Reprisal Season 1 Episode 9: “dammit” Recap

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In episode 9 the characters brush off their failures and recreate themselves, weaving new legends that fit the past and future as they prefer to see it. Meredith wakes up in Katherine’s motel room, but her loyalty is still to Burt, so first she tries his latest version of events on for size, in trade for Katherine’s location. Katherine has other plans for the evening, since it’s her and Bash’s anniversary. They remember the past and take care of unfinished business.

Burt chooses to believe Avron’s version of the duffel bag story, which implicates Matty. This is probably because he perceives Matty as a Joel loyalist, having been gone for the last 2 years of Matty’s Burt worship. This is not a wise decision on Burt’s part, especially combined with the easily dismissed lies he tells to Meredith.

The old man is slipping. Or self-destructing. Either way, the romances are over in this episode.

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Reprisal Season 1 Episode 8: The Horse Cabbage Heart Recap

Reprisal S1Ep8 Queenie Confronts Burt & Joel

In episode 8 of Reprisal, the characters deal with the aftermath of Katherine’s attack on the Bang-A-Rang and other recent events. Joel tries to go backsies on Konstantinov’s death, but Jukes points out that if there’s anything you can’t take back, it’s a relatively unprovoked murder. Avron discovers that the Monster Ring had an inside man among the Brawlers, but Bru doesn’t want to believe him, since no one likes him anyway. Ethan, the inside man, knows Avron’s right and alerts Katherine.

This is the episode of hitting bottom. Between Burt and Katherine’s messes, most of the characters feel angry, betrayed, helpless and confused, even Katherine herself. They’ve all made mistakes and are letting their emotions get in the way of good judgement, compounding the mistakes. This episode is spent gathering information while also ignoring the obvious. Or mentally escaping and then forming the beginnings of their next terrible plans.

We also learn more about Katherine and Witt’s pasts. Katherine is the queen of personal reinvention that allows one to stay the same deep down and Witt is the king of lying to oneself in order to ignore painful truths forever. Both skill sets allow them to protect their true selves when Burt and the Brawlers try to break them.

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Reprisal Season 1 Episode 7: 25 or 6 to 4 Recap

Reprisal S1E7 Johnson, Ethan, Matty & Meredith

In episode 7, the 3 River Phoenixes help Meredith recover from her ordeal with the Ghouls and Burt begins to make the rounds of the Brawlers’ operations to check in with everyone. Joel becomes more involved in the war and has a confrontation with Burt. We’re shown Meredith’s origin story and we gain insight into several other characters.

Katherine and the Monster Ring make their final preparations, then visit the Bang-A-Rang 707’s vault. Molly adds another role or 2 to her resume.

Recap

We begin with some truth. Sometime in the past, probably about 15 years ago, maybe 20, Queenie, Burt and a blue-haired dancer named Irma pull up outside of a house that Irma designates as “the one”. Queenie and Burt go to the porch, where the man of the house is lounging on a couch. They ignore him because they’re looking for the lady of the house, Bear, who beat up Irma last night. Once Bear comes to the door, she admits to the beating, but justifies it with the fact that Irma was tramping around with her husband.

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Reprisal Season 1 Episode 6: For Love of the Archipelago Recap

Reprisal S1Ep6 Joel and Matty Argue

In this episode, the owls go to war and Meredith becomes a mouse. Queenie brings Burt back into the fold, where he does exactly what Joel has always known he’d do. Joel sends Lyla to safety with Rita, but not before she meets Katherine at Bash’s house. Katherine also stages a meeting with the Phoenixes. Mixed messages and miscommunications abound.

We learn once and for all that Reprisal takes place in an alternate universe, in which many of the male characters fought in the Archipelago War and are still suffering from PTSD. Molly was a field nurse in the war and also saw things that left her traumatized. She’s probably not the only woman on the show who was affected by the War. Virtually every character has been affected by some war, whether it’s the Archipelago War or Burt’s gang wars or the unnamed, continuous wars that constitute domestic violence. Growing up surrounded by the Brawlers or the Ghouls equals growing up on the edge of a battlefield.

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Reprisal Season 1 Episode 5: The Tiniest Battle Recap

Reprisal S1Ep5 Katherine, Earl & Percy

Episode 5 of Reprisal is both a character study and a turning point. We learn who all of the main characters are, at their core, and where their true loyalties lie, before Katherine Harlow makes her return to Brawlers territory and sets her revenge in motion by sowing a little chaos. Her tiny battle has the effect she expects and by the end of the episode, Bash has sowed much more chaos and likely incited a war.

Recap

We begin with a flashback to a young, wild-haired Joel as a Phoenix. Johnson is also a laughing, chatty Phoenix. The biggest surprise is that the third Phoenix, who already has her embroidered jacket, is Lyla’s mother, Rita. The 3 River Phoenixes pull up in front of an establishment which belongs to a rival gang, strut in and start a fight for no apparent reason, then come out less than 5 minutes later, with Joel and Johnson injured. Rita tries to stop the bleeding in Joel’s abdomen. He takes the opportunity to tell her he’s in love with her.

As Matty says, fighting breeds loyalty amongst the gang members. But why has Johnson been a Phoenix for so long, while Joel rose to the top of the heap? Johnson never complains, but he never says much of anything, period. The Brawlers give him a purpose and a life, if not exactly a home. It’s a life that largely keeps him and Joel separated, but lends consistency to the Phoenixes. Were they both in love with Rita, or was there some other major falling out between them? Or is Joel doing him a favor by leaving him a Phoenix rather than promoting him?

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Reprisal Season 1 Episode 4: On the Principles of Horsehound Recap

Burt Watches Fire: "I love the smell of napalm in the morning." -- Lieutenant Kilgore, Apocalypse Now
“I love the smell of napalm in the morning.” — Lieutenant Kilgore, Apocalypse Now

Episode 4 opens on darkness and the sound of automatic weapons fire. Gradually, Burt Harlow’s face is revealed, lit by flickering, orange flames. He sits on the back of a truck and watches a large fire in the distance, on the order of several buildings. There’s a man with a gun several feet away. Burt notices the flames are slowing down and goes to the man with the gun, who is wearing a 3 River Phoenixes jacket and surrounded by a dozen bodies.

The camera pulls out to reveal that they are at the old racetrack and this is the night Katherine Harlow was left for dead. The man with the gun is Joel Kelly. He was the third man on the scene that night, along with Burt and Bash, and the man who drove the truck, but he was a Phoenix, not yet a full Brawler.

Burt goes to Joel and jostles him out of the trance he seems to be in. Now Burt begins to create the legend we heard Matty and Johnson tell Ethan in episode 3.

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Reprisal Season 1 Episode 3: The Emboldened Conflict Recap

Doris Has Lunch with the Landscapers

In episode 3 we learn more about The Emboldened Conflict, Johnson’s name for the huge gang war that started after his massive argument with Katherine and the unforgivable betrayal that followed it. As far as the Brawlers know, Katherine simply took off one day, out of the blue, after betraying Burt, the brother who gave her everything. Katherine supposedly started the war as part of her betrayal, then Burt used it to unite the gangs.

Viewers also get a closer look at the day to day operations of the Brawlers and follow Doris on her search for the perfect crew. The perfect crew is a bit reluctant to sign on with her, so extended negotiations are in order.

Recap

Cousins Cordell and Earl, aka The Monster Ring, aka the guys who robbed the bowling alley in episode 2, sit in a truck outside of said bowling alley gossiping about sex and family and other universal subjects of gossip. Before long, an alarm sounds on Earl’s watch and they put on their masks. It’s time to rob Mr Bolo’s gaming room.

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Reprisal Season 1 Episode 2: A Flintlock & A Hound

Doris Finds Her Guys & Witt Wrings His Hands

The title of episode 2, A Flintlock & A Hound, refers to an old-style gun fired by striking a spark from a flint and a traditional type of hunting dog. In other words, the hunt is on, and the hunters are armed and ready. Doris is searching for the best crew to act as her backup when she confronts her enemies in the Banished Brawlers. Big Graham is framed by Molly and Doris and thus on the hunt for revenge. Individually and as groups, the Happiness Ghouls and the Banished Brawlers are hunting for a lot of things, most of them conflicting. Joel is definitely trying to maintain the status quo, but he’s not getting any help. The hunt for peace is never an easy one.

Recap

The episode begins with a major piece of Ethan’s origin story. Late one night in Detroit, several weeks ago, Ethan prepares to leave work at Doris’ restaurant. As he says good night to her at the bar on the way out, they’re both mocked by the last customer, an obnoxious redneck. The bartender informs the redneck that it’s closing time. The customer continues to argue and insult the staff before he stumbles outside, shoving Ethan as he leaves.

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Reprisal Season 1 Episode 1: The Tale of Harold Horpus Recap

Reprisal S1Ep1 Doris & Graham.png

My review of Reprisal season 1 is HERE.

In episode 1 of Reprisal, we’re introduced to Katherine Harlow, aka Doris Quinn, who begins the story as a scorned part of the Banished Brawlers gang, but soon reinvents herself into Chef D, a respectable Detroit caterer. Unfortunately, Chef D finds that the men of the Detroit restaurant world aren’t much different from the men of her hometown gangster world, which forces her to make some decisions that will affect more than just herself. As William Faulkner said in his novel Requiem for a Nun, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”

Reprisal takes place in a neo-retro noir alternative world that could be the recent past, but could also be a future which has regressed technologically. It could be 100 years into our future, in which we’ve dialed back the level of materialism in order to save the planet or because of the way wealth has been redistributed. In the retrofuture world of Reprisal, Original Star Trek’s communicators have become modern flip phones, which are in use alongside old style land lines. The music spans many decades, from rockabilly and blues to punk.

Much of the series’ look refers back to the post-war era of the late 1940s-60s, especially as viewed through the lens of film.The creators have drawn from films such as Rebel Without a Cause, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Dirty Dancing, Blade Runner and American Graffiti. They’ve combined the neon of the 50s and the neon of neo noir/cyberpunk into their own disaffected, Gothic Noir style.

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Hulu’s Reprisal Season 1 Review

Reprisal

This is a review of the entire season. Recaps of individual episodes are posted HERE as I complete them.

Hulu’s new retro noir series Reprisal is a unique show filled with unique characters. As such, it deserves a spot in their pantheon of shows such as The Handmaid’s Tale and Runaways which highlight complicated characters in fictional worlds that just keep improving the more involved the viewer gets. Altered Carbon is on Netflix, not Hulu, but it’s another show with a similar viewing experience, where it takes several episodes for the characters and the world to click into place and the plot to really take off. Then the viewing experience just gets better and better, as we’re plunged into an immersive world, where everyone has an agenda and anything can happen.

Reprisal takes place in an alternate universe that’s not set in a particular time period, but isn’t the future. It’s set in a neon swingers’ punk gangster scene that combines the look of the late 1940s- early 60s Rat Pack with a few more modern conveniences like 2000s flip phones and 70s muscle cars. It’s gorgeous and lives by its own rules, as this show does in every way.

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