Telediction: Post-Thanksgiving catch-up

TELE2

Surprise, bitch.


I’m back, post-Thanksgiving mayhem to talk about TV. I hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving/Hanukkah. We can all say we’ve lived through one of those crazy “once-in-a-lifetime events.” I’m glad the majority of us spent it drinking beer, watching football and avoiding boyfriend conversations over dinner. What? That didn’t happen to you? You’re lying.
Oh yeah, before I forget, I had planned to do a little list of what I’m thankful for in TV. Here it goes:

  1. I’m thankful for “Breaking Bad,” and its amazing cast and crew who I believe truly were responsible for shaping this new, golden-era of TV.
  2. I am thankful for Lifetime movies when it’s late at night and I can’t sleep. There’s something really grounding and absorptive about them.
  3. I’m thankful for giving “American Horror Story” a chance. Once you get over the indulgent, creepy-fest that is their seasons’ first episodes, it’s actually enjoyable.
  4. “Game of Thrones” made me appreciate “Skyrim,” so I’m thankful for that too. I KNOW. Get over it.

What are you thankful for? Cheesyyyyy …..

Now that Thanksgiving is over, I’m full-on Christmas-cheer mode. Don’t be a Grinch; I even started off this column with a (semi) positive review of “The Walking Dead.” Good vibes for everyone!


The Walking Dead

For fans wondering, “Where on Earth is the Governor?”, “The Walking Dead” writers gave us three – THREE – episodes of nothing but the big bad wolf. Actually, it was more like two, but the final episode in the midseason finale was the only episode that really made up for it.

We left off last Telediction with the Governor looming on the outskirts of the prison. The Governor seems like “a changed man,” or at least that’s the theme the writers via Hershel have been trying to force down viewers all season. It only takes a final, psychotic rampage to prove Hershel wrong. There is no God in Georgia.

Before we witnessed what, I have to admit, was a magnificent episode of “The Walking Dead,” we had to endure two episodes of The Governor’s soul-searching. Let’s flashback to episode 406 “Live Bait,” where the Governor is shown post-Woodbury in a full beard, when he appears before Tara and Lilly. Were the two sisters nothing but a writer’s ploy for misdirection? It doesn’t seem likely that we will see them again when Season 4 returns in February, yet “Live Bait” and “Dead Weight,” were entire episodes dedicated to the Governor interacting with his new surrogate family, playing the part of a protector and finding solace in a new daughter, Megan, to replace the one Michonne killed at the end of Season 3. Shows don’t really spend that much time on characters they plan to throw away a couple of episodes down the line.

The Governor, or Brian as he likes to be called nowadays, has proven himself useful to Tara and Lilly. They quickly start treating him like he owes them some sort of protection, so he stays to find a tribe – and I believe he was a changed man until he ran into his former Woodbury thug Martinez. For a moment, the magic of TV and it’s all-trusting powers had me believe that The Governor really was Brian – that is to say that he was no longer obsessed with power, that he realized a model like Woodbury was too idealistic in the midst of all the chaos, that he finally found inner-peace and was just trying to move on. But of course, musical cues, which are hardly ever ironic on TV dramas, tell us that something is about to go wrong. The Governor and Megan converse about the nature of good and bad. In a child’s eyes there is no duality – no grey area. The world is a chessboard. For Megan, there is only black and white – good guys and bad guys. For the Governor, every move is an opportunity to conquer, and he calculates his next moves carefully, from sleeping with Lilly to gain her trust, to killing Martinez and placing himself at the top, to visiting the prison at first to get hostages for his next move. Ever since he saw the tank at the camp, his mind was made up – he just had to find a way to execute his plan. After some empowering words, he gets his new tribe to follow him to the prison so he can crash through the gates a second time – this time there wasn’t any zombies involved. The prison turned into a war zone upon the killing of Hershel.

The rest of the episode was a blur, but a really hyperactive, enjoy-the-ride-type blur. I’ve seriously been waiting all season for an episode like this. There wasn’t too much annoying gore – which automatically made me appreciate the episode more. Anticipation was at an all time high – the special effects department branched out of zombie blood-gushing effects to include some actual explosions! Maggie and Beth were crying, shooting guns all “Rambo”-style. Carol’s questionable effects were displayed when a gang of gun-toting kiddos saved Tyreese’s life. Glenn tries to play macho, but Maggie can only sweetly let him know he’s deadweight. He stays on the bus, and someone drives off into the distance. Then, Rick and the Governor are fighting, bare-fisted. Rick is about to pass-out when out of nowhere comes Michonne and stabs the Governor with the same Katana used to kill Hershel. This was the point in the episode where my mom said, “She should’ve just cut his head off. FUACATA.” It’s OK though, because Lilly puts a bullet to his head just like he did to Megan when Lilly presented her to him. No hard feelings m’kay. Business is business.

The tank meets its demise when Daryl uses a zombie as a shield (What about exit wounds though?) to get close enough to the tank to drop a grenade inside. There’s a Bruno Mars joke to be made here, but even “The Walking Dead” has some dignity to be preserved.
The war is over, even if it only really started half way into the mid-season finale. While impressed with this episode, I still know better than to expect greatness in the second half. One of the (many) problems of “The Walking Dead,” is that it leaves these exceptional episodes only to the midseason and season finales. Supply runs and an epidemic that was, frankly, used to buy time up until these last three episodes, dominated the season and left boring, inconsequential effects. Now, the prison isn’t safe for anybody, and that’s a product of pure rage. Even if the Governor survived, his tribe would have abandoned him once they realized what a psycho he really was. What is exciting though is that everyone is separated. Will this mean a convenient write-off for minor characters that just “didn’t make it”? Don’t for a second believe that baby Judith is dead. Rick and Carl might be separated from the group, but someone took Judith, and while equally heartbreaking being separated from her family with no ways of communication, the absence of a zombie-baby means she’s alive – and that calls for a reunion.

Final thoughts: Oh yeah, who was the person who nailed the infected rat to a piece of wood? Oh well, just another mystery to add to “The Walking Dead.” Who cares anyway?


American Horror Story

“American Horror Story: Coven” went on a mini-hiatus of approximately two weeks. Seeing that it’s one of my favorite shows this Fall on television, I really felt the loss. I mean, what was going to get me through the middle of the week? There’s only so much Lifetime a girl can take.

Now with “Coven” back, I can catch you guys up on what’s been happening. Because it’s truly been a lot, I’ll keep it short and sweet.

  • In trying to find out who killed Madison, Zoe, Queenie and Nan play a game of summon-the-dead, but instead of reaching Madison, they get the infamous Axe Man. The Axe Man, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Anthony Bourdain (and I’m not the only one who realized), was an early 20th century killer, who went around killing his victim with – you guessed it – an axe … or sometimes a razor (for variety’s sake). Like Mme. LaLaurie, this dude actually existed, and the letter he read in the opening of episode 306 “The Axeman Cometh,” was his real 1919 letter, which actually read: “One thing is certain and that is that some of your people who do not jazz it on Tuesday night (if there be any) will get the axe.” Jazz. It. “… jazz it on a Tuesday night.” I can’t. This is too much.
  • In the world of “AHS: Coven,” the Axeman was killed in Cordelia’s room, and so he stays there terrorizing poor Cordelia right after she returns from the hospital from being blinded. Zoe comes, says some words in Latin (that’s all it takes, really) and the guy waltzes – or Jazz-hands – out of Miss Robichaux’s Academy to a bar where he meets Fiona.
  • Fiona and the Axeman start a creepy relationship. They’re both passionate, good-looking adults with a twinge of evil to them – I’m happy for her, sort of. Turns out, the Axeman’s spirit spent Fiona’s entire life watching over her, first seeing her as the daughter he never had, and then more as an object of desire. Fiona gets creeped out, but honestly, she thinks who will take her as she is now? Something about his power attracts her to him and they become an item.
  • Marie Laveau lures in Queenie with some gumbo and talks about finding her true tribe. She tells her that none of the (white) witches at the coven have any respect for her, and that she should bring her LaLaurie as an initiation offering. Queenie accepts and brings Laveau her new Ed Hardy-wearing, fast-food-gulping BFF.
  • Zoe re-enchants Spalding’s tongue and sticks it back in his mouth so he can finally tell the truth about Fiona. Now that she knows Fiona killed Madison, she kills Spalding and tells Cordelia.
  • Madison and Kyle start a hedonistic relationship. In an attempt to make Zoe feel better, Madison proposes a three-some, otherwise known as the perfect solution to awkward love-triangles. Madison claims they share Kyle; Zoe seems all right with this because in part, she really has feelings for Kyle, and also, he’s the only guy unaffected by her power.
  • Cordelia has a plan to kill her mother, Fiona, once and for all. She employs the help of Zoe and the other witches.

Now we’re caught up. In the recent episode of “AHS: Coven,” Zoe and Madison find Queenie under a bridge, with intents to kill a man. She does kill him and rips out his “dark heart,” to bring to Marie Laveau in exchange for a potion that will give make Queenie stronger. Queenie pledges her allegiance to Voodoo, which Cordelia takes as a failure on her part but also claims “she’s dead to me.” On to the next one.

Apparently, no one has realized Mme. LaLaurie’s disappearance or Spalding’s death, but they DO realize that no one is answering the door. It’s Misty, scared for her life. She ran away after a mystery man (Hank) tried to kill her and Myrtle in her Stevie-Nicks-swamp-shrine that she calls home.

Cordelia does that perplexing orgasmic thing every time she touches someone’s hand and “sees” his or her past. She quickly recognizes Misty and is grateful for her bringing back Auntie Myrtle. The witches concoct a plan for Fiona’s demise, which involves the current Supreme sacrificing herself for the good of the coven.

“What makes you think that narcissistic bitch will kill herself?” asks Madison.

Cordelia acts all smug before a cut to commercial break, but if only she saw the first 10 minutes of her own show! Fiona claimed she wouldn’t give them the satisfaction of killing herself. Even when she does honestly attempt to do so, Spalding visits her from the spirit world giving her some purging liquid and explains everything.

The women are downstairs waiting for Fiona to die while Myrtle plays some Schubert. It’s a very serious/classy event.
Surprise witches! She’s back. Ha, no one ever really dies on “AHS: Coven,” especially not voluntarily. Besides, once everyone got over that awkward hump that was this episode, Cordelia acknowledges that the coven actually needs the current Supreme now more than ever. A “blessed” silver bullet retrieved from the previous night’s shootings indicates that there’s a witch hunter out for the entire coven. No hard feelings, mom.


Masters of Sex

Everything is so UN-sexy now. Sex/science only complicates things, because sex can never be 100% scientific. In the beginning of the season, participants signed up for Bill’s study for the thrill of doing something racy, but now, participants seem a little more reserved about their bodies and a little more aware of the ridiculousness of “science,” when it actually leaves a deep, personal impression on them.

It led to Bill and Virginia’s professional relationship ending, Libby getting pregnant and Ethan ending his engagement. The last of which was particularly refreshing, seeing as how Ethan was living a pretend life with a wonderful girl who was unfortunately brainwashed into believing she should want things a certain way yet too afraid to be alone so that she’d give it all up in a second because she had a steady bed partner. In one season, we’ve seen something strange happen. Virginia and Ethan start a casual relationship; they end things, move on and comfortably move back to each other. I can only imagine how awkward it will be when it dissolves again.
She seems open to an actual relationship, despite calling him a “friend” in front of her kids. Ethan watches her kids while she is away at a conference with Dr. DePaul, and Virginia’s ex-husband pays an unexpected visit. What results is a series of scenes designed to prove which man has the bigger dick, or in this case – beard. None of them currently sport beards, but if they did, Virginia’s ex would have the bigger one, but Ethan has the manual dexterity to get a close shave. What do women really want? It’s a question the show is centered on, but it presents a biased view in making Virginia all-knowing.

Between Bill and Virginia, things get murky. When sex and money are involved, ill-fated feelings of prostitution are expected to surface, even if just on a subconscious level. This is what happens to Virginia. She quits, seeing that what she and Bill had was never really “for science,” but what they really had was an affair. Thank you for cutting through that big block of BS Virginia. She joins Dr. DePaul’s practice and helps charm the doctor’s way into a conference so she can present her findings on PAP smears and cervical cancer. For economic reasons, they take a bus, which results in them getting late and missing the convention. Virginia, always resourceful and sociable, plans to talk to the male doctors’ wives while the men are out golfing. Surely women of such influence to their husbands, most of whom they met on the job, will get the word across with more importance. On the bus ride home, Dr. DePaul tells Virginia that she has stage 4 cervical cancer, which is why the work is so important to her. She hints at one day passing her work on to Virginia, when she is no longer able to do it herself.

Performance reviews are also going on and everyone is freaking out. Ethan gets a poor one from Bill, and it costs him his job after Bill finds out Ethan was responsible for capping Libby. Virginia gets an exceptional performance review, which arises suspicion in Bill’s mother that was something else going on.

Austin treats all his women like objects, including his wife. He buys her a new vacuum and it’s supposed to make up for his cheating. Margaret breaks it off.

It’s obvious the Margaret’s husband the Provost is gay, but he continues to lie and says his boy was actually a pimp hired to get him girls. This sticks in Margaret’s mind and she asks a prostitute what can she do to please her husband. She reveals her husband is gay, and it’s sort of a relief for Margaret.

Also, Dr. Masters needs to present his information, and tries to do so in such a way that will get his fellow doctors’ attention. He decides to conduct a last-minute research study on penis size with hopes that the outcome will be that penis-size has nothing to do with fulfilling a woman sexually. His wife, Libby, seems flustered. She is working at his office answering phone calls for a few days to get out of the house and watch Bill in his element. While working, she and her husband’s secretary come across a research subject’s file – the biggest of them all – and find out that this woman came back to do the study with the same partner 23 times. The only thing she knows about the woman is that she was divorced and figures the two people fell in love.

OK, is it just me, or is this show verging on soap-opera territory?


Homeland

I finally have a sense of what’s going on in Homeland, but after this last episode, all I can think is … so what?
To continue where we left off – Saul leaves under-the radar to extract Brody from Venezuela. He pays a couple million for the wanted terrorist and, in typical Saul fashion, turns the enemy into an asset. At first, Brody is completely useless. He’s become a Heroin-dependent junkie, unable and unwilling to cooperate with the CIA in their plan to send him back into Iran, on fake grounds of “asylum” in order to take out the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, General Akbari.

Dar Adal recommends ibogaine to speed up the rehab-process. He has an eerie-“trust me” moment in regards of this stuff actually working, which led me to believe he was a former drug addict or has seem some truly awful things. The drug causes Brody to hallucinate – intensely. He can’t get horrifying images of Tim Walker or Marines out of his head. In a fit of helplessness and rage, he breaks a chair and repeatedly stabs his arm with the splinters of a leg. Clearly, this isn’t your typical “Walk the Line”/”Ray”/”Riding in Cars with Boys” –type detox.

Eventually, the anti-drug drug works and Brody starts his training to become a Marine again. Carrie is SO annoying when around Brody, but that’s a given. Yes they used to be lovers, but it feels like she’s still holding on to something that Brody clearly wants to let go of. Before they send Brody to the Middle East, he relies on Carrie to be enough of a pushover to get him to see Dana. Carrie reveals that Dana dropped out of school and is working as a maid in a motel to make ends meet. Dana’s mother is seriously an idiot. I don’t understand this idea of letting your suicidal daughter “become her own person,” “run free,” GROW. It’s all BS that could be done at home with a little respect for space and some REAL parenting, like I don’t know, persuading your daughter to go to college and have a future besides folding cheap motel-sex linens in the middle of nowhere. No, just give her $300 in a gift card and call it a day. Homeland, dare I say, has more annoying characters than all of “The Walking Dead.” Andrea and Lori don’t even come close to the Brodys and Carrie Mathison.

Brody tries to talk to Dana, but Dana is being a pouty teenager. Her and Carrie have that intense lip-quiver down to a reflex. Half the time I don’t even think they know how dramatic they look like they’re trying to be. Anyway, Dana pushes brody away. She tells him she never wants to see him again. Brody leaves and is even more determined to set things right.

Brody and his group of Marines are on a mission to cross the border into Iran and plea for asylum. His fellow Marine, pretends to be part of Al Qaeda. The plan goes awry when Iraqi police intervene and are about to blow the operation until the Marines have to take them out. Brody is determined to carry out his end of the deal, even though everyone over at Langely, including Carrie, tell him to back off, regroup and try this some other day. Then, Brody goes on some sappy shtick about Carrie getting him there alive and blah blah. Zzzzzzzzzz.


Oh look, he made it. Javadi kills the guy that was with him, because he wants to remind viewers he’s still Javadi. It’s impossible to get Brody to meet with General Akbari, but Javadi seems to have set up a meeting. Saul and his team have everything set up, but ofcourse, a last minute switch-of-plans is made, no questions are to be asked. The meeting is set up to go down in the middle of a courtyard. Would Brody be the Good, Bad or the Ugly? He’s equipped with a syringe full of cyanide, but he and Akbari merely only look at eachother before Akbari dips and Brody is escorted into a house to go through another vetting process. This time it’s Abu Nazir’s widow. Brody gives a spectacular performance in front of her, partially because I believe what he is saying is true. He wants to stop running. She believes him and the encounter quickly turns into a public relations stunt to introduce Brody to Iran.

This proves to be a problem. The plan seems to be over, indefinitely. There’s surely no way Brody and Akbari will ever be in the same room together. Part of the plan or not, Brody publicly denounces the United States on TV, further embarrassing the CIA. Sen. Lockhart says that the only thing left to do is kill Brody because he’s proving to be more of a harm than an asset. Saul knows this will affect Carrie, but instead of moving quietly, he calls her and tells her to come home. Carrie catches on, quick, and proceeds to be a stalker. She follows Brody to the local mosque and notices the two CIA informants sent to kill Brody. She uses Fara’s uncle to pass Brody a phone so she can tip him off. Sketch is Carrie’s thing. When brody gets the phone call, he doesn’t want to hear it, but he finally decides to leave when he realizes he is mere seconds away from a gunshot or lethal injection.

Here is where Homeland briefly bounces back to the show it used to be. The next few minutes are a fuzzy, adrenaline-rushed slur of events. Brody runs to Abu Nazir’s widow’s home, where he tells her it is of upmost importance that he talk to Akbari about Javadi. My mind was fighting two options, both equally justifiable in Brody’s situation.

  1. Brody is going to Akbari to tell him everything about the CIA. Because the CIA want to kill him, he knows the only way he will find protection is through Iran, and via Akbari. He will trade CIA information about Javadi and the plan to kill Akbari in return for safety. His motives are pure survival.
  2. Brody quickly tries to finish what he started to prove to the CIA that he can do the job and so they can remove the hit on him.

What ensues is a mixture of both. Brody does exactly what’s mentioned in the former reason, but uses this story (again, convincible because it’s part-true) to get Akbari to let down his guard and see him with genuine gratitude. He uses these few seconds to grab a glass candy dish, which he uses to knock Akbari out. Then, quietly, he takes a green velvet pillow and suffocates him. Akbari’s hands rise in slow motion, trying to defend himself, but he never gets the chance. It’s done. Brody calls Carrie and she smiles. We could have had something interesting going on, but yet again, “Homeland” set Brody up as the ultimate good guy. The only way I see this season ending positively is with Brody dying.

So we saw the end of “The Walking Dead” until February, and both “Masters of Sex” and “Homeland” are going into their season finale’s this week. Telediction will still be around. Madison Montgomery is just too quotable.

As always, if you wan’t to keep the conversation going tweet me @ClaudiaCMarina.

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Author: Claudia Marina View all posts by
Journalism student at the University of Florida. Sally Draper is my spirit animal. I love writing about TV and how it affects culture. Occasionally I watch bad TV, but reviews make it better.

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