Connect with us

Television

Samurai Jack Pushes On

Michał

Published

on

The final season of Samurai Jack continues where it left off, and does so in style. The action of the newest episode is more focused than the first one, devoting itself almost entirely to a confrontation between Jack and the Daughters of Aku.

The Fight Begins

And as far as confrontations go, it’s a savage one. Before the Daughters attack, Jack encounters an enormous beetle drone, much like those he had fought since the beginning of the series. He destroys it effortlessly, with a single throw of his new polearm. It’s a perhaps deliberate contrast between the enemies from the older seasons, and the threat that he faces immediately afterwards.

The Daughters’ attack has little in common with the anticlimactic demise of the massive robot. They strike ruthlessly and without warning, quickly destroying Jack’s motorbike, disarming him, and forcing him on the defensive. It’s clear that it takes all his skill just to survive, much less strike back.

There have only been a few other occasions where Jack was so outmatched. The first one was during the graveyardfight in Jack and the Zombies, where he desperately fought off hordes of undead, and what eventually saved him was Aku’s ignorance of his sword’s properties – that it couldn’t harm the innocent. Then there was his fight with the Minions of Set, where he only survived through literal divine intervention. He had faced many challenging enemies, but those fights, just like the one in this episode, have a level of desperation you can’t see elsewhere.

The Daughters of Aku are each incredibly capable. They might not be a match for Jack individually, but they dominate the battle through cooperation and stealth. They coordinate their attacks, and frequently vanish, only to strike again from hiding. Anyone with less martial skill than Jack would have been dead before they knew what hit them.

Jack’s strategy throughout the fight isn’t concerned with victory, so much as with survival. He flees the Daughters into an ancient ruin, that reminded me of Angkor Wat and similar architecture. There, he leads them on a chase through the crumbling halls. It’s a very tense sequence, with a contest of stealth that Jack ultimately loses, utilizing light, shadow, and the recurring element of a green lightning bug. The tension is real, and captivates the viewer instantly.

The pursuit reaches its climax when the Daughters chase Jack into a burial chamber. The assassins spread out, searching for the samurai, as he hides in one of the sarcophagi. What caught my attention there was the music: far more intense than is usual for the show, underscoring the palpable tension of the situation.

The Daughters do finally locate Jack’s hiding place, and he once again has to desperately fight for his life, using whatever he can get his hands on—a sword, and then a battleaxe, stolen from the tomb. He soon loses both, and flees deeper into the complex. There, he enters a labyrinth of tunnels, and faces a lone Daughter of Aku. In a pitched, hand-to-hand fight, he headbutts her and finally strikes a telling blow, slitting her throat with her own sword… but also earning a knife to the stomach.

This moment deserves some attention. Early on in the episode, Jack dismisses Aku’s mechanical assassins as “just nuts and bolts”. But when he sees the Daughter’s human face under her cracked mask, and the blood flowing freely from her throat, it’s clear that she’s very much flesh and bone. How much does it affect him? It clearly does, to some degree—we see his shock when the blood spurts. His pain and fatigue might be overriding it, however.

In the old seasons, Jack only ever strikes robots with his sword, because the cartoon couldn’t show blood and injuries. Has Jack really not killed a single living being until now? And given the level of self-awareness and consciousness some of those robots have, is there really a difference? Regardless of Jack’s feelings, we, the viewers, know that the Daughters are Aku’s victims themselves. The death of one of them is therefore a tragic event, devoid of any real triumph. Aku’s evil claimed another innocent, this time by Jack’s own hand.

Hearing the others’ footsteps, Jack staggers towards a window, using Scaramouche’s vibrating knife, which he had retrieved from the Daughter, to collapse the tunnel behind him. He falls into a river, trailing blood. He managed to escape, and kill one of his pursuers, but he’s wounded and lost most of his equipment. All he has is a loincloth and Scaramouche’s dagger, which he might well have lost. Things aren’t looking up for him.

Jack has had Enough

So, that’s the chase-and-fight sequence that occupies most of the episode. But that’s not all there is to it, by far. Soon after the Daughters’ first attack, we witness another testament of Jack’s deteriorating mental state. This time, instead of seeing visions of his parents, and others he’d failed to save, he has an argument… with himself.

As he huddles under an empty metal shell to hide from the assassins, Jack witnesses a vision of his younger self, berating him for keeping up the useless fight. The apparition argues that he lost his sword and has no hope of ever beating Aku or returning to the past. Why not let go? Let it end and finally find peace? Or, in other words, just die?

The real Jack argues that he’s doing just fine without his sword, and that the assassins are “just nuts and bolts”, like I mentioned. His words lack a certain conviction, though. He doesn’t seem to have any alternative to his inner voice’s thoughts of suicide than to keep running and keep hiding. Even if the Daughters hadn’t appeared, or if he’d been able to defeat them, how long could he wander and hope Aku doesn’t destroy him?

And then we see the vision of a rider, once more. This time, it doesn’t appear to be triggered by Jack’s guilt, but rather his despair and lack of purpose. Its meaning and source remain a mystery.

As an aside, the fight between Jack and the Daughters uses a framing device of sorts. We see a wolf walking through a forest, and attacked by a pack of massive cat-like monsters. When Jack finally gets away, we also see the wolf lie bloodied among the bodies of its enemies.

Aku isn’t Doing too Well

Finally, I’d like to talk about something that appears in the very beginning, ironically enough. The episode opens with someone who was conspicuously missing from the first one: Aku. Despite some speculation, he’s not gone or indisposed. He still dwells in his lair, receiving supplicants. Not all is well with the shape shifting master of darkness, however. When his scientists inform him about a new, powerful beetle drone (the same one Jack off-handedly destroys), he starts to pretend he doesn’t care about Jack at all, and slithers away.

What follows is an absurd sequence that serves as a dose of the old series’ humor in a new season that is otherwise considerably darker. Aku has a therapy session… with himself as the doctor. The parallel with Jack’s internal dialogue is certainly no coincidence.

Jack’s continued existence is a source of considerable depression for the Deliverer of Darkness. He had apparently destroyed all the possible pathways to the past, and hoped that Jack would just die. But, as we know, Jack does not age.

And so, Aku is stuck in a situation he can’t seem to solve, worried that the samurai will torment him for eternity. Thus, ironically, Jack’s adversary is as tired as he is of the unending stalemate. When Aku expresses a wish for someone to dispose of his problem, things take a turn for the serious, as the assassins appear and the battle is joined.

An End is in Sight

The second episode of the fifth and final season of Samurai Jack raises the stakes and keeps driving the hero to his limit. We get the strong impression that it needs to end soon, one way or the other. Not only through the dialogue and monologues, but through the general atmosphere and design of the new episodes.

There’s a very real sense that Jack’s endless quest has gone on long enough…even Aku feels it. And things seem to be heading towards a resolution.


Images courtesy of Cartoon Network

Michał is a natural meddler, driven to take fiction apart and see how it works. In The Fandomentals, he examines fantasy and gaming with a critical, and somewhat cranky, eye.

Advertisement
Comments

Analysis

The Expanse Season Two Still Fares Well As An Adaptation

Barbara

Published

on

By

The Expanse has had the seventh book in the series released this month, while its third season (meant to adapt the second half of the second book) is scheduled to come out some time next year. In other words, both the authors of the source material and of the adaptation are keeping busy, making it a very current show. So allow me to continue in my attempt to assess how it fared as an adaptation.

The second season works with the second half of Leviathan Wakes, the first book in the series, and the first half of Caliban’s War, the second installment. It continued its similarity to Game of Thrones as an adaptation by diverging from the source material significantly more than in the first year it was on air. The good news, however, is that the changes are not so dramatically for the worse as is usual, and in some cases are even for the better.

Warning: the following contains spoilers for both the show and the books.

Some problems remain from season one. Chiefly, two of them. One is the scope of the world as it is depicted on the show.  The other are the universally dark and gritty visuals. Ganymede is supposed to have corridors carved in ice. Wouldn’t it have been awesome to see that? But now, just more indistinguishable black and grey.

The most significant difference between the books and the show in season two is, without a doubt, all the added drama. It’s everywhere. Every little thing that is routine in the books becomes exceedingly tense on the show. Starting with the Somnambulist, which is not taken by force – or near enough to force – in book!verse, but is simply a ship at OPA’s disposal that Holden is given by Fred. Continuing through Bobbie’s escape from her rooms in the UN compound; she simply walks away in the book and that’s it. And ending with the escape from Gynemedes, which, int he books, is not so much of an escape as simply, you know, leaving. I could keep listing other instances, but this serves as a good example of the sort of tension added for television.

Related to this is also the complete secrecy that surrounds everything on the show. The books work much better with the reality of modern technology where things are streamed immediately. Billions of people watch Eros crash into Venus live, for example, and the data available from what happens there is available to everyone. Or there is the whole thing with the zombie terminator attacking on Ganymede. On the show, it’s a huge secret Chrisjen has to exert extreme energy to ferret out. In the books, everyone knows and there is footage of the attack available. One of my favourite little moments is when Holden tries to hide his identity behind a scruffy beard as he comes to Ganymede, and you end his chapter feeling that he succeeded. Only to open Chrisjen’s chapter and find out that he really, really did not.

Secrecy adds drama, so it is understandable why the show decided to go this way. The need to keep viewers hooked is evident, too. And ending the season in a middle of a book, they needed a suitably dramatic bang to end with. So while all of these things make me roll my eyes, I do not truly blame the show for them. I feel the missed character beats much more keenly.

Captain James Holden

Holden is one character whose arc from the first half of Caliban’s War was adapted truly well. There was the inevitable added drama, as everywhere, but his essential story arc remained.

With regards to the end of Leviathan Wakes, however, the issues from season one continue, and Holden is treated as more of a boy scout by the show than he is by the book. One fantastic moment (though one that could hardly be adapted) was seeing inside Holden’s head when the Head Human Experimenter tried to convince him to join forces before Miller shot him. The reader can see, with intimate certainty, that Holden is this close to giving in when Miller pulls the trigger. We know for certain that it was done at just the right time. Yet Holden condemns Miller for it without the slightest trace of self-awareness, confident he would have resisted. It’s no doubt intentional, and it’s perfection. It should have been replaced by a similar scene suitable for the visual medium that would have conveyed the same. It wasn’t, and Holden’s character suffered for it.

On the other hand, I very much appreciate the change made to Holden’s dynamics with Naomi. In the books, when they start their romantic relationship, it turns out that not only has Naomi been in love with him for ages, so had pretty much every female on the Canterburry, because he is obviously God’s gift to womankind. It’s something to be thankful for that we don’t have to deal with that on our screens, even though I admit that the way book!Naomi handles Holden after that is exquisite.

I’m also very much in favour of the open communication that happens between them before they have sex in the books, as opposed to the “thick erotic tension” kind of deal the show went with. It would be easier to teach people about affirmative consent if there were actual examples of it in the media. There was a scene like that in the book, and guess what? It didn’t get adapted. Let’s all pretend at astonishment.

Dr. Praxidike Meng

I must admit that I was surprised when I saw he was one of the point of view characters. I neither knew nor expected it, and that in itself sums up the biggest problem with his show adaptation. He was very much pushed into the background. I understand why, I suppose – it might have been felt that there were too many new characters – but he lost a lot of his appeal when his role was cut. He is there to represent a valuable civilian point of view among all the trained soldiers and expert politicians. And his expertise adds a crucial dimension to the catastrophe of Gynamede.

Though if someone had to be cut short, I’m glad it was Dr. Meng. I understand they could hardly reduce Hodlen’s role, as much as I’d appreciate it, and both of the ladies are more interesting than Dr. Meng.

Still, I remember lamenting the sharp division between the first and second half of season 2 and pointing out that had Dr. Meng been included in some of the earlier episodes, it would have helped to make the transition more seamless. Now that I know he is one of the point of view characters, I feel this even more strongly.

Assistant Undersecretary Chrisjen Avasarala

I cannot quite decide whether Chrisjen is an adaptational success or failure. Because she is perfection on the show…but she is also quite different from the books. If I should compare book!Chrisjen to someone, it would probably be Miranda from Devil Wears Prada, or characters of that sort. She is not likable in any straightforward way, but at the same time, she has a charm to her that is oddly irresistible as much as you want to punch her in the fact at the same time.

Show!Chrisjen, on the other hand, is much softer on the surface, not showing her hard lines so obviously. Even when she swears, she does it with a kind of disarming smile that takes the edge off it. Book!Chrisjen is nothing but edges.

I don’t want to complain, because show!Chrisjen is one of the best things that ever happened to me, and there is nothing intrinsically better or worse about either of their characterisations. But I cannot help but wonder how far gender stereotyping played a part in making Chrisjen less obviously hard. And it becomes especially problematic when paired with her stupidity in season 2, which takes the form of that oh-so-very-feminine failing of trusting too much in her friends, or ex-friends.

I wrote out my thoughts about that elsewhere in detail.To summarise, it was a subplot that prioritized a male character over a female one, and made Chrisjen look naive. But it was also an excellently done one. So while it troubles me, I cannot with a clear conscience say I wish it didn’t happen. I just hope it won’t again.

Additionally, one change I definitely appreciated was Chrisjen not being Errinwright’s subordinate on the show. It changed the dynamic significantly, and very much for the better. It also made this whole added subplot in season two possible.

Gunnery Sergeant Roberta Draper

Bobbie has a similar problem as Chrisjen: she, too, is made to look markedly more stupid on the show. Only as Chrisjen is effectively a genius, she ends up being just a little incompetent. Bobbie sometimes ends up looking downright stupid.

To be fair, her character is exceedingly hard to adapt. She has that in common with Dr. Meng. While Jim and Chrisjen constantly talk to people around them and even the things that are part of their inner monologue are easy to change to a personal conversation with someone close, Bobbie doesn’t have that option. She doesn’t have anyone close to her left. For a long time, the only person she talks to at all is the chaplain, whom she just dismisses in many different ways when he tries to ‘help’. There is no way to naturally have her talk about what she thinks and feels, because being alone is an important part of her character arc. But not everything can be shown with images.

But that is not the biggest problem with her character. No, that is reserved for the mysterious decision to make Bobbie into a fanatical war-monger at the beginning. I have been complaining about lack of proper representation for Mars in the first season, and so was very happy to see Bobby in nr. 2. And it’s not like seeing her slowly change her approach when confronted with new facts was worthless. But it also made her into a very flat and irritating character for the first two thirds of the season.

It’s not like book!Bobbie goes through no character development after she sees Earth with her own eyes. It’s not like she’s not patriotic or proud to be a marine. But she can be all this and still retain some nuance, and some brain cells. The showrunners seem to have forgotten that. Bobbie on the show frequently comes off as a brat, something her book self never does.

There are other characters worth a mention, naturally. Fred Johnson is probably the most significant. His role was changed significantly as well, and much more tension withing the OPA was included. It adds to the problematic depiction of OPA as uncultured and wild space terrorists, but on the other hand it’s masterfully done. One can understand the sources of tension and where the different branches and wings are coming from. Much like with Errinwright, here again one is willing to forgive the problematic nature of the added material for a large part, because it forms such excellent additions.

In the end, the only thing I truly blame the second season for is the assassination of Bobbie’s character. While changes to Chrisjen upset me, they were compensated for by the excellent quality of Errinwright’s subplot. Yes, it is telling that the two female protagonists were undercut by the adaptation, making them look less smart than they are in the source material. But Chrisjen still comes out of it pretty impressive. The changes to Bobbie, on the other hand, are much more destructive, and they held no compensation, no hidden bonus. She is simply depicted as unlikable, to such an extent that even when we finally get legitimate reasons for sympathy, it’s long in coming.

Season 3 should fix that, and fast. Hopefully, Bobbie is here to stay. She shouldn’t have to carry the weird season 2 baggage with her throughout the show.


Images courtesy of SyFy

Continue Reading

Analysis

Why You Need To Be More Excited About Bisexual Rosa Diaz

Dan

Published

on

By

Television has been a mixed bag for bisexuals. Even as gay and lesbian representation become more and more common (though not as fast as it should), characters within other parts of the acronym are few and far between. For bisexuals, who often suffer from confusion not just without but within the LGBT community, proper, outright representation means quite a lot. Not hints, not little flirts after a female character breaks up with her boyfriend. And especially not characters that just hook up with the same gender as fanservice. We want characters who can say “I’m bisexual.” We’ve been lucky to have characters like Sarah Lance or Daryl Whitefeather in recent years, but as a whole, television seems reluctant to acknowledge bisexuality.

But we finally have another name for that criminally short list: Detective Rosa Diaz of Fox’s Brooklyn 99. And not only is she bisexual, but she’s also a bisexual Latina woman played by a bisexual Latina woman. Let me say that one more time to help it sink in. We have, on a major network, a Latina woman coming out as bisexual who is played by a Latina bisexual woman.

Brooklyn 99 has been a success since day one thanks to its character, heart, and style of comedy that refuses to punch down. It has also become well known for its handling of social issues, best represented by the character of Captain Raymond Holt (Andre Braugher); a black, gay man whose sexuality is merely a part of his character, not his entire identity. The handling of Holt, who stands out in a sea of shallow stereotypes and tokenism, has led the show’s fans to hope another character to come out as a member of the LGBT community. When it turned out that it was Detective Rosa Diaz (Stephanie Beatriz) would be coming out as bi in the show’s ninety-ninth episode, appropriately titled “99,” the people rejoiced.

The episode itself did a good job of keeping her coming out low key. She only comes out to her friend, Detective Boyle, and only after he’d spent the episode bugging her about her new paramour. Interestingly, the show played with ideas of heteronormativity as Boyle pesters her about who “he” is, about her “boyfriend.” Rosa’s frustration seems not to be with Boyle’s prodding into her well guarded personal life (though that is part of it), but instead with his assumption that she was only dating a man. This episode restrains the result of this coming out to Boyle and Rosa bonding, letting the coming out stand alone. It is in this week’s follow up episode, “Game Night,” where the show’s dedication to Rosa and her coming out becomes more obvious.

The conflict in this episode, for Rosa, is in coming out to her parents and co-workers. Rather than let it just be played off as something she can sweat like so many other things, it instead very realistically captures the fears an LGBT+ child, particularly an adult one, might face when coming out.

Rosa’s first act is to come out to her co-workers during a meeting. She uses the term “bisexual,” and allows “one minute and zero questions” of seconds. We learn that she, like many other lovers of the same sex, discovered her sexuality while taking in media, in Rosa’s case Saved By The Bell. The show makes a conscious decision here not to make it some “phase” or something she’s just now discovering. Rosa Diaz has been bi since she was in 7th grade. She has been bi for all five seasons of the show.

Coming out to her parents has an entirely different set of emotions. Rosa fears that her coming out will change something with them, that somehow they won’t love her or they won’t want to be around her (Of course, in Rosa’s usual fashion, their bonding time consists of silent dinners). With Jake’s help (who gives an impassioned and curiously personal coming out speech to Rosa to help prepare her for her parents), she makes an attempt over dinner. Here, Rosa’s fear rapidly turns to anger when she learns that her parents were worried she was going to come out at dinner and were relieved that she was, thanks to a misunderstanding with Jake, just a mistress. The show pulls no punches here, capturing not just how angry she is at her parents’ ignorance but also heartbreak at being burned due to her vulnerability. In true sitcom fashion, this conflict wraps up cleanly by the end of the half hour. But the power and authenticity of it remain.

Stephanie Beatriz, herself a bisexual woman, has not been quiet in her desire for Rosa to reflect her own sexuality and has been effusive in her support of the storyline. She’s worked hard to make sure that the story reflects the bisexual experience, and has personally validated many fans in their own journeys. She does all this while still portraying Rosa as the stone-cold bad ass she’s always been. The emotions we see in Rosa as she comes out are real, they are powerful, and they are beautiful. But they are all 100% still Rosa’s.

As a final and personal note, this is a huge moment for me as a bisexual man being able to see the representation of some of my experiences on the screen. But I can only capture a small part of why this matters. I can’t even fathom how much this matters to bisexual women, let alone our POC brothers and sisters who are even less represented. Rosa Diaz’s coming out is their story as much as it is anyone’s, and I hope that I was able to capture a small measure of the joy this news has caused. 


Images courtesy of FOX

Continue Reading

Television

Shameless Still Struggles but Moves in the Right Direction…Kind of

Published

on

By

Well there was at least one thing I could say I loved about this episode. Even though the season hasn’t completely returned to its prime form in storytelling, it has begun to feel like it’s old self again. That’s probably a really vague statement but with the kind of humor portrayed, the situations at hand (even though they only last one episode so far), and the pure unapologetic aura of the series, this episode made me remember why I fell in love with this series in the first place. Yet, at this point is it enough to keep me watching. The answer is pretty simple for me, and it’s because I believe they are trying to reclaim former glories. However, I don’t represent the complete consensus of every fan of the show. I still have really high hopes that this rocky season will start changing for the better.

Recap

The episode opens with Fiona complaining about her previous fight with Ian about the church to Nessa as she goes on about what she likes about screwdrivers. She notices that there’s a leak coming from the apartment of the old lady who barks at her. Upon entering, she discovers that there’s a dog…and that the tenant, Mrs. Cardinal, is dead and being semi eaten by her cute small dog. Frank further takes steps back to his old self, minus the junkie part as he tells Liam not to judge junkies. He gets his first credit card…well a non fraudulent one anyway. Lip gathers Professor Youens and the workers at the bike shop to see where they can find Brad since his disappearance in the previous episode. Youens is pretty cold about it considering his own alcoholism.

Nope…just enjoying Nessa’s little screen time.

Kev, V, and Svetlana are a couple, er, throuple, again. Kev starts to doubt not only his sexual talent but his and V’s relationship as he feels he can’t satisfy her like Svetlana can, especially after that, ahem, scene. Hilariously this conversation leads to Kev wants to be with a man to get the same ‘gender liquid’ experience. (I laughed when he said this so hard.) The police end up telling Fiona that until they find a next of kin for Mrs. Cardinal, her belongings will remain and the poor little dog will have to be euthanized for eating human flesh. Kev also goes to Ian to try to figure out if he may be gay or not while inadvertently hitting on Ian and a straight guy who was just being nice…oh Kevin. Lip continues his search by going to Brad’s home, where his wife is pretty set on him not coming back unless he’s sober. That baby is annoyingly adorable as well.

Debbie awakens from an ecstasy filled stupor and discovers she’s had unprotected sex with one of her friends and is pretty convinced she’s pregnant again. So begins the 39 hour hunt for the morning after pill as Frank buys a car. She tries another pharmacy but discovers that she needs to be 17 to buy the pill. Fiona goes through her dead tenant’s stuff looking for any sort of clue on a next of kin only to discover the woman had quite a life, as she infers from a collection of photos. Lip’s hunt for Brad gets interesting as he and Carl find his truck containing massive amounts of donuts, hair extensions, and Michael Jordan’s arm from his statue in Chicago.

Debbie gets desperate. She gives a stranger money to buy her the pill and ends up getting arrested when the woman tries to run with the money and Debbie goes in for a royal beat down. The two fight like crazy between cells as the pro choice/life debate is reduced to shouting. V tries to convince herself she isn’t a lesbian by not being able to hit on Fiona. Not that we doubted that she doesn’t love Kev, it’s more that she enjoys being dominated, something that isn’t in short supply with Svetlana.

Fiona finds out that her tenant’s name was actually Helen and that her husband died in Vietnam. Her granddaughter is finally found and the woman really has no interest in keeping anything because she barely knew her. Kev finally gets the gay experience he’s looking only to realize he’s actually not gay. This scene was hilariously uncomfortable with how forward his partner-to-be is.

It’s okay, we still love you Kev.

Lip’s search gets warmer as he finds the woman who was with Brad this whole time at the bakery they robbed. He obviously cheated on his wife and Youens tries to give him a lecture on how Brad is not his problem. Lip has a serious point about wanting to help his friend after being helped the same way. Yet, Youens also has a point about trying to save someone who clearly does not want to be saved. Finally the conflict we’ve been waiting for comes around as Fiona goes to Ian about their last fight. He gives her the cold shoulder before finally confronting her about her behavior this season and the last. Both have their points, but by the end of the conversation Ian simply tells her that he has no idea who she is anymore.

Fiona ends up saving the photos that Helen’s granddaughter is throwing away. Lip finally finds Brad, still drunk and very violent, and forces him into his car after the two fight with one another. Lip’s patience is extraordinary but then again, Brad dealt with his stuff too. Animal control finally comes for Rusty and we all want to cry because you’re a monster for killing a dog. Kev tells V about the failure in his gay mission but also tells her he was just trying to make her jealous. V tells him that the domination turns her on with Svetlana, and she’s into more than just women.

Lip tells Brad everything he’s done in the past few days. Brad tries to convince Lip to let him go and that he can’t go back to Camy after what he’s done, especially the Michael Jordan incident. Lip basically tells him to get over it. Debbie finally gets released by her friends, and they end up getting her birth control. In the most offensive way possible. There ends up being too long a line at the pharmacy and her middle eastern friend ends up shouting in his language , terrifying everyone in the store away. Frank gets some bad news as he’s let go from his job, not by any fault of his own but rather because the store is going out of business. The episode ends with Fiona putting up a photo of Helen in the main hall of her building and Lip taking Brad to see Camy, who kicks him out.

Review

I’ll just get to it really quick now. I was totally okay with writers not completely expanding on the fight between Ian and Fiona in this episode. For one it’s clearly evident that it isn’t going to be something that is rushed like the whole meth dealer plot. In the previews for the next episode we clearly see that Ian is going to go full on war with his sister, and the building tension from this episode serves only to make us want it more. Hopefully it lives up to the hype.

While we’re on the subject of that fight, Ian brought up a very clear point, which is that Fiona’s moral compass is all messed up. For the record before I get into this, I am completely on Ian’s side in this, but it would be wrong to dismiss Fiona as simply being morally confused.

The sibling tension is real.

For one it isn’t a crime to try and better one’s self. Unfortunately, it is a cruel world and sometimes trying to reach for greatness ends making you step on the less fortunate. In this case Fiona is doing just that, not purposefully trying to hurt them. The amount of homeless people in this country is frighteningly high, and we can’t fault her for wanting make her neighborhood look less like the ghetto. Still, the way she is going about it is contributing to the gentrification of the south side. This is something that will only sit well with the higher earning populace who will come to live there, as Nessa’s partner said to her.

With Ian, his heart is in the right place and we’ve seen some serious personal growth in a short period of time. He seems to really care about the plight of these kids. He’s sincerely trying to help them with something as simple as a place to lay their heads at night, something that can go a long way into trying to better themselves. Just as Fiona is trying to do, but with different results.

My biggest issue with this episode was Kev and V in almost it’s complete entirety. It feels like episode filler, especially what’s going between V and Svetlana. It serves absolutely no purpose at this point, or none that we can see yet. While the Kev segment is funny to watch, it’s pretty much null once he tells V it was just to make her jealous. I mean, during certain parts of the episode I sort of felt that he was serious in questioning his sexuality, but of course by the end we discover only that it was pretty much a sham.

Overall this episode wasn’t the worst of the season. The Debbie sidetrack was pretty funny, although a little offensive. Lip’s end of things has become dark as he tries to help Brad, especially after what Lip himself went through. Much as I hate to admit it, I think it’s getting dragged out too much, but that’s just me. It’s still enjoyable to watch especially with what will happen to Brad next and the preview of Youens getting drunk again in the next episode. The start of the season was very rocky and the show is still struggling to find its footing but the writer are making a very valiant attempt.

One thing I mentioned in several of my reviews of this season is the fact that the show seemed to ignore the fact that there was no real overall problem or issue that the family was facing together. Not that there isn’t any character development of course, cause there is a lot. It’s one of the only reasons I’m still watching. What this episode did to renew my hope is not so much focus on the Fiona and Ian drama and begin showing us that it was something that was going to appear for the whole season. Rather, this episode gives their tension a moment to breathe. It takes its time about portraying where it will go and who it will bring into it. I’m more than okay with them doing this because it shows the writers aren’t trying to give us something that ended as quickly as the meth plot at the start of the season.

That being said there are still certain subplots that I’m not into and are coming across as literally just filler and unimaginative. The question of whether the show has runs its course or should be renewed for another season comes up again as we approach the middle of the season. Though I’m sure there are many who don’t want to see it end, but the time may soon be upon us if they can’t have more than one episode in which the filler isn’t so painfully obvious. We’ll have to see what the latter half of this season brings us.


Images Courtesy of Showtime

Continue Reading

Trending