Netflix’s Bodyguard Season 1: Review

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Bodyguard is a 6 episode BBC crime thriller that’s been released globally as a Netflix Original. Created by Jed Mercurio (Line of Duty) and starring Richard Madden (Game of Thrones) and Keeley Hawes (The Durrells in Corfu), Bodyguard has no connection to the 1992 Whitney Houston/Kevin Costner movie The Bodyguard. Last fall, Bodyguard became a ratings sensation in the UK, where it was shown as a weekly series and broke viewing records.

There is good reason for that. The show is gripping and intense from the first minute, when we meet main character David Budd, an Afghanistan veteran with untreated PTSD who is currently working for London’s Metropolitan Police Service as a Principal Protection Officer (PPO), or as we layman think of it, a bodyguard, for important members of the British government. He’s traveling on a train with his two children and discovers a suicide bomber, Nadia (Anjli Mohindra) hiding in the bathroom at the end of their car. In the powerful opening sequence, David takes it upon himself to talk Nadia down so that everyone comes out of the situation alive, disobeying orders from the bomb squad as he works with Nadia to ensure that she’s captured instead of killed.

After his heroic success on the train, David gets noticed by his superiors, and promoted to protecting the controversial, right-wing Home Secretary*, Julia Montague. Montague is pushing for legislation that would allow increased surveillance by law enforcement agencies, an idea that’s unpopular with many in the public and in the government. She’s also ambitious and widely believed to be considering an end run around the usual channels in order to become Prime Minister.

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In the Flesh Season 1 Episode 2: Recap

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In Episode 2, Kieren’s best friend and secret boyfriend, Rick Macy, returns home from Afghanistan, now a PDS sufferer. As he was in life, Rick is torn between his father, Bill, who is toxic masculinity made flesh, and Kieren, who brings out another side to him, a softer side that’s hated by his father. In fact, Bill hates Kieren.

Kieren visits his own grave and becomes reacquainted with his undead hunting partner, Amy Dyer, who tells him about the day trips she’s been taking to get out of the house and move on with her life. She’s attracted to the Undead Prophet, so they debate the merits of the group. Amy helps Kieren find the strength to face the townspeople and makes quite an impression on them herself.

Dean finds a pair of feral PDS sufferers in the woods, leading to a showdown between Kieren and the HVF, with Rick in the middle. We learn that the government’s paying a hefty bounty for feral PDS sufferers who are brought in uninjured. We also learn that not all feral zombies are vicious killers.

Bill Macy accepts his PDS sufferer son back into his life, but refuses to acknowledge who his son is, either as a partially deceased person or in any other way that varies from his macho expectations for Rick. Rick goes along with the ruse, as he’s clearly always tried to live up to his father’s expectations. It’s already killed him once. Now, not only does he deny who he is, he allows his father to feed him cup after cup of poison and to almost convince him to murder other PDS sufferers like himself. When Kieren and Amy try to remind him of who he is and what his needs and limitations are, he denies reality. More tragedy is sure to follow.

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Hard Sun Season 1 Episode 2: One Thousand, Eight Hundred Days Recap

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The overt theme of episode 2 is protection of loved ones and how that’s best accomplished. Do you tell all and keep them close? Do you keep secrets and keep them at a distance? Do you lose hope and give up on life? Do you become so overprotective that you’re willing to cross any line to protect your own?

Do you stick your head in the sand and pretend the crisis isn’t happening for as long as you possibly can?

That’s the choice of most of the British people, as Elaine has the Hard Sun story published, but MI5 quickly has it debunked as a hoax. Elaine and Charlie are now relatively safe, but left with the underlying theme of the night, paranoia. The paranoia theme is really the stronger theme, since Elaine and Charlie don’t trust each other, Charlie’s family life is strained, Daniel is spiraling again, Grace continues to stalk them, and there’s a new serial killer on the lose, inspired by the Hard Sun story.

The cinematography is very Hitchcockian, with odd camera angles and shadows that distort people and make locations look sinister. Elaine and Charlie spend a lot of time looking sideways at each other, instead of straight on, slyly trying to determine if the other can be trusted, or if they can get away with their next lie. There’s a strange glow to the light, reminding us at all times that the Hard Sun is coming, and the changes have already begun.

The villain of the week looks like Harry Potter’s friend Hagrid gone bad, grimacing insanely at everyone he encounters. He even goes to Hagrid’s isolated cottage in the country. We’re reminded that a friendly giant turned into a scared, violent ogre is only the beginning of the troubles ahead.

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Crazyhead Season 1 Episode 6: Beaver with a Chainsaw

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It’s party time! Raquel’s invite got lost in the mail, but Callum will surely find a way to make sure she attends his big demon coming out party.

I don’t know if I’ve said how much I love the opening of this show. The theme song (The Kill of the Night, by Gin Wigmore), and the entire soundtrack to the series, are fantastic. As is the neon and skulls 80s junkyard look that ends in the title card. It sets the perfect mood for a sarcastic and silly, but smart, comedy-horror show about normal young women who find themselves demon-hunting and more, with little guidance but the internet. Modern, but also a little bit of a throwback to historical roots, with DIY heroes who don’t come from some grand tradition that’s been handed down for generations. They’re on their own, a couple of junkyard strays who are fierce and feisty and frequently underestimated, even by themselves. But they shouldn’t be. And they’re learning that. I really want this show to continue so that we can see the characters come into their own.

Raquel, Amy, Tyler, and Jake are enjoying their trip to the shore, but Tyler can tell something’s wrong with Raquel, and he’s worried. He’s a good brother. If this gets another season, I hope they tell him the truth before long. For now, Amy tells him that Raquel and Harry broke up because Harry’s a Neo-Nazi racist. Amy always goes all out with her lies.

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Crazyhead Season 1 Episode 5: Downward Facing Dog recap

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Tonight we pick up right where we left off in episode 4. Raquel is setting off on her date with Harry, and Amy is chasing Harry’s car down the street. When Amy calls Raquel to warn her that Harry is the guy from her dream, Raquel turns her phone off. Amy can take care of herself for a while.

Raquel and Harry attempt to make appropriate first date small talk, except neither of them is capable of appropriate small talk, period. Raquel finally goes to the ladies room to take a break from the awkward. A demon appears behind her as she’s washing her hands, and Harry jumps in out of nowhere to tackle it, then shove its face in the toilet. Raquel is freaked out and doesn’t know what to think. Harry explains that he’s a demon hunter who knew her dad. Sawyer asked him to keep an eye on her. Harry engineered their first meeting, but he really has come to like her, like her, and wants to date her. Raquel accepts his explanation and decides the whole thing is kind of romantic. They have an intense makeout session right there in the ladies room over the body of the unconscious demon. They continue their date, and now they have tons to talk about. Harry asks her to go out again the next day.

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Crazyhead Season 1 Episode 4: Penguin or Cow Recap

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Amy, Raquel and Jake go to Mercy’s house to see if she knows where Dylan took Suzanne when he grabbed her at the cottage. The girls send Jake back to wait in the car, while they go inside. His main functions seem to be getaway car driver and plucky comic relief. It’s fantastic that, even though he’s the boy, he’s no help whatsoever when it comes to fighting demons.

When they get inside, Raquel flicks out her extendable metal baton thing, and Amy picks up a rolling pin. Mercy’s on the phone talking about mom stuff. She hangs up and gets ready to put her son to bed. All four of them spot each other at the same time. Mercy says she’ll put her son to bed, then they can talk, or whatever. Raquel and Amy agree. Amy goes to get the school muffins out of the oven. Mercy puts her son into bed, and tells him to stay there, no matter what.

Mercy pretends to make a deal with Raquel, but then, as soon as Raquel’s distracted, gives her the mini-Dementor’s kiss that she gave Sawyer. Raquel tumbles down the stairs, where Amy finds her a moment later. Amy searches for Mercy. She finds her in the playroom. They fight and wrestle, using the toys as weapons. The rolling pin is less useful than one would expect, as is the toy knife. The giant stuffed snake, however, is quite helpful. Mercy tells Amy that it’s about more than just Suzanne. Amy has no idea what’s coming, no idea. Amy stabs Mercy in the chest with a toy fighter plane. Mercy smashes Amy in the face, grabs her son, and gets out of the house. She was especially pissed that they put her son in danger. Mercy and the boy go stay with Callum.

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Crazyhead Season 1 Episode 3: Shave the Cat Recap

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We pick up right where we left off, with Amy brushing her teeth, and Suzanne sharing the bathroom with Amy, while also busy being back from the dead. Then the blame game starts, but Suzanne is a good friend and gets over it quickly. She takes a quick look in the mirror to lament the effect being buried and digging herself out of her own grave had on her hairstyle, then it’s off to the kitchen for a snack. Nothing in the kitchen tastes quite right to the Goldilocks of the Undead, and she’s not even neat about it. Amy is a good sport about the insults to her cooking, though she did kill Suzanne with an exorcism and bury her in the woods outside of town, so she probably owes her.

Suzanne explains that she remembers dying and leaving her body, then being pulled back in. She figured she might as well just come home, but it was a long walk in filthy bunny slippers, ok? She doesn’t want to be alone, so she sleeps in with Amy. Even the Undead need snuggles.

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Crazyhead Season 1 Episode 2: A Pine Fresh Scent Recap

 

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Raquel and Amy are shopping for shovels so they can bury Amy’s dead roommate, Suzanne. They can’t find any, so Raquel suggests serving spoons. That’s a firm no from Amy. The cashier helps them out and calls for someone to bring shovels to the check out, while they try, unsuccessfully, not to look guilty as hell. Ironically, the inside of the store looks just like the one where Lisa Lancaster, Riann Steele’s character from In the Flesh, was killed and eaten by unmedicated zombies.

Callum assigns Mercy, a single mom, with the task of stopping Sawyer from interfering with his plans. Mercy rounds up Dylan and the stalking begins.

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Crazyhead Season 1 Episode 1 (Pilot): A Very Trippy Horse Recap and Review

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Crazyhead is a new comedy-horror series which premiered on the BBC in October and globally on Netflix in December. It’s Shaun of the Dead meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but with demons and demon hunters instead of zombies or vampires. Buffy and Faith get to be friends rather than rivals in this version, and they look like real women with the muscle mass required to win their fights, rather than anorexic stick insects who’d pass out before they’d finish their first roundhouse kick. (I love you, Buffy, but professional fighters need some bulk. But we won’t get into my issues with Joss Whedon here.)

We start at the end of the story, with demon hunter Amy’s best friend Suzanne in the trunk of a moving car. When the car stops, Amy and fellow demon hunter Raquel, wearing clown masks, take her from the car, lay her on the ground, and tie her up. Very serious and scary. Then the fun starts. Suzanne recognizes Amy, and they argue about the ownership of the jacket Amy’s wearing, demon possession, and their friendship. While Suzanne is laying on the wet pavement, in the dark, tied up. I found this completely realistic. Roommate boundaries are important! As are cute jackets.

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