We’re getting down to the end of this season of Dexter. So of course things are starting to heat up for everyone. We’ve got a lot to talk about in this episode, so let’s get started.
Christine’s being questioned by the police about the identity of Trinity. She’s cool as hell though, answering no questions in a way that’s going to help anyone. Anyone but herself and her awful father, that is.
Dexter’s worried she’s going to crack though. He needs to make sure Arthur doesn’t get arrested. If he does, Dexter won’t be able to kill him. So he has to find someone to set up as being the Trinity Killer. Good thing there’s always some monster around.
While Dexter’s trying to frame someone for Arthur’s crimes, Arthur’s looking for Dexter. Well, he’s looking for Kyle Butler. Which is, as it turns out, not that uncommon of a name. You could ask the man named Kyle Butler that Trinity found and murdered. But you can’t because he’s dead.
This is another death on Dexter’s conscience. You know, that thing he thought he didn’t have. For someone who considers himself a monster, he’s really feeling a lot of guilt.
Of course, there’s never just one thing that Dexter needs to worry about. Rita needs him to come to therapy with her because she kissed the neighbor. Dexter isn’t worried so much about this, because he’s got other things on his mind. At least it didn’t seem that way until he gets that neighbor in his sights. Then all of a sudden we’re reminded that he does love Rita and he doesn’t like it when people mess with her.
There was a bright spot in the episode. To save the department a huge PR issue regarding their relationship, Maria and Angel get married. They do it quietly, in her office, with just a judge and Dexter there. And it’s nice that we have this moment. Because the ending of the episode is pretty rough.
First, there’s Christine, who’s finally realizing something she should have known a long time ago. Her father doesn’t love her and he never will. No matter how many awful things she does to try to win his love. What she decides to do about it is dark and sad. But honestly, I don’t think her story could have ended any other way.
But that’s just the start of the craziness. Because Trinity’s tired of messing around. He’s ready to meet Kyle, meaning Dexter, face to face.
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Wheel of Time, Strangers and Friends
Episode two of Wheel of Time, widened the divide between the show and the books. Things are happening out of order, people are acting out of character. Whether this is to the detriment of the show, however, has yet to be determined.
One character missing from episode one was Rand. You know, our main character. But we finally catch up with him now.
He’s living in a city with a woman named Selene. They don’t have what I’d call a super healthy relationship. She spends a bit too much time talking about her ex.
Yes, for those of you who didn’t read the books, this is going to be important.
Rand is also working at an insane asylum. He’s kind and patent with his charges, but not all of his fellow caregivers are.
Meanwhile, Lan and Moiraine are recovering form their Fade attack from last episode. Rather than taking the time to actually heal, Moiraine decides to head out to find Rand. Her team comes with her, which seems to really bother her.
While that little hissy fit is taking place, Nynaeve is causing issues. Not by anything she’s doing, but by what she’s not doing. As none of the regular novice teacher have been able to get her to use the One Power, Liandrin offers to try. No one, including me, is thrilled with this. But, the Aes Sedai are desperate. They know that The Dark One is around, and they need Nynaeve to be ready. So, they let the person who’s driven other students to their deaths and actively committed multiple hate crimes take over.
What could go wrong?
The special effects in this episode were really well done. I especially liked the dead fade nailed to the wall.
I was also pleased with the introduction of Elayne. Ceara Coveney is playing her, and doing a fine job. She’s warm, kind and sweet. I am thrilled that she’s around.
One of the greatest things about Wheel of Time is the friendships between the characters. Rand, Perrin, Mat, Nynaeve and Egwene legitimately care about each other. Elayne seems to care for Egwene right away. I really love that.
What didn’t work
One thing that bothered me in this episode, and frankly the last episode, was Liandrin keeping Mat in prison. I feel like this wasn’t adequately explained. Why does she have him? How did she trap him? What in the hell is she trying to get from him? Perhaps I simply missed something, and please let me know in the comments if this is the case. But it feels like some poor writing to me.
I also don’t love how Moiraine is portrayed in this episode. Really, in this season so far.
I get that she’s never exactly been a warm person. She’s not personable, open, or kind. Some (most) fans of the book would likely agree that she’s kind of a bitch.
But she’s not a bitch for no reason. She certainly isn’t the sort to lash out at the people who love her because she’s in pain. And that’s what she’s doing through this episode. She’s taking her pain out on Lan. And that’s just out of character for her.
It feels very much like a lot is being skipped over from the Wheel of Time books. But, so far at least, I don’t feel like anything vital has been missed. It feels more like the story is being streamlined.
Yes, I understand how this might go horribly wrong. I think we’ve all seen that. But as of right now, the changes make sense for the switch in mediums.
Now, let’s see if it stays that way.
(3 / 5)
Fantastico Disasterpiece Theatre: Francois and The Unicorn Review
Gringo Fantastico is a troubled luchador presenting Troma films from the safety of a derelict recreation center nestled in chaotic Tromaville. He is tortured by the French-Canadian Demon Piñata Francois who trash talks and hurls abuse throughout the episodes. This week’s special guest is Jonah Ray Rodrigues. New episodes release on the first of each month on Troma NOW.
Roll the Tape!
Welcome back to Tromaville for Chapter Dos of Fantastico Disasterpiece Theatre! Gringo Fantastico (Nate Turnpaugh) returns to the screen with guest Jonah Ray (current host of Mystery Science Theater 3000) to proudly host Ed Wood’s Plan 9 from Outer Space (1957). Turnpaugh espouses his love for the movie in our most recent interview and credits his friends with helping him to discover it. “They kept trying to get me to watch it, and one day I finally did.”
On a totally unrelated note, the Mirriam-Webster dictionary defines libel as “a written or oral defamatory statement or representation that conveys an unjustly unfavorable impression.” For no reason at all, I choose to immediately correct the record and inform you that Fantastico actually hosts Herb Freed’s Graduation Day (1981).
We once again begin with grainy VHS footage of an interview from the luchador’s past. Much like the previous episode, Fantastico becomes upset at the prodding questions being asked of him. As this ongoing narrative continues to build, it is becoming obvious Fantastico is coming close to a breaking point.
These segments, while short, work to highlight Turnpaugh’s screenwriting ability. They feel authentic and demonstrate a solid understanding of wrestling culture. Crafting a compelling story can be difficult when it is broken into parts and spread across significant time. However, he creates bite-sized pieces of lore that manage to both satisfy and leave the audience craving more.
A Piñata by Any Other Name
Before the movie can start, Fantastico has to deal with the usual shenanigans from Francois. When it is time to bring out Jonah Ray for his interview from the Satellite of Love, Francois outright refuses. The interview must come at the cost of Fantastico’s soul. Fearing for the worst but desperate to continue the episode, Fantastico agrees to a one-day-only loan of his soul.
Enter Francine. She’s a sassy yet loving unicorn who only wants the best for Fantastico. She is complimentary and eager to help, offering her kind words in a sugary sweet voice. For all intents and purposes, she is the opposite of Francois. And yet, she is Francois. At least, she is Francois after consuming Fantastico’s soul.
Turnpaugh continues the ongoing theme of addressing his PTSD within the episode. He explains it as, “the whole concept of self-worth with the PTSD and things like that because that is a problem that I’ve experienced. When people are constantly negative towards you and you constantly have to defend yourself and you constantly be on edge and finally something happens and you don’t have to do that anymore. But you’re so guarded when that happens that you don’t know how to act.”
Throughout the episode, Fantastico chafes against Francine’s presence. He is unsure of what to do when someone speaks affectionately to him after suffering Francois for so long. The only punishments she doles out are rainbows that make you laugh. It’s unsettling and a little uncomfortable and is exactly what working to replace negative self-talk with positive self-talk feels like.
The Satellite of Love
The interview segments with Jonah Ray feel like listening to old friends banter. Turnpaugh tells me he first met Ray at the Malco Drive-In Theater last year where they both attended Joe Bob’s Jamboree. He admits to being caught off guard when Ray knew who he was and was familiar with his work.
Fame and the mental games it causes one to play ends up becoming a large part of the interview. When asked by Fantastico when he felt like he had made it, Jonah Ray responds “I don’t think there is a there, there.” He likens the fame game to climbing a ladder. “You’re […] looking up […] but you rarely look back down.”
One of the best portions of the interview is when Jonah Ray goes full meta and begins roasting the ego necessary to take on the role of a media host. It’s hard not to laugh when you remember this is coming from the mouth of one host straight into the ear of another. It is important to note that both men are playing characters as hosts, which according to Ray changes the dynamic.
New Place, Same Thing
Jonah Ray also spends time talking about the difference in production having moved away from Netflix and onto Gizmoplex. He says it has been a lifelong dream to host MST3K and the move has allowed him space to better bring his vision of hosting to the screen. Netflix, while important in bringing MST3K back, seems to have sucked some of the soul out of the show. He believes moving to Gizmoplex helps with delivering the level of quality fans expect.
Turnpaugh is familiar with format shifts, having moved his show from YouTube onto Troma Now. I ask how this has changed things in terms of production and he says while he has never felt more supported, he has started placing more pressure on himself. “The pressure is never from Troma.” Lloyd Kaufman clearly believes in the show, as he’s recently started giving it top-billing on the site.
Back to Basics
The end of the episode brings back an extremely confused Francois. It seems consuming Fantastico’s soul didn’t go exactly as planned. Turnpaugh promises that audiences have not seen the last of Francine and that some answers may be coming sooner rather than later. You’ll just have to tune in next month to see what insanity happens next in Tromaville.
My rating for the episode: (4.6 / 5)
Follow @realfantastico on the platform formerly known as Twitter to join in with the rest of the Fantasticats as they live-tweet each episode the Friday after release. Episode three features special guests Toby Poser, John Adams and Lulu Adams.
Wheel of Time, A Taste of Solitude
The long awaited season two of Wheel of Time has arrived, and fans are breaking the internet over it. After watching the first episode, I’m comfortable that this season is going to be a fun time.
Last season had a rocky ending. Our cast is split, with most of the characters left to themselves or in much smaller groups.
Moiraine is mourning the loss of her powers. Which mostly means she’s moping around and being curt with everyone. Lan is struggling to help her through this, even as she snaps at him left and right. They’re staying with two Aes Sedai, Verin and Adeleas. While there, Moiraine barters for an intercepted letter.
We don’t find out what’s in that letter, but we know it causes her to do some really stupid stuff.
Meanwhile, Egwene and Nynaeve have started their training to become Aes Sedai. This isn’t going great. While Eqwene has been progressing at a slow and steady pace, Nynaeve hasn’t channeled at all since they arrived. This is really frustrating all the senior Aes Sedai, because Nynaeve is supposed to be incredibly powerful. And with The Dark One free, they need all the powerful sisters they can get.
Easily my favorite part of this episode was the opening scene. Here we see a little girl playing outside while her grownups are in a meeting. Suddenly horrible monsters come out of the mist. She runs inside only to be comforted by The Dark One.
We all know this isn’t a good person, if he can be considered a person at all. But to this little girl, he seems kind. He stops a very important meeting just to make her feel safe.
And then, he misleads her. He takes her outside and tells her that these monsters aren’t so bad, just because they look scary. He then tells her that some people think he’s a monster. Of course she tells him she doesn’t think he’s a monster.
Well of course she doesn’t think he’s a monster. He’s an attractive middle aged man. The only people who would consider him a monster are the ones who know what he’s done.
Then, there’s the matter of Mat. In this season, Mat is being played by Donal Finn. In season one, he was played by Barney Harris. When shooting for season two began, Barney was simply a no show. There has been no official explanation. We can do all the speculating we want, of course. But there’s just not a solid answer.
This is kind of outrages. Mat’s one of the main characters, so it’s not like this is a little casting issue.
That being said, Finn has done a fantastic job in this first episode. He stepped right into the roll in what must have been a difficult situation. Good for him, and good for the casting crew that found him.
What didn’t work
Unfortunately, the rest of the episode was rather dull.
There was a lot of establishing where the characters are, which was accomplished with a lot of talking about how sad/annoyed they were to be where they are.
Yes, I understand that we’ve got to establish the scene. But this brings up something that I’ve always hated. It especially comes up in fantasy content, but I’ve seen it other places as well. There are great long bits of the first chapters or episodes that are just dull. Because they’re focused on establishing the story. Who are these characters? How have they changed since season one? What rules does their new environment have?
And I get it! But I also don’t believe that there should be a page of a book or an episode of a show that fails to be entertaining all on its own.
That being said, it’s clear that the creators were trying to avoid that dull start. And it certainly wasn’t as bad as the start of Witcher. It was just a little dull.
That being said, this was a decent start to the season. I’m really impressed with Donal Finn and just in love with Fares Fares as The Dark One. And I’m excited to see what the rest of the season has to offer. (2.5 / 5)