Righting the Wrongs of Many: Orphan Black Series Finale Review

August 17, 2017 at 11:34 PM | Posted in TV | Leave a comment
Tags: , , ,

SPOILER WARNING: This review contains major spoilers of season 5 of Orphan Black. Read at your own risk!

 

Weeks prior to the show’s series finale, I was in total denial that Orphan Black was ending. I mean, I love the show, most especially the story and the characters. There’s nothing like it on TV that I’ve ever seen.

It felt like it wasn’t that long ago when I first watched the pilot episode of the show. I remember watching the main character, Sarah Manning, meeting her clone Beth Childs at the train station for the first time. And I was hooked after that.

For it to end after five seasons is really sad. But I know that the show’s creators, Graeme Manson and John Fawcett, wanted it so. And I agree. The story didn’t need to be stretched for several seasons more. This was a little BBC show that could. It became a hit despite the low viewership. Its story could be told in few seasons only.

So I braced myself to watch the final episode of Orphan Black this week. And it did not disappoint. It’s only fitting that the title of the final episode is “To Right the Wrongs of Many” because it spoke of the wrongs that the villains have inflicted on many people – the wrongs that Sarah, Cosima, Delphine and the rest of the Clone Club wanted to right. The title also alluded to the entire five seasons as the final episode tied the loose ends and everything just fell into place perfectly.

Photo credit: vulture.com

The final episode started with a flashback between Sarah and Mrs. S. I was pleasantly surprised to see Mrs. S again. Most fans were still reeling from the previous episode where she was killed by Ferdinand. The episode shifted quickly to the scene where Sarah and a very pregnant Helena were trying to escape the facility where Helena was being kept in. I was on the edge of my seat as I watched them escape because Helena was about to give birth and Virginia Coady’s men were after them.

I love to hate Coady. She’s a cold-hearted villain who would not hesitate to kill anyone that gets in her way – not even the last Castor clone Mark, her beloved “son.”

I watched transfixed as the following scenes unfolded. Sarah had a one-on-one encounter with main villain P.T. Westmoreland. This guy was something else. He wanted to prolong his life through parabiosis. His evil plans to use Helena’s babies to be forever young needed to be stopped. And Sarah was right there to stop him – for good. And I felt a sense of satisfaction when Helena finally killed Coady. Yup, Helena who was minutes away from delivering her twin babies still managed to fool Coady and finish her off with the help of Art.

Coady and Westmoreland’s death was the final blow to Neolution, as the group was crumbling and several of its members had died. Their evil plans had been exposed, thanks to Cosima and Delphine leaking the files to the media.

Photo credit: observer.com

Helena giving birth in the basement of the facility was pretty intense. It was the first time I ever saw Helena so vulnerable and scared like that. And I’m so glad that Sarah and Art were right there with her to help her give birth. The look of relief and happiness on Helena’s face when she cradled her twin babies were touching and heartbreaking at the same time. It was a moment of pure sisterhood between Helena and Sarah. They were initial adversaries in earlier seasons but now they bonded as true sisters.

I know that Tatiana Maslany played the different clones in the show but it still amazes me to watch her play the part of every clone. She truly deserved that Emmy win as best actress.

The second part of the series finale was lighter than the first half. Here we saw the sestras several months later after the incident at the facility. Sarah went back to finish high school – at least she’s trying to. Cosima was still busy with her science and searching for the rest of the Leda clones. Alison was living a new, happy life with Donnie, and Helena couldn’t make up her mind what to name her babies – so she temporarily named them Orange and Purple. Crazy, right? But that’s Helena.

Orphan Black has always been known to end a season with something special. Season 2 ended with the now-famous Clone Club dance party. Season 3 ended with a dinner scene involving the four clones – Sarah, Cosima, Alison and Helena. And now the series finale featured a baby shower. Practically every notable character was in that scene – Felix, Kira, Art, Delphine, Donnie, Scott, and even Charlotte.

Photo credit: digitalspy.com

There was a poignant scene of the four clones hanging out together after the baby shower. Sarah at this point was feeling lost and apparently still grieving about the death of Mrs. S. But her sestras were there to show their support. It was a delight for fans like me to find out why the show was called Orphan Black in the first place. Helena called her written autobiographical book as “Orphan Black” – a story about them and about sisterhood. And guess what she finally named her babies? It’s Arthur and Donnie – named after Art and Donnie – the two important men in her life who treated her like family.

Overall, the Orphan Black series finale was beautifully written and ended in a very satisfying note. Kudos to the brilliant writers of the show for their consistent quality work and their dedication to show science as accurately as possible. This was truly a remarkable show and would go down in my list as one of the best sci-fi shows out there.

 

Side Notes

  • Rachel becoming a softie. I think deep down she cared about the Clone Club.
  • What happened to Krystal? I guess she would forever believe there’s a conspiracy among the cosmetics companies. I would love to see more of her vlog and her beauty tutorials, though.
  • The fact that there were more than 200 Leda clones out there spread across the globe.
  • Whatever happened to Kira’s dad Cal and Helena’s boyfriend Jessie?
  • Anybody ever tried making Helena’s “jamburgers?”
  • Art: You alright?

 Helena: Most excellent! (Just one of the many Helena-isms)

 

Top 5 Reasons Why I Love ‘Stranger Things’

September 22, 2016 at 8:49 PM | Posted in TV | Leave a comment
Tags: , ,

Spoiler Warning: This article contains major spoilers of Stranger Things season 1. Read at your own risk!

Netflix’s hit series Stranger Things practically came out of nowhere this year, but it’s currently enjoying immense popularity. I’ve been hearing a lot of good reviews about this show and since horror is one my one favorite TV genres, my interest was definitely piqued. So one weekend, I binge-watched all eight episodes and immediately loved it.

Apart from the fact that it is set in the ’80s, Stranger Things also pays homage to classic ’80s movies I loved — from The Goonies and Stand By Me, to E.T. For me, the show has all the elements of a really good horror story without the campy tropes. In fact, even its theme song has that distinct, creepy sound.

But that’s not all I love about Stranger Things. Here are the main reasons why I love the series.

1. The Mystery

I’m always hooked on stories that deal with mysterious circumstances, the supernatural and unexplained phenomena. It piques my interest and curiosity when I’m not presented with all the answers to the mystery right away. The show kept me guessing about the characters and the situations they found themselves in.

The disappearance of Will Byers kicked off a series of strange events that pulled me into this mysterious world where a monster lurks in a parallel universe.

GIF image credit: giphy.com

2. The Tone

When I watched the pilot episode, it reminded me of The X-Files pilot where it set the tone for the rest of the series. I got a sense of foreboding and dread — that something unexplainable was about to happen. The soundtrack of the pilot heightened that foreboding sense and emphasized the dark tone of the show with songs that were rather melancholic (“I Shall Not Care”) and ominous (“White Rabbit”), which can be felt all throughout the series.

GIF  image credit: giphy.com

3. The Characters

While Winona Ryder may be the biggest star of this show, it’s the kids who consistently steal the scenes. It’s interesting and amusing to watch these kids play, argue, tease, and fight each other as they struggle to hide Eleven from their parents and the bad guys. Mike, Dustin, Lucas and Eleven might disagree on things, but eventually they were there for each other to work on a common goal: finding their friend Will.

GIF image credit: giphy.com

Eleven has also got me intrigued not only because of her psychokinetic powers, but also because of her back story. Why was she named Eleven? Were there any kids before her who were kidnapped by Dr. Brenner and his team of scientists? Perhaps Dr. Brenner previously did tests on other kids and Eleven was the 11th child he experimented on.

Photo credit: screencapped.net

It’s also interesting to watch Joyce Byers as she tried to maintain a sense of sanity while finding her son Will. It sort of amused me that she went a little crazy with the lights and the wall, but later events proved that she’s right all along.

Barb seemed to be a fan favorite, and her early demise had left viewers wanting to know just what happened to her in The Upside Down. I, for one, would like to know how she died.

4. The Monster & The Villain

The faceless monster that resides in The Upside Down provided enough chill to put me on the edge of my seat with my heart racing. Admittedly, the monster itself was not that all scary for me, but the threat and danger it poses to the residents of Hawkins town got my adrenaline pumping.

Photo credit: screencapped.net

I’m not just talking about the faceless monster that took Will and killed Barb. I’m also referring to the show’s main villain, Dr. Brenner, who can be considered as a monster himself. Not only did he kidnap Eleven, but he also did experiments on her for the sake of science and espionage against the Russians.

For me, he is the ‘80s equivalent of the Cigarette Smoking Man in The X-Files. He is ruthless and only cares about his experiments for his own gain. He does not hesitate to let anyone get killed as long as he gets what he wants.

GIF image credit: giphy.com

5. The Sci-Fi Element

The sci-fi elements in the show complement the mystery that surrounds the story. Finding out about a parallel universe was enough to keep me intrigued. I liked the fact that the show incorporates this seamlessly into the story with the introduction of the science teacher who acts as the kids’ primary source of scientific knowledge.

All these elements have greatly contributed to the success of the series along with the astounding cast. Now that Stranger Things has been renewed for a second season, I can’t wait to find out what new mysteries are in store for Joyce, Hopper and the kids of Hawkins town.

 

(NOTE: This article originally appeared on moviepilot.com)

The Truth is Still Out There

February 28, 2016 at 9:36 PM | Posted in Fandom, Geekdom, TV | Leave a comment
Tags: , ,

So X-philes from most parts of the world just witnessed the final episode of season 10 of The X-Files. While some fans felt The X-Files revival was unsatisfying, most are actually satisfied with the way it turned out. Ratings wise, The X-Files revival was a hit. It still garnered around 20 million viewers in the US from the season premiere.  And the final episode drew in about 7.6 million viewers in US alone.

I previously wrote reviews of the first three episodes of season 10. This time I’ve written reviews of the last three episodes. Here they are:

Episode 4: Home Again

X-Files_HomeAgain

This was a Scully-centric episode that dealt with the death of Scully’s mother and how she coped with it. I saw two sides of Scully in this episode – the vulnerable and emotional Scully who desperately wanted to keep her mother alive, and the strong, rational one who wanted to catch a criminal. That emotional side of Scully was intensified with her strong feeling of guilt about William, the son she had with Mulder who they gave up for adoption. Underlying this episode was a story about a mysterious figure killing people who treated the homeless like they’re disposable things, easily discarded and forgotten.

Mulder & Scully with flashlights_HomeAgain

I admit I didn’t know what to make of this story the first time I saw it. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t like it either. While Gillian Anderson’s emotional performance was commendable, I didn’t feel any connection with how she was feeling when her mother died while I was watching it. Maybe because it was so long ago when I last saw Scully’s mother and couldn’t remember the final episode where she was in. For me, it wasn’t as compelling and emotionally raw as the “Memento Mori” episode from season 4.  I just think it was kind of off that Mulder and Scully could still tease each other during an investigation given the circumstances about her mother. Yeah sure, the flashlight scenes were cute and awesome but the story about an artwork coming alive to kill people just didn’t do well for me. It sort of reminded me of that “Arcadia” episode.  It’s not really new.  It didn’t creep me out like the “Founder’s Mutation” episode did.

Episode 5: Babylon

Terrorism and racism are such serious matters and this episode’s attempt to fuel a discussion about these two social issues was a complete failure. “Babylon” was a story about an FBI investigation of a recent bombing of an art gallery by two young Muslim men. Two new FBI agents who resembled the younger versions of Mulder and Scully were called in to investigate the case. Agent Miller – like Mulder, was a believer of the supernatural and the paranormal while Agent Einstein – a medical doctor just like Scully, was a sceptic. The two young agents sought the help of Mulder and Scully during the investigation. One of the men who bombed the art gallery survived and was in a coma. Mulder and Miller believed that they could still communicate with the comatose terrorist by supernatural means to find out details of another bomb plot by Muslim extremists.

X-Files_Babylon

Written by Chris Carter, this episode was riddled with problems right from the first scene. I remember feeling dreadful when I watch the first few scenes. The minute they showed a young Muslim man praying shortly before bombing the art gallery, I knew this episode was in trouble. It’s another attempt to stereotype Muslims. I know Carter deliberately wrote this to show us the ugly side of terrorism and racism and maybe spark a debate but it just fell flat for me. I could understand why some Muslims felt offended by the episode. And for me, the episode hit closer to home. The scene where a nurse said to Agent Einstein how immigrants were stealing American jobs and healthcare almost mirrored the words that my aunt heard when she first immigrated to the US. She experienced racism in the US firsthand. It was terrible. And the way that nurse in the episode said it, it was so hateful that I was offended.

These serious issues presented in the episode would have worked if it weren’t for the fact that Carter added humor to it by piecing together a sub-story about Mulder getting high on “magic mushrooms” (which turned out to be a placebo) to try to communicate with the comatose patient in another realm. I actually winced when they showed Mulder going to a Texas bar and dancing to Achy, Breaky Heart. And that 50 Shades joke was awful. Not even the appearance of The Lone Gunmen could make this episode better. The only scenes I liked in this episode were the ones with Mulder and Scully walking along outside Mulder’s house at the end. That was a shippy moment.

Mulder & Scully in Babylon ep_s10

But what was that about witnesses hearing trumpets from the sky? That wasn’t included in the investigation anymore. It was all but forgotten by the agents.

“Babylon” had the potential to be great if it was split into two stories – one episode dealing about terrorism and racism, and a separate funny episode where Mulder can go high and dance all he wants from the magic mushrooms.

Episode 6: My Struggle II

This episode was slightly better that its first part, although there were still loopholes in it. For the most part, “My Struggle II” focused on Scully and Agent Einstein figuring out how to stop the Spartan virus that was quickly spreading all over various cities. Mulder, on the other hand, spent his time tracking down the Cigarette Smoking Man – the one responsible for the spread of the virus – and trying to convince him to stop the outbreak. The twist of this episode was that there was no alien invasion that happened in 2012, only the discreet and massive dissemination of the Spartan virus through anthrax injection years ago. Scully’s alien DNA turned out to be the one solution they needed to kill the virus. Replicate her alien DNA and administer that to the sick patients and they would save so many lives.

Mulder & CSM_MyStruggle2_X-Files

While I was admittedly at the edge of my seat while watching the episode, I couldn’t help but still feel frustrated by it. Mulder and Scully spent most of the episode apart when they could have solved the outbreak together. And I was disappointed that Agent Monica Reyes appeared in the episode only to reveal that she was conniving with the Cigarette Smoking Man. She could have refused CSM’s offer and sought the assistance of Assistant Director Skinner. But no, she went ahead and made a deal with CSM to save herself.

And I still couldn’t believe that everyone seemed to believe Tad O’Malley’s every word. He’s a well-known conspiracy theorist that some people might not even consider legit. Are we supposed to believe that people accept his words as truth instead of other authorities or prominent newscasters? Where was the FBI in all of this? Skinner should be in most of the scenes there along with people from the CDC.

x-files_my struggle II

The ending was so abrupt and deliberate that you could tell that Chris Carter intended it that way so people would want another season to find out what happened in the story. I was also confused with that ending. Was that really an alien ship that hovered over Scully and Agent Miller or was that a man-made aircraft built in alien technology? We would never know for sure until the showrunners tell us there is a continuation of the story in season 11.

While there are fans who want Chris Carter out of season 11, I wouldn’t mind him being there for season 11 as a director or executive producer. I mean, he created the show in the first place. He created Mulder and Scully and I am forever grateful for that. He just has to come up with better storylines about the mythology. Season 10 is far from perfect. But overall I enjoyed it. And as fans, we should be thankful that Carter, Fox and the cast and crew gave us season 10 in the first place. I, for one, would still love to have season 11.

The X-Files Redux

February 15, 2016 at 10:17 PM | Posted in Geekdom, TV | Leave a comment
Tags: , ,

The X-Files revival

The return of The X-Files on the small screen brought back my obsession with this show since the series ended in 2002, and since its second movie, I Want to Believe came out in 2008. Like many X-philes around the world, I anxiously anticipated its season premiere last January 24. Luckily for us Filipino fans, we got to watch the new season on cable via Fox Channel Philippines the same day as it aired in the US.

Suffice to say, I had mixed feelings about the first three episodes. The first time I watched each of these episodes, it left me with questions and feeling wanting more. Thus, I decided to watch all the three episodes again before I make a proper review of each. Here’s my take:

Episode 1: My Struggle

I didn’t like this episode. The general feeling I had about “My Struggle” was that it felt contrite. I had a feeling that Chris Carter – who wrote and directed the episode, wanted to build up excitement among the fans about the series’ mythology arc by putting practically all conspiracy theories involving alien abductions and government cover-ups in one episode. The narrations were too long. What could have been explained by Mulder in a couple of sentences were dragged out and narrated in a long, unnecessary dialogue. Carter even crammed the show’s two popular slogans in one dialogue.

 “I want to believe!” “The truth is out there!” These words were exchanged between Mulder and Scully during a scene where they were arguing.

Scully & Mulder_My Struggle

To me, this episode was just a general introduction to the newbie fans about the world of The X-Files. Nothing was really new except that Mulder and Scully weren’t together anymore. Yeah, apparently they broke up sometime after the movie, I Want to Believe. Bummer! Anyway, I deviate…

I wasn’t impressed by the supposedly shocking revelation in this episode. The plot twist being that it was a conspiracy of men all along. Men from a shadowy government used alien technology derived from the UFO crash in Roswell in the 1940’s and abducted innocent victims to experiment on them. There were no alien abductions after all. It’s all just a government cover-up.

Also, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson weren’t their best in this episode. I found their performance to be lacking in depth. But perhaps that’s because they’re still adjusting and settling in into their old characters?

Episode 2: Founder’s Mutation

This second episode was better. It felt like the old X-Files I knew and loved. “Founder’s Mutation” was a monster-of-the-week episode about a doctor doing questionable experiments on children and a teenaged boy with strange powers. It’s creepy enough, but not in the traditional sense of the word. I loved that Mulder and Scully were like their old selves again in this episode. I think David and Gillian felt more at ease with their old roles here.

Founder's Mutation_X-Files

In this episode, Mulder and Scully were back working at the FBI under the X-Files unit with Assistant Director Walter Skinner still as their boss. The fact that this wasn’t supposed to be the second episode from the lineup could explain why there were no mentions in the story about how Mulder and Scully were reinstated in the FBI. But I still have questions about this episode. Firstly, were there any objections from the other powers that be in the FBI about Mulder and Scully’s reinstatement? Where was FBI Deputy Director Alvin Kersh? Correct me if I’m wrong but as far as I could remember, weren’t there supposed to be Super Soldiers masquerading as agents within the walls of the FBI? What happened to them? I guess these questions might be answered in the upcoming final episode, “My Struggle II” which is a return to the mythology arc.

Anyway, this episode also touched upon the sensitive subject of William – Mulder and Scully’s son who was given up for adoption in season 9 to keep him safe from the people who wished him harm. Both Mulder and Scully imagined what life might have been for them if they didn’t give up William. The scenes were sweet and touching. I’m glad that Chris Carter and the writers decided to address this issue since after season 9 ended.

Episode 3: Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster

I’ve always loved the comedic episodes of The X-Files (“Small Potatoes” being one of my favorite funny episodes). It brought balance to the show, which was a refreshing break away from some of the heavy drama and scary stuff that the show was known for.

Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-Monster

Such was the case with the third episode, “Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster.” It’s  campy on purpose and hilarious as hell! Darin Morgan, known for the funny and quirky episodes he’s written for the show, wrote this episode. I loved this episode for its witty dialogue and fun twist to the age-old story of a man turning into a werewolf during full moon. But this time, it wasn’t a werewolf but a were-lizard. Also, I just loved the banter between Mulder and Scully in this episode. It reminded me a lot of “Bad Blood.”

Rhys Darby, who played the were-monster/lizard, was superb in this episode. The delivery of his punchlines was exceptional. He was funny, lovable and endearing. Kumail Nanjiani, who played the animal control officer, was just as good. His facial expressions were priceless. And who could forget Scully in this episode being all flirty and stuff? That scene was hilarious! Also that scene with Mulder being clueless about his camera app was too cute and funny!

This is how I like my Mulder

There were a lot of funny scenes in this episode, but what fans probably loved the most were the Easter eggs scattered all throughout the episode. They were a tribute indeed to the X-philes – the fans who stayed loyal even after the series ended. I, for one, belong to that group.

I am enjoying The X-Files revival so far, and there are only two episodes left before season 10 comes to an end. I will be reviewing the three final episodes of the show next time. Here’s hoping that the show will still return for another season. I want to believe!

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.