Deadbeat: Season Three: El Caboose – Dead Funny (Review)

Kal Penn, Tyler Labine episode two of Deadbeat

Tyler Labine is back as Pac, aka Kevin Pacalioglu, the medium in “Deadbeat” for season three of the Hulu comedy that makes fun of seeing the dead. The first episode, “El Caboose” features “Napoleon Dynamite” actor Efren Ramirez (Pedro) as the ghost of a drug mule who dies on his “maiden voyage.”

It also introduces Pac and the audience to Clyde (Kal Penn), this season’s replacement for Cat Deeley (who played Camomile in the first two seasons) who will become a real game changer for the down at his luck Kevin. 

The series starts with Pac working in a Chinese massage parlor as the clean-up man.  After bumping into an old friend, the ghost of Manny (Ramirez) appears and suggests that Pac deliver his shipment for $5k.  Kevin goes to the local morgue and removes the five balloons from Manny’s rectum and gets caught shoving them up his own bottom.

The attendant, who catches the naked Pac,  starts making out with him and then claims he sexually assaulted her with the dead Manny. Pac is arrested with the balloons still up inside him and he is desperate to get them out.

In the jail cell he meets Clyde (Penn) and the two men appear to be spiritual twins.  The morgue attendant gets Pac out. After a disturbing orgy of the dead, while high off one of the balloons,  Pac makes the delivery. Unfortunately he is paid with the only balloon with baby powder in it.

Dejected, Pac returns to the massage parlor and finds Clyde waiting for him.  His former jail buddy wants Kevin to room with him.

“Deadbeat”  may be a road travelled by Labine before,  while the premise may be a bit different from the 2007 series Reaper it does still deal with the supernatural, it is world’s funnier, even without Ray Wise‘s devil.

Having missed the first two seasons, which is on Hulu for binge watching (a definite plus being a real Cat Deeley fan), some backstory may be enjoyable but is not really necessary. The writing on this irreverent, rude and quite naughty series is tight enough you do not need it.

In the first three episodes, each funnier and ruder as they go along, much is explained about both Pac and Clyde.  These will be looked at in depth later, but for now suffice to say  binge watching the first two seasons is not a requirement.

“Deadbeat” feels like a cross between “Ghost Whisperer”  and “The Frighteners” and the pairing of Penn and Labine is comic platinum. One could easily watch the entire season in one long go, but to be honest, laughing that much could result in personal injury. Perhaps a weekly dose of this amusing genius is safer for the viewer.

Michael S. Chandler directs the season opener and the show is co-created by Cody Heller and Brett Konner (“Wilfred,” “The Inbetweeners”) and showrunner Dan Lagana also produces, as does Labine.

“Deadbeat” season three is now on Hulu, it has all 13 episodes available, and this has to be one of the funniest comedies on the streaming site.  Penn and Labine are the perfect match. Stoners who could well share the same mind, except that Penn’s character is something of a genius and Tyler’s Pac can only talk to the dead.

In the first episode alone, the series deals with drug smuggling, anus’, necrophilia and “ejaculation” jokes. If the viewer is easily offended perhaps they should give “Deadbeat” a miss. If, however,  one enjoys a more risque comedy, this will more than satisfy.

On a final note, how fitting it it  that the series’ third season aired on 420 Day.

 

Agents of SHIELD: The Team – The “I” in Team Stands for Infection (Review)

 LUKE MITCHELL, CLARK GREGG, JUAN PABLO RABA, NATALIA CORDOVA-BUCKLEY

In “Agents of SHIELD: The Team” the actual calvary charge of Daisy and her limited crew ended rather badly for the good guys.  Before the whole Hive, aka Alveus infects  inhumans news,  the team’s rescue and Fitz’ MacGyver solution while in the Hydra headquarters was exciting and edge of the seat stuff. But by the end, the “I” in team stands for infection.

Malick being captured was a bonus, right up until his vision came true and he died. (Amazingly, as he foresaw, his death was caused by Hive, albeit indirectly.) Still Gideon (Powers Boothe) manages to pass on some information to Coulson before he buys it. The most important, that we know of, is that Hive can infect inhumans. 

Alveus has, it turns out, infected at least one inhuman; Daisy.  In terms of Chloe Bennett’s character this is deja vu all over again, as Yogi Berra used to say. Under the power of Hive, Skye/Daisy is once again playing double agent, just as she was way back in season one.

(And somewhat fittingly, she is once again under the tutelage of Grant Ward/Alveus (Brett Dalton). It seems that even when Ward is not really himself, he is drawn to Daisy.)

Malick’s defection from Hydra to SHIELD is no surprise, Hive’s lack of understanding about people may be his downfall. Gideon already felt he had sacrificed his brother, Hive’s murder of Malick’s daughter Stephanie in front of him was not a wise move.

Daisy reveals to Lincoln, at the end,  that she was the one infected.

In a flashback sequence, Daisy looks as though she was sexually aroused by the whole experience of being penetrated by that sandy extension of Hive or, at the very least,  in love. Not to mention that she seems to be excited at the prospect of getting those things from SHIELD.  Considering Hive’s expression borders on bland disinterest obviously the parasite affects different inhumans differently.

It was interesting to note that the team immediately started finger pointing at one another when an alarmed Coulson explained his concerns.

(Brilliant scene with Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg)  after he leaves Vault D and Gideon Malick. The former head of Hydra has told Coulson about the hive infection and as he walks away from Gideon, all the inhumans look threatening and suspicious.)

Daisy works both sides against the middle perfectly. Playing her team members until Coulson can trap them in a containment area and she has already framed Lincoln by planting the artifact in his locker.

Near the very  end, where Daisy grabs the sphere and the terrigen crystals and then starts the SHIELD base shaking itself to pieces, looks bad for Phil and his little group of agents.  On the plus side, at least “Fitzsimmons” appear to have partially broken that curse.

Interesting note: Hive/Ward refers to Daisy as Skye. Does this signify a weakness? Are Grant Ward’s memories disjointed or fragmented? Stay tuned to find out.

Favorite Moments:

Fitzsimmons.

Phil Coulson owning his sin; the one that allowed Hive to come into the world.

Malick’s rodeo line.

Joey’s total feeling of betrayal.

Conclusion:

Things are getting darker for the Agents of SHIELD. Daisy being a puppet of Hive and taking all that stuff to her new master is disturbing. Almost as upsetting as her flashback sequences when she is taking to Lincoln.

With the final moments of the episode showing Hive deciding to go on the world’s biggest shopping spree, things may well turn even darker.

“Agents of SHIELD” airs Tuesdays on ABC.

 

 

 

Agents of SHIELD: Paradise Lost – Family Tradition (Review)

 LUKE MITCHELL, CHLOE BENNET

Before looking at the Malick family tradition of cheating death, perhaps a moment should be taken to address the bad idea of taking Giyera prisoner.  “Agents of SHIELD: Paradise Lost” has a couple of  bad ideas in it.  Giyera is one, but that is made by Coulson’s team.  The other one is Gideon Malick’s lifelong cheating of the Hydra lottery.  At least Gideon has an excuse, cheating  runs in the family.

However, the Giyera move has to be the worst idea since the inception of SHIELD.  Allowing the righthand man, who is a veritable powerhouse of inhuman power and tricky to boot, inside a plane with most of the agents easily accessible, takes the prize as a catastrophically poor move.

As Coulson says, the inhuman is dangerous without his powers, Special Ops background,  and Giyera proves it by nearly kicking Melinda May’s butt inside that special room. Keeping the Hydra operative in the little room is akin to keeping a cobra in a very small basket. We know this is going to end badly.

The three pronged storyline in “Paradise Lost” sees two of the agents, Daisy and Lincoln approaching James (Axle Whitehead); an inhuman candidate who never got his powers. The bitter, and very anti-social, man offers up a Kree artifact in exchange for a dose of power which Lincoln withholds. 

Storyline two is the capture of Giyera, and the guilt/frustration of Phil Coulson over  killing Grant Ward and allowing the parasite Hive to exist on Earth.  On the plus side, it also looks like the lab that the prisoner was attempting to destroy may give Phil’s agents a “chink” in Hive’s armor.

The third prong of the tale is “Paradise Lost”  itself, the book that hid the marked lottery stone which allowed Gideon and Nathan Malick’s father to cheat death which Gideon then used to the same end.  Gideon (Powers Boothe) learns that there are worst things than your own death, which he saw in the vision last week, there is witnessing your only child first turn on you and then die in your stead.

Hive, who earlier revealed its true form to the circle, then showed that it contains all the memories of those it has absorbed; even Gideon’s betrayed, and dead, brother Nathan. It  then kills Stephanie Malick (Bethany Joy Lenzafter exposing her father as a life long coward and who has repeatedly cheated death.

BETHANY JOY LENZ
Sacrifice; Stephanie Malick

Lincoln and Daisy share secrets, his is a backstory of too much vodka and almost killing his girlfriend, and her’s is that disturbing vision of death that she believes means one of the team will die.  Giyera gets lose.

In a matter of seconds the Hydra agent takes control of the plane and everyone on it. Daisy gets a call from May and Lincoln talks her into activating the Secret Warriors Initiative.

Hive/Grant Ward tells Gideon that they need to head to the plane that Giyera captured and that now Malick understands the meaning of sacrifice. “Now, you have nothing left to fear,” says Hive. The vision that Gideon had reveals this to be a lie and the man’s face shows it.

The use of “Paradise Lost” as the title of this week’s episode of “Agents of SHIELD” is appropriate, with Milton’s theme of man’s disobedience. Malick’s father and then Gideon both disobeyed the rules of the Hydra lottery.  In the latter’s case, this has cost him dearly, living the lie caused his daughter to be sacrificed in front of him.

Malick may have seen his own death but now that he has seen his daughter drained of life,  this horror he felt, the overwhelming fear of his own painful demise, may just pall enough that Gideon may turn on his “leader.” Time will tell, if the man really is a coward or not.

The plot thread of Coulson (Clark Gregg)  with his mixed emotions about killing Grant Ward (Brett Dalton) only to have him return as a parasite, was interesting in that it shows Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) to be the more cold-blooded of the two.  Phil has had a hard time of it since his “rejuvenation” and it looks like things will not get better in the foreseeable future. 

Daisy activating the Secret Warriors guarantees that things will get very interesting in a hurry and it also shows Lincoln and her as more equal partners.  The moths must be the key to Hive’s vulnerability (it must have to do with cocoons and transformations) and it would seem that once the majority of Coulson’s agents are released they will have to race to learn the secret of the destroyed lab.

This is going to get exciting.

“Agents of SHIELD” airs Tuesdays on ABC.

Sleepy Hollow: Ragnarok – Finale Farewell (Review)

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Sleepy Hollow‘s season three finale Ragnarok bid a sad farewell to Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie) and the death of two “big bad’s.” While Abbie may be dead, she definitely will not be forgotten as the pairing of Mills with Tom Mison‘s Ichabod Crane was magical to say the least. It has been hinted that Beharie may return in some capacity if the series comes back for another season. 

Admittedly, after the death of Henry Parrish (John Noble‘s character) and Katrina (Katia Winter), as well as Moloch’s demise, things just never seemed quite the same in Sleepy Hollow-land. Even the addition of a new “big bad” in the shape of Pandora (played by Shannyn Sossamon) could not make up for the departure of so many favorites. 

Granted, the story needed to move on leaving outdated characters behind. Some would show back up, like Orlando Jones‘ Frank Irving and Clancy Brown‘s Sheriff Corbin so while these two moved back on the back burners per se, there was still a presence…sometimes.

In this season finale of Sleepy Hollow Pandora’s alliance with Crane and Abbie results in the death of her husband “The Hidden One” (played by the superb actor Peter Mensah), although it is Jenny (Lyndie Greenwoodwho puts the final bullet in the creature’s brain.  Pandora being a baddy herself;  double-crosses Crane and Jenny.

Abbie’s soul is consumed by the newly remade box and after some reluctance to give up, Mills then allows her essence to be absorbed and she dies also.

The leftenant  bumps into Corbin, in the Sleepy Hollow “green room,” where we have been before, the waiting room of death where the occupants do not “move on.” Crane pulls out all the stops to rescue Abbie from the box and even summons his old nemesis the headless horseman to help him defeat Pandora.

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The vast amount of time is spent following Crane’s attempt to get Abbie back and her “transition” to the other side, or the other side’s anteroom.  There are hints that Mills is not gone so  much as re-imagined (like the Phoenix). As a witness her journey is not over and never will be.

A great deal of time is also spent with Ichabod and Mills  talking and making peace with the death of Abbie. Crane believes it is a dream only to learn  later on it was not.

His champion, the headless horseman, defeats Pandora, with a little help and it is this event that triggers the “dream” as the box explodes when Pandora dies.

As Crane visits Abbie’s grave her father Ezra Mills (James McDaniel) turns up and drops off a message from George Washington. It makes Crane the commander of a paranormal militia group that has, somehow gotten out of hand (one feels), and  a fleet of black cars approach the cemetery. 

Ezra also explains that there must always be two witnesses, as Abbie told Crane in the anteroom, and Mills tells him that the soul of Abbie will manifest itself in a distant relative. Female, apparently, and Crane must find her.

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The Sleepy Hollow finale ends with Ichabod Crane being taken in for questioning with Ezra departing quickly. He tells Crane to “forgive them for they know not what they do.”  With the Rolling Stones classic “Sympathy for the Devil,” covered by Gail Swanson, playing over the end moments, even those who have not followed the last season devoutly were moved to tears.

Apparently the finale pulled up viewing numbers and while this may bode well for the show, it is hard to see a season four without  Abbie Mills.  Granted, the last plot device of the Washington letter allows the show to follow a different direction but will it go over with current fans?

It was difficult to maintain interest in the show’s third season; mainly because of the sing-song type rhymes or songs that Pandora spouted and that annoying accent that Sossamon was using.   (This is in no way a negative reflection on Shannyn it was just jarring.)

Still, as fervent fans deal with the loss of Abbie Mills (a personal favorite) all will await the news of a new season.  Sleepy Hollow has a tradition of serving up  small screen thrills with a tongue in cheek delivery, sometimes, and a great chemistry between the two leads always.

May it return in a year’s time and bring back Abbie in a different form as  has been hinted at in this last episode of season three.

 

Agents of SHIELD: Parting Shot – Ending in Tears (Review)

On Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Parting Shot it all ended in tears for Bobbi, Lance and the rest of their “former” team and Malick staged a coup. This was another of those “reach for the tissues” episodes where viewers who cared sat swallowing and dabbing their eyes as Lance Hunter and his ex Bobbi Morse take one for the team.

ADRIANNE PALICKI
MARVEL’S AGENTS OF

On Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Parting Shot it all ended in tears for Bobbi, Lance and the rest of their “former” team and Malick staged a coup.  This was another of those “reach for the tissues” episodes where viewers who cared sat swallowing and dabbing their eyes as Lance Hunter and his ex Bobbi  Morse take one for the team.

On the bright side,  Parting Shot did prove that Malick on his own, i.e. sans Hive, is not all powerful. The leader of Hydra can be defeated despite his overwhelming wealth and dedication to the cause. It also allows the characters of  Morse and Hunter a chance to leave properly for a spin-off;  Marvel’s Most Wanted.

This episode was flashback heavy, although this did stop over halfway through the proceedings. At the start,  Lance and Bobbi are in cuffs and in an interrogation room, being questioned by a Russian security type (from Central Casting) who promises he will get answers.  Bobbi, sweetly asks for a cheeseburger with curly fries…crispy.  While Lance maintains his “looking for mushrooms mate,” story.

Coulson’s team rush to see what Malick is really up to in Siberia and they discover another inhuman, a Russian General who is to helping Malick overthrow the Prime Minister.  This new threat initially appears to be able to control his shadow. Later it is revealed that he can control a dark matter version of himself.

General Androvich is there only to kill  Prime Minister Olshenko but he too is stopped, but not in his inhuman state.  Androvich’s  weakness is his human form.

MING-NA WEN, NICK BLOOD
Agent May and Hunter.

The coup is stopped but at the cost of losing Morse and Hunter. Malick is defeated but,  at the end of the episode, we find that he is not down.  His daughter Stephanie (Bethany Joy Lenz) makes an appearance and this young woman is definitely a “daddy’s girl.” 

Stephanie wants to meet Hive and Malick tells his daughter that he is still “gathering.” The head of Hydra also admits he does not know what Hive (the real Hydra head) is planning.

Before that prologue moment, however, Phil Coulson tries to save his two S.H.I.E.L.D. agents but has  to cut them loose. His other option, desk duty after a name change, is turned down by both Bobbi and Lance.  Phil does manage to get the charges dropped and the Russians let the two go.

Afterward, Morse and Hunter are in a club drinking beer and discussing what to do next. Hunter says that the spy community will never trust them again and they prepare to leave. A bar waitress drops off a drink. It is from, she says, an admirer who asks not to be revealed.

The couple spy Gemma as another drink arrives.  Soon all their former team-mates are spotted. Bobbi wells up and so too does the viewer.

Bobbi: “It’s the Spy’s Goodbye.”

Coulson’s core team is being whittled down and  now only Daisy, who was really a new recruit and not part of the original group of agents, May, Gemma and Fitz remain. (Mac is another recent addition.)

It is interesting to note that the “spy’s goodbye” ritual of buying a drink for the departing member, only consisted of, what appeared to be, one drink from each of the team.  Surely, two drinks would have been more appropriate as two S.H.I.E.L.D. members are leaving. It seems that of the two, Bobbi will be deeply missed and Lance will not. (Or vice versa?)

Either that or the spy trade pays really poorly and no-one could afford to buy both Morse and Hunter a drink apiece. (Although surely Coulson could have coughed up enough for two…) Regardless this farewell sequence brought on waterworks  from at least one viewer no matter how many drinks were bought.

Both Nick Blood and Adrianne Palicki wil be missed.  Blood’s English slang, “muppet” and so on was a breath of fresh air and the loss of Palicki as a strong positive female character is just distressing.  

POWERS BOOTH
Powers Boothe as Malick

Still, the fight goes on and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will carry on regardless also the news is that, once again, there will be a huge big-screen tie-in with the upcoming  Captain America: Civil War. The series airs Tuesdays on ABC.