An Almighty Apocalypse – Thoughts on “You, Me and the Apocalypse”

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Guys. Woah. I’m kind of glad I left two amazing shows from last year until now. Both Fargo, which I’ve mentioned in previous post, and now You, Me and the Apocalypse. I watched You, Me and the Apocalypse this weekend. Here’s the thing – although I love this stuff, as evidenced by this blg, I’ve never been one for binge-watching. After an episode or two I tend to get up and do something. But this – this I couldn’t stop watching.

Now before I go any further I need to tell you something. Usually when I do posts like this for the blog, I strive to make them spoiler free. This is going to be opposite of that. Look left – spoilers. Right – more spoilers. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Nope, it’s a whole load of spoilers dropping from the sky. I really want to discuss this with you guys, so if you haven’t seen the show, know that I absolutely loved it, really want to discuss it with you guys and come back here and read this afterwards. For those of you who have seen the show – read on and discuss!

So usually here I would open with a synopsis of the show, but I assume if you are still reading at this point you have seen the show, so instead I’m going to launch right in to what I loved about it.

First off, the characters. The cast was stellar, and I can’t think of a single character who I felt was broadly drawn, or a caricature, or anything other than a real person. Even the villains felt very real (sometimes they were even the heroes we had been following.) Father Jude was my absolute favourite. I admit, on intially seeing him, I thought they were going for a cheap laugh. A smoking, drinking, swearing priest. But he was, in fact, a very believable character, who’s character was instrumental in demonstrating the show’s stance on religion, which I think was delivered brilliantly to the audience without being preachy. Some characters don’t change much throughout the show, but most of the main cast certainly do. Jude realises his mistake in believing that faith and the Church were interlinked in one of my favourite scenes of the whole series(more on the religious side later, but I know I wasn’t the only one roaring with triumph when the cardinal reminded him that “This meeting was held in the strictest confidence”. He looks pensive for a moment, ready to nod in agreement, and turns around with a rather epic “Go fuck yourself.” Rhonda becomes necessarily hardened by the end, really culminating in her calmly shooting a man in the head for his truck. Leanne, through her time with Rhonda, learns that she has been wrong all her life, and renounces her life as a white supremacist by the end. Gaines cared only about the political fallout and was willing to let people die oblivious rather than cause panic by revealing the truth. But Scotty convinced him that everybody deserves the chance to say goodbye, and he became more humanised by the end of the show. This was a real character-driven show, and all the better for it. The impending apocalypse only provided a backdrop for these characters journeys, and there was justifiably little focus on it considering it was the core of the show.

Even the villains were justified in their actions. We saw the steps that led Gaines to tell the world that Project Saviour had succeeded. Ariel spent his entire life being told that he wasn’t good enough by a mentally ill mother. The cops chasing Rhonda genuinely believe her to be a dnagerous and wanted criminal. There’s no cackling villain with a goatee who wants to see the world burn here. Except for maybe the evil grandma, but we really don’t know anything about her.

Jude Dead

It’s also worth pointing out that in just ten episodes, which I watched over a day and a half, the show moved me to tears twice. Once when Jude died for his beliefs, and when Rhonda and Spike had to say goodbye to Rajesh as he waited for his death. Worse still was the ensuing scene, where Spike tried to get his mother to look away from the live feed of her husband’s death. For her to come so far to be reunited with her family, only to have it torn away from her so quickly was heart wrenching. Add to that the fact that Rajesh died somewhat repulsed by his wife after witnessing her killing a man, and it makes the reunion that much worse.

So now let’s move on to the shows stance on religion and faith. It very much brings to the fore the fact that the Church and faith are two different things. We all know that this is referenced several times in both Jude and Celine’s story, and Jamie and Frankies, but the absolute most hard-hitting scene for it is the one where Jude renounces his faith. A quick reminder(although I doubt that anybody who has seen the show could forget it) – Jude is meeting with Benedict and three cardinals in a clandestine meeting, the pretence of which is to get a status update on Jude’s analysis of the possible false Messiahs. When the Cardinals reveal that they want to proceed with presenting one of the candidates as the second coming of Christ to placate the masses, Jude gives up the priesthood. He dismisses the four men with him – “So am I really the only one amongst you with the balls to stand up for the truth?” and “It’s time to admit. The faith has failed. Christ is not returning.” “No. You’ve given up on him. But I have not.” – and renounces the Church and the priesthood, but not his faith – “Yes I’m done. You’re right. I’m a liar. And a hypocrite. I thought I was doing God’s work but he’s out there. Not in here. And I was a fool to think that he was. I want to be a good man.” “Father I want to remind you that this conversation was held in strictest confidence.” “Go fuck yourself.” Both the fact that this was the thinking of the cardinals, ad the fact that they killed Jude for his strong faith showed them as politicians and little else. They had no faith, and they cared more about the public perception of the Vatican than about God.

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The show further concretes that there is a God – from the voices in Frankie’s head, to Celine’s meeting God in the pub bathroom, to Jamie parting the Thames river a la Moses, proving that he was the Messiah – fittingly Jude’s son was the second coming of Christ for which he died. It’s the most wonderful of sentiments – that a person’s faith and there worship of a corrupt organisation are two entirely different things.

And now guys, the bit I really want to talk about. That ending. Endings are hard. I mean I loved Fargo – a lot as you guys know – but the ending was really anticlimactic. You, Me and the Apocalypse pulled it’s one off perfectly. Can we first talk about the show’s opening credits? Ariel(who we believe to be Jamie, right up until the closing seconds of the series) narrates to us, from the Bunker under slough, what is happening to the world. Comet coming, going to destroy the world. So we learn episode by episode who made it to the bunker in the end. With another face revealed every week we’re left to wonder how these character’s meet. Who else is off camera? How do they come to be in a bunker under Slough? Why is Rhonda crying? Why is Celine delerious? Why is Scotty wounded and nervously eyeing a box? Why is Dave in a tux? And all to the backdrop of “I can see clearly now” playing cheerily in the background. I think it’s one of my favourite openings ever, and an ingenious storytelling device. But the thing we’re assured of, right from the opening minutes of episode one, is that Jamie makes it there. He’s telling us the story after all! At the beginning I did wonder if it was Ariel – but after he stole Jamie’s identity, got found out, and was left in a wrecked car I breathed a sigh of relief. Jamie’s OK! Only he’s not. As we see a naked Jamie outside the bunker, having been attacked by Ariel. Jamie is left to witness the end of the world with Rajesh outside. And those closing moments, the exact same as the opening we’ve seen ten times already with just a few extra seconds added as Ariel smiles sadistically, all while “Happy Together” plays us out.

Not everything is answered. There’s still a lot of mystery surrounding the grandmother, and we have no idea who’s in the box, or why the monkey is evil. But you know what? That’s ok. We know that these characters are going to have problems in that bunker. And we’re not going to see all of that. The most we’ll ever get to do is speculate what might have happened in the bunker in Slough. Or rather, under Slough.

Ariel smiles

I’ve seen this called a bittersweet ending. But I’m struggling to see the “sweet” side of that. Frankie and Layla are left with an imposter for a husband and father respectively. This being the same man who was quite willing to leave Frankie to die in order to save himself and Layla. As opposed to Jamie, who willingly put his life at risk to ensure Layla got to the bunker with them. The grandmother(who’s name I don’t actually know – did I miss it or was it never mentioned?) is going to kill those she can’t support and use Frankie as a bloodbank. There’s a hostage in the box who warns against the evil monkey. Celine is going to be left to raise a child by herself(assuming that the grandmother doesn’t kill her as she’s not related to her.) And Spike and Rhonda are left without their husband and father, just like Layla and Frankie. This is the exact polar opposite of a happy ending – and it’s all the better for it.

I suppose in the interest of balance I should try to list a few flaws. I do have them, but guys they’re so minor.

My biggest problem with it for a long time was the fact that everybody was related. I was working on the assumption at the time that these independent stories all happened to end up at the same bunker. But having discovered, of course, that it was orchestrated by the matriarch of this family, that issue becomes pretty null and void. Other than the fact that early on, they’re just telling us that everybody is related to everybody else.

I did feel that early on in Ariel’s story the show fell back on the “hackers are basically Gods” trope. Hacking into the NSA, organising prison breaks in very little time, tracking people down using camera’s all over the world. It’s a plot device that has often irked me, but not enough to detract from the show I think.

And the fact that early on I sometimes felt that the show strayed away from the fact that it was a serial show – in particular for Rhonda and Jude’s stories. They sometimes felt a little “adventure of the week” to me, and provided little in the way of plot development.

But guys – these are tiny, irrelevant points. The show rocks. It’s got a great diverse cast of characters, some awesome humor, some really emotional moments, and a really thrilling and engaging set of stories. I wonder what I’d do if I had 34 days to live?

About the Author:

Rumored to have been born with a games controller in his hand, Noel Gleeson works as a Java Developer in Ireland and loves all things pop culture.

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“This will begin to make things right.” – Some thoughts about Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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(Full spoilers. But c’mon, you’ve seen it at this stage, right?)

“Hey Cian, what did you think of the new Star Wars film?”

Well first of all, it’s pretty funny that the very first line of dialogue in it (“This will begin to make things right.”) is such a straight up acknowledgment that the last 3 Star Wars prequel films were awful.

I loved the film overall, but a criticism I’ve heard from a few people is that it mirrors the first Star Wars film from 1977 too closely. And that’s hard to disagree with: from the lost droid with the plans, the young person in khaki pyjamas on a desert planet, angry loud-breathing guy dressed all in black, the death of the cranky old fella in the third act and especially the last big fight to blow up the Giant-Planet-Laser-That’s-Totally-Not-The-Death-Star-Guys-Seriously – it all feels really, really like A New Hope.

But I think that echoing of the original film’s structure was kind of a necessary evil for director JJ Abrams and the giant evil holograms of Disney business-guys that he has to bow to.

Cos like, if this literally megabillion dollar deal that Disney did with George Lucas is to pay off the way they want, then they have to hammer the message home as quickly and as strongly as possible: “No, this isn’t that weird Star Wars from a few years back with all the tax talk and sulky teenagers and Jar Jar Binks – this is the good old Star Wars you remember – please like this and give us your money!”

So I can forgive that lack of originality in the story of this film, cos we know there’s gonna be tens and tens of these films down the line (probably long after all of us are dead), so it makes sense that Disney played it safe and went with the familiar for The Force Awakens: it’s just them getting people in the door and mentally associating this new relaunched slew of Star Wars movies with the warm feelings audiences have for the 70’s original films, and distancing themselves further from the disappointing early-2000’s prequels.

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So yeah, besides the samey-feeling plot, I really really enjoyed the film:

The three new leads are all likeable characters, and (much harder to do, I think) they also all feel like they genuinely like each other. I especially like the camaraderie that develops between Finn and Poe (the spaceship pilot, not the Tellytubby) – they don’t share much sceentime together, but the actors really get across the sense that their characters take a liking to each other soon after meeting. What really sells the friendship and makes it endearing is the way it seems to kinda pleasantly surprise Finn (who was stolen from his family as a child and raised to be a solidier, so he probably doesn’t have too many other pals).

I also really appreciated that the film established upfront and early that our three heroes are genuinely nice, good people (which is something that weirdly has been forgotten in a couple of other recent megabudget escapist films):

Rey chooses not to sell the little droid that’s asking her for help, even though it could set her up for life. Finn literally spends his life training as a soldier, but then deserts the army when he’s asked to execute unarmed civilians. And Poe in the middle of a firefight/escape attempt, takes time to bond with Finn and thinks to give his new friend a proper name.

I liked these early establishing moments because they made us think “Oh, okay, these are decent, kind people.” – they’re not just the heroes of the story because the script says they’re the protagonists – which was often how it felt in (sorry to bring them up again) the prequels.

And speaking of the leads, I really like that this mega-mega budget blockbuster film A) seemingly had a black actor as its lead and B) went beyond that and played a bait-and-switch in the marketing – despite Finn being the character shown holding a lightsabre in the film’s poster and all the marketing, it’s actually Rey who’s our Trainee Jedi Luke Skywalker-figure for the new trilogy. Hurray for a female lead character!

Screen-Shot-2015-11-06-at-11.45.16-AM-e1446828395299Rey herself is a fun character – but there’s a lot of mystery around her: around who she is, why she was left alone on the desert planet in the first place, who her parents are, what connects her to the original Star Wars cast. I found those mysteries made it hard to connect with her as a straight-up audience identification figure in the same way you could immediately understand and project yourself onto Luke Skywalker in the original film.

Still, while Rey’s fuzzy past and motivations make it hard to connect with her as a character, it’s still clear from the film that she’s decent, athletic, self-reliant and moral. That is, she’s a good hero and role model.

I teach kids, so I’m (almost against my will) pretty plugged in to the games that are being played around the playground these days. It’s nice to see that girls have a cool, capable hero to be when the kids are playing Star Wars now, and that they’re not all stuck just being Princess Leia anymore.

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…Not that there’s anything wrong with being Princess Leia. Which brings me nicely to my next point:

Sooo…in the new film we catch up with the heroes from the original Star Wars trilogy; Leia and Han Solo have split up, and now Han’s depressingly still trying to be a smuggler. Luke tries to set up a school for Jedis, but quit and ran away sulking when he failed and all his students died. Even R2D2 has basically been in a coma for years…

Doesn’t that make the heroes of the old films… kinda failures? Like, CGI Lupita N’yongo drops some lines about how history always repeats itself in cycles, and there’s always an army of Dark Side guys waiting in the wings, and also that time is a flat circle, but really….

If 30 years after their major victory, there’s still an evil Empire with giant armies of stormtroopers and massive spaceships, run by an evil Emperor (sorry, excuse me, “Great Leader”) and his right hand man: a Skywalker who’s joined the Dark Side, and they can still blow up planets with their Death Star (sorry, excuse me, “Star Killer”)… then what did Luke and his friends actually change or achieve? In the end…kinda nothing.

(Okay, one thing has changed: they’re all older now – and they’ve become a new generation of old authority figures: Han’s now the cranky but mysterious Obi-Wan Kenobi figure, Luke’s a self-exiled Jedi teacher just like Yoda, and Leia’s replaced one of those Rebel general guys with the super-70’s hair and massive moustaches.)

Of course this is all just good storytelling and the film-makers rolling with the reality that all the original stars are 35 years older…but still, it sure must be depressing from those character’s perspectives. No wonder Luke looks so down in the dumps at the end.

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And coming back for a second to what Lupita N’yongo’s tiny old space-lady character says: if history in the world of Star Wars is a never-ending cycle and the bad guys always come back to set up a new Evil Empire, then doesn’t that mean that each and every Star Wars hero eventually ends up as a failure?

I wonder if in 2045 we’ll be settling in to watch Star Wars Episode 18, and seeing an old and bitter Finn grumble about how he has to help his long lost half-nephew save the galaxy from the evil Autocracy and their MurderSun. Meanwhile Poe has mysteriously disappeared/ ran off sulking somewhere in Wales because BB8 has joined the dark side, and everyone on the hologram-internet will be making bitchy comments about Rey’s weight.

 

 

Stray Thoughts:

  • Ooops, forgot to talk much about the villains: I thought the handling of Kylo Ren was really smart. The film-makers had a bit of a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” problem with inventing a bad guy for the new series: any evil, heavy-breathing red-lightsabered dark lord that came after Darth Vader was just going to seem like a pale imitation. So they just leaned into that and made it a big part of the new villain’s character: Kylo Ren absolutely is a wannabe pale imitation of Darth Vader.

 

  • Nice to see Dohmnall Gleeson’s Space Hitler character slink off at the end to return in another film – he’s an actor I really like.

 

  • And in other Irish connections: it turns out Luke Skywalker has been hiding out on Skellig Micheal all this time!

 

  • Sooo…it’s mentioned once or twice that Kylo Ren joined the dark side because he was “seduced” by the Supreme Leader (who’s totally nothing like the Emperor from the first Star Wars series, we swear guys). And that choice of words kinda got me thinking… this series of films sure do focus a lot on creepy robed old men “seducing” handsome innocent young men in their twenties, don’t they? Anakin and the Emperor in the prequel films, Luke and the Emperor again in the originals, and now Han and Leia’s son and the Supreme Leader. I’m just saying, there’s an awful lot of “seducing” going on…

 

  • Aaay, Admiral Ackbar’s still alive! I’ll bet he’s alerted people to so, so many traps in the last thirty years. And he’s buddies with Miles from “Lost” now too!

 

  • A weird thought: The Force Awaken is the first Star Wars film to have it’s episode number (7) match up with it’s release order (the seventh film in the series).

 

  • Say what you will, at least the First Order is more progressive in it’s hiring policies than the Empire: they’ve got black stormtroopers, Indian women in their control rooms, and Brienne from Game of Thrones as one of their commanders. The bad guys aren’t just all white British lads this time! Hurray?

 

  • RIP Han Solo: Harrison Ford’s been eyeing the door on this series since at least The Empire Strikes Back – nice to see he got his wish in the end. (Unless they bring him back as a ghost or flashback in later films – “Just when I think I’m out they pull me back in!”)

 

About the author: A lifelong TV addict since his first episode of Sesame Street, Cian Sheppard works as an English teacher in Poland and thinks you look very nice today.

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“Nothings sad ‘til it’s over. Then everything is.” – Hell Bent (Doctor Who)

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“Hey Cian, what’d you think of the Doctor Who finale?”

Em, well mostly I was just surprised that Clara’s not dead after all. Or she’s alive again. Either way, false alarm everybody!

Woof, this is a dense hour of television. I can’t think of an episode of Doctor Who more unfriendly to new viewers and first time watchers than “Hell Bent”: it’s an instalment that gives up on accessibility and focuses on a deep dive into plot points from the series recent and not so recent history.

It’s definitely not a standalone episode. You really need a hefty dose of background context to get the most from it. (And I’m saying that as someone with only very basic knowledge of the original pre-cancellation 60’s to 80’s run of the program: I’m sure there’s still tonnes here I’m missing.)

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First among the long list of plot points this week’s episode wraps up or pays off in some way is Clara’s two-year character arc as a kind of Apprentice Doctor.

Clara’s arc through Series 8 and 9, as she went from the Doctor’s friend to basically being a hero just like him, was highlighted most by her time as a substitute Doctor in last year’s “Flatline”, and by the opening parts of “Death in Heaven”, with Jenna Louise Coleman’s eyes being shown instead of Capaldi’s.

It was a character arc that seemed to have wrapped up two weeks ago in “Face the Raven”, which ended with Clara playing the Doctor role within the narrative (doing something dangerous and reckless to save her friend) and dying for it. (As that episode pointed out, it was the kind of situation the Doctor puts himself in all the time, the only difference being that he has the luxury of being able to regenerate after he dies, get up and walk away.)

As touching and earned and right for the character as Clara’s death in ”Face the Raven” was, it did kind of end up sending a weird and off-feeling message to the audience of children (and, um, older children…) that were watching: the message that “Trying to be like the Doctor is bad and dangerous and will get you killed” – which is an odd moral for, y’know, an episode of Doctor Who to give.

So I was quite glad to see the ending of “Raven” re-written here, as Clara gets brought back from the moment of her death by some vague Time Lord technology. At the start of this episode Clara is dead. By the end of it, she’s been made immortal, has stolen her own TARDIS, taken on a companion of her own and is off to travel in time and space. (Which is a pretty dramatic reversal of where I thought this episode was going…)

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Some of the best moments of the last two years of the show have come from Clara and the Doctor’s dynamic: the idea that they are best friends and equal partners, rather than the uneven power dynamic that there often is between the smart heroic Doctor and the pretty girl companion who asks him loads of questions.

Clara, on the other hand, for a variety of reasons and plot-gymnastics, has basically known the Doctor all his life, and been there with him (if not directly responsible for) some of the biggest moments of his recent history. She’s the Doctor’s equal and respected partner, not his companion. That’s why my favourite Clara line is still “You’re not my boss, you’re one of my hobbies.”

(This dynamic between them is great, but only when the writers remember to include it, and don’t just write Clara as a generic companion – I’m looking at you, guys who wrote the fecking Lake episodes and the one about the evil sleep dust…)

And Clara ultimately gets a send-off worthy of both her as the Doctor’s friend and equal, and her status as a kind of Doctor-in-training: in the end we see a human character rising to the same position within the narrative as the Doctor: now she’s an immortal hero bouncing around time and space in the last eternal second of her life, with her own time machine and companion.

She’s just as much a protagonist as the Doctor is now, and you can imagine the spin-off series where she and Ashildr go off and have 50+ years of their own time-travelling immortal heroic buddy adventures.

(And what a nice writing touch that the thing that eventually gets her out of the “the Doctor’s gonna erase my memories” situation, resolves the plot, and lets her run away in her own time machine to finish her transformation into a Doctor-figure, is the most Doctor-ish trick in the book: reversing the polarity of something.)

I think this rewriting of Clara’s original death scene works and doesn’t feel like a cop out because this new ending feels so in tune with the character and the ethos of the programme: “Clara tries to be like the Doctor, and eventually she does” is a much nicer and more satisfactory ending than “Clara tries to be like the Doctor, and eventually she dies.”

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The next plot point from Doctor Who’s past with a strong influence on “Hell Bent” is the moment from 2010 where the David Tennant Doctor decided to erase all his friend Donna’s memories of him, over her clear, repeated and tearful objections.

So that’s a moment that has rightly gone down as probably the most straight-up unlikeable and dickish thing we’ve seen the Doctor do in the new series, and he never really received much comeuppance for it. (In fact, the story mostly treated it like it was fine and not an awful thing for someone to do.)

That there was no karma or retribution for that oversteppping and violation hangs over this story: the last act is basically an echo and restaging of the Tennant/Donna scene from years ago: Clara’s got some information in her head that’ll kill her eventually, so the Doctor unilaterally decides that to keep her alive he’ll erase all he memories of the last few years and their time together, and he makes this decision even when Clara makes it really clear that it’s not what she wants.

But of course this time the scene plays out differently: Clara’s relationship with the Doctor has always been a more equal one than his friendship with Donna, and she basically forces him to listen to her and accept her point of view:

“These have been the best years of my life, and they are mine. Tomorrow’s promised to no-one, but I insist upon my past, I am entitled to that. It’s mine.”

So that’s basically a 5-year over due “Cop yourself on you selfish dick” to the Tennant Doctor, worked into the climax of a story that also features Clara’s departure, the return of the Time Lords, Maise Williams showing up again, time travel to the end of the universe, the wrapping up of several long-running plots, and the Doctor having his memory erased…

(I told you there was a lot going on in this episode).

 

 

Stray Thoughts:

  • Sooo.. The Doctor was the Hybrid in the end? Or the Doctor and Clara together were? Or Maise Williams was? Or Paul McGann was? Eh, whatever…

 

  • “The Time Lords have got a big computer, made of ghosts, in a crypt, guarded by more ghosts.” “Didn’t hurt, did it?” “Little bit.”

 

  • I really liked the line the evil head Time Lord had about the Doctor, that “words are his weapon” – because it kinda clarified why I find the Doctor and Doctor Who so enjoyable: he’s a superhero who doesn’t use violence to solve his problems. At the end of the day, in 99.99% of Spider-Man stories, you can imagine a pretty clear three-act structure to how the plot will play out, and you can be similarly sure that the third-act will be resolved by Spider-Man punching the bad-guy really hard, or in some other way winning a physical fight. Same goes for Batman, and Superman (I assume – who the hell reads Superman comics?) But because writers can’t just have the Doctor punch his way out of every situation, the way he beats each episode’s bad guy has to be more creative and though-out than “hit the Dalek until he falls down.” – There has to be a creative and semi-unique solution to the problem each monster presents.

 

  • It also means that solutions that genuinely aren’t possible in other superhero stories are possible within the story-telling world of Doctor Who: Spider-Man, as much as he may try, can never convince a villain to stand-down, re-evaluate what they’re doing, and give in without a fight. That simply can’t happen within the bounds of the story, because a Spider-Man story is built around the draw of two men in goofy costumes kicking the shit out of each other – that’s the whole attraction the selling-point, so the fight is inevitable. But because Doctor Who stars a hero who uses words as his weapon, he actually can sometimes convince a bad guy to just stand down without a fight, and it can be a satisfying climax to the story, as it was in this season’s (absolutely phenomenal) “The Zygon Inversion”.(Also, let’s be honest: a super-smart, quippy hero who’s greatest weapon are words is a complete power fantasy for booky people like me who are straight-up terrible at sport…)

 

  • So the grumpy bald white-guy Time Lord general gets shot and regenerates into… a black woman. I really like how in the last few years the series has been sneakily making the regeneration rules more and more inclusive and progressive: gradually laying the groundwork for the idea that the Doctor doesn’t always have to be a white British man anymore.

 

  • “What’s his plan?” “I think he’s finishing his soup.”

About the author: A lifelong TV addict since his first episode of Sesame Street, Cian Sheppard works as an English teacher in Poland and thinks you look very nice today.

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Our Best of 2015

Best Novel

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Noel – The Library at Mount Char, by Scott Hawkins. 

This isn’t just one of my top novels of 2015, but one of the best I’ve ever read. It’s…eclectic, and difficult to put into words. For a novel of this quality to come from a debut author is something very special indeed as well! Part mystery, part fantasy, part action, part horror – Scott Hawkins has definitely created some kind of new genre here, though I’m not sure what it is. One of those novels that certainly warrants a re-read and never lets up, I could not recommend it highly enough.

Best Game

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Noel – The Order:1886

Well this is disappointing. I knew my games had fallen behind but not this much. Not only did I have to google games that were released this year, but I found that this is the only title released in the past 12 months that I’ve played. So, my best game of 2015 was a little easy to choose. Which is disappointing, because I expected great things from it. Monsters, steampunk, werewolves, Tesla as a weapons designer, the knights of the round table – this had the potential to be epic! We got a very bland and unpolished third person shooter, without that much shooting – more dropping the controller and letting them show off the pretty graphics for most of the games staggering four hour run….Let’s move on to better things, shall we?

Cian – Game of Thrones The Card Game

I’m inclined to agree with you Noel: I haven’t played any videogame at all that was released in 2015.

Part of the reason is that even 2 years into their production runs, none of the Playstation 4 or X-box One games have looked very interesting to me. (Shadow of Mordor was the only game from this year that piqued my Tolkien-nerd interest, so I’ll probably end up picking up a PS3 copy of that one once the price goes down.)

Right now console gaming, at least until the release of the next Bioshock game, isn’t a space that’s holding my attention. So I’m gonna go out of the digital space for my pick and talk about my favourite board game/ card game of the year: The Game of Thrones Living Card Game.

must have played at least fifty games of this over the year – it seems like most things with the “Game of Thrones” branding are destined to be compelling and addictive.

The game is at its core a reworking of “Magic the Gathering” with Game of Thrones characters – But where it really distinguishes itself is with its “challenge” system. Basically, instead of each piece just simply being rated on its fighting ability, as you’ll see in most games like this, all the characters can potentially be used to attack, do something sneaky and underhanded, or make a big political propaganda move. It triples the potential options available to you and your opponent each turn, and really captures the feeling of the series – where clever lies and political maneuvering can win you power just as easily as fighting can.

Best TV Show

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Noel – Fargo Season 2

I’m afraid I cheated a little here – I had previously had Daredevil here, but have changed this in the draft stage. The reason being that I actually only watched it this year, though as it came out last year I’m going to like it.

I can’t say enough good things about this show. I loved season 1, and Season 2 was certainly on par with no drop in quality. The cast were stellar, as before, and the storytelling is of the utmost  quality. It is said that good storytelling should do things – make you feel, and make you think. Fargo delivers on both fronts.  The story of a well-meaning butcher and his manipulative wife being roped into the middle of a war between a mob from Kansas and a small time criminal family is marvellously told. Full of symbolism, some of the best cinematography I think I’ve ever seen, and one scene that I’ve rewatched so many times because of how hauntingly beautiful is (Danny Boy). With a new season confirmed, October can’t come quick enough.

Cian – Netflix Originals

Ooh, tough one! There was heaps of good television this year: from the old statesmen like Mad Men and Justified making their swansongs, to fresh and creative arrivals on the scene like poor old under-appreciated Limitless.

In fact there was so much TV of note this year that I’m just going to shamelessly cheat again and say all of the Netflix Originals were my joint pick for best of the year!

As you mentioned Noel, the Marvel “cinematic universe” delivered some strong drama from unexpected source material by zooming in to focus on urban superheroes/ninjas/private-eyes with Daredevil and Jessica Jones. (In the end I found Daredevil more consistent, but god-damn, when Jessica Jones was on fire it was really, really on fire.)

I picked up Bojack Horseman on a whim over the Summer, having previously dismissed it. (Boy was I wrong!) : I came for and was soon endeared by the series’ goofy Family Guy style humour and animal puns. But I stayed for and was hooked by the sad, self-sabotaging but ultimately likeable characters, the strange philosophical tangents and the deep streak of sadness and poignancy that runs through it. (<- Which is a very strange thing to say about a cartoon about a talking horse who’s also a washed up sitcom actor, I know.)

And there was The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, which was probably the straight-up funniest series I saw this year…and, of course, last but by no means least: Sense8.

The Matrix’s Wachowskis) very very odd progressive and inclusive superhero series had some definite misteps: : in particular, the African and Indian characters are sketched in with far broader strokes than the rest of the cast, and English speakers and Americans loom large over the supposedly international story.

But all that aside, I had an absolute whale of a time with this series and I can damn sure respect the effort to step beyond America and the mainstream. Any step like this in the right direction is to commended.

Oh yeah, and Lito is strong,strong in the running for my favourite character of the year – especially when he’s drunkenly sobbing for Hernando.

“Heeerrnaaannndoooooo…..!!!!”

(And just in case I haven’t ran long enough: Honourable Mentions to Agent Carter and Survivor: Second Chance.)

Best Movie

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Noel – Inside Out

This was tricky. Which says a lot – 2015 was a great year for cinema. Spectre, Mission Impossible, Mad Max, The Good Dinosaur, Star Wars, and plenty more I’m sure I’m missing. But coming out top for me is Inside Out. Nobody does movies that appeal to both adults and children as well as Pixar, and Inside Out was wonderfully inventive. The overall premise had a lot of potential, and Pixar did not let it go to waste, with annoying jingles that we keep remembering explained, the train of thought, dreams being made in a film studio – it was amazing. Not to mention the awesome cast, including Leslie Knope! I got this one for Christmas, and couldn’t have been happier. Here’s to hoping 2016 is filled with equally marvellous movies!

Cian – Star Wars

Oh, Star Wars. C’mon, did anyone think I wasn’t gonna say Star Wars? My list of reasons why is pretty damn long (look for that list in blog form on this site sometime reasonably soon).

So with that said, lemme throw out Honourable Mentions to Inside Out (for all the reasons you mentioned Noel), and Ex Machina (tip of the hat to Irish actor Domhnall Gleeson – who we also saw this year in The Force Awakens in the role of Surprisingly Youthful Space Hitler).

And then a bit of a surprise hit for me: Danny Boyle and Aaron Sorkin’s Steve Jobs: I was never much of an Apple fanboy, but I am a massive sucker for Aaron Sorkin and his “intelligent professional people are incredibly charming and eloquent and witty and fast-talking all the time – and if you identify with them surely that must mean you’re smart and witty and preogressive and a really fast talker too” – style of storytelling. I also really enjoyed the structure of the film: broken into three 30-odd minute mini-acts, where we jump around the chronology of Jobs’ life and catch up with him as he freaks out and deals with a litany of problems behind the scenes before the launch of various major Apple products.

Myself and some friends more or less walked into this film on a whim, but it’s really stuck with me in a way I didn’t expect – which I guess is all you can ask for when you take a chance on a random movie, isn’t it?

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Five Festive Favourites

Ah Christmas movies. An integral part of the festive season. Picture this – the biscuits are open. A hot cup of coffee, warm to the touch. The rains pelting off the window. The fire’s roaring. Your peripheral vision is filled with cheerful flashing lights. And you’re popping in the DVD(in this scenario, people still use DVDs). But with a plethora of choices available to us, it’s hard to choose the right one. As one of those people who embraces the holiday season with fervor, I’ve seen countless Christmas movies over the last couple of weeks, and so I’ve decided to present you with my top picks.

5. Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas

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I love this movie so much. The first time I saw it was when I was eight years old and my grandmother gifted it to me on VHS. For those of you who haven’t seen it, it’s a compilation of three stories – one based around Donald and his family, one about Goofy and his son, and one about Mickey and Minnie.

Donald’s story is based around his three nephews, Huey, Dewy and Louie. They make a wish for Christmas every day, and enter into a time loop a la Groundhog Day. Whilst initially delighted at the prospect, they soon find themselves bored and wish for it to end. Along the way they learn that materialism is not the true essence of Christmas, and they come to appreciate the wonderful and loving family they have.

Goofy’s story is based around his son Max’s lack of belief in Santa. Goofy then goes all out in an effort to prove to his son that Santa does believe. But whilst the plot revolves around Max’s belief, the heart of this story is the love between father and son. Two moments in particular really struck a chord with me. Goofy’s snow shovelling message, and his response to Max when asked where his present is.

Mickey and Minnie’s story is based on the classic “Gift of the Magi” tale. Mickey and Minnie are both quite poor and sacrifice what is most dear to each of them to get each other the perfect gift. In doing so they render each other’s gifts useless, but both come away the happier knowing how much they mean to each other.

And to cap it all off, the entire crew come together to give us a few pretty fantastic Christmas carols.

Full of Disney’s charm and sappy Christmas cheer, this one just can’t help but make me feel all festive and cheerful inside.

4. Muppet’s Christmas Carol

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I’ll waste nobody’s time in explaining this tale. The classic from Dickens has been adapted to just about any medium yo ucould imagine, often repeatedly so. It speaks volumes then, that the Muppets lay claim to what I, and I know many others, consider by far the strongest adaptation. Here in Ireland, the national broadcaster airs a family film every Saturday evening. And being the season that it is, the last several weeks have been Christmas movies, and I’ve been tuning in. When I saw that two days ago they had decided upon the animated version released in 2009 with Jim Carrey, I was actually devestated. And, of course, I watched the Muppets version myself later.

I hope you’ve seen it. And if not, make 2015 the year that you do. Michael Caine takes on the mantle of Scrooge, and this is an adaptation well worth watching.

3. It’s a Wonderful Mic

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Alright, I’ll admit I’m a teensy bit biased on this one. I’m a huge fan of the band Walk off the Earth. They made this movie last year but only patrons could see it. This year though, they released it on Youtube. In case the title didn’t give it away, it is of course based on “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Though a lot more silly, playful and cheerful. That might be my favourite thing about the movie actually, and I liked a lot of stuff about the movie. But where other movies ask you to suspend disbelief and buy into it, the band here look like they’re having a blast filming. It’s meant to be fun and that’s what they treat it as. The acting is predictably awful, but you can’t help but feel as you’re watching it that the cast really don’t care – they’re just having festive fun. The star of the show is, of course, the music. The band has adapted several classic Christmas carols, all of which are predictably amazing.

The movie follows Gianni, who feels the band are holding him back and wishes that the badn never existed. He then finds himself in a reality where they didn’t and it’s a blast seeing the band members in the roles they would have had if Walk off the Earth had never taken off.

If you feel like a Christmas musical and like some indie Christmas music, then you’ve found it. And best of all, it’s freely accessible on youtube.

2. The Polar Express

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I have spent an ungodly amount of time analyzing this movie, as have many others. And I still haven’t decided entirely what I think. For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, it follows a young boy who desparately wants to believe in Santa but simply can’t get over his doubts. Once he goes to sleep on Christmas Eve, he is woken almost immediately by the arrival of the titular train to take him to the North Pole. His belief is both challenged and encouraged along the way, with the ability to hear a bell acting as a tool to indicate whether or not somebody believes.

There’s several indicators that the boy’s entire trip was a dream, not least of which comes the next morning, when the boy’s dressing gown pocket tears. The same pocket that had supposedly already been torn on the trip. But that leaves the return of the bell entirely unexplained. Logically, it cannot be reasoned. The trip could not have happened if the dressing gown pocket only tore in the morning. The bell could not have been returned had it not been given by Santa at the North Pole. But I think that’s the point. The movie defies logic. The trip happened. We’re not supposed to analyse it. To figure it out. It couldn’t have happened. But it did.

And that’s without even mentioning the hobo, who the conductor really was, what each kid represented. This is the one Christmas movie I know that could be discussed for hours around a pub table. If you haven’t seen it, watch it. If you have seen it, watch it again.

1. Elf

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And my personal favourite. The funniest, most light-hearted, and definitely most quotable Christmas movie I’ve seen to date. For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, it follows a human, named Buddy, who was raised in the North Pole as an elf. When he discovers he’s a human, he travels to New York to find his father, who is on the naughty list. And the ensuing hijinks are hilarious. From lighting up elevator buttons, to drinking whiskey(which he mistakenly thought was syrup) and dancing in the mailroom, to accusing an actor of not being Santa Claus, to doing the splits on an escalator, I should probably stop before I just keep going on indefintiely. I’ve seen this film too many times to count, and every time I get some full belly laughs out of it. A modern classic, this one is a must if you’re seeking some Christmas cheer, with an all star cast to boot. Besides, we get to see Tyrion Lannister as a children’s writer. Just let that sink in for a minute.

And so concludes my list! As a sidenote, I’ve seen most Christmas movies with my amazingly festive sister who helps me keep the Christmas cheer repeatedly throughout the merry season, so thanks Emsy! I’ll also concede to co-writer Cian that he was right about our Christmas discussion, as evidenced by the fact that The Muppets Christmas Carol features on this list.

Merry Christmas to our readers, and to all…a good night.

About the Author:

Rumored to have been born with a games controller in his hand, Noel Gleeson works as a Java Developer in Ireland and loves all things pop culture.

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“I will never, ever stop.” – Heaven Sent (Doctor Who)

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Two things were highlighted in the run-up/buzz/promotion for Series 9 of Doctor Who: the first was that Game of Thrones’ Maise Williams would be guest-starring in a run of episodes, and the second was that there would be an episode in the second half of the season with Peter Capaldi as the only actor who appears.

A one-man play on a massive scifi budget. Let’s see where that goes…

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Grieving the death of Clara at the end of last week’s episode, the Doctor is teleported to a massive clockwork castle, full of shifting rooms, mysterious clues, and a shambling robed nightmare that’ll kill him if he doesn’t tell it truths he’s never told anyone else before.

Oh, and there are signs that maybe this isn’t the first time the Doctor’s been here…

Since the Doctor is (basically) the only character in this story, the episode obviously lives and dies on Peter Capaldi’s performance. He rises to the challenge, as we’ve come to expect.

Whenever we’ve seen the Doctor grieving the loss of a friend in the past, he’s usually just got a bit shout-ey/ sulky/ angry and went looking for a way to vent his frustration.

Capaldi-Doc tries that here at first, when he first appears in the castle, launching into a speech about how if whoever has kidnapped him is connected to Clara’s death, then they should be very worried – and then finishing with the ironic-in-hindsight declaration that “I am the Doctor. I’m coming to find you, and I will never, ever stop.”

But he soon loses his righteous anger, as he scrambles to figure out the castle and stay ahead of it’s resident shambling Dementor-monster. The change in circumstances forces him from his knee-jerk angry-hero-on-the-warpath mode and into survival-mode, and his grief dissipates into something more melancholy and relatable:

He talks to Clara in his head and imagines her responses her responses printed neatly on the blackboard (“Always the teacher.”)

At first his interactions with his Imaginary Friend Clara are pretty much the same as when she was alive: he makes jokes in the face of death (“Finally run out of corridor. There’s a life summed up.”), and talks rapid-fire at her as a way of thinking through possible escape plans.

(To help him in the right direction with his planning, the Imaginary Clara even shares the same insight she had in The Witch’s Familiar: “Assume you’re going to survive”.)

But after he figures out the rhythms and rules of the castle, and has a little time to reflect, his interactions with Imaginary Clara get more melancholy. After finding another clue he asks “What would you do?”, the chalkboard in his head answers SAME AS YOU, and he says “Yes, yes of course you would. Which, let’s be honest, is what killed you.”

And later, after he’s apparently been in the castle for a longer while he mumbles “It’s funny: The day you lose someone isn’t the worst. At least you’ve got something to do. It’s all the days they stay dead.”

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The castle is a creepy place: the robed, grasping monster plods slowly after you, and the screens dotted around the rooms that show whatever it’s looking at, like it’s got a Helmetcam. This is helpful in knowing where it is and when it’ll be close to you, but it’s also unnerving – emphasising that it’s always, always coming for you and if you ever stop moving or slow down it’ll be there.

The castle is surrounded by the sea on all sides, and under the water there’s a vast riverbed of skulls, suggesting that many, many other people have been and died there.

But then there are touches to the place that seem personal to the Doctor: the monster is from a recurring bad dream he’s had since seeing the rotting corpse of an old woman when he was a young boy (“Who’s been stealing my nightmares?”). There’s a crumbling portrait of Clara that somehow seems to be thousands of years old. And after he comes out of the water surrounding the castle, and goes to look for somewhere to dry out, he finds a room with a fire-place and a set of nice, dry clothes that are exact duplicates of the wet ones he’s wearing. Hmm…

And then there’s the fact that judging by the positions of the stars, 7,000 years have passed since the end of last episode and the start of this one, but he doesn’t remember that at all…

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The Doctor’s grieving for Clara is paralleled and linked with his process of discovering and surviving the castle. He’s put on the defensive by this strange and hostile environment, so we don’t see him transforming his grieving into sulking and aggression as we’ve seen other Doctors do (cough)DavidTennant(cough).

Instead Capaldi’s Doctor is much more relatable and human in his grief, because the situation has left him so powerless: Clara is gone, but his life now is hard and stressful, so all he can really do is try to cope with his loss as he gets on with the business of survival.

And then comes the big reveal (did you guess it?) – He’s been in the castle for thousands of years. The twist relies on the logic of The Prestige: the teleport machine has a digital copy of the Doctor saved on its hard drive, and every time he dies in the castle, the machine just pops out a new Doctor – a fresh copy with no memory of the castle, who thinks he just watched Clara die a few minutes ago. And this process, him being copied and dying and copied again, has been going on in iterations for 7,000 years.

He’s stuck on repeat, looping through the freshest parts of the grieving process forever.

The castle and the whole situation he’s in are obviously designed and personalised just for him. The trap he’s in: locked in a cycle of dying so a younger copy can take his place (“Burning the old me to make a new one” as he puts it) is a twisted version of the Doctor’s most famous super-power, turned back on him and used as a weapon.

After all, everybody knows that when the Doctor dies, a new version of him just appears in a flash of light. This whole episode echoes with the David Tennant Doctor’s complaint that “I die and some new man walks away.”

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Every time, at the point where he realises that he’s just one of thousands of versions of himself who have lived and died here, he’s also able to remember everything from all the other iterations of the trap. (How he’s able to remember the experiences of all his dead duplicates is left unexplained – let’s just say it’s one of his unmentioned Time Lord superpowers…)

This is probably his lowest moment, where the futility of his time in the castle, the horrific nature of the trap he’s in, and the weight of Clara’s death all hit him at once. He really, really wants to just lie down, give in, and tell whoever put him in the trap exactly what they want to hear. (As he says, “Can’t I just lose? Just this once? It would be so easy…”)

Just when it looks like he’s just going to fold and give up totally, the episode breaks its much-hyped one-actor rule, and Clara drops by.

Jenna Coleman – as the Doctor’s memory of Clara – only shows up for maybe 30 seconds of dialogue, but it’s enough to shake the Doctor out of his self-pity and put him on the road to recovering from his grief (oh yeah, and beating the bad guys):

“You are not the only person who ever lost someone. It’s the story of everybody. Get over it. Beat it. Break free. Doctor, it’s time. Get up off your arse and win.”

This moment of revelation and epiphany, that happens to each iteration of the Doctor in each iteration of the castle, turns out to be the key to his eventual escape. (I say eventual cos it takes him 2 billion more years to break out in the end):

In every version, he remembers the story of the bird and the diamond mountain from the Grimm brothers (“Lovely fellows. They’re on my darts team.”), and is spurred on in his lowest moment by his memory of Clara. The exit from the castle is locked behind a thick wall of pure diamond. So he punches through it.

He punches through it bit by bit over millennia: hitting it a few times and eroding it just a bit more in the seconds before the monster gets him, over and over and over and over until he finally breaks through.

So, to strip back the metaphor: the Doctor grieves his friend’s death for what feels like ages, until a story and the memory of his friend help him reach a breakthrough and move on to the next thing. That’s a nice, mature and realistic view of grief and loss (even if the metaphorical Grief-Castle itself is a horrible place to get locked up, and the Doctor emerges furious rather than well-adjusted and at peace…)

Oh yeah, and the bad guys who put him in the trap for millennia are the Time Lords, and the Doctor is secretly the Hybrid, which was prophesized to conquer Gallifrey, all along….(shrugs). As much as I was impressed by “Heaven Sent” as a whole,  I’m actually not that excited by either of those two final story twists.

Still, let’s see how they play out next week…

 

 

Stray Thoughts:

  • “Are you gardeners? I hate gardening! What sort of a person has a power complex about flowers? It’s dictatorship for inadequates. Or to put it another way, it’s dictatorship.”

 

  • The Doctor has a Sherlock-style mind palace: it looks suspiciously similar to the inside of the TARDIS, which I guess is handy for the set-building budget…

 

  • Wait, so was that Confession Dial just lying on that hill for two billion years?

 

  • “There are two events in everybody’s life that nobody remembers. Two moments experienced by every living thing, yet no one remembers anything about them. Nobody remembers being born, and nobody remembers dying.”

 

  • Ok, so it’s not technically a one-actor show: there’s that little boy that shows up in the final scene, and Jenna Coleman returns for a two-line appearance, but c’mon, let’s just roll with it.

 

  • “How could there be other prisoners in my Hell?”

 

  • If we’re going with the reading that he remembers every other failed iteration of himself in the castle (which I think the line “I can remember it all. Every time.” strongly suggests) then by the end of the episode doesn’t the Doctor now have 2 billion years-worth of new memories? And wouldn’t that make him, mentally if not physically, 2 billion years older?

 

  • “Clearly you can’t make an actual psychic link with a door, for one very obvious reason: they’re notoriously cross.”

 

About the author: A lifelong TV addict since his first episode of Sesame Street, Cian Sheppard works as an English teacher in Poland and thinks you look very nice today.

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Binge Watch Diary – Jessica Jones (Part 2)

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Ain’t nobody got time to write a thousand words on each episode of these Netflix shows, when they’re all released together in huge 13-hour chunks.

So I’m trying a new format: just jotting down some quick observations and impressions from each episode, and then maybe doing a big whole-series wrap up post at the end.

This week, the middle four episode of Jessica Jones:

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Episode 5 – The Sandwich Saved Me

(Despite Jessica’s objections, Trish’s new friend Simpson gets involved in the hunt for Kilgrave. Jessica recalls a pivotal moment in her life.)

  • Jessica contemplates her CV – “Would you put day drinking under experience or special skills?”

 

  • She can also fly, Buzz Lightyear style (“It’s more like guided falling.”)

 

  • Is that the MCU’s first eating-out scene (that we know of…)?

 

  • “Get outta the road you stupid sandwich!” – Line of the episode!

 

  • Heh, nice way to reference/mock the original Jewel costume from the comics, without anyone actually having to wear it – “The only place someone’s wearing that is trick or treating or as part of some kinky roleplaying scenario.”

 

  • Jessica really, really looks like the redneck character from Orange Is The New Black when she puts up her hoodie.

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  • So they’re trying to trap David Tennant in a soundproof room so he can’t mind-control his way out. Could this lead to a Killgrave as Hannibal Lecter situation next episode?

 

  • He got that guy hooked on heroin just so he’d blend in more and be a better spy? What an asshole.

 

  • Jaysus, that prison beating looked brutal.

 

  • And now he wants daily selfies from her? What a creep…

 

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Episode 6 – You’re A Winner!

(Luke hires Jessica to help him find someone who may have skipped town, but she fears he’ll learn too much about her history in the process.)

  • Hmm, I guess mind-control powers would make winning poker a lot easier…

 

  • “I prefer your brain on drugs.”

 

  • “Bitch best be careful messin’ with my digits. I got ladies to satisfy!”

 

  • So the scene where Hope tells Jessica she’s pregnant is the darkest thing that’s ever been shown in a Marvel story so far, by a long, long margin, right? Jaysus.

 

  • Aw, she’s still sending him pictures?

 

  • Ok, just being able to mind-control everyone around you to shut up when you need some quiet time would be pretty handy too…

 

  • Ooh, now Luke knows about Killgrave…

 

  • “You don’t have to face him alone…” “Yeah I do. “Good for you.”- Hurray for Luke respecting her and not trying to jump in on her thing like a knight protecting a damsel in distress.

 

  • “It’s not for you to decide who knows my history.”

 

  • “Sweet Christmas!” – Aaay, he said it again!

 

  • Heh, he really turned the tables on those guys! (by hitting them with a table)

 

  • Ooops, he’s gonna kill that bus driver… I hope we’re not slipping into the whole “Angry, strong, thuggish black man” stereotype with Luke’s character here.

 

  • Oh, Tennant bought her house.

 

  • In the comics his full name is Zebadiah (!) Killgrave. I wonder if he had to sign that on the deed to the house…

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Episode 7 – Top Shelf Perverts

(Malcom, Simpson and Trish go rogue to prevent Jessica from carrying out an extreme plan to outwit Kilgrave.)

  • Ohhhh…Wendy is the same actress who played Calamity Jane in Deadwood. Mystery solved, that’s been bothering me all week!

 

  • Aw, poor old creepy twin guy.

 

  • In Ireland, Supermax is a cheap fast food restaurant. In America, Supermax is a type of prison. There are some funny lines in this episode for an Irish person.

 

  • Such as: “Supermax is a hightech mousetrap.” – Yeah, you’ve to go up two flights of stairs to get to the bathrooms…

 

  • “What do I have to do to get locked up in Supermax by sundown?”   – Lower your standards, I guess.

 

  • And my personal favourite: “I am sick, I’m dangerous, and I belong in Supermax.” – If the company is looking for a new slogan, I think we might have one here…

 

  • Do Trish and Cop-Guy just stay in her apartment and have sex all day? Dats cool, dats cool.

 

  • “He’s been drawing their initials with a big heart around them on his etch-a-sketch. Something’s going on.”

 

  • Wait, the twins names are Rubin and Robin? Huh.

 

  • Going to see her adopted mother: “Taking you in was the worst decision of my life.” “Thanks mom.”

 

  • “Or until I find you bludgeoned to death with my vacuum cleaner?” “…We both know you don’t own a vacuum cleaner.”

 

  • Ahh, decapitated head!

 

  • “I have absolutely no intention of controlling you. I want you to act of your own accord.”

 

  • “The next person who’s phone rings has to eat it!”

 

  • “You’re the first thing, excuse me, person I ever wanted that walked away from me.”

 

  • “Tell him I’m sorry about the zoo, we can go this weekend.” – Awww…

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Episode 8 – WWJD?

(Jessica experiences a strange homecoming courtesy of Kilgrave. Hogarth’s conflict with her estranged wife reaches a tipping point.)

  • So far these Netflix Marvel shows have had some class theme songs.

 

  • “I suppose that went as well as can be expected.” – Heh, I like that Kilgrave can deadpan a little.

 

  • Her present is a purple dress – get it, cos in the comics his name’s the Purple Man? Also, why’s his name the Purple Man?

 

  • “How do people live like this? Day after day just hoping people are going to do what you want, it’s unbearable.”

 

  • “I’ll be having a liquid dinner.”

 

  • “I’m sorry.” “Well, I’m going to have to ask for that in cash.”

 

  • “I was mad at you for literally throwing me under the bus.” – Heh.

 

  • “It makes me feel important.” – Okay forcing the nosy gossipy neighbour to be brutally honest with herself was a liiiiitlle bit satisfying.

 

  • Exposition video of how Kilgrave got his powers. His name is a We Need to Talk About Kevin reference, right? Or a Home Alone reference?

 

  • “All this shit that you do is because nobody ever taught you how to be good?!” – Not sure I buy this whole “Killgrave can be redeemed into a cool antihero” thing they’re going for here…

 

  • “If I’m not back within two hours, please remove the skin from each others faces.” – Okay, nevermind, he’s still a creep.

 

  • So Jessica accidentally killed her family by acting like a bitchy teenage girl? Hard to blame her too much for that.

 

  • “Trippy psycho-drama bullshit and nightmare Barbie’s dream house bullshit.” – Well, that sums up this episode up nicely.

 

  • “Bitches right?”

 

  • “This is what Jessica would do.”

 

 

About the author: A lifelong TV addict since his first episode of Sesame Street, Cian Sheppard works as an English teacher in Poland and thinks you look very nice today.

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