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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Fourth 2020 Democratic Presidential Debate: Winners and Losers

I thought the fourth 2020 Democratic presidential debate, just concluded on CNN, had far more winners and far fewer losers than in any of the previous debates.  Meaning: just about everyone did well.

Among the highlights:

  • Biden, who started off a little less than totally coherent in his phrasing - as he often does - did far better in the second half of the debate, and distinguished himself with powerful statements on the need to hit the ground running as President, and his copious experience on many issues ranging from foreign policy to gun control.  He also offered a good critique of Warren's proposals lacking specifics of how they'd be financed.
  • Warren gave a strong defense of her progressive policies, and, on the process of campaigning, I was glad to hear her say (with a bit of sarcasm) that "selfies must be the new measure of democracy" - which is almost precisely the point I made after her four+ hours of selfies to all who wanted them after a rally and talk in New York last month (see my McLuhan in an Age of Social Media). 
  • Bernie also gave a strong defense of his policies, very similar to Warren's, and he also was almost charming in some of his banter with other candidates.
  • Buttigieg gave an excellent defense of his proposal to expand the Supreme Court, and/or in some way to get out of the cut-throat politicization of the Court that currently grips this country.  On the other hand, I though he was unnecessarily aggressive in challenging Beto on Beto's proposal to have a mandatory buy-back of all assault weapons in the U. S. (which I support).
  • I thought Beto, in general, was the most effective he's been in the debates so far, finding a good balance between passion and logic in his presentations, and offering an excellent, vivid example of working with a Republican (whom he got to know sharing a car ride from Texas to Washington, DC).
  • Harris gave one of the best arguments I've ever heard on the urgency of women having complete control over their bodies.
  • Klobuchar was also more effective than she's been in the past, and offered a believable mix of pragmatism and idealism in addressing our myriad problems.
  • Even Andrew Yang made some good sense tonight, pointing out that breaking up monopolies - splitting of behemoths like Amazon - is using an old solution to the new problems of the 21st century.   On this one point, I agree with Yang not Warren.
  • Tom Steyer the billionaire made his debate debut tonight.  He didn't get much time, but gets points from me in siding with Bernie and Warren that billionaires should be taxed far more than they are currently.
  • Booker had the second best example of a social relationship with a surprising person: Booker the vegan had dinner with the "meat eating" Texan Ted Cruz.  He also was good in saying that women are entitled to control their own bodies, because that's a right intrinsic to all people. 
  • Castro was typically lucid and reasonable, especially his observation that "police violence is also gun violence, and we need to address that".  I don't know why he isn't doing better in the polls, but this may well be the last time we'll see him on the debate stage.
That leaves just one candidate - Gabbard - for whom I can't think of anything positive worth noting in her debate performance.  Gabbard is wrong on so much many issues - especially foreign policy, and she's friends with Trey Gowdy? - that I'd find it hard to vote for her, unless somehow she were the Democrat running against Trump.

El Camino: Flashbacks and Onward



El Camino, aptly described by IMDb as "a sequel of sorts, to Breaking Bad," is nothing but a success, unqualified.

The "of sorts" does amply to El Camino's status as a sequel, and one of the key reasons, perhaps the key reason, why it is so satisfying.  Walter (Bryan Cranston), Mike (Jonathan Banks), and Todd (Jesse Plemons), none of whom survived the original series, each appear in El Camino in flashback scenes that we haven't seen before in Breaking Bad.  Todd's was much better than Mike's, and Walter's was sheer magic, but all three in-and-of themselves make El Camino eminently worth watching.

Robert Forster, whose character Ed survived the original series, made a crucial and winning appearance in El Camino.   He was one of my favorite actors since the groundbreaking Medium Cool, and everything subsequent from Jackie Brown to even Heroes, and had the rare ability to be perfect in every disparate part he played.  In a tragic irony which somehow also is in line with Breaking Bad, Forster passed away on the day El Camino debuted on Netflix.  RIP, truly.

As for the story of El Camino, I don't want to give any of it away, so I won't talk about the plot.  But Aaron Paul does a fine job as Jesse Pinkman, who is appropriately a bit older and wiser and all-around more capable than he was in Breaking Bad.   The movie crackles with sarcasm and satire and all kinds of humor interspersed with bullets flying and other life-and-death situations, and is a good additional (very short) season to one of the most original and remarkable series ever on television.

Is there room for another sequel?   See the movie and decide.

See also my review of Breaking Bad: The Official Book



And see also Breaking Bad Final Episodes #1: Walt vs. Hank ... Breaking Bad Final Episodes #2: Skylar and Jesse ... Breaking Bad Final Episodes #3: The Ultimate Lie ... Breaking Bad Final Episodes #4: Old Yeller ... Breaking Bad Final Episode #5: Coordinates ... Breaking Bad Final Episode #6: The Knife and the Phone ...  Breaking Bad Penultimate: $10,000 for 2 Hours ... Breaking Bad Finale: "I Did It for Me"

Also: Talking about Walter White and Breaking Bad

And see also Breaking Bad Season 5 Premiere: Riveting Entropy ... Breaking Bad 5.3: Deal with the Devil ... Breaking Bad 5.7: Exit Mike ... Breaking Bad Final Half-Season Finale

And see also My Prediction about Breaking Bad ... Breaking Bad Season 4 Debuts ... Breaking Bad 4.2: Gun and Question ... Breaking Bad 4.11: Tightening Vice ... Breaking Bad 4.12: King vs. King ... Breaking Bad Season 4 Finale: Deceptive Flowers



  

The Deuce 3.6: Memorable Scenes



An outstanding episode 3.6 of The Deuce on HBO tonight, with all kinds of memorable and game-changing developments.  Among my favorites -

  • Lori out west, finally firing her agent and leaving the guy who swore he'd make her a star.  She'll head back east now, to do ... what?
  • Candy reaching deep into her own life to give an actress more context for her part.  Candy's life literally has nothing to do with the specific scene the actress needs help with.  But the actress is inspired, as are we the audience, nonetheless.  So is Harvey, who finally gives Candy a passionate kiss.   (Lots of finally's in this fine episode.)
  • Vince is of course transformed by his brother's murder.  He's tougher and more sensitive, at the same time.  Sensitive because he now has a visceral appreciation of how precious life is.  Seeing him and Abby get back together and commit to each other was one of the best moments in the series.  I really hope they both survive this final season, and survive it together.
  • But speaking of Vince, I'd say the strongest scenes was the series of scenes involving Rudy.  He admires that Vince acted like "a man" and killed his twin brother's killer.  He tells a mob guy, pretty high up there, who represents the father of the guy Vince killed, that he Rudy okayed the killing.  And, unsurprisingly, Rudy's second in command kills Rudy in a powerful last scene.
So where does that leave Vince?  Possibly, presumably, since Rudy took responsibility for the killing of Frankie's killer, there will be no further need for the killer's father to exact retribution from Vince.  But I have no idea how these mob things work.

All I know is I'll be watching the remaining episodes of this unique series with rapt attention.

See also The Deuce 3.1: 1985 ... The Deuce 3.2: The First Amendment! ... The Deuce 3.3: Love and Money, Pimps and Agents ... The Deuce 3.4: Major Changes ... The Deuce 3.5: Lori and Candy

And see also The Deuce Is Back - Still Without Cellphones, and that's a Good Thing ... The Deuce 2.2: Fairytales Can Come True ... The Deuce 2.3: The Price ... The Deuce 2.4: The Ad-Lib ... The Deuce 2.6: "Bad Bad Larry Brown" ... The Deuce 2.9: Armand, Southern Accents, and an Ending ... The Deuce Season 2 Finale: The Video Revolution

And see also The Deuce: NYC 1971 By Way of The Wire and "Working with Marshall McLuhan" ... Marilyn Monroe on the Deuce 1.7 ... The Deuce Season 1 Finale: Hitchcock and Truffaut 

  
It all starts in the hot summer of 1960, when Marilyn walks off the set
of The Misfits and begins to hear a haunting song in her head,
"Goodbye Norma Jean" ...

Monday, October 14, 2019

Prodigal Son 1.4: Ainsley



The big step forward in Prodigal Son 1.4 is Ainsley coming to see her serial killer father at the very end of the episode.  He was certainly very happy about that, favoring her and us the audience with one of those Michael Sheen smiles.  As for Ainsley...

Well, we really don't know much about her.  She's played by Halston Sage, who did such a good job on The Orville.  So that in itself makes her character Ainsley ipso facto appealing.  In fact, that's one of the calling cards of Prodigal Son, with Sheen and Sage joining with Tom Payne and Lou Diamond Phillips to make one four-of-a-kind powerhouse of a leading cast.

But what's Ainsley's story?  Unlike Malcolm, she was apparently untouched by her father's psycho killings and her mother's acquiescence, which we also received confirmation of, tonight.  If it's indeed the case that Ainsley was shielded from what her parents were doing, that gives her a unique advantage in this narrative, a blank-slate counterpoint to Malcolm and everything he remembers, almost remembers, and one way or another knows.

But I have a feeling Ainsley knows more than that.  Her father's smile, I think, was more than just the smile of a father who is psycho glad to finally see his daughter again.  The bad good doctor likely knows something about Ainsley, someone we in the audience don't yet know, that is vitally important to his and this story.

Prodigal Son is already showing itself to be a complex drama with a lot more people in motion than just the son.

See alsoProdigal Son: A New Serial Killer ... Prodigal Son 1.2: Dreams or Memories? ... Prodigal Son 1.3: LSD and Chloroform

 

Succession: Stunning Slight Smile



So, here's a confession (for anyone who's interested) about this mostly TV-review blog: I watch shows that I love, but don't review.  For whatever reason, I just really enjoy watching these shows, and just want to leave it there.  It's not that I love such shows more than the ones I review, it's just that everyone once in a while, all I want to do is watch the shows.

But also every once in a while, I do write a review of one of these shows.  I did that last year for three shows my wife and I always watch - the Chicago triplet series (Med, Fire, PD).  And I thought that I'd do that for another series my wife and I also always watch.  It was excellent last year, but off-the-charts superb this year, in its second season: Succession on HBO.

The season-two finale on last night had an ending that truly surprised us.  I didn't expect Ken to just passively go through with his father Logan's request that Ken take the fall. I was afraid that maybe he would take his own life.  The twist at the end was far better: he turns on Logan and blames him for the company's ills.

The slight smile on Logan's face was also incredibly compelling.  Likely he was betraying some admiration for what his son did.  But could it be that he was in on this, and Ken's pointing the finger at Logan was something he and Logan planned?  We'll just have to wait until next year.

In the meantime, we can enjoy the recollection of what I think is one of HBO's best series since The Sopranos and The Wire.  The acting, the writing, the mix of drama and wry comedy are, indeed, something we've only seen on a very few series on any kind of television over the years.

 

The Affair 5.8: Moth to the Flame



Noah's modus operandi in The Affair, beginning with, well, the affair itself, has been like a moth to a flame.  He has a powerful urge to do something.  Others and he himself tell him that's not the way to go, to resist his impulses.  And he does it anyway.  And bad consequences, sometimes dire, ensue.

He was in full moth to flame mode in last night's episode 5.8.  His publicist and their #metoo specialist tell him to let them handle this budding crisis, including letting them speak to the Vanity Fair reporter who's doing the expose.  Noah goes to see her anyway, and, in his inexperience with this, gets baited into saying some damning things on the record.

His lawyer - whose "crisis pr girl" has come to the aid in some unspecified way for the likes of "Anthony Weiner, Eliot Spitzer, Weinstein" - also strongly advises Noah to stay out of this and let them handle it, but Noah winds up rushing back to Los Angeles anyway to confront the woman, his publicist when Descent was published, who says Noah forced sex on her.  Actually, given the dismal record of the "pr girl" in helping the above three, maybe Noah was right not to follow their advice.  But he makes a mess of it in Los Angeles, in front of witnesses who see him angrily grab the arm of his accuser.

I always liked Noah and still do.  He's fundamentally good at heart.   He's quick to struggle against injustices, especially when they're aimed at him.  And that, of course, is his undoing.  (By the way, acting even more fabulous than usual by Dominic West as Noah in this episode.)

Ironically, the one person who's glad to see him back in LA is Helen.  She's had a typically hell of a day, and Noah's showing up her door with lasagna is a break in the frustrating syndrome she and everyone in her orbit are in, and the peaceful highpoint of her day.

Only three episodes left.  Not much time for anyone to improve their situation.



And see also The Affair 3.1: Sneak Preview Review ... The Affair 3.2: Sneak Preview Review: Right Minds ... The Affair 3.3: Who Attached Noah? ... The Affair 3.4: The Same Endings in Montauk ... The Affair 3.5: Blocked Love ... The Affair 3.6: The Wound ... The Affair 3.7: The White Shirt ... The Affair 3.8: The "Miserable Hero" ... The Affair 3.9: A Sliver of Clarity ... The Affair 3.10: Taking Paris

And see also The Affair 2.1: Advances ... The Affair 2.2: Loving a Writer ... The Affair 2.3: The Half-Wolf ... The Affair 2.4: Helen at Distraction ... The Affair 2.5: Golden Cole ... The Affair 2.6: The End (of Noah's Novel) ... The Affair 2.7: Stunner ... The Affair 2.8: The Reading, the Review, the Prize ...The Affair 2.9: Nameless Hurricane ... The Affair 2.10: Meets In Treatment ... The Affair 2.11: Alison and Cole in Business ... The Affair Season 2 Finale: No One's Fault


 

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Prodigal Son 1.3: LSD and Chloroform



Well, the two biggest stars of Prodigal Son 1.3 - the two biggest factors in moving along the story - were LSD and chloroform.   That is, two very different kinds of drugs.

LSD is responsible for the murders that Malcolm and the team investigate.  The psychedelic drug magnifies fear, among other things, which proves to be the source or at least the accelerant of the killings.  Let me say here that I'm liking almost everyone in the team - not only Gil and Dani, but even the skeptical J. T., who had a good conversation with Malcolm in this episode.  The only member of the team I don't like is Dr. Tanaka.  It's not the fault of the actress, Keiko Agena.  It's the fault of writers and the producers, who keep giving her needlessly stupid lines, attempting to be funny, and therein annoying. Actually, I'd guess that's ultimately the fault of the network people, who think a narrative this serious and sometimes horrifying needs to be leavened with some lame comedy.  My unasked-for advice: keep the character and throw out the "comedy".

Chloroform, the anesthetic, provides the big punch in the underlying continuing story of this series thus far.  I said last week that I suspected Malcolm's mother of maybe being the real killer.  Episode 1.3 pretty much rules that out.  But under self-administered chloroform, Malcolm remembers - likely not dreams - that his mother had something more to do with his father's killings than just abhorring them.   We earlier get a strong scene of Jessica talking to her husband Martin in prison.   She was clearly unnerved, to say the least, by what she discovered her husband was doing.  The question is: when?   Malcolm's chloroformed memory suggests that his mother knew something, knew a lot, long before she turned her husband in to the police.

I'm glad I'm caught up now with this series.  I'll be reviewing it now on a much more regular basis.

See alsoProdigal Son: A New Serial Killer ... Prodigal Son 1.2: Dreams or Memories?

 

Paul Levinson reads in 1999 from The Silk Code



Welcome to Episode 118 of Llght On Light Through, a special video podcast of a reading I did of The Silk Code in May 1999 for the legendary Seeing Eye Theatre, months before the novel was published by Tor Books. The reading was audio only, and took place in a hotel in Pittsburgh, PA, where the Science Fiction Writers of America's yearly Nebula convention was being held (I was President of SFWA back then). I put all kinds of images in this video, ranging from a reading I did later that year at the equally legendary Toadstool Bookshop in New Hampshire (pictured in the above image), to some photos of Rita Ora's Tezenis commercial, where The Silk Code was employed. The reading is from the beginning of the third section of The Silk Code, "The Subatomic Symptom". The novel would go on to win the Locus Award for Best First Science Fiction novel of 1999.


Saturday, October 12, 2019

Prodigal Son 1.2: Dreams or Memories?



Been a busy two weeks - listening to final mixes of my new album - so I'm just getting around to watching and reviewing the second episodes of some of the promising new series that debuted last month.

Prodigal Son is one such series, and its second episode was even better than the first.  The continuing background story deals with a question all of us have encountered: is it a memory of something that really happened, or a dream?  I first dealt with this question years ago, when I received a phone call in the middle of the night, fell back asleep, and wasn't sure the next morning if I had dreamt that call or it was real.  I realized that, as the day went on, my memory got even more clear.  That meant, I thought, that I had really received the call.  And, when I spoke with the person who had called me, I confirmed that  I had.  In contrast, I noticed that my recollection of dreams got more fuzzy as the day went on.   So, I had come up with a way to distinguish between the two: memories stay clear or get clearer, dreams fade away (though you might have a memory of the dream, which stays clear).

Malcolm, of course, doesn't have such a method.  His serial-killer father says Malcolm just dreamed about the girl in the box.  We the audience have seen that the father is lying.  But Malcolm doesn't yet know that.   Why would the father lie about that particular murder?  I'm thinking to protect his wife - Malcolm's mother - who was the one who killed the girl in the box, and maybe did some of the other murders.  We'll have to see about that.

Meanwhile, the crime Malcolm cracks in the second episode is a good one, involving snakes and atropine among other things.  I really like this series, and I'll be back soon with reviews of third and ensuing episodes.

See also: Prodigal Son: A New Serial Killer

 

Friday, October 11, 2019

Evil 1.3: Possessed Alexa



A good Evil 1.3 last night, which pits hacking vs. possession as the reason a victim's Alexa-like device is plaguing him.

Digital technology vs. demon is a logical and appealing variation on the general science vs. religion central tension of this series, and it provides a good spotlight for Ben (well played by Aasif Mandvi), the techie third leg of the powerful David-Kristen-Ben triad.   Demons have a great history of being in machines, and even in the popular parlance, as the phrase "ghost in the machine" amply demonstrates.

The digital addition to this ancient tradition is crucial, and brings these devices into the robotic/android realm, which, coincidentally, began to be explored in another new network series this week, Emergence.  If we assume we human beings have souls, the displacement or occlusion of our soul by a demon is a bigger deal than the demonic infestation of a digital assistant, since such an assistant presumably had no soul in the first place.  So such possessions presumably would be easier to achieve?

But the possibilities of digital possession are nonetheless intriguing and dizzying.  Imagine a self-driving vehicle that gets possessed by a demon.  Such a vehicle could do a lot of damage.  (Check out David Walton's Three Laws Lethal for a mostly non-demonic, riveting novel about self-driving vehicles.)

Back to Evil, I'd say this excellent new series is now at a crossroads.   So far, it has told mostly new stories, with a continuing thread of deeper stories, mostly separate, involving David and Kristen.  I'm enjoying this kind of narrative, but I'd like to see a little more development of those deeper stories, that go beyond the quick glimpses we've been seeing.

See you here next week.

See alsoEvil: Incubus Mystery ... Evil 1.2: Miracles and Racism



Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Emergence 1.3: Robots and Androids



A revelatory episode 1.3 of Emergence last night, in which we learn that definitely robots and maybe androids are involved in this series.

The robots are robotic guard dogs, in the facility that has the key to Piper's recovery.   They don't bark, but they're pretty effective, and almost prevent Jo and Benny from getting out of there.

The androids are maybe Piper.   She nearly dies in the hospital, after an MRI nearly sucks the life out of her.  But in what sense is she alive?   What Jo and Benny take out of the facility is some kind of code that "is" Piper, according to the woman who tells Jo about it.   So, we can assume that the code is some kind of digital record of what and who Piper is - not some nanites to repair or even reconstruct her brain and neural system.   It's a code that "is" Piper, in the sense that our brains or souls or whatever you think we humans are - whether your views are scientific or religious or both - make us who and what we are.

But this still leaves open the big question of how Piper came to be.  Was she a human girl who was bionically enhanced, not necessarily physically but cognitively, or, again, soul-wise?  Or was she constructed from scratch, in the same way we would build a robot or an android.   Or, in yet another gambit, maybe she was "grown"?

Like all good revelatory episodes, this raises and opens as many questions as it answers.  And like all good series, Emergence was wise to a put a revelatory episode in the line-up so soon.  I think Emergence has the potential to be top-notch science fiction, at least as far as traditional networks can go, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

See also: Emergence: May Just Make It ... Emergence 1.2: Cleaning Up

 

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

The Deuce 3.5: Lori and Candy



The Deuce 3.5 showed us just about everyone going down in one way or another.  Among the highlights (or low lights):

  • Frankie's definitely dead.  
  • Vince ignores various advice and kill's Frankie's killer.  Since said killer's father is a made man, this means Frankie's own life is now in mortal danger
  • AIDS is taking its toll, in heart-rending ways
  • Lori is so besieged, so desperate to protect herself and body from real intrusions, that she's now imagining them.
Let's look a little more carefully at the last.  Lori should be doing better, much better.  She escaped prostitution in New York to become a porn star in Hollywood.  But she found the impositions on her body in the acting annoying and unacceptable.  So she tried singing.  She sounded alright to me, but apparently not to the audience on her side of the screen.  So, she left that and is working as a stripper.  The audience loves her in that.  But she finds that love threatening, and hallucinates an assailant.  What does that say about Lori?  That she can't handle success?  Well, at least not in the kind of work she's doing,

Candy, after a rough couple of weeks, is the only one in striking distance of a happy ending.  She finally rekindles a professional alliance with Harvey.  In many ways, their relationship has always been the best in this series - the best in that both benefit professionally, and neither one is really damaged when discord arises, as it always does in all walks of life.

And, since The Deuce is about porn and its evolution, this befits the series.  See you next week.

See also The Deuce 3.1: 1985 ... The Deuce 3.2: The First Amendment! ... The Deuce 3.3: Love and Money, Pimps and Agents ... The Deuce 3.4: Major Changes

And see also The Deuce Is Back - Still Without Cellphones, and that's a Good Thing ... The Deuce 2.2: Fairytales Can Come True ... The Deuce 2.3: The Price ... The Deuce 2.4: The Ad-Lib ... The Deuce 2.6: "Bad Bad Larry Brown" ... The Deuce 2.9: Armand, Southern Accents, and an Ending ... The Deuce Season 2 Finale: The Video Revolution

And see also The Deuce: NYC 1971 By Way of The Wire and "Working with Marshall McLuhan" ... Marilyn Monroe on the Deuce 1.7 ... The Deuce Season 1 Finale: Hitchcock and Truffaut 

  
It all starts in the hot summer of 1960, when Marilyn walks off the set
of The Misfits and begins to hear a haunting song in her head,
"Goodbye Norma Jean" ...

Sunday, October 6, 2019

The Affair 5.7: On Montauk, Now and Later



And tonight's episode of the The Affair - 5.7 - was the best Noah segment, so far.  He's back in Montauk, with Whitney to help her prepare for her wedding at her grandparent's house.  But the circumstances lead to a crucial conversation between the two, culminating with her asking him why he left the family that he loved and loved him.  His answer: I don't know.

By the way, Julia Goldani Telles, who plays Whitney, has really come into her own as an actress.  The scenes between her and Dominic West, one of the best actors around, were really top notch.  My guess is she'll do great in third season of The Girlfriend Experience, for which she's already been announced.

Back to Noah: a new plot turn was introduced.  His former publicist is saying he made unwanted advances towards her.  If recollection serves, I'm pretty sure he didn't.  Will be good drama, though - excruciating for Noah - when all of that plays out in the episodes ahead.

As for the second segment - a half-hour of Joanie - for once I didn't like that too much.  It was a crucial interlude.  She confronts Ben.  It was not only unsatisfying to see how he got the better of her, but it was not well developed in the narrative.  She shouldn't have just gone over to confront him, with no real, apparent plan.  But excellent acting by Tony Plana - who did well on Mayans MC last year - in that important role of Ben.

And so The Affair continues on.  It still has some punches.  I'm still sad to see it end.  But not as sad as the characters, none of whom ever seem to be able to catch a break.



And see also The Affair 3.1: Sneak Preview Review ... The Affair 3.2: Sneak Preview Review: Right Minds ... The Affair 3.3: Who Attached Noah? ... The Affair 3.4: The Same Endings in Montauk ... The Affair 3.5: Blocked Love ... The Affair 3.6: The Wound ... The Affair 3.7: The White Shirt ... The Affair 3.8: The "Miserable Hero" ... The Affair 3.9: A Sliver of Clarity ... The Affair 3.10: Taking Paris

And see also The Affair 2.1: Advances ... The Affair 2.2: Loving a Writer ... The Affair 2.3: The Half-Wolf ... The Affair 2.4: Helen at Distraction ... The Affair 2.5: Golden Cole ... The Affair 2.6: The End (of Noah's Novel) ... The Affair 2.7: Stunner ... The Affair 2.8: The Reading, the Review, the Prize ...The Affair 2.9: Nameless Hurricane ... The Affair 2.10: Meets In Treatment ... The Affair 2.11: Alison and Cole in Business ... The Affair Season 2 Finale: No One's Fault


 

Goliath 3: Literally Streaming Excellence



Goliath 3, steaming on Amazon Prime video, could have been written and directed by David Lynch, and I mean that as a compliment.  It has a singer in a nightclub characterizing the action or moving it along with a fine assortment of songs including "Anyone Who Had a Heart" and "The Rose".  Believe it or not, she even gives a pretty good rendition of "In Dreams," twice no less.  Drug states easily and uneasily intermingle with the reality, a state of perception easily adduced to Billy Bob Thornton as attorney Billy McBride, and he's abetted by a great cast including all kinds of memorably seedy people, including even a Dennis in a big role, not Hopper but Quaid.

And the general plot couldn't be more pressingly relevant: a rapacious almond company literally sucking the water out of southern California.  As Patty Solis-Papagian (very well played by Nina Arianda), Billy's associate attorney in fighting the monsters, aptly puts it, they're working in "Satan's dusty ass crack".  This dry, druggy, alcohol-washed ambience is the most trenchant we've seen so far on Goliath.  (But I'd be happy to see Billy unknowingly drugged by his adversaries a little less often.)

Though this season stars a combination of water and the struggling lack of it, there's not a placid scene in the eight episodes.  Instead, we get a cascade of surprises, including plot twists, old enemies, comeuppances, and unexpected deaths and survivals.   It's a bracing, drenching, refreshing, and addictive season, which makes it an especially good thing that it's streaming (ok, that's it for the water references).  Kudos to the memorable heroes (Billy and Patty with the hard-to-pronounce last name) and memorable villains (Dennis Quaid as Wade, and Amy Brenneman as his sister Diana).  Highest recommendation.

See also Goliath 1 on Amazon: Law Drama as Its Meant to Be Seen ... Goliath 2: Truly Surprise Ending




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