5.Heather Morris & Maksim Chmerkovskiy (injured) & Alan Bersten (stand in) - Jive (8+6+8+8=30)

Wow, what a difference a week makes. In just 2 weeks Heather has given us two vastly different sides to her. Last week she was appropriately subdued for the VW, this week she came out roaring in her jive mixed with pop / hip hop. Smartly choreographed to her advantage & make her shine, if not with the judges, with the fans, again smart. Her jive was pretty solid to me, obviously her hip hop was pretty much perfect, she channeled her inner Beyonce. I do agree with Bruno that she was clearly more comfortable & confident in the hip- hop. She needs to bring that spark & attack to the ballroom / latin dances as well. 

6. Bonner Bolton & Sharna Burgess - Viennese Waltz (8+6+8+7=29) Ughh, I hate to be this person but I just don’t connect with Bonner. Something about him feels inauthentic. I don’t see all this “chemistry” between him & Sharna. I sense he likes her, likes her, & she’s just really good at her job. Back to the dancing, it was an ok effort, beautifully choreographed, but his posture wasn’t great & footwork sometimes messy. Those 8′s are some bulllll. 

7. Simone Biles & Sasha Farber - Cha Cha (7+7+7+8=29) This girl is tight, really find myself watching for mistakes more than anything. This was in no way as poor as the 7′s suggest. I didn’t really see the timing issues Carrie Ann saw. My criticism of Simone would be, she’s very robotic when she dances, it’s definitely an Olympic gymnast trait (Shawn, Aly, Nastia), almost devoid of emotion, I really want to see her in a rumba or VW & see if she can show some range in her emotions. The 7′s were insane, considering Bonner got 8′s, showed how over scored he was. He should’ve got 7′s & Simone 8′s. 

8. Chris Kattan & Witney Carson - Jive (6+5+6+5=22) Some celebs it’s not about the dancing so much as the journey & overall experience. This season for me as viewer that’ Chris. We know he won’t be the best dancer of the season, he knows, the judges know, but that doesn’t he don’t want to see him be the best dancer he can be considering his physical impairment. 

9. Normani Kordei & Val Chmerkovskiy - Cha Cha (8+8+8+8=32)

Best performance of the night at this point. She really killed it, face, hair, legs, technique all while traveling across the world each week. This girl is special, I’ve never cared much about Fifth Harmony but this girl is going places all her own. Heather needs to do what Normani does, which is turn it on for every dance, let her confidence lead her even if she’s truly unsure. Great job by Val with the choreography & teaching with such an unprecedented traveling schedule.  

10. Rashad Jennings & Emma Slater - Viennese Waltz (8+8+8+8=32) There is a quiet storm brewing with this couple, they are seriously ones to watch. I could see them snatching the trophy if they stay consistent. Between Simone, Normani & Rashad, I can’t think of a better finale. Rashad has the substance I want Erika to find & the sincerity I don’t get from Bonner. He can dance, he’s good looking to boot & he’s seems incredibly genuine. The judges were right when they say that he leads Emma & takes control of her the way a man should in the dance. For Week 2 that’s really remarkable for a male celeb. There’s a quiet confidence in him that’s really attractive, he dances with confidence but he doesn’t overdo it, he reallu delicate with Emma. These two are really special to watch.

11. Mr. T & Kym Herjavec - Paso Doble (6+5+6+5=22) I hate “judging” dancers like Mr. T, cause personally I love his story but dance wise it’s not the best. You can definitely see that he is working hard on improving the steps & timing, which was so much better than Week 1. I agree with Carrie Ann that the punching can stop now, explore so more range of motion but I think Kym is doing a good job with not overloading him with steps he can’t possibly keep up with.

12. David Ross & Lindsay Arnold - Cha Cha (7+6+7+7=27) David is pretty fly for a white guy. I love his spunk & approach to this show & dances. This week was not an improvement to his Quickstep, which was pretty good. But I like that Chris is willing to get loose & have some fun, hopefully we get to see a more polished side of him next week. 

ELMINATION

In Jeopardy

Chris & Witney -   Eliminated - Damn, I love Chris, his bravery & willingness to try something new & so physically vulnerable like this. God bless him.

Charro & Keo

Adventure Time - S8Ep24: “Abstract”

“Different, yet the same.”

Although many find it pretentious, I am actual quite a fan of modern art. Anything that challenges preconceived notions is definitely something I can get into, and a lot of modern artists love to challenge artistic standards and defy any notion of something being “objectively good”. 

This, as you may have guessed, is one of the reasons I adore Adventure Time. While it still adheres to children’s cartoon standards (mostly to try and stay on the air), it isn’t afraid to explore heavy subjects, and it has changed the role of children’s television from eye candy to something that could actually lead to thoughtful discussion and self-discovery.

“Abstract” is self-referential in a way. It explores the meaning of abstract and/or modern art, while being in itself a piece of abstract art, especially during Jake’s dream sequence. 

Art is an expression of the artist, and when the artist goes through changes, so does their work. While Finn has always been one to just go with the flow, Jake is afraid of these kind of changes. Firstly, he is frustrated that he not only has started to change appearance, but has started to gain some strange powers. He insists that he’s the “same ol’ Jake” even after sprouting bat wings and somehow reading the emotions of a piece of toast, causing people to act strangely around him. Secondly, he is upset about Jermaine’s change in painting style. Jermaine used to only paint realistic landscapes but now he has changed to abstraction, and Jake is convinced something is wrong.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with Jermaine. He just sees things differently now. Jake just isn’t ready to accept that change can be a natural, positive thing. “Deep down, I’m not different. And you’re not different either, right? You’ll go back to painting landscapes”, he pleads to his brother while holding back tears. After Jermaine explains that his paintings are still him and no one forced him to do any of this, Jake finally takes a breath and tries to truly appreciate his brothers work, leading to a powerful internal monologue.

“The shapes are always changing. Changing is their normal state. Like us. Even if we’re not changing on the outside, we’re changing on the inside constantly. There’s some stuff about me that I’ve been ignoring for a long time. I’m afraid of that stuff. But it’s part of who I am. As long as I know the shape of my soul, I’ll be alright.”

(Quick reminder that that monologue is from a so-called “kid’s show”) I’m not sure what exactly the internal changes he’s referring to are, but this is nonetheless an important moment for Jake. It took him a physical change to realize that he needed to accept the changes on the inside, and now that he has, I have a feeling we’ll be seeing a happier, more fulfilled Jake. One that’s different, but still the same ol’ Jake.


- A new episode every day this week? Cartoon Network you spoil us.

- I did some research, and the weird blue Jake with five eyes is his technically his “true form” since he is a shape-shifter, which I think makes the message here even more powerful.

- Gotta love a cameo from Dirt Beer Guy!

- Adventure Time dream sequences are always a treat. I love how Jake’s dream world is very taco-centric

- Performance of the week goes to Tom Sharpling for his always warm and thoughtful Jermaine.

- “Getting ground into flour and the made into bread really did a number on this wheat’s sense of self.”

- “Look at this! I can almost walk the dog!”

- “You look nothing like Jake, but I believe you.”

- “Oh I totally don’t understand anything.”

Shadowhunters S2E6 recap

I know I skipped the last like four episodes but who cares…. I have no idea of what this is… sorry in advance lol 

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RECAP 2X06 SHADOWHUNTERS (CAZADORES DE SOMBRAS)

Episode Recap/Review 12.21: "There's Something About Mary" (with bonus episode tag!)

THEN: Kill the hunters. Lucifetus. Mary and Ketch.

NOW: Can we just pretend this didn’t happen? Please?

{sigh}

Okay. A woman is running through a forest. It’s Eileen Leahy. She’s killed by a hellhound, who is under Ketch’s control. Now let’s get drunk and never think about it again.

I mean, seriously, goddammit.

I refused to believe it at first. Because the hellhound didn’t rip her apart; it just shook her and tossed her around. I told myself she was just unconscious, that Ketch was simply using the hellhound to catch her, and that she’d be held captive in the BMoL compound as bait for the Winchesters or something. (Why would Ketch use a hellhound to capture her? I don’t know. Why would he use one to kill her? Either is ridiculous.)

Farewell Eileen, you beautiful little badass. You deserved better.

Title card!

Sam and Dean enter a hotel room, looking for Mary. Sam is perfectly fine, which means that weirdness at the end of the previous episode, with Dean not being able to wake him in the car, was nothing. Thanks a lot, Show.

Seriously, goddammit.

(Sidebar: I started watching the show with half a glass of wine. At this point I got up and poured myself a full glass.)

Carrying on. All of Mary’s stuff is gone and she apparently hasn’t been there for a while. Sam suggests contacting the BMoL, since she’s been staying there as well, but Dean says Mick hasn’t answered a single call since they “sent him to London.” (Which I kind of like as a euphemism for violently murdered him.) He calls Ketch, who pretends not to know who he is (apparently asking “Dean who?”) and then claims to have not seen Mary in over a week. The guys know this is a lie, since Mary called two days ago and said she was on a case with him.

Sam’s phone interrupts this conversation. It’s Jody, calling with the news about Eileen being sent to London. Sam holds it together, but when he describes what happened to Eileen (“mauled by a wild animal in an area that doesn’t have animals that do that”) his voice gets a little shaky and then he turns away and puts his hand over his mouth and damn you, Jared. You got me. Her death is distressing not only because it’s Eileen, but because it’s the second hunter they’ve heard about in the last two weeks. (Honestly? Hunting’s a dangerous job. Two hunters in two weeks doesn’t seem that far off the mark.) Dean agrees with me and says that two hunters doesn’t mean a pattern. “But three would,” Sam points out. “Mom is a hunter, and no one knows where she is.” Duh duh duuuuuhhhh!!!

Sad boys! Worried boys!

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Week Nine: The End of a “Love Story”

Rachel: “I have never felt like this about three guys at the same damn time.” 

They literally say this shit every season. There is a reason you haven’t felt like this about three people at the same time… It’s because this isn’t real life! 

Yay! Now we find out we get to watch this emotional train wreck with one who caused it all. “Rachel, come on out.” 

Rachel: “Like, IDK if Peter is ready to leave the bf/gf stage… and it’s been like 2 weeks. WTF is he waiting for?!”

Rachel’s fake eyelashes are about to bitch slap the shit out of this dude right now if he continues to “fight his feelings”. *Reaches for room key* - Peter doesn’t seem to be fighting not to go to the boom boom room… Don’t worry girl the fantasy suite cures all insecurities. 

Peter: “Waking up this morning some of my doubts are gone. She really ‘opened up’ and showed me how much she ‘cared’”

Boy got some! 

BRYAN

Bryan: “Which horse do you want?”
Rachel: “The brown one, it matches me.”

OoOoO racial ice breakers, she finally told Bry Bry she’s black. 

Bryan felt like Rach wasn’t there during the start of his date, and you KNOW he is thinking about how Peter dropped that good D on her the night before. 

Bry guy breaks out his leather jacket for the night portion of the date, pulling out the old “Bad Boy” look to make up for the lack luster performance during the day… Well played. 

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Damn! If quality of the suites indicate who Rachel likes more, Bryan just won. Peter just slayed in a mud hut and Bryan laid down pipe in a palace. 

ROSE CEREMONY

Do we NEED to go through this… Have a producer tell Eric to pack his shit and go. 

Formalities are formalities… Let’s make these guys sweat it out. 

Eric is out. Peter gets the stuffy, white boy handshake and Bryan gets dapped up like they true boys. 

Peter: “When she said someone who is ready for a proposal, she looked me dead in the eyes. Why am I not there?” - Cause every normal human wouldn’t be either. 

FINAL TWO

Bryan - coming right back flashing the leather, bro knows that shit worked and is sticking to his guns. 

A hot air balloon over vineyards… This place is really limited on activities huh? 

Bryan gives Rachel a really special gift, actually it is just a shitty spanish-english dictionary with a cheat sheet; esposa, amor, azul, bibioteca… You know all the favorites. 

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Peter - feeling insecure about his standing with Rachel going into this final date didn’t get better when she decides to take you to a church to get a boring ass tour. 

Rachel sits Pete in front of a priest who preaches the importance of marriage, homegirl cannot be less subtle at this point, beating this dude in the head with this idea of getting married. 

Peter: “I can definitely see football games, baseball games, farmers markets and wine/painting nights.” - Wow Peter just summed up marriage in four events. 

This dude has no clue what he wants, and if he is already saying the words “multiple marriages” - you are not it… Eric watching at home like “BIIIIIITTTTCCCHHHHH”

Rachel: “OMG we are matching” - Yes both in grey, bringing out all the colors of love. 

Peter: “I am NOT READY TO MARRY YOU.” 
Rachel: “I am so confused.” - girl do you need to take out Bryan’s spanish-english dictionary. It ain’t going to get much clearer. 

This argument is got America throwing shit at the TV. Peter is not earning a Bachelor spot while he is making enemies with every woman in the country. “I will make a sacrifice and propose to you if that’s what you want.” - Every girl’s dream. 

Peter can leave Rachel, but please say he is going back for that cheesecake! 

And then there was one. 

“In the most anti-climatic finale in bachelorette history” (Chris Harrison voice)

This audio guy must be shitting a brick with the amount of wind that is crushing his sound quality. 

Bryan: “I am totally in love with you and I hope you feel the same.” 
Rachel: “Funny thing is… I actually don’t have any more dudes. So looks like you’re my forever.” 

Game over. Bryan wins (by default). 

No matter how many people you add, this show still comes down to the balance of Oliver, Diggle, and Felicity. Oliver is driven to do good by any means necessary and he needs Diggle and Felicity to keep him from becoming as bad as the criminals he hunts. Diggle needs Oliver and Felicity to check the rage that made him kill his brother. Felicity needs Diggle and Oliver to keep from backsliding into the anarchist hacker she once was. Diggle saying, “You, me, Felicity — we make each other better,” is basically the writers pointing out what the show needs to be its best.
Better Call Saul - S3Ep10: “Lantern”

“I’m not good at building shit. I’m excellent at tearing it down”

There’s a question I often ponder when I start feeling nostalgic or am reminded of the past: Is it okay to have regrets? Obviously, the feeling of regret isn’t a nice one to have, but that feeling can help persuade you to make things right. On the other hand, living without regrets would probably lead to a more fulfilling life. I’ve always thought that if you learn something from it, it’s not a regret.

On this weeks episode, Jimmy finally decides to do something right just to have his own brother tell him that he’s a fundamentally bad person and will always hurt people, and instead of trying to make amends after the fact, he should just embrace it and live with no regrets.

That’s right, Jimmy might have finally started hitting the straight path if it hadn’t been for Chuck’s pep talk. He helped Irene get her friends back (albeit by making them all hate him instead. I guess a common enemy is a good way to bond) and he decided to kinda sorta apologize to Chuck about his behavior lately. But now that he’s finally deciding to do something right, Chuck let’s his true feelings about Jimmy show. “Jimmy, this is what you do. You hurt people. Over and over and over.” And the finishing blow, “I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but the truth is, you’ve never mattered all that much to me.” Jimmy looks genuinely hurt in this scene, but Bob Odenkirks nuanced performance gives it that subtle hint of knowing deep down that Chuck really is right.

I mean, we’ve all seen Breaking Bad. Saul Goodman is not a character that Jimmy turns into, he’s the person Jimmy truly is and secretly wants to be, he just needs to starting learning to care less about regrets and care more about money, regardless of who you hurt. He’s no Atticus Finch, that’s for sure.

So yes, Jimmy McGill is a bad person, but he has one weakness: Kim. His brother hates him, he has no more elderly clients to worship the ground he walks on, so the only one left who truly cares is Kim, and her near-death experience is the one thing that momentarily gets him to step away from Slippin’ Jimmy for a while. Kim truly is the difference between Jimmy and Saul, and I hope she’ll stick around for a while longer to keep him in check. I mean, at the end of this episode, it seems like she’s doing great. She is finally taking some time off to relax with some Blockbuster-rented movies and all the food her clients gave her after the accident. Hooray for Kim! Here’s to surviving another season.

Things aren’t quite as hopeful, however, for our good friend Nacho. His plan for Hector seems to have worked (Why didn’t it work last time?), but all it took was a quick look from Gus to make me think Nacho may be disposed of sooner rather than later. 

Okay, everything else is out of the way, and now we can talk about one of the most gut wrenching sequences this show has ever done. I know I said that about the car crash, but this one really takes the cake. Everything just comes together perfectly. The two previous scenes where he destroys his relationship with both Howard and Jimmy result in Chuck, frankly, completely losing his shit. Just when we thought he was truly getting better, everything comes crashing down and we have to sit through a grueling 6 minutes of Chuck slowly tearing his house apart. It starts with lightbulbs, and ends with him tearing holes in the walls to find that one wire that is still pumping electricity through the house. If it wasn’t obvious already that Chuck has mental issues and his “condition” is completely in his head, the show makes sure it’s obvious now. He has no more regrets, no more friends, no more family to care for him and, most importantly, no one to get the high ground on. There’s simply nothing left for him to do.

His final moment of solace consists of him sitting in that old space blanket, methodically kicking the table over and over until the lantern he and Jimmy used to read under as kids falls off the table and takes Chuck out of his misery. All of this is backed by Dave Porters excellent score that is the perfect mixture of both somber and frantic, as well as some amazing camera work (Shout out to DP Marshall Adams) and lighting. Of course Micheal McKeans performance is a complete powerhouse as well. It was about as perfect a scene as you can get when it comes to television dramas, and it would rival even the best moments of Breaking Bad. 

At this rate, Season 4 is gonna be one for the history books. This show has constantly outdone itself and remained as excellently written, performed, and crafted as its predecessor. Breaking Bad went from dark comedy to just straight drama in its later seasons, and it appears Better Call Saul is doing the same thing, which I am very excited about. The show has made me incredibly invested in every single character on the show, and I seriously cannot wait to see where the next season takes them. What a fuckin’ show.


Shot of the week - Really loved how the board room scene was shot. The initial cut from Howard to Chuck and the slow crawl down the table. Really gave Howard a sense of power and showed the emotional distance between the two of them. The scene after with Chuck leaving to a sea of applauding co workers is also quite excellently shot.

Quote of the week - Kim: “You’re not feeding me Jimmy. There are lines we do not cross.” I also loved seeing Jimmy’s internal conflict about it beforehand..

Performance of the week - Micheal. Fucking. McKean. He stole every single shot he was in. Emmy board, take note please.

Extra notes: 

- I really like the set design of the HHM board room. I want those lamps. Shout out to the set decorator Allison Pharmakis! 

- I’ve looked and I cannot find who does the damn lighting for this show. Does anyone know because it’s awesome, especially any shots in Chucks house when the lights are off and all we get is the sun coming through the window..

- Chuck’s journal lists anytime he’s felt any pain from his condition. The last 3 times were listed as “ambient”, and the latest incidents’s pain level went from “average” to “irritated”, so I guess that outburst was building up over the last 48 hours.

- Bye Francesca! I’m sad this is probably gonna be the last time we see her until she turns into Breaking Bad Francesca, who may as well be a completely different character.

- Ever have one of those moments where a show literally makes you exclaim “Oh my God!” out loud? The fire at the end was one of those moments.

- “If the only thing standing between me and million bucks is some old lady’s tears, than I suggest investing in Kleenex”

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Well I cried. This was such a great ending to a wonderful show. Jeremi and I had to sing it out at the end of our recap.

American Gods 1x05: Something to Believe In

After last week’s dive into the life and times of Laura Moon, this week’s American Gods returned to business as usual. Well as usual as things get on this show. This week once again begins with a Coming to America (easily one of my fav parts of the show) this time journeying back thousands of years to the Siberian Land Bridge migration. Rendered in striking animation the story follows a leader/priestess Atsula as she guides her people across the barren ice towards (hopefully) a better life. Nunyunnini, the tribes god represented by a mammoth skull, tells Atsula what she must do to secure her people’s future, although it comes at a terrible price for both. Atsula sacrifices herself to the buffalo god (who looked very much like our friend the flaming eyed white buffalo) of the tribe occupying the land that will one day be called America. While the children of Atsula’s tribe will live on, the memory of Nunyunnini is forgotten and the god dies. Besides stunning visuals, this scene also offered some interesting thematic tie ins for the series as a whole. We have been introduced to many gods, both new and old, whose primary concern seems to be garnering power by any means necessary. Although they are obsessed with worship and gaining adoration, it’s a one way street. None of the deities we have met in the present would likely make the sacrifice made by Nunyunnini, and it draws their motives into sharper relief. We know now that Mr. Wednesday is amassing an army of old gods to “take on” the new gods, but to what end? Ensured survival? Additional worship? Could it actually be to save the hearts and minds of people corrupted by modern trappings such as media and technology? We’ll get to more of this later on.

Moving on we see Shadow open the door to his dead wife for the third time now, except this time we finally get to move forward. After her brush with death, Laura’s capacity for belief has widened considerably. In her second chance at life Laura is finally able to understand Shadow’s love and belief in her, and she is desperate to return to the (literal) light of his love. But while dying may have given Laura a new outlook, it didn’t make her a saint. And while she is finally able to embrace her love for Shadow, Laura Moon is still kind of an asshole. While Shadow struggles with the emotional ramifications of being reunited with his cheating (dead) wife, Laura wants nothing more than to cut to the happy ending.

 Glossing over the emotional pain both her departure and return have caused, Laura attempts to manipulate Shadow into returning to his former role as her ‘puppy’. But just as Laura is not the woman she was, Shadow too has been changed by recent experiences. While Laura is finally learning what it means to believe in something, Shadow is coming to terms with the end of the relationship that was the center of his own beliefs. However the belief Shadow had in Laura has left a very convenient void, ready to be filled with belief in something (or someone) else. It is interesting to note as well that Mr. Wednesday is so eager to get Shadow away from the person who used to fill that void…

Speaking of Shadow and Wednesday, the two of them are arrested and carted off to the local jail for their bank scam. Brought back to the station and questioned, Mr. Wednesday drops probably the most direct story exposition we have gotten thus far. Yes he is recruiting, yes he is trying to get the scariest gods, yes Nancy is still in the mix (we have yet to see him thus far outside of his Coming to America).Yes a bit of a cheap device, but also very much welcome in a show that hasn’t stated a lot flat out. Meanwhile an always astute Tracie Thoms correctly surmises that there is something or someone much bigger and scarier after Wednesday and Shadow than they are capable of dealing with on their own. She is right, but the victory is short lived as that someone/something shows up and kills everyone with sentient wood (!?!?!?!). Sidebar but I am dying to know more about the eye in the killer wood. I feel like if wood was a god it would be an old god, yet this wood seems to be doing the bidding of new god leader Mr. World. Every frame brings new mystery here on American Gods.

Moving on from the wood (make up your own pun, I am lazy), Shadow and Wednesday are met with every new god we have met thus far. After playing an image conscious David Bowie earlier in the episode, Gillian Anderson stuns once again as a haunting Marilyn Monroe. Anderson’s portrayal of these pop culture icons is not only exact but also deeply (and delightfully) unnerving. While her impressions of the famous figures are well crafted, the underlying menace she brings to these media darlings we think we know is nothing short of brilliant. I would also love to see Media inhabit perhaps some more abstract representations of popular media, or Agent Scully. Omg can you imagine? I’m imagining right now.

Anywho Marlyn proceeds to introduce Mr. World, the new god of globalization. And just like the mega-corporations with international control who worship at his alter, Mr. World is terrifying. A well deployed Crispin Glover is always equal parts wonderful and soul chilling, and this his use here is just about as good as it gets with his ability to seem not quite human put to perfect use. While “I Love Lucy” was sent to woo Shadow, Mr. World has come with a pitch for Wednesday himself, and what a pitch it is. In an eerily timely sequence Mr. World offers Wednesday his name on the side of a missile guidance satellite over North Korea as a way to give Wednesday the worship he needs to survive via the fear and destruction the missiles launched by that satellite would bring to the populace below. Mr. World also confirms that Wednesday is in fact the god Odin (there have been many clues but never stated outright) and as we learned from the very first Coming to America, Odin accepts worship payment in blood and violence.

Beyond giving definitive answers to some of the plot, the series is now also tightening it’s grasp on it’s theme of the power and meaning of believe. The North Korea sequence particularly was a reminder of the thrall that storytelling and belief can hold, and what the consequences of that belief might be. We need look no further than America’s current political situation and the deep rooted belief many people have that the way they perceive and understand things are the way things are (truth or lack thereof notwithstanding). 

Finally, Bruce Langley, the last of the trio of new gods,  also continues to be deliciously annoying and his half-assed apology for lynching Shadow couldn’t have been better written by Twitter itself. Despite the fact that Tech Boy has the wisdom and patience of a standard comments section, he is right in pointing out that Mr. World has time and time again passed up the opportunity to vanquish his foe. Like so many before him, Mr World is a villain who when confronted with his prey decides to monologue instead of taking final action. It is clear there is something more to Mr. World’s plan than simply ending Mr. Wednesday and his uprising, but what that is remains to be seen. Mr. World also describes Wednesday as an individualist, a mistake in his eyes in a world where true power is achieved through corporations and branding. America itself faces a similar battle, the country has long prided itself on it’s spirit of individualism especially in the pursuit of the “American Dream”. However as that dream becomes harder and harder to achieve America is facing an identity crisis, are we Mr. Wednesday or Mr, World?  Wednesday also notes that he is getting bigger every year, which in some ways is true. In our time with Wednesday his powers have grown bit by bit, from pulling off basic cons, to now commanding animals, it seems as if Wednesday really is on the up, branding or no, 

But although this episode was forthcoming with many elements about what has been going on, there are still plenty of question marks left on the table. As the series goes on it becomes tighter and more concise, the narrative threads more clear, the over arching themes more tangible. The best and worst thing about American Gods is every episode introduces more and more dynamic performances, fascinating plots, and mind blowing aesthetic. It is negative only in the sense it leaves me wanting so much more, we are introduced to characters and then must fiercely miss them (Bilquis, Nancy, Audrey, Low-Key, to name a few). It is effective though because at the end of every episode I am wanting more, and more, and more.

Next week: More.

XO MD

PS How much fun is Laura/Mad Sweeney chemistry? As Bryan Fuller said in the after show clip, it is extremely satisfying to watch a dick be a dick to another dick. I love that Laura continues to be written the way most male character’ on TV are written. She is selfish, and entitled, and depressed, and in love, and sometimes she sucks, and sometimes she tells other dicks where to shove it. Surprise, she’s a person (just a little bit more dead).

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The first video of my new series “Fandoms Really Fast” is Supernatural season 1 in 5 minutes (of course it’s animated).

Obsessed Supernatural fangirl? Total noob to the fandom? This has been drawn and animated with both in mind. :D

Now, I had a lot of fun with the video, but I’m still playing around with the format because animating this took FOREVER. In the future, I might just make the summary into a speed drawing/animated hybrid. I’m still unsure.

I’m also looking into doing this with a multitude of fandom types. So let me know what fandoms you’d like me to draw/animate/recap :D

Watch This Show: LEGION

I think it is more than fair to say that we have reached peak superhero. The number of hours I have spent in the Marvel Cinematic, and Marvel Extended, and Marvel Television Universes makes me feel obligated to not miss an offering, lest all those previous hours spent been in vain. Netflix alone has overwhelmed my tv time with a seemingly endless parade of superhero shows (Jessica Jones is the best, I can skip Iron Fist right?). I refuse to engage with the DC universe because life is simply too short.  Ironic that it is FX, the network of John Landgraf (forewarner of ‘peak tv’) has opted to throw out another offering from the world of Marvel.

Full disclosure, I have not read any of the X-Men comics and my experience with the characters has purely been through the movies and a childhood friend who dressed as Wolverine for 6 Halloweens in a row. That being said, the X-Men have always been my favorites in the superhero world. While the X-Men themselves may fight for good, mutants in general are not inherently heroes (or villains). They are not super soldiers, or vigilante billionaires, but rather just people who were born differently and have to deal in a society that is consistently suspicious of those who are different (hmmm feels familiar…almost like…..a parable…or something…). The best parts of the movies for me were never the blockbuster action sequences, but rather the mutant characters who were living their lives as teachers, line cooks or petty criminals. The potential mundanity of a mutant’s life sparked my (and I’m sure countless others) imagination: what would it be like to have mutant powers? What would they be? How would I live my life with them? In case you were wondering, my power would be to kill people with my mind. It would cause a lot of problems for me.

Legion captures that imaginative spark perfectly with the outsider narrative of David Haller (played by my nemesis Dan Stevens), a young man who believes his telepathic powers are really a schizophrenic mental illness. Even his sneaking suspicions about his own abilities feel intertwined with a potential psychosis, leaving the audience, like Haller, unsure of what to believe. Yes, I know I could easily google what the extent of this character’s powers are, but seeing them uncovered is infinitely more delightful. Instead of surrendering fully to the hero narrative we share Haller’s doubts and hopes regarding the increasingly surreal situations in which he finds himself. He is not an untouchable god or immortal alien, and while he may be a mutant he still suffers from the fallibility of his humanity.  

Most superhero movies, despite the presence of a different white male lead (I said it), are intensely formulaic. Even Deadpool, the R-rated black sheep superhero movie, still followed the standard formula pretty faithfully. And while these movies are on a whole enjoyable, the Marvel films have begun to feel more like a Mad Libs fill in the blank rather than films with individual vision.

Legion, however, has taken that Mad Libs booklet, set it on fire, and scattered the ashes to the wind. Legion is superhero story that feels 100% original, it is able to stand alone on the strength of its artistic merit and would be just as good without the Marvel and X-Men labels on the tin.

To start with Legion looks INSANE. With Fargo, Noah Hawley showed us he could channel the unique style of the Coen brothers, but he is a far from a one trick pony. Imagine that Stanley Kubrick and David Lynch decided to raise a child together, and that child grew up to be Wes Anderson, and then armed with his father’s directorial ambition and passion for the color red, he directed Legion. That’s what Legion looks like. Haller inhabits a world of earth tones punctuated with fire alarm reds and sickly greens, Zissou crew members scurry around the foreground while ominous figures lurk in the shadows. It is a world of menace, imagination, and overwhelming beauty. It feels like Twin Peaks on LSD, like the Royal Tenenbaums trapped in  A Clockwork Orange. It is sublime.

Even though I will never forgive him (he knows what he did), Dan Stevens is magnetic as the titular character, and even his sometimes odd American accent lends to the delicious oddness of Haller. Now get away from me forever Dan Stevens. Rachel Keller (who is only 24!!! Don’t talk to me.) Is as radiant here as she was in season 2 of Fargo. Her sweet but doomed romance with Haller is the anchor in a world that is constantly tilting on its axis. Rounding out the pilot cast is Jean Smart (legend), Aubrey Plaza (possibly, actually, a mutant) and Hamish Linklater who I love in everything. I just love that guy! Don’t you??? He’s always good (do I have a crush on Hamish Linklater? Help).

Most importantly, Legion is FUN. It is not bogged down in self importance or the dreadful moral hemming and hawing that plagues so many comic book outings. For chrissakes, it has a Bollywood dance break that is as emotionally resonant as it is playfully irreverent.  Legion is a show that is both a visual existential escape while being inescapably tethered to our present reality through its allegorical content. It is the show that we need even though we may barely deserve it’s staggering beauty and sublime weirdness.  I will not be recapping Legion, because (a) I don’t want to sully my enjoyment of this fine television program with my opinions and (b) I am already covering a lot when no one pays me to write (yet..?). But you have all been put on notice to watch this gem.

Five out of five, ten out of ten, hearts, stars and horseshoes.

XO MD

PS. FX you can pay me in cash or check. I also accept Venmo.