It’s been quiet the wild ride, but it’s time for us to say goodbye to this smartly written, wackily executed, and strangely put together show. The final episode is upon us and with so much at stake for our heroes, will they manage to survive whatever challenge they face, or will this tangled web of ideas and plot threads fail to come together in a satisfying way? There’s only one way to find out, so let’s get started!!
With this being the final episode (no word yet on if this well get a second season), there’s not as much to build up and discuss as there are things to pay off and bring to a conclusion, so for this I’m going to change up the style a bit and tell you right now what I think. I’m… conflicted. Bold statement, I know, but as much as I’ve struggled to get on the same wavelength of this show in some of the previous episodes, I just feel like I’m too far out of the loop for it to work for me. How much of it is my whiteness and privilege butting up against a series primarily created and aimed at a different audience with its own perspective? How much of it is the show’s already troubled pacing and narrative coming to a head as it tries to tie everything up? Is it just a disappointing ending or one that’s SUPPOSED to leave me feeling empty and tired? I’m not sure the answer to any of those questions, but the bottom line is that from my point of view the show doesn’t end on a bang but on a squib as things definitely DO happen that wrap up the story but none of it feels particularly cathartic and it’s all muddled with the show still trying to explain itself up until the last minute. I’d be hard pressed to say if I’d be any more confused watching this episode if I HADN’T closely watched the previous ones leading up to this point because it’s lore has been a tangled mess from the beginning with the whole Sons of Adam thing being its biggest bugbear, and there’s nothing else the show has left to do but try and wrangle all of that into something watchable. Giving it as much benefit of the doubt as I can, I understand the EMOTIONAL beats of the episode, the importance of a lot of its decisions, and how it could definitely work for someone else, but for me I found the mechanics of it all poorly explained, the lessons to be somewhat suspect, and the ending particularly dour in a way that the rest of the show really hasn’t been even at its. It’s not the note that I personally would have wanted it to go out on, but perhaps what I would have wanted would have missed the point entirely.
We’re back with another episode of everyone’s favorite Monster Mash just in time for the Halloween season? Yes, I’m a bit late at putting this up as I’ve fallen behind on… well basically everything the last few weeks, but it was hopefully worth the wait as I have quite a bit to say about this particular episode! Is it an improvement over the last few episodes that didn’t quite capture the tone that this series works best at, or will this show continue to go all over the place until the very last minute and tries to cram everything into a satisfying conclusion for the final episode? Let’s find out!!
The episode begins on a very somber note as everyone in this Chicago community are marching to the funeral of a young man named Bobo was a character who showed up, albeit briefly, in previous episodes as a friend of Diana (Jada Harris), and as it turns out he is in fact supposed to be the real life Emmett Till; a fourteen year old boy in 1955 who was shot and then strung up around the neck with barb wire which was then tied to a cotton gin fan before being thrown in the river; shooting him, cutting him, choking him, and drowning him on the flimsiest excuse of him supposedly flirting with a white woman who later in life recanted the story which his killers presumably knew to be false at the time. I’m dubious about putting an actual historical figure and victim such as him in a big budgeted HBO fantasy series to make a point, but aside from that it’s a sobering introduction that definitely reflections the tension and shared trauma of the current state of police and white supremacist violence in this country; violence that was always there but has gotten much more of a spotlight in recent years. Diana is certainly having a hard time of recently, especially with the recent death of her father George Freeman (Courtney B Vance) and the disappearance of her mother Hippolyta (Aunjanue Ellis), and it’s just too much for her to take with grace and restraint, so she runs off and starts yelling at other kids who aren’t in mourning over the loss of a child to such senseless violence. As cathartic as this is for her, the good feeling ends up being quite fleeting as a cop car immediately pulls up behind her and she may end up being the next kid to have a funeral. It’s not just any cop however as it’s Captain Lancaster (Mac Brandt) who is the leader of The Sons of Adam in this area and he has a copy of the comic book that was found at the Time Machine at the end of the last episode with her name written on it. They interrogate her to try and figure out where her mother went, but when they don’t get the answers they want the captain puts a curse of some sort on her which involves spitting on her head and putting her in a chokehold. The show is back to what it does best which is infusing tropes of horror and other genres with the real life terrors that people of color have to experience, and I’m glad that things are finally starting to get back on track after the last few episodes felt like they losing focus.
We’re back with even more clunky yet mostly fun nonsense from our favorite supernatural HBO show! The last episode certainly had a really great central hook with the Jekyll/Hyde motif, but everything involving Atticus and the larger storyline was rather underwhelming which is a shame because that’s the main plot thread for the show. Thankfully this one is another excursion away from all that as well learn more about the woman Atticus knew during the war, but even without the baggage from the Sons of Adam, are there enough thrills, chills, and genuine insights on important issue for this to be another solid episode? Let’s find out!!
Today’s episode is a flashback to Atticus’s time in the Korean War, but is told from the perspective of Ji-Ah (Jamie Chung); the mysterious woman who Atticus called at the end of the last episode. It’s the fall of 1949, and Ji-Ah is a young woman living with her mother in Daegu South Korea. When she’s not busy studying in medical school or taking care of her mother, she’s at the movie theaters watching Judy Garland films or trying to get a date with her fellow nurse friends. I never thought to learn when Speed Dating was invented, but apparently they had it in the forties and it was just as unpleasant then as it was now; especially when a Korean Bro calls MEET ME IN ST LOUIS American propaganda. She does seem to connect with one person who they talk with movies about… but when the timer goes off and it’s time for him to mark his card, he puts a nice big X over her space. Tough luck, Ji-Ah. Well she doesn’t give up quite yet and heads to a bar where she manages to find someone to take home and they immediately start to have sex! No kissing, no foreplay, not even any lube; just take off the clothes and get to humping! This ends up making sense however (at least for Ji-Ah) because as soon as the guy finishes… strange things start to happen.
It turns out that Ji-Ah is actually NOT Ji-Ah… but still kind of is. Okay, so YEARS ago, Ji-Ah’s mother (Cindy Chang) caught the girl’s step father abusing her and in an act that would surly garner a bunch of likes on r/JusticeServed, she has a Mudang (basically a female Shaman in Korean culture) summon the nine tails fox demon to inhabit the body of her daughter and kill the man. However, the spirit SEEMS to have taken over Ji-Ah’s soul? I would the situation is comparable to Kurama from Yu Yu Hakusho to simply things, and the whole “you’re not actually my daughter” thing has caused some tension between her and her mother. Speaking of anime, you may remember the nine tails from Naruto… but I don’t think THIS ever happened in Naruto, and I read A LOT of Naruto! Getting back to the random dude’s O face, as soon as the guy finishes, furry tentacles (which are decidedly NOT tails!) start coming out of every orifice on Ji-Ah’s body. And I mean EVERY orifice. Eyes, nose, mouth, ears… other places; I mean shoot, the nine tails HAVE to come out of somewhere, right!? In any case, the tentacles get to work which involves sucking all the memories out of the guy’s head and then making him explode in a cloud of bloody mist. If nothing else it is a compelling sight as these weird tail things with mouths lift the dude up in the air before turning him to juice, and frankly it’s not the most terrifying thing this country is gonna have to deal as the Korean War is about to begin.