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Saturday, February 27, 2016

The 100: Watch the Thrones, Hakeldama, Bitter Harvest

I had plans to forego my usual three-in-one reviewing pattern for this season of The 100, but time got the better of me and I found myself lagging behind. I'll try to pick up the slack for next week's episode.
Two things are emerging from this season: a theme and a twist. The theme is one of every individual doing what they honestly think is right, with "right" being generally defined as "what's best for my people." As such, tension emerges between the principles of unity and tribalism; the understanding that everyone is of the same origin versus the cracks that are emerging not only between Arkadians and Grounders, but the factions within those groups.
And chillingly, the person doing the most to unite people is Jaha and his City of Light plot, which has suddenly become incredibly more interesting.
The season's "twist" is that despite the lengthy build-up of the Ice Nation and its Queen over the course of the show, it transpires that they're dealt with pretty quickly, leading to the Ark itself as the Big Bad of season three. Furthermore, they've felt the need to make one of our regulars a part of this new antagonistic faction, perhaps to give it a personal edge, or to try and muddy the waters with its treatment of ethical conundrums (ie, do we justify or support bad decisions when they're being made by someone we like?) The role falls to Bellamy, and more than any other creative decision, this is proving to be the contentious point of the season.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Rewatch: The Tunnel: S01E10

Yes, I'm back! Sorry I've been out of commission for so long, breaking one of the cardinal rules of blogging as a result (always provide regular updates) but study with the Open Polytechnic suddenly intensified and I found a project deadline looming that needed my full attention.
But it's all over now, so I can return my attention to more interesting matters. TV shows! I've been keeping up with The Shannara Chronicles and The 100 and their less-than-exemplary creative decisions, so hopefully I'll have some reviews up soon. Until then, here's the last instalment of The Tunnel to tide you over.
When I started this rewatch, I made a deal with the universe that by the time I reached its final episode we would have some news on its next season – and ho, the universe delivered! We now have a range of promotional pictures (scroll down), a teaser trailer (that doesn't give much away) and a full trailer (which is entirely in French).
Hey, it's better than nothing, and it looks as though Angel's role has been expanded upon. And is that Emilia Fox? Morgause and Guinevere together again! Okay, that doesn't make much sense considering those two characters didn't interact once in Merlin (unless you count a brief reaction shot in The Eye of the Phoenix) but I'm going to be so annoyed if they don't share a scene in this forthcoming season.
On with the review. Since this is the final episode, please expect SPOILERS below the cut.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The 100: All Ye Who Enter Here

If this episode was an indicator of the rest of the season, then it's going to be a great season. It jettisons the Jaha subplot entirely in order to focus on the political machinations taking place in the Grounder capital of Polis, where three agendas are in play: Lexa's, the Ice Queen's, and (to a lesser extent) Roan's.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Rewatch: The Tunnel: S01E09

So can we all safely agree that this was Angel Coulby’s episode? Whenever she’s given the chance to unleash, she always delivers, whether it’s finally becoming Queen, or singing jazz in front of an audience, or this – coping with a life-or-death situation.
And this episode very much centred on her character: the danger Laura was in, the way she dealt with it, and the effect it had on other characters. With only one episode left to go, all cards are on the table: TT is Kieran Ashton, who has a vendetta against Karl Roebuck as well as life in general, going after his wife and children in revenge for his part to play in the termination of Operation Riga (details of which are still sketchy) and for having an affair with his wife Zara (you just couldn’t keep it in your pants, could you Karl).

Saturday, February 6, 2016

The Shannara Chronicles: Pykon

Yup, still here. But this might be my last Shannara review. For the past five episodes I've been casually enjoying it as silly fun, but this episode took things to an unnecessarily dark and ugly place.
Regardless of all the violence and danger their characters are facing, it's clear the writers consider the love triangle nonsense to be the emotional heart of the show (or else they're still under the false impression that triangles are an essential part of any self-respecting teen drama) and it's beginning to take its toll on the story. When you find yourself trapped in a mad-man's torture castle, the very last thing on your mind should be whether or not your crush likes you back. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The 100: Wanheda Part I and II

As season openers go, this two-parter was pretty damn good. Thinking back to the clunky handful of episodes that opened the show's first season, it's obvious the writers have found their groove and are expanding their world accordingly.
As the first season dealt with Grounders and the second with Mount Weather, the third is clearly broadening its horizons to include the Ice Nation, leading to what will no doubt be a much more complex political arena.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Woman of the Month: Dorothy Gale

Dorothy Gale from The Wiz Live!
"The Big Three" female characters of early children's literature are Alice, Wendy Darling, and Dorothy Gale. They're in every school, on every bookshelf, part of every imaginative mind. Having been embedded in popular culture for so long, their characterization is quite mutable: just a few little tweaks here and there allows for each new interpretation to remain fresh and relevant. For instance, the motherly homebody of Disney's Wendy Darling is quite different from the adventurous spirit belonging to the Wendy of the 2003 film.
Dorothy Gale stands apart not only because she's an American, but because she's a lot more proactive than her peers (not that Wendy and Alice aren't, but when compared to Dorothy...) She's driven by two internal forces: her desire to return home and her sense of helpfulness – almost responsibility – to those she meets along the way. The Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion are galvanised into action on meeting her, and it's her relentless encouragement that eventually turns them into heroes.
So what does Shanice Williams bring to this Dorothy? As in the MGM film, Dorothy goes from a child to a teenager, making her old enough to understand her disappearance from home will cause distress, and empathetic enough to extend assistance to those she meets on the way. An added layer is that she's still visibly grieving for her deceased parents and struggling to redefine her understanding of home: is it Omaha where she lived with her parents or Kansas where she now lives with her aunt?
It's a big ask to play the Nice Girl, especially in portal fantasies. It's a balancing act between capturing wide-eyed wonder at the strange new surroundings, while still being clever enough to negotiate it successfully. She must be relatable enough for audiences to become invested in her journey, but also a little immature so as to make room for character development.
Shanice Williams manages all of that, encapsulating everything a Dorothy should be: an ordinary girl doing extraordinary things as she just tries to find her way home.

Links and Updates + Reading/Watching Log #1

Last December I watched as Korra and Asami walked hand-in-hand into the spirit world together. This December I watched as Rey used the Force to call Luke Skywalker's lightsaber to her hand. If this keeps up, I may not survive whatever next December has in store...