Emergence Season 1 Episode 2: Camera Wheelbarrow Tiger Pillow Recap

ALEXA SWINTON

This week on Emergence, the truth about Piper begins to be revealed to Jo and the people around her. As the title suggests, all she, and we, learn are little tidbits that are as confusing as they are intriguing, and right now the pieces don’t fit together. Jo is still figuring out what kinds of puzzles she’s trying to solve, though she knows that there’s more than one puzzle.

There’s the mystery of the strange technology, the mystery of the orphaned girl, the mystery of the electromagnetic/zero gravity anomalies and the mystery of who’s hunting all of the other mysteries down and trying to cover them up. There’s also the mystery of the strange pattern that appears on tech screens and Piper’s tracker, but Jo isn’t aware of that one yet.

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Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 2: Annihilator Recap

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In episode 2 of Prodigal Son we learn that the chemistry between Malcolm and Edrisa is real and he really needs this job to help keep him sane. We also learn that though sane might be a relative term where Malcolm and his family are concerned, that’s what makes him really good at what he does. He’s trying to solve a mystery within himself while he’s solving murders and the answers could save him or end him. Dear old Dad is no help whatsoever, but it’s fun to watch him torment his son, who can’t quite stay away.

Did I say fun? I meant creepy as H*ll. This was a freaky episode, with snakes and poison and Michael Sheen doing his best Chucky impression. Poor Malcom actually had to get tucked into bed at the end, it was so distressing. Thankfully, it wasn’t by either of his parents, at least not in the present day. They only tuck him into bed in his night terrors.

OMG, did they kill Kenny at the end of 9-1-1?

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Undone Season 1 Episode 3: Handheld Blackjack Recap

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In episode 3 of Undone, Alma tries to resume her normal life, Jacob begins to tell his story, and we begin to wonder just how bad an influence he would have been if he’d been alive through the girls’ teenage years. Alma, along with everyone but Jacob, questions her sanity, but she also finds a couple of new hobbies. Sam takes up a new hobby, too, gaslighting his girlfriend when she’s already in a delicate mental state.

And y’all wonder why I’m always so suspicious of men- even the nice guys.

Recap

Alma pops out onto the street at dawn in her pajamas with no idea how she got there. Well, some idea. She’s either sleepwalking or sleep time traveling. A neighbor yells at her to go back inside and put some clothes on. At least that’s what I think she said. It’s hard to be sure, since Alma doesn’t have her hearing device on.

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Evil Season 1 Episode 1: Pilot Recap/Review

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Evil’s Mike Colter, star of Netflix’s recently canceled Luke Cage, and his costar Katja Herbers, from Divorce, have a lovely working and romantic chemistry together. However, I had a little trouble moving on from his romance with Rosario Dawson/Claire Temple. After everything they went through to be together, it’s still just a little too soon.

Such are the perils of watching too much TV.

Not that Colter’s new character, David Acosta, will be getting up to anything overtly romantic with Herbers’ character, Dr Kristin Bouchard, anytime soon, since he is a Catholic priest in training and she is the married mother of four young daughters who is also the sole financial support of her family. Even though a seminary student like David, who’s only 2 years into his 5 year training program, can still walk away, especially if he entered the program out of grief and guilt over a lost loved one, as is strongly implied in the pilot. And even though a lapsed Catholic such as Kristen can break her marriage vows, especially to an absentee husband who barely contributes to the support of his family while he’s pursuing his own selfish goals.

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Emergence Season 1 Episode 1: Pilot Recap

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Emergence is my favorite of the four new dramas I watched this week (also Prodigal Son, Stumptown and Evil). It has a compelling mystery with its own twist, characters I already care about who aren’t dark and cynical and a diverse, gender-balanced cast.

I really like the philosophy the show exhibited in the pilot. It’s not overly sweet or dark, but there’s a certain warmth and optimism. I get the sense that Piper is the main clue to a larger mystery, not a unique magical child who’s meant to save the world by herself. Hopefully the characters and mystery plot will stay in the forefront, while shoot outs and gore will be kept to a minimum.

And I love this new mother-daughter team of soft-hearted, unlikely bad*sses, who are part of a family of flawed but caring people. Real moms with good judgement for the win. I was so proud of Jo for being the one with the gun who could protect her family when an intruder broke into their beachhouse, but also for getting the family out without firing a shot. She put the safety of her family and solving crimes and mysteries first, as she should.

Recap

Emergence begins late at night in the sleepy Long Island, NY town of Southold, when there’s a town-wide power outage at the same time that a plane crashes on the beach. Police chief Jo Evans (Allison Tolman) is awakened by the outage. She and her family go outside to see what’s going on and notice an ionized glow, similar to the Aurora Borealis, rising from the site of the plane crash. Jo gets a call about the crash and says she’ll be right there. She tells her young teen daughter, Mia (Ashley Aufderheide), and her father, Ed Sawyer (Clancy Brown), that she’s leaving and sends them back to bed.

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Stumptown Season 1 Episode 1: ‘Forget it Dex, It’s Stumptown’ Recap

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Stumptown is ABC’s highly anticipated new show starring Cobie Smulders as Dex Parios, an unorthodox private investigator in Portland, Oregon. Dex has a chip on her shoulder and deep roots in the community. Unlike many TV and film private detectives, she’s not afraid to show a little vulnerability, though she’s also suffering from PTSD due to her 5 tours in Afghanistan. She’s new at the PI game, so she leans on her military experience, local contacts and well-honed instincts while she’s learning the tricks of the trade.

The show is created by Jason Richman, based on the the graphic novel series of the same name by Greg Rucka, with art by Matthew Southworth and Justin Greenwood. Stumptown also stars Jake Johnson as Dex’s best friend, Grey, who owns the bar Bad Alibi; Cole Sibus as the younger brother with Down Syndrome who lives with her, Ansel Parios; Tantoo Cardinal as Sue Lynn Blackbird, who runs the Native American casino where Dex frequently gambles and runs up a debt; Michael Ealy as police Detective Miles Hoffman, who encourages Dex to become a PI and is a potential love interest; Camryn Manheim as police Lieutenant Cosgrove, Hoffman’s boss; and Adrian Martinez as Tookie, a food truck operator and one of Dex’s sources of unofficial information.

Recap

The episode begins at the end, with a couple of thugs driving Dex’s car while taste testing coffee. This is Portland, after all. Dex is locked in the trunk. She gets the upper hand by spraying the thugs with a fire extinguisher, then climbing into the front to fight both of them while the car is still moving. Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline plays over it all.

I haven’t figured out yet whether Dex is a little bit psychic and she’s unconsciously controlling the car’s malfunctioning stereo, or if the car is a little bit sentient, so it’s consciously choosing the perfect song for each moment. Whichever one it is, they did great at matching 20th century pop songs to particular moments in the episode.

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Prodigal Son Season 1 Episode 1: Pilot Recap/Review

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Hey kids, how about we check out Fox’s new crime drama/psychological thriller, Prodigal Son? It stars Jesus and the angel Aziraphale as the titular prodigal son and his serial killer father, so how can we go wrong?

Tom Payne, who played the character nicknamed Jesus on The Walking Dead, stars as Malcolm Bright, an unstable but brilliant criminal profiler who changed his last name to distance himself from his father’s notoriety. Michael Sheen, who played the angel Aziraphale in Good Omens, plays his father, Dr Martin Whitly, AKA The Surgeon, a notorious serial killer.

The Surgeon was arrested and imprisoned when Malcolm was a child. For many years after, the two worked together during Malcolm’s regular visits in an attempt to understand the minds of serial killers, at first in order to answer Malcolm’s questions about his father and himself. Later, their work continued as part of Malcolm’s college education.

Five minutes in, it’s clear that Prodigal Son with be depending heavily on Michael Sheen’s ability to smile insanely and Tom Payne’s wild yet sympathetic blue eyes to sell their characters and the storylines. The show has put the TV series House, Mindhunter, Hannibal and American Horror Story all together in a blender and added a its own talented cast.

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The Testaments by Maragret Atwood: Spoilery Discussion

Power of the Pen

My non spoilery review of The Testaments is HERE. This post will comment on the book in detail and assumes readers have already finished reading it.

This is going to be a series of observations and analysis, in no particular order, rather than a straight review. I’d love to hear what everyone else thinks and if you agree or disagree with me. There are minor spoilers for the TV series The Handmaid’s Tale.

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Undone Season 1 Episode 2: The Hospital Recap

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In Undone episode 2, Alma wakes up in the hospital after her accident and discovers she’s been in a coma for a few days or weeks due to the severe head injury she sustained at the beginning and end of episode 1. Episode 2 is where the nonlinear storytelling aspect of Undone is at its peak, showing off the flexibility that the animation techniques used in the visuals give the narrative.

Cool as the visuals are, pay close attention to the use of sound in the episode as well. Alma’s hearing impairment isn’t just a plot device and the various environmental sounds in each episode aren’t just cool effects. Information is being warped and kept from Alma, by herself and by the other characters, and it’s through sound that we’re sometimes made aware of the missing facts.

Recap

Episode 2 begins with an overhead view of Alma’s accident from up in the sky, which gradually descends to ground level, then into the car, then focuses on her unconscious face. She’s slumped over the steering wheel, her forehead dripping blood, one arm thrown up over her head to try to break the impact. We can hear static from Alma’s cochlear implant, ominous musical tones and one long, high pitched whine, like the sound a heart monitor makes when a patient flatlines.

It could be feedback from the implant malfunctioning or tinnitus from Alma’s injuries. Or it could be that Alma flatlined. We’re never clearly told what her injuries were or how long her coma was. Though the narration appears to come from outside of Alma, there are strong signals in this episode that we always, and only, see what she sees and know what she knows, through her altered point of view.

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Prime Video’s Undone Season 1 Review/Episode 1: The Crash Recap

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Prime Video’s new animated series for adults, Undone, is a unique show that explores mind-bending themes, mental health and family drama in 8 short, 22-24 minute long episodes, making the most of its stellar cast and experienced animation team in each episode. Creators Raphael Bob-Waksberg and Kate Purdy (BoJack Horseman) used the animation technique of rotoscoping to give the series a surreal quality that takes it a step beyond magical realism.

Rotoscoping involves filming the actors in live action, then tracing over the filmed images to create a polished animated product. Undone is the first serialized TV series to be fully animated using rotoscoping. Probably its most famous previous use was in the film A Scanner Darkly. The same team, Minnow Mountain, did the rotoscoping on both that film and Undone.

Undone is the story of Alma Winograd-Diaz (Rosa Salazar), a young woman who is struggling with her goals and identity, in addition to the lingering trauma from her father Jacob’s (Bob Odenkirk) death when she was a child. Outwardly, her life seems Happy and Fine. She lives with her nice boyfriend, Sam (Siddharth Dhananjay), and has a decent job at a daycare center, working with her good friend and boss, Tunde (Daveed Diggs). (Who wouldn’t want to work with the voice of Daveed Diggs?)

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