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    Agent Carter, Ep. 1.08, “Valediction”: So long, farewell, VE Day, and goodbye!

    The entirety of the Agent Carter finale feels like the writers’ room looked at their board of index cards cataloguing ongoing storylines and realized they’d bitten off more than they could wrap up effectively in eight quick episodes. In these last hours, ignored relationships fly back in (literally and figuratively) as quickly as they were scrapped half a season ago, the climax is kept decidedly small-scale and simple, and multiple shortcuts leave everything a bit un-factchecked and everyone a bit out of character for the sake of squeezing in the most important beats. The worst part about these shortcuts is that if some superfluous scenes had been removed, those wasted minutes could have been spent filling in details elsewhere. For example, the only true reason that the “6 months earlier” cut scene with Dottie and Howard Stark is important is because Bridget Regan looks gorgeous in that black evening gown. It doesn’t offer up any new information or insight into the characters; even Howard’s memory fails to get jogged about that earlier weekend once he’s in the hanger. Instead of inserting unnecessary tidbits such as that one, the finale would have been better off fleshing out more of the underserved specifics of the resolution.
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    Gracepoint, Ep. 1.10, “Episode Ten” offers satisfying conclusion to season long mystery

    While Gracepoint hasn’t packed the same emotional wallop of Broadchurch, its source material, it has maintained a consistent level of intrigue, melancholy, and family drama, all aided by strong performances from a number of its central actors. For the majority of its ten episode run, the show has been exciting but it has struggled towards the end of the season. More

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    Kingdom, Ep. 1.10, “King Beast”: Are you strong or are you weak?

    The first season finale of Kingdom, appropriately titled “King Beast”, is more interesting for what it doesn’t do than what it does. Namely, that the episode contains no overreactions to the events of fight day. There is a complete lack of build up to the fights both Ryan and Jay have been working for months for which to prepare. Both fighters are loose at Navy Street during final preparations, if not totally relaxed. Jay is his usual sarcastic self throughout the entire day, keeping everybody around him in good spirits as the fights inch closer. Even in the stew room, surrounded by nervous family and friends, the tension doesn’t overwhelm the excitement of the battle. Ryan is visibly coiled up inside ready to burst but not in a way that overwhelms his chances in the ring, it is clearly just the way he prepares compounded by the nervousness brought on by his return after so long away. More

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    Hell on Wheels, Ep. 4.13, “Further West”: Strong finale closes out shaky season

    Hell on Wheels’ fourth season has been complicated. While mostly disappointing, it has featured moments of great emotional depth and viewers have had to say goodbye to Elam (Common) and Ruth (Kasha Kropinski) in episodes that were deeply effecting and have changed the course of the show and its main character Cullen Bohannon (Anson Mount) indefinitely. More

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    The Strain, Ep. 1.13, “The Master” deflates before our eyes

    Hold on. This episode was promoted as the season finale, and all research online confirms this to be true. But this is not a season finale episode of television. It would’ve been much more effective in the middle of the first season, and even then it would’ve been a rather middling hour. Was anyone really hoping to find out in the season’s last episode whether Eph would relapse and drink again? Was that a payoff someone was counting on? Truth be told, that could almost be considered one of the peaks of the episode. Strap in, guys, this is going to be depressing.
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    Orphan Black, Ep. 2.10, “By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried”: Haphazard finale expands Clone Club

    Orphan Black season two comes to a close with one of the more predictable twists this season could have brought, expanding the world of the Dyad Group and introducing a whole new slew of possibilities for season three. Unfortunately, the limited scope of the Dyad Group was not an issue this year, and further complicating it does not help rectify the largest problem still plaguing the series. At the end of two seasons, Orphan Black does not have any meaningful antagonists. More

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    Louie, Ep. 4.13-14, “Pamela Part 2” and “Pamela Part 3” cap a season-long look at communication

    Season four of Louie has been an unusual one, even compared to the other seasons of this unique show. After seasons of standalone shorts and only a couple multiple-episode arcs, Louis C.K. dove in head first with three large-scale stories, “Elevator” (parts one-six), “In The Woods”, and “Pamela” (parts one-three). While each is distinct, these three pieces all explore connection and communication, both verbal and nonverbal. “Elevator” sees Louie pursuing and enjoying a relationship with Amia, with whom he is unable to verbally communicate, but it also shows him becoming involved in the lives of his neighbors and confronting the lingering damage of his divorce, to himself as well as his ex-wife Janet and their daughters. Throughout “Elevator”, Louie assumes. He’s so wrapped up in his experience and his fears that he projects all of his onto the women in his life, reading his insecurities in their silence. He attempts to overcome communication barriers by speaking louder and more emphatically and in the process, doesn’t listen to what those around him are trying to say. More

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    The Americans, Ep. 2.13, “Echo” is an amazing, haunting season finale

    There couldn’t be a better song choice to open The Americans’s second season finale than Golden Earring’s “Twilight Zone”. Not only does it add atmosphere to the situation unfolding, but it speaks metaphorically to every running plot of the season, right down to the most important question it asks over and over: “Where am I to go now that I’ve come too far?” Every character has to face this question at some point during the events of “Echo” (and for characters like Emmett and Leann, even earlier) – and as “Twilight Zone” so succinctly points out, “soon you will know/when the bullet hits the bone.”
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