Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Teen Wolf 4.12 Review: Who Wants to be the Baddest Monster?

If only Teen Wolf aired on Tuesday’s; then it really could’ve boasted a full moon on a full moon. Alas, the series does not, but the season four finale did air Monday night, titled ‘Smoke and Mirrors’, and it had so much going on, it encroached on Wolf Watch, going a whole fifteen minutes over its allotted hour. Normally I wouldn’t mind that, but it did mean I missed out on fifteen minutes of the after show, which just so happened to have ballooned up to a forty-five minute episode. It’d have been nice to have gotten a head’s up on that, but I relent.
This week’s season finale felt more or less like this season has felt, iffy on a hole with it’s season long arc, but nonetheless still good. Compared to 3B’s season finale it was unimpressive, but the writing on this season has been so back and forth and all over the place, I wasn’t altogether that surprised. I mean, the benefactor issue gets fixed last week, and then we have to deal with Peter again, really? He is interesting as a villain, but I really enjoyed having him pop up every now and again with his quippy little one-liners, and having make another 180 and go back to being evil Peter just felt like a devolution. Besides, the way the actor had been playing him most of this season – without the knowledge of Peter’s “true” intent – didn’t feel like it was leading toward this. And what’s the point in killing Scott anyway, when you can’t become an Alpha by stealing from a True Alpha?
As always, I adored Stiles this week – he’s continuously unmistakably fantastic. Loved the face he gave Derek when the latter was explaining to Liam what the “talisman” was. (Side note: is anyone worried that the use of mantras predicts Liam leaving Scott’s pack for the docile one?) It was really great seeing Stiles discussing with his dad everything that was going on with Scott and Kira in Mexico, and him having to go there because there isn’t anything he wouldn’t do for the pack (read: weird family, a la Buffy), particularly being Scott’s best friend. Despite his ferocity for the sardonic sense of humour, I really feel like Stiles, in this moment, shines as a young adult because he really has his priorities straight and understands responsibility. Speaking of responsibility, absolutely adored at the end when Sheriff Stilinski cuffs Stiles to the desk – perfect punishment.
One thing I do have to commend this week is the use of sound. The eeriness when Kira wakes up to her open cage and calls out for Scott thinking it was his doing (No, sweetie, it’s not Scott. Don’t you watch horror movies?) devoid of any other music or sounds other than what would be natural to that environment was absolutely perfect. Also, the final song of episode I greatly enjoyed.
Speaking of technical aspects, there’s also the ever-enjoyable cinematography I need to take note of. Despite a few choice close ups at the end – I’m looking at you Kate and Argent – that didn’t really give the actors a lot of good light, most of the filming was done quite well, including the shot of Peter skidding to a stop with his shocked face in regards to his nephew. The CGI-ing, though, or whatever it was, towards the end of the fight between Peter and Scott when Scott’s stopping all of Peter’s punches, was kind of terrible, but otherwise it wasn’t too bad.
In other respects to the episode, I may be one of the only people that don’t really care of Braeden and Derek. I mean, yay for Derek and his discovery of a non-homicidal – at least not yet – girlfriend, but much like how Stiles and Malia started, these two felt like they were just kind of haphazardly thrown together. For the most part, I didn’t even feel like those tears were real for the loss of someone she cared about (read: cared about, not loved, so many goddamned shows throw the word love around too much without believability).
A couple other final things to mention – one being the fact that Liam was the one that brought Scott out of his Berserker state. Okay, sure they have that commonality of worrying whether they’re monsters, and Liam finally got the hang of that this week (and whoa was that ever quick), but I would’ve hoped that at least Stiles would be the one to get through to him. Maybe it had to be a werewolf, and maybe that werewolf just happened to have to be Liam because he’s Scott’s Beta, but I don’t know, I was just a bit bewildered at this when it happened – although maybe it was just the acting. Also, thank God Derek is still alive, and how cool is it that we’re going to get to delve into the whole werewolf myth – hopefully – next season with Derek’s complete transformation. I bet his mama would be proud. And, finally, I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, and I’m going to keep on saying it: I adore Coach; he is absolutely fantastic, and possibly my favourite adult on this show.
All in all, this episode, much like its season, was unimpressive and a bit too discombobulated. Individually this season’s episodes have been good, but they haven’t quite meshed well. Then again that’s how this series seems to be. It’s a rollercoaster of ups and downs, goods and bads, and the stories are just interesting and well enough done that it keeps me interested and coming back. Plus, who doesn’t need a guilty pleasure show stock full of drama and otherworldly nonsense to keep them going through their average day?
My rating: 7.5 out of 10 – this season: 7 out of 10.

Best Lines:
“I can keep you from going.” – Sheriff Stilinski tells his son. “I’d find a way.” – Stiles replies. “I can throw you in a cell.” – his father volleys back. “I’d still find a way.” – Stiles states, full of conviction. (Awe, Stiles all loyal.)
“Okay, okay, great. Do I get a fun?” – Stiles asks his father, after he agrees for them to both go down to Mexico together. “No.” – Stilinski exclaims.
“I’m not okay with that.” – Braeden says to Derek, upon realizing he knows he’s going to die. “I am.” – Derek replies, simply. (A simply beautiful line at that, and so much behind those two words.)
“If everyone is sufficiently freaked out, I say we get going.” – Peter states.
“You, you were dead.” – Kate mutters, shocked. “No, I was evolving; something you will never do.” – Derek corrects, after changing full form back to human shape.
“Okay, I believe you.” – Coach says. “Really?” – Liam replies incredulously. “Absolutely not.” – Coach shoots back.

Oh, and a friendly reminder, don’t stand between Lydia and her friends, she’s getting mighty handy with a bat.

Outlander 1.06 Review: The Truth of the Matter

The latest episode of Outlander aired Saturday night, entitled ‘The Garrison Commander’, and boy was it chock-full of fun (she writes sarcastically) – and oh so enlightening. This was the first episode I had the pleasure of viewing going into it with knowledge of what was to come, having just surpassed the storytelling of the TV series two days prior reading the book. Nonetheless, it was still quite enjoyable, and not just because it shook things up a bit by differing from the book in where certain events were placed timeline wise. Having continued further in the book, though, let me just tell you; I’m looking forward to the next episode even more.
Anyways, getting back to this episode, I found myself enjoying the momentum of this TV series, in respects to the book. The way they’ve laid out certain conversations (i.e. how she’s informed of Jamie’s second whipping) and gotten to certain moments (Claire not being taken to Inverness, but actually needing to be handed over to the dubious Black Jack Randall for “questioning”) works much more efficiently with regards to the medium of TV than how it was plotted out in the first novel. The showrunners and writers seem quite capable with the material they were given from the books, and properly translating that onto the screen.
So, basically this week we learned just how terrible a person Jack Randall is, by way of his flashing back on the flogging of Jamie some years prior, as well as his brief beating of Claire to elicit the truth out of her. This is the pivotal moment when Claire truly realizes just how great a departure this Randall is of her dear – unborn – husband and is able to see him as more of the villain of the piece – at least in my belief. We also discovered, in order to not be handed over to Randall and the English Red Coats, Claire must wed a Scot – none other than the beautiful (despite/in spite of his back) Jamie *insert correct last name here*. This led to what is probably my favourite part of this episode; the conversation between Claire and Jamie at the end.
In regards to other aspects of the episode, I would just like to raise my hand now and say that I, for one, enjoy the voice-overs by the ever-lovely Caitriona Balfe (Claire). I really don’t understand why everyone is all up in a tizzy about the voice-overs; I honestly believe they help us delve into the mind of Ms. Claire Beauchamp. Also, I would like to commend all those involved in the flogging scene, other than some slightly unrealistic skin flap, it was quite well done. Speaking for myself, I liked the real look of the streaming blood, and the way they filmed the scene with Sam Heughan (Jamie) slipping all over the place. This was quite a pivotal moment for this season, and not only to demonstrate Randall’s monstrous qualities, but to establish Jamie’s character as well. To go through all that pain, and not to cry out or be broken by it – quite remarkable.
 All in all, this was a very well put together episode. This certainly marked the point where the momentum of the series begins moving much more fluidly, and shed a great deal of light on our leading characters. I absolutely adored getting to see more of the Scottish countryside, and particularly liked that stream marked as something liars may not drink from and expect to be able to lie without consequence. The pieces of this series certainly appear to be coming together quite well as this point, and I look forward to the last two episodes before the split season break.
My rating: 7.5 out of 10.

Best Lines:
“The truth carries a weight that no lie can counterfeit.” – Randall explains to Claire.
“I believe that a part of you lives still.” – Claire remarks. “It would be pretty to think so.” – Randall replies.

“Doesn’t it bother you that… that I’m not a virgin.” – Claire inquires. “Well, uh, no. So long as it doesna bother you that… I am. … I reckon one of us should ken what they’re doing.” – Jamie responds.