Screen Junkies » Recaps http://www.screenjunkies.com Movie Reviews & TV Show Reviews Fri, 28 Nov 2014 16:30:46 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.3.1 Sons of Anarchy Recap: “Suits of Woe” http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/sons-of-anarchy-recap-suits-of-woe/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/sons-of-anarchy-recap-suits-of-woe/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 16:51:10 +0000 DustinSeibert http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=267484 The big secret is out, and the show begins it's slow throttle toward the end.

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Now that we’re finally done with all that business concerning August Marks and the dead freaky preacher and his drugged-out wife and Dexter’s boyfriend from Six Feet Under, we’re down to the real business of the final season of Sons of Anarchy: Jax’s inevitable discovery of his wife’s killer.

“Suits of Woe” stood out from just about every other episode this season, in that it wasn’t all about juggling various club business but instead the singular focus of Jax piecing together of the truth of Tara’s murder, which was put in motion at the cliffhanger end of last week’s (excellent) episode. Every fan was waiting for the arc we all knew was coming — how will Jax react immediately when he finds out? Can he forgive her? Can he even hear her out? Is Gemma a dead woman walking? The answer is not yet clear, but then, we have two more episodes to go…

Gemma and Juice talking to themselves. Again. – Stupid plot device. No more, please.  

Unser, the wild card – When considering Wayne Unser’s role in this whole mess, it’s important to remember two things: He’s the smartest character on the show by a wide margin, and he loves Gemma unrequited. He was among the more significant pieces on the chess board this episode, being the first to reveal to Jax that the poor Lin hit man that Jax murdered for Tara’s death wasn’t even in the same state the night she died, then organizing the meet between Jax and Juice on the inside. When Jax asked Unser to track down Gemma, Unser told him that the favor mill was cut off before antagonizing him to the point where Jax slugged the old bastard. Unser used this event to put out an APB on Jax. I believe that Unser, despite his long, plaintive stares into space, knows that Gemma is directly connected to Tara’s murder, and that he orchestrated everything — including his own assault — to protect her. I believe he feels Gemma is all he has to live for now. If he’s gonna die, he’s gonna die for her.

Goodnight, Sweet Lin – First off, if you didn’t realize half a season ago that Charles Barosky was playing against SAMCRO, you haven’t been paying attention. I mentioned it in this space weeks ago. Juice finally gets his long-gestating shot at putting down Henry Lin, who’s hanging like a jerk chicken in a boiler room, waiting for the shiv. Juice coaxed the confession from Lin that Barosky was the money-grubbing betrayer, promising he wouldn’t kill him for telling the truth…before killing him anyway. Lin was one of the more compelling villains in the show’s history, so he’ll be missed. Meanwhile, Jax has to figure out how to get revenge on Barosky without stirring up too much s**t in Stockton — an issue for another episode, apparently.

“I’ll make sure it’s quick.” - Certainly the most compelling scene of the season — and a contender for the most compelling of the series — is Jax pleading with Juice to explain why Gemma was compelled to help him out. Watching as both men were moved to tears, waiting to see what Juice would say was an ass-edged-seat moment to end all ass-edged-seat moments. My prediction that Juice would die with the secret was all off: he sang like a canary in hopes that his renewed loyalty would earn him good graces. “Jax, I did everything you wanted.” The saddest moment was at the end, when Jax thanked Juice for his honesty and promised to make his pending death a quick one. Juice’s face as he realized that there’s absolutely nothing he can do to get back in the good graces of SAMCRO? Heartbreaking.

Grandma on the run – If nothing else, Gemma has always demonstrated that she’s all about self-preservation. She’s been operating on DEFCON 3 all season. When she found out from Unser that Jax was on his way to speak to Juice, she went to DEFCON 2. When Juice called Gemma and admitted he confessed, she moved to DEFCON 1 and got the eff out of Dodge. She did it with the help of Chucky, who took a slug to the grill to protect her (how Gemma manages to get all these dudes to put themselves in harm’s way without even a shot at getting some booty from her is some real player s***). But because she actually does love her grandbabies, she had what we all know are last encounters with Thomas and Abel, the latter whom she visited while he was at school and was thus forced to encounter Zombie Courtney Love. When Abel says “Bye, grandma” in that wooden, horrible-kid-actor way, we know it’s all over for their relationship.

The only thing that bothered me about the whole set of affairs with Gemma was Nero’s response. He protects her from Jax before even finding out what the hell is going on, and she allows Jax to tell him in what might have been the most compelling scene involving a one-sided flip-phone conversation in television history. Nero just asked if it’s true, to which she nodded and he sent her on her way. Two people who apparently love each other don’t have a real conversation about what happened. Nero, the most inquisitive mofo on the show, is apparently not even interested in her side of the story before letting her go forever. Okay. He can take his kid and his farm and beat it.

And the rest…

- Juice is resigned by the end of the episode, giving a big middle finger to Jarry and Unser when they come inquiring about Tara. Though Jax has apparently signed his death warrant, I believe he’ll make it to the end of the series.

- The car chase homage to Bullitt set to Jazz music was fantastic. Love how Jax just happened upon a Dodge Charger to jack…probably the most egregious product placement I’ve ever seen on the show. 

- The highlights for the next episode show Jax copping to murdering Jury to representatives from other branches of the M.C. I wonder how this will play out, as there’s no way in hell Kurt Sutter is gonna let his hero die at the hands of a bunch of random bikers who we don’t even know.

We have a two-week break until the penultimate episode. Have a great Turkey Day, and see y’all in December! 

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Sons of Anarchy Recap: “What a Piece of Work Is Man” http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/sons-of-anarchy-recap-what-a-piece-of-work/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/sons-of-anarchy-recap-what-a-piece-of-work/#comments Wed, 05 Nov 2014 16:58:28 +0000 DustinSeibert http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=266987 From here on out, things are gonna get nasty.

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From here on out, things are gonna get nasty.

Last night’s episode of Sons of Anarchy needed to happen — it did away with (most of) the long exposition that has hamstrung the season to date and came with some very necessary moments of action and plot movement, including the long-overdue death of a major club member. That, and the show’s denouement, lead me to believe that the series’ last four episodes might actually atone for an otherwise lagging-a** season.

But let’s not put the cart before the horse. 

Old Gemma returns – I’m sure I’m not the only one who has just loathed weepy, woe-is-me Gemma all season. Though that hasn’t gone away entirely, (see: Abel eavesdropping yet another personal Gemma weep-fest) I really enjoyed watching her square off against Jarry in the office. Gemma needed that slap to remind us all that she’s not the person with whom to f**k. If Jarry was anyone to be remotely respected, Gemma would have been made to pay for tossing her over the desk, even if he didn’t start the brawl. But…

…Jarry generally sucks – Annabeth Gish’s perpetually Bechdel test-flunking sheriff has to be every card-carrying feminist’s nightmare character. Her predecessor Eli Roosevelt was generally respected and respectable; Jarry completely sonned herself by stripping down and schtupping Chibs in the parking structure. That a female character with power felt the need to flex said power with her goodies rang sadly. On the topic, it would appear that the loyal vice president of SAMCRO is flippable, having basically acknowledged to Jarry that the club lied about the Triad hitman fingered for Tara’s murder. I figured this little love affair would get in the way of club business, which is all it’s good for, really.

Atoning for Jury – Members of the Indian Hill charter pop up to let Jax and the club know that they believe Jury’s murder at the hands of Jax was dirty, and that they know Jury correctly blamed SAMCRO for the death of his estranged son. Because Indian Hills is requesting a trial of sorts with other Sons charters to figure out what to do with Jax, it’s just one more issue on the plate of the fearless leader. So instead of just getting Juice to kill Lin on the inside, they now want him to get a recorded confession with Lin copping to Jury being the rat. Which we all know isn’t the case, so that whole affair will be a massive failure. Which brings us to…

Juice’s bare ass, once again – Okay. We get it. Actor Theo Rossi has a nice posterior. But we’re getting to Lena Dunham levels of gratuity, here. Anyhow, Juice’s path to murder Lin — which involved, disgustingly, shoving a shiv tube up his behind (we heard the lube-y sound, Sutter) — was unseated when Jarry and Unser learned that the guy being fingered for Tara’s murder — whom Gemma reluctantly identified — was in a completely different city during the double slaying. They got Juice’s deal killed and shoved him in solitary with the shiv. I think we were meant to believe that Juice might turn the shiv on himself, but I don’t think he came this far just to end his own life. I’m now even less confident of my earlier assertion that Juice would never dime out Gemma.

Bye, Felic…I mean, Bobby – Sutter said weeks ago that a main character would be outta here in episode 9 or 10. “What a Piece of Work is Man” is episode 9. I readily admit that I didn’t think it would be Bobby — I figured he’d end the series eyeless and fingerless, unable to ride and thus unable to be a club member but settling down in the tranquility of old age with a Redwoody porn star with a heart of gold or something. But as soon as Marks pulled that heater, I knew it would be curtains for ol’ Bobby Elvis. The whole season has been predicated upon Jax’s underestimation of Marks and his capabilities, which hit a fever pitch tonight.

Marks putting the gun to the back of Jax’s head with a threat not to cross him again was poignant but ultimately disregarded, as both parties came to the exchange dirty: Jax kept part of the preacher‘s dead body in Marks’ construction site as a trump card that he pulled to get Marks arrested at the end of the show. The exchanged glances between he and Jax and Jax and Dexter’s boyfriend from Six Feet Under mean that it’s on, son. Like, really on. More on than before. For the first time in a while, I’m excited about next week’s episode.

And the rest…

- Still, no one cares about Rat and Brooke’s budding relationship. At all. But Gemma delivered a great line to Rat after he was being a butthole to Brooke: “You get what you are” in an old lady. Point for gender positivity!

- The preacher’s junkie wife to Jax: ”I can sense that you’re a decent man.” That’s because you’re on drugs, lady.

- Wendy getting that dope residue on her fingers…does that mean she’s gonna go full junkie again by season’s end? The series started with her down in a hole, so why not go full circle?

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Sons of Anarchy Recap: “Greensleeves” (Season 7 / Episode 7) http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/sons-of-anarchy-recap-greensleeves/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/sons-of-anarchy-recap-greensleeves/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 15:23:56 +0000 DustinSeibert http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=266416 It's mid-season and all the pieces are in place. May the second half be much stronger than the first.

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Late last night, as I drifted off into La-La-Land, the problem I have with this season of Sons of Anarchy became manifest: The pacing is ridiculously glacial.

The last season of any show especially a show like Sons of Anarchy — should have every single episode packed with pulse-pounding, teeth-gritting madness. We’re never going to see any of these characters ever again (save perhaps the inevitable The Teller Palace spinoff in which Axel and Thomas get older and buy a swanky hotel in Miami and hijinks ensue), so every single scene should count. The Shield’s final season had its requisite side plots, but the main story line involving Vic and Shane was always compelling, in every singe episode. I can’t say I have that same feeling about the final season of Sons.

With the final season of Sons, I might as well be tapping my fingers on an oak table waiting for great things to happen. I never thought I’d say this, but I’m not sure that the extra half-hour per episode is necessarily a good thing: it allows for extra exposition that bogs down the pace of the show. Yes, we know Jax is headed down a bad road. We know Gemma is dealing with demons after killing Tara. We know that Nero is getting fed up. Now, stop telling us about it and let’s effing do something about it, eh? We’ve just passed the season’s halfway mark — time to start making some real noise instead of blowing bubbles in the tub.

Really, Juice? We’ve known that Juice’s dependence on the club has immobilized him to the degree that he can’t make competent decisions n the interest of his own self-preservation. But it looks like he’s gone off the deep end, agreeing to (maybe) get his credibility with SAMCRO back…by shooting at cops. “Greensleeves” had what’s likely the biggest “WTF” pre-credits opening in the show’s history, but it’s quickly explained that he pulled that dumb s**t in the interest of getting locked up so he can kill Lin before Lin has a chance to flip and drop a dime on SAMCRO. Of course, things didn’t go as planned (as they never do with Juice), and he winds up in solitary, locked up with one of Tully’s boys. The consequences of this all…? Remains to be seen.

Nero’s up outchea – In some of the most blatant foreshadowing I’ve ever seen on the show, Nero is making an active play to get away from all the madness for good by shedding all his business ties and moving to a farm. And, of course, he wants Gemma to ride off in the sunset with him. (Their saccharine scene in which he tries to convince her to go should win an Emmy for Biggest Wince-Inducing Schmaltz in an FX Drama.) Gemma, of course, is a drama magnet who would become inert loafing around among the cows, pigs and chickens, so even though Nero seems convinced by the end of their conversation that he convinced Gemma to go, her tearful, don’t-you-leave-me-too embrace of a confused Unser tells the viewer a different story. Despite his efforts to sell his part of Diosa and make a clean break from Charming, SAMCRO and everything else, we all know that Nero’s gonna have a Godfather III, “they pull me back in” moment. It’s inevitable.

Greensleeves! I’d be lying if I said that the introduction of the Jewish pimp Greensleeves wasn’t a bit interesting; he was probably the best thing to come out of the otherwise wack preacher‘s wife subplot. Watching this hippie punk speak any kind of way to Jax was satisfying, and the combination of his stable jumping to his rescue and him creaming Chibs’ bike in his escape was an distraction from an otherwise okay episode. Jax’s slaying of Greensleeves made me think about how big of a deal it was for him to kill Tara’s psychotic ex-boyfriend in the first season, contrasted with the last season in which I don’t think he’s gone an episode without murdering at least one person. Looks like Anakin’s journey to the Dark Side is almost complete.

Someone finish Gemma off already – The season is half-over now. I’m throughly convinced Juice won’t ever be the bean-spiller, but it’s high time for more people to find out about Gemma offing Tara. And I don’t mean future demon-child Abel, who overheard Gemma’s tearful confession to Thomas. Seriously, what’s he gonna do with that? He hasn’t spoken more than a dozen words in the entirety of the series, so will the writers have him sit down and have a heart-to-heart with his dad about his gramma’s murderous ways next episode? Or will the series end with Abel getting his revenge by sticking a little pen knife in Gemma’s trachea as she hugs him? That would be cool. All the built-up tension at the end of the episode with Gemma going to the cabin thinking she’s getting led to her death should’ve ended bloody, maybe with Happy getting a slug in the temple or something. Instead, the whole thing deflated like a sat-on whoopee cushion. That’s what I’m talking about, Sutter and co….more death, please.

War with Marks – Jax’s table speech about the threat that Marks poses is a prime example of unnecessary exposition that should have been cut from the script. The viewer will respect Marks as a formidable foe with more actual demonstrations of his might and ruthlessness, which is basically what happened at the end of the episode when his boys ran Bobby Elvis off the road, took him hostage and sent SAMCRO a package with his eyeball, his patches and a video of his torture. If Sons was going down as I’d like it to this season, it would’ve been Bobby’s c**k in that box and the video would’ve provided incontrovertible proof of his death. You see, people that matter have to die this season. And they should die in spades. Don’t dangle One-Eyed Bobby over us for several episodes, only to kill him later — or worse, let him live.

And honestly? The whole plot involving the naughty preacher’s much put-upon wife and stepson is convoluted and boring. Attempting to call Marks’ bluff on a fake murder rap may or may not get him to bend the way Jax needs him to, and the wife is clearly unstable and likely to muck the whole thing up. Hang my hopes on this dame, I would not. Not a wise way to guide the club, Jackson.

Other thoughts

- Nero is trying to sell his part of Diosa, but everyone is ignoring the big, purple elephant in the room: Who the f*** would want to work at or patronize Diosa after the massacre!?!? What, does the slaughter of a bunch of prostitutes and johns exist only in a bubble in Sons world?

- Anyone notice the world’s oldest computer in the opening scene? What’s that thing running…Windows 3.1?

Until next week!

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The Walking Dead: The Body Count (And the Story so Far) http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/the-walking-dead-the-body-count-and-the-story-so-far/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/the-walking-dead-the-body-count-and-the-story-so-far/#comments Tue, 14 Oct 2014 19:39:10 +0000 bgoldstein http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=266139 With the fifth season of the series off to a killer start, new TWD fans have a lot of catching up to do. Luckily, we’re here to help.

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By Matt Sears

AMC’s The Walking Dead can be summed up in one word: grueling. At times, it’s just as brutal for the viewer as it is for the show’s characters, who are forced to deal with the collapse of civilization, and the consequences of their decisions in writing the new rules of society. Death waits at every turn in the form of undead flesh-hungry hordes as well as the other human survivors. There’s only one rule in this ruined place — nobody is safe.

With the fifth season of the series off to a killer start, new TWD fans have a lot of catching up to do. Luckily, we’re here to help. Check out our full season-by-season summary below, and watch The Walking Dead online for free with Television Fanatic.

SEASON ONE

Season one begins with Rick Grimes awaking from a coma in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. A police officer wounded in the line of duty, he awakes completely alone, surrounded only by ominous clues that the dead now walk the Earth.

Eager to reunite with his wife and son, Rick sets off to his house, discovering it empty. He learns about a safe haven in Atlanta and figures that’s where his family would have headed. The former officer embarks on a mission to find them.

But he only finds trouble there. Atlanta is a war zone and its clear that the undead won the day. Rick soon finds himself surrounded by starving, blood-soaked mouths. The corpses reach and scratch at his horse, eventually pulling the animal down and tearing its guts out while Rick crawling to safety inside a stalled tank.

Rick is alone save for the sounds of the undead pushing and crushing against all sides of his hideaway and his own desperate thoughts. With hope lost, he is addressed by a voice over the tank’s radio.

The voice belongs to Glenn, a member of a small scavenging group, which includes Andrea, Jacqui, T-Dog, Morales, and most notably, the unstable redneck Merle Dixon.

Rick breaks up a rooftop fight between Merle and T-Dog. He cuffs Merle to a pipe while the group plans their exit. They are soon overrun and the key to the cuff is lost. The group flees, forced to desert Merle on the roof with the door chained shut.

The survivors bring Rick to their camp located outside the city. Here he finds his wife and son, Lori and Carl. They are shocked and elated to see him, having believed him to be dead. They found safety with the group’s de facto leader and Rick’s best friend and partner, Shane. We soon learn he provided Lori with more than safety in Rick’s absence.

This camp is rounded out by Dale, Jim, Andrea’s sister Amy, Carol, her abusive husband Ed and their daughter Sophia. But they aren’t the only ones with family ties. Rick and Shane have to break the news to Merle’s brother, Daryl, a dangerous hunter whose weapon of choice is a crossbow.

Rick decides he will lead a mission into Atlanta to rescue Merle and retrieve his dropped gun bag. Shane objects but Rick insists, reasoning they’ll need Merle to help protect the camp should the zombies (aka “walkers”) find them. However, when they return to the rooftop in Atlanta, Merle is gone. Left behind are his severed hand, bloody cuffs, and a hacksaw.

Meanwhile with Rick back in the picture, Lori wants to break off her budding relationship with Shane. The stress of this rejection and leadership of the group slowly sliding to Rick begins to consume Shane with rage.

With 70% of their muscle in Atlanta, walkers attack the camp. Amy and Wife beater Ed are both killed in the attack, with Jim bitten and dying later. It’s a tearful goodbye for Andrea, who cradles her younger sister and eventually shoots her when she reanimates.

Shane and Rick are divided further as Rick feels they should go to the CDC and Shane would rather bring everyone to the safety of an army base in the opposite direction. The two men are alone in the forest, clearing it of walkers when a frustrated Shane aims his gun at an unsuspecting Rick. Instead of shooting, he lowers the gun and finds that Dale had witnessed everything.

Shane acquiesces and gets on board with the CDC plan. Most of the group decides this is the right course and they caravan to the CDC where they meet Dr. Edwin Jenner, the only remaining scientist and lighthouse keeper of sorts.

After running blood tests on everybody, Jenner admits that the zombie virus is inexplicable and there are no known ways to treat it. He also casually mentions that the building has begun shutting itself down and will soon self-destruct as part of a decontamination protocol. That’s information that would have been helpful yesterday

Jenner and Jacqui decide to stay to accept their fates. In the final moments, Jenner grabs Rick and whispers a message into his ear. This news shocks Rick, who doesn’t have time to ask questions. The building explodes just as the survivors run from the lobby, leaving them to begin anew their search for safety.

SEASON TWO

The second season brings the survivors to Hershel Greene’s farm. The religious veterinarian allows Rick and the group to camp on his property while they search for Carol’s lost daughter, Sophia.

This season focuses heavily on the growing rift between Rick and Shane, as the former continues down a path to darkness.

Otis, the ranch foreman, accompanies Shane on a supply run and is sacrificed to the walkers by Shane when they find themselves close to danger. This action is the tipping point into darkness for Shane. His behavior grows more intense throughout the season, causing a greater rift between he and Rick.

Potentially impregnating your best friend’s wife will do that. Lori is dismayed when she learns that she is pregnant. Whether or not the baby is Rick’s or Shane’s hangs over all of their heads.

In the midst of this drama, Glenn falls for Hershel’s oldest daughter Maggie. Their secret relationship involves a lot of rendezvous. One of which, leads Glenn to the barn where he discovers Hershel has locked up his zombified wife and son as well as any other walkers found on the property in hopes that a cure would someday be found.

This news sets off Shane, who opens the barn and begins shooting all of the walkers that pour out. Over the protests of Hershel and Rick, other members of the Atlanta group join him. After the massacre, the Greene family is in hysterics. It is then that Rick hears a low moan from the barn. An undead Sophia emerges from the barn. Unbeknownst to anyone, she had been corralled and locked in there by Otis before Shane murdered him. Regretfully, Rick aims his gun and executes the little girl in front of everyone including Carol.

The stress is too much for Hershel. He orders Rick’s group to leave his property before heads to a bar in town to drown his sorrows. Rick and Glenn follow him with intentions of returning him home safely. This plan is put into jeopardy when two dangerous strangers confront the three men.

Rick kills the strangers in self-defense just moments before their friends come looking for them. A shoot-out ensues, drawing walkers from all over toward the noise. Rick, Glenn, and Hershel escape with a wounded enemy in tow.

Back at the farm, Rick and Shane can’t see eye-to-eye about what they should do with their prisoner, Randall. Rick wants to treat his wounds and then drop him to fend for himself miles away. Shane, correctly, fears that he will return to the farm to attack with his group.

Randall pleads that they can’t lead him to fend for himself. It’s at this point, he reveals that he went to school with Maggie and knows where the farm is located. This info further complicates the issue as Rick and Shane as forced to keep him as captive until they can figure out what to do with him.

After thinking the issue over, Rick admits that Randall is a threat and will need to be executed. It’s put to a vote and everybody, except Dale and Andrea, agree that he needs to be put down. Upset by this, Dale declares that the group has lost their humanity. He storms off to patrol the perimeter, wanting no part of the impending execution.

Carl’s desire to watch causes Rick to change his mind and spare Randall. A scream from the fields reveals that a walker that Carl had taunted and failed to kill earlier that day attacked Dale. With his insides torn out, Dale is a goner. Daryl takes the gun from Rick and puts the old man out of his misery.

Shane kills Randall in the forest, but sets up the ruse that the prisoner escaped. He and Rick team up as a search party when Shane tells Rick that he intends to kill him and frame Randall. Before he is able to do so, Rick plunges a knife into his heart. Carl shows up and is shocked to see what his father did to Shane. He raises his gun and fires… at a zombified Shane.

The sound of gunfire attracts a large herd of walkers who set course for the farm. It is soon overrun with everyone scrambling to escape. In the melee, a few members of Hershel’s group are killed. The group also abandons Andrea after witnessing what they thought was her demise. She’s later rescued by a mysterious hooded figure with a katana sword and leashed walker “pets.”

Rick, Lori, Carl, T-Dog, Daryl, Carol, Glenn, Hershel, Maggie and Beth set up camp for the night. Rick reveals Jenner’s secret to the group. Everyone is already infected with the zombie virus meaning that they’ll all become walkers eventually regardless of being bitten or not. He also reveals that he was forced to kill Shane. If anyone wants to remain in his group, they have to accept that they are no longer a democracy.

SEASON THREE

Season three introduces several integral aspects to the series.

The first of which is the prison, the stronghold that will eventually become home to the survivors. However, after clearing the area of walkers they discover that the prison is already home to five abandoned prisoners — Axel, Tomas, Big Tiny, Oscar, and Andrew.

While clearing out a separate cellblock for the prisoners, Big Tiny is scratched by a walker and then killed by Tomas. Shortly after, Tomas makes a few sly attempts on Rick’s life. Rick solves this by burying a machete in his skull. He then chases his cohort Andrew outside before locking the door and leaving him to the walkers. Like he said, the democracy is over.

Next we are introduced to Andrea’s strange savior. Michonne, the show’s most badass character, uses a sword as her weapon of choice. She also travels with two chained jawless and armless walkers as she’s noticed their presence makes her invisible to other walkers.

Andrea and Michonne have survived in the wild for eight months when their story picks up. While investigating the crash site of a military helicopter, they hide in the bushes as a group of men with weapons arrive. It’s then that they are discovered by none other than Merle Dixon, who is now sporting a bayonet where his had used to be.

Merle brings the women with him back to Woodbury, which is an idyllic safe haven overseen by the Governor, a sadistic madman hidden beneath a charming exterior. In addition to Merle, his muscle, Martinez, and a scientist named Milton, support him.

Michonne is skeptical of Woodbury and the Governor while Andrea is just happy for the safety provided within Woodbury’s walls. Michonne’s suspicions are confirmed when its revealed to the viewer that the Governor keeps his undead daughter, Penny, chained up in a secret room in his house as well as a macabre collection of severed zombie heads in rows of aquariums.

Rick’s inhumane actions at the prison have great consequences for the group. Andrew, the prisoner locked outside, survived and has now sabotaged the prison by attracting walkers from all over. They flood into the courtyard and corridors, separating the group from one another. It’s total mayhem resulting in T-Dog being eaten alive while protecting Carol.

Oscar proves his allegiance to Rick’s group by shooting Andrew in the head.

It’s at this point that Lori goes into labor. With Maggie and Carl by her side, she delivers a baby girl, to be named Judith, via C-section without proper medicine or equipment. The blood loss is too great and Carl is forced to kill his mother before she reanimates. This event destroys Rick, who begins to suffer from hallucinations.

Back in Woodbury, Michonne has grown more distrustful. Upon finding a collection of caged walkers, she slaughters them all before leaving. Andrea decides she will stay behind and becomes romantically involved with the Governor.

Merle leads a hunting party to kill Michonne, who expertly outmaneuvers them. With his men dead and Michonne wounded, he decides to go back to Woodbury and tell the Governor that the deed is done. Michonne then comes upon Maggie and Glenn, who are out on a run for baby formula. Before she can approach them, Merle arrives. He abducts the pair and brings them back to Woodbury in the hopes that an interrogation will lead him to his brother Daryl.

A bloodied and dazed Michonne makes her way to the prison. In an act of peace, she also brings the baby formula and informs Rick about Glenn and Maggie’s capture. A rescue team is assembled. Rick, Daryl, Michonne, and Oscar infiltrate Woodbury and rescue Glenn and Maggie.

Michonne takes this opportunity to seek vengeance against the Governor. While Rick and the others search for Glenn and Maggie, she sneaks into the Governor’s house where she discovers Penny. Unchaining her, she’s shocked to discover the little girl is a walker. The Governor arrives and begs her not to hurt his daughter. She plunges her katana through her head, causing a furious Governor to attack.

While they fight, Michonne smashes the aquariums, spilling glass and zombie heads everywhere. With the Governor strangling her, Michonne plunges a shard of glass into his eye. However, Andrea arrives and pulls a gun on her before she can finish him off. Michonne flees.

There’s panic in the streets of Woodbury as Rick’s group engages in a firefight with Martinez’s crew. Oscar is killed and Daryl is captured. The others manage to escape.

Some time later, the Governor has assembled his citizens. He refers to Rick’s groups as terrorists that will need to be killed. Angry at Merle for lying to him about Michonne, the Governor accuses him of betraying the people of Woodbury. As proof of this, he reveals the “terrorist” Daryl insisting that Merle and his younger brother must fight to the death.

Before the Dixons can do one another in, Rick and Maggie return and rescue them. They return to the prison with Michonne and Merle, the group’s newest members.

During this time, Tyreese and his sister Sasha lead a group to the prison. They’ve been living on the road for a long time and have suffered great casualties. However, while negotiating their stay with Rick, he suffers another hallucination of Lori. This causes him to yell and scream at her. Knowing a bad situation when they see one, Tyreese’s crew decides to take their chances with the walkers.

The Governor and his men attack the prison, killing Axel in the process. They crash the outer gates and flood the yard with walkers before heading back to Woodbury. Andrea attempts to broker peace between the prison and Woodbury, but her attempts only upset the increasingly deranged Governor who demands he will let the prison be in exchange for Michonne.

Rick can’t bring himself to do it and tells the group that he doesn’t want to be the only one making decisions anymore. They need to think as a group. However, Merle has no problem with turning over Michonne. He kidnaps her and marches her toward a rendezvous with the Governor.

Through talking with Michonne, Merle has a change of heart and releases her. She returns to the prison while he goes on to confront the Governor. He loses the fight and is left to turn into a walker. Daryl arrives on the scene some time later and tearfully releases his zombie brother.

With no Michonne handed over, the Governor leads an assault on the prison. And gets his ass handed to him. His army retreats and questions his motivations. In a fit of rage, he guns them all down before hitting the road with his lieutenants.

Rick’s group takes their fight back to Woodbury. Only to discover the Governor has abandoned his remaining people. He also killed Milton and left him to infect a restrained Andrea. She insists on shooting herself. Michonne sits with her while the others wait outside for the lone gunshot to ring it.

The morning sees them returning to the prison with a bus full of the Woodbury survivors. The two groups will now live side by side peacefully, perfecting a new way of life while protecting themselves against the outside world.

SEASON FOUR

The security of the prison has helped day-to-day life return to a semblance of normalcy. Rick has stepped down as leader to focus on farming and raising Carl, decisions are now committee-based, and Carol is educating the children (mostly about how to handle a knife in close quarters). Everything is almost perfect.

Then a flu virus sweeps through the community. It kills quickly and its victims soon rise and attack the others. One of the victims is Ryan, a father of two who asks Carol to care for his daughters, Lizzie and Mika.

In the early days of this new nightmare, Tyreese’s girlfriend Karen becomes infected. After being placed in quarantine, she is soon found burned to a crisp after being murdered to prevent the spread of her disease.

Tyreese demands the right to kill whoever is responsible but there’s no time for revenge. His help is needed in order to find medicine for Hershel to stop any further spreading. While he’s gone, Rick confronts Carol and asks her if she killed Karen. She matter-of-factly responds that she did. Rick later decides to banish Carol for playing the role of judge, jury, and executioner.

The sickness gets worse and the quarantine area is swarming with walkers. Hershel emerges as a hero when he tends to the ill. A cure is brought back and the virus is stopped.

That’s when the Governor returns with a tank and a new army. He’s holding Hershel and Michonne hostage, demanding the prison in exchange for their lives. Rick pleads with him and lays out a plan for them all to live together in harmony. The Governor won’t hear of it and decapitates Hershel with Michonne’s sword.

A huge firefight breaks out. Once again, the Governor’s people can’t handle a direct conflict with Rick’s group and they soon all fall with the Governor himself being impaled by Michonne, and shot dead by a follower who suddenly can see him for the tyrant that he truly is.

The damage to the prison is extensive. Walkers close in and the survivors scatter in different directions. Rick and Carl come upon Judith’s carrier, which is covered in blood. Mournfully, they flee the prison without looking back.

The group remains separated for the rest of the season as they plan to meet up at Terminus, a train yard that has been refashioned to receive survivors.

Rick, Carl, and Michonne band together and encounter a rough group of marauders. To escape from them undetected, Rick is forced to kill one of these men.

Daryl and Beth survive together in the woods until a mysterious abductor grabs Beth.

Glenn teams with Tara, a young woman misguided by the Governor. She feels tremendous guilt about Hershel and vows to help Glenn find Maggie. While on the road they meet Abraham, Rosita, and Eugene — a group that is attempting to get to DC where Eugene can share vital information that will stop and cure the zombie plague.

Tyreese, Lizzie, Mika, and the believed to be dead Judith are struggling to survive. Carol tracks them down and the group settles at a small cottage. However, it soon becomes clear that Lizzie can’t process the realities of this world. She emphasizes with the walkers, and even murders her younger sister with no remorse. Her reasoning being that Mika will soon come back. Carol intervenes before she can harm Judith.

Carol and Tyreese discuss the matter and decide that Lizzie needs to be put down. Lizzie’s surrogate mother is forced to handle things when Tyreese reveals he can’t do it. She later reveals to Tyreese that she killed Karen so that the others would survive. Angry and grief-stricken, he forgives her but vows to never forget.

Alone and hungry, Daryl is picked up by the marauders. Their leader, Joe, gives Daryl a rundown of their savage “rules.” Daryl soon finds out they’re trying to track whoever killed their friend. Without knowing it was Rick, Daryl agrees to join them.

Shortly before arriving at Terminus, Joe’s group catches up to Rick, Carl, and Michonne. Daryl interferes but is over-powered. The group is dead to rights when Joe reveals they will rape Carl and Michonne before killing them all. Rick snaps and goes to a violent, dark place by biting out Joe’s throat. Carl is shocked and scared by the man his father has become.

Shortly after, Rick, Daryl, Michonne, and Carl arrive at Terminus. Rick is immediately clued in that this place is a trap. They do their best to escape but are corralled by sniper fire into a train car that’s being used as a makeshift cage. They’re they encounter Glenn, Maggie, Tara, Abraham, Rosita, Sasha, Bob, and Eugene. We’re left with a murderous glint in Rick’s eye and the promise that “They’re screwing with the wrong people.”

Things are going to get bloody during The Walking Dead‘s fifth season. You can catch up on past seasons of The Walking Dead online for free.

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The Leftovers Recap, Season Finale: “The Prodigal Son Returns” http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/the-leftovers-recap-season-finale-the-prodigal-son-returns/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/the-leftovers-recap-season-finale-the-prodigal-son-returns/#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2014 22:15:31 +0000 Jared Jones http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=264803 The questions that still remain are many, but minor in relation to the brilliant, hopeful manner in which season one resolved.

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By Jared Jones

“Look what I found.”

I must give credit to these closing words from last night’s season finale of The Leftovers, in that they were a lot more clever than I originally perceived them to be. As was the case with Lost, Damon Lindelof managed to wrap everything in the world of The Leftovers up without really wrapping much up in last night’s finale. Only this time, the ancillary questions didn’t serve to the show’s detriment. While the mystery of Dean the Dog Killer, the national Geographic magazine, and Kevin Garvey’s mental state remain open (among other things), Uproxx’s Dustin Rowles put it best when he said that “they didn’t matter anymore.”

Amidst the chaos and backbreaking depression that The Leftovers has created over the course of 9 episodes, last night’s finale was surprisingly, beautifully hopeful. Order had been restored to Mapleton (or at least, to the Garvey family) through destruction. The Guilty Remnant, of all people, gave the townspeople the catharsis they needed in an act that was equal parts disgusting, demented, and oddly selfless. By placing the fake corpses of the Departed in the homes of those who lost them, the GR actually provided everyone with the motivation they needed to truly deal with their grief and confusion caused by the events of October 14th. So it appears, at least.

As it hinted at in the penultimate episode, “The Prodigal Son Returns” alluded to the idea that those left behind were somehow responsible for the disappearance of their loved ones, which had in turn led to the overbearing grief that fueled their lives in the years following the Departure. That’s the revelation Kevin came to at least, thanks in no small part to Reverend Jameson. Kevin, who previously pondered why having a loving family was simply not enough for the man he was in his pre-Departure life, was suddenly struck with the realization that his family *was* his greater purpose. Although the events of October 14th provided him with a temporary release from the life he felt trapped in, it also condemned him to a life that could never be fulfilled without the very people who occupied it before.

Kevin Garvey wanted his family back. He wanted everything to return to the way it was. That was surely what he wished for after finding a dying Holy Wayne in that bathroom stall. To Wayne’s credit, it appears as if the Holy one was able to make that miracle happen. Tommy returned to Mapleton with one of Wayne’s children, who was then scooped up by Nora Durst. Kevin rescued his daughter Jill from certain death and appeared to finally earn her love back in doing so. Laura spoke, for Chrissakes! The sense of “family” Kevin was seeking had seemingly been restored (albeit a different incarnation of that family) through an all-cleansing fire.

The questions that still remain are many, but minor in relation to the brilliant, heartfelt manner in which season one resolved. The questions now, however, are all the more pressing. Will Laurie return to her family, or will she and Tommy begin a new chapter of their lives together? Was the Memorial Day stunt the culmination of the Guilty Remnant’s plan, and did they foresee the violent reaction the townspeople would have to it? What the hell happened to Aimee and the twins? I’m suddenly hopeful that season 2 will answer some of these.

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The Leftovers Recap, Episode 9: “The Garveys At Their Best” http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/the-leftovers-recap-episode-9-the-garveys-at-their-best/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/the-leftovers-recap-episode-9-the-garveys-at-their-best/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 22:42:46 +0000 Jared Jones http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=264462 Laurie speaks, Kevin cheats, and a deer wreaks (havoc) in the first season's penultimate episode.

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By Jared Jones

“I need to cancel.”

It has taken 9 long episodes for us to finally hear Laurie Garvey speak, and my God was it glorious. That her first line of dialogue involved the potential abortion of a child she had yet to tell her husband about was a fitting touch for The Leftovers, a show so wrought with secrets and grief that you’d have to be a glutton for punishment to make it this far into season 1. Luckily, I am one such glutton.

Told entirely through flashback, “The Garveys At Their Best” attempted to shed some light on what the lives of Kevin, Laurie, Norah Durst, and countless other citizens of Mapleton were like before the events of October 14th. And to be honest, most of them were quickly headed for disaster. Kevin, for instance, felt trapped in his mundane existence (not unlike the deer running amok throughout last night’s episode) and in constant search of his “greater purpose”, which equated to a lot of cigarette smoking and cheating on his wife. Nora, on the other hand, was trapped in the underappreciated (and intellectually lacking) life of a stay at home mom, growing increasingly frustrated with an unappreciative husband and plain annoying children. And of course, there was Laurie, who was stuck in a dead-end marriage with an unplanned child on the way.

These people wanted out, and in a way, the Departure was that out — an event that freed them from the suffocating normalness of their previous lives. Kevin was given an out from his marriage, Laurie an out from her unplanned child, and Nora an out from the (albeit temporary) frustrations of her family. “The Garveys At Their Best”, ironic as the title may be, showcased more about who these people were than any episode before it, and it couldn’t have come at a better time, with the first season finale a mere two weeks away.

Perhaps the most interesting development in “The Garveys at Their Best” was not the reveal that Laurie was carrying a child that was lost in the Departure, nor that Kevin was cheating on his wife with a woman who vanished during it, but that the event itself might have been brought about, or at least coincided, with the wishes of those left behind. It adds a whole different level of grief to an already grief-ridden show, but also some perspective on why those left behind might be so insistent on forgetting those who were lost — because they feel responsible for their departure. In a sense, last night’s episode made you understand, if not sympathize, with the Guilty Remnant, who are facing their grief head-on rather than suppressing it like many of the townsfolk of Mapleton.

Oh right, I almost forgot about Jill, who was a brace-faced teen working on a entropy project (get it?) for a science fair and basically living the average teenager lifestyle before the Departure. We didn’t really learn much about Jill, other than that she had a much closer relationship with Tommy prior to October 14th and might have known that her parents were headed for splitsville. She and Tommy also happened to witness first hand the disappearance of a classmate during a particularly intriguing sequence involving a human “circuit.”

Last night’s episode also revealed several smaller revelations. Firstly, that Laurie used to be a successful psychiatrist and that the Garvey’s were, like, stupid rich because of her success. We also learned that Paddi used to be a patient of Laurie’s, potentially foresaw the Departure, and that the “Neil” whose name she scribbled on a bag before defecating it and leaving it on his doorstep was in fact her abusive ex-husband who had recently kicked her out of her house. Oh, and Gladys was a dog-breeder before she went off the reservation, which begs the question: Were animals taken in the Departure as well? You have to admit, no one would have seen that twist coming.

After a short break for Labor Day, The Leftovers will return for what is set to be a gripping season finale. If I were to guess, it will be anything but uplifting.

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The Leftovers Recap, Episode 8: “Cairo” http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/the-leftovers-recap-episode-8-cairo/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/the-leftovers-recap-episode-8-cairo/#comments Mon, 18 Aug 2014 17:10:51 +0000 Jared Jones http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=264252 Sheriff Kevin Garvey is going full-on Fight Club, or at least that's what last night's episode of "The Leftovers" would like you to believe.

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By Jared Jones

HEAR the Shadowy Horses, their long manes a-shake,
Their hoofs heavy with tumult, their eyes glimmering white;
The North unfolds above them clinging, creeping night,
The East her hidden joy before the morning break,
The West weeps in pale dew and sighs passing away,
The South is pouring down roses of crimson fire:

O vanity of Sleep, Hope, Dream, endless Desire,
The Horses of Disaster plunge in the heavy clay:
Beloved, let your eyes half close, and your heart beat
Over my heart, and your hair fall over my breast,
Drowning love’s lonely hour in deep twilight of rest,
And hiding their tossing manes and their tumultuous feet.

And with those parting words (departing words?), the Guilty Remnant’s head honcho Patti took her own life in the climax of last night’s episode of The Leftovers via glass shard to the throat. It was a gruesome, mindf*ck of an ending to a complete mindf*ck of an episode.

That poem, by the way, is WB Yeats’  ”Michael Robartes Bids his Beloved be at Peace.” I’m guessing the horses represent the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse or some other cataclysmic event, but trying to theorize at the deeper meaning of anything in this show before the season culminates is a wild goose chase of which I refuse to participate in.

Perhaps its so hard to get a grasp on what exactly was happening in “Cairo” due to the show’s continual use of Sheriff Kevin Garvey as an unreliable narrator. As the audience, we are given no further insight into Kevin’s blackouts/dreams, the peripheral characters possibly contained within them (Dean the dog-killer), or the significance of things like his misplaced white shirts than Kevin himself. Are the drug cocktails Kevin was previously on causing these blackouts? Alcohol maybe? Or is Kevin being played a fool by almost everyone around him? For now, all we know is that he appears to be losing his mind, and we’re right there with him.

If what we learned last night is to be believed, Kevin has actually made several trips out to Cairo, NY (a five+ hour drive from Mapleton), to ritualistically hang his police shirts from trees, all while blacked out. This all culminated in last night’s trip, where he allegedly picked up Dean the dog-killer, brutalized and kidnapped Patti, then dragged her up to a cabin in Cairo that he used to “sneak off and smoke cigarettes in” as a kid. That’s one high-functioning alcoholic, my friends.

But it’s hard to fault Kevin for being an unreliable narrator, as almost everything we learned in “Cairo” was told to him secondhand by Dean, a man with no driver’s license, birth certificate, or even a Dave & Buster’s Power Play card. According to Patti, Dean is “a ghost.”  Based off what we know about Kevin’s father and the voices he hears, it is incredibly likely that Dean is simply a figment of Kevin’s imagination, although the fact that Dean has interacted with several other characters on the show (albeit for incredibly brief moments) seems to play against this theory. Perhaps Dean might just be the face Kevin has assigned to his split personality, maybe?

Of course, it’s possible that everything about Cairo might be in Kevin’s head. Cairo was, after all, the only thing he heard over the walkie talkie during his previous dream sequence involving Dean (you know, the one with the dog in the mailbox). Likewise, his conversation with Patti moments before she killed herself was shockingly similar to the one he had with his demented father at the diner in “Solace for Tired Feet”. Like his father, Patti kept alluding to the fact that Kevin plays a larger role in the Departure (or its aftermath) than even he can understand. That his dreams seem to be equal parts delusion and premonition adds credence to this idea, but who the f*ck knows for sure.

Last night’s episode also revealed that, yes, Patti did have Gladys killed as part of the GR’s ongoing quest to force people to “remember” the events of October 14th, and that Laurie is likely the next one in line to die for such a cause.  A U-haul full of body-sized packages, however, seems to indicate that the Guilty Remnant is either a) planning to commit mass suicide or b) planning a rally that involves all the possessions they have stolen from the townspeople.

The photos, the clothes, the body-sized packages — methinks that the GR has ordered a truckload of those fake corpses produced by Marcus to sneak the fake corpses back into the homes of those who lost someone in The Departure. We know that it will happen on Memorial Day, as loud-mouthed Meg — who we learned lost her mother the day before the Departure (hooray character development!) — couldn’t help but spill the beans. She also hinted that Nora would be on the receiving end of the worst of whatever they have planned. Poor, sardonic, sexy Nora.

Oh yes, there was also a half-baked plot involving Kevin’s daughter Jill this week, wherein she took Nora to task for carrying a gun, then after finding that she no longer carried it, broke into her house to find that she was still in possession of it. Oh yes, and she also got into a heated argument with Aimee revolving around whether or not Aimee had sex with her father, which resulted in Aimee moving out. Personally, I think the bite mark on Kevin’s hand relates back to some kinky sex he had with Aimee during one of his blackouts, but again, who. the. f*ck. knows.

Perhaps because Jill is written like every brooding sitcom teen ever, I continuously find myself identifying more with the twins who hang out with her than Jill herself. “So the gun means that, like, people can never get over what happened?” one of the twins tries to explain while searching Nora’s home, which as close to a meaning in Jill’s B-plot as I could come to this week.

That the episode ended with Jill coming face-to-face with her mother in the GR headquarters is an interesting turn for an otherwise uninteresting character, and the fallout from this plot (should Jill decide to join the GR) will no doubt be the push that sends her father over the edge. Kevin is going to be facing a lot more than a potential murder charge in Mapleton, and being that the only thing that kept him from converting to his father’s dark side was his commitment to Jill, we are probably in store for a complete character implosion upon his return.

One can only hope.

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The Leftovers Recap, Episode 7: “Solace for Tired Feet” http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/the-leftovers-recap-episode-7-solace-for-tired-feet/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/the-leftovers-recap-episode-7-solace-for-tired-feet/#comments Mon, 11 Aug 2014 19:54:08 +0000 Jared Jones http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=264034 Prophetic hallucinations, a crazy old man on a rampage, and the May 1972 edition of National Geographic were at the center of last night's The Leftovers. I still have no f*cking idea what this show is about.

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By Jared Jones

I’m start to get that feeling again, you guys.

You Lost fans know the one — it’s equal parts excitement, nerves, and plain confusion, and it usually occurs when Damon Lindelof starts hinting at the kinds of existential and pseudo-religious questions he cannot possibly answer in a satisfying manner.

It’s not that I have a problem with Lindelof’s storytelling style (which I can only describe as masochistic ambiguity), as I actually found last night’s episode of The Leftovers, “Solace for Tired Feet”, to be one of the better of the season. It’s just that someone eventually needs to be held accountable when all the pieces of the puzzle don’t add up, and it sure as hell ain’t going to be me this time. To quote George W., “Fool me once, shame on you. You fool me-I can’t get fooled again.”

I know I might be jumping to conclusions in my criticism of The Leftovers, but that’s at least partially because last night’s episode of The Leftovers seemed to be hinting at the greater purpose it has been quietly building throughout its first six episodes: A reason behind The Departure, aka something Lindelof specifically said the show would never reveal.

A quick recap: Kevin’s crazy Dad escapes from the mental institution, returns to a library he previously burned down and trashes it, and attempts to lure Kevin to the dark (crazy) side with prophetic talks of “accepting it.” Kevin, on the other hand, has been seeing Nora regularly while battling his own hallucinations via a series of dream sequences that are growing increasingly tiresome. Kevin’s stepson, Tommy, on the other other hand, is still on the run with a very pregnant Christine and beginning to lose faith in Holy Wayne, who he has not heard from in months.

That we are some 7 episodes into The Leftovers and still know nothing about Tommy, how he got involved with Wayne, or why he believes Wayne is the prophet he claims to be, remains one of the show’s biggest oversights. Then again, so is Meg’s storyline, Paddies lack of a storyline, and the backstory of damn near every character in this show. The Leftovers insists on wearing so many hats at once that it never seems to keep track of the ones it is already wearing — in addition to the litany of mysteries surrounding the Departure, the GR, Kevin, and Tommy, “Solace for Tired Feet” also gave us:

-A dog in a mailbox and a bite mark on Kevin’s hand that looked very human

-The dead dogs in Dean’s truck turning into GR members mid-dream sequence

-The May 1972 edition of National Geographic

-Kevin and Tommy incurring similar injuries (on their left hands) and experiences (smashing a phone, the mailboxes, etc.)

While all these are compelling little vignettes in their own right, given what we know about Lindelof, it’s hard not to look at Kevin Sr.’s pleas to his son, or the National Geographic magazine, or Holy Wayne and his army of pregnant Asian women as red herrings being pretentiously painted over as plot developments. At a certain point, throwing as many Biblical references and ambiguous symbolism at the audience as you can without resolution is not clever, it’s incompetent storytelling. Think of all the countless hours many of us spent trying to piece together all the symbols in True Detective, only to find out that, fuck you, none of those things were supposed to mean anything. I loved True Detective, but that doesn’t excuse it (or shows like it) from introducing a gun in the first act only to tell me that I never actually saw the gun in the third.

Then again, The Leftovers, like True Detective before it, seems to focus more on how the members of Mapleton (and specifically, the Garveys) react to the inexplicable than anything else. Which is interesting in theory, but doesn’t exactly make for compelling television if its wrapped in a mystery more compelling than the characters within it. Still, I will watch The Leftovers till season’s end to see what, if any, storylines it chooses to resolve and how it chooses to resolve them. Based on the general reaction to the show thus far, I’m guessing that’s why we’re all sticking with it.

Are Holy Wayne’s children a bridge between the Departed and those left behind? Between the living and the dead? Are Kevin’s hallucinations directly related to the higher sense of purpose his father (and Reverend Jameson) seems to think is destined for? Is Holy Wayne a sham? Does Jill’s friend Aimee know more about the cause of Kevin’s hallucinations than she is letting on? Does Carrie Coon look absolutely incredible naked? I can only answer that last question with a resounding SCHWING, but I’ll stick with The Leftovers for now to see how it answers the rest of them.

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The Leftovers Recap, Episode 6: “Guest” http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/the-leftovers-recap-episode-6-guest/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/the-leftovers-recap-episode-6-guest/#comments Mon, 04 Aug 2014 21:26:02 +0000 Jared Jones http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=263735 Gunshot fetishes, Slayer's "Angel of Death," and a brilliant performance from Carrie Coon highlighted an incredibly strong episode of The Leftovers this week.

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By Jared Jones

“Oh, fuck your daughter!”

So began last night’s episode of The Leftovers, “Guest”, as cute-as-a-button grieving wife/mother Nora Durst attempted to woo Sheriff Garvey away to Miami for what I could only assume would be a weekend spent crying into pillows. Thankfully, Nora’s request was more figurative than literal, but it left an awkward (and memorable) impression on Kevin nonetheless.

Actually, that’s not how the episode began. It began with Nora purchasing groceries for her departed family members, spying on the preschool teacher who was sleeping with her husband prior to his departure, and asking an escort to shoot her in the chest while she donned a kevlar vest, Slayer’s “Angel of Death” cranking in the background. It was an odd sequence that will undoubtedly spawn no less than five Facebook Challenge-related deaths.

Possible incest jokes and gunshot fetishes aside, “Guest” easily made for one of the strongest episodes, if not the strongest episode of the season thus far, with Carrie Coon absolutely destroying my soul with her portrayal of Nora. From the moments spent staring out the window of her car at the slutty preschool teacher to her confrontation with Holy Wayne at the episode’s close, Coon’s performance was at times heartbreaking, uplifting, and oddly enough, sexy. If she didn’t earn herself an Emmy nomination for her scene with Wayne alone, my God.

Having lost her entire family in The Departure, Nora has understandably been trapped in a vicious cycle of grief and guilt for the past three years. The blame for her self-loathing cannot entirely be placed on The Departure itself, however, as Nora has spent the years since making sure said grief was always held close. She continues to purchase food for her family, has taken a job with Department of Sudden Departure, asking other families inane questions about those they lost (Did so and so drink more than two alcoholic beverages daily? What about sugary cereal?), and believes that the only way to connect to her family’s pain is to take a bullet to the chest every now and again.

But it is during Nora’s trip to New York for a Departure-related conference that we begin to see her transformation from victim of hope to someone capable of quote unquote “moving on.” She wants her family back, obviously, but her decision to keep living as if they will walk through the door at any moment has only fueled her depression over their disappearance. Of course, that she shows up to New York only to find her conference identity as a “Legacy” (or someone who lost a family member in The Departure) stolen isn’t helping things.

“You’re doing so much better now,” sarcastically states Margery, a woman Durst had a previous run in with in the past at one of the Departure conferences. And truly, Nora has allowed her grief over The Departure (and hope for her family’s return) to define her as a person, rather than joining the likes of the replica-corpse selling Marcus, who believe that her job is nothing more than a scam.

A night of hard partying and a confrontation with the fake Nora Durst later, the real Nora Durst is still struggling to find the meaning in her grief. In her mind, there is no life, no chance at happiness, after The Departure. The grief is neverending, and those “Legacies” left behind are nothing more than the perpetual reminders of the event itself. How Nora has avoided joining the Guilty Remnant up to this point is anyone’s guess.

Yet it is in that moment with Margery that Nora may have realized her need to change. That, or when she was verbally abusing “What’s Next” (with a period, not a question mark) author Patrick as a “phony” full of “bullshit.” She could either choose to continue wallowing in remorse or push through it and embrace what life she still had, and thankfully, she chose the latter. Nora comes away from the conference a reinvigorated, happier person, or rather, someone capable of registering happiness…all thanks to a wild night of booze, pills, and one of Holy Wayne’s patented hugs.

Out with the grieving, in with the optimism. That’s what The Leftovers is ultimately about, anyway; more than the characters involved or even their stories, The Leftovers is about grief, and how we choose to move on from it (or don’t, as is the case for many of the show’s characters). The Departure may have ripped Nora’s previous life from her, but she is still there. She’s still alive, and needs to start living accordingly. So when Sheriff Garvey shows up at her door to ask her on a date, she quickly accepts.

Am I sensing a love connection here, chief? Yes, yes I am. (Let’s just hope Kevin is into women who like being shot.)

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The Six Best Kills From ‘Sharknado 2: The Second One’ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/the-six-best-kills-from-sharknado-2-the-second-one/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/the-six-best-kills-from-sharknado-2-the-second-one/#comments Thu, 31 Jul 2014 22:05:02 +0000 Jared Jones http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=263600 Many brave souls were lost in the worst shark-infested weather catastrophe to hit the Big Apple since The Great White(Shark)out of '84, so it is in memoriam that we pay tribute...

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By Jared Jones

Leave it to the Syfy channel to prove that the idea of a shark-filled tornado can somehow be improved upon with a second viewing.

That’s basically what Sharknado 2: The Second One was, after all — a rehash of the first Sharknado but with a buttload of celebrity cameos — from its name to its plot to its explosive finale. That is in no way is meant as an insult, mind you, as Sharknado 2 was able to accomplish what few cult hits can: create a sequel that captures the nostalgia of the original (recent as it may be) while never once winking at the camera or beating us over the head with those “Remember This?” moments that have all but served as the latter halves of Sly Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s careers.

A brilliant, unexpected triumph Sharknado 2 ultimately was, featuring more brutiful deaths (gorgeously rendered in Microsoft Paint) than you could really wrap your head around in one sitting. My God, there were so many sharksecutions in this movie. Shark beheadings. Shark crushings. Death by flaming shark. The list goes on.

From Kelly Osbourne to Daymond John, many brave souls were lost in the worst shark-infested weather catastrophe to hit the Big Apple since The Great White(Shark)out of ’84, so it is in memoriam that we pay tribute to the following…

Airplane Toilet Lady

Of all the ways I thought that Airplane Toilet Lady (who I’m told is famous on Twitter or something) was going to go out, this was the only way I thought that Airplane Toilet Lady was going to go out.

Tara Reid’s(Hand)

Tara Reid‘s returning performance as April Wexler, Fin’s (Ian Ziering) on-again, off-again wife was as raspy-voiced and on four hours of sleep as ever, but watching her pick off sharks with a Air Marshal’s pistol while hanging out the door of an airplane was nothing short of visual poetry. Listening to her attempts at conveying fear and pain, on the other hand, can only be described as “like hearing a vacuum cleaner choke to death on a dust-covered tator tot.”

A scream queen the likes of Jamie Lee Curtis Reid may not be, but a gunslinger the likes of Doc Holliday? Indubitably.

Kelly Osbourne

I’m just saying, Ozzy would have caught that shark, crushed it up into a line, and snorted it.

Tiffany Shepis

Why would you choose to stand so close to the water during a sharknado? That’s like, the *worst* place to stand, dum-dum. I’m not saying Shepis deserved to have a shark nom on her face like a goddamned chew toy, but I don’t touch fire and expect not to get burned either.

I’m just starting to realize how many of the victims in Sharknado 2 are women. Let us all take to Twitter and challenge Syfy’s blatant misogyny with #YesAllSharknados hashtags.

Daymond John

Death by Lady Liberty is arguably the most noble death an American could ever experience, and it was all the more fitting that Daymond John — a guy with a true rags-to-riches story that epitomizes the American dream — met his demise in like fashion.

Or was his death by Liberty head-crushing perhaps a comment on the capitalist greed and corporate-backed impoverishment of the modern day proletariat through unjust taxation that has made the American dream all but unobtainable to those but a select few?  F*cking Sharknado, why can’t you just let me shut off my mind for 90 minutes?! WHY MUST YOU ALWAYS ASK THE TOUGH QUESTIONS?!!!

Flaming Shark Bystanders

I take that back, Death by Flaming Shark is definitely the most American way to go out. (*salutes, single tear rolls down eye*)

BONUS: The Sharks!!

WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO DEFEND THIS COUNTRY, PRESIDENT OBAMA?!! BECAUSE MATT LAUER JUST HARPOONED A F*CKING SHARK WITH AN UMBRELLA.

Any notable deaths we missed? Give us a shout in the comments section. 

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The Leftovers Recap, Episode 4: “B.J. and the A.C.” http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/the-leftovers-episode-4-recap-b-j-and-the-a-c/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/the-leftovers-episode-4-recap-b-j-and-the-a-c/#comments Mon, 21 Jul 2014 20:34:43 +0000 Jared Jones http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=263196 Heavy-handed metaphors were ripe for the picking in last night's Christmas-themed episode of The Leftovers that was anything but Christmasy.

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By Jared Jones

Heavy-handed metaphors were ripe for the picking in last night’s Christmas-themed episode of The Leftovers, “B.J. and the A.C.” From the opening sequence, which depicted the manufacturing process of a doll that would eventually serve as the baby Jesus in Mapleton’s nativity scene, to the obvious treatment of Tommy’s role as the Joseph to Christine’s Mary Magdalene, the episode was rote with Biblical references that were anything but subtle.

This observation is not necessarily meant as a criticism, as last week’s excellent episode, “Two Boats and a Helicopter”, played very closely to the book of Job. It’s just that last night’s episode of The Leftovers didn’t allow you to search for allegory or hidden context as much as it beat you over the head with it like an eighth grader’s Animal Farm book report.

But first, a little backtracking. This week’s storyline focused once again on Mapleton’s manically depressed town sheriff, Kevin, his family, and the members of the Guilty Remnant (not that “family” is a concept that the GR believes in anymore). You see, some three years removed from the event that saw 2% of the world’s population disappear, Kevin’s daughter, Jill, is still venting as only teens written by adults for television shows can. She’s distant, angsty, and should probably focus her energy into writing a blues album called “I’m a Poor Little Sad Sack.” And because Jill’s such a poor little sad sack, she goes out of her way to make her father’s working life all the shittier by stealing the Baby Jesus (the “B.J” from the episode’s title, presumably) from the nativity scene, which he immediately calls her out for doing.

Jill’s not all mischief and black eyeliner, though, as we learn when she refuses to set the baby Jesus aflame (largely at her friend Aimee’s behest) and more significantly, when she gives her mother, Laurie (who joined the Guilty Remnant shortly after the event), a lighter engraved “Don’t Forget Me” as a Christmas gift. It is a truly heartbreaking scene that is heightened all the more by the fact that Laurie had shown up to serve Kevin divorce papers just moments earlier.

Laurie’s decision to throw the lighter down a gutter afterward was foreseeable, as was her decision to fish it out of said gutter at the episode’s end. For a character who hasn’t spoken a word thus far in the show, Amy Brenneman has perhaps developed the most fully realized character of them all. While we still don’t know her exact reasons for joining the Guilty Remnant, we are beginning to see her conviction melt away with each passing episode. Leaving her family behind was not a clean break, as one would expect, and the dissonance the decision has created within her has made for some brilliant (and more importantly, subtle) moments in the show thus far.

Outside of Mapleton, Kevin’s son Tommy (or half-son, as we later learn that Tommy was a child from Laurie’s previous marriage)  is forging ahead with his quest to protect Christine, the woman carrying the child of guru Holy Wayne (the Antichrist/A.C. perhaps?). Having killed a SWAT team member in episode two and fought off a crazed naked man early in this week’s episode, his faith in Holy Wayne is beginning to falter. He hasn’t heard from the supposed prophet in weeks, and has next to no idea what part Christine and her baby play in the grand scheme of things. “I want to go home,” as he states aloud to himself, before an all-too convenient phone call from Wayne puts his doubts to rest.

Again, the metaphors are a bit hamfisted in Tommy’s plot. There is a brilliant moment in which he and Christine come across an overturned truck of mass-produced corpses, mirroring the doll production from earlier in the episode, but everything else from his story all but screams “Message!” as it is occurring. Tommy is a fiercely dedicated follower of a prophet who has been deemed the protector of a pregnant woman he is not intimately involved with, who by episode’s end, is both barefoot and marked with a stigmata of sorts that will make him invisible to the people trying to find him and Christine. Who, oh who, could he be serving as a metaphor for?

Though not without its high moments, the problem with “B.J. and the A.C” overall was its distinct lack of actual stakes. In a world where cults are amassing faster than loved ones are disappearing, the emphasis on a missing doll seems a bit underwhelming, blatant metaphor aside. It wasn’t an entirely pointless plot, as it led to a fantastic exchange between Kevin and Nora Durst, the sister of pastor Matt Jamison and the only member of Mapleton to her lose her entire family in the event, but one that offered very little in terms of resolution and necessity this early in the show.

The lack of resolution, or even a basic understanding of motive, can also be applied to the members of the Guilty Remnant. The final moments of “B.J. and the A.C.” sees Patti and a few of her followers arrested by Kevin as part of a ploy to allow other members of the GR to sneak into the homes of the townsfolk and steal all their family photos, but for what purpose? Obviously, the short-term goal is to “help” these people move on and continue spreading the GR’s message that “life is pointless, so just give up.” But beyond that, it is still hard to tell what the Guilty Remnant’s endgame is, or what they want the townspeople to do.

My guess: Die….

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“The Leftovers” Recap, Episode 3: “Two Boats and a Helicopter” http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/the-leftovers-recap-episode-3-two-boats-and-a-helicopter/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/the-leftovers-recap-episode-3-two-boats-and-a-helicopter/#comments Mon, 14 Jul 2014 21:33:34 +0000 Jared Jones http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=262963 By Jared Jones HBO’s The Leftovers is a pretty damn good show, and you should probably be watching it if you aren’t already. We’ll be doing weekly recaps of the...

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By Jared Jones

HBO’s The Leftovers is a pretty damn good show, and you should probably be watching it if you aren’t already. We’ll be doing weekly recaps of the series moving forward, but since I just started working here, we’ll have to start with last night’s third episode. What you’ve missed: 2% of the world’s population suddenly vanished. Three years later, people still be actin’ crazy. Cults be amassing. Packs of wild dogs are being gunned down in the streets. Intrigued enough yet? 

The central storyline of The Leftovers is very Stephen King-ian in its scope: Take a isolated community, insert an inexplicable and devastating “otherworldly” event, and use it as a metaphor to discuss how we as a people deal with things like mass hysteria, grief, and loss. This should sound familiar to anyone familiar with creator Damon Lindelof‘s work on Lost, but the fundamental difference that separates a story like Lost from that of The Leftovers is its endgame. Whereas Lost’s central mystery ultimately boiled down to why the survivors of Oceanic Airlines Flight 815 found themselves on that island, The Leftovers does not appear to be building towards that “big reveal” moment which ties up all its loose ends with a pretty little bow. Lindelof has already stated that no such moment will occur, and honestly, it’s probably the best decision he could have made, because it allows The Leftovers to forgo the intense plot building in favor of contained, character-driven episodes like last night’s “Two Boats and a Helicopter.”

Centering around Christopher Eccleston’s town pastor, Matt Jamison, “Two Boats and a Helicopter” understandably focused on the religious fallback of the catastrophic event. As you might expect in a world where 2% of the population inexplicably vanishes in an instant, church attendance has waned off a bit in Mapleton, NY. Doubt in the Lord Almighty’s grand plan is at an all time high, especially given that seemingly everyone in town knows a person of questionable character who was given a fair pass into the afterlife (or so they seem to think) instead of themselves. Of course, it doesn’t help that, when he’s not leading what few followers remain in prayer, Jamison is shaming these exact questionable individuals taken in “The Departure” by handing out flyers exposing their secrets for all to see. This comes to a head in the opening moments of the episode, when an angry father comforts Jamison with one such flyer before punching his lights out during his daily service.

It’s an interesting dichotomy that The Departure has created amongst the people of Mapleton — they seem to almost universally agree that their loved ones were in fact taken in a Biblical rapture, yet have lost faith in the good book as a result. Their faith has both been validated by The Departure and destroyed due to the perception that they are clearly the ones left behind to suffer. But even those who have lost faith, or joined the ranks of the Guilty Remnant  – Mapleton’s fastest-growing cult-but-not-a-cult of heavy-smoking Nihilists — seem to operate under the hope that those who left them are in a better place. Even the faithless cannot handle the idea of a world in which 140 million people vanish for no reason. Surely, there must be some greater scheme at hand.

This duality of faith is doing reverend Jamison no favors, however. In addition to the sporadic beatings he suffers on account of his flyers, Matt is both struggling to save his church from foreclosure and tend to his wife, who was left in a vegetative state as a result of the car crash depicted in the opening moments of The Leftovers‘ pilot. With a buyer already lined up for his church, Matt is given the Herculean task of coming up with $135,000 in one day, and as luck (fate) would have it, his quest to do so hits on many of the same notes (doubt, faith, and loss) as his opening sermon.

Over the course of the episode, we learn that Matt’s life has revolved around tragedy: He was diagnosed with cancer at a young age (and beat it), he lost his parents in a fire when he was a child, and his sister, Nora Durst, is the woman who lost her entire family in the Departure. Matt’s story is not unlike the story of Job (who he just so happens to have a painting of hanging from the wall nearest his wife’s bed), which fuels his need to convince everyone that the Departure was not in fact a rapture, but a test for what’s to come.

“Someone has to expose these people for who they truly were and what they truly did,” he says. “Because if we no longer separate the innocent from the guilty, everything that happened to us -– all of our suffering -– is meaningless.”

And Matt is tested on more than a few occasions throughout the episode. He visits his sister to beg for the money, only to reveal that her husband was cheating on her under the false guise of proving his point. He hits it big at a casino, only to be temporarily robbed of his winnings, then savagely beat the man who did it moments later. His compulsion to do the right thing (or at least, prove his point about the Departure) leads him into a further crisis of faith at every turn, but it is Matt’s steadfast belief, or need to believe, that ultimately renders the somewhat foreseeable conclusion to episode 3 all the more heartbreaking. Here is a man who has been given the short end of the stick at nearly every turn in life, and just when things are looking up, he is blindsided by yet another catastrophe. What has he done to receive such vicious treatment from the man upstairs?

In that sense, episode three felt more like a mini-movie than it did an episode of television. Matt’s arch is fully realized in “Two Boats and a Helicopter,” from the reasoning behind his faith to the end result of it in the grand scheme of his own life, and the biggest question left by the episode’s end is where Matt’s once unbreakable faith now lies. After attempting to convert him, the Guilty Remnant have now taken the only thing that was keeping Matt’s faith alive: his church. Why would God allow that to happen? What has become of his wife in the three days since he last saw her? Will Matt continue to out wrongdoers taken in the Departure, no matter how many beatings he must suffer as a result?

The test has only begun.

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‘The Talking Dead’ Is Even More Pointless Than My Existence http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/the-talking-dead-is-even-more-pointless-than-my-existence/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/the-talking-dead-is-even-more-pointless-than-my-existence/#comments Mon, 17 Oct 2011 05:56:29 +0000 Jame Gumb http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=232629 When you stare into the abyss, The Talking Dead stares back at you.

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Despite its flaws, The Walking Dead usually makes for entertaining television. The same cannot be said for The Talking Dead, a lazy, shameless marketing ploy posing as a half-hour talk show. And given some of the advertorial articles you can find on this very website, I don’t use words like “lazy” and shameless” lightly.

The show follows in the asinine tradition of Bravo‘s reality “post shows,” which usually involve a contemptible ‘Housewife’ attempting to explain why she came across as such an awful person. But given the fact that The Walking Dead is a scripted drama rather than a reality show, what can possibly be gained from recapping it? Apparently, the answer is nothing.

The inaugural episode featured comedian Patton Oswalt, Dawn of the Dead (remake) screenwriter James Gunn, and creator of The Walking Dead comic, Robert Kirkman. In all fairness, they did the most with what they were given. Unfortunately, what they were “given” were recycled clips and asinine questions, and “the most” they could do was make smart ass remarks. What type of response can be expected from questions like “why do you think the zombies were traveling in packs?” Because that’s what the script said they should do, ass hat.

That’s not to place all the blame on host Chris Hardwick. Considering the guests of the show had nothing to do with the episode, what was he supposed to ask? “So, you like zombies, eh? Neat!”

I did find it fitting that Subway bought ad time on the show, which featured a behind-the-scenes look at a zombie being disemboweled. Nothing says “eat fresh” like a walker’s rotten lower intestine. But ironic advertising aside, there wasn’t much to enjoy. If I want to spend 30 minutes watching clips from a show I just sat through, I’ll just use my DVR.

Editor’s note: Thank you to the commenters who pointed out my error on James Gunn. And I thank them a second time for not being dicks about it.

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A Funeral For A Fake Baby: ‘It’s Always Sunny’ Recap (S7E3) http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/a-funeral-for-a-fake-baby-its-always-sunny-recap-s7e3/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/a-funeral-for-a-fake-baby-its-always-sunny-recap-s7e3/#comments Fri, 07 Oct 2011 18:25:03 +0000 Penn Collins http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=231597 At least it was a fake baby.

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After a week at the shore and the charming little cluster that was Frank’s beauty pageant, it seems that Sunny has decided to step off the gas a little in its fourth episode with a pace that felt more relaxed than the previous three episodes this season. You know, the relaxing casual nature of a baby funeral? While the prior were mostly outstanding (with the premier being a rung or two below), I cherish the opportunity to take a deep breath, watch the gang be idiots in their own bar, and not have to write-up a 30-minute sitcom episode that has more going on than the Iliad.

Two stories share equal time in “Sweet Dee Gets Audited”: Dee needs to prove she has a baby to the IRS, and the balance of the crew pursues a more orderly manner of conducting the bar business. Even when they reach their fever pitch, both stories come no closer than tangential to one another, offering some hilarious throwaway gags in the absence of any real plot in this episode besides the whole “Dee better produce a baby for the IRS” affair.

The cold open begins with Charlie revealing that he is putting rocks in the urinals because the ice machine is broken. (An aside: I understand Paddy’s is a crappy bar, but come on, there has to be an ice machine.) Then the ceiling leaks on to Dennis’ face, causing everyone to wonder what Frank is doing with the money earmarked for repairs.

Without spending too much time rehashing what is essentially a great excuse for the boys to do some batshit crazy things for no particular reason, here’s a breakdown of what these dueling plotlines boil down to:

The gang lobbies for a democracy among the bar owners, which Frank shoots down because they get too emotional and angry about everything. Unsurprisingly, Mac and Charlie spend the rest of the episode getting really emotional about stupid things like the dead dog in the alley and whether or not there should be a crucifix in the bar (Mac says yes, Charlie says no), how large the crucifix should be (Charlie says small, Mac says enormous), and how much blood should be on the crucifix (Charlie says not much, Mac says tons). Sure the whole arc is a gag to get them to argue, but I’m pretty fine with that after the past few plot-driven episodes.

Frank, to no one’s surprise, admits he’s embezzling from the bar, using accounts with fake vendors like Wolf Cola to hide money.

Mac and Charlie try to keep emotion out of their argument of what to do with the dead alley dog and end up sounding like kids with head wounds giving book reports.

Dee spends most of the episode sweating (literally) her confrontation with the IRS, stuck with having to produce sweet baby Barnabus in order to support her deductions. Realizing that she has to produce a baby by 3 PM, she turns to Mac and Charlie for help, who insist that such a request will be no problem.

It’s unclear why they are still courting Dee’s lime vote, considering Charlie wants big and Mac wants small, but for some reason they continue working in tandem to get Dee her “baby.”

Realizing that she can’t produce a baby for the IRS, Dennis suggests that rather than try to prove the baby is alive, that Dee prove it’s dead.

With a baby funeral.

For a fake baby.

It doesn’t really pop in the context of the show, but it’s hard to imagine anything more dark or twisted than a funeral for a fake baby. It’s also a testament to Sunny that they can incorporate it into the show with not so much as a raised eyebrow. It’s only in retelling the scene that I realize how completely morally bankrupt it is.

Caitlin Olsen’s physical comedy chops once again rate an A+ during her attempted fake eulogy with real chili pepper in her eyes. I don’t believe she’s actually in pain, but she does make me laugh.

The baby is revealed to be the dead alley dog, Dee is up shit creek without a paddle, and the gang unanimously agrees to go back to the old, chaotic way of doing things. This begs the question, “What’s to become of Dee and her IRS problems?”

Next week, my children. Next week.

Questions/Observations:

I started this list thinking that there wouldn’t be much to report, but the casual nature of this episode lent itself to lots of great throwaway gags that certainly warrant mentioning. 

  • How did they not give Dee more shit for her scooter?
  • Mac is still wearing Tommy Bahama shirts. I’m praying this will close the book on them, but I fear there isn’t much overlap between Tommy Bahama shirt wearers and Sunny viewers.
  • Charlie has no idea what to do with his hands while stating his “dead dog” case.
  • Lime thickness is a hot-button issue at Paddy’s, in case you thought they didn’t pay attention to detail there.
  • It’s a real treat to watch Mac and Charlie get delighted at the notion of “compromise” for the first time.
  • Barnabus is two crucifixes and a tape player. Seems about right.
  • Why exactly is Mac so passionate about the crucifix? Does it have anything to do with his fierce defense of Charles Grodin? I feel like it might.
  • Dee’s eyes bleeding with all the discussion of the crucifix seemed to be a little harder than Sunny normally works for a joke. I think I liked it, but it was a departure.

Quotes:

  • “You guys all better eat a dick, cause Sweet Dee beat the system” (said right before the system takes a giant deuce right on Dee’s head)
  • “Letters? What is it, 1986? I don’t do letters, lady. I’m all digital.”
  • “Reason will prevail!”
  • “No, just a short-term baby”
  • “Pickles will prevail!”
  • I laughed out loud (a rare occurrence) when Mac was asked how big he wanted the crucifix and he responded, “Big…I want it to dominate every conversation.”
  • “People don’t trust you, Frank. You’re a piece of shit. And you’re ugly.” It’s funny cause it’s true.
  • “I just want the money. And the illusion of power. And puss.”
  • “Wolf Cola. It’s the right cola…for closure.”

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Morticians And Beauty Contests: The ‘Always Sunny’ GIF Recap (S7E3) http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/morticians-and-beauty-contests-the-always-sunny-gif-recap-s7e3/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/morticians-and-beauty-contests-the-always-sunny-gif-recap-s7e3/#comments Fri, 30 Sep 2011 19:04:51 +0000 Penn Collins http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=230604 Frank will allow his dead body to be filled with 'cream' after he dies.

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After a week of fun and sun down at the Jersey Shore, this week’s Sunny episode, “Frank Reynolds’ Little Beauties,” kicks off back in the familiar dregs of Paddy’s Pub, with a cold open that encapsulates pretty much everything that Sunny has come to stand for.

  • Frank falls over, bloodies up his nose (graphic violence, gore)
  • The gang laughs at his tumble (delight in the misfortune of others)
  • Frank explains how he met a man at a titty bar who convinced him to invest in a beauty pageant, which he did, only to find that the pageant is embroiled in scandal due to sexual harassment allegations (failed or troubled harebrained get-rich-quick scheme, indicative of consistently bad decision-making)
  • The “contestants” enter the bar, at which time we find out that it’s a pageant for little girls, and that the man who sexually harassed them is clearly a pedophile (the depraved reveal)

And we’re off.

This episode has all the trappings to really revisit what the gang is made of. Less than two minutes in to the episode and I’m giddy with excitement over the opportunities this storyline presents. Sunny lies pretty far away from “satirical” on the spectrum, but the show absolutely thrives when it is tenuously tied to a social issue. Perhaps it’s the over-the-top actions of the gang that reveal the absurdity of both the characters and the principals at hand, but, for whatever reason, it’s episodes like “The Gang Gets Racist,” “Bums: Making a Mess All Over the City,” “Dennis and Dee Go On Welfare,” and “The Gang Exploits the Gas Crises” all have proven to be among the show’s elite half-hours.

Off the bat, we see the factions start to form. Frank wants to salvage his investment without forfeiting his already-dicey reputation. Dee begins to reminisce about her modeling days, to the predictable mockery of the rest of the gang. Charlie cracks an egg of knowledge on us about how child pageants are woven int the American fabric (God, I love Charlie). Dennis is creeped out by the whole affair. And Mac…well, Mac’s really fat, and that’s plenty for now.

Remarkably, Charlie’s speech wins over the whole group, who decide that parading little made up girls in an exercise in “freedom” as much as it is anything else. So, as quickly as it began, it’s over. The gang, in the name of patriotism, will host a children’s beauty pageant.

“USA! USA! USA!”

The gang seems unsettlingly unified at this point, which is perhaps the most ominous aspect of this whole plan. Let’s see where the hell this united front takes us.

With Frank and Dee speaking to the contestants and their parents, Charlie, Mac, and Dennis are working on a musical number, with Charlie leading the show. Before the trio of composers can agree on a note, they decide that their involvement in the pageant and presence on-stage is a foregone conclusion. Like there was any doubt.

After a visit from child services, the gang realizes they have nothing to fear or hide, and the show must go on, so we immediately cut to Charlie in “musical director” mode, which is easily one of the 13 best modes Charlie can be in.

Dear God, I could fill up the whole recap with quotes from this scene, but it simply wouldn’t do them justice. Suffice it to say, when Charlie sides with Samantha, much as he did with some of the teens in “Underage Drinking: A National Problem,” we get gold.

Ok. One quick exchange:

“Samantha’s mean!”
“Samantha gets to be mean! Because Samantha is a star!”

At this point, it’s pretty clear that the big payout is going to be the pageant itself, so until that time, it looks like we’ll be killing some time with some set-up scenes that serve to tell us where we are headed, but are pretty funny nonetheless. We’ve got:

Dee getting schooled by Samantha during lunch;

Fat Mac wheezing his way through lunch;

The dandy boy who, contrary to the fellas’ first impressions, isn’t being forced into the competition at all,

And, after getting served by Samantha, Dee takes ugly duckling Justine under her wing to dethrone Samantha.

The scenarios are set-up, so let’s go to the back half of the episode to watch the gang knock them down. They arrive at the school theater for the pageant to find Frank done up in corpse makeup (compliments of a creepy mortician) to hide his battered grill. With Artemis sternly and stoically asking the audience to “give me a beat” during “America, The Beautiful,” the pageant is underway. And how!

With Mac, Dennis, and Dee busting moves onstage, and what we can only assume is a white-shoed Charlie a-tappin’ his foot, it becomes pretty clear what this pageant is really about. The gang wants to put on another musical. After a variety show-style intro from Charlie, Frank painfully oversells the innocence of the whole affair, introducing the contestants “that he isn’t attracted to at all” while wearing the previously mentioned corpse makeup. Of course, all the good-behavior from the gang begins to get squandered the moment Frank unintentionally broadcasts a private conversation he has about banging corpses.

The audience’s attention is quickly shifts from Franks desire to be “filled with cream” after he dies when the cops bust in to arrest Walter, who is, as we assumed, a pedophile.

The gang hastily decides that although pageants are an American tradition, they aren’t a proud one, names Samantha the winner, then storm out the door, having learned no lessons and built no bonds.

Kudos to Sunny on this one for reminding us that the Dee, Mac, Dennis, and Charlie don’t have to be total assholes in order to be funny.

Questions/Observations:

  • Caitlin Olsen’s improv and acting chops really come out in select few moments and the 180 she turns when asked if she is “in charge” by the child services representative is one such moment.
  • At what point did you realize that Frank was going to spend the rest of the episode with a mangled and bloody face? I got it at 6:48 when they told him to lay down and put some ice on it.
  • The entire episode, I felt like Walter, the child services guy was a looming pedophile. Turns out I was right. Kiss the ring!
  • I’m pretty bummed I’m already used to Fat Mac.
  • Franks dry-mouthed buddy backstage almost had me raising my hand with the gang, wondering what the shit that was about.
  • Artemis!
  • Fat Mac is pretty awesome in a tight turtleneck.
  • The gang seems to have an uncanny knowledge of Vaudeville and pageantry. I would hire them if they weren’t such bastards.
  • Since I can’t single out one thing, I enjoyed every single f*ckin’ part of the boy’s performance. It was like Usher meets Gaga meets gay little boy with fake abs sketched on him.
  • I love the cut to Frank, face down ready to be cuffed when the cops enter.

Quotes:

  • “You just loaded up that train with coal, and now it’s ready to tear down the tracks. That was inspiring as hell.”
  • “I’m not gonna diddle your kids…I met that guy in a titty bar.”
  • “I don’t see professionals. I see amateurs. I see trash. Little pieces of trash.”
  • “You’re the meanest girl in the world!”
  • “She’s a stupid shitmouth bitch.”
  • “I’m gonna go get high before the show.”
  • “A big humongous pain in my vuhhhhh-gina, MOMS ARE UGLY!”
  • “Mr. Gorbechav, tear down this wall!”
  • “If I was dead you could bang me all you want.”

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‘X Factor’ Is Somehow More Disgusting Than ‘Animal Hoarding’ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/x-factor-is-somehow-more-disgusting-than-animal-hoarding/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/x-factor-is-somehow-more-disgusting-than-animal-hoarding/#comments Thu, 22 Sep 2011 18:20:29 +0000 Jame Gumb http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=229579 Cat feces is preferable to 'X Factor'...

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Despite the obvious differences, Animal Planet’s Confessions: Animal Hoarding and Fox’s X Factor are actually very similar. They are both retreads of existing shows, they both (supposedly) chronicle the lives of delusional people, and most importantly, they both exploit the hell out of their subjects. That said, I thought a show about people living ankle-deep in cat shit would be more exploitative than a simple singing competition. How very wrong I was. Confessions: Animal Hoarding seems like a Ken Burns documentary when compared to Simon Cowell’s latest shit show.

Let’s start out with Confessions: Animal Hoarding. This show is basically Intervention, except instead of “helping” people who are addicted to drugs, it “helps” people who are addicted to kitty cats. Last night we followed Mike, a chef whose small home had been overrun with cats to the point where his wife had left and he was forced to live in a camper. Keep in mind, this was not some elaborate scheme to get rid of the wife. Watching a man shoveling cat excrement off his kitchen floor is bad enough, but knowing he’s a member of the food service industry made it even more disturbing.

Then we have X Factor. From what I can tell, there are only two differences between this show and American Idol. First off, the black guy is skinnier and doesn’t say “dog.” Second, rather than having the auditions in a private room with the judges, they take place in a stadium filled with thousands of people. That might not seem like a big deal until you watch an elderly couple making fools of themselves in front of a live audience. For example, Dan and Venita, who are a combined age of 153. The people in charge of picking the contestants saw fit to wave this couple through to the judges table so that they could do this on national television…

Classy.

But X Factor doesn’t stop with the elderly. Why should it when there is so much fresh meat available in the form young children. For example, there was 13-year-old Rachel Crow who the press is already gushing about. Sure, I guess she’s “adorable.” But I’ll bet the adorableness wears off in about five years once Hollywood has spit her out and she’s turning tricks for crank in the Ralph’s parking lot on Sunset. But hey, maybe she can keep the fame-train going with a stint on Intervention. Circle of life, ya know?

Two years 'til rehab!

To be clear, both shows are awful, and both shows take advantage of their subjects. But at the end of the day, at least Confessions: Animal Hoarding supposedly helps the people involved, and they manage to do it without the pseudo-inspirational top-40 soundtrack. Mike the cat-hoarding chef ended up with a therapist and a clean house. All Dan and Venita got was humiliated.

Yes, X Factor’s contestants chose to be on TV. No one is holding a gun to their heads, although I imagine quite a few of them have probably held guns to their own heads. And in all fairness, the winner of X Factor will get a $5 million recording contract, not to mention their own Pepsi ad. As Paula Abdul pointed out, “To have a commercial is above and beyond any wild dream that any artist could have.”

Even so, I’d rather watch a guy swim in cat poop than sit through X Factor ever again.

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An 11-Year-Old Boy Recaps Last Night’s ‘Two and a Half Men’ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/an-11-year-old-boy-recaps-last-nights-two-and-a-half-men/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/an-11-year-old-boy-recaps-last-nights-two-and-a-half-men/#comments Tue, 20 Sep 2011 17:26:00 +0000 Jame Gumb http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=229227 Last night Charlie died and Walden moved in and then slept with two girls and Alan was all like "Whaaaat?"

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Last night  my favorite show started again. It’s called Two and a Half Men, and I like it because it’s really funny and sometimes they have sex with hot ladies. Also, the maid is really mean to Charlie and it’s funny because she’s fat.

But last night Charlie didn’t come back to the show because he’s dead. His girlfriend said he got hit by a train and exploded like a balloon full of meat. But they didn’t show him get hit by the train, which is stupid cause it would have been hilarious to see him explode all over like meat. All they showed was his funeral, and then they spilled his ashes everywhere, and that was pretty funny too, but not as funny as an explosion of meat.

Later on after the funeral, a new guy came to live with Alan and Jake named Walden. Walden is the guy from those camera commercials. My dad says Walden used to be on a show that was kind of funny, but now he’s an idiot for marrying an old lady. My dad got really mad when he sad it, and kept saying bad words and how stupid Walden is for marrying the old lady cause now she’s really old, and Walden’s stuck with her when he could be with any other girl he wanted because he’s rich. Then dad said “turn this shit off” and threw a beer bottle against the wall, so I went to watch the rest of the show in the basement.

I didn’t like Walden, because I miss Charlie, but then Walden had sex with two pretty ladies at the same time. It was really cool and funny, and Alan was all like “Whaaaaat?” and Jake was like “Awesome!” I don’t think Walden is that bad, but Charlie was better. Also, Walden is really rich for some reason , and he’s sleeping in Charlie’s room now.

I can’t wait for next week’s episode, because the preview showed this girl with really big boobs, and Walden was looking at her, and then he got embarrassed from looking at the boobs and fell down and I laughed really hard. Two and a Half Men is my favorite show.

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Boilin’ Denim And Bangin’ Whores: ‘Always Sunny’ Gif Recap (S7E1) http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/boilin-denim-and-bangin-whores-always-sunny-gif-recap-s7e1/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/boilin-denim-and-bangin-whores-always-sunny-gif-recap-s7e1/#comments Fri, 16 Sep 2011 16:00:53 +0000 Penn Collins http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=228744 In which the best-laid plans fall to a "touch of consumption."

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Welcome back to Paddy’s Pub for a new season of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

In case we had forgotten about the types of people we’re dealing with at Paddy’s, the cold open reminds us in short order. We begin with Dee and Charlie on the phone, ordering a pit bull intended to bite people so that patrons may leave Paddy’s with a “great story.” Naturally, this marketing tool is met with skepticism by Dennis, who quickly abandons any effort to dissuade them, eventually just stating, “I DON’T understand.”

Well, he won’t need to, because that storyline is quickly dropped as Frank walks in, sucking face with a whore. Andddddddd, we’re off with our A-story. Frank declares, after pounding two shots of Jameson, “I’m gonna make that whore my wife.”

Sunny certainly has a way with making despicable characters uniquely despicable, and Frank’s whore Roxy is no exception. While she may appear to be your run-of-the-mill drunk whore, she has a language all alone, often referring to people in her presence with colorful phallic imagery, such as “cocks” or “dicks.” Frank wants her to stop banging other dudes (including, apparently, Tiger Woods), and the only way that’s going to happen is if he takes the plunge.

The gang eventually decides that they need to go all Pretty Woman on Roxy and clean her up a bit. But not quite yet, because Mac comes strutting in plus his 50 pounds of “bulk” (fat), eating a chimichanga, and his new carriage doesn’t not escape the group’s notice.

Dennis ascertains that with Frank’s devotion to a whore and a Mac’s gluttony, the gang has lost their way. He decides to help Mac restore his form and health of earlier days, while Dee is tasked with turning Roxy into less of a disgusting whore. While Frank and Charlie are doing whatever it is Frank and Charlie do (boiling found denim from under a bridge), they decide to try and find Frank a woman who will love him for who he is. Tall order.

Dee quickly gets the impression that, despite the rough façade, Roxy may be living a glamorous life, as she is able to stand up to snotty boutique salespeople by flashing a wad of cash in their face. No sooner does Dee start fawning than Roxy has to go meet a client, Mr. Tiger Woods. But not before she has to dig some crack rocks out of her ass.

While Dee tries to determine what the hell is going on with this semi-glamorous whore, we get to revisit a never-fail gag Sunny gag: Charlie incognito. He’s back in character as the Texas oilman, which we haven’t seen since season 4’s transcendental “The Gang Solves the Gas Crisis,” while Frank is a limo driver hoping to benefit from a bait-and-switch with a kind lady who has no idea what she’s in for.

As Charlie’s plan is to bow out gracefully to Frank with “a touch of consumption,” he oversells the ailment a bit by projectile vomiting mercilessly on the unsuspecting women for what felt like a good 70 or 80 minutes. She doesn’t stick around to be consoled, and we’re left with a sight gag that is over-the-top (and hilarious) even by Sunny standards.

One downside to the approach the premiere has taken is that very little humor is drawn for the minds and personalities of the characters. While sight gags abound, the characters seem to take break from being themselves. Sure, Mac is still oblivious, Dennis vain, and Charlie enthusiastic and misguided, but the characters seem to be more conduits for physical humor than the folks we’ve spent the last seven or so years with. However, after last year’s flat “Mac Fights Gay Marriage,” perhaps they felt inclined to lead with a more surefire approach. It works for an episode, but let’s hope they get back to the paradigm that takes the show from good to great.

In the final act, bows are placed on the three duo’s storylines as Dee learns that Roxy’s life is every bit as awful as one would assume, but doesn’t pass up an offer to make $500 from a foot fetishist, beginning her transformation to sassy hooker-woman. Dennis embraces Mac’s devil-may-care attitude, gorging on chimichangas until he decides that what he really wants is some crack, which he can get from Roxy. Frank goes through with his proposal, only to watch Roxy die in response to his question. The gang lays her in the hall, makes an anonymous 911 call, and we realize that Frank was right; people don’t really change.

Dead hookers, projectile vomiting, and a grossly fat Mac. Yup, it’s a new season of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

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What The Hell Am I Watching? ‘Drop Dead Diva’ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/what-the-hell-am-i-watching-drop-dead-diva/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/what-the-hell-am-i-watching-drop-dead-diva/#comments Tue, 06 Sep 2011 19:12:39 +0000 Penn Collins http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=227173 We thought we'd give this show a chance. Bad idea.

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Once a week, we watch a show that we normally wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole just to make sure we’re not missing anything. Nine out of ten times, we’re not. This week, we watched Drop Dead Diva. God help us.

Thank God for the educational intros like the one Drop Dead Diva features. From the quick rundown, I’m able to deduce that this Lifetime show is a story about a model who gets killed, only to get a second chance at living on Earth as Jane, a fat attorney with fabulous girlfriends and a guardian angel, Fred, who appears to be gay. But I don’t want to presume anything, even though, seriously, he looks pretty gay. (I find out later that he’s probably not gay.)

Let’s blow through a recap of the show so that we know what we’re up against here. 

The episode starts off with Jane walking into the kitchen to find her roommate chopping a banana, upon which the trajectory of the episode is quickly divulged.

Jane went on a date with a judge to the beach and had a wonderful time, even learning to “pull the judge’s tiller” which is a sailing term, but also sounds like jerking a dude off. Thanks, Sex and the City, for making sexual puns in women’s programming de rigueur. And thanks, women, for allowing it to happen.

We also learn at this time that CiCi (C.C.? CeeeeeeCeeeeee?), Jane’s roommate, kissed a guy that gave her a ride home from the Entertainment Weekly party (FABULOUS!) even though she’s involved with someone. So we’ve gotten the storyline primed and pumped at the 1:40 mark. Good to get those out of the way. The Wire, this ain’t.

While the opening credits continue to roll, we find that Jane must broker a meeting between a partner at her law firm and his jilted, violent ex. She also drops a reference to expensing Katie Perry tickets, which is something that I can totally related to because, OMG Katy Perry.

Some hot girl named Kim steps into a church for reasons unimportant only to find that the new minister is a total Bladwin. Do people still call hot guys Baldwins? I’m pretty sure they do. Oh. The hot minister is a single dad who lost his wife. Because that’s not cliché.

Cut to Jane brokering the peace between the partner and his ex. But before we get there, it should be noted that the partner is an old white dude, and the ex is Brandi. Yup. Brandi. He politely denies the request to represent her and pushes her out on the office, but Jane comes to sympathize with the ex (Brandi!)

All of this is revealed within the first four minutes or so of the show. 

Click ‘Next Page’ to continue…

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Gif Recap: ‘Wilfred’ – Doubt S1E11 http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/gif-recap-wilfred-doubt-s1e11/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/gif-recap-wilfred-doubt-s1e11/#comments Fri, 26 Aug 2011 23:47:41 +0000 Jame Gumb http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=226096 Dwight Yoakam has never looked better.

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Last night’s episode of Wilfred was bizarre, even by talking dog standards. In case the title of this piece wasn’t enough, it involved doubt. Specifically, it revolves around Ryan’s doubt about his relationship with Wilfred. After all, it would be hard not to second guess yourself when your best friend is now a six-foot talking dog.

(For More Gif Recaps, Click Here)

As we begin, Ryan has stopped smoking pot, found a date via an online dating service, and is now trying to tidy up the house. This causes Wilfred some anxiety, since all the hair he left on the basement floor is now missing. Things only gets worse when the vacuum is brought out.

Later, during a trip to the park for a Yoga class, Wilfred stops for a moment to enjoy the bouquet of smells available to him.

Meanwhile, while talking to his sister, Ryan notices a strange man who seems to be watching his every move. Later, the man in question, Bruce (Dwight Yoakam), makes contact with Ryan again, claiming that he is also able to hear Wilfred’s speech. Apparently, he and Wilfred used to have a similar friendship, until Wilfred eventually ruined his life by poking holes in his condoms.

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Gif Recap: ‘Cornered’ – Shotgun S4E6 http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/gif-recap-%e2%80%98cornered%e2%80%99-%e2%80%93-shotgun-s4e6/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/gif-recap-%e2%80%98cornered%e2%80%99-%e2%80%93-shotgun-s4e6/#comments Mon, 22 Aug 2011 19:36:44 +0000 Jame Gumb http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=225316 Another good title would have been "Meth Head with a Shotgun!"

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A few weeks back, Breaking Bad opened with a shot of Mike waiting patiently in the back of a refrigerated truck. Before long, the sound of drug cartel henchmen shooting the driver filled the air, as an unphased Mike positioned himself for the attack. No sooner than the henchmen had opened the door, Mike had shot them both to death. Apparently, the cartel has learned it’s lesson, because this week they were taking no chances.

(Check Out More Gif Recaps)

The show began with a similar shot in the back of a refrigerated truck. In fact, for a moment I thought I was watching a rerun. But soon enough, I realized that Mike was nowhere to be found, and two hired goons has taken his place. That’s lucky for Mike.

As expected, the cartel attacks the truck, killing the driver. But unlike their previous attempt, they weren’t taking any chances. Rather than opening the doors and risking a bullet to the face, the henchmen decided to reroute the truck’s exhaust into the trailer, lock the doors, and wait for anyone inside to expire.

And despite the fact that they had no trouble wasting the driver, the cartel thugs weren’t about to let the driver’s lunch go to waste.

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Gif Recap: ‘Wilfred’ – Compassion S1E9 http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/gif-recap-wilfredcompassion-s1e9/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/gif-recap-wilfredcompassion-s1e9/#comments Fri, 19 Aug 2011 18:11:19 +0000 Jame Gumb http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=225089 Mary Steenburgen...doggie style...

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Ryan: “I’m not crazy!”

Wilfred: “Said the man to the dog.”

That pretty much sums up last night’s episode of Wilfred, which deals with the root of Ryan’s “mental problems.” True, there were two episodes last night, but I’m gif recapping “Compassion.” Why? Because that’s the one I watched.

The episode begins as it usually does, with Jenna having to leave Wilfred with Ryan for some contrived reason or another. Even Ryan remarks that she sure does travel a lot. This week, she’s going to Vegas to try and patch things up with her boyfriend. Wilfred is unhappy at the prospect of being alone, especially since he’s been forced to wear a cone because he won’t stop biting at his “hot spot.”

Meanwhile, Ryan has received a call from a mental institution in Ojai, CA, where his mother, Catherine, is a resident. Apparently, she was checked into the facility for observation, but decided to stay for 20 years, a fact that still haunts Ryan. Wilfred is also unimpressed with the prospect of meeting Ryan’s mom because he has a problem with menopausal women. He’d much rather run around and threaten to kill ducks.

Once inside, Ryan discovers that his mom, played by Mary Steenburgen, wishes to transition back into the society, and needs a place to stay. At first, Ryan and Wilfred are both reluctant, but once Catherine is able to sooth Wilfred’s hot spot, the dog convinces his master to bring her home.

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Gif Recap: ‘Breaking Bad’ – Shotgun S4E5 http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/gif-recap-breaking-bad-shotgun-s4e5/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/gif-recap-breaking-bad-shotgun-s4e5/#comments Mon, 15 Aug 2011 23:15:54 +0000 Jame Gumb http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=224579 A drive in the desert? This will end well (no, really).

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When we last saw Breaking Bad’s Jesse Pinkman, he and Mike were headed out to the desert for reason unknown. If you’re involved with drug dealers, and you’re being driven out to the desert against your will, chances are you’re not being taken on an all-expenses-paid trip to Vegas. So understandably, Walt was concerned for the life of his young protégé, even if Jesse himself was not.

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Walt

With Jesse in trouble, Walt sprung into action, racing down to Los Pollos Hermanos to confront Gus. Unfortunately, Gus was nowhere to be found, and Walt was helpless to save his friend.

Back at the lab, Jesse’s absence was undeniable. Walt might be a whiz at cooking meth, but he’s a novice at operating heavy machinery.

As time wore on, frustration finally boiled over, and Walt refused to work, claiming the job was a two man operation. But rather than relent and produce Jesse, Gus simply sent one of his cronies to help Walt.

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Gif Recap: ‘Breaking Bad’ – Open House S4E3 http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/gif-recap-breaking-bad-open-house-s4e3/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/gif-recap-breaking-bad-open-house-s4e3/#comments Mon, 01 Aug 2011 18:45:32 +0000 Jame Gumb http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=222841 Jesse's party pad is getting a little out of control. By "out of control," I mean it's a meth-head flop house.

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Last night’s episode of Breaking Bad, “Open House,” was a little on the slow side. Granted, when the first episode of the season is as brutal as “Box Cutter,” almost anything is going to seem tame by comparison. But when the bulk of an episode involves a paralyzed man lying in bed and a plot to undermine a car wash, chances are it’s not going to be the most riveting television.

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That’s not to say that last night’s episode was bad or devoid of story. And I’m not suggesting that the show should insert violence for violence’s sake. I’m just saying that is was relatively calm for a show about drug dealers.

Jesse Pinkman

Things are not going well for Jesse Pinkman. At work, he assures Walt that everything is going fine, and even suggests that the two hit up the Go Kart track to let off some steam. When Walt declines, Jesse goes alone, but doesn’t seem to enjoy himself all that much, unless, of course, you feel that driving around a track while screaming in rage is enjoyable.

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Gif Recap: ‘True Blood’ – I Wish I Was The Moon S4E6 http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/gif-recap-true-blood-i-wish-i-was-the-moon-s4e6/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/gif-recap-true-blood-i-wish-i-was-the-moon-s4e6/#comments Mon, 01 Aug 2011 17:53:53 +0000 Jenna Busch http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=222808 Sookie and Eric finally do the deed.

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Oh, yes.  It’s finally happened!  Sookie and Eric!  Well, that is until King Bill walks in on them.  Damn it Bill!  Royal or not, you have crappy timing!  We wanted to see some Sookie/Eric sex!  And really, Sookie shouldn’t have stopped Eric from staking Bill with that poker.  Instead, Eric kneels before his liege.  Oh, that isn’t going to end well.  Did you all see the True Blood trailer from Comic Con?  Yikes!

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Gif Recap: ‘Wilfred’ – Conscience S1E6 http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/gif-recap-wilfred-%e2%80%93-conscience-s1e4/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/gif-recap-wilfred-%e2%80%93-conscience-s1e4/#comments Fri, 29 Jul 2011 19:12:24 +0000 Jame Gumb http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=222620 Wilfred is starting to come into its own.

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Due to Comic-Con, I wasn’t able to catch last week’s episode of Wilfred. But this week’s episode caused me to do something that no previous episode had managed to do. It made me laugh. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always enjoyed the show, and previous episodes have been humorous, but I always found myself acknowledging the show’s humor in my mind without actually responding to it. However, last night was different, and I was laughing out loud without having to think about it. In my opinion, the show is really starting to find its rhythm.

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As has been the case from day one, Ryan is still infatuated with Jenna. When the episode begins, he is admiring her from afar while she sunbathes in her yard. His creepy leering is interrupted by the entrance of Drew, Jenna’s meathead boyfriend from Wisconsin. As Wilfred is quick to point out, Drew carries Jenna off “like a Viking on a rape quest.”

While Ryan may not like the fact that Jenna is dating Drew, it’s Wilfred who seems the most upset. As such, he constantly hounds (get it) Ryan about getting Drew out of the picture, going as far as to Skype Ryan while Drew and Jenna are having sex with the hope that it will make him jealous.

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Gif Recap: ‘Breaking Bad’ – Thirty-Eight Snub S4E2 http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/gif-recap-breaking-bad-thirty-eight-snub-s4e2/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/gif-recap-breaking-bad-thirty-eight-snub-s4e2/#comments Mon, 25 Jul 2011 20:50:03 +0000 Jame Gumb http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=221931 I hope you like delusion and self-loathing...

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Last week’s episode of Breaking Bad (Box Cutter), ended on a rather calm note, all things considered. After watching Gus rip Victor’s throat out in a fit of calm rage, Walt, Jesse and Mike worked together to dispose of the body, and then stopped by Denny’s (sans Mike) for a nice breakfast. Everyone seemed oddly at peace with the way things had played out.

But as you’ll see in the following Gif Recap, that peace was quickly shattered, and we learned just how troubled Walt, Mike, and Jesse really are. For example, Walt has become completely paranoid, and chastises his wife for leaving mundane phone messages involving completely legal business plans. Not to mention the fact that he is now packing an unregistered handgun, and has taken to practicing his draw. Clearly Gus has gotten inside his head.

Jesse, on the other hand, is retreating from the real world. He’s using his ill-gotten gains to make useless purchases, filling his home with over-the-top stereo equipment and robot vacuums. I’m not exactly an expert in the field of psychology, but I think it’s going to take more than just a Roomba to help Jesse forget that he murdered a man in cold blood.

And then there’s Mike. He’s dealing with things the same way he seems to have been dealing with them for years: sitting at a shithole bar and drinking alone.

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Gif Recap: ‘True Blood’ – I Hate You, I Love You S4E5 http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/gif-recap-true-blood-i-hate-you-i-love-you-s4e5/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/gif-recap-true-blood-i-hate-you-i-love-you-s4e5/#comments Mon, 25 Jul 2011 19:19:06 +0000 Jenna Busch http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=221886 Wild sex dreams and the kiss you've been waiting for.

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True Blood fans!

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Gif Recap: ‘Breaking Bad’ – Box Cutter S4E1 http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/gif-recap-breaking-bad-%e2%80%93-box-cutter-s4e1/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/gif-recap-breaking-bad-%e2%80%93-box-cutter-s4e1/#comments Mon, 18 Jul 2011 19:05:37 +0000 Jame Gumb http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=220635 'Breaking Bad' is back with a vengeance.

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This is a Gif recap, but in case I need to spell it out, spoilers ahead.

The season premiere of Breaking Bad begins with our old friend and meth-lab assistant Gale Boetticher wielding a box cutter. Given the season 3 finale, which saw Jesse shooting(?) Gale in cold blood, we can immediately assume we are witnessing a flash back to a happier time…a time when Gale still had the back of his skull intact.

During the course of the flashback, Gale gleefully sets up his new lab. He looks like a kid in a candy store, and boasts about how the equipment would be at home with any of the larger pharmaceutical companies. But when the topic turns to Walter White‘s meth, the boasting comes to a halt, and Gale humbly admits to Gus that his own product is nowhere near the purity of their competitor’s. The admission seems almost pathetic, considering we know that Gale has just inadvertently signed his own death warrant.

Flash forward to the present day. Jesse has just shot Gale in the face, and concerned neighbors are milling about outside the apartment, waiting for police to arrive. Victor arrives instead, and confirms that his employer’s scientist has been killed.

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Gif Recap: ‘True Blood’ – I’m Alive And On Fire S4E4 http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/gif-recap-true-blood-im-alive-and-on-fire-s4e4/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-episode/gif-recap-true-blood-im-alive-and-on-fire-s4e4/#comments Mon, 18 Jul 2011 16:35:31 +0000 Jenna Busch http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=220606 Amnesia Eric continues to amuse us.

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Oh my god, I love Amnesia Eric!  There is really no other way to start off this recap.  We begin where we left off last week, as Sookie tells him, “You drank the whole fairy,” as if she’s some sort of Slushee.  Well, a Slushee spiked with some serious booze because fairy blood makes vampires drunk.

Yes, Amnesia Eric is drunk as a skunk.  He zips around at vampire speed, pinches Sookie’s butt and runs off into the sun after attempting to bite her.

Very interesting to note that even wasted, Eric says he’ll never hurt her.  After attempting to find Eric and failing, Sookie calls in her knight in shining…um…silver fur?   It’s Alcide to the rescue.

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So, let me pause a moment here.  Is anyone else feeling like this season’s official poster is wildly accurate?  Sookie is all about flirting with all her admirers…equally.  Not sure how I’m feeling about that.  Nothing wrong with it, but it’s making her seem a bit wishy washy.  I mean, I get how mind-numbingly hot these three men are, but she just seems to be floating through it.  Please let me know your feelings in the comments.

After Pam dresses down King Bill after being grilled about where Eric is, we head over to Hotshot for one of the most disturbing story lines ever.

Poor Jason is still tied to the bed and he’s being raped by woman after woman.  The one he shoves off says that her brother/husband…brother, husband!…just bites her on the back of the neck and holds her down until it’s over when he screws her.  She cries and says Jason is the best she’s ever had and yells, ”next.”  Then they send in a little girl.  Jason convinces her to let him go and she does.  But…I have to say this here.  I was more than a little disturbed by my own (and my viewing companions’) reaction to this scene.  It’s awful.  It’s gross.  I’m also fully aware that if it was a woman in that same situation, I’d be even more horrified.  I really hope the writers let Jason experience the aftermath of mass rape the way they would with a female character.  Please weigh in below.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Over at Castle Bill, Nan is trying to find out what happened to Eric.  We see exactly how hardcore Nan is here as she dismisses Salem as a bunch of puritans who needed to get laid.  The real info here though is about a massacre that happened 400 years ago in Spain “by a single witch with a reason to hate vampires.”  She says that necromancers aren’t they same as they used to be.  I’m wondering if she was involved.  In fact, I’m wondering why she’s so single minded.  I’m dying to find out her history.

In Marnie’s store, she’s deep in a dream…of the Spanish Massacre.  A powerful witch is being burned at the stake while clergy joke about how to torture her.  Marnie witnesses the entire thing and learns a chant from the witch…who is the woman possessing her.  Uh oh.  Powerful witch with a “reason to hate vampire” possessing a powerful witch in the present.  I’m sure we’re going to get more info on this one.  Did anyone else notice the hooded figure?  Vampire?  And can anyone figure out what the chant translates too?

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