We’re back with more Lovecraft Country intrigue, and it has certainly been an interesting journey hasn’t it? We’ve had great episodes, bad episodes, and all the tones that you can possibly imagine somehow crammed into this very strange tale of magic and horror wrapped in the not so strange but still horrifying exploration of racial issues in this country! With only two episodes to go are we heading towards a climactic conclusion that will make it worth whatever stumbling we went through getting to this point, or should we expect more of the same issues that have plagued this series for some time now? Let’s find out!!
The episode begins with Diana (Jada Harris) in a near comatose state as all the adults in her life (at least the ones that are still around) start yelling at each other about how this could have happened in the first place. Frankly I’m not sure what they’re fighting about as ALL of them are terrible guardians with Hippolyta (Aunjanue Ellis) having disappeared, but the more interesting revelation here is that the Evil Twins from the last episode didn’t want to kill Diana with their razor sharp nails; they just wanted to… poison her with a magic disease or something? In any case, Ruby (Wunmi Mosaku), being the only one with any idea of what to do, calls Christina (Abbey Lee) to try and make heads or tails of this, and while she DOES have some good news, it’s mostly bad. She can reset curse essentially; giving Diana more time before it overtakes her, but to remove the spell completely will require The Book of Names, and we learned that it was burned during the Tulsa massacre of 1921, so there’s not much hope. Still, Christina agrees to do the reset on the condition that Atticus (Jonathan Majors) joins her in Ardham on the night of the Autumnal Equinox. They’ve mentioned this whole Equinox things a few time and I still don’t have a clear explanation on what it is, why it’s so important, and why Christina wants to do some sort of immortality spell on that night (especially since her dad EXPLODED when he tried it back in episode 2), but Atticus agrees so I guess that’s what the tenth and final episode will all be about. They all start putting up transmutation circles all over the place while Christina goes to run an “errand of some sort” which his actually just her transforming into William (Jordan Patrick Smith) and gloating about Captain Lancaster’s untimely demise in front of him. No, William doesn’t go to a grave, apparently the cops are trying to Frankenstein their way out of this little fiasco, but they aren’t having any luck and Christina gets a front row view of this jerk bag breathing his last breath. Couldn’t happen to a nice guy in my opinion, but he may end up getting the last laugh if they aren’t able to stop his curse from killing Diana.
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 of everyone’s favorite gory soap opera! Last episode found a fun and interesting setup to carry the episode, but sooner or later they’re going to have to make the Sons of Adam stuff be the least bit interesting if it’s what will ultimately carry this show to its conclusion; not to mention how much they have to make up for the utterly dour note that the last episode ended on. Does the show finally find its footing and give us a cohesive narrative? Let’s find out!!
We’re going straight to the nitty gritty right off the bat; half this episode is pretty good, some of the other half involving Montrose (Michael K Williams) is pretty underwhelming, and the rest involving Leti and Atticus (Jurnee Smollett and Jonathan Majors) is quite insufferable. If you’re expecting any real consequences or even acknowledgement of Montrose killing the two spirit woman from the last episode (apparently her name is Yahima while Arawak is her tribe I suppose?), you’re out of luck because Montrose ALSO burned the pages from the Book of Adam they found, and they are discussed with FAR more prominence than her. Atticus beats the living hell out of Montrose for what he did and spends the rest of the episode sulking while Leti looks concerned which is not a particularly compelling thing to sit thru; especially since the whole purpose of these pages remains vague at best.
Still, as banal as that part of the episode is, it’s more of a subplot occasionally popping its head into a much better primary plot line about Ruby (Wunmi Mosaku) which focuses on what this show does best; reframing genre tropes in terms of racial issues and making it both very real and very tongue in cheek. In case the title wasn’t a giveaway, the episode is more or less a racial exploration of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde story, and though it’s not the FIRST piece of media to do so, I think it has a bit more going on under the hood than Dr. Black, Mr. Hyde. Ruby wakes up from her night with William and finds herself in the body of a white woman (Jamie Neumann) which is not how she expected to start the day. Convinced she’s lost her mind, she throws on a bathrobe and starts wandering the streets of her neighborhood where no one recognizes her and everyone seems slightly on edge that this random white woman is wandering down their streets. It turns out to be a GOOD instinct because as soon as a young Black man comes up asking if he can help her, a patrol car screeches in and two cops start menacing him; threatening to beat him if he doesn’t confess to molesting her. Realizing the terrifying power of her own whiteness, she starts pleading with the cops to let him go and that he didn’t do anything which they eventually do and they take her back to William’s house as the cops were told that she ran away from there for some arbitrary reason (she forgot her medication that morning or something). Ruby’s not happy about this but it’s not like she has anywhere else to go (I think she’s still mad at Leti?), and as soon as she gets in the house she starts to feel VERY sick; almost like her skin is crawling off of her flesh! As it turns out… yeah, that’s basically it. She’s carried into the house by William and is laid on the flood (which is covered in plastic wrap of course) to writhe in pain until William comes by with a big butcher knife and carves the white skin off of Ruby who pops out and sheds it like a butterfly coming out of a very bloody cocoon! See, THAT’S the kind of goofy nonsense that makes this show work! You don’t see Robert Lewis Stevenson writing anything like that, do you!? Seriously, after what I just saw, Dr. Hastie Lanyon can talk to the hand!
Venom and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures Releasing
Directed by Ruben Fleischer
FINALLY!! I have been waiting so long for this movie to come out, especially with the last few weeks being miserable times doing these reviews. None of this wish washy crap where I am not savvy enough to understand the BRILLIANCE of movies like Mandy, Assassination Nation, and A Star is Born! None of the dull tedium of films like Night School or the disappointingly wasteful Hell Fest! I’m done with those! Give me something I can wrap my head around! Something I can easily size up and bash with a baseball bat for some cheap laughs and maybe some a bit of insight! Whether this is good or bad (STRONGLY leaning towards the latter if the trailers are any indication), I can’t imagine I’ll have to spend three hours hemming and hawing about the best way to describe why I’m the ONE critic out there who “doesn’t get it” because this is the kind of movie that I’m sure we’ll ALL have no problem understanding! It’s a sad testament to the times we’re living in that a Sony Spider-Man movie (except maybe not?) is what I consider a grounding influence in my life, but I’m not the one who voted for any of these jerks, nor did I have anything to do with the September release schedule! Anyway, does Venom actually turn out to be a fun adventure with one of Spider-Man’s most infamous foes, or did Sony WAY overestimate their ability to make another super hero movie after Disney held their hand on the last one? Let’s find out!!
Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) is your typical movie journalist! He’s on the streets looking for the REAL news and has an axe to grind against THE MAN! So much so that he finds dirt on some smug billionaire jerk named Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed) who you’d THINK everyone would realize is bad just from the name, but Eddie’s got the story and springs these questions on him during an interview! A few problems though. First, this is the kind of billionaire who can get people fired from newspapers even if they DON’T run with the story, and second… well he got the dirt by hacking the computer of his girlfriend Anne Weying (Michelle Williams) who I THINK was a lawyer at the firm that Mr. Drake was employing, so she gets the boot too. Well THAT certainly backfired for poor privacy invading Eddie! Now no one will hire him because… I guess there’s NO outlet in existence that wants to hire someone who’s seemingly as competent as Eddie is (ESPECIALLY since he’s desperate and ready to work for cheap) and he’s just kind of sitting around depressed in his apartment; hoping his girlfriend will come back to him (she won’t) and hoping that his neighbor will turn down the loud music (he won’t). Oh, and I think there’s something to do with aliens? Yeah, apparently Mr. Drake had a spaceship that crashed but also had some alien lifeforms on it; namely The Symbiotes. These giant piles of goo turn out to be rather dangerous as we learn when Mr. Drake starts siccing them on human subjects. One of the scientists (Jenny Slate) doesn’t recall this being in her job description so she reaches out to Eddie who reluctantly goes to the facility with her after hours, and sure enough one of the Symbiotes escapes and attaches itself to Eddie. Eventually it reveals itself to be known simply as Venom and the two of them need to work together; otherwise the EVIL MR. DRAKE will find them and… I guess do even MORE evil experiments on them! Can Eddie and Venom uncover whatever it is that Drake has planned for humanity and the Symbiotes? What exactly is Venom’s endgame here, and does it require Eddie to stay alive for that much longer? What chances does Eddie have for reuniting with Anne now that there’s a third slimy wheel in the mix? WHAT THE HELL IS TALKING ABOUT WHEN HE SAYS TURD IN THE WIND!?