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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The Handmaid’s Tale Season 3 Episode 3: Useful Recap

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Previously on The Handmaid’s Tale- Hannah/Agnes: “Did you try to find me?” June: “I tried so hard.” Hannah/Agnes: “Why didn’t you try harder?”

This is what changed between June’s first escape attempt, when she was caught just as the plane was taking off, and her second, when she voluntarily sent Nichole to Canada with Emily. Her own child, who was also speaking for all of the little girls she’d leave behind, asked her to try harder. The H in Hannah is likely a nod to Holly, June’s mother, who is also invoked in this episode. June could hear Grandma Holly, the lifelong women’s rights activist, speaking through Hannah. She knew she had to listen to those words. They’ve become her inner mantra.

In this episode, June continues to search for ways to make a difference in Gilead. Lawrence continues to test June. Serena is bereft after the many self-inflicted changes in her life. All three reach tipping points which will affect their futures.

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A Discovery of Witches Season 2 Episode 4 Recap: In Which Marcus Visits an Auction House

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Season 2 episode 4 is spent entirely in the present day, where the vicious killer vampire strikes again, causing concern among the de Clermonts as well as Gerbert and Domenico. Domenico continues his investigation into the murderer, which leads him to cross paths with Marcus.

Much of the episode follows Marcus as he attempts to make a purchase from a high end auction house for Ysabeau, then becomes romantically involved with Phoebe Taylor, a human associate at the auction house. He must reconsider his priorities as de Clermont secrets that he’s kept and those that that have been kept from him begin to take center stage in his life.

Recap

We begin back on the Oxford campus in the present day, following a young man (Tom Byrne) riding a bike. He reaches his destination and locks up his bike, then walks down a secluded alley. He’s startled by the noise when a vampire circles the block, trying to escape the threat. Before he’s gone more than a few steps, the vampire attacks him, moving almost faster than the eye can follow, biting and ripping at him savagely.

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The Third Day Part 1/ Summer: Season 1 Episode 3 Sunday- The Ghost Recap

The Third Day S1Ep3 Mrs Martin & Sam

Episode 3, The Ghost, answers many of the questions that the first two episodes set up, but it can be a difficult hour of television to watch. Sam starts the hour as a kidnap victim who’s still high on a hallucinogenic drug. What follows is somewhere between a prank-filled ramble through the Fairy Realm and a torturous scramble to escape the Island of the Dead before he’s killed by one of its insane residents. At least Sam is still wearing Mrs Martin’s magic shoes.

There are three competing mythological strands in Part 1 which are being pushed onto Sam by various factions of islanders. In some ways, Sam is on the classic Hero’s Journey, following in the footsteps of Odysseus and the legends of King Arthur. There are also elements of the Christian Stations of the Cross, based on Jesus last day before his crucifixion, in Sam’s weekend events, and those continue on Sunday. And the islanders have pushed Sam toward the heroic Threefold Death all weekend.

The Threefold Death is an ancient Indo-European rite which involves death by hanging (or strangulation or falling), drowning (or poisoning) and by wounding (or fire/burning). The death might involve all three injuries happening to one person or a different person experiencing each injury. Combined, the human sacrifices made to Esus (god of war/hanging), Teutatis (tribal protector/fire) and Taranis (god of thunder, sky, sun and wheel of the year/drowning) were Threefold Deaths. Some on the island want to kill Sam, either for real or symbolically. Other want him to do the killing, either for real or symbolically.

For two days, Sam refused to take the bait and also avoided capture by the more violent islanders. At the end of episode 2, the island’s main instigators seemed to have finally forced the issue, drugging/poisoning Sam, then leaving him alone in the woods like a child in a fairy tale. Are Mrs Martin and Jess acting as Sam’s Judases? Is Mrs Martin the island’s fairy queen, leading Jess and Epona to tempt this Odysseus into staying an extra year or 20? Or are the islanders preparing to act out the Osea version of The Wicker Man?

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The Third Day Part 1/Summer: Season 1 Episode 2 Saturday- The Son Recap

The Third Day S1Ep2 Jess & Sam

In episode 2, The Son, Sam and Jess spend another day and night together on Osea Island. We learn more about Jess’s situation with her daughters and the death of Sam’s son. Sam visits the island’s historian to learn more about local customs, then in the evening, he and Jess take part in a dry run of the upcoming festival.

It’s all perfectly normal and nothing strange happens at all.

Recap

The episode begins with Sam’s nightmare from episode 1, which could be a recurring dream. Sam is in a moonlit, open field. He’s not trapped or encumbered- maybe he wishes he still was. In the distance, he sees the boy through a rounded opening in a wall of forest branches and greenery. As Sam calls out for him, the boy runs away and disappears through the portal, into whatever realm is on the other side- purgatory, death, uncertainty, H*ll.

This is a living wall, instead of a wall of stone, suggesting that some part of Sam hasn’t accepted his son’s death. It’s also a reminder that the islanders inherited the Druids’ belief in reincarnation, with its fluid boundaries between life, death and rebirth. Death is not necessarily an impenetrable wall here.

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The Third Day Season 1 Part 1/Summer: Episode 1 Friday- The Father Recap

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This is a recap of Part 1, episode 1, The Father, which includes full details of the plot. My non-spoilery review of the season is HERE.

The Third Day takes place in a remote part of the UK, on an island that’s cut off from the mainland for most of the day. Osea Island is accessible by car for only a few hours a day at low tide by driving across an ancient Roman causeway that floods when the tide rises. It’s inhabited by a small community of year round residents who have their own traditions and beliefs which blend the old Celtic religion with Christianity.

Sam (Jude Law), a grieving father, stumbles into this community accidentally after saving the life of a young woman from Osea. He feels a connection to the community that he doesn’t understand, but also a sense of chaotic urgency as various obstacles prevent him from leaving the island and returning to his own troubled life.

Osea Island is a real island off the coast of Essex which takes on a life of its own in the story. The characters seem to travel over every inch of this tiny paradise as the show progresses through summer, autumn and winter. This allows viewers to get to know Osea’s tempestuous personality and beauty up close and to get a sense of how its natural elements affect the direction of the community.

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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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