The Golden Globes, Hugh Laurie and Meryl Streep Two Heroes (OpEd)

Meryl Streep at the Golden Globes

Last night, purely by accident, I watched the vast majority of The Golden Globes. I rarely watch awards ceremonies anymore. They invariably annoy, what with enforced time schedules that force recipients to rush acceptance thank you speeches and hosts that are not all that funny.

(There are exceptions, however, Chris Rock is and always will be “rolling in the floor” funny. And yes, I am referring to Mr. Fallon and his flat impression of Chris…)

Nothing really stood out, until Hugh Laurie made his oh so dry joke about being on the last ever broadcast of The Golden Globes. He too, like Meryl Streep, mentioned the foreign press, referred to the president-elect and the strained relationship between Hollywood and the orange man who will be sworn in on January 20th.

Laurie’s remarks were on point.  Sadly his dry English wit was lost on a few folks. Laurie is a very funny chap who made his point about Donald Trump via humor.

Meryl Streep, however, did not ape Jimmy Fallon or Hugh Laurie she got straight to the point.  Zeroing in on the most detestable thing about this country’s soon-to-be new leader, she let Trump have it with both barrels and did not even need to mention his name.

The reaction, which everyone knew was coming,  was swift and childish.  Trump’s followers reacted by saying that “overpaid celebrities” should stay out of politics.

All this would be fine and good if they practiced what they preach.  Ms. Streep is a very talented performer, hardly anyone in the trade can master accents like Meryl or completely inhabit a part like she can. Her celebrity status is from years of hard graft, learning her trade and art while fine tuning her performance continuously.

Trump’s only real talent seems to be the ability to disappear when his employees need paying. Although it could be said that his other talents include going bankrupt, lying and tweeting out his nether region…

Granted, Trump is himself something of a  celebrity or “star.” Reality television made the man a household name and reality TV, and the networks who continue to produce this tripe, can also be held accountable for grooming the American public into believing that these odious people actually have some sort of validity.

Regardless of the responses from Trump and his deluded, and disturbing, supporters, both Meryl Streep and Hugh Laurie were two of the heroes who took last night’s opportunity to take a closer look at the new president elect without the racist, misogynistic, and avaricious glasses that his proponents wear.

The disturbing news that Trump is aping Adopt Hitler’s first moves is not the first sign that this individual cares nothing for the country he is about to lead. As Meryl Streep pointed out, the man is a bully who is  surrounding himself with likeminded people.

While Ms. Streep pointed out the vileness  of what Trump did to a reporter during his march to the white house, she neglected to mention the fate of bullies in general. They may well bluster and use their power to run roughshod over those less fortunate, in this case the constituents of the United States, but most of these disgusting power mad animals do, eventually, get their comeuppance.

Dictators, something that Trump clearly aspires to be, do not fare well in the long run.

Hitler, supposedly, committed suicide, Mussolini was hung by his own people in a petrol station, Gaddafi hid in a culvert until he was found and killed, Saddam Hussein was led up a ladder and hung. Others, like Pol Pot died of “mysterious” circumstances.

Certainly there are those dictators who manage to rule for long periods of time, with little to no recriminations,  but these occur in countries where the average educational level is less than that of America.  Although, disturbingly, the US has opted to elect the snake oil salesman rather than run him out of town on a rail…

Getting back to the Golden Globes and the award’s ceremony; La La Land was the big winner of the evening. A modern musical set in Hollywood. It seems ironic that a fantasy was the real winner on the last “proper” awards program before the inauguration. (The People’s Choice Awards is a bit of a “Johnny come lately” having started in 1974, while the “Globes” have been around since 1944.)

Hollywood stars have always been the voice of conscience in this country. Somewhat ironically, however, this time the stars are warning of an evil that is not just in America’s backyard but one that will be running the country all too soon.

Supporters of Trump may be celebrating but unless they are members of the monied and privileged classes they will soon learn that there is little to celebrate.

It also bears mentioning that, via the auspices of supporting a free press, Ms. Streep took the journalistic community to task as well. Reminding the news crowd that their job is to present the truth, not to “normalize” misbehavior or to ignore the wrongs and injustices committed by those in power.

May God grant that they listen and then tell the truth.

 

Chance: Fluid Management – A Real Sh*t Show (Review)

Hugh Laurie as Eldon Chance

The season finale of Chance “Fluid Management” walks the viewer into the Blackstone meeting backwards. We start with Eldon being found alive but unconscious on the beach and end with the doctor’s life changing into a, presumably, more violent version of his old one.

At long last we learn about the life altering event that caused Jaclyn to develop her alter-ego Jackie. Along with this information comes the realization that the other psychiatrist’s murder was committed by Jackie.

Raymond cleaned the crime scene up and he too “fell” for Jaclyn/Jackie’s messed up lies and mental issues.

Other revelations include learning that Detective Hynes is, in his own way, as corrupt as Blackstone and that Carl is much more than an antiques dealer.

D can be almost be seen as a sort of violence prone Pied Piper of Hamlyn. Not only does Chance almost blindly follow the man’s advice on all things lethal, so too does Carl.

“Thing you got to love about Carl… You ask him to crash his car, he just does it… no questions, no hesitation. Let’s face it… The guy’s got balls.”

D says this to Chance, neither as a recrimination nor a reprimand, it is just a matter of fact to the big man.  There is little doubt that D trained Carl as well and he is to be joined by Eldon as another changed member of society.

Not having read the books that Chance the series is based upon, there is no indication where this will head next. At the end of this episode, Eldon brings his trainer a cheeseburger, and a malted. He also brings one for himself.

The implication being that the two will re enact what they did to Blackstone but this time it will be Hynes on the receiving end of that blade.  Eldon Chance is over his initial squeamishness and horror at the things D taught him. Just as he has accepted the facts of D and is comfortable with the knowledge that his friend and mentor is just as mentally screwed up as he is.

This is the final message of Chance. Everyone in the show suffers from some sort of mental aberration.  Jackie/Jacklyn are two sides of the same coin, a personality split caused by the death of her baby when she was a child.

Eldon has an obsessive personality and he has passed on this trait to his daughter Nicole.  D lost himself to violent fantasies that he learned to make real by researching military men who served in Iraq and Afganistan.

Raymond Blackstone was, in essence, a control freak who responded well to Jaclyn’s preprogrammed brainwashing drill. The same one she pulls on Chance later. The same one, presumably, she used on Blackstone’s predecessor.

At the end of the season, Jackie/Jaclyn has left for points unknown after revealing the truth of what really happened to her first therapist.  Eldon has returned to D to reveal that another bent cop is thinking of leaning on him for money.

The circle is still turning. This time, however, it appears that Eldon is a willing participant in the upcoming “sh*t show.”

Hugh Laurie knocks it out of the park as Dr. Eldon Chance. After years of playing Dr. Gregory House in House, the English actor can not only play an American flawlessly, he convinces all too easily as a doctor.

Ethan Suplee was the standout performer on this series. His “D” was creepy, deadly and downright un-nerving. He came close to stealing the show from his co-stars.  It is necessary to point out that Laurie clearly had no problem with this as he facilitated the actor.

Laurie also allowed Gretchen Mol the freedom needed to make her damaged dove more than believable. Mad props also go to Paul Adelstein for his portrayal of Raymond. Bad guys with this many layers are hard to pull off but the actor managed it easily.

Show creators Alexandra Cunningham and Kem Nunn really knocked this one right out of the park. This was a fascinating, gritty drama that quickly became required viewing.

Chance, based on the book by Nunn, is streaming on Hulu. Take a moment and watch this one from the start. You will be glad you did.

Cast:

Guest starring Derek Webster as Detective Newsome and Clarke Peters as Carl.

Chance: Camera Obscura – Backstory (Review)

Hugh Laurie as Eldon Chance“Camera Obscura” brings things to a head between the two men in Jackie’s (Jaclyn’s) life.  D is now back up to full strength and he coaches Eldon in close quarters combat with a three inch blade.

Raymond has Nicky and arranges a trade with Eldon for the books Jackie gave Chance. The previous episodes revealed a lot about the woman that Eldon has become infatuated with.

Jaclyn has played the victim card while manipulating the men she comes in contact with. Eldon discovered that “Jackie” is a willing prostitute in Blackstone’s brothel. She also worked as his accountant while keeping two copies of the books.

As she continues to play both men against each other, Raymond and Eldon, D continues to support Chance, despite being called out for never having been in the military.  Eldon comes close to blowing it however when he called D “Darius.”

The big man walks off but returns and promises Eldon that he will punch him in the face if there is a repeat of the offense.  Rather interestingly, the vets that D interacts with are not upset by his claims of military service.

Chance has, thus far, been a show of many colors. Not one character is what they appear to be. Eldon Chance has a checkered background. Jaclyn is revealed to be a manipulative man-eater who uses new men to take out lovers she wearies of. D is not a veteran, but a man who was sexually abused as a child.

Regardless of the facts and the secret lives of each player, one thing is certain. D is the most dangerous. He is ready, willing and able to hurt those who get in his way. D has also managed to turn Chance into a more violent version of himself.

Without the big man’s help, Blackstone would have easily destroyed Eldon. This latest episode proves just how far Eldon has come and with the flashbacks revealing more about Jackie and Raymond’s backstory how much the crooked cop has changed.

The implication is that Blackstone was pretty much toeing the line until he met Jackie. Raymond has become more of a predator because of Jackie and not in spite of her.

It is noteworthy that Jackie returns voluntarily to Raymond. This move insures the release of Eldon’s daughter. The act itself is suspect. Jaclyn clearly hopes to gain something with this selfless act.

Chance almost backs out of the gameplan that D works out.  Once Nicky is returned, Eldon wants to hand over the books without killing Raymond, despite knowing that the other man will never let him alone.

Chance tries to back out. He panics when he sees the detective with his gun and Raymond moves to close the distance between them. The episode ends with Eldon starting to make his move with a look of scared determination on his face.

Whether he can survive this encounter with Blackstone remains to be seen.

The series airs Wednesdays on Hulu.

Cast:

Chance: The Unflinching Spark – Shocker (Review)

Hugh Laurie as Eldon Chance

Chance: “The Unflinching Spark”  sees everything fall apart for Eldon.  The episode picks up right after the accident. Not only does Chance find out that Jaclyn has been playing him, but his daughter seems to have inherited some of his mental issues.

Raymond did not die from the knife wound and he is in hospital recovering from the knife that D put in his chest. Eldon learns that the other man killed by D was not a cop.

At the home front, Chance questions his daughter about the boy she is supposed to be stalking. Nicole downplays the incident and says her former boyfriend’s parents are over protective.

Eldon is let go from his recent job as psychiatric expert when the file containing information about his breakdown is delivered to his employer. Raymond is obviously behind the gesture.

Jaclyn arrives at Eldon’s office and they talk. She tells him that the black knight chess piece was found at a thrift store. “It reminded me of you,” she says. Later Chance will find another black knight at Raymond’s place.

The two go to his apartment and have sex. Jaclyn tells Eldon that they should not see each other again. Later he learns that Nicole lied to him about what she was doing with her ex boyfriend.

D and Eldon enter Raymond’s apartment. D plants some evidence to thrown the cop off the trail. He spray paints the symbol for vengeance on a painting. It is here that Chance finds the other chess piece.

After the break-in, he and his ex meet with the parents of the lad that Nicole is stalking. It turns out that she was obsessively sending him texts. After being blocked off his account, she then created false names so she could continue her smear campaign.

After D killed the goon outside Raymond’s bordello and then threw  the knife into Jaclyn’s husband, things have spiraled out of control.  Nicky apparently takes after her father with obsessive behavior and Raymond is clearly moving against Eldon.

Chance goes home and hears men’s voices in his apartment. He heads back downstairs and finds two more men waiting outside his building. Eldon hides in a neighbor’s apartment as the men in his flat leave.

He goes to D’s and finds the door open. As he cautiously enters the room, he stumbles over D laying on the floor. It appears that the big man is dead, killed by the same men who were waiting for Chance in his apartment.

If that is the case, then Raymond, who is in the hospital with a collapsed lung, is orchestrating the retaliation from his bed.  It looks like Jaclyn has been playing both men off one another.

The appearance of the other black knight chess piece seems to indicate, at the very least, that she lied about the thing. Chance’s reaction to finding the piece suggests he had no idea she is not genuine.

Eldon is clearly obsessed with Jaclyn so it may not matter in the end if she is not as she appears. What will matter is D’s death, if he is indeed dead.  After helping Chance escalate things against Blackstone, the doctor will be hopelessly out of his depth if D is gone.

Chance airs Wednesdays on Hulu.  Tune in and get hooked on this gripping thriller.

Cast:

Guest starring Sal Lopez as Jean-Babtiste.

Chance: A still Point in the Turning World – D (Recap/Review)

Hugh Laurie as Eldon Chance

In Chance this week Eldon steps up his surveillance on Blackstone and he pays the price for following Jaclyn and her husband into the furniture store. “A Still Point in the Turning World” has D explaining how to pump things up after he and Chance watch the dirty cop setting up his own brothel in last week’s episode.

After the two men separate Blackstone jumps Chance in the parking garage at his place of business. He gives the doctor a beating and tells him this will be the last time they talk.  As Blackstone stalks off he smashes Eldon’s smart phone with his foot.

Jean-Baptiste comes over to check on Eldon. He suggests calling the police and Chance responds that his attacker was a cop.

Eldon goes to his office and he realizes that Raymond Blackstone had been snooping in there as well.  Chance calls D and tell him they need to step things up in their surveillance of the cop. D replies that he likes Chance’s enthusiasm.

As Chance goes to leave he sees Detective Hynes in the foyer of his office. Before he can beat a hasty retreat the cop spies him. They go into Eldon’s office to talk.

Hynes wants to know why Chance wanted to look at the crime scene photos of Myra; the psychiatrist who died because she tried to help Jaclyn. The homicide detective is hoping that Chance can provide him with a lead. Eldon clearly believes that Hynes has some connection to Blackstone.

After the short meeting, Chance goes to pick up his daughter from school. He sees Nicole with a boy and asks his name.  She says, “Dad.” Eldon responds that it is a terrible name and  it will cause confusion.  (The only real attempt at levity in the episode.)

Jaclyn stops by Eldon’s place and they talk outside his building.  He reveals that Raymond paid him a visit.  They carry on their conversation inside and Nicole comes in. Jaclyn gives Chance’s daughter her scarf.

Eldon learns that Raymond is close to retirement and he tells Jaclyn that Suzanne Silver had her tires slashed and money stolen from her apartment. Before she leaves Jaclyn reveals that she knows what Jacky, her other personalty, does. She remembers it all.

Chance learns from Nicole that Jaclyn has been in his building before.  She tells her dad that Jaclyn likes him, “I can tell.”

D and Eldon meet at the antique workshop. D packs his backpack for their mission.  The two men scope out where they believe Blackstone has put his new brothel.

As the two men watch the front of Blackstone’s place, Eldon asks D if he knows of The Blue Angel or Marlene Dietrich. D says no and Chance goes on to talk of both.

Herein lies the walking dichotomy that is D. A man whose communication skills appear to be geared toward the lowest common denominator.  Not quite a “deze and doze” kind of guy but close. D seems to be on the low end of the educational scale.

Yet…

He is a man who reads…a lot. D always carries a book and, somewhat surprisingly, quotes T.S Eliot.  This episode’s title “A still Point in the Turning World” is used in a conversation with Chance by D. The line comes from Eliot’s poem Burnt Norton.

D may seem like a thinking man’s Cro-Magnon  but there are depths to him.  The big man is brutal, no mistake about that, but he is also intelligent and crafty.

After they confirm the building they have been watching is Blackstone’s they go around back and see the cop. D sets up how the evening will go. Eldon is to park his car at the park and wait for D.

Chance reluctantly acts as D’s wheelman. While he waits impatiently, he reads his own book. D returns, he is sweaty and slightly out of breath. He tells Eldon that the mission was compromised and they need to leave immediately.

Eldon is flustered and becomes more unfocused when D says he did not kill Blackstone, or at least he thinks he has not.  Rattled,  Chance pull out in front of two cars. One misses their vehicle and the other one runs into the two men’s car.

As in anything like this, the best laid plans have come unstuck. The idea behind the park was that the two could escape the area unnoticed.  D has the information they wanted but Blackstone discovered D in his car, apparently, and the big man took the detective down.

Both men are in Eldon’s car when it collides with the other vehicle and the screen goes black.

Chance keeps getting better and better. Laurie’s character is becoming darker and it seems that he may actually turn violent at one point, after being tutored by D of course.

The series airs Tuesdays on Hulu. Tune in and see where this dark thriller heads next.

Cast:

Guest starring Sal Lopez as Jean-Babtiste.