Dead of Summer: How to Stay Alive in the Woods – Finally (Review) Spoilers

TONY TODD

After last week’s focus on  Drew and his issues, Dead of Summer finally stops pussy-footing around and  delivers more Holyoke.  “How to Stay Alive in the Woods” also focusses on another counselor, Joel. It turns out that the next Spike Lee has known about  the Tall Man for quite a while.

Joel’s big brother Michael was haunted by the dead spiritualist and kills himself the night of his prom. Before slashing his wrists and writing “He will never leave me alone” Mike gives his dodger shirt to Joel. This is the shirt he has been wearing at Camp Stillwater.

In this episode Joel’s past dealings with Holyoke is shown in detail. The ghost of Camp Stillwater haunted him on the night of his prom as well.

The campers and counselors all head out for a camp out  in a meadow. Roasted marshmallows and watching the blood moon are on the agenda.  Cricket warns the children and her colleagues to be careful in the woods.

There are, she says, bear traps everywhere.  Later, while she and Alex are collecting wood for the campfires, he almost steps on one.  Cricket warns him to be careful and to watch where he is walking. Considering what happens later this scene reeks of irony.

Holyoke appears to Joel and tells him to kill Amy or “someone else will die.” At one point it looks like an asthmatic little girl will be the  spirit’s victim. Apart from Joel seeing the Tall Man, he seems to have issues with hallucinations or vision that do not deal with the dead.

Last week, Joel and Deb meet in the woods and had sex.  Joel now feels that he and Deb have made a connection. When he tries to  act on his feelings, Carpenter rebuffs Joel.  He hesitantly asks about the night before and Deb reveals that all they did was walk in the woods.

Apparently, the young man imagined the entire thing.

ELIZABETH LAIL
ELIZABETH LAIL

Joel uses his camera to show him what is real. Almost every time that the ghost appears he uses the device to filter out Holyoke. Although the last time he tried to cancel the spirit out, it failed. Joel can see the Tall Man on his camera and the ghost reminds the young man that he needs to kill Amy.

The camp cameraman sees other  things as well.  He sees Amy with her eyes coming unfocussed as blood streams down her face.  In an earlier episode he saw Deb standing at her window in her bra. He thought, at the time, she was flirting with him. When he reviews the taped event he sees that this was not true.

Joel confesses to his fellow counselors that he is being haunted by the Tall Man.
They are concerned that about their friend who reveals that the ghost is telling him to kill Amy.  Joel talks about his brother as well. As he recounts his long history with Holyoke, Anton (Allan Fisher) arrives.

The Russian lad reports that Holyoke has told him that it is too late to kill Amy. He says that someone else will now die instead of her.

Cricket is still infatuated with Alex and later she goes to meet him in the woods.  Alex has apparently turned over a new leaf. He asks Blair what Cricket’s favorite song is and he takes a flower along for his date.

As she closes in on Alex for their romantic interlude, she spies a bear trap. Cricket changes course and is met by a masked figure who gives her a shove. The girl flies through the air and her head lands dead center on the trap.

Cricket’s head is skewered by the the teeth of the device.

ELI GOREE
ELI GOREE

“How to Stay Alive in the Woods” picked up the pace and trotted out some pretty impressively  creepy bits.  More is revealed about the Tall Man’s backstory and it appears that Garrett Sykes also has  previous history with Holyoke.

The shock end to Cricket was done very well as was the brief scare when the masked figure  suddenly appeared to shove her onto the trap.  Kudos for the pretty decent jump scare at the old house as well.

At long last Tony Todd’s character has been allowed to speak.  This combined with the increased sightings and interactions with Joel have pumped this show up.  Todd gives great bad guy, he alway has, and his  presence was needed  to increase the fear factor.

Mad props to Elizabeth Lail and her “unfocussed” eyes during Joel’s vision. Super creepy and disturbing, her slight eye crossing along with that dazed, “I’m dying” look was spot on.

This episode was not only scarier, it was a tad grim. With one suicide, Joel’s brother, and then later Joel almost slitting his wrist as well, made for  serious viewing. It was heart breaking when Joel learns that his camera can lie after all.

(On a sidenote, the program makers warn that the show deals with suicide at the start.)

ELI GOREE, AMBER CONEY, ELIZABETH LAIL
ELI GOREE, AMBER CONEY, ELIZABETH LAIL

Cricket’s death brings the Tall Man’s victim count up to two counselors. He is also getting very pushy with his demands to kill Amy.  It was sad to see Cricket go, but honestly, she was marked for death last week.

Dead of Summer airs Tuesdays on Freeform.  Head on over and watch this one, it is picking up, as is the body count, and is worth a look, if for no other reason than to see Tony Todd do what he does best.

CAST:

Casual: The Lake – Burned (Review)

Valerie, Laura, and Alex in Casual

Valerie’s warning to Alex last week has turned out to be slightly more than prophetic. Sarah has moved in  and Jordan sues Alex for negligence and  for breaching the company’s morality clause.  Casual, “The Lake” watches as Valerie’s life takes an upturn and Alex’s is burned down by a vindictive Jordan.

Valerie spends a day playing hooky with Jack (Kyle Bornheimer). She has a patient cancel their  morning session and Jack talks her into taking the day off. She has a hard time enjoying herself  as she is worried about Alex. 

Sarah, who has been in the house one day, begins hinting that Laura and Valerie should move out.  Somewhat tellingly, as Alex’s business world crashes and burns, due to Sarah’s  ex, she is oblivious to his problems.

Alex calls Leon who brings a lawyer friend in to look over the legal papers. The legal expert tells Alex that if Paul (Andy Buckley) stands up for him the papers carry no weight. Alex goes to see his business partner and Paul agrees to help save Snooger.

Valerie and Jack arrive at High Trail Lake and she admits this is her first time there.  She has a glass half empty moment and Jack forces her to focus on having fun.

Moments into the meeting with Jordan, Sarah’s ex cuts  Schmidt short by offering him $2.5 million  cash for his half of Snooger.

Laura suffers fallout from choosing Spencer (Rhenzy Feliz) over Aubrey (Dylan Gelula).  Things come to a head while Laura visits Spencer in the hospital.  “Hey  when did you two start f**king behind my back,” Aubrey asks.  The confrontation does not end well and a hurt Aubrey leaves. “I hope Spencer dies before  you get bored with him too,” is her parting shot to Laura.

Paul obviously takes the money and leaves Alex with Jordan.  Alex tells him that he will not leave the company. Jordan replies that if he stays  all Alex’s employees will be fired and blackballed. They will, he says, blame Alex.

Jordan offers $65 thousand for the company and Alex takes it. Before he signs the paperwork, Anderson tells Alex to say hi to Sarah. “You deserve each other,” he says.

At the lake, Valerie discovers that it has dried up and goes off on a rant. Jack realizes that she is upset about Alex and talks her down. He points out that she is putting herself second. Alex, he says, would have  called if he really needed help.  a

Back at the house, Sarah makes a steak dinner and reveals that she has spent a fortune on new decor. Alex is preoccupied and Sarah fails to notice.  He goes upstairs and tries to call Valerie who is busy having sex with Jack in the dry lake.

As Valerie predicted in “The Magpie” Alex has been “shot” by Jordan. His company is no longer his and while he has Sarah back,  this is not going to end well for him.  Valerie’s glass seems to be half full for once. Laura has burned her bridge with Aubrey and this too may bite her in the nether regions later on.

Casual  has now become anything but.  Laura is going have issues now that she and Aubrey  have “broken up” and Alex has lost his livelihood.  Valerie may be having fun with Jack, but Jennifer did warn her about him once before.

This series airs Tuesdays on Hulu. Stop by and check out this excellent dramedy.

Cast:

Difficult People: Blade Stallion – Kosher Porn (Review) Spoilers

Difficult People poster

How can you not love a show that features kosher porn, abusing interns and office squatting.  Add  a brilliant cameo by America’s most beloved documentarian Ken Burns and  “Blade Stallion” is a real winner. This episode of  Difficult People also features the splendid Fred Armisen  as Garry Epstein Billy’s older brother. (Apparently, Armisen shows up once a year in the series.)

As usual the episode opens with Kessler and Epstein complaining  about coffee houses that feature board games for “adults.”  It ends with Billy saying he has to watch his sister-in-law perform Yiddish poetry.

Arthur walks in on Julie masturbating to porn on the Internet. A truly funny scene with the sound of the vibrator grinding to a halt and Julie waiting for a split second after Arthur leaves to start again.  Things are awkward between the two later when she drops something off at  his office at PBS.

While she is there, Julie spies an empty office. She and Billy move in without checking with Arthur.  Julie’s mother is having issues with losing her patients. Marilyn drags her daughter  around New York to different museums.  They are attending them alphabetically.

Julie and Arthur take on one of Marilyn’s patient’s daughter’s, Ines (Mary Houlihan) as their intern. They team up on the kid and bully her relentlessly. Both explain about how she is paying her dues. 

Later Arthur and Julie share their interests in porn and end up having an argument. It seems that Arthur likes looking at women who resemble Julie and she likes to fantasize about NFL gang bangs.  They make up and Julie says they need to keep their porn kosher.

Billy tells his brother Gary (Armisen) that he should stand up to his wife and he does. After getting kicked out of the house, he moves in with Billy.  Unhappy, Billy goes to sleep in the empty office at PBS. Ines comes in and wakes him up.  As they talk an irate Ken Burns  comes in and kicks them both out of his office.

Marlyn is recruited to help get Gary and Rucchel  (Jackie Hoffmanback together again. She  intercedes at the poetry reading at Billy’s place of work. The two women get into an “excuse me” altercation with Marilyn finally getting the last “excuse me” in.

Rucchel complains that Gary never congratulated her for finishing college and while they diss her husband, he turns up and apologies. The couple get back together and Marilyn takes the credit.

Billy’s sister-on-law then reads her poem, “Dybbuk, Dybukk, Dybukk…” (Which rhymes with “Fib-buk.) The episode ends with Nate (Derrick Baskin) being recognized as “Blade Stallion” by Rucchel and Gary. 

Porn was the theme of this very Jewish episode.  Two jokes dealt with inappropriate sexual relations. The first was  a reference to an absence of 10 year olds: “Jared from Subway’s worst nightmare,” says Kessler in a brilliant aside. The second is Epstein snarling at Matthew (Cole Escola) “Why haven’t you drowned  in Bryan Singer‘s pool yet?”

The funniest scene in the entire episode has to be the “Conan” bit where Ines has no idea who Conan is, confusing him with James Cordon. “Is that supposed to be some kind of joke,” screams Kessler.  Very funny. Although Fred Armisen dancing was pretty darned  funny as well.

(Sidenote: Viewers who get the “Eve” reference should give themselves brownie points.)

Difficult People  has gotten so much funnier this season.  After a less than impressive first season, the show has reached new heights of humor. The series airs Tuesdays on Hulu.  Go and check out a show not afraid to poke fun at sex while keeping it kosher.

CAST:

Guilt: A Simple Plan – Mistakes (Review)

DAISY HEAD

Luc’s arrest last week has put him in the perfect position to interrogate. The crown prosecutor has a go and then DS Bruno takes over.  Grace, Roz and Natalie attempt to set up Finch.  Kaley has  a shock and she takes the ledger back to her boss. Patrick zeroes on on “Gentleman 33” and he and Kaley share a moment. This episode if full of mistakes from the Atwood side.

Grace suckers Natalie into helping to plant Molly’s phone in Finch’s car, with help from Roz. It all turns into amateur night at the Apollo.  The older sister tries the seduction act on a  thug who runs a BDSM themed brothel.  Things do not go according to plan but Roz saves the day by hitting the fire alarm.

Natalie finds a camera along with Finch’s car keys (Part of the plan.) and finds a flash drive trove in a hidden compartment. One of these says Molly and the other has Grace’s name on it.

Theo is preoccupied with Molly, who was pregnant with his child, and her death. He has a nightmare and calls  out her name. His soon-to-be other half asks about Molly, the name blurted out in his sleep and he goes all “Zombieland.” (In other words he turns the dead Irish colleen into a dog.)

After his midnight confession, Theo’s fiancee tells the butler, valet or whatever the heck he is meant to be, about Molly. The man is surprised and concerned. Theo’s intended says, with disgust, that there is no way that Molly was a “dog.”

Theory:

It may seem all “Clue”  aka Cluedo – as in “it was Col. Mustard in the library with a spanner – but it may turn out to be Prince Theo’s “Man Friday.” He is fiercely protective of his royal charge. After all, he was not above getting DS Bruno to falsify evidence to convict some innocent soul. In essence, the “butler” did it. Just a thought…

Fat Finger of Guilt:

The big fat finger of guilt is pointing straight at Grace. After  Gwendolyn Hall fails to crack Luc,  Bruno takes his turn.  As a result,  Grace’s drug addict boyfriend “drops her right in it.” Revealing that Atwood was away from him for a whole hour on the night of the murder.

Oops.

This gives the favorite suspect of “The Yard” a clear window of opportunity and Grace herself has shown time and again that she could have had motive. The “Old Bill” go to arrest the youngest Atwood sister.

CRISTIAN SOLIMENO, ZACHARY FALL
DS Bruno cracking Luc

(Sidenote: At no time, either before or after the first arrest, does anyone read Grace her rights. – Yes they do have a version in England. A bit more tongue twisty, it goes like this: “You do not have to say anything. but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence.”  A bit long winded and there is no mention of “right to an attorney. It is  bit odd that this reading of rights  has been left out…twice.)

Finch:

One cold blooded pimp does not necessarily  equate to a slicer and dicer of pregnant young Irish girls. Sure he killed the MP after beating the merry hell out of him but as Patrick Ryan points out, the murder of Molly was a personal thing.

Finch is a right naughty chappy but it is all business with him. He will now be on the most wanted list with the police after the girls planted Molly’s phone in his car.  Out of all the “suspects” on offer, Finch will have an airtight alibi. He is a permanent fixture at the club.

Natalie:

The Boston prosecutor is  slowly learning that Grace is not a pure as the driven snow.   This young student has a number of issues, not least of which is a streak of self interest a mile wide.  Clearly she is hiding something and despite her cries of loyalty to Molly was not really the dead girl’s BFF.

(Another sidenote: Would a US prosecutor really have planted evidence? Even with her sister’s earnest pleading that Gwendolyn Hall has in it for her, it seemed very far fetched that Natalie would put herself in that position.)

Whether Grace is guilty or not, it seems that big sis may not feel the same way about her little sister when this is all over.

Final Thoughts:

At the end of the episode it is Bruno who arrests Grace and puts those cuffs on her spindly wrists.  A lot has been going on. Finch now knows who Patrick Ryan is and Kaley, despite being all lovey earlier, gives her new protector up to the big boss.

CRISTIAN SOLIMENO, DAISY HEAD, EMILY TREMAINE

It is interesting to note that this drama, with a little procedural mixed in, makes not use of or reference to the CCTV scattered all over England. There is, according to the Daily Telegraph (back in 2013) one camera for every 11 persons country-wide.  The amount of camera’s even figured as a plot device in a  2009 action film titled The Tournament.

Perhaps it is not mentioned because it could put off tourists… “Oh yes, let us show red British Telecom phone boxes but leave out the CCTV stuff. We do not want everyone believing  the UK is Orwellian to the extreme.”

Guilt airs Mondays on Freeform. Tune in and see whether Grace really is guilty of more than being a spoiled, selfish and entitled brat. So far a huge amount of mistakes have been made by Natalie, Grace and Roz.  The biggest one may be believing in her innocence.

CAST:

UnREAL: Fugitive – Evil Secrets (Review) Spoilers

Constance Zimmer as Quinn in UnREAL

Last week on UnREAL Romeo was  shot and Rachel went into  her second meltdown. In “fugitive” a lot of secrets come to light, including the one that tore Rachel and her mother apart.  Coleman fights being fired, Jay steps up to the challenge of producing sans Rachel and Yael reveals her own secret. And, as if there were any doubt, Rachel’s mother (Mimi Kuzykproves that she is indeed evil.

Wasserman catches Yael on his laptop after Quinn reminds him that he is fired. Yael confesses that she is really a reporter writing an expose. Her title for the project is “Realty TV Kills.”  Coleman agrees to  help Yael.

In this episode Rachel is under her mother’s care until Coleman rescues her. Quinn steps into the Everlasting driver’s seat with no hesitation and she begins turning the show around. Chet helps Quinn to cover up the shooting.

Darius meets with Ruby (Denée Benton) and professes his love for her. He also reveals that his NFL career is over. She reacts badly, he did after all, rebuff her on national television. Jay comes in to tell Darius that he needs to return to Everlasting.

Jay and Madison work their girls into better positions on the show and three of the contestants turn on Quinn’s favorite to win; Tiffany.  Quinn does help to eliminate Tiffany in the immunity round just to annoy Chet.

Coleman takes Rachel to the set  and not his home. He begins to interrogate his lover to find out more about Mary’s suicide. Rachel tells Coleman that they murdered Mary.

Wasserman tells Rachel that all this is needed to help show the truth.  He starts with the “racist” slant on Romero’s shooting and then concentrates on the show ruining lives.  While he continues to question Rachel, her mother turns up on the set with another psychiatrist.

Quinn sees Dr. Goldberg and intercepts her. The two spar  verbally, there is no love lost here, and Olive accuses Quinn of trying to be Rachel’s mother.  Quinn walks in on Rachel and Coleman. Goldberg and her daughter leave the room.

Coleman and Quinn talk about the camera and the shooting.  She points out to Wasserman that he and Rachel were responsible for Romeo being shot.   She  warns Coleman that he better not hurt Rachel.

Dr. Goldberg’s associate questions Rachel and  she volunteers to talk about her real issues.  Olive steps in and stops the Q&A.  Chet offers to help Tiffany and she responds to his flattery and attention.  “You know I have major daddy issues,” she says while kissing the producer.

Rachel and Olive have a confrontation about the secret of her childhood. Goldberg calls her daughter damaged and claims that no one wants to deal with that.  Rachel tells Coleman the truth.

He  learns that Rachel was raped when she was 12 by one of her mother’s patients.  The woman opted to treat her daughter for the trauma. She did this  to protect her new business.  Coleman comforts Rachel.

As the vote-off commences,  and  Tiffany learns that she has been voted off,  Darius returns. He stops the proceedings. First he  sends  Jamison the cop  home and he tells Chantel she will not be on the date.  Tiffany is chosen instead.

Darius explains that he does not want Rachel near him and that he will listen only to Jay.  Quinn makes up her mind about Booth and the possibility of children and Coleman meets with Yael. It looks like Rachel’s savior is about to stab her in the back.

UnREAL just took things up a notch or two. The near death of Romeo was shocking but  nowhere near as shocking as the childhood rape of Rachel.  That her mother chose to cover it up and drug her child to protect her fledgling business, is beyond evil.

It looks like Wasserman may be another contender for the crown of evil douche as he continues to work with undercover reporter Yael.  Rachel really does seem to have only one person who really cares about her;  Quinn. The  same woman she stabbed in the back earlier.

This series is addictive and full of secret surprises.  UnREAL airs Mondays on Lifetime. Watch this one, you will be glad you did.

CAST:

Guest Starring: Ioan Gruffudd as John Booth

BrainDead: Season 1, Episode 6 Bug People (Review)

BrainDead Logo screenshot

BrainDead is floundering as a new series. CBS have given their program  a vote of no confidence  by moving it to Sundays.  It could well be that the real life horror show that is American politics at the moment have left viewers with a foul taste in their mouths.  Comparing fact to fiction is not so amusing or clever when looking at the candidates on offer in the US.

It is difficult to get past the politicians on the show, like Shalhoub’s Wheatus and Jan Maxwell‘s Ella Pollack.  These two aggressive politicos are the new norm on the show. Their real life counterparts are both running for president and it is disturbing not funny. Nice guy Luke Healy is not realistic compared to real occupants of Washington.  

 His character feels like a “Mr. Smith” type of fictional politician rather than the real deal. Although he does share more with John F. Kennedy than Jefferson Smith  in that he cannot remain faithful to his pregnant wife.

Leaving aside the problem of  the show being affected by the real  world of politics,  the plot is marching forward with all the precision of the ant aliens on the show. Laurel, Gustav and Rochelle are busily collecting evidence and cautiously approach Luke.

On top of the cat scan, the trio have a list of symptoms that include  difficulty hearing, a loss of balance, lack of sexual interaction  and increased aggression.  It is the hearing loss that Laurel notices when Anthony changes.

Anthony gets infected and later tries to forcibly infect Laurel.  Gustav, who annoyed Laurel by calling Anthony “bug man” and his fellow infected population “bug people,”  gave Healy some brass knuckles and she uses them to defend herself.

Triplett and Dr. Alaimo (Margo Martindale) track down cluster points and she becomes infected later. Once again the transformation is very The Faculty  as the doctor changes into an “improved” version of herself. 

The subplot this week deals with a veteran who is dying of liver cancer; Lance Corporal Brett Middleton (Brandon J. Dirden).  The man has a small child and Luke takes on the vet’s cause. After being deadlocked by his arguing colleagues, Healy allows Republican senator Red Wheatus take the credit for saving the man’s life. 

The highlight of this episode of BrainDead was the brass knuckle fight in Laurel’s kitchen.  Anthony, who shows up with pineapple pizza and and a copy of Love Actually,  grabs Healy and tries to hold her still  so the  ants can infect her.

As Hugh Grant dances to The Pointer Sisters song  “Jump” (For My Love) on the film.the soundtrack  swells and Laurel’s fight with Anthony is accompanied by the music.  Laurel’s FBI guy can take a punch and despite being smacked in the face a number of times Anthony refuses to leave  immediately.

BrainDead ends on a cliff hanger. Gustav, who discovers that the cherry blossoms are how the ant aliens travel, gives Laurel mosquito netting and some ear protectors.  Laurel goes to bed and puts the netting up over her bed. She decides not to use the ear protectors.

Gustav calls Laurel to tell her about the ants. She cannot hear the phone and the ants move up to and under the mosquito netting. At least two of the alien creatures  crawl in Laurel’s ear. She sits up suddenly, eyes wide and Laurel clearly knows that something has happened.

This last bit could be a dream since no ants can be seen anywhere else on Laurel when she wakes up.  If it is not  a dream this may add an interesting twist to the plot.  While Laurel being infected could be  a nightmare or dream, it raises the question of whether BrainDead will use this as an Invaders From Mars plot device. for the whole series.

With CBS shuffling BrainDead about it seems certain that we may never learn where the series was meant to go. Although if Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s character gets taken over by the ants no one will want to watch anyway.

BrainDead now airs Sundays on CBS. Tune in, while you still can, and watch this clever little comedy horror series. Although for real horror, without the black humor, watch the political conventions on television and feel free to shudder.

CAST:

Preacher: Finish the Song – Hell (Review)

 PREACH_SOK-20160317-LJ_0302.dng

Preacher opens with The Cowboy – Saint of Killers back at the town of Ratwater  after finding his wife and daughter dead.  After a short moment where the insufferable horse killing preacher evangelizes, the reverend asks what The Cowboy wants. The vengeful killer shoots the holy man, nearly before he can finish his question and answers to the singer, “I want you to finish the song.”

The opener then concludes with a bloodbath of epic proportions in the saloon. It ends with the killer sipping a drink as what seems to be a tornado approaches. It is not a tornado it could well be the Angel of Death coming to collect the gunman.

In this episode, Jesse escapes from  Sheriff  Root, who took him in custody last week.  Fiore and DeBlanc book tickets to Hell. When the ticket seller asks for their occupations, DeBlanc says “serial killer” and Fiore says “architect.”

Tulip  calls Emily to help with Cassidy’s healing. She explains to Emily that he is a vampire and that he needs blood to heal. So far, she says, he  is not healing properly.  When Emily tries to tell Tulip about Jesse being in trouble, Tulip says that Emily can have him.

Emily reveals that she has a boyfriend; the mayor Miles Person (Ricky Mabe).  As she listens to  Cassidy growling and thrashing around in his locked room, Miles calls.  The mayor tells Emily that he will look after the kids and he invites himself over for the night. 

Tulip goes to Albuquerque to kill Carlos and tells Emily to shove a live animal into Cassidy’s room when he needs it.

Fiore and DeBlanc head back to their blood-soaked room at the Sundowner Motel.  They decide to call heaven on their phone, rather than go to Hell, and they find it has been stolen.  As they realize that they will be going to Hell after all, it is revealed that Jesse has the special phone.

Emily calls Miles to come help her after Cassidy screams out for more “food.” Miles arrives and gets shoved into Cassidy’s room by Emily. She  locks the door after him.  At the Sundowner,  Sheriff Root finds the partially dismembered angel that Fiore and DeBlanc left in their shower.

The Seraphim asks Root to kill her.  After a moment, Root takes off his hat and begins strangling the “woman.”  As the sheriff strangles the life from the angel, tears well up in his eyes. The Angel, once she dies, stands behind Root as a few tears roll down his cheek.

PRE_108_LJ_0427_0404-RT
DeBlanc and Fiore booking tickets to Hell

Fiore and DeBlanc board the shuttle to Hell and have to leave their big trunk behind”No carry-ons” says the driver. Fiore  is upset about leaving his comics behind.

Oddly at peace with her decision to kill her boyfriend, Emily releases the guinea pigs. As she leaves, Emily tells Jesse that his “mate” is inside. Custer finds a very hurt Cassidy and after a couple of tense moments the two make up.

The two men help each other to clean up the carnage at Tulip’s uncle’s place. Later they dig up the remains of Fiore and DeBlanc for an angel hand so Jesse can call Heaven.

In Hell, the Saint of Killers relives his last days on Earth over and over. Finding his dead family and returning to Ratwater to kill all those he feels caused the deaths.  This then is Hell, reliving one’s worst moment repeatedly for an eternity. Fiore and DeBlanc interrupt the cycle and ask the Cowboy to kill a preacher.

Obviously Annville was built over the remains of Ratwater, as the spot where Cassidy buried Fiore and DeBlanc is right by that “Native American” hanging tree.  For those who are not aware of the comics, this alone seems to signpost a Jesse Custer and Saints of Killers conflict.

In the comic verse, The Cowboy initially killed the occupants of the saloon and then returned to kill off the entire town.   He is so good at killing that he replaces the Angel of Death and kills the Devil. It is God who recruits him to kill Custer.

Jesse has a couple of allies to help him against both Quincannon, who has gotten even crazier, and The Cowboy.  Cassidy and Tulip will be on his side and maybe even Emily, whose cold-blooded act of murder against the mayor was shocking, to say the least.

PRE_108_LJ_0426_0177-RT
Cassidy and Jesse making things right

Preacher has a wonderfully odd and eclectic cast of characters but none are as compelling as The Cowboy Saint of Killers.  With his impossibly long barreled guns and never ending supply of hate and ammunition he tops the bill. This foe to Jesse, since being hired by Fiore and DeBlanc,  looks to be more than formidable.

On the other end of the spectrum, there is Emily. She was  the “normal’ one.  What ever prompted her to feed Miles Person to Cassidy? Was it his innate pushiness? The annoying laugh?  Or did she act for some other reason? She does not even like Cassidy and  never has. Her decision to hurry the vampire’s healing process with a bit of  Miles is puzzling.

One disturbing thought… It took very little urging from the Seraphim for Root to take her life.  Sure he cried while killing the angel but his decision, while not split second, was made pretty quickly.

This was the penultimate episode of Preacher with the series finale being aired next week on AMC.  With the angel hand for his heavenly phone and the Killer of Saints on his trail, things should really heat up for Custer and his allies next week. This will be interesting.

MAIN CAST:

Guest starring Graham McTavish as The Cowboy – Saint of Killers

Rating is for mature audiences only due to content.

Roadies: Friends and Family – Supermoon (Review)

Roadies_105_1988.R

It looks like that unbroken egg from the cursed episode last week may indeed be influencing  the remainder of the tour.  The roadies in “Family and Friends” are doing a home town show in Denver, Colorado and the supermoon is apparently affecting everyone.

The Episode:

Janine, who broke Christopher’s heart, asks for and gets tickets to the show.  Double D is instantly besotted with the woman and does not leave her side.  Meanwhile Kelly Ann and Reg have been linked romantically, much to the consternation of Kelly Ann.

Double D however only has eyes for Janine. He is so enamored of Christopher’s ex, that he asks her back to the show again.  This can not end well for either the lead singer or Reg.

Rick and Natalie are now an item, after Atlanta, and the bass player is not doing too well. He collapses and requires a couple of  “B-12” shots.  Shelli is feeling isolated as no one is returning her calls.

Bill goes to get Christopher’s Nudie jacket. It is stored at Lorraine’s house, where he once lived, and while searching for the jacket, he finds that cup.  Bill takes a moment to do a “12 step” atonement with his ex. When he returns to the show, Shelli and Bill have sex.

Mike Finger (Ely Henry), the band’s biggest fan and archivist,  proves to be  a treasure trove of information. The  little chap is  a repository of knowledge and gossip about the band as well. He also, rather oddly, does not want to meet the group.  Finger prefers to  keep his perfect vision of the his idols untainted by reality.

Natalie Shin is now a legitimate member of the  tour with her own “real” laminate.  How long her relationship with Rick will last is uncertain. The bass player could not remember her name when introducing her to Lucius.  Still, as the ultimate groupie, Shin will most likely bounce back from any romantic set back and zoom in on another band member.

Kelly Ann is really upset about being romantically connected with Reg.  She tells everyone that it is not true and her protests fall on deaf ears.  Wes accuses her of fabricating the whole thing herself and then feels badly about it.  Kelly Ann is ordered to take photos of the “meet and greet” and she takes lots of “arty” pictures.

Later, Shelli complains that all the photos bar one are unusable. Before she leaves, Shelli tells Kelly Ann,   “There is one usable shot in there.” Ever the optimist, after thinking about Shelli’s feedback, Kelly Ann smiles;  pleased that she got one shot.

Bad Luck:

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Lucius

Milo and Donna’s band come within a gnat’s whisker of opening for the Denver show when Lucius go “MIA.” As the group nervously prepare to go on, Lucius turn up. Their excuse is that they got caught up in “Dead Sex” and lost track of time.

Milo is upset that Kelly Ann and Double D have “hooked up.”  His bad day becomes complete when Rick asks for Natalie during his episode in the dressing room.

Shelli’s sister does not turn up and she gets called “ma’am” by the lad she has been flirting with. She too has been compulsively watching “Dead Sex” as she has not even have phone sex with her husband for far too long.

Dead Sex:

A series  starring David Spade that is about a deadly virus that can only be halted by having real sex, versus the phone kind.  This “show within a show” is watched by all the roadies. This feels like a nod to the Brit “one-off” series Dead Set which was a zombie apocalyptic film set in the UK’s Big Brother house.

Final Thoughts:

Bill and Shelli having sex will not end well for anyone.  Reg’s infatuation with the woman of the song, Janine, is also bound to end in tears.   The device of having a new opening act for each episode continues. (This is an interesting set up, it allow the audience to view, however shortly, a mixture of the more well known rock acts and a few that more…obscure.

The Phil  “circle” thing has now become Bill’s “thing” as he fully takes the reins from Phil.

 

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Imogen Poots as Kelly Ann and Rafe Spall as Reg

Comic moment of the entire episode had to be Imogen Poots’ reaction to the Reg/Kelly Ann “hooking up” rumor.  A close second was the scene where Milo explains keeping his trousers in the freezer on the bus. Milo says, “Freezer equal  fresh.” Donna, “Washing makes fresh but never mind.”

Roadies airs Sundays on Showtime.   Tune in and see if that unbroken egg does equal a curse. One that is influencing everyone’s actions and reactions.  After watching the preview to next week’s episode that does look to be the case or is it all down to that supermoon.

MAIN CAST:

Guest Starring:  Jacqueline Byers as Natalie Shin and Joy Williams as Janine Beckwith 

Musical Guest – Lucious 

Ray Donovan: Get Even Before Leavin’ – Empty (Review)

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Last week’s episode had Ray getting desperate enough to save his family that he agreed to do the Nevada job with Mickey.  This week Donavan goes to Primm with his father and after casing the casino, they pick grab Ed.  “Get Even Before Leavin'” follows Ray and Mickey’s as they retrieve  the money.  It also deals with Conor’s fascination with guns.

Bridget breaks up with her teacher and Abby gets another opinion on her breast cancer. Bunchy is left with the baby when Teresa (Alyssa Diaz) returns to Bakersfield and Ray comes up empty in Nevada.

In  Nevada Little Bill has put up a $250 thousand reward for the stolen money.  Ray plays blackjack and asks about the reward. Mickey gets donuts and the two men plan to grab Ed  (J. LaRose). Waller’s driver turns up at Little Bill’s and warns Ray to get back to LA.  Mickey learns of Muncie’s death. 

Conor is clearly  obsessed with guns. Avi tries to get the youngster’s mind off of weapons. Later Avi agrees to show Conor how to shoot a gun.  Damon (Dominique Columbus) is late for his first day at the gym. Terry tells the boy off and then apologizes. Bridget stops by and tells her uncle that she and Donellen have broken up. 

She left him  after learning that she was not the first student he had an affair with.  Terry comforts her and Damon looks on.

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Little Bill and Algoma

Mickey takes the van out and parks it while Ray asks Ed to give his broken down vehicle a tow.  Ed agrees and when he gets to the van Mickey and Ray take him prisoner.  Ed refuses to tell Mickey where the money is and Ray shoots the man in his foot.

Pinkie (Travis Hammerhas the money.

Back in LA, Hector Campos (Ismael Cruz Cordova) shows up at the Fite Club looking for Ray.  Teresa is not returning  Bunch’s calls and he goes to find her.  Bridget offers to look after Maria and Bunchy turns her down. He takes the baby with him and goes to see his wife. 

Bunchy finds Teresa at her cousin’s house.  She tells Bunchy  she left after wanting to stab him, the baby and herself with scissors.  The new mother is clearly suffering from postpartum depression. Bunchy leaves Maria with her mother and says he will be back later to pick them both up.

Ed, Ray and Mickey turn up at Pinkie’s house.  The stoned young man panics when Ray calls him on Ed’s phone.  He  brings the money out and pours gasoline on it and himself.  Ray attempts to negotiate  and Mickey shoots Pinkie.

The lighter in his hand falls to the ground and sets the gasoline on fire. The young eccentric is blown up by the gas can in his hand. Ray rescues the money.  Donovan is furious with his father. Ray gives Ed some money and tells him to take Pinkie’s jeep and get out.

Mickey and Ray argue about Sylvie.  The two Mexicans that  the Donovan’s saw earlier pass the van and a slot machine falls off their truck. Ray hits the machine.  Mickey calls Sylvie who sets him up for Little Bill.

In LA, Bunchy returns to the gym without Maria. He tells Bridget to go home as her parents miss her.  Back in Nevada, the police and Little Bill turn up at the van. Bill grabs his money and tells the two Donovan men that he is letting them go. Primm takes their pictures and drives away. The police leave also.

At the gym, Hector’s sparring with Daryll draws a crowd.

Mickey learns that Abby has cancer and offers to take the rap for the Minassian murders so Belikov will be released. Bridget comes home and Conor breaks the gun safe open.

While Bunchy cleans up the mess from Hector’s sparring match, Teresa drops off Maria and leaves.  Outside the police station where Mickey has turned himself in, Sylvie tries to call him  but it is too late.

“Get Even Before Leavin'” finally sees Ray run out of steam and options.  He returns from Nevada empty handed and Mickey has to save the day.  Bridget may be home but her brother’s focus on being a gangster like his dad and his getting Abby’s gun does not bode well for the Donovan family.

Abby refuses to have the double mastectomy and is opting for alternative treatment.  It was heart breaking to see Sylvie being forced to give Mickey up.  Just as heart breaking was Mickey’s believing that she did it for the reward, with a little urging from Ray.

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Avi trying to distract Conor

Donovan’s next move will be to release Belikov but previews of next week’s show seems to indicate that the Russian is not a forgiving man. This violent season has a sense of foreboding  lingering in the background while Ray attempts to keep his family safe.

The level of violence perpetrated by Donovan has escalated considerably as his desperation rises. It is pretty easy to assume that this season will not end well for the Donovan clan.

Ray Donovan airs Sundays on Showtime. Check this award winning series out if you have not already done so.

CAST:

Guest starring Ted Levine as Bill Primm and Paula Jai Parker as Sylvie Starr. 

Gridlocked (2015): ‘The Hard Way’ Sans the Humor (Review)

Cody Hackman and Dominic Purcell

Gridlocked feels like a remix of the 1991 Michael J. Fox film The Hard Way, sans the romance and the  laughs.  The film also lacks James Woods, but has Dominic Purcell as the millennial version of Woods and even has Steven Lang as the bad guy. Lang was the villain in The Hard Way as well.

There are elements of Assault on Precinct 13 without the Carpenter touch and the film even seems to borrow a bit from  Sabotage. Gridlocked has Cody Hackman as Hollywood star Brody Walker; a former child actor who, despite being a success at the box-office,  has issues. One  these problems includes  assaulting a member of the paparazzi.

To keep from doing jail time, Walker is assigned to Purcell’s character, David Hendrix, a cop recovering from being shot on duty. Stephen Lang is Korver, an old colleague of Hendrix’ who is after some bearer bonds in an evidence locker. Vinnie Jones and Danny Glover have small roles in the film, with Jones on team Korver and Glover as a cop.

(There is a self referential moment where Glover’s character sighs and says he is “Too old for this sh*t.” Something his character in the Lethal Weapon franchise was always saying.)

While the film does resemble the 1991 Fox/Woods vehicle, in this version, Hendrix is not trying to get rid of Walker. The cop opts to take the Hollywood bad boy under his wing instead.  Hendrix takes the star to the training facility, a ‘la “Sabotage,”  and Lang’s people, after disabling the building, attempt to overtake it.

There is plenty of action. Gunfights and hand to hand combat are the order of the day and the good guys have a mole on their side who is working for Korver.  As Lang’s character repeatedly tries to enter the building, Hendrix and his small team fight them off. Eventually  the bad guys get in and the fighting gets up close and personal.

As Gridlocked moves from a siege to an invasion, Hendrix has more problems. He has a mole  on his team, and  a personal connection with the bad guys who want in.

Aussie actor Purcell does a good job as the injured action hero and Hackman is convincing as the irksome Hollywood star. Lang really does give the best ”bad guy” in the business and Glover is splendid in his cameo as the cop  nearing retirement.

On a sidenote, there is a practical effect later in the film where one of the character’s is shot through the face.  Uncomfortable to look at, it looks real and not a little bit freaky.

Directed and co-written by Allan Ungar (his second feature length film) Gridlocked  flows well and does not drag.  The action may feel a bit formulaic and the plot does seem to be influenced by the above mentioned films. However, the cast keep things interesting and Purcell proves that he is more than a one trick pony. 

Vinne Jones has little to do other than to look menacing though later on he does fight Purcell’s character. (In terms of cameos, the excellent Saul Rubinek does  a splendid turn as Walker’s agent.)  

At just under two hours the film moves along at a crisp clip and does not drag at all.  While the film is more “action” than acting, it will never be mistaken for Shakespeare, Gridlocked does entertain.

This is a 3.5 star film.  Nothing to write home about but good enough to get lost in for an extended period of time. It is streaming on Netflix at the moment. Pop up some corn and pour some fizzy and see what you think.