Tag Archives: Mary

“Frontier” Season 1 – A Good Start to the Trade and Political Drama of the 1700s

“Frontier” is  a show whose premise I loved and whose story has a lot of potential to be extremely great. There are a few things that keep it from being great though and those are the cliffhanger ending and the main protagonist and villain just aren’t all that complex and because the focus is on them and not the more interesting characters it brings the story down and keeps it from a great Season 1.

The story of “Frontier” takes place in Canada as the Kree, Americans, French, Scottish and English Hudson Bay Company vay for control of the Fur Trade in the area. Beneath of all this the story follows Michael Smyth (Landon Laboiron) an Irishman from England who is blackmailed by Lord Benton (Alun Armstrong) into becoming a spy against Declan Harp (Jason Mamoa), a half-Kree warrior seeking revenge against Benton and the Hudson Bay Company.

Slight SPOILERS

The Pros: The Factions – There are a lot of factions in this show and that is what makes it so interesting. You have Kree who want trade and those who want war, you have the brothers and one of the brother’s wives representing the Scots, you have Lord Benton and the Hudson Bay Company and his Captain Chesterfield who is his protector and enforcer and Grace and her Ale House which she uses to broker information and work her way into the fur trade as well, while helping Declan Harp on his revenge quest as well as an American faction causing chaos and trying to gain control over the area too.

The Ale House – The Ale House is one of the most interesting places on the show as here secrets are revealed and we see it as the only true women run faction in the area after the Kree leader is overthrown by her son. Seeing them navigate a world where women are treated like dirt is fascinating and Grace is a way more compelling character than Michael or Lord Benton as she leans good but is ruthless and shows how she has survived and thrived.

Declan Harp – Jason Mamoa’s Declan Harp is amazing! This is a man who lost everything to Lord Benton when his family was murdered by him after he joined the Kree and looked out for Native interests (his mother’s side of his family) and from this we see why he is so lost in revenge. This arc is still open though as in the end he escapes death (he does this a few times) but as far as we know, Lord Benton is still alive after the chaos.

Okay: The Protagonist and main Villain – Michael and Lord Benton are acted well but written flatly. Benton is just a misogynistic, racist, greedy man and Michael is just the idealist boy wanting to save his girlfriend who finds a higher calling in Declan’s cause. Both of them could have been given so much more complexity.

The Cons: Cliffhanger Ending – The Cliffhanger ending is really what brings the story down the most. The writer’s didn’t know if they’d get a Season 2 (Which they did thankfully) so leaving it open ended just made it so all the work and loss and fighting meant nothing. The factions are still aligned and though some maybe battered, we haven’t seen anything really change. We aren’t shown any solid change outside of Michael joining Declan over his girlfriend and even within that Lord Benton was implied to be still alive. For all the setup over the 6 episodes, there needed to be solid payoff.

This is a good start to a series that has so much potential. I love the fact that we see the different reasons that different factions have for wanting to join or fight the Hudson Bay Company and how complicated the politics get as each of the faction’s leaders vay for control of the trade even as other aspects of the war blind them to that or do things that hurt their own factions cause. I’m glad this show got renewed for a Season 2, this like “Dark Matter” is another good show coming out of Canada and one I highly recommend.

Final Score: 8.3 / 10 Cliffhanger and predictable protagonist brought it down but still a good start to what could become an unforgettable series.

 

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Sherlock – Series 4, Episode 2 – “The Lying Detective” – Character Development and Confession…This was Needed and Succeeded

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“The Lying Detective” is up there with one of my favorite episodes in “Sherlock.” This is an episode that captures the best parts of what made so much of Series 2 work. What drives this story is the core relationship between John and Sherlock, especially as it relates to family aka Mycroft and Mary. This gives it power as there is an underpinning of vulnerability that pervades the entire episode.

The episode was directed by Nick Hurran and written by Steven Moffat and produced by Sue Vertue.

The story involves Sherlock regressing back into addiction as he seeks to take down a man he suspects of being a serial killer (Culverton Smith). John hasn’t seen him for weeks but finds himself pulled back into Sherlock’s game as the plot to take down Culverton unfolds.

SPOILERS ahead

The Pros: The Set-up – The episode starts out with Culverton confessing to his friends he’s a killer and wiping their memories of the incident. Immediately he is established as a powerful antagonist and we get Sherlock’s obsession with him.

The Cinematography – The cinematography is once again beautiful, it continues to be one of the strongest aspects of this show.

The Action – This is an action heavy episode and the tension stays high through everything. I honestly didn’t know what would happen at times and that made the narrative stronger.

The Soundtrack – David Arnold and Michael Price’s score is really on display this episode as we get the haunting terror of Culverton the drug fueled isolation of Sherlock and John’s loneliness. The music feeds the narrative and strengthens it.

The Characters – The characters have always been the best part of the show and thankfully Moffat manages to develop many of them this episode, rather than keeping them static.

Molly – Molly appears briefly and does a good job at balancing out John as she is the second Doctor who John requests before he’ll help Sherlock take down Culverton.

Culverton Smith – Toby Jones is so good at playing creeps. In this we see his obsession and safety in being a billionaire and tied to politicians and businesses. It takes Sherlock entering Hell for him to confess what he’s done though when he is caught he shows that he’s been holding all this in and still feels happy as he’ll be even more famous once him being a killer comes out. He’s a sick individual and it makes for an interesting character.

Mrs. Hudson – Mrs. Hudson helps bring John and Sherlock together as we see she has a nice car (her drug lord husband) and that she doesn’t take crap from anyone. This is a great Mrs. Hudson episode as we see how she notices things and knows Sherlock and Mycroft better than anyone. It was a nice twist and it added a lot of depth to her character.

Mycroft – Mycroft is a lizard for most of this episode when he isn’t looking after Sherlock and trying to be a good brother. We also see that he’s trying to protect his sister, which John first figures out in the episode. There is more to this reveal than anyone knows though as shown by the final reveal.

Sherlock – Sherlock goes into Hell to take down a killer and to seek out John again as we see that he really does act from emotion and isn’t detached from it. This instability is explored deeply in the episode as we see him question reality even as he is getting more connected to other aspects of reality. It’s tragic in many ways and I felt for him when he finally starts dealing with his addiction and John forgives him. Sherlock finally shows affection which we see he’s always wanted to some degree (whether from Irene or John).

John Watson – John is dealing with loss this episode as he sees Mary in his mind’s eye and talks to her. He is dealing with anger, denial and sadness and also shame and regret for the affair he had. After he confesses this to Sherlock mind Mary leaves and we see him begin to heal as it is also only from him arriving that he saves Sherlock from Culverton (a callback to the first episode of the series when he stops another killer).

Eurus – Eurus is the other Holmes and has embraced the mind fully as we see her as John’s therapist at the episode’s start. We don’t know her motivations yet but she helped take down Culverton and at the end of the episode is about to shoot John. There are Moriarity aspects to her and I really want to know her more as she is a villain with a lot of potential.

The Reveal – Eurus is Mycroft and Sherlock’s sister! This was cool as she’s John’s therapist and we see that she was playing everyone. We don’t know her motivation yet but the hints that she might not be all together there and Mycroft’s fear of her leave a lot to hope for. Moffat writing her helps mellow out the hype though. He’s set up a lot of badass female antagonists and failed to have them payoff.

Confession and Healing – A core part of this episode is confession and healing. Culverton’s confession to his friends is what leads to his demise as it gives Sherlock what he needs to take him down, John and Sherlock confessing to one another leads to healing with them both feeling the loss of Mary and helps reestablish their friendship and gives us the heart and theme of the episode.

Okay/Con: Everybody is Getting Together – Lady Smallwood gets together with Mycroft and it implies it could be serious someday, John wants Sherlock to get together with Irene when he learns that she texts him. This is cute in some ways but having everyone hook up had romantic comedy aspects to it that took me out of the episode.

The Cons: Pacing – There are some pacing issues, it starts out strong has great rising action but sort of teeters off when John sees the confession tape from Mary and when Eurus reveals herself to John to shoot him. If this had been a bit smoother the episode could have been perfect.

This was Moffat once again at the head of his game. Every major character gets development and Sherlock’s psychology is explored and isn’t justified. This is a story that wants to explore the darker parts of human nature and what humans are capable of, and it succeeds. It isn’t a perfect episode as the romances that get set-up through the episode feel a little off sometimes and it does have pacing issues, but that doesn’t take away from the core power of the narrative and character development that takes place. This was such a great episode that really captured the core relationships and mystery, which made this show so great in the first place.

Final Score: 9.5 / 10

Sleepy Hollow – Season 2, Episode 5 – “The Weeping Lady” – A Matter of Trust

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“Sleepy Hollow” has some of the best monsters and this episode kept up that theme of great enemies such as the Pied Piper with bringing us the The Weeping Lady of this episode. The theme of this episode is also trust and how it is gained and lost in regards to the major players of the series.

The episode was directed by Larry Teng and written by M. Raven Metzner.

The premise is that the Weeping Lady, a ghost legend has been summoned to Sleepy Hollow. Things get more complicated in stopping her as she targets the women closest to Ichabod Crane and may be tied to Ichabod’s past as well as the sins of his wife Katrina. From here the story unfolds.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: Caroline – Caroline is a character who appears briefly but very powerfully in a scene where we find she has been making Ichabod’s era clothes as she has a love for colonial times. Ichabod lets her down as a friend and she accepts but she is shortly killed afterward. The thing that is powerful though is you get how powerful their brief friendship was given that was one of the few people who got Ichabod on some level because of his being out of time…which makes her death tragic. It is for this reason I’m glad she got a funeral at the end.

The Weeping Lady – This monster looks awesome! Summoned by Henry from Katrina’s past she is there to get revenge on all those closest to Ichabod eventually targeting Katrina herself like she did initially before her death. As a monster she is fantastic and she is tragic though not as complex as she could have been. I’ll get into the character of Mary who became the Weeping Lady further down.

Abbie – Abbie continues to rock and is the one doubting that Katrina is entirely honest with Ichabod, which ends up being true. We see her cynicism rub off a bit on Ichabod at the end and their bond grow stronger. It’s a great scene and she really is part of what makes the show so amazing to watch.

The Headless Horseman / Abraham / Horseman of Death – Abraham makes a brief appearance here and is shown to not be an entirely bad guy when he spares Ichabod’s wife after Katrina tells him about Ichabod saving them. He also confesses he never took pleasure from her pain and only ever wanted her happiness. It shows that though he is a damned headless, horseman of death…the guy still has soul on some level and is complicated.

Katrina – Katrina thanks the Headless Horseman for trying to rescue her! Its a touching scene and where you see she does have or had some feelings there for him. I like this given she sees Ichabod mourn a woman who tried to kill her (Mary) and his close connection to Abbie at times being more important than their marriage. She’s got to be conflicted, just like he is over her staying with Abraham. That moment she thanks him was perfect given the episode begins with her sending a letter of her love secretly to Ichabod that leads to the Weeping Lady targeting her in the first place. Curious to see how her arc plays out since Moloch wants her as a vessel.

Ichabod – Ichabod finally has to deal with all the times Katrina has lied to him…from the existence of Henry, to her being a witch and her covering up Mary’s death and claiming Mary went home. He has a speech about trust which is the major theme of the episode and how he feels it has been lost after today. His laying Mary to rest in peace was a touching scene though as well as the funeral for Caroline.

Horesman of War / Henry Parish – Henry takes the initiative and drives a wedge between the couple by summoning the Weeping Lady and he pays a price for it. Moloch gets pissed off since it wasn’t part of the plan and we see victorious Henry weeping at the end. He may have drove a wedge between his parents, but he did between the Headless Horseman and himself and Moloch and himself leaving him isolated and alone…which given that his loneliness was part of the reason he made the deal with Moloch in the first place, must be a living hell. He’s by far one of my favorite characters on the show, though I’d say Abraham is too along with Abbie and Ichabod.

Okay: Mary – Mary’s backstory isn’t great. She was betrothed to Ichabod as a kid, they broke it off but she thought it was for real still and tried to bring him back to England so their families would be happy. When she saw Katrina she got jealous, tried to get Katrina out of the picture and fell to to her death in the process. I hope we meet her parents since she could easily be a victim of of them, hopefully…and not crazy stalker. Her becoming the Weeping Lady is still a tragedy though.

Nick – Why is this guy still around? He saves Abbie from the Weeping Lady when she attacks in the library and gives them a holy weapon to try out but that’s about it. I don’t get why he’s kept around since he is a mercenary and seems to function more as a plot device. I don’t dislike the guy but there are so many more interesting characters to explore.

This was a good but not great episode. It was good in that the Weeping Lady was a great threat and the themes of trust in regards to Ichabod and Katrina were finally brought up as a major issue…and also trust between Moloch and Henry. We saw falling outs this episode and with it the promise for more.

Final Score: 8.5 / 10