Boardwalk Empire: ‘Two Imposters’ Review

With only one episode remaining before the season finale, the show creates one of the most compelling episodes to date. With all the things that happened this episode. I reckon it could have made for an excellent season finale. Last week’s episode we saw Mr. Sleater’s and Margaret’s relationship come to a heartbreaking conclusion. Masseria is informed of the happenings of Nucky’s attempt to move on him by Lucky and Lansky and reacts accordingly. The episode starts off only hours after Nucky’s receival of Masseria’s suprise delivery.

This episode of Boardwalk Empire was a roller coaster ride. There should be nary a complaint of Boardwalk being too slow this episode. Only minutes in and pure unadulterated mayhem ensues. The show begins with us learning of Margaret and the kids departure on a bus out of town. Thank god, I’m sure they wouldn’t want to be here for this one. Nucky seems to have gotten all his bridges burned by Arnold Rothstein and is left to fend for himself.

With no allies in sight, he attempts to hold up in the Ritz anticipating Masseria’s men. He places several guard men throughout his household for protection. Nucky question’s Eddie on his knowledge of Margaret’s affair. He determines that something was going on between the two after her psychotic reaction to “the box” last episode. Nucky usually comes across as a heartless womanizer and not so often, a helpless romantic; but now he has finally gotten a taste of what it feels like to be betrayed by the ones he loves.

Eddie attempts to contact Eli but the phone isn’t working; a sure-fire sign that the shit is about to hit the fan.  Jimmy Darmody once told Nucky “You can’t be half a gangster”.  This theme is something we have been seeing several times throughout the season. Everything comes to a boil and Nucky is left holding the bag in one of the most intense and heart pounding scene of the episode.(Yes, there is more then one) For whatever reasons people seem to dislike Nucky for his character flaws; you have to give him some respect for his ability to hold his own.

The loyalty of Nucky’s men are definitely in question here. Money can’t buy you everything and that certainly shows. On one side we have Nucky who can’t keep a couple of men posted in his home.On the other hand we have  Chalky, who has all his men to resist $25,000 to turn Nucky in; and all out of respect for their boss. The best type of loyalty comes from respect and fear. Nucky gains loyalty through other means but I’m certain he will be changing his stance on the subject sooner rather then later.

Eddie is injured in the shootout and Nucky attempts to seek medical attention for him at the hospital. The hospital head stares at him blankly in fear, Of course, Rosetti already has Masseria’s men waiting at the hospital. More bullets fly and Nucky hightails it out of there with Chalky White as his next destination.

Meanwhile, Gyp Rosetti walks freely among the Ritz. He sure has come a long way. The last time the short tempered character was at the Ritz, he was only a guest, throwing out vicious albeit hilarious insults. Now he owns the place and his putting his feet up in Nucky’s office accordingly. He is at last reunited with the dog he imparted to the Thompsons but doesn’t see the Ritz as a suitable base.

In New York, Lucky Luciano attempts to get cash for heroine from a suspicious buyer. This endeavor doesn’t turn out out good for Lucky. He is warned by his partner Meyer but he goes ahead with the deal anyway. I always liked Lucky’s character but he never really got  a chance to thrive. He’s been under so much pressure and always has to kick up to someone. The deal goes sour with the revelation that the buyers were cops.

Gillian continues to treat Richard like he doesn’t deserve happiness. She warns him to be careful of dreams that  couldn’t possible come true. His deformity has always held him back from happiness. Richard is one of my favorite characters on the show because he has such a pure soul regardless of the things he has done. The essence of his character isn’t tainted. There is always reasoning behind his actions.

Richard has been a notable figure in Tommy’s life and I could definitely see him playing the role of his father. Well ,just about anything would be better then living with Gillian at the brothel. That certainly isn’t the best environment and Richard wants to separate him from it. In a way, Tommy, gives meaning to Richard’s life. They both are looking out for each other now.  Now that he has Julia; he has someone to share his life with. Julia’s ability to look past his ailment shows true character. She sees him for more than what is visible on the surface. I really want things to end well for these two; their relationship tugs on the  heart chords.

The last time Nucky and Chalky White met, Chalky’s  proposal to open a black run club on the Boardwalk was rejected by Nucky. It was hard to tell if Nucky was being selfish or really had too much on his plate at the moment to even give his proposal consideration. After the events unfolded this Episode, it seems like Chalky’s dream will be coming to fruition.

Nucky  is hoping for an army in Chalky’s men but Chalky isn’t a character who easily forgives. Chalky won’t give him his men but he will  give him the opportunity to get the hell out of dodge, while he still has the chance. Nucky owes Chalky big time. He gives Nucky refuge and gets Eddie treatment for his gunshot wound. If you don’t love Eddie then I think you should check if you have a heart. The guy is loyal like a pup. I would be devastated to see his character go. For all the crap Nucky gives him he never complains. He doesn’t get professional medical care but he gets the next best thing; a medical student that was intended to marry Chalky’s daughter.

Eddie goes off into and drunken,feverish, and mostly German speech which I believe eventually inspired Nucky to stay and fight. This scene and similar ones are the reason why I love Boardwalk empire. We are given the chance to examine characters from whole new perspectives; even the servant is a multi dimensional character.

Rosetti establishes a new base of operations at the Artemis Club and Gillian gives in reluctantly. She doesn’t really have much choice. I can see this being the breaking point for her character. She can’t really take much more stress after the death of her son. She is losing control right from underneath her. She finds one of Masseria’s men fornicating in the lounge and she wails on him. She doesn’t have much to call her own. She is pretty much a broken person and despite it being a whore house she will hold on to it. She continues to try to uphold its reputation as a classy joint for her own reasons.

On Nucky’s ride out of town with Chalky, they are stopped by Masseria’s men. Chalky doesn’t give up Nucky but sees that by his actions he is in far too deep to go back now. Him and Nucky are a team now and Nucky is determined to take back what is his. Yet, they aren’t in this fight alone. Eli has made a deal with an unlikely ally…

This penultimate episode will be hard to top. I’m itching with anticipation. What will Richard do with his armory of weapons? All signs are pointing to him going on a bloody vindictive rampage at The Artemis Club. If he were to do this, I couldn’t see him surviving the ordeal unscathed. My only hope is that Gyp comes down in a epic hail of bullets along with him.

Review Score: 10/10 (Masterpiece)

Homeland: ‘Two Hats’ Review

On last week’s episode of Homeland, Brody almost blew the whole operation with Roya Hammad. The pressures of being a spy  caused his will to crumble. After Carrie helped him regather himself, he was captured and taken to an unknown location by Roya Hammad.

With the disappearance of Brody, Carrie pushes to make a move on Roya Hammad. She does this under the assumption that he has been killed in action or has been turned. If he’s in fact dead or has been turned that would be the easiest route because they can make a move on Roya Hammad. The other alternative is that Brody is alive and hasn’t been turned. If that is the case and they do make a move on Roya; Brody’s cover will be exposed and he’s a dead man.

This tough decision that Carrie has to make leaves her quite shaken. Thankfully, Brody calls before they can make a move on Roya. He ask for the help of the CIA to put his family in protective custody. Saul and the team see this as a good sign because if he’s trying to protect his family than he’s still playing ball with the CIA.

Upon Brody’s capture he is not tortured but rather held with the idea that he will be tortured. Fearlessly, Brody faces this test by Abu Nazir without faltering. Abu Nazir’s attack on U.S soil is revealed to Brody. The attack is to take place at a troop homecoming event. This event would be welcoming over 300 soldiers coming home from war. If an attack were to take place at this event the results would be catastrophic. Roya Hammad would be helming the attack as a news reporter.

There is one detail that Brody does not tell the CIA about his meeting with Abu Nazir. During their conversation with  Brody, he has a flashback of praying with Abu Nazir. This is triggered when he is asked if there is any other details that he can tell them about their meeting. It’s suspicious that  he declines to reveal that segment.

It’s sad if  he feels shame for being a muslim. A man shouldn’t feel shame for practicing a religion. The other possibility is that the flashback was much more than what was showed on the surface. It could have been Brody was sharing an intimate moment with Abu Nazir and there is more that he is hiding. Saul shares his reservation with Quinn on Brody. Quinn believes Carrie should be more cautious with Brody.

It’s becoming clearer and clearer as the series goes on that Carrie’s feeling for Brody are becoming stronger. This romance is at times awkwardly inappropiate. It makes me not respect Carrie’s character at times and takes away the believability of the show. This romance isn’t the only one happening on the show.

With Brody gone, Jessica and the family are moved to a new home for protective custody. It seems like everyone in the family is turning their backs on Brody. Mike Faber and Jessica lose themselves to temptation and sleep together. It’s hard to feel angry at her when you know that Brody is also being adulterous with Carrie. It helps that Mike has been a really good role model for Chris and Dana.

Carrie’s earlier doubt’s of Quinn’s credentials reveal themself in this episode.  Saul uncovers the fact that Quin’s clearance is way higher than needed for his team. When he brings it up with Estes later on he brushes it off on the fact that everyone is on the same team. Frustrated, Saul let’s it be for the time being. He can’t be sidetracked when they are setting up Roya Hammad for a trap.

After confirming that Roya’s camera crew are transferring the bomb they stop Roya’s plan. Unfortunately, when the smoke clears ; they still don’t have Abu Nazir. In a turn of events it seems that Brody is a truly expendable man. Quinn and Estes planned to eliminate him If Abu Nazir was caught.

With Brody’s cover officially blown, the next episode of Homeland seems to be very promising. Hopefully now, Brody will finally be able to break the hold that Abu has over him.

Review Score: 8.4/10

‘Watchmen: Motion Comic’ Review

The Watchmen comic is regarded as one of  the finest stories in DC’s comics catalog. If you’ve never read the Watchmen comic, then the animated motion comic is definitely the next best way to experience the universe. The Watchmen plot revolves around the investigation of a masked vigilante’s death which unravels into a scheme much larger and sinister then anyone involved could have imagined.

The setting of the story is an alternate universe in which, earth is on the brink of Nuclear war due to the departure of a super being named Dr. Manhattan. This threat is felt throughout the world and casts a dark shadow over the tone of the story. This tone is one of my favorite aspects of the series.  No one is safe; not even the people that you trust to protect you.

One of the reasons the story is so good even to this day is the fact that the story can be relatable to modern times. The Watchmen contains more than just political overtones; The Watchmen story is a direct and unreserved warning of what could possibly become of the world; minus the blue guy of course. The message “Who Watches The Watchmen” is lain in graphitti upon the walls of the crime ridden streets of the world. A suitable message; which begs the question and general discussion; who holds those accountable, who are seemingly untouchable or believe they are?

One of the most interesting points of the story was in the self exile of Dr. Manhattan. A man who sees the past, present, and future. His departure of earth sets in motion a series of meticulously crafted and planned events back on earth but that’s not the part that intrigued me.

For a ‘man’ who can be or have anything he desires, he eventually grows bored with humanity and everything that comes with them: Things such as their violent nature or their incapacity to see logic when it is right in front of them. Dr. Manhattan is pleaded with to return to Earth but upon learning that the woman he loves has been with another man, there no longer is anything left to tie him down to earth. What I find remarkable is that even through this he sees that life is not meaningless. He saw a reason for humanity in the pain of the one he loved.

The actual visuals of the motion comic are what you’ve come to expect from the comic. Dave Gibbons extraordinary and original work wasn’t altered dramatically. It’s obvious some slight recoloring and touch-ups on illustrations were done but nothing significant.  The series is accompanied by a great soundtrack. Two memorable pieces are the opening title music and the ominous composition for the scenes of the Tales of The Black Freighter(a masterful interwoven subplot).

What really boggled me was how they would do the transition from panel to panel.They get away with it by actually showing characters completing their actions on the screen such as walking, interacting with objects, or other people. The animation is done in such away that you forget that its actually a comic. The only fault I can see would be in their avoidance of lip sync. This could have been done but their decision not to was a wise one in my opinion.

I always wanted to read The Watchmen comic but sadly never got around to it. I watched Zack Snyder’s adaption of the critically acclaimed graphic novel and was subsequently driven to read the source material. The film, although it was pretty good, doesn’t compare. It was created and altered just enough so that it could please a large audience but while at the same time trying to retain the qualities that make the source material so good. It was stuck in between alienating fans and losing money for the studios or compromising for marketability.

In no way am I saying that Zack Snyder’s interpretation was bad but it doesn’t have the depth that the full comic entails What makes the comic so good is that the universe is extremely believable and rich. All the material can’t be fit into a two hour plus film. Lawrence Gordon an eventual producer of the 2009 film once believed that The Watchmen Comic was unfilmable and would be better as  5 hour miniseries. That’s basically what your getting here +1 hour or so.

If your not into comics this may not be for you but if you are a fan this is exactly where to go. You get a faithful reconstruction of the comic in animated form. This may not compete with a fully animated comic but the way this work was done it definitely leaves the impression that it could be possible. I’m anticipating eagerly if they will do something similar for the Before Watchmen series that is finally among us.

Review Score : 9/10

The Walking Dead: ‘When the Dead Come Knocking’ Review

On last week’s episode of The Walking Dead, Rick figured out a way to cope with the lost of his wife. Thankfully he didn’t completely lose himself because they are really going to need Rick at his best for the events to come. With the arrival of Michonne to the prison,the group has little time to celebrate on the fact that Carol has survived.  Michonne wasn’t exactly a bearer of good news but rather came to the prison carrying nothing but baby formula.

This was the same formula that Glenn and Maggie were carrying before they were captured. After a discussion with Michonne, Rick finds out that Glenn and Maggie have been taken hostage. Unfortunately, Michonne doesn’t know that the person who shot her and captured Rick’s friends is Merle. The group is oblivious of what they are getting into with Merle, a guy still holding a personal vendetta against Rick. Rick and Carl decide on naming the baby before heading out. Carl names her Judith, after a teacher he had in 3rd grade.

Back at Woodbury, the governor tasks Andrea to help Milton with his research. An elderly man on the verge of dying from cancer has volunteered himself for research. Milton’s research is to try and establish whether the unconscious mind of  a walker still retains memories. The test involves Milton asking the elderly man questions about his family and whether or not he recognizes their faces. When walkers turn they won’t be able to verbally communicate so Milton practices with raising his hand as a confirmation.

The result of the experiment is disappointing for Milton. This comes as no surprise for Andrea because she has seen the transformation before. Yet, the results still affect her more than she thought they would. I believe perhaps on some level she wanted to believe that there was still hope for the living dead. The same hope she held for her sister she probably saw in Milton.

Meanwhile, Merle interrogates Glenn to try and find the group’s camp. This proves more difficult than Merle has expected. Glenn has become quite hardened by the world, since the last time they met. Merle’s brutal physical interrogation won’t be enough. One thing he does find out is that Andrea was part of the group and he relays the fact to the governor. Annoyed by Glenn’s perseverance, he brings a walker into the room. Merle wants Glenn to relive the feeling of desperation that he  felt when he was left to die on the roof.

Luckily, Glenn survives the encounter by managing to break the chair he was tied to and used it as a weapon against the walker. The governor decided to take matters in his own hands and interrogates  Maggie. When his attempts fail, he brings them together and threatens to shoot Glenn. This is the folding point for Maggie. She gives up the group’s camp.

I feel nervous for what is to come for Andrea. When she finally opens herself up to someone, he happens to be the person that will betray her trust. The suspense is killing me for the infiltration of the governor’s town in next week’s mid-season finale. I have a feeling it won’t be a easy snatch and grab operation.

Review Score: 8.7/10

AHS: Asylum: ‘Origins of Monstrosity’ Review

Image

After delivering the bombshell of the identity of Bloody Face last episode; American Horror Story delivers another solid episode. My expectations were a bit high for this episode. As the title of the episode implies; this episode examines the origins of some the characters in the show.

This week we see Bloody Face and Lana spending some quality time together. B.F reveals to Lana why he does what he does; his mother or lack thereof. This plot point is pretty predictable but it makes sense. Psychologically we all are shaped by our upbringing so if you were abandoned and never touched of course you would find yourself seeking some affection.

His character not only needs affection but he needs that sense of touch. Which he was refused his whole life from the system he was forced into. So he takes the warmth and affection of people who he sees as potential mothers by force; hence the mask.

I would have preferred to see Lana being cut to bits and pieces but somehow she convinced him otherwise. She is now forced into the role of mommy. I don’t see how things can get any worse for her character; as we see her character forced to do a certain maternal deed.

I think I was disappointed in seeing Shelly(Chloe Sevigny) being written off but I see there wasn’t much else you can do with her character after her exit from the asylum the last episode. Fortunately a new character has arrived to take her place.

I look forward to seeing if the alleged demon kid is actually telling the truth or if the writers of this show have another twist up their sleeve. An emotionless killer child would also please me as well though.

Pros

  • Bloody Face’s temper problems
  • Sister Jude’s Determination to reveal Dr. Arden
  • Opening up for more storytelling in the present
  • Sister Mary grooming the young demon

Cons

  • Sam Goodwin’s fate

This episode didn’t offer any twist like last episode but still offered ample entertainment through character interactions and flashbacks to the past and present.

Review Score: 8/10

Homeland: ‘Fly Away’ Review

This week’s episode of Homeland delved into the guilt felt by Dana about the hit and run that she took part of. In her time of turmoil, she turned to Mike for help.  Earlier on in the series, I had a small  dislike for Mike’s character. He has begun to grow on me now though.  He seems to genuinely care about the family and misses them. Hopefully there is a place for him in the family, sometime in the future. When I say that, I don’t  necessarily mean as a love interest with Dana’s mother. Fatherly figure seems more suitable for him, after all he has done for Jessica.

Meanwhile, it seems that all the lies and deception in Sgt. Brody’s life is finally taking a toll on him . His life as a double agent has forced him to make hard decisions that leaves his daughter angry with him. When his wife Jessica confronts him about lying about Carrie being out of the CIA, it can only get worse. All this pressure is causing him to lose his will to continue. I feel sorry for the guy. His family is falling apart despite his best intentions.

Because of these feeling, Brody ruins his meet up with Roya Hammad. If only it was that easy. If only he could walk away. But It isn’t that easy. The C.I.A needs him and without Brody as an asset, he’ll probably be spending some time in Guantanamo Bay(A thought he considers to be not all that bad if he can just stop all the lies). Still, the cogs turn and Carrie is still in play. After all, a threat is imminent. Carrie takes matters into her own and takes Brody off the radar. She convinces him that all his sins will be forgiven if he becomes this hero, who stops this attack on the U.S . Even the sins, against her she tells him will be forgiven.  All this eventually leads to them making sweet,sweet, love which is hilariously and masterfully cut into Saul and Quinn listening in.

It’s hard to tell whether Carrie is getting too attached with Brody, or if she is just doing it for the job. Saul shows his disapproval and asks her about it but she shoves it off as just being part of the job. Time will only tell how genuine Carrie’s feeling are towards Brody. Meanwhile, Brody sets up another  meeting with Roya Hammmad. Roya drives Brody out to the middle of nowhere and in a change of events her and the man from the Gettysburg massacre drags him out to a grass field where a helicopter is in the wait. It takes Brody off the radar for good. But unfortunately, this time he isn’t off the radar in the safe hands of the C.I.A. He’s now off the radar, in the hands of Abu Nazir.

I predict we will see in the next episodes of Homeland, whether Abu Nazir still has an effect on Brody. Will his memories of Issa, take him back to the other side? Only time will tell. I for one am looking forward to a conflicted Brody who can’t see right from wrong.

Review Score: ★★★★½