Kiss Me First Season 1 Episode 6: You Can Never Go Home Recap

 

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Adrian has decided to move on from team sports to a one on one battle with Leila. For all of his brave talk about wanting to play a high stakes game, he’s changed the rules at every turn to make sure the deck is stacked in his favor. Leila’s captivity at Adrian’s hands is different from anything we’ve seen before on Kiss Me First, and could be triggering for some viewers who aren’t expecting the sudden change in tone.

Someone, meaning Tippi, Force or Adrian, fished Leila out of the water after the end of episode 5, and tended to her injuries. The action moves back to London for the season finale, though it’s not clear in the beginning exactly where Leila is, other than being held hostage.

I appreciate that Kiss Me First once again shows Leila holding it together while she fights her battle, but needing to break down later. That’s the reality of being strong and good in a crisis. Leila isn’t a psychopath who fakes emotions like Adrian. She’s reserved. Her emotions are internalized, and sometimes deferred to a time when she can express them privately and safely.

For the grand finale, Adrian goes for kidnapping, assault and torture. During the precredits sequence we see Leila stripped down to her skivvies, lying on a mattress, strapped down, and hooked up to an IV that’s keeping her drugged. She rises to consciousness briefly when a bright light shines into her eyes, and struggles against her bindings, whimpering and complaining. Before long she’s drugged unconscious again.

After the title sequence the show moves to Leila’s house, where Jonty is sneaking in through the kitchen window. He can’t stand being left out of the loop any longer and needs to find out what’s happened to Leila. He finds Tess instead. She’s hoping that Jonty has news of Leila.

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Kiss Me First Season 1 Episode 5: The Witch Is Coming Recap

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In episode 5, The Witch Is Coming, Adrian speaks directly to the audience for the first time, perhaps trying to seduce us into joining his next venture, after Red Pill is done self-destructing. He shares his personal manifesto, giving viewers insight into his motives and background. As it turns out, the theme of episode 4, friends (and family) let us down, is the theme of Adrian’s life, one he’s reenacting in his cults. Each suicide or murder is a proxy for his own issues. As a real life human, he remains invisible, perhaps because he wants to erase himself most of all, but can’t until he’s done with his revenge on the world.

Adrian’s voiceover:

Take a life, any life. Take your life. Think about all the people you’ve encountered today. This week. This year. Then think about how many people you’ll encounter in your entire existence. Family, friends, colleagues, enemies, lovers. The ones who stuck around. The ones who got away. Fleeting, stolen relationships. Endless friendships that ended. Consider the ones you loved and couldn’t tell, or were afraid of, or secretly yearned to humiliate, or maybe suck out of the world. Then consider how it would be if it were all possible. If you weren’t lost, buried in your stupid life. But making it, shaping it and molding it until you had everything you deserve. And you were loved as you should be. 

This is what the cult and the game offer. If you play along with Adrian, he promises that eventually, after you’ve done everything he asks, he’ll be the one who’ll love you forever, unconditionally, in the beautiful mansion next to turquoise waters that Tess is arriving at now. It’s the sort of place that’s owned by the very wealthy, who can afford to mold and shape their lives, and pay people to stay with them. But, as the Beatles taught us, even the wealthy can’t buy real love.

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Kiss Me First Season 1 Episode 4: Friends Let Us Down Recap

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The battle between Adrian and Leila becomes more intense in this episode, as more real world players characters are drawn into their fight. Several Red Pill members meet for the first time in the real world, with varying results. Adrian’s plans continue to include violence, death and isolation. Even when his victims see through his machinations, like Leila, they are often powerless to stop him from manipulating and hurting people.

At the beginning of the episode, Tess has been gone for 4 days after the argument she and Leila had at the end of episode 3. Leila is hoping she’ll come back soon. Tess left her phone behind and Leila answers when it rings. It’s Adrian calling, of course, and he thinks it’s Tess that answers, or pretends to. When he finds out that it’s Leila who’s answered and that Tess is missing, he drops all pretense. Leila asks if he’s going to kill Tess when he finds her. Adrian insists that he “never kills anyone. That would be so unsubtle.” Lord knows, we wouldn’t want to lose the subtlety points when the judges score the game.

Leila asks why he doing this, but Adrian just says, “Let that emerge.” He leaves her with a challenge, “Who’s going to find her first?” Then he hangs up. Leila doesn’t want to be part of Adrian’s sick games, but she also won’t walk away from people who need her. Adrian is counting on that. Leila takes the bait, and tells the phone, “Me.”

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What Do You Want Metawitches to Recap Next? Take the Poll

Now that I’m done with the summer TV offerings, I’m looking ahead to my recap list for the rest of the year. The first thing I’m going to do is finish Kiss Me First, and work on Hard Sun. I’ll definitely write about Manifest, The Gifted S2, The Man in the High Castle S3, and Marvel’s Runaways S2, as they’re released.

That should leave me time to do a few other seasons of TV. There are so many options out there, that I’m having trouble choosing, so I’ve decided to find out what you all, the readers, would prefer.

The shows currently at the top of my list are Dark S1, Man in the High Castle S1, Iron Fist S2, and In the Flesh S1&2. I could also consider Midnight, Texas S2 or finishing Santa Clarita Diet S2.
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Castle Rock Season 1 Episode 10: Romans Recap and Season 1 Analysis

 

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(My quick review of Castle Rock episode 10: Romans and Season 1 is HERE.)

That was an enlightening exciting disappointing season finale.

Later in this post I’ll give my favorite explanation of events, which tries to incorporate everything that happened and didn’t happen, because I can never resist a little pseudo-fan fiction writing of my own. I could tell you at least half a dozen others that I’ve made up since the episode was released. Every viewer has their own versions, just like we all had theories through out the season. It’s part of the fun of a mystery.

But I didn’t watch this show as a choose your own adventure/write your own ending show. I resent writers who try to pass off lazy writing and an unfinished story as an artistic choice. And make no mistake, that’s what creators Sam Shaw and Dustin Thomason have done. They thought it would be cool to leave the ending up to the viewer, and didn’t even decide on an ending between themselves.

This show was set up as a mystery, and the payoff at the end of a mystery is discovering answers to the bulk of the questions the series has posed. That way, viewers who are matching wits with the characters and writers have closure and satisfaction. This would have been an acceptable, but still disappointing, season finale for the first season of a 3-5 season mystery series that was going to explore a complex science fiction/supernatural mystery, like Orphan Black or 12 Monkeys.

Since season 1 was advertised as a self-contained story, I call BS. They can leave questions about the nature of their universe open, but this season’s mysteries needed to be solved. They could have left us with an amazingly ambiguous but thought-provoking ending, like the best anthology series often do. But this wasn’t thought provoking. It was just flat. We’re left going in the same circles we’ve been running in all season, not contemplating some deeper philosophical truth.

For the showrunners, this isn’t a show that’s about something. This is a show that wants to stump the viewer with unsolvable, unpredictable mysteries and dazzle them with cool ideas.  I think of it as the Legion syndrome. You could just as easily call it the Lost syndrome. The creators were so busy showing off how talented they are and what huge Stephen King fans they are, that they forgot to tell a coherent, compelling season long story with a consistent through line, an earned conclusion for each character and a satisfying ending. You can’t solve the mystery because the clues purposely don’t add up.

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Castle Rock Season 1 Episode 10 Review

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(This is a review. My full recap and analysis are HERE.)

After three fantastic but very different Castle Rock episodes in a row, and a season which left plot threads and secondary mysteries dangling right and left, I was looking for the season finale, Romans, to tie most of them up, and hopefully bring some of the subplots together to explain what it all means. Like a well-written show would do. Which this show has often seemed to be. But apparently that was a red herring.

Instead, what we got this week was a jumble of repeated moments from previous episodes, a sudden return to long forgotten concepts from the first half of the season, and a weak cop-out of an ending. What we didn’t get was satisfying answers to our questions or a mind-blowingly ambiguous ending.

The creators of Castle Rock have gone on record now, after the season has ended, as saying that the season was structured like a trial for the two Henry’s. The questions of who Kid is and whether each Henry is good or evil are left for the audience to decide as members of the jury. This is why episodes 1 and 10 begin with our Henry making a speech to the jury during Leanne’s final court appeal about how to determine reasonable doubt, especially in a case that will end with someone sentenced to death.

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The Handmaid’s Tale Season 2 Episode 4: Other Women Recap

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This week, it’s Aunt Lydia’s turn. June is back under her control at the Red Center, and it’s Lydia’s job to turn willful June into submissive handmaid Offred. Her goal is for Offred and the baby to go back home to the Waterfords, so they can finish the pregnancy in the best environment for the baby. Lydia uses every punitive and manipulative tool at her disposal to break June, and continues once June is back in the Waterford home. Serena Joy and Rita aren’t spared from Lydia’s training either. Lydia is relentless, actively encouraging June toward a mental breakdown and dissociative disorder.

The main themes of this season are motherhood, isolation and loneliness, but other women is another one. Each of the women that we’ve come to know is facing a challenge this season, and they each need to decide who they are as a woman, and how they relate to other women.

Does a woman see herself as an island, only responsible for herself and her own needs? As a sister, mother and daughter, responsible for the well-being of her family? Or as a member of her community, however she defines it- the handmaids, Gilead, the human family?

Janine is doing her best to spread her love for her lost child out to her community, making her world a better place. Emily has tried to live as an emotional island, but Janine is challenging her to rethink that. Serena’s inability to have children has forced her to focus outward, but June’s pregnancy is giving Serena hope that she’ll be able to have a more intimate relationship with a child.

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