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Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Bosch 5: Room with a Killer View



Amazon Prime put up the fifth season of Bosch last Friday, and I've got to say, though I really enjoyed all the prior seasons, this one was the best (I've said this after every season).  It has more of Bosch's customary panache, with the punch-in-the-face surprises, top-notch acting, and well-drawn nexus of plots we've come to expect from this drama.   At this point, it's not only the best cop show on television - in Los Angeles terrain that surpasses the many excellent homicide-cop shows that take place in NYC and Chicago - but must be counted among the best cop shows ever on television (I think I said this after most of the seasons, too).

The repartee is sharp as ever, laugh-out-loud funny, profound when need be, and cutting-edge current, as always.  A female detective says she's "polyamorous".   Back in the office, an old-salt high-ranking officer complains about the lousy coffee, "you might as well drink straight stomach acid, cut out the middleman".   Harry asks Maddie if she remembers the MLK quote from her senior high school year, "the arc of the moral universe ..."  Earlier, she advises Harry to "watch your six with her".

Maddie has really come into her own this season.  She was always Harry's daughter when it came to doing what she wanted, and now she's applying this to directly helping her father.   In fact, I not only thought Maddie had her best season, so did Lt. Grace Billets.   Plaudits to Madison Lintz as Maddie and Amy Aquino as Billets.   Come to think of it, attorney Honey Chandler (well played by Mimi Rogers) had her best season, too, and delivered some of the best twists in the narrative, starting with taking on Harry as her client.   Speaking of which, Titus Welliver, always outstanding as Bosch, was even more outstanding in this fifth season.   Jamie Hector as Jerry Edgar and Lance Reddick as Irwin Irving are excellent as ever, too

Getting back to the locale, Bosch always captured the unique Los Angeles mix of stunning beauty and rotting degradation.   Bosch's apartment is high up and indeed has a "killer view," as Maddie says.  But his job takes him through the dregs of society.   There are never any outright happy endings in Bosch - we have to be happy that at least he survived - but this one really goes to the dog(s).   If that's not clear, give yourself a treat and see season 5, after you've seen the previous four.

See also  Bosch: First Half: Highly Recommended ... Bosch: Second Half as Fine as the First ...  Bosch Season 2: Dragnet with Uber ... Bosch 3: Best Season So Far ... Bosch 4: Delivering and Transcending the Genre


                   another kind of police story 



Tuesday, April 23, 2019

The Enemy Within 1.9: CIA vs. FBI



There's always been a tension between the CIA and the FBI on The Enemy Within, to say the least, but it was drawn much more sharply in last night's episode 1.9.   Unsurprisingly, the FBI knew and did what was best.

Of interest, though, was how incompetent the CIA seemed.  They not only were behind the ball most of the time.  They were stubborn, and repeatedly jeopardized the mission.   I usually prefer more subtle distinctions, but 1.9 was a pretty strong episode anyway.

Shepherd, of course, is (former) CIA, now working, in chains, for the FBI.   Come to think of it, there's not much subtle about that, though there's plenty of complexity, and secrets within secrets.  For the past few episodes, The Enemy Within has gone out of its way to show us that Shepherd is actually working with Tal.  But I don't believe it.

I mean, she's working with him, sure.  But the question is for what purpose.  I'm thinking she's connecting with Tal as the most effective way of getting to him, so she can kill him.  With just a few episodes left this season, I'm guessing we won't see that this year.  Instead, I expect the season will conclude with Shepherd appearing to escape and joining forces with Tal.

Will Will Keaton be aware that Shepherd is working with Tal to take Tal out?   I hope so.  Keaton's come a long way in understanding what makes Shepherd tick.  But he's not there yet.  And, who knows, I could be wrong about this theory.

At very least, I hope The Enemy Within is renewed, so I can see if I am right.

See also The Enemy Within 1.4: Microsoft AI ... The Enemy Within 1.5: The New Mole ... The Enemy Within 1.7: The Conversation ... The Enemy Within 1.8: Oranges (Think About It)

 

Monday, April 22, 2019

Killing Eve 2.3: Lipstick



Well, the best scene in Killing Eve 2.3 is clearly Eve putting on the lipstick Villanelle slipped her, finding it has a blade when it cuts her lip, and, rather than recoiling in horror, brushes the blood across her lip so it mixes with the lipstick.

That scene about the mouth says it all.   Villanelle loves Eve, this we already know.  It's the weakness that makes Eve so dangerous to Villanelle, who is the superior agent, or at least a more cunning killing machine, sharp as Eve is.   But Villanelle's attraction to Eve mades Villanelle vulnerable, and, as we've already seen, it was almost a fatal attraction - fatal to Villanelle.

But Eve is deeply attracted to Villanelle, also.  If not precisely in the same way, something that both helps Eve understand Villanelle, but makes Eve more vulnerable, too.   The question for both of them, as they hunt and crave each other, is which impulse will prevail.   Libido or thanatos?

It's good to see Konstantin back in action.   He's an excellent counterpart to Carolyn.   And, in many ways, more of an asset to Villanelle than Carolyn is to Eve.  The essence of this story, indeed, is (or are) counterparts.   They might have even entitled this series Counterpart, had there not already been a series by that name, which, alas, was cancelled, but I'm still hoping comes back on some other network, wiser than Starz.

But back to Killing Eve, as exciting and daring as the first season was, I'm beginning to like this second even more.  It has all the style and quirky texture of the first season, with symbolism simmering perfectly under the surface.

See also Killing Eve 2.1: Libido and Thanatos ... Killing Eve 2.2: Villanelle as Victim

And see also Killing Eve: Highly Recommended (Season 1)



Sunday, April 21, 2019

Game of Thrones 8.2: Apologies and Memories



Among my favorite scenes in tonight's episode 8.2 of Game of Thrones, in which every scene was a memorable gem, Jamie was pivotal in both of them:

First, at the beginning, when Jamie refuses to apologize for what he did to everyone, including Bran, and Brienne comes to his defense. 

And then, a little later, when Jamie apologizes to Bran, and Bran explains he is no longer Bran, but something else, a living keeper of all memories and human history.

Apologies are obsolete with the Night King and his dead forces approaching.   But memories are everything.   Bran understands this - as does Sam - so Bran offers himself as bait to draw out the Night King.  As Sam explains so well, death is absolute forgetting on the part of the individual who has died.  Therefore, the Night King, in his quest to destroy humanity, needs to destroy the keeper of all human memories - Bran.  Just as the Nazis burned books, and millennia earlier, retrograde forces burned the ancient Library of Alexandria.

This is the essence of the Night King's quest.  But though almost all the humans defending Winterfell and thus humanity - and an impressive force they are, including the newly knighted Brienne, and Arya being with a man for the first time, in two other great scenes - expect to die in the upcoming battle, I'm with Tyrion in being something of an optimism.  Certainly not all of the heroes, male and female, will die.  Is it too much to ask that it be none of them?

One quibble (as always):  why was there no discussion of the dragons in the approaching battle?  We saw the two surviving dragons last week, right?  Where are they now?  And, where exactly is the dragon who is now with the dead?

See you next week.



And see also Game of Thrones 6.1: Where Are the Dragons ... Game of Thrones 6.2: The Waking ... Game of Thrones 6.5: Origin of a Name ... Game of Thrones 6.6: The Exhortation ... Game of Thrones 6.7: Giveth and Taketh ... Game of Thrones 6.8: Strategic Advantage ... Game of Thrones 6.9: A Night for the Light ... Game of Thrones Season 6 Finale: That Library

And see also Game of Thrones 5.1: Unsetting the Table ... Game of Thrones 5.8: The Power of Frigid Death ... Game of Thrones 5.9: Dragon in Action; Sickening Scene with Stannis ... Game of Thrones Season 5 Finale: Punishment

And see also Games of Thrones Season 4 Premiere: Salient Points ... Game of Thrones 4.2: Whodunnit? ... Game of Thrones 4.3: Who Will Save Tyrion ...Game of Thrones 4.4: Glimpse of the Ultimate Battle ... Game of Thrones 4.6: Tyrion on Trial ... Game of Thrones 4.8: Beetles and Battle ...Game of Thrones 4.9: The Fight for Castle Black ... Games of Thrones Season 4 Finale: Woven Threads


And see also Game of Thrones Back in Play for Season 2 ... Game of Thrones 2.2: Cersei vs. Tyrion

And see also A Game of Thrones: My 1996 Review of the First Novel ... Game of Thrones Begins Greatly on HBO ... Game of Thrones 1.2: Prince, Wolf, Bastard, Dwarf ... Games of Thrones 1.3: Genuine Demons ... Game of Thrones 1.4: Broken Things  ... Game of Thrones 1.5: Ned Under Seige ... Game of Thrones 1.6: Molten Ever After ... Games of Thrones 1.7: Swiveling Pieces ... Game of Thrones 1.8: Star Wars of the Realms ... Game of Thrones 1.9: Is Ned Really Dead? ... Game of Thrones 1.10 Meets True Blood

And here's a Spanish article in Semana, the leading news magazine in Colombia, in which I'm quoted about explicit sex on television, including on Game of Thrones.

And see "'Game of Thrones': Why the Buzz is So Big" article in The Christian Science Monitor, 8 April 2014, with my quotes.

Also: CNN article, "How 'Game of Thrones' Is Like America," with quote from me



"I was here, in Carthage, three months from now ..."

Friday, April 19, 2019

The Orville 2.13: Time Travel!



I've said many times in my many places that time travel is my favorite genre of science fiction.  The best episodes of Star Trek TOS and TNG were time travel stories - "City on the Edge of Forever" in TOS, "Yesterday's Enterprise" in TNG.  So I was expecting that sooner or later The Orville would check in with a time travel story - if not quite as superb as the TOS and TNG stories, right up there in excellence, anyway.   It did so tonight.

The time travel goodies in episode 2.13 come in three parts:

1. Kelly, seven years younger, arrives on The Orville, after some quantum force or whatever amplifies the power of a nascent time-travel device.  On the deck, the main characters discuss how that could be - wouldn't current Kelly remember that her younger self appeared on The Orville?  Everyone agrees that the answer to this paradox is the multiple worlds hypothesis - a new reality in which young Kelly appeared, right next to older Kelly and older Ed, was created at the instant young Kelly traveled to the future.  That new reality is separate from the original reality in which we have been watching The Orville. Good for The Orville for (a) recognizing the paradox (not every time travel story does), and (b) coming up with the best solution (multiple worlds).

2. Isaac et al figure out a way to send young Kelly back to her time (after some fun romantic interludes with Ed, and some soul searching conversations with her older self).  But ... if young Kelly successfully returns to her past, which would be the same as the past she left, how come older Kelly has no memory of her time as her younger self in the future?  Claire can give her a memory wipe.  Another good solution to a temporal problem, and I liked the deft way the metaphysics switched from multiple realities to time travel in a single reality frame.

3.  Young Kelly gets back to her past, but when young Ed calls her the next day, she tells him that they shouldn't see each other.  Nice touch!  The memory wipe may have erased the memories but not the visceral feelings Kelly brought back with her from the future.   Of course, the two will have to get together sooner or later, otherwise the stories we've been seeing on The Orville the past two seasons would be completely undermined.  My guess is young Ed will be persistent and young Kelly will choose him over her misgivings from the future.

And there could be an implicit part 4 to this, as well.  The experience tonight will get older Kelly and older Ed to get back together in the future. Or - maybe they'll read this and decide not to, because they don't want their future prescribed by some blog review.  Either way, tonight and its aftermath will make for a great story (and continued fine acting by Adrianne Palicki and Seth MacFarlane).


watch The Chronology Protection Case FREE on Amazon Prime


Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Aliens Night: Twist on B



I thought I'd check in with a short review, when no one's looking, of Aliens Night - a short film, a little over seven minutes, with over eight million views on YouTube.   The story is about as Grade B and campy as it gets - aliens with luminous eyes and not bad physiques trying to abduct a human scientist.  But she--

Well, I don't want to give away the ending.  But it's a good twist on on the well-worn genre.  Which is why, if you're a devotee of this genre, I'd recommend you see it.  Written and directed by Andrea Ricca, who also co-stars along with Stefani Autuori.

Hey, I said this would be a short review.


watch The Chronology Protection Case FREE on Amazon Prime



Monday, April 15, 2019

The Enemy Within 1.8: Oranges (Think about It)



An excellent episode 1.8 of The Enemy Within tonight, which via flashback provides a big missing piece of what happened three years ago to Shepherd, which resulted in her betraying Laine and three other CIA agents to the notorious Tal.

We already knew it was to protect her daughter.   Her blurting out the names of the four-member CIA names to Tal, as he was counting down to when he would kill Shepherd's daughter Hannah, makes perfect sense.  What doesn't make as much sense is why she didn't try to warn all four of them a little sooner - or why, after issuing the order for all four to abandon their current positions, she didn't follow through a little sooner with Laine.   I know, she had to confirm that her daughter was safe at home, but it isn't quite believable that a leader as effective as Shepherd would be so rattled that she couldn't have multi-tasked a little more.

On the other hand, it does make sense that once she was in the mode of protecting her daughter, Shepherd's other instincts were blocked.   Which brings us to the present.  We saw her talking to Tal in the present, last week, and again tonight.   But I don't think she's working for him.  I think she's playing a long game of working for Tal with the goal of his somehow getting her out of prison - as she tells him tonight - with the goal of killing him once she's out. 

By the way, it's good to see Lev Gorn from The Americans in action as Tal in The Enemy.   Not only is my oldest nickname Lev, but Gorn is a convincing actor.  He was a way of conveying a humanistic impulse, which is especially vexing when it's packaging the persona of a character who's a stone cold killer.

At this point, I'd say that The Enemy Within is the best espionage series that's come along on old-fashioned network TV in a while.  See you here next week.

Killing Eve 2.2: Villanelle as Victim



A crackin' good Killing Eve 2.2 - I had to use that phrase at least once in my review of this series, so  it might as well be now - in which Eve and Villanelle draw ever closer in England, with Eve, nearly choked out in a car passing Eve on the street, but Eve doesn't see Villanelle - so it's ever closer but not yet actually meeting.

Now the guy who is driving the car, and subdues Villanelle, is her new handler - or, from our perspective, her bad guy boss - who knew where she was because she had placed a call to MI6, desperate to escape the urbane psycho's house who was also batting her around.   So this tells us:  MI6 is infested with spies.  Which is true to life, given what happened to MI6 in real history during and after World War II, with Kim Philby and all.   Question: Is Killing Eve offering an accurate portrayal of MI6 today?   That is, is MI6 infested with Russian agents?  I wouldn't know, but that seems a not unreasonable proposition.

Anyway, the new handler has a job for Villanelle, but she and we don't yet know what it is.  It may well be killing Eve, though that would be a little too pat and cutesy given the title of the series.  Eve, for her part, has deduced all kinds of things, as is her wont, including that Villanelle will be jealous of the new assassin, who likes to work under the radar, as, in tonight's episode, a cleaning lady.

At this point, we have a story of Villanelle, still weakened by Eve's stabbing, as much the victim as the aggressor in her interactions, but still able to kill when necessary, versus Eve, who seems no longer tormented by stabbing and almost killing Villanelle.   That's a pretty good match, and I'll be back next week with a report on the next round.

See also Killing Eve 2.1: Libido and Thanatos

And see also Killing Eve: Highly Recommended (Season 1)


Sunday, April 14, 2019

Game of Thrones 8.1: All Together Now



A very fitting beginning of the end for Game of Thrones tonight - 8.1, first episode of the final season - in which nearly every crucial, living human player in the grand narrative is on hand.  Not altogether in terms of being truly united against the menace from the north, but at least in evidence in one or  another scene or conversation or plot or intense worry.

Cersei, of course, is in it for herself.   Bran is no longer a Stark, but at least is still loyal to them and humanity.  Tyrion's as witty as ever.  Jamie - the Kingslayer - shows up at Winterfell, where Daenerys is by and large ruling as Queen, even though the King slain by Jamie was her father.  Everyone except Cersei is willing to risk almost everything to fight the coming onslaught of the Night King, accompanied by one of Daenerys's dragons, now worse than ice cold.   (By the way, who was the Night King when he was living?  He seems to have a lot of smarts.)

Daenerys gets Jon Snow to ride a dragon, but what he learns near the end of this episode about his real lineage means that riding a dragon should indeed come naturally to him.  It's a nice twist.  We thought he was Ned's son and Catelyn accepted him and raised him and loved him, but Jon was really Lyanna Stark's son and a Targaryen was his father.   This is not only a good twist but stunning news since, as Sam tells him, this makes Jon a true king of all the kingdoms.   It also means he's a blood relative to Daenerys.   That's no big deal as far as their romance - incest, as we know from Cersei and Jamie, has run far wilder in Game of Thrones - but it does mean that, at some point, Jon may request Daenerys to bend a knee to him.  (Nah, I can't really see that - Jon's more likely to cap the knee bendings than require them.)

So we have an excellent,  simmering kettle of fish for the start of this final season, and I'm looking forward to more.


And see also Game of Thrones 6.1: Where Are the Dragons ... Game of Thrones 6.2: The Waking ... Game of Thrones 6.5: Origin of a Name ... Game of Thrones 6.6: The Exhortation ... Game of Thrones 6.7: Giveth and Taketh ... Game of Thrones 6.8: Strategic Advantage ... Game of Thrones 6.9: A Night for the Light ... Game of Thrones Season 6 Finale: That Library

And see also Game of Thrones 5.1: Unsetting the Table ... Game of Thrones 5.8: The Power of Frigid Death ... Game of Thrones 5.9: Dragon in Action; Sickening Scene with Stannis ... Game of Thrones Season 5 Finale: Punishment

And see also Games of Thrones Season 4 Premiere: Salient Points ... Game of Thrones 4.2: Whodunnit? ... Game of Thrones 4.3: Who Will Save Tyrion ...Game of Thrones 4.4: Glimpse of the Ultimate Battle ... Game of Thrones 4.6: Tyrion on Trial ... Game of Thrones 4.8: Beetles and Battle ...Game of Thrones 4.9: The Fight for Castle Black ... Games of Thrones Season 4 Finale: Woven Threads


And see also Game of Thrones Back in Play for Season 2 ... Game of Thrones 2.2: Cersei vs. Tyrion

And see also A Game of Thrones: My 1996 Review of the First Novel ... Game of Thrones Begins Greatly on HBO ... Game of Thrones 1.2: Prince, Wolf, Bastard, Dwarf ... Games of Thrones 1.3: Genuine Demons ... Game of Thrones 1.4: Broken Things  ... Game of Thrones 1.5: Ned Under Seige ... Game of Thrones 1.6: Molten Ever After ... Games of Thrones 1.7: Swiveling Pieces ... Game of Thrones 1.8: Star Wars of the Realms ... Game of Thrones 1.9: Is Ned Really Dead? ... Game of Thrones 1.10 Meets True Blood

And here's a Spanish article in Semana, the leading news magazine in Colombia, in which I'm quoted about explicit sex on television, including on Game of Thrones.

And see "'Game of Thrones': Why the Buzz is So Big" article in The Christian Science Monitor, 8 April 2014, with my quotes.

Also: CNN article, "How 'Game of Thrones' Is Like America," with quote from me



"I was here, in Carthage, three months from now ..."

Thursday, April 11, 2019

The Orville 2.12: Hello Dolly!




Another powerful episode of The Orville tonight - 2.11 - which follows the two-part "Identity" episodes (rebroadcast the past two weeks) even better than did the episode that followed the first showing of "Identity," though that episode was excellent, too.

Let me begin this little review by mentioning that I was at a great panel at HELIOsphere this past weekend (in addition to panelists listed on that link, Hildy Silverman was the panel, too), where we discussed our favorite science fiction television series.  I and several panelists mentioned The Orville as outstanding.  In fact, everyone agreed, but someone also indicated that a weakness of the series is that all the nostalgia is from the late 20th century.  Since The Orville takes place a few centuries from now, shouldn't some of the nostalgia be from our future?

A fair point, logically.   But the 20th-century nostalgia is part of the conceit of the show, part of the irresistible way that humor is smuggled in with the serious stuff, or maybe the other way around, but the result is the remarkable quality, the uniqueness, of this series.

So, with that in mind, let me say that the part I enjoyed most in this episode is the way Dolly Parton's "9 to 5" became a theme song for the Moclan female surge for independence - or, actually, life.  This was a good development of what Bortes earlier went through, when he had to see his female baby undergo "correction" to become male.  There is nothing the least bit funny about that.  And it of course relates to the oppression women receive on our own planet, in off-screen reality.

The other memorable part of this episode was seeing the Union Council on Earth in its full glory, chaired by a character well played by F. Murray Abraham, and assisted by the characters well played by Ted Danson and Victor Garber.   I bet the woman who played the female Moclan leader was a top-notch actor, too, but I couldn't tell through the make-up.*   (Speaking of women: fabulous to see Marina Sirtis on board The Orville as a teacher!)

Anyhow - I'll be sorry to see this season end in two episodes from now, but I'll be watching every episode and reviewing when it returns.

*My wife just researched this online, and found it's Rena Owen!

See also The Orville 2.1: Relief and Romance ... The Orville 2.2: Porn Addiction and Planetary Disintegration ... The Orville 2.3: Alara ... The Orville 2.4: Billy Joel ... The Orville 2.5: Escape at Regor 2 ... The Orville 2.6: "Singin' in the Rain" ... The Orville 2.7: Love and Death ...  The Orville 2.8: Recalling Čapek, Part 1  ... The Orville 2.9: Recalling Čapek, Part 2 ... The Orville: 2.10: Exploding Blood ... The Orville 2.11: Time Capsule, Space Station, and Harmony

And see also The Orville 1.1-1.5: Star Trek's Back ... The Orville 1.6-9: Masterful ... The Orville 1.10: Bring in the Clowns ... The Orville 1.11: Eating Yaphit ... The Orville 1.12: Faith in Reason and the Prime Directive


1st starship to Alpha Centauri ... had only enough fuel to get there

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Fosse/Verdon 1: Bigger than Life



Fosse/Verdon debuted on the FX Channel last night - a limited series that tells a story that anyone who's been paying attention to the past 60+ years of choreographed dancing, theater, and movie-making should be familiar with - the story of Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon, whose stage craft, directing (Fosse) and acting (Verdon) revolutionized what we saw on stage and in movie houses.

What's not familiar, and is indeed outstanding, are the actual performances we saw in the first episode.   Kelli Barrett not only captured Liza Minnelli's affect perfectly, but belted out a number or two from Cabaret that were off the charts.  Those performances in themselves make this series a musical series, in the sense that Smash a few years ago did so well.

Meanwhile, Sam Rockwell as Fosse and Michelle Williams as Verdon were creme de la creme.  Although the story of a driven genius perfected by his wife, and repaying her with infidelity, is all too familiar, Rockwell and Verdon give it a memorable presentation with the subtlety and nuances of their performances.

The sad truth, made apparent in the first episode, is that Fosse died way too young, at the age of 60.  He nonetheless accomplished more than one lifetime of creative work in his time, a lot of it with Verdon's help, and I'm looking forward to seeing as much of this as possible brought to the screen with the same ringing performances we saw in the first episode.

 

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

The Enemy Within 1.7: The Conversation



A good Enemy Within (1.7) last night - sorry, I was out doing a reading in Philadelphia, and didn't have a chance to review last week's episode.  But in this week's, we learn that: Shepherd is still working for Tal!

Or, maybe not.  We see, at the end of the episode, that she's conversing with Tal - via a phone she picked up without the FBI's knowledge - and Tal certainly appears to think she's working for him. But she might be maintaining contact with Tal as a way of ultimately getting to kill him.

The bulk of last night's episode clearly showed Shepherd doing her best to get Tal killed - arguing against the consensus that it's not worth sacrificing an innocent life to get Tal (I agree with this consensus, btw).   Keaton tries to have his cake and eat it - protect the innocent life but continue the mission, that is, don't tip off Tal - but that doesn't work.  And it's hard to believe that everything Shepherd said and did with the FBI was an act.

If she's working with Tal, that would be a wild explication indeed of what Tal said a few weeks ago about there being more than one mole in Keaton's team.   Assuming he was telling the truth, I still can't see who that mole might be.  Everyone we've seen, including Shepherd, is apparently trying their utmost to get Tal.

Which adds up to a good spy narrative, which is what The Enemy Within not only is, but gets more so with each episode.  I just had another thought:  maybe that CIA woman who is trying to sour Keaton on Shepherd is the Tal mole?   That would certainly explain her behavior.

I have no readings of my science fiction next week, so I'll see you here with another review.


See also The Enemy Within 1.4: Microsoft AI ... The Enemy Within 1.5: The New Mole

 

Monday, April 8, 2019

Killing Eve 2.1: Libido and Thanatos



As I mentioned in my review of Mrs. Wilson tonight, it was good to see Fiona Shaw play almost the same role in Mrs. Wilson and Killing Eve: a commanding role in MI5.   At this point, her Carolyn Martens in Killing Eve seems to have more integrity that her Coleman in Mrs. Wilson, but Mrs. Wilson ended on a highly ambiguous note, and the second season of Killing Eve is just getting started ....

So, let's get to that  Although Coleman in certainly an intriguing character, the real stars are Sandra Oh's Eve and Jodie Comer's Villanelle.  The latter takes the former's nearly stabbing her to death - in bed - as an expression of Eve's love for her, Villanelle.  It may be that, or something slightly else, but nonetheless potent and somewhat mutual.  On the other hand, if we believe in Freud's reaction formation, then what Villanelle thinks she senses in Eve may be mostly a reflection of what Villanelle herself feels for Eve.

I say "mostly," because Eve is clearly deeply affected by what happened in that bed in Paris.  But is that, at least in part, a deep attraction, a kind of love, or just trauma about having nearly killed someone?  The easy answer is it's likely a mix, but, that's an easy answer.

In any case, the hunter and the game are now reversed, with Villanelle now in England, driven to look up Eve, and do who knows what?  The options range from killing Eve to getting Eve to run away with her.   This first episode of the second season had a nice time getting Villanelle to London, with the high - or low - point being Villanelle killing Gabriel in this hospital.  This shows that, however much she may have been affected and even transformed by knowing Eve, Villanelle's sociopathic tendencies remain securely intact.

I reviewed all of season one in one post, after binge watching it last summer.  This Spring, you'll see me here with a review of each episode every week,

See also Killing Eve: Highly Recommended


Sunday, April 7, 2019

Mrs. Wilson 3: The Spy Who Made Up Stories



Well, we already knew from the first two episodes of Mrs. Wilson last week that Mr. Wilson was a spy novelist.  In both senses of the phrase - he was a spy, and he was a novelist who told spy stories.  The question was and is: did he also tell stories in his real life, stories about his spying, and stories about whom he was spying on to his employer, MI5?

We also already knew that Alexander Wilson told stories to Alison, his wife, about his personal life - he was married to four wives, including Alison, at the same time.  So he definitely told stories about his real life.  But did he tell stories about his spying?

That's the question raised, not really explored, and therefore left unanswered in the third and final episode of this excellent little docudrama.   Alexander's superior - played by the same fine actress, Fiona Shaw, who plays a very similar character in Killing Eve (the debut of the second season was tonight, and I'll review that soon) - tells Alison Wilson that Alexander was fired in 1942 because he was making up stories about the Egyptians.  He was a fiction writer, after all, she says.

But Karim - well played by Anupam Kher  (who is in New Amsterdam, with much less hair) - tells Alison that it's MI5 that's lying.   According to Karim, they set Alexander up.  Who's a widow to believe?

Well, seeing as how Alison knows of two other widows of Alexander, she's not likely to believe  Karim, but she does.  She tells her children that their father loved them and his country.  But then she finds out about a third widow.  That shakes her belief, at least a little, in her husband vs. MI5.   And in the end .... it's still a puzzle.  A perfect ending to a puzzling story - which, as far as we know, is true.

Other things to like about this episode:  Some great Britishisms to my American ears, including "pay rise" for "pay raise," and phone "calling out" for an outgoing phone call ringing.  And the photos at the end, where you can see Ruth Wilson the actress with her large extended family, were just wonderful.

See this!

See also Mrs Wilson 1 and 2: Uh, Oh Mr. Wilson



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