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Sunday, 28 of May of 2017

Tag » Season Finale

Fear the Walking Dead, “The Good Man”

“It’ll break him.”

 

Two thousand zombies march

It’s a crazy zombie party and everyone’s invited!

Upon finishing the season 1 finale of Fear the Walking Dead, I couldn’t help but to feel slightly disheartened.

Sure, there was a lot of heart-pumping action, a fright or two, more anti-authoritarian themes making our military out to be a giant collection of buffoons, and some haunting imagery. But as we flew over the ocean, I couldn’t help but to think this thing didn’t turn out nearly like I thought it would. Completely different actually. But I’m coming to terms with the fact that maybe what I thought this show was doing was in my own head, what I wished to be watching.

Instead, what I got was a thing that’s been proven to work against my preconceptions which is based on how much I like things that don’t really work. Confused by my vagary? Let me put it to you another way.

I wrote 11 things about this season finale, good and bad, to explain myself a little better.

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Breaking Bad – “Gliding All Over”

“Inertia.”

Breaking Bad title cardI’ve been covering Breaking Bad for most the season, but for the finale, Nick and I decided a conversation would be worthwhile since we had intended for us to alternate coverage. Below, we talk about devious characters, montages, and what could possibly happen next. -NK

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The Newsroom – “The Greater Fool”

“Hell hath no fury like the second-rate.”

Charlie convinces Leona to let News Night do the show they want to do.

I really hope “let’s do the news” is a euphemism.

It’s not unpopular to dislike The Newsroom. I struggle to find people that truly, honestly, uninronically enjoy it. I’m not alone in wishing Mac has a revelation that maybe while her newsroom is experiencing important current events that it’s not the time to pester Will into admitting he still has feelings for her. I’m certainly not alone in suffering the pageant of pedagogy pushed onto the audience once a week that wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t make me want to roll my eyes so far into the back of my head that they might actually get stuck. And I certainly am not alone in wishing Seal Team Six had taken out Maggie instead.

But, honestly, what is it about this show that raises the ire of so many people and why do they continue to watch it? I would understand if the people lifting pitchforks were those of a right-wing persuasion, particularly those that voted for the political figures that Sorkin often uses as emotional bait throughout the series. But they would just stop watching. Why aren’t we so smart? Why do we continue to endure the misogyny, the melodrama, the one-liners that would make a girl from Rosewood groan? What is it about The Newsroom that keeps getting us to come back for more?

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Bunheads – “A Nutcracker in Paradise”

“You’re here to rock the boat.”

Nick and I had a conversation about Bunheads when it premiered. Now we’re having a conversation following its first season finale. (We like symmetry.) We talk about the finale, character psyches, messiness, dance-and-talks, and, of course, Constantinople.  -Noel

O Captain My Captain

That one girl in the pink isn’t going to get up for anyone.

Nick:  That was like a half-season compressed into a single episode.

Noel: Which kind of makes sense given how AS-P doled out the narrative.

Nick:  Yeah. They didn’t even spread out the mention of Chekhov’s Pretty Mace and it going off into different acts.

Noel:  Hahaha. As soon as she said the word mace, I shouted at the TV, “Chekhov’s Mace!”

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The Legend of Korra – “Skeletons in the Closet” & “Endgame”

“Fate caused us to collide.”

KorraTitleCardThat was a big roller coaster now wasn’t it?

I’m going to keep my thoughts pretty focused on just these two episodes since I have a wrap-up post over at TV.com (and if you’ve been following along here, you generally know what I’ve been concerned about and also enjoying). Which is good since there’s a lot of stuff to talk about just within these two episodes that this post might’ve gotten a little unwieldy if I tried to incorporate season ending thoughts as well. Read more »


The Killing – “What I Know”

“I didn’t know.”

The Killing TitlecardIt’s weird to write about The Killing in this space, not because we haven’t in the past (we have), but because when I think about this finale, and the season as a whole, I don’t separate it from the first season. I think of both seasons actually as a single, 26-episode season. Like, you know, on broadcast TV! Exactly what Veena Sud didn’t want!

This is a little unfair, of course. The Killing strode for something slightly more ambitious than your normal crime melodrama in its effort to show the ripple effect of this single girl’s utterly pointless murder. It wanted to explore the ramifications on the police, the victim’s family, power brokers, and, at least the first season, other people who knew the victim. It most cases, the show was wildly unsuccessful in its attempts to do this as it saw these ramifications as not only subplots but as red herrings into a murder that it, ultimately, never really cared about.

So I’m going to talk about the episode and this season, and then some brief thoughts on where the show can possibly go from here.

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Mad Men – “The Phantom”

“Not every little girl gets to do what they want. The world could not support that many ballerinas.”

Pete, Don, Joan, Bert, and Roger stand in their new office space.

The five partners audition for a part in Dark City. Later, Roger goes the extra mile.

That was a finale?

Call me jaded or spoiled but I expect more of a cliffhanger or at least something a little more shocking in my Mad Men season finales. There were no major shifts with the business (adding real estate doesn’t count). No head-scratching proposals. No dynamic changes at all.

With last week’s shocking (if not surprising) episode, it almost felt like we got a breather week but with nothing afterward. That’s not to say that this week’s episode wasn’t good-to-great. Upon further inspection, you can see that it wraps up the season-long thesis of loneliness. Everyone’s life sucks and they’re isolated and they’re alone because no one understands them in this world that’s leaving them behind. Come back for more!

We may leave this season without shocking revelations but we find them in greater misery than they were at the end of any other season. The show plumbs new lows in order to establish that this is the darkest timeline. And the end-of-episode montage tells me that this was the end of the season. It just doesn’t feel that way.

Let’s take a tour of the sad.

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Green Lantern: The Animated Series – “Homecoming”

“I won’t lounge here in luxury while evil triumphs!”

Green Lantern: The Animated Series title cardI’m still not likely to return to routinely writing about Green Lantern: The Animated Series when its second season starts, but it’s nice to go out on a high note.

“Homecoming” manages to achieve a very nice balance of its plots, both to this specific episode and paying off the season-long Red Lantern threat. It has solid action, some decent humor, and seems to indicate, at least I hope, that the next season may be a little more Earth-bound (though I doubt it).

I’d actually go so far as to say that it is likely the best episode the series has released. Read more »


Community – “Digital Estate Planning”, “The First Chang Dynasty”, & “Introduction to Finality”

“This is a lock of my hair.”
[with cautious affection] “Creepy.”

Community Title CardSo I thought this entry was going to waaaaaaaay too long, but it’s in fact going to be relatively short. This isn’t because the episode are bad — they aren’t — but that there’s nothing particular bonkers about them (well, “Digital Estate Planning” is bonkers, but I’ll talk about it). They’re just solid, well-balanced episodes of Community, episodes that demonstrate what this show does well: lots of laughs, risk-taking, and generally satisfactory character moments.

I’m going to take just a moment to address “Digital Estate Planning” on its own, and then the other two episodes work well enough as a unit.

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The Vampire Diaries – “The Departed”

The way I see, she could be the salvation of #TVD. And that just may save her absolutely devastated, wasted character.

Last year, I used to complain about certain aspects of The Vampire Diaries. I would note that this world made being a vampire seem, well, kind of awesome. Like, so awesome that trying to keep any of these people human made ZERO sense. And the show’s writers seemed, themselves, completely fascinated by the life of vampires, so much so that when they tried to give Damon a more complex backstory by reminding us that he is a reluctant vampire (or was), they couldn’t make the story work. We had one episode where Damon was experiencing angst and killed someone—seeming a sharp rupture from his new life of relative abstinence. And then the show never returned to that topic at all.

I now dream of last year’s problems. The show has become so convoluted as to be worth nothing. Without any constant—without any set  of stable reference points or code—the viewer has nothing to hold onto. This becomes most problematic when all I can think when watching a character “die” or a bad buy seemingly get put out to pasture is–wait, will it stick? Should I go ahead and be impressed that the show did something bold? Nah, I shouldn’t. Cause these writers always find a loophole that undoes their bravery, rendering it less brave and more shallow.

I don’t trust these writers any more. I believe them incapable of recognizing their really interesting characters (Michael, Elijah, Mama vampire) due to their truly bizarre preferences (menace-free Klaus, whiny Rebekah, who the hell is Kol and why is he still alive?). Would I go so far as to say the Original family has ruined #TVD? I might. Because once you create a bad guy that is somewhat invincible, the story loses stakes. When a bad guy is too powerful, your characters become helpless, and weak characters are not interesting characters. Worse, when the too powerful bad guy becomes a showwriter favorite, it seems all other characters are sacrificed on his altar of mediocrity.

So here are a few reasons why Klaus should have stayed dead, and a few other deeply troubling character journeys this season. While not a complete rejection of the show, this exploration documents my growing antipathy, even while it is, in itself, an expression of love for a show that used to delight me.

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