In the first few minutes of “Eight Slim Grins”, a bearded man grabs Jane Doe (Jaimie Alexander) from behind. This character has shown up in several flashback scenes, as well as appearing to track Jane in the first two episodes. In short order, she elbows him and flips him onto a chair; he picks up a chair leg and knocks her tooth out. Spoiler alert: they fight some more. When he’s finally shot by a sniper, he falls to the floor, tells her not to trust anyone, and dies. In retrospect, his advice seems a little redundant for someone who’s had her memory wiped, received a full body tattoo, and been dropped in Times Square wrapped in a duffle bag.
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Change is inevitable. It is everywhere and in everything. But some change is more foreboding, more catastrophic: the loss of a loved one, a divorce, and major injury.
To the characters in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, those very human changes mean perhaps just as much as they do to any fictional character, but as Marvel’s Inhumans expose their powers and their capabilities, change will be much more challenging, at the personal level, for those evolving into some other form of human; it will also mean enormous change for those still constrained by their traditional humanity.
NBC has a habit of trying the same idea over and over again. Two years ago, the television network used their popular singing competition, The Voice as the lead into a high-concept crime espionage drama The Blacklist. This concept worked well enough for the network to try a similar series: Blindspot. As in The Blacklist, a person with a great deal of information surrenders to or is found out by the government. That person make reference to an agent (out of the blue) to work with, thus beginning a series of adventures in which the agent and the person with info solve crimes and capture bad guys.
In both cases, neither drama stands up to critical examination: plot holes, insane coincidences, and conveniences saturate the scripts. The big question is: will Blindspot be able to have the same draw as The Blacklist? At this point, it is too early to tell. There are a few differences between the shows that merit notation.
Fear the Walking Dead’s fourth episode, “Not Fade Away”, opens to the strains of Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day”. The allusion sets the mood: happy relaxation tinged with something more sinister beneath. Although Reed sings lazily of “sangria in the park”, that wistful feeling turns bitter as the song continues, especially in lines like “you made me forget myself / I thought I was someone else/ someone good.”
In the same way, life in L.A. seems relatively tranquil for Travis Manawa (Cliff Curtis) and his family, at least in the episode’s early scenes. We find Travis out for his morning run; Nick (Frank Dillane) lounges by the pool; Chris (Lorenzo James Henrie) films the surrounding landscape from the rooftop. In fact, these scenes play as though the show has gone back in time, to before the crisis began.
At this moment, I am watching MSNBC, and across the screen flashes a banner: “Breaking News: Donald Trump Refuses to Correct Questioner Who Believes Obama is Muslim!” Though hardly startling news, Trump’s exchange with two supporters at a rally, replayed on MSNBC ad nauseam and soon appearing everywhere else, is a remarkable embarrassment in an election cycle predicated on ceremonial public humiliations. The exchange proceeded as follows:
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