Made for Love Season 1 Episode 2: I Want a Divorce Recap

Made for Love S1Ep1 Family in Truck

In episode 2, Made for Love begins to explore Hazel’s relationship with her father while continuing to expose the frightening lack of boundaries in her marriage to Byron. Herb and Diane try to help Hazel get further away from Byron. Hazel has another run in with Lyle, whose motives remain unclear.

Recap

In the episode 2 cold open, Hazel (Cristin Milioti) is seated in her lounge chair by the pool for her morning reading session, a repeat of what we saw in episode 1. Except this time, Byron (Billy Magnussen) isn’t in the pool with Zelda and Hazel passes out after she takes a drink from her glass. As she loses consciousness, she knocks the glass over, the memory that flickered through her mind in episode 1 when she saw a shard of broken glass by her chair. The Mickey and Sylvia version of Lover Boy plays in the background.

Love is strange and a lot of people take it for a game.

Several people who are dressed in scrubs (including, I believe, Fiffany (Noma Dumezweni) in the black scrubs) swarm Hazel, strapping her to her lounge chair, blindfolding her, and prepping her for poolside surgery. Her biological information is displayed on a billboard sized monitor on the side of the house, while a machine implants the Made for Love chip into the side of her head. Byron sits on the chair next to hers with his back to her, watching the display on the monitor instead of his wife as her body and her privacy are violated. Zelda the dolphin keeps swimming.

I’m not sure if roofying your wife then performing experimental surgery on her BRAIN without her consent are grounds for divorce in California, but I can’t imagine they’re not. They inserted an experimental device into her BRAIN made from who knows what materials- the allergy and cancer causing potential alone are off the charts, before the app is even activated. The term “mind rape” applies in so many ways here.

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Made for Love Season 1 Episode 1: User One Recap

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Made for Love is a half hour dark comedy from HBO Max starring Cristin Milioti (Palm Springs), Billy Magnussen (Maniac) and Ray Romano (Everybody Loves Raymond). Made for Love was created by Patrick Somerville (Maniac, The Leftovers), Alissa Nutting, Dean Bakopoulos and Christina Lee, based on Nutting’s novel of the same name. The series explores the life and crumbling marriage of a directionless millennial, Hazel Green (Milioti), and her controlling, tech billionaire husband, Byron Gogol (Magnussen).

Made for Love uses the same edgy, absurdist tone that Somerville utilized in Maniac to examine modern relationships- human to human, human to tech, human to dolphin, human to inanimate object, and so on. It’s a story about obsession, love, fear of loss and death, desperation, need, forgiveness and humanity. Sometimes there’s more humanity found in animals, tech and inanimate objects than there is in humans, but, as Kurt Vonnegut said in Slaughterhouse Five, so it goes. As is so often true, hope and optimism play a large role in success, for both good guys and villains. Even nihilists need to believe in something to succeed long-term. Whether someone is a good guy or a villain is wholly dependent on point of view. And finding the correct app.

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The Handmaid’s Tale Season 3 Episode 4: God Bless the Child Recap

Handmaid's Tale S3Ep4 June & Natalie Square Off

Episode 4 brings the handmaids to a community baptism ceremony for all of the babies born recently, including Janine’s daughter, Angela. Nichole is notedly missing from the ceremony. Later, the handmaids are invited back to the Putnams for a reception, under the supervision of a still recovering Aunt Lydia. The baptism reminds June of her two children and her former life, while the party brings her back into contact with the Waterfords. In Toronto, Emily finally meets with her wife and son in person.

The episode continues this season’s exploration of identity, moving beyond the third episode’s focus on retaining one’s self, despite overwhelming pressure to submit to Gilead’s ideology. This week, the focus turns to Stockholm Syndrome, the psychological phenomenon that occurs when a hostage gives in to their captors’ world view out of exhaustion, despair and fear.

We saw the beginning of a sort of Stockholm Syndrome in June in episode 3, as she accepted that she couldn’t fight Gilead on its own terms and stay the same person she’d always been. Lawrence convinced her that she needed to get her hands dirty in order to be effective, and in this episode she mourns the person she used to be while beginning to explore new possibilities. She’s pulled in a few different directions.

How far is the new version of June willing to go to achieve her goals? Lawrence avidly watches her transformation. He may be helping her, but he’s also still a cat playing with mice.

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Snowpiercer Season 2 Episode 10: Into the White Recap and Analysis

Snowpiercer S2Ep10 Layton, Miss Audrey & Conversation Axe

“Okey dokey, let’s go make coup.”– Boki

In episode 10, it becomes clear that for Wilford, the one currency of value in the Freeze is pain. That’s what allows him to hold onto his train and his order. Without the threat of pain, people might do whatever they want. Such as pirate one of the train’s engines.

In episode 9, Wilford held out restored order, fresh food, the carnival and the glamorous dinner party as examples of rewards that cooperative passengers could expect under his rule. But positive rewards aren’t his natural style and he couldn’t maintain the good times he’d implicitly promised with those rewards. They all sank into negative experiences: Wilford’s order comes with heavily armed Jackboots distributed throughout the train; his abundant fresh food comes with a census and a questionnaire that will determine who lives and dies; the carnival is a just a delivery system for his propaganda, specifically that he won’t be returning for Melanie and no one will be leaving the train, ever; and he used the dinner party as a trial and sentencing for Melanie and Layton’s co-conspirators.

The message should be clear to anyone who’s paying attention- Willy’s World is a dangerous place, with monsters lurking around every corner. No one is safe and no one can be trusted. But the 3rd class masses aren’t ready to pay attention to the realities of life under Wilford yet. Many of Wilford’s loyal 1st class supporters are now ironically dead by his own hand. With one pull of the lever, Wilford dispensed with the witnesses who could confirm that he ordered the Breachmen murdered. The Jackboots won’t talk and no one will believe Till- she didn’t even see the murderers’ faces.

Which brings us to episode 10, which mirrors the point we were at last season at the beginning of the finale. Just when Layton and the rebels had won the war and started to figure out how to run the train, the engine picked up mysterious signals that turned out to be Big Alice, which captured Snowpiercer. By the end of the episode, Alex had boarded her and Melanie was on the outside, discovering that it was snowing.

In this episode, Wilford has won complete control of the train. But just as Layton continued to work with Melanie after he took over, Wilford finds that his own victory is hollow without the approval that Layton enjoyed. So he keeps a few of Layton’s key people close- Bess, as an advisor; Zarah, as a Madonna-like symbol of hope; LJ, for her youthful admiration; and Javi as the engineer.

Wilford is a psychopath- don’t try to make sense of his skewed perception of reality. In his mind, he’s plugged the same or similar people into what he sees as stereotypical roles that they’ve previously filled, helping to prop Layton up.

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Snowpiercer Season 2 Episode 9: The Show Must Go On Recap

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In episode 9, it’s all fun and games until Wilford gets everything he’s ever wanted. Or as close to it as he can get on Snowpiercer, anyway. After outsmarting Layton and taking over the train in episode 8, it’s time for Wilford to remake Snowpiercer’s social order in his own image. He dealt with the top names on his hit list last episode, without unnecessary fuss. Now he takes his time, toying with targets culled from the list of Layton and Melanie’s closest friends and family.

Except Ben. Melanie’s closest confidante spends most of the episode in Snowpiercer’s engine. Out of sight, but not out of mind.

Wilford can’t bring himself to dispense with Layton, who he’s sentenced to work in Big Alice’s compost, the worst job on the trains. Wilford is troubled by the loyalty and even love many continue to show Layton. He needs to know the secret of his rival’s success. He’ll never truly be the winner if someone else on Snowpiercer has something he doesn’t.

Episode 9 is full of surprises, most planned by Wilford. Let the games begin and may the odds be ever in your favor.

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A Discovery of Witches Season 2 Episode 10 Recap: In Which Diana Contemplates Endings and Beginnings

Disc of Witches S2Ep10 Matthew & Diana Confront a Time Spinner

In episode 10, the season 2 finale, it’s time for Matthew and Diana’s journey to the past to end. But first they need to tie up some loose ends and have another adventure or two. For the first time this season, the episode alternates between the present and the past. Matthew and Diana’s allies gather at Sept-Tours, as enemies close in on them.

Recap

Diana continues to practice her spellwork. She uses a magical thread that’s the color of abundance the first time she successfully completes the 8th knot. “With a knot of eight, a spell will wait.” Goody tells her to sense the ninth knot. She can see how it should be formed, but it falls apart in her hands. Goody notes that, “A knot about completion is never easy.”

This lines up with her choice of the abundance thread and the scenes of her happy 16th century family life that are interspersed with her magical practice. She needs to perfect the 9th knot in order to perform the magic that will take her and Matthew home to the 21st century. For now, her heart is too conflicted to allow her to complete the knot.

While they take a break, Goody tells Diana that she can sense another weaver has come to London. She says they’ll wait for the new weaver to approach them, since the weaver’s arrival at this time can’t be an accident.

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A Discovery of Witches Season 2 Episode 9 Recap: In Which Diana Is Given Surprising News

Disc of Witches S2Ep9 Diana, Susannah & Goodie

In episode 9, Matthew must answer to Queen Elizabeth for his failure to return Edward Kelley to England. Diana resumes her magical studies with Goody Alsop and makes substantial progress. Louisa and Kit confront Diana about the spell they think she’s cast over Matthew. Matthew and Diana realize their time in the 16th century is running out.

Recap

As was shown in the bookends to episode 8, now that the Book of Life is damaged it has become unreadable. Diana studies it anyway, then hides it under a floorboard in her bedroom.

She tells Matthew that part of her wants to stay in the 16th century and make a family with Jack. Matthew says they’ve already stayed in the past too long. Diana wants to come with Matthew to visit the Queen today, but he says no to that as well. She thinks he’s being overprotective, but he angrily tells her that the Queen will already be in a foul mood with him. Diana would just make things worse. He orders her to improve her magic so they can go back to their own time as soon as possible.

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Snowpiercer Season 2 Episode 8: The Eternal Engineer Recap

Wilford lends Josie a hand.

Snowpiercer S2Ep8 Layton & Wilford

In episode 8, The Eternal Engineer, Wilford makes good on his promise to burn down the world if that’s what it takes to regain control of Snowpiercer. Snowpiercer experiences catastrophic failures which her leaders soon realize were caused by Wilford. Unfortunately, only Wilford can repair the damage. They have no choice but to invite the devil himself onto the train and into the engine room.

By the end of the episode, it was clear to me that there’s only one engineer who knows Snowpiercer backwards and forwards and her name doesn’t start with a “W”. However, that doesn’t stop the (relatively) bloodless coup the train has been heading toward for 9 episodes, ever since Javi first picked up unusual signals on the radio at the end of season 1.

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Snowpiercer Season 2 Episode 7: Our Answer for Everything Recap

Snowpiercer S2Ep7 Alex, Wilford, Audrey- Big Alice's 1st Family

Episode 7 returns to Snowpiercer, the train, after a field trip to Breslauer Research Station in the Rocky Mountains to visit Melanie in episode 6. Snowpiercer is in the Himalaya Mountains in Asia this week, in the process of turning around so that it can retrieve Melanie from her mission. The trip through Earth’s highest mountain peaks is surprisingly smooth, considering the tough time the train has had in the Rockies in both seasons. No bracing required.

Instead, the turbulence is all inside the train, where most of the hour is filled with aftershocks from the murder of every Breachman except Boki in episode 5. Till continues her investigation and finally finds a couple of suspects. 3rd class boils over and takes their dissatisfaction with Layton’s government out on any Tailies they can find. Pike is still in the midst of his breakdown over Terence’s death. Ruth, Roche and Miss Audrey realize they’ll soon need to choose a side in the Wilford-Layton war that’s brewing.

The population of Snowpiercer is spiraling and Layton still doesn’t seem to understand what’s happening. Unlike Melanie and Wilford, he’s not attempting to become the leader of the entire train or finding ways to restore law and order. The new version of freedom is sink or swim anarchy, which allows the people to oppress each other rather than the government doing it for them. The weight of accumulated grief, trauma and now the unfairness of his new government is bringing the population to a breaking point. Wilford is taking advantage of the chaos, but they might have reached this low without him. Layton seems just as traumatized as the others by his losses and the unrelenting pace of events.

This episode deals with suicide once again.

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Snowpiercer Season 2 Episode 6: Many Miles from Snowpiercer Recap

Snowpiercer S2Ep6 Wilford Pours Champagne for Melanie

In episode 6, we finally catch up with Melanie, who’s been on her own since she left for the Breslauer Research Station in episode 3. We follow the end of her harrowing journey to the station and watch her bring the research center back to life. Then she struggles to survive on her own in the harsh environment at 11,000 feet in the Rocky Mountains for a month. Her inner monologues are supplemented by flashbacks and present day conversations with the Wilford, Layton and Alex in her head.

There are more references to suicide in this episode. Please be cautious with your mental health.

Recap

Since Melanie is the only real person here, she gets the voice over:

“This cold isn’t something we can tame. We did this to our climate. Now only the Earth herself can restart her warm heart. I believe we can find her pulse again. And my biggest fear isn’t dying out here. It’s that the cold-hearted among us will crush that hope before I can prove it.”

Melanie’s volt sled breaks down within sight of the research station, so she takes as much of her cargo as she can drag with her and walks the rest of the way. By the time she reaches the station, a snowstorm is raging around her. She finds the dead, frozen body of one of the researchers outside the station’s front door. There’s a bullet hole in his head.

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