The precise point where you realize you're not in Kentucky any more..
Yes, this is a little odd, here I am at episode 8 of Season 5 and I am plinking away at the keyboard giving one of my all time favorite shows (did a glowing review of the whole series) a "5". What happened? Did the universe go out of balance? Was there a break in the time-space continuum? Well (and this is easily verified reading the comments in the chat groups) after 4 seasons each of which was progressively better than the last, Season 5 is turning into a turkey, and this episode (8 of 12, the point where the story USUALLY hooks the viewer into almost an addictive state) is basically D.O.A; and, if this is not your first rodeo (ie, if you know your way around a TV series) the message that is being telegraphed to the viewer is that this is not going to be a "normal" season for either the show or the audience. Now, at the risk of providing a spoiler, in fact this is now confirmed to be the second to last year for the series (which will probably circulate in digital hyperspace until your grandkids are driving cars that fly) and the producers (foolishly I think) decided to "combine" season 5 and season 6 in order to build up to a grand finale. Sorry, not working for me. Looks like they sold out the present at the expense of the future. In my view Season 5 was already hobbled even before the decision to merge the story arcs. Too many threads at once, none of which stood out and connected with the viewer. Michael Rapaport does a decent bad guy but half the time is playing straight man to the other characters. Joelle Carter's prison stint is as depressing as a Scared Straight documentary and not especially good TV. Groggins looks like he in another series entirely -- the usually reliable friction between him and Raylan is gone, mainly because they are now in entirely different story arcs. Amy Smart looks lost, mainly because it is not clear (at a stage more than half way through the season) WHY her character exists in the first place, and one thing the viewer does not need here is more ambiguity. The only redeeming feature of the season is Alicia Witt, who acts like she escaped from a mature remake of MY SASSY GIRL and is the only character this season who makes good use of her screen time. Oh yeah -- and the writer responsible for sidelining Raylan this season (formerly a man of action, now a man of confusion and wise sayings) should himself be sidelined. You might agree with this review, you might disagree. But on this single point I am clear -- if the first season had been like this 5th season, there would be no 5th season.
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