Dark Season 3 Episode 2: The Survivors

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After the Harry Potter costume party of getting to know Martha/Eva’s world in S3EP1, in episode 2 it’s finally time to visit Adam’s post-apocalypse world, which is a form of the world without Winden that Hannah and Ulrich have dreamed of for decades. Ironically, Hannah and Ulrich both flaked out on the apocalypse and have retired separately in the Winden of previous decades. Katharina followed Ulrich.

Peter and Elizabeth serve as our point of view characters for the aftermath of the shockwave as they search for Charlotte and Franziska. Charlotte has jumped forward 33 years and is now in the barren future with Adult Elizabeth. The version of Young Alt Martha who transported Jonas to her world, then left him behind, is with Stranger, Bartosz, Franziska and Magnus in 1888.

We spend much of this episode in 1987, where things have changed in the last 3 months.

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Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 8: These Are His Revolutions Recap

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Revolution comes to Snowpiercer in episode 8, along with the truth about Mr Wilford’s fate. Melanie is taken into custody by the jackboots and everyone finally has to choose their side. Miss Audrey finds a fabulous outfit for the occasion and LJ fires the first shot before things take their bloody turn.

Recap

Ruth has the voiceover this week. At first it appears we’re viewing a commercial for her posh Bed & Breakfast from the Old World, but before long the ways she’s been changed by life on the train sneak in. This is the Ruth whose Hospitality protocols include freezing off the arms of children in retaliation for their attempts to make a better life for themselves, not the Ruth who takes in strangers from the storm and gives them personal attention even though they don’t have a reservation.

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Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 6: Trouble Comes Sideways Recap

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In episode 6, Melanie saves the train from derailment and a workers’ strike, Andre tries and fails to assassinate Melanie, and the train has a party. It’s another busy day in the life of Mr Wilford and the Train Detective, odd couple of the apocalypse.

However, the train is bleeding and none of Melanie’s fixes address the underlying causes.

Recap

Snowpiercer S1E6 Oz Finishes Shaving

Oz gets the voiceover this week. It’s the morning after Till knocked him out so she could help Josie save Layton. He seems not only recovered, but feeling good after his ordeal in the Drawers and wherever he disappeared to while she was gone.

Oz is in his tiny, industrial gray cabin, shaving with a straight razor.

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Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 5: Justice Never Boarded Recap

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In episode 5 of Snowpiercer, LJ goes to trial for her part in the murders of Sean and Nikki, Josie goes uptrain to search for Andre and Miss Audrey takes action to ensure that Melanie will get Nikki the justice she deserves. The Folgers pressure Melanie to go easy on LJ. Bess moves in with Jinju and gets a 2nd class chip implant to go with her bourgeois 2nd class privileges.

It’s a tough episode for Melanie, but she manages to find some stress relief.

Recap

We begin with Andre, who is sealed up tight in a drawer. He normally looks so robust, despite 7 years in the Tail, but now he has a grayish cast to his skin. The version of kronole used as a suppression drug is so poisonous that it gives the entire body a death pall, while turning the insides jet black, which can be seen externally by viewing the gums.

As Nikki claimed, it’s not like sleep. He’s having a combination of flashbacks and dreams. He’s back in the Tail, reliving memories of subduing the cannibal cult. That story was real, and largely happened the way he told it, if these dreams reflect reality. But he killed the cult leaders alone, at the insistence of the rest of the Tail, using a shiv they’d created, instead of the story about group solidarity overcoming an evil villain that Andre told in the Drawers.

The Tail leaders did all share in eating the heart, including Josie, Pike, Last Australian, Z-Wreck, Strong Boy, Big John and Lights.

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Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 4: Without Their Maker Recap

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In Snowpiercer episode 4, Sean’s murder is solved, Josie visits 3rd Class, Andre visits 1st Class and Melanie pulls out her bottle of poisoned sake. Andre and the writers go with the “Lolita made me do it” murder defense to explain why a trained soldier killed several people.

This is a disappointing development for Snowpiercer. No matter what layers and nuances the show might add to the scenario later, a young woman has been publicly blamed for provoking the crimes of her abuser. This is an abuse tactic in and of itself.

Recap

Jinju provides tonight’s opening monologue. As she speaks, she prepares a meal of sushi for herself and Bess, starting with gutting the fish and ending with the two lovers toasting each other over beautifully presented food.

Meanwhile, Erik finishes slaughtering Nikki and lovingly examines his handiwork. Presentation also matters to him. He takes care of his appearance, and Sean’s corpse was certainly presented in a very specific way. Nikki’s is as well.

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Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 3: Access Is Power Recap

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Episode 2 of Snowpiercer takes us deeper into the logistics, relationships and class system of the train, plus we attend a big prize fight in the Night Car. It’s very aspirational. And educational. After Melanie reestablishes her dominance over him (That’s hot- Metamaiden, editor), Andre conducts a series of interviews, first with Roche as his partner, then switching back to Till. Not all of the interviewees realize they’re being interviewed. By the end of the episode, he may have solved the case.

This show is worth watching for the acting performances alone, both those of the core leads and the ensemble. Daveed Diggs (Andre), Jennifer Connelly (Melanie), Mike O’Malley (Roche), Lena Hall (Miss Audrey), Happy Anderson (Dr Klimpt), Susan Park (Jinju), Mickey Sumner (Till), Sheila Vand (Zarah), Sam Otto (Oz), Katie McGuinness (Josie), Kerry O’Malley (Lilah), Timothy V Murphy (Grey), Madeleine Arthur (Nikki), Iddo Goldberg (Ben) and more- it’s a huge cast- all bring the characters, the writing and the Snowpiercer world to life in a way that science fiction lives and dies by.

They all fully inhabit not just their characters, but the circumstances of Snowpiercer and their individual places in it. In a dystopian reality, no matter how realistic or unrealistic the sets and special effects are (and these are also amazing, don’t get me wrong!), it’s ultimately up to the cast to sell the emotional reality of the premise. This cast is all in.

I praised Daveed Diggs and Lena Hall in particular in my episode 2 recap. I was remiss to leave Academy Award winner Jennifer Connelly out of the explicit praise. She has the difficult job of finding the humanity in an ice queen dictator. The show’s fantastic writing helps her out, but in the end, Melanie’s character lives and dies based on Connelly’s performance.

It’s the nuances in her delivery that help us realize that Melanie actually cares about the entire population of the train, including the Tail, and desperately hopes to keep them all alive. These are HER people, just as the Tailies are Andre’s people, and she’s fighting at least as fiercely as he is to keep them alive. But her job is complicated by living a double life and the complexities of keeping the train running.

Each episode, we watch Connelly pull Melanie back together at the beginning of the day, then we watch Melanie hold the train together for 12 hours through the sheer force of her iron will, strained compassion and large intellect, as the energy that takes slowly breaks Melanie down inside. Because of Connelly’s performance, we can see that process, but few on the train notice it. In someone else’s hands, she might be a tropish dictator. Thanks to Connelly, I want to weep for her struggle by the end of each episode.

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Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 2: Prepare to Brace Recap

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In episode 2 of Snowpiercer, the Tail pays for episode 1’s rebellion with several men in drawers and the removal of a significant arm, as promised. The train travels through the tough terrain of the Cascadian Mountains in Western North America. Melanie refuses the engineers’ advice to slow down, leading to an avalanche and a broken window, both disasters in the -100° C weather. Meanwhile, Andre makes significant progress on the murder case and children are chosen for the apprenticeship program.

Recap

Josie gets tonight’s opening voiceover, spoken as Ruth takes an arm from one of the Tailies in punishment for episode 1’s rebellion:

“You’d think with all we’d lost that defeat would break us, but the only reason we’re here is we refuse to die in the first place. We’re as persistent as the cold, forever trapped beneath the ice. We keep our eyes on the floor, dig our nails in, and prepare to brace… They can take our limbs, our children, our leaders. They keep trying to take our dignity. Any survivor will tell you they check their dignity at Death’s Door. The more they steal from us, the more human we become. Humanity will fill our bellies one day, when we eat the rich of Snowpiercer, 1,001 cars long.”

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Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 1: First, the Weather Changed Recap

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Snowpiercer, the TV Series, is finally here, kids! After following a long and winding track road through two networks, two pilots shoots, two showrunners and two pilot directors over the course of several years, the futuristic scifi story based on a train perpetually circling the globe during a perpetual man made ice age has made it to our screens with a season 2 renewal already in the bag. And the show hardly even feels like fiction anymore.

Snowpiercer in based on the graphic novel series of the same name, by Jacques Lob, Benjamin Legrand, Olivier Bocquet and Jean-Marc Rochette, which was turned into a 2013 film by Bong Joon-ho, starring Chris Evans. Bong Joon-ho is an executive producer on the TV series.

It’s important to note that the graphic novels and the film tell two very different stories, with totally different characters. Aside from the long train and perpetual ice age, the look and feel of the two differ completely. The TV pilot draws on aspects of both, but it tells a third story, as it should, since it’s working in a very different medium from either of the previous two versions.

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12 Monkeys: Review of Entire TV Series

12 Monkeys was a Syfy network series, loosely based on the 1995 Terry Gilliam film of the same name, which ran for 4 seasons/47 episodes, from 2015-2018. It focused on a near future post-plague world and the survivor, James Cole (Aaron Stanford), who is sent back in time from 2043 to the decades before the plague in order to stop the deaths of 7 billion people.

Though the series uses concepts and characters from the film, it’s largely left the plot of the film behind by the end of the pilot. In the original 12 Monkeys film, the Army of the 12 Monkeys is a red herring. In the series, it’s a vast, secret organization which is responsible for the plague. Cole and Katarina Jones (Barbara Sukowa), the scientist who sends him back in time, assemble a time traveling team who oppose the Army of the Twelve Monkeys and their mysterious leader, the Witness, in a war to control the fate of the timeline.

In the future, post-plague world, Katarina Jones and her people find a damaged recording made in 2017, at the height of the pandemic, by Dr Cassandra Railly (Amanda Schull), a CDC virologist who specializes in epidemics. The recording asks “Cole” to hurry and names “Leland Frost” as the originator of the plague. With this starting point and a time machine that barely works, Dr Jones sends James Cole, a barely civilized scavenger, back in time to interview Dr Railly in order to learn further details about the start of the pandemic. His mission is to use the knowledge he gains from Dr Railly to stop the plague virus from being released.

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Book Review: A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World- A Novel by CA Fletcher

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This review is dedicated to my dog Max, who passed in November, 2019 at the age of 17, and to his lifelong companion, our 20 year old cat, Brody, who followed him a month later. I love you til the end of the world, guys.

Griz, the first person narrator and titular boy of A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World, lives in an empty world. Unlike our crowded world full of 8 billion people, Griz’s world went through a population collapse a few generations ago, reducing the global population to less than 10,000 people. The Baby Bust, as it was ironically known, happened over the course of one generation. No one is quite sure why, but almost everyone became infertile, worldwide, all at once and without warning.

Those who remained fertile were locked up for a time, theoretically for their own protection, in a sort of reverse witch hunt, then eventually allowed to leave. Most went into hiding in remote areas until the infertile population grew old and died off.

Now, everywhere is a remote area. Griz has only seen a few people outside of his family in his entire life, mostly the members of the family who live on a neighboring island off the coast of what used to be Scotland.

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