The Path: Liminal Twilight and Dead Moon – The Burning of the Light (Review)

Hulu The Path

Things have gotten decidedly weirder and darker in The Path. Season two started with a two episode premiere. “Liminal Twilight” and “Dead Moon” take the storyline deeper than before and in many aspects the whole Steven Meyer plot has become convoluted and a tad confusing.

Eddie still wears the mantle of “Denier,” Sarah and he are still uneasily sharing time with their kids and Cal has gotten that little bit more out of control. Abe is now in Rung One training (undercover) and Steven Meyer woke up only to die. He was apparently pushed off the cliff by either Eddie or Cal.

(Eddie in the visionary state or Cal in real-life.)

In the first of two episodes we  re-live Eddie’s vision of Meyer. So far so good. However, the movement leaders, which includes Richard, are shown Steven’s body. He appears to have fallen off the mountain and died.

But…

A local deaf man drew a picture of Meyer’s fall and it looks like another white man pushed him. Richard believes it is Eddie. It could have been Cal, after all, the fractured and mentally unbalanced leader did visit Steve.

Or, did the deaf man actually see “spirit” Eddie arguing with spirit Steve? It is all a bit confusing. What is not, however, is the steady deterioration of Cal Roberts.  The self-made leader is getting out of control and despite asking Sarah to lead with him, Cal is struggling to maintain the reins of control.

In the first episode, he wildly overbids for a building he wants for the movement. By the end of this segment, he shows Sarah Silas’ body. She makes him dig her old mentor up and Cal then lies and tells Lane that the man’s death was an accident.

In the meantime, Eddie and Hawk are drifting further apart as evidenced by the boy’s indifference and hostility towards his father at each “illegal” visit. Summer, on the other hand, enjoys the time she spends with dad.

Sarah is visibly shaken by the truth of Silas’ death and it is this guilty knowledge of Cal’s murderous act that comes across as “leakage” when she has a session with Richard.

Abe continues to work undercover in the organization to bring Cal down and it is his efforts that keep the Meyerist’s from gaining tax exemption as a religion. This forfeiture of a religious tax status causes more problems and Cal insists that Mary and Sarah accompany him to a fund raising get together.

Once there, Cal blows it by simultaneously asking for money while denigrating the party members’ lifestyle and monetary worth. Sarah comes close to having sex with an invited guest and Cal punches the man in the stomach after he acts like a boor.

Out in the woods Hawk’s new friend (played by Hunters actress Britne Oldford) confesses that she fears the dark. After opening up, the two connect in a deep and meaningful way and the second episode ends with Hawk apparently levitating. (Or in the parlance of the Meyerist movement, floating up to the next rung of the ladder.)

Eddie sleeps with his dead brother’s wife. She does not notice the new “tree-like” red veins extending up his back and it looks like Lane may now have a new woman in his life. Cal is still somewhat obsessed with Sarah who may be warming up despite the fact that he killed Silas.

The Path has managed to shift gears and take things to another level.  It is now difficult to understand who killed Steven. The visions of him choosing Eddie to “be his son” intermingled with his protestations on the vision mountaintop, are confusing.

The Hawk levitation brings back a certain amount of mysticism but at the end of the day, we do not know whether the young Lane really lifted up into the air or whether he imagined it.

Clearly things are going to be heading south even faster now that leaders of the movement believe that Eddie went to Peru to kill Steven. Cal’s meltdown is also accelerating as is Sarah’s loss of calm. With Abe, hiding in the group in plain site, season two could turn out to be explosive.

The Path airs Wednesdays on Hulu.

Cast:

Guest starring Britne Oldford as Meyerist novice.

‘Face Off’ Season 11: Abstract Aliens – All Stars Team Work (Review)

Face Off - Season 11

Season 11 of SyFy’s Face Off changed things about with a spin on their usual formula. “Abstract Alien” spelled out the new rules as former contestants from prior seasons returns to make up teams. These familiar faces now work in teams of two and as McKenzie tells the contestants, each duo will live and die together.

Another change, apart from the team concept this year, is that the judges will see two examples of each team’s work. There will not be a “send off” each week. One team will have immunity and then a team will be sent home the next week.

The first spotlight challenge is also that bit different. As McKenzie explains, each of these contestants are “all stars” who have been on the show before. As such, the competition has been altered to reflect their prior experience on the show. For the first time ever the hopefuls are having green screen technology as part of their makeup challenges.

As usual the teams separate to work on their designs. Throughout the start of the episode, each team explains who they are and what season they competed in.  The  first contest that the group face are aliens influenced by  creature feature films like The Abyss and War of the Worlds.

Surreal is the name of the game and the aliens created in this first episode are to be based upon inhabitants from under the sea. As they enter the lab and begin work on their projects, disaster strikes. Evan’s clay sculpture and the figure it is attached to, falls to the ground.

Michael Westmore comes on set to dispense advice and this season he is alone.  McKenzie is not accompanying her father which is another change this time around.

Day two is taken up with finalizing the sculptures and then moving onto the molding process. The green screen process is a brilliant addition and at least one team test out the new technology.

Cat and Niko have a cowl mold that refuses to open. As usual, other competitors, like Keaghlan Ashley,  step in to help out their compatriots. With help the team finally get the mold broken apart. The cowl has been damaged but it can be repaired.

Face Off - Season 11
Keaghlan Ashley, Melissa Ebbe

This is the part of the show where the designs and all the hard work start to come together. The models arrive to be fitted with the prosthetics and made up. Niko and Cat speed up their process to make up for the broken cowl.

Last Looks start with everyone rushing to put everything together. The teams take their creations out for the judges to inspect.

Face Off - Season 11
Glenn Hetrick, Ve Neill, Neville Page

Ben and Evan, Jasmine and Stella, Keaghlan and Marissa,  as well as Rachael and Gage score the best and the worst. At the end of the in-depth breakdown of each creation Keaghlan and Marissa were the winners in the first episode’s spotlight challenge.

This gave them immunity for next week’s spotlight challenge and the rest of the teams were all reminded to up their game for the next test.

Face Off airs Tuesdays on SyFy. This newest season looks impressive and the move to bring back former contestants has upped the stakes. Personal favorite Keaghlan Ashley and her teammate Marissa Ebbe were the clear winners this week.

Tune in next week to see who will win the next challenge.

Face Off - Season 11
McKenzie Westmore

 

Sleepy Hollow: Columbia – Facelift (Review)

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Sleepy Hollow has returned and without Abbie Mills. There was no hiatus reprieve for the character. Ichabod still believes that she will be “reborn” in a new body to be his second witness. Blah, blah, blah.

After a quick rundown of what transpired in last season’s depressing finale,  we notice a number of changes, a bit of updating via a facelift of not only Tom Mison’s character but his locale as well. Ichabod is sporting a nice new haircut and more of a beard than all the previous season put together.

Abbie, as field partner,  has been temporarily replaced with a new, and younger, single mother who works for Homeland Security and we know within moments that her daughter Molly is the “new” Abbie, aka witness.

Show creators/runners Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman have opted to present the fourth season of Sleepy Hollow with a “See Spot Run” type plot device, or perhaps a “Sleepy Hollow Plot Devices for Dummies” plot line. Not to berate the point, but later in the opening episode, we see the “mute” Molly has been repeatedly sketching Crane’s picture in her “secret” sketch book. The kid may as well have a sign round her neck that states, “I am the new Abbie.”

Granted, the formula for Sleepy Hollow needed a shot in the arm, so to speak, after the end of season two and the loss of the brilliant John Noble. Season three, with its introduction of Pandora (Shannyn Sossamon) was a complete letdown aggravated by the death of a long running star of the show. 

Season four, with it move to the country’s capital, has introduced a slew of new characters and brought back Abbie’s sister Jenny. Clearly she will be the “link” between Ichabod and the new Abbie and only appear as needed.

(For instance, in the premiere episode, Jenny turns up in time to save everyone’s arse from the demon by killing it with the penny-bullets made by Alex.) *On a sidenote, does anyone else see a resemblance between Rachel Melvina and Parker Posey? Answers on a postcard please or at the bottom of this review via the comments. Please and thank you.*

As part of the series’ new look, aka facelift, George Washington has been usurped by Abraham Lincoln, who was killed by a demon possessed John Wilkes Booth, and we are suddenly looking at the Civil War versus the War for Independence.

Most of the series opener was pretty glum apart from a Hamilton reference and Mison’s off key rendition of The Battle Hymn of the Republic. There was the requisite disbelief of all the new people that Crane meets, with the exception of Jake, and viola! The new “improved” version of Sleepy Hollow has begun, albeit with a little less humor .

We have a malevolent entity called Dreyfuss, who looks eerily like an ill Neil Patrick Harris; so much so that we kept expecting to see Alyson Hannigan turn up, and he clearly will be the season “Big Bad,” that Crane and his new set of helpers must defeat.

Season four of Sleepy Hollow may be trying quite earnestly to re-invent the series’ wheel but it seems a tad shallow and Mison’s makeover is a bit confusing. The heavy beard makes a certain amount of sense but the haircut? He has been a prisoner after all…

It does make a certain amount of sense.  Sticking around Sleepy Hollow and referencing the revolutionary war was getting a tad old.  It will be interesting to see just how this  Molly as Abbie storyline is going to work out and how the Civil War may have been won by demons.

(After all, the American presidency has been “won” by a reality TV personality with no qualifications whatsoever, so why not a demon victory of another sort?)

The move to place Sleepy Hollow in and around the country’s capital is, at the very least, ironic and slightly sad. As poor Ichabod Crane is wildly patriotic and believes so fervently in the sanctity of the Union, it is  somewhat depressing for the fourth season to be set in the city where Donald Trump is due to be inaugurated in just under two weeks.

Sleepy Hollow airs Fridays on FOX. Tune in and see what you think. Will the new characters, facelift and location change make up for the loss of Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie)?

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Shadowhunters: This Guilty Blood – Hunting Jace (Review)

 HARRY SHUM JR., MATTHEW DADDARIO

The return of Shadowhunters “This Guilty Blood” sees Jace still with his father Valentine. Alec has his first fight with Magnus and his mother goes behind his former fiancé’s back to take control of the Institute via The Clave’s “company man” Victor Aldertree.

Aldertree questions everyone and puts Jace on a most wanted poster, he forces Clary and Jocelyn to stay on lockdown and banishes Simon and Luke. He threatens to de-rune Isabelle and Jace learns that he has demon blood.

Valentine injected his son while still in utero and infected him to make Jace the perfect warrior.

The season two opener of Shadowhunters proves that the more things change the more they stay the same. There is still a power struggle going on in the Institute and Maryse works hard to protect her own standing in the community by following Aldertree’s orders to the letter.

At the start of the episode, Jace pulls a Hamlet and kills his father twice. Alas, poor Jace is only killing replicas as the real deal watches how well his son does in combat. Later, after being beaten repeatedly by Valentine’s minions, Jace is released and he tries to kill his father again.

Jocelyn has some catching up to do and the first shocking thing she learns is that Jonathan, aka Jace, is still alive. She agrees with Clary that lying is not something she should continue to do.

Luke allows Simon to stay on the docks but his followers chuck him out of the restaurant and put him in the storage room. Clary, after getting a hint from Isabelle, leaves the Institute and finds Simon. Jocelyn arrives shortly after and takes her cell phone and stele.

Clary’s mother is hunting Jace and when she finds him, along with Valentine, she tries to kill him. Valentine leaps in front of his son and take the crossbow bolt meant for him. As she re-arms the crossbow Jace takes his wounded father and escapes through a portal.

Alec and Magnes make up and just as the magician begins helping Lightwood to find his parabatai Alec senses Jace on his own.  But by the end of the opening episode, Jace has vanished once again, this time voluntarily, with his father.

This season of Shadowhunters starts off with a few instances of characters changing their appearance. Valentine puts his likeness on some of his demon army followers and Clary takes on the appearance of Aldertree to escape the Institute.

It would not be too farfetched to believe that the “Jocelyn” who tricked Clary and tried to kill Jace is not the real article either.  There is also the new interference of The Clave, whom Maryse called in to replace the new leader, which will obviously be a continuing problem this season.

This second season seems to prove that the younger members of the Shadowhunters cannot trust anyone over 30 (except for Luke) or anyone who represents The Clave. There are also plenty of Shadowhunters who willingly follow whomever is in charge. This puts Isabelle, Alec, Clary and Jocelyn in a very small minority.

Jace’s father also explains that the reason he “wanted” Clary is because of the demon blood he injected into him. It will, says Valentine, always make him want her.

Valentine then tricks Jace into breaking the Accord, aka the rules, before being wounded. The end of this episode feels like another Valentine trick, or set up, aimed at forcing his son to side with him.

Shadowhunters airs Mondays on Freeform. The next episode airs on January 9. Stop by and check out this “good-looking” cast and the demon war they are trying to prevent.

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Time After Time: Yes, Yet Another Time Travel Show (Review)

FREDDIE STROMA, JOSH BOWMAN

ABC have entered the overflowing time travel game with Time After Time, a downsizing of the 1979 film starring Malcolm McDowell and David Warner in the leading roles of Wells and Jack the Ripper. This introduction of yet another time travel series could well have potential viewers shaking their heads, but this is not on par with the current shows on offer.

For a start, the film, which was a cracking story with some excellent performances, provides the series with a good template to start with. It also benefits from moving the action forward by a good 38 years, or nearly four decades. The pilot works overtime to make this time machine journey arrive in a modern and topical USA. Trump is seen on the big screen television in the hotel bar and cell phones add an interesting facet to the tale.

In essence, Wells introduces his friends to his time machine. As they poke fun at the writer his friend Dr. Stevenson, aka Jack the Ripper is busy killing yet another London prostitute. Stevenson arrives one step ahead of Scotland Yard who are conducting a house to house search.

Anyone who has seen the 1979 film will know what happens next. Stevenson uses Wells’ machine to escape to a future time in New York. Not having the key, the time traveling device returns to Wells home. The writer then follows Stevenson to the future.

As pilots go, this one is full of clever bits and some pretty impressive acting by the leads. Genesis Rodriguez is alluring, endearing and plucky, in turns, and Stroma, along with Bowman, are beyond brilliant in their respective roles.

The Brit actors do a cracking job bringing their interpretation of the roles played by McDowell and Warner in 1979 to the small screen. Show creator Kevin Williamson, the man who teamed up with Wes Craven to create the wildly popular Scream franchise,  has given us a villain and a hero that we can sink our teeth into.

Stevenson is thrilled to find that the future is violent and full of promise.  Wells is horrified that his friend is a murderer who used his contraption to escape being caught back in Victorian England.

Time After Time looks brilliant. Director Marcos Siega is running a taut ship for the pilot and the quality of the production feels more like a film than a weekly television series. The sets are spectacular and the quality of the camera work is reminiscent of the cinema.  This new series screams big screen from the very first frame.

Unlike NBC’S Timeless, or the Netflix offering of Travelers, Time After Time  is not about preserving history or trying to fix a problem in the past that affects the future. This series is more personal and intimate.

Sure Timeless has a team chasing a villain but it all amounts to a much broader brush stroke. It is a group of people fighting to defeat an evil organization versus a single man trying to catch a killer across time.  The two shows may well be a tad similar in their plot devices but the ways and means differ enormously.

Time After Time is set to air in early 2017 with ABC not yet revealing a premiere date. Looking at the show’s pilot episode however,  one thing is certain, whenever the series arrives it will definitely impress.

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