UnREAL: Season 2 Finale: Friendly Fire in the Hole (Review)

Quinn and her minions in UnREAL

The season finale of UnREAL was an explosion, or an implosion,  waiting to happen. Last week’s “sh*t storm” took Yael out of the running. The disgraced contestant still planned to tear Quinn and Rachel’s playhouse down though. Unfortunately Wasserman gets his toys taken away and he is escorted off the set.  There was nothing friendly about this episode. With the impending explosion about to go off any minute, it could have been titled, “Fire in the Hole.”

UnREAL has upped the stakes.  Last season ended with Mary jumping off the roof, it was murder plain and simple.  This year the show ends with what appears to be a double homicide instigated by Jeremy (Josh Kelly).  (This lovelorn ex of Rachel will do anything to redeem himself, including killing the two people who could destroy her.)

Coleman continues to sink to new depths.  The former showrunner has managed to become an even bigger douche.  His plan to shuffle Rachel off to an asylum while he took over was pretty bad. He now intends to destroy her and Quinn with his shocking documentary.

Unfortunately, since Quinn has taken his source material it will be difficult to put the thing together.  Although, as Rachel found out, his award winning documentary was a lie. He hired actors to play the “real” subjects in his film.

Throughout the Wasserman vs Goldberg storyline, Quinn orchestrates an “Everlasting” finale that is guaranteed to blow up the ratings. She tells both the finalists that Darius has chosen them. Quinn also relates that he will be marrying them on live television.

Both families are invited to attend the finale screening.  Quinn then attempts to screw over Chet and Tiffany on air using Yael as the bearer of ill tidings.  She learns that Chet has been sleeping with  the finalist via the anklet he gave her. It is, she tells a bemused Chet, his “signature move.”

Wasserman sneaks back on the set and arranges to have Yael tell the world she is an investigative reporter on the live finale.  She will expose the show’s murder of Mary.  Jeremy has been included in this plan. He then learns of Rachel’s rape when she was 12. He is horrified to learn that her mother tried to cover it up.

Darius is fed up with the entire thing. Even Romeo has trouble getting him to cooperate. The “live marriage” is sprung on him at the last minute and he is furious.  Rachel, in an attempt at controlling Yael locks her in a room and has security take Coleman away from the live set.

Goldberg also calls Ruby and asks her to appear on the show as a surprise guest.  On the Everlasting set, Tiffany (Kim Matula) and Chantal (Meagan Tandy) both turn up in their wedding dresses.  The women walk up the aisle which is separated by a long screen, both have family seated along the walkway. 

Quinn is in the production room waiting for Yael to provide an explosive moment when Ruby (Denée Benton) arrives. Darius is pleased and proposes to her.  She turns him down but says that she loves him. The two leave in the “Just Married” limousine. It is a happy ending. 

Meanwhile, Jeremy is guilt stricken and he apologizes to Rachel profusely. He is furious with her mother for covering up the rape and for drugging her. Rachel tells him that is it too late for them.  Jeremy tells her he would do anything to protect her.

Yael and Coleman drive off the set in the “Everlasting” car. Jeremy calls Chet out of the production office. The two men come back in.  Jeremy explains that Yael and Coleman left to “break” their story to CNN. He then says they do not have to worry about the couple. Turning to Rachel he says, “I told you I would do anything to protect you.”

Over the news they see footage of the “Everlasting” car crumpled up at the bottom of a canyon. The episode ends with Rachel, Jeremy, Chet and Quinn on chaise lounges. All are sitting  in a row, their lives are now inexorably linked to a potential double murder.

This was a brilliant episode. All the machinations by Quinn and Rachel to  make the finale  a hit and prevent Team Yaelman from destroying the show and the two women running it were impressive.

Quinn in her bid to make “one of these b*tches bleed” on national television was a little frightening.  Still, at her very core, Quinn is touched by the “true love” found by Darius and Ruby on the show. Her expression speaks volumes and in that moment, one feels a deep sympathy for this driven woman.

Despite all of her constant disclaimers, Quinn wants love as well. She knows, however, that  it is beyond her reach. It is fitting that she and Chet are together to witness Darius’ triumph.

UnREAL leaves on a murderous note.  But before the end credits roll we have seen the “real” Quinn underneath that powerful exterior. We learn that  Rachel really is the master of “Everlasting.” There is no doubt that Wasserman is a pig, even if he is dead, and that he and Yael make the perfect couple.

When Emmy time comes rolling around there should be gongs for Constance Zimmer and Shiri Appleby. These two powerful actors rocked their performances and proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that strong female characters are not just mesmerizing to watch but are damned sexy as well.


Maya & Marty: Season Finale – Emma Stone Rocks It (Review)

 Maya & Marty - Season 1

The season finale of Maya & Marty featured more of the same in terms of overly long comedic sketches.  Although it was nice to hear the  Kenan Thompson lyric in the closing song. He sings about the show being “Maya, Marty & Kenan” something we suggested last week. The series did  end on a bit of a high note with guests Emma Stone and Sean Hayes.

Stone first appeared in the faux commercial for cleaner. The skit featured Maya and Kenan and  not Martin Short.  Another one of those overly long gags that did so for a reason.  Almost as annoying as the real adverts that repeatedly give the number to call,  it finished with a fade to sepia and an allusion to The Twilight Zone.

Maya & Marty - Season 1
Emma Stone

The next gag featured Sean Hayes as noir gay detective Burt Cassidy.  As Maya channelled her inner Kathleen Turner Hayes spouting rapid fire narration. The gag was amusing but not overtly funny. On the bright side, it worked well as a parody and was reminiscent of those old fast paced (machine gun dialogue delivery) Howard Hawks films like “His Girl Friday” with a Sam Spade touch.

Maya & Marty - Season 1
Sean Hayes

Carmen Miranda and The Ghost Interns:

*A note from the reviewer. The word of this episode of Maya & Marty is “Bug.” *

In both the Carmen Miranda sketch and the Interns, bug was used as part of the routine.  The Carmen Miranda routine has Maya  swallowing one, after Kenan’s sailor mentions having bugs.

Maya & Marty - Season 1
Kenan Thompson, Maya Rudolph and Mikey Day

The next sketch was the Ghostly Interns. Kenan’s office worker can see the spirits. Martin Short’s manager cannot.  Throughout the routine both Stone and Day, as the dead spirits use the word bug repeatedly, “Sorry to bug.”   There were some issues with the lighting cues but overall the skit amused.

Standout moments were Short maintaining character as both Stone and Day spew red goo on his face and “blub” in his ears.  The final twist was cute.

Maya & Marty - Season 1
Emma Stone, Martin Short, Mikey Day

Up next was the highlight of the episode (if not the entire season) where Stone and Rudolph sing “Call your Boyfriend” while playing butter tubs. The routine was inspired, apparently,  by a YouTube video of three Swedish girls playing butter tubs.

Maya goes on to explain that she has practiced this since seeing the video and that Emma will help her to perform the song.  What follows is brilliant, fun and clever.  To enjoy what may be the best moment on Maya & Marty, head to the end of this review and watch the video of “Call Your Boyfriend.”

(On a sidenote: While watching this little musical number the first thought that springs to mind is this:  How many takes were required to get this one right?  Judging from the look on Maya’s face, either a lot, or they managed to nail it in one.)

Maya & Marty - Season 1
Steve Martin

The cowboy skit proved that Steve Martin can still strut his musical stuff, a’la King Tut, with no problem.  The main problem with the sketch was  TTMS – too much Martin Short.  We adore Martin but he was too…too.

Short then appears as Jiminy Glick to “interview” Kelly Ripa and once again this is the least amusing portion of the series. If Maya and Marty come back for a second season, please lay this character to rest.

The last skit had Thompson and Day as hikers being lectured by Rudolph’s Earth Mother and Short’s Old Man of the Sea. There is a bit of wire work and,  true to form, the sketch went on far too long.

Maya & Marty - Season 1

The final number had a Mardi Gras feel to it; all graffiti and multiple dancers, and it was something of a relief to see the series finally limp to a finish. The comedy never quite worked in many of the skits and the ones that did amuse went on far too long.

On a positive note, Emma Stone rocked it in her appearances.  This oscar nominated actress is a performer who can seemingly do anything. If you have any doubt as to the veracity of her endless talent, watch the “tub” song below.

Hunters: New Holy Ground – Season Finale Was Confusing (Review)

 Hunters - Season 1

In this episode of Hunters Finnerman is dead, Truss shot her last week,  and Jackson sets up her body to look as though Hunters have killed her.  Regan calls her boss and relays that McCarthy is willing to tell them where the launch site is in exchange  for immunity.  The renegade Hunter says he will show them, versus tell them, and he explains that the nuclear fallout will be immense.

“Holy New Ground” beings with a lot of tension in the ETU between Jackson, Briggs and Regan. McCarthy reveals to Flynn that Abby did not want to rejoin the Hunters.  He tells the agent that all she really wanted was “to be with you.”

Down in Mexico at the launch site, Musa is is having problems healing. He refuses the medication that Liana has been giving him. He goes to feed and it only helps a little. Liana comes to see Brother Four and he refuses another injection.  The two have an altercation and he picks her up by the throat.

Liana injects him and Musa releases her. She kills one of Musa’s “loyal” feelers and leaves. Abby comes in and the Hunters’ leader tells her that Liana is an Exalted. He explains that she  is trying to kill him and stop the launch.

Flynn sends Emme to Canada to stay with an aunt and get her away from the fallout if they cannot stop the launch.  Truss and Flynn talk about Abby.  Jackson tells Flynn that she did not know about the nuclear fallout.

McCarthy speaks with Regan in the back of the vehicle.  After telling the Hunter agent that her mother; Liana, is strong he begins “clicking” at her. Regan is not amused. “Hey, lay off that lizard sh*t or I will put a gag on you.”  McCarthy lets out a few more clicks as he looks at her.

(McCarthy gets the  best lines in this final episode. Talking earlier about Regan and the Hunters – and her family – he references The Lion King .  The exiled Hunter mentions the “Circle of strife” and impishly calls out, Hakuna f****ing Matata.  His mocking delivery and never-ending good humor puts McCarthy in the role of semi comic relief. once again.)

At the launch site, Briggs tells Truss that they should kill McCarthy whether he has told the truth or not.  Jackson says no. He then talks to McCarthy and there appears be a meeting of the minds. As Truss leaves to start the mission  the Hunter quotes a line from S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders“Stay gold, Ponyboy.”

Abby is watching the Hunters board the rocket that is meant to make them to Saturn. Flynn watches from a knoll and Abby spots the glare from his binoculars.  As he looks she appears to look right back at him.

Truss readies his team.

Briggs goes to where McCarthy is in cuffs.  The two talk and McCarthy tells Briggs that he is “takeout”  (takeaway). Briggs ignores Jackson’s order from earlier and shoots McCarthy with two sonic pistols.  His actions stop the Hunter before he can finish his sentence. It sounds like McCarthy was pulling some sort of trick after all.

His face shattered, McCarthy slumps sideways against the van wall and murmurs a few clicks before he stops moving.

At the launch site the team move in and Jackson learns of McCarthy’s death. Briggs turns up and confronts Truss about Finnerman and the Hunters.  Jackson covers the murder and tells Briggs to start his portion of the mission.

Regan distracts a guard. She and Flynn then  infiltrate the base. Abby catches Liana sabotaging the launch.   Regan’s mother admits to being an Exalted  and that taking on human form was never an accident. She also calls Musa a traitor. Liana and Abby fight.

Abby defeats Liana. Carroll finds a very sick Musa and his last feeler. The Hunter Leader  tells Flynn that his scar is a sign.  Abby is hunted by Liana who tracks her down. She begins to shoot her when Regan shows up and shoots her mother.

Musa tells Flynn that the Exalted will destroy the planet and that he sent Abby to look after him. Flynn and Musa fight and he kills Musa. Abby arrives and saves Flynn from the Feeler. Briggs cannot disable all the nuclear devices.

Truss orders everyone to leave. He also tells his  team to leave the Hunters in the ship. Briggs drives off and leaves Regan to die. Flynn drags Abby away from the trapped Hunters and Liana tells Regan that Musa sabotaged the launch.

Liana talks Regan into joining her. Truss, Briggs. Abby and Flynn all depart the area as a mushroom cloud fills sky.

Hunters  has been been a grim telling of aliens among us. It has been, at times, a fairly difficult series to like. The final episode had  enough double dealings in the Hunter camp that  things got a little confusing. One thing for certain is that Liana is an Exalted which must mean that Regan is as well.

Hunters has been tense and pretty entertaining despite the sometimes bleak nature of the show. . The only humor in the series  came from McMahon’s character which helped this  dour journey.  The series ended on an obligatory cliff hanger, of sorts, and it is not known whether Hunters will be back or not.


Dark Matter Two Hour Season Finale (Preview)

Will Wheaton, Alex Mallari Jr and Mark Bendavid
Fans of Dark Matter who have been tuning in each week, and/or binge watching via Hulu, will be stunned by events that take place over the course of the season finale. Two hours of this exciting verse in one sitting that will leave the viewer gasping as the end credits roll and asking a collective question or several. MikesFilmTalk has seen the finale and part of the price of admission, for those who have been allowed to “pre-view” the season finale footage, is to avoid  spoilers so not much can be revealed…yet.

While this does make it difficult to go too in depth on events, some things are admissible. For instance, the presence of Will Wheaton as guest “villain” has been mentioned by at least one other website, TIBS (ThreeIfBySpace.NET) who do a riff on the beard that Wheaton’s character sports in the first half of the two hour finale. So it is acceptable to mention that “that kid from Star Trek: The Next Generation” is the guest big bad.

Preview recap: Two learns more than she wants about her beginnings, One and Three still do not trust one another, Five learns something that upsets her deeply, Four proves he trusts no one and Six plays protector when Five reveals how afraid she is. The Android shows just how much her program is flawed and Calchek may or may not have set up the crew of the Raza yet again.

In another one of those nods to the science fiction genre, we have Wheaton as what seems like the kindly puppet master (maker?)  aka kidnapped scientist, who the team are sent to “rescue.” Alas, things are not as they seem and it is soon all hands on deck as the crew of the Raza fight for their very existence.

As promised by show creator/executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, a lot is revealed in the last episode of the season as in every episode building up to the finale. For whatever reason, the last two episodes have been slapped together so a lot more is discovered while simultaneously asking new questions.

As this is a preview and not a review or recap, things can only be looked at in the vaguest sense. (As mentioned above.) So Two learns about her origins, but not too much or, more importantly, why. Alex (Wheaton) may be the welcoming committee but he is no more the man behind the curtain than he is the chap who is really in charge.

In these last two episodes we learn just how brave Five is and a lot more about her abilities. There are some disturbing things brought to light and Android does something very surprising.

Thus endeth the short recap/preview.

This series has been top notch in not only peeling back layers for each mysterious character in the show but also in keeping just enough back to make the viewer  return for more. Each member of the crew has secrets and the season has slowly exposed them. There are, however,  a number of things that still remain hidden. There are also those nods and winks to other works in the genre.

One thing is certain, Five learns something that shakes her faith in another crew member and this unsettling information is weighing on her mind. Although what is apparent from the moment things go awry, the trust factor has been damaged with more of the Raza crew than just the youngest member of the team.

Five’s backstory has not yet been revealed and now, with the surprise ending of Dark Matter, there is now another character whose history may be a little different than originally shown in the show. The series zooms out of thriller territory and lands firmly in mystery as the finale becomes a cross between Ten Little Indians and a very large “closed room” scenario.

There are still enough comic moments to keep things from getting too heavy  (But not too many.) and there is still that Mass Effect 2 thing going on. Fans of the show will enjoy this last look at season one. Some characters, despite the new “suspicions” continue to act in character…except for one that is.

Zoie Palmer fans will love her performance and as the Android, Palmer does more than touch the viewer’s heart, she keeps them on the edge of their seat for an impressive amount of time. Wheaton as villain also stands out. (Only Will can manage to be so “snotty” in his villainy and yet unsurprisingly, turn out to be a little “b*tch” when things get tough.)

*Sidenote* It is nice to see David Hewlett back as “handler” Talbor Calchek. There can never be too much Hewlett.

Dark Matter airs on Friday as part of SyFy Friday and the season finale will air on August 28. Prepare to be amazed at the end of the first season. Readers of MikesFilmTalk can expect an interview with show creator Joseph Mallozzi and, if the time zone Gods play along, another interview with Four, aka Alex Mallari Jr. talk will be of the finale and the verse. Not necessarily in that order…

Killjoys: Escape Velocity Season Finale Review

Dutch, D'Av and Johnny Three Monks So, the last episode of Killjoys, season one, Escape Velocity, shows us that, if nothing else, Khylen was telling the truth about level six. We also learn that, despite his claims to the contrary, Dutch’s old tutor is not a good guy, no white hat here at all. Before the end of the episode, Dutch meets another level six, D’Avin meets Khlyen and Johnny meets Pawter’s mother.

This last look at Killjoys, while the SyFy jury is still out on whether the show will be renewed or not, brings a lot of threads together. It still manages to leave much unanswered as well as bringing up new information which will hopefully be addressed in the next season. (If there is one.)

Memorable Moments:

Carleen: “Gonna be a long night, I don’t know about you, but I’m getting hammered…” Great almost last words from the gal who gets her throat cut by Khlyen. It seems that her last word was actually “please,” as the level six begins to make her final moments on Westerly painful as possible. Khlyen as boogeyman works very well, this guy is more than scary and cold blooded.

Johnny Jacobi: “I’m freezing my monk-junk” (“Eweh!” Is Dutch’s response.) This scene shows a John that is not afraid to step up and stand out. His “And the roots grew” blessing for the “soon to be doomed” sister of the Rat King, was lump inducing. Despite the fact that this mumbo jumbo only exists in the Killjoy verse, Ashmore makes it sound real and moving. Great stuff…Uncle.

Delle Seyah Kendry: Mayko Nguyen was brilliant as the conniving (Lovestruck?) Nine who flirts with Dutch at the voting ceremony while simultaneously staging her “Nine coup.” Nguyen is spot on as the Seyah with a devious not so hidden political agenda. The fact that she also knows, and is working with Khlyen, speaks volumes of the evil undercurrents in this world. Best line? Cooing seductively to Dutch, “My little killjoy…” sees Johnny, “Oh, you came too.”

Dutch: Meeting another level six at the voting ceremony. This steroidal mutant kicks the leader of the killjoys ragged and until John puts a bullet in the guys head, looked ready to send Dutch to Killjoy heaven. This RAC urban myth, is not a rumor, but real. The guy, who obviously missed the memo from fellow level six member Khlyen, tells Dutch as he begins to strangle her to death, that she never stood a chance. Presumably because he has been “upgraded.”

Hills: Frank Moore gives a command performance and has one stand out moment in Pree’s bar. This character was in the periphery throughout the season and after setting up Alvis as scapegoat as well as the excuse the company needed to blow Old Town off the map, had time to let Dutch go and toast his lineage before being blown off his feet.

Alvis: Morgan Kelly rocks it as Alvis. The Uncle tells Dutch that the prayer beads are just that. Apparently, despite the fact that Alvis is one of the “good guys” monks are not afraid to lie. Later the scene where he uses the beads to escape his own “personal” execution and his cell is brilliant. D’Av may not be too keen on the masochistic monk, “Freaky little dude,” he says at one point, but as an Uncle of the faith and revolutionary, Alvis is a great character.

The episode runs two distinct threads. Khlyen searching for, and finding, his stolen property and the Nine plot. As Dutch is put out of harm’s way yet again by her old tutor’s influence, Old Town is doomed. Seyah Kendry uses the DNA weapon to blast most of the Nines out of existence, and their lineage…if any. This was her plan all along.

Standout Moment:

Dutch is fighting the level six. He calls her Khlyen’s pet and says he is disappointed. The two fight and Dutch is losing. The level six is tough, he survives a long pin being shoved in his eye by the killjoy leader. “Don’t be ashamed,” he says as he bends down to lick Dutch’s face, “You’re just a girl. I’m level six.”

A shot rings out and blood spatters onto Dutch’s face.

“I’m Johnny Jacobis. Stop licking my partner,” John says as he approaches the now immobile level six. “You think guns can kill those things,” Johnny asks Dutch. She takes John’s gun and fires four rounds into the level six. “I don’t know,” she says.

Honorable Mention: D’avin has been soundly defeated by Khlyen. As he lays bloody and beaten on the floor, Khlyen leans over and tells him about Dutch, “She needs me back in her life,” he raises D’Av’s head, “to protect her from the mediocrity of you.” D’Avin responds by spitting in the level six’s face. This has to be one of the best insults ever. “The mediocrity of you…” Ouch.

Not only do we learn the significance of red 17 but we find out that Arkyn is not a desolate moon something lives there after all. D’Av wakes up after his fight with Khlyen and the first thing he sees is Fancy Lee on the bed next to his. He stumbles out and sees Westerly and Leith. Men in plastic biohazard suits come out and drag the elder Jacobi back inside the tall building with a giant red 17 on its side situated on the Arkyn moon.

Show creator Michelle Lovretta , who is also the show creator for Lost Girl wrote this episode and it shows. Everything comes together yet leaves much unanswered a clever and brilliant end to a great show.

Before the end credits roll, Pree leaves his beloved bar and boards the ship with Johnny and Dutch. Pawter Simms opts to stay with Alvis and head to the bunkers where, as they enter, Alvis tells her, “Welcome home doctor.” D’Avin wakes up in the big red 17 tower on Arkyn. He is being prepped for something, the implication is that he will be made into a level six and so will Fancy Lee. Kendra has wiped out all her opposition on the Nines and Old Town is being bombed into oblivion.

There is much left to learn. Who was Dutch’s husband, that Khlyen admits to killing, and what did Pree mean in his short exchange with Dutch. As they head into the tunnels beneath the bar, Pree hesitates. “It’s just a bar,” Dutch tells him. “Oh honey, you know that’s not true,” he tells her. While this could be the man mourning his livelihood, it sounds like Pree is much more than the sum of his parts.

Kudos to the cast and the writers, in this case writer, who put together this episode. Until SyFy steps up to obligate to a second season, fans will have to wait anxiously to see if we ever learn the secrets behind Killjoys.