The Family: Feathers or Steel – Monsters (Recap/Review)

In The Family: Feathers or Steal Hank’s life is made a misery after Adam’s mother calls him a monster on television. Hearing breaking glass in the middle of the night, the man discovers a broken window and later he finds “monster” spray painted on his garage.

RUPERT GRAVES, JOAN ALLEN

In The Family: Feathers or Steal  Hank’s life is made a misery after Adam’s mother calls him a monster on television.  Hearing breaking glass in the middle of the night, the man discovers a broken window and later he finds “monster” spray painted on his garage.

The episode begins with the camera panning through a house that has been trashed as the result of a fight. There is blood on the floor and Joan Allen’s Mayor Warren asks, via voice-over,  whether the viewer is made of feathers or steel. By the end of the episode there is no doubt what Claire Warren has inside of her; steel.

Another child is taken. The police have a lead, a picture of a man and  a white van. The photo is shown to Adam who begins quivering. He drops the tablet with the picture on it and collapses.  The boy tells the authorities that this was the same man who took him  and a BOLO is put out.

Eight years ago, Claire Warren (Joan Allen)  visits Hank Asher in prison. The Mayor asks him to tell her where Adam’s body is. Hank replies that he cannot help her. Twice.

A short while later, Warren hires the deputy warden of the prison as her head of security. She asks him if there is anything he can do about Hank (Andrew McCarthy) . In the prison chow hall,  Asher bites into his sandwich and something in it causes his mouth to bleed. Prison guards turn the other way as another inmate approaches Asher with a knife.

Detective Meyer (Margot Bingham) and Agent Clements (Matthew Lawler) find the white van outside a hotel.  The two enter and start checking the rooms. Meyer finds one with the missing child laying on the bed, tied to the headboard and obviously drugged.

Moving into the room, she sees a gun on the bureau and can hear someone in the bathroom. Seconds later, a man exits the bathroom and Meyer shoots him immediately without saying a word.

PATRICK HUSTED, ANDREW MCCARTHY
PATRICK HUSTED, ANDREW MCCARTHY

Hank covers his window with cardboard and goes out to scrub the word “monster” off his garage door. Adam comes over to help and Asher asks him to leave. This results in Hank having a restraining order taken out by the Warren family.  “He came here,” protests Asher.

Clements and Meyer cover up the murder of the kidnapper.  They also learn that he was not the same man who took Adam. Bridey (Floriana Lima) stops by the Warren’s house saying she left her phone in Danny’s room. Willa reluctantly lets her in.

The journalist stops in Adam’s room and grabs a cotton swab from his rubbish bin. She obviously wants a DNA sample but she screws up by putting the swab in a plastic zip-bag. (DNA samples must go in paper bags.) Willa (Alison Pill) almost catches Bridey in the act.

After a confrontation,  Willa sends the journalist down to Danny’s room. Later, when the Warren woman is in her bedroom, she is kneeling by her bed. It looks as though Willa  is praying but instead she is fantasizing about Bridey and masturbating.

Claire Warren proves to the governor that she is a real threat to his post during a meeting meant to put the mayor off her stride. Danny (Zach Gilford)  breaks into Bridey’s apartment and ends things with her and the two insult one another before he leaves her apartment.

Hank Asher, who was earlier told to stay behind the tree in front of his house to keep 100 yards away from the Warren home across the street, steps into the street and looks at the  house.  John Warren (Rupert Graves) sees Asher and reacts.

As Joan Allen’s character begins her last voice-over, the camera pans across the debris filled floor to the bloodstains and reveals Hank laying on the floor with blood on his face and mouth. He does not appear to be moving as he lays next the baseball bat that Adam and John Warren were using  earlier in the episode.

The Family is maintaining the mystery and piling on doubts of Adam’s identity as well as building up the suspense of just what the pockmarked man (Michael Esper) has hidden in the basement beneath his work shed.  This is a very dark program, the characters all have flaws and secrets that when added up equal a pretty unhappy world, even before the kidnapping.

Allen’s character is definitely steely.  Her excitement at Meyer and Clements killing the kidnapper and saving the boy is evident when she wants to declare the detective a hero at a conference.  However she takes time, just before the event, to tell Meyer to stop sleeping with her husband. “Do you think you’re special?” Claire asks. “You have no idea how many girls drop their panties for the father with a lost son.”

Warren may care deeply for her returned son, but the woman is cold and controlling.

The ending shot of Hank Asher lying in his floor unmoving with that incriminating bat makes it appear that Adam may have done it.  Especially with his having that mysterious key. This looks, however, like a red herring.  Clearly the boy is not Adam and the key has some significance to him apart from the Warrens.

Each actor has brought a certain truth to their character. Hall, as usual, shines in her role of political mother and the newest member to the cast, Matthew Lawler is excellent. The chemistry between  Clements and Meyer is perfect.

ALISON PILL, FLORIANA LIMA
ALISON PILL, FLORIANA LIMA

Major kudos to Alison Pill  who makes Willa Warren a mass of mixed up emotions and motivations.

The Family airs Sundays on ABC.

The Family: Feathers or Steel – Monster (Review) Preview [Update]

In The Family: Feathers or Steel Hank’s life is made a misery after Adam’s mother calls him a monster on television. Hearing breaking glass in the middle of the night, the man discovers a broken window and later he finds “monster” spray painted on his garage.

RUPERT GRAVES, JOAN ALLEN

[Update] The review of this episode was published before the episode aired (airing date in March 20 on Sunday) ergo, the review on The Family has been updated to a preview. Mike’s Film Talk apologizes for any massive  spoilers that may have been published. The review will go back up on “the day.”

In The Family: Feathers or Steel  Hank’s life is made a misery after Adam’s mother calls him a monster on television.  Hearing breaking glass in the middle of the night, the man discovers a broken window and later he finds “monster” spray painted on his garage.

The episode begins with the camera panning through a house that has been trashed as the result of a fight. There is blood on the floor and Joan Allen’s Mayor Warren asks, via voice-over,  whether the viewer is made of feathers or steel.

By the end of the episode there is no doubt about what Claire Warren has inside of her; it is steel.

Another child is taken and the police have a lead this time, it is similar to how Adam was taken.  In a flashback sequence  Claire Warren (Joan Allen)  visits Hank Asher in prison. The newly elected Mayor asks him to tell her where Adam’s body is.

A short while later, Warren shows some of that steel when she allows her cold and controlling side out.

Detective Meyer (Margo Bingham) and Agent Clements (Matthew Lawler) search for the white van and stop to look for the suspect. 

Hank covers his broken window with cardboard and goes out to scrub the word “monster” off his garage door. It is an action he will soon have cause to regret.

Bridey (Floriana Lima) stops by the Warren’s house saying she left her phone in Danny’s room. Willa reluctantly lets her in.  Cruz then heads to Adam’s room looking for evidence.

In the present, Claire Warren shows more of that steel when she  proves to the governor that she is a real threat to his post.  Danny (Zach Gilford)  breaks into Bridey’s apartment after her intrusion into his family home.

Claire Warren may well be steel because of her role as a mother, but when one sees the woman “on the attack” it appears that this is her natural state of being, mother-hood be damned.   This is a very dark program.  The characters all have flaws and secrets that, when added up,  equal a pretty unhappy world, even before the kidnapping.

Allen’s character is definitely steely.  Warren may care deeply for her returned son, but the woman is cold and controlling.

There is a focus on what lies beneath in this series. The episode moves the story forward but also asks who these people are underneath their facades. Warren is steel and so too, it seems is Danny. Adam is the big question mark, what is the significance of that key and his apparent attraction to Hank. Is this Adam, the Adam?

It seems highly unlikely and by the end of this episode, more things may be revealed, but the answers are still far from being answered.

The performances of all the actors are spot on. Allen, as usual, shines in her role of political mother and the newest member to the cast, Matthew Lawler is excellent. The writing may be too heavy for some but the dialogue between Clements and Meyer is perfectly pitched, down to Lawler’s delivery no doubt.

Major kudos to Alison Pill who makes Willa Warren a mass of mixed up emotions and motivations.  

The Family airs Thursdays on ABC. Be prepared for some surprises.

11.22.63: The Eyes of Texas (and Johnny Clayton) are Upon You (Recap/Review)

In 11.22.63: The Eyes of Texas, it appears that Sadie’s husband, Johnny Clayton is watching over his wife and Jake, and it is his eyes that are upon the couple in the bungalow and not the CIA’s.

Jake and Billy listening in on Oswald

In 11.22.63: The Eyes of Texas, it appears that Sadie’s husband, Johnny Clayton is watching over his wife and Jake, and it is his eyes that are upon the couple in the bungalow and not the CIA’s. Things look to be unravelling fast as the past pushes back against Epping as he gets closer to learning about Oswald’s plans.

Bill becomes infatuated with Marina, Miss Mimi reveals to Jake that she knows his secret (that he is really Jake Epping), Deke offers some advice and Sadie gets a visit from her husband at the school.  Jake tells “Miz” Mimi about being in the Witness Protection program as he tells of Michael killing Fredo in The Godfather Part II.

Along with Jake’s singing part of an old Beatles tune, “I Saw Her Standing There” to Sadie (just before Deke catches the two teachers sharing a kiss in the music room) this was another nod to Epping’s feeling like an outsider and quoting things from  the future. Although it does beg the question, what if someone liked the lyrics from his invisible friends, Paul, George, John and Ringo?

Leaving aside quotes from future bands, although not too far in the future as the group got their first number one hit in 1964 with “I Wanna Hold Your Hand”, it is interesting to note that Johnny Clayton could be a close relative, or at the very least a spiritual twin of Castle Rock killer Frank Dodd from The Dead Zone.

The thing both men have in common is a clothespin placed on their penises. Dodd as a small boy,who later grew to murder “dirty women” and it appears that Clayton still wears his, all the better to be prepared for that “dirty wormy” hole…  Both men have  obviously been  damaged by their mothers and the two evoke feelings of pity and revulsion.

In this episode, The Eyes of Texas do not feel as though they are looking upon events as must as the past is.  One thing is certain, the eyes of Johnny Clayton are also upon Epping and Sadie, as the odd man takes pictures of the two lovers.

The push, that has been getting more apparent since the fire, has manifested in Billy’s increased attraction to Marina and his sexual frustration.

The scene at the local “cat” house where he has to sit downstairs as Epping goes upstairs to spy on Lee and George and Turcotte’s  inadvertent voyeurism of Lee and Marina having some pretty verbal sex both show how close the younger man is to become stressed out.

Marina and Lee’s taped sex session pops up later on after Johnny sets up his wife to hear the recording in Jake’s basement.

As the past increases its struggle to keep Epping from changing things, it is clear that while Sadie may also be part of this push, so too is her weird estranged husband. The man has turned up four times in the episode. Once, off-screen, while taking pictures, twice in person; at the high school and later when Jake has followed George to meet his powerful friends and the last time as a shadowy figure at Epping’s house.

11.22.63 could have the past push so hard that everything blows up.  Storm clouds are gathering as Deke’s disapproval of Jake’s arrest at a brothel mixes with the man’s concern over his lover Miss Mimi’s health, Billy’s testosterone and hormones are taking a battering every time he interacts with Marina and, of course, Clayton’s move against Jake.

Again, it is not necessary to refer to the source material as  showrunner Bridget Carpenter is attempting to cover all the bases. Granted Bill Turcotte (George MacKay) has had his part increased substantially in the mini-series, but it works.  Although there are times when the character appears more as an irritation than compatriot/sidekick as Carpenter has called him. 

Thus far, it looks to be a race as to who will cause things to fall apart first.  Bill with his intrusion into the Oswald’s life, “here Marina I found your daughter’s dolly,” or Clayton’s intrusion into Sadie’s. “Who are you,” she asks Jake after hearing the “sex tape” of Lee and Marina that Johnny so carefully set up.

11.22.63, while not on par with Stephen King’s book, is pretty damned close. It has the same feeling that the original does. That outsider feel, the idea that the whole thing is going to collapse even while Epping is managing to fit in well enough to fall in love with Sadie.

Kudos to Sarah Gadon for bringing Sadie Dunhill to life so effectively that at no time do we ever doubt that James Franco’s Epping could help falling in love with this woman  so “ahead of her time.” 

The mini-series airs Mondays on Hulu. Stop by and prepare to be mesmerized by the plot, the performers and the pacing. The three Ps are doing pretty well in the entertainment stakes.

You, Me and the Apocalypse: What Happens to Idiots – Recap/Review

In You, Me and the Apocalypse: What Happens to Idiots, it is only at the end of the episode that we find out what does happen to them.

You, Me and the Apocalypse - Season 1

In You, Me and the Apocalypse: What Happens to Idiots, it is only at the end of the episode that we find out what does happen to them.  As the show opens, Leanne and Rhonda are in Arkansas, hiding in a boat with the tattooed supremacist pointing a gun at the owner’s bollocks. He lies to this verse’s version of Tommy Lee Jones (as in The Fugitive) which is, in this post apocalyptic world, a black female cop standing on a bridge. This  could be seen as a homage of sorts to the 1993 Harrison Ford vehicle.

A few short states over, Virginia, Rhonda’s son Spike is still Ariel’s prisoner and the kid learns the hard way, at the beginning of the episode and later, that Ariel is not all he claimed to be.  Father Jude is forced to have the Church’s “spin doctor” Father Christophe (Anthony Howell) become part of his small team to search out the messiah. 

Jamie finds the Scottish sanitarium where his birth mother is being held and after a little creative thinking, he and Dave get in. Sister Celine (Gaia Scodellaro) is quite taken with the new priest but this soon changes when Father Jude (Rob Lowe) talks another false messiah out of taking his own life.

Meanwhile, Leanne (played with nothing less than sheer brilliance by Megan Mullally) and Rhonda (Jenna Fischer) end up at the “Blue Alligator” where the first order of their stay is a shower, for the librarian. 

Ariel learns that the comet is real, Jude climbs up to speak with the poor man who plans to jump at 5 pm and the Sister realizes that there is much more to the priest than she initially thought. Father Jude risks his life to speak to the “jumper” without having any idea of what to do. As this drama plays out, the actions shifts to Rhonda, Jamie and Ariel and back again.

 You, Me and the Apocalypse - Season 1
Sister Celine and Father Jude, Messiah part II

Back at the  Blue Alligator as Rhonda asks about razors for her “Sasquatch legs” Leanne  questions whether the place still has the  “dirty channels” on TV. They then spy a man peeking in the bathroom window.

Leanne chases the man down, who turns out to be a teenage boy and he lies to Rhonda about calling the cops. After asking about the adult channels, “Channel 60 through 84…So I hear,” Leanne goes to take care of her feminine release issues.

Back to Father Jude and the jumper;  he reveals a very poignant backstory to the “messiah” and apart from stopping  the man from jumping in front of the world to his death, Jude also turns Sister Celine into a fan. The sister also realizes that Father Christophe is a phony out for his own glory.

Ironically, after Jude saves the “false messiah” the man then “saves” Jude as he helps the priest to get off the tower.

Jamie (Mathew Baynton) and Dave (Joel Frye) get into the sanitarium after Jamie steals a guard’s entry badge at the pub. The two find “Mary” and as Jamie questions his mum, Dave finds a receipt for Mary’s room and care. It is paid by Claire Rooney, which Dave discovers is an anagram for Ariel Conroy. 

Dave: “See? I told you all those years of watching Countdown would pay off.”

Sidenote: Although it goes without saying that we know the real reason Dave was tuning into Countdown; Carol Vorderman

As the two begin to sneak out with Mary a doctor comes into the common room and Jamie pretends to be from the agency. A comic interlude takes place with the doctor, a guard, Dave, Jamie and a medical suppository.

Rhonda bonds with the teenager over a video game and she reveals a touching backstory about how she and Spike got so close. After losing the game, the police arrive under US Marshall Tess Carter (Nina Sosanya) and the cops order the librarian to give herself up as they already have Leanne. 

Rhonda comes out with a gun pointed at the teen’s head and gets Leanne released. Leanne quickly takes control of the situation and is clearly having the time of her life.  All the cops are put in their vehicles; in the trunk, and Carter is taken away with Rhonda and Leanne.

Leanne: “We’re gonna play a little game called: ‘Leanne says.'”

You, Me and the Apocalypse - Season 1
“Leanne says…”

As she puts the police in the vehicles Leanne spouts a constant stream of one-liners that are truly hilarious.

Behind all the action, are Sutton’s agents who take a blood sample from Jude. Ariel’s assistant, Molby (Bruce Mackinnon) learns not only about the comet being real, but about the existence of the bunker under Slough. Molby also learns about who is responsible for filling the bunker with 15 survivors.

The assistant excitedly explains to Ariel that Spike’s uncle, Scotty McNeil is one of two men behind the plan.  Molby is so euphoric over this discovery that, despite being an Atheist, declares that “there just might be a God.”

You, Me and the Apocalypse - Season 1
Spike’s Uncle and the general

After his assistant passes on the information, Ariel goes to release Spike (Fabian McCallum).  Molby starts naming a long list of family members he wants to save. As they reach Spike’s room, Ariel shoots his former assistant in the head, rather messily, and informs his teenage captor:

“This is what happens to idiots, Spike. Don’t be an idiot.”

Once again, all the players  appear to be connected to one another. Although the Scotty/Spike connection is not as “convoluted” as the other character tie-ins and threads in this black comedy.  Still, we can suspend our disbelief rather easily as each person in this series plays their roles with truth and the threads are all  very well done.

You, Me and the Apocalypse has its comedy in the writing and the storyline.

This episode; What Happens to Idiots, allows Leanne (Mullally) and Father Jude (Lowe) to rock it to the rafters with Mullally just edging past Lowe with most memorable comedic  moment. Lowe’s Jude, however, wins the “bringing a tear to the eye” contest easily.

Although one did expect, at any moment for Jude to confess to Celine that his “backstory” was made up. This did not happen and another mystery has been added to the mix when it is revealed that Sutton (Dame Diana Rigg) wants her minions to collect blood and not the individual.

Ariel’s killing of Molby wins the “We could see that one coming” award of the episode.

You, Me and the Apocalypse - Season 1
What happens to idiots? They get shot…

You, Me and the Apocalypse airs Thursdays on NBC, tune in for a blackly comic look at the end of the world.

Lucifer: Review Manly Whatnots

Lucifer, in Manly Whatnots, continues to chronicle the changes in the absent ruler of Hell

Lucifer103B_0024_hires1

Lucifer, in Manly Whatnots, continues to chronicle the changes in the absent  ruler of Hell.Chloe Decker (Lauren German) is coming ever closer to realizing that Lucifer Morningstar is not like other men, remembrances of being shot along with memories of things that do not add up, have the detective asking questions.

While Morningstar (Tom Ellis) is still obsessed with getting Decker to sleep with him, she is still impervious to his influence. This frustrates and confuses the former ruler of Hell.  It is apparent that Lucifer does not just lust after Chloe but that he cares about her as well, this may be the reason his powers of persuasion are not effective.

Just as Lucifer is still fascinated by Chloe, so too is her daughter Trixie (Scarlett Estevez), much to his consternation.  After showing up uninvited to make Decker breakfast, her estranged husband, “Detective Douche” (Kevin Alejandro) shows up and is none too pleased to find Lucifer there while his “wife” is wearing only a towel.

The mystery this week deals with a corn-fed girl next door who has gone missing after attending a Player party.  Lucifer becomes a partner in the investigation as his name in on the invitation only event’s list of attendees.  Player is a “pickup artist” seminar where the owner Carver Cruz (Christopher Marquette) teaches the world’s inept men to how “bed Betties.” 

The missing girl, Lindsay (Bailey Noble) had travelled to LA with her brother and after meeting Cruz, disappears.  At the event, Carver gives his spiel to the punters until Lucifer stands up and questions his advice. 

Sidenote: Lucifer manages to get a bit of Brit slang into the show when he calls Cruz “a wanker.” This may be an ad-lib by Ellis or a bit of fun by the show’s writers. 

Complaining that he has all the attributes that Cruz is teaching yet Chloe will still not have sex with him, he manages to get them both kicked out of the event.  Later, they show up at the “after” party and Carver pulls a gun explaining that “someone” has kidnapped Lindsay Jolson, whom he loves.

Manly Whatnots then has Lucifer interceding on Cruz’s behalf  to get his kidnapped  girl back.  At the ransom drop, it is revealed that Lindsay and her brother set up Cruz as an act of revenge. As Lucifer goes to punish the girl for her actions, Chloe notices the “change” where Morningstar’s visage changes to that of a scary-looking monster versus charming chappy.

While all the investigations and Lucifer’s angsty reactions to Chloe’s rejections are occurring,  Amenadiel (D.B. Woodside) drops by to have a tête-à-tête with Maze Lesley-Ann Brandt that turns into physical combat. The bemused angel tells Mazikeen:

“You can’t hurt me little demon.”

While this may be true, Mazikeen can “affect” the angel. She proves this by “sexily” licking Amenadiel’s lip and the effect is obvious. He feels something and it concerns him. Clearly, Lucifer being away from Hell has caused more things to change than just Morningstar’s personality.

On top of Amenadiel’s reaction, Morningstar discovers that it is  not just his attitude that has changed. During the episode climax, where he starts to punish Lindsay, he pushes Chloe to shoot him.

Earlier in the episode, Lucifer repeatedly tells Decker that he cannot be harmed by bullets (flicking the cop on the arm to show how little it hurts). When Chloe shoots Morningstar not only does it hurt him, but he bleeds as well. After this incident, Lucifer is concerned as he knows this should not happen.

When he returns to Lux and Maze learns of the injury, she  is concerned as well.

This adaptation of a DC spinoff offers characters from the verse that are a bit “watered down” from the source. Amenadiel is not nearly so violent or aggressive and Lucifer’s powers seem to be mainly that of persuading someone to follow their innermost desires.  The one constant is that the absentee ruler of Hell does not actually encourage humans to sin, i.e. be evil.

Lucifer also punishes those who are bad rather than collect their souls as “advertised” in literature.  Tom Ellis still manages to make Morningstar an excellent combination of charming annoyance, mainly due to his character’s overwhelming confidence.

German is allowing her character to arc satisfactorily as she slowly starts to accept that the owner of Lux may not be human.

A word of praise for  Tim Matheson, who has proven time and again how good he is in front of the camera in  a variety of roles in his prolific career, who helmed this episode.  Matheson shows that his equally impressive bona fides as director is, without question,  top notch as well.

It could be said that so far, each episode of Lucifer  has a moral for the viewer by the end of the show. This week, it appears to be that  “two wrongs do not make a right.”

Lucifer airs Mondays on FOX. Tune in to see where this dark DC adaptation goes next.