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Rich Man, Poor Woman
This episode is a nod to the famous "Upstairs, Downstairs" English series about the upper crust and their servants. Moreso because Simon Williams, who played the son and heir in that series takes on the role of the butler in this remarkable episode.
The mystery of who committed the murder of the week is slowly revealed as Murdoch and his team uncover the clues. And in traditional fashion a model prop becomes the root of discussion about a possible future implement or game that we know today. Very clever.
Also the continuation of Murdoch's infatuation with Dr. Ogden comes to the fore as she turns up unexpectedly in the middle of the case, furthering the hopes of the audience in the impossible romance between them.
All the traditional Murdochian elements are here and we are not disappointed. Another murder and the reveal at the end in true Murdoch style as to motive and circumstance makes this show eminently watchable again and again without losing its charm.
Suicide Squad (2016)
A decent effort, and much better than BvsS
With all the hype I was expecting better from DC/Warner, but this latest effort suffers from similar overhype as BvsS.
Starting with the positives:
Each character of the squad had very decent portrayals from the actors granted splitting screen time amongst them proved a little problematical at times, but the essence and motivations were brought out for all to see.
The little plot twist in the middle defined the character of the squad's controller, Amanda Waller, and gave us a very ruthless character with little enough to redeem her delicious.
The not so positives:
Batman rated very little time in this paeon to the canon. His presence was more throwaway than supportive. I was expecting more of a story arc where he either has a different mission or motivation to see this outing succeed or not. To get around this plot detail the writers put the action in a different city than Metropolis or Gotham (I mean really, Metropolis is across the bay from Gotham? Not in any DC universe I know) thereby giving Batman little stake in the feature.
The soldier and the archaeologist being lovers is a plot device with very little credibility, doesn't follow any DC background history for the characters and although portrayed by Joel Kinnaman and Cara Delevingne with gusto was forced and totally against type.
What little background history scenes there were were only for the four main Suicide Squad characters.
The downright inglorious:
The Joker was downright distracting at times, in fact as a motivating factor for Harley Quinn it was too much, and took way too much screen time from the development of the other members of the squad. His flunkies were downright 'normal' instead of over the top crazy as a different 'reality' than previous incarnations in live film I would have to say I was left severely disappointed in his portrayal here.
The really Bad Guys, once it developed who they really were, had virtually no background development, if indeed at all. Not enough time to show why they were so menacing or develop how they came to be. Hint: they have a vaguely similar beginning like the villain in X-Men Apocalypse.
The 'magic' the Enchantress used was the plot device used as the reason for the squad's mission with little explanation and motivation for its use.
Overall: It could have been better, and it is certainly entertaining. Will it stand up to contribute another score in DC's universe? Not really, but it's only a movie.
The 'human' factor
As stories go this episode was not a real standout, except it delved into the human relationship of Captain Gregson to quite a degree.
There was nothing in this episode about the through plot of Sherlock's father's attempted assassination, so the 'human' factor was given to developing a story of Capt Greyson's social involvement with a former detective.
We are well into the 4th season and by this time writing/production teams will either go with the flow and keep the successful formula of a show going to keep audience and ratings, or they will delve into the unknown to see how far they can take it into challenges unforeseen.
With the time limit of hour-long episodes any time taken to flesh out character development is time taken from solving the crime of the week. So the artifice of exposition comes in handy to get to the resolution of the crime, as in this case, in order to bring down the criminal.
Some fans would wish to see Moriarty again, as dastardly superior criminals often get better written stories, but the introduction of Morland Holmes is a good distraction.
Proof: Redemption (2015)
If you live long enough...
I think this was perhaps the best episode of the series, but with a qualification. Kat is still sceptical of the research into LAD (life after death) but is willing to indulge Ivan Turing's request that she use Peter Van Owen's services in the case of her current patient, an ex- con and murder suspect, who may be instrumental in solving the disappearance of a girl from some months previous. With the hospital pushing to release him into custody and the finger of suspicion pointing at himself, he unwillingly commits to reliving his LAD experience to try and provide clues as to the girl's disappearance.
At episode 4 I get the feeling the writers are still trying to flesh out the main characters and the plotting. However, the domestic drama with Dr. Tyler's family comes off trite and clichéd. I mean, is it me or does every procedural with a professional woman at the helm start with her being divorced with (or without) kids and being forced to work/interact with her ex at every turn. 'The divorced parent adds drama and realism to the scenario' is most distracting in this series as it is quite superfluous to the development of the storyline and probably led to the rapid decrease in ratings
The Military Way
What a wonderful portrayal! The characters and the acting reached out and grabbed me by the throat. Troian Bellisario is to be commended for the honesty and realism in the role of Sgt Lauren Weil, and certainly Jennifer Beals is no slouch either as Major Stone.
From the small to the wide, the context of military as family, judge and jury is well known; and like a family the recognition of misconduct by its members is extremely hard to reconcile when the subject is sexual assault. In 'Lauren' it's clear that no one wants to rock the boat, so silencing dissenters and 'problem' people is being done systematically and in the interest of maintaining the status quo.
How Lauren manages to keep her dignity and pride intact despite the roadblocks thrown her way was riveting.
WIGS certainly has thrown the spotlight on a topic which the US military tries hard to keep quiet. My thanks and appreciation for giving us a glimpse behind the curtain.
Breakout Kings (2011)
Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda
There are plenty of cancelled series which break some people's hearts, but this is not one of them.
The plotting is not new, and the stories could definitely use some better writers. One of the few things going for this show is that the actors are for the most part relatively unknowns, except for Serinda and Jimmy. I was expecting something between Leverage and Prison Break, but this was nothing like them.
While there are several plot holes that beggar belief, the acting during Season 1 was fairly decent in terms of setting up the characters and their abilities. It would have been more believable if the writers would showcase the talents of the cons moreso while helping the marshals, then the focus on teamwork would be seen holding the crew together better than just a group of perps thrown together each episode to catch fugitives each time.
Season 2 tried to step up the conflict and drama for the show, but killing a main character to shake things up ended up backfiring as crew careened around trying to fill the void of the leader. Again not enough use of the cons' talents were made of, as they mostly sat around discussing the cases. That for me was a real letdown as it would have been more interesting to see how each con displayed their 'A' game in order to catch the bad guy as opposed to just sitting in the car, which is what they ended up doing half the time.
Not a bad series, but it could have been more.
Castle: Dial M for Mayor (2012)
In this episode the crime of the week takes a backseat for the subplot about Kate's mother's murder conspiracy.
However, the writing was very poor. Where I expected the story to be smart and funny it became very grim and dour. The treatment of the plot points was lacking and left me feeling very unsatisfied. The emphasis that there are very powerful people behind the conspiracy was overdone and very ham-handed -- we are told not very much about these people other than they are powerful enough to cause trouble for the mayor.
Poor Castle is left running around cloak and dagger style and really gets nothing in return for his pains other than the emphasis that the conspiracy is very much alive and will stop at nothing to keep the secrets out of the public eye.
The Replacement Killers (1998)
Great Action, but left me wanting more
While I am not a huge fan of Anton Fuqua, I do believe he made a great feature with Chow Yun Fat's North American movie debut. The studio made so much bones about "getting it right" that while the finished piece smoked the box office, I can't help but feel that Anton had much more in mind than just an action piece when this was made. I would think that fans of AF and CYF would want to see a Director's Cut at some point to see the dramatic elements that were left on the cutting room floor, especially the romance that developed between John Lee and Meg Coburn. I continue to enjoy this movie and the vibe it leaves is always thrilling, but I get the feeling that Anton's vision was dumbed down for public consumption.