MARION Checks In To BATES MOTEL

Season 5, Episode 6  “Marion”
Written by Carlton Cuse & Kerry Ehrin
Directed by Phil Abraham

[Images courtesy A&E/Cate Cameron]

Last week “Dreams Die First” gave us Bates Motel Presents – The Marion Crane Story. This week, “Marion” goes towards, into, and beyond the most shocking moment of the first slasher movie (spoiler alert – it concerns a shower).

Former Sheriff and Current Prison Escapee Alex Romero (Nestor Carbonell) is (we hope) still recuperating. Emma and Dylan (Max Theriot and Olivia Cooke) learn of Norma’s supposed “suicide,” and experience the callousness Norman (Freddie Highmore) displays towards any family member not named Mother. And, of course, Marion Crane checks in at the Bates Motel.

 

 

Norman, Marion, and Mother

Marion (Rihanna), a bit soggy but still looking fabulous in her crushed blue velvet coat, waits for Norman to descend the looonnggg set of stairs from the house. Norman nervously offers Marion an “off-season stormy middle of the night” rate of $60.00 (he doesn’t mention Room One’s Peeping Tom special). Marion signs in as “Marie Samuels.” Norman helpfully points out the Bates Motel stationery before going back to the house; he’s going to make Marion something for dinner.

Sigh. Crushed velvet raingear is not at all practical, but on Rihanna it works.

Norman prepares a ham sandwich for Marion while beginning an episode long knock-down drag-out battle of wits between what’s left of his sanity and the Mother (Vera Farmiga) in his head.

It starts quietly. Mother nitpicks Norman’s choice of wheat for a ham sandwich. Norman uses a very large knife to Marion’s sandwich while deflecting Mother’s verbal jabs. “What game are we playing tonight, Mother?” Mother slices an apple. Norman argues, “You don’t exist. I made you up … You have no power over me and I’m going to prove it.”

Maybe Norman lets Marion live because she offered to pay for the lamp she broke.

Norman’s big act of rebellion? Having dinner with an attractive woman. Norman watches Marion eat “like a bird” and they exchange sad stories of their respective childhoods. Norman’s stuffed birds blindly observe.

Marion spins a mix of probable truth (only child, mother died early, shunted off to an aunt in Miami) with some lies (she’s from Los Angeles). Norman paraphrases one of Anthony Perkins’ most famous lines, bemoaning “the private traps that everyone lives in” including the family trap. “We need people, but that need can destroy us.”

A call from Lying Philanderer Sam Loomis (Austin Nichols) breaks up dinner. Norman gets an earful of Marion tearing into Sam while his handy spy hole offers a voyeurs-eye view of Marion preparing to take a shower in Room One. Norman becomes more aroused. Mother reminds him, “I’m with you Norman, don’t forget that. This is why you need me.”

Norman admits Mother is real, then learns the Awful Truth about her role in his life.

Now Bates Motel takes a major swerve from the original Psycho story. Marion stops her shower, hastily dresses, and insists on seeing the motel registry. She heard Madeline (Isabelle McNally) screaming in the background during her call to Lying Sam. If Norman would be so kind to let her look at the register, she can make sure he’s OK.

Norman sees a golden opportunity to get even with Sam Loomis. Last week he spilled the beans to Madeline Loomis about her husband’s affair; now he informs Marion that her boyfriend is married. She doesn’t have to check the register. Norman knows the address and happily writes it out for her.

Marion sees the truth and trashes Sam’s car. Sam runs out to confront his girlfriend. Madeline sees the truth and promptly locks Sam out of their house.

Back at the Bates place, Norman attempts to make another sandwich, ignoring the feast Mother has prepared. He rebuffs her attempts at domesticity. “Don’t pretend you’re her.” In retaliation, Mother trashes the kitchen, screaming “Is that real? Say I’m real!” as plates smash on the floor and dinner is swept off the table.

Norman buckles and admits Mother is real. She turns off the fury and embraces her son. We see Norman standing alone, leaning into her embrace amidst a disaster zone of food and broken crockery.

Norman returns to the motel and sees Marion’s car is back. Marion herself is kneeling in a room strewn with clothes, gazing at the $400,000 she stole for Sam. Norman gingerly moves some undergarments out of the way and sits on the bed next to Marion. Bad decision. He becomes more and more agitated. He begs her to leave: “Get out of here while you still can.”

She does. Marion takes the money and hightails it out of White Pine Bay. A cell phone flies out the window as she speeds away.

But someone has to get murdered Room One! Thankfully, Sam Loomis stumbles in. No girlfriend around to hear his (fake) apology? Sam decides to clean up while waiting for Marion to respond to a message she’ll never get.

If you thought your day was bad so far, Sam Loomis, it’s about to get a whole lot worse.

In the motel office, Mother gives Norman the fruit of the poisonous tree — knowledge of good and evil. “You get the truth Norman, but also the pain.”  Mother exists because of men like Sam Loomis. Mother kills for Norman because as a child he couldn’t protect Norma from Sam Bates’ physical abuse. Now Mother and  Norman are “equal partners.” It’s time for adult Norman to do what the child could not.

Norman protects Madeline the way he couldn’t protect his mother. He stabs Sam Loomis to death and asks, “Mother, what have I done?”

 

Dylan and Emma

Back in Seattle, Emma shows Dylan the White Pine Bay Current headline from two years ago — “Norma Bates, Business Owner, and Local Sheriff’s Wife, Found Dead in Apparent Suicide.” Dylan calls Norman, who is cold, flippant and dismissive to his half-brother. Dylan changed his phone number and cut off contact. It’s Dylan’s own fault Norman didn’t tell him their mother was dead. After a few minutes, Norman cuts Dylan off with a curt goodbye and hangs up.

 

Psycho Notes

~ Composer Chris Bacon’s music throughout this episode channels the surging nervous energy of Bernard Hermann’s iconic all-strings score for Psycho.

~ Poor Sam Loomis. From Philandering Lying Liar Who Lies – to Philandering Lying Liar Who Is Now Dead.

By assigning the Shower Scene to Sam, there’s  an interesting change in the dynamics of the Psycho story, along with a shift of the meaning of this scene within the overall Bates Motel story.

In Psycho, Marion was murdered by Norman As Mother because she was a woman and (in my opinion) she made a choice to break free of her trap. Marion chooses to return to Phoenix and face the consequences of her actions. Norman, stuck in his own trap, can’t stand to see anyone else break free. Most importantly, we knew Marion; we understood her motivations and were shocked by her death.

Sam Loomis is murdered by Norman as Norman because he is just like Sam Bates. Because he’s been pretty much a constant lying jerk to everyone he’s met, the murder of Sam Loomis is, while not meaningless, more like the murder of (as TVTropes.com calls them) The Unlikable Victim (well, they call is something else that begins with an A- and ends with -le).

Sam isn’t really a character whose death we care about except in how it moves the story along; watching him die is not much different than observing Jason murdering Stupid Camp Counselor #1 in a Friday the 13th movie.

~ Actor Austin Nichols, in an interview with Yahoo, mentions that there were certain aspects of Psycho they show runners wanted to adhere to, and The Shower Scene is one of them. Check out this anatomy of the Psycho shower scene from The Guardian then re-watch the last few minutes of “Marion” to compare the two.

Other Musings

~ Nice bit of symbolism of the apple handled by Mother, uneaten by Marion, but given to Norman when he learns the truth of what Mother represents in his mind.

~ Is Marion guilty of theft or embezzlement?

~ Since Marion sounded like an only child, looks like we won’t see a sister named Lila snooping around the Bates Motel. Previews for next week’s “Inseparable” show Madeline Loomis looking for her missing husband instead.

 

 Bates Motel airs Monday 9/8 Central on A&E.

 




SciFi4Chicks Dives Into HIDDEN FIGURES and STEM

[All images courtesy Hidden Figures Facebook page]

The Oscar-nominated movie Hidden Figures highlighted previously unknown contributions of African-American women to America’s space program and spurred discussion of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) careers for women today. SciFi4Chicks digs into both on our March podcast.

The women of the West Computing Wing – human “computers” of NASA’s early days.

Our discussion ranges from the  multiple challenges faced and overcome by the pioneering African-American women of NASA to the work done today to inspire young women to pursue STEM careers. Mindy and Ann also reflect on their own histories with STEM subjects.

Listen in and tell us your stories and experiences in the worlds of STEM!

AND check out Teresa Wickersham’s SciFi4Me review of Hidden Figures.

 




ROGUES GALLERY #52: Snobs, Songs, a Sellout, and a Slog

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[recaps by Jason P Hunt]

This week: Supergirl is Juliet and Mon-El is Romeo Light as the Kryptonian faces off against Lois Lane and Hercules. Then she gets whammied and has to sing for her supper, dragging the Flash into the musical mental minefield. Hijinks ensue. And J.R.R. Tolkien helps the Fellowship of the Time Ship retrieve the blood of Christ to destroy the Spear of Destiny, only it doesn’t go so well. And over on Arrow… just, ugh…

PLUS: a discussion about the new Justice League trailer.

The panel: Ann Laabs, Dave Margosian, Tim Harvey, Jeff Hackworth, Thomas Townley, Jason Hunt

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GOTHAM: Logo.
Returns April 24

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Episode 216 “Star-Crossed”
Written by Katie Rose Rogers & Jess Kardos
Directed by John Medlen

Teri Hatcher and Kevin Sorbo!

This week, we get the reveal so Kara (Melissa Benoist) gets caught up with the rest of us: Mon-El (Chris Woods) is actually the crown prince of Daxam. And now that he’s been revealed as a liar, “This changes everything!” for Kara, and …

Why is the B-story with Winn (Jeremy Jordan) getting framed for stealing a Van Gogh the more interesting part of the episode?

And just like in the “Invasion” cross-over, this one has one scene at the end to launch us into The Flash musical episode with the singing and stuff…

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Episode 317 “Duet”
Teleplay by Aaron Helbing & Todd Helbing
Story by Greg Berlanti & Andrew Kreisberg
Directed by Dermott Daniel Downs

It’s the full-episode part of the episode-and-some-change crossover (so called) where Supergirl gets taken to Earth-1, where Mon-El and J’onn enlist the help of Team Flash to figure out what’s going on inside her head — which is a mental recreation of 1940s Hollywood musicals, because of course Barry (Grant Gustin) and Kara both love musicals.

Music Meister has got them trapped inside the mental maze, where they have to play along with the script to get out. Along the way, we have several moments of exemplary musical skill (even though every song but one was a cover…). And while it’s not “Once More With Feeling” in terms of impact, it does have a way of cleansing the palate of all the angst and grimacing from previous episodes of both shows.

And in the true spirit of the After School Specials, both Barry and Kara find their own relationship answers when attempting to advise others about the same problems. Funny how that works, isn’t it?

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Episode 215 “Fellowship of the Spear”
Written by Keto Shimizu & Matthew Maala

Directed by Ben Bray

Firestorm (Franz Drameh) finally is using his transmutation powers! And the show acknowledges the birth, life, and death of Christ, which is kind of a big deal for a Hollywood thing, you know?

The Time Team figures out that Christ’s blood is the only thing that will destroy the Spear of Destiny, the remaining pieces of which they retrieve from the Legion of Doom’s base camp at the Vanishing Point. And Nate (Nick Zano) knows of a theory that Sir Gawain of the Arthurian Knights actually recovered a vial of Christ’s blood instead of the Holy Grail. It’s a theory developed by J.R.R. Tolkien (Jack Turner), who’s serving as a 2nd Lieutenant in the North of France during World War I.

So when Leonard Snart (Wentworth Miller) shows up to confront Mick (Dominic Purcell), everyone figures it’s just more hallucinations. Only it’s not, and Snart convinces Mick to hand over the Spear of Destiny.

Too bad there’s not a Magic Helmet to go with it…

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Episode 517 “Kapiushon”
Written by Brian Ford Sullivan & Emilio Ortega Aldrich
Directed by Kevin Tancharoen

Can this show just get cancelled already?

We spend a lot of time in Flashback Russia, maybe because the whole Prometheus thing isn’t really much of a thing? Because it’s not. It’s boring. Adrian Chase (Josh Segarra) manages to capture Oliver (Stephen Amell), and we spend way too much time with Chase trying to get Oliver to admit something everyone but Oliver already knows. Even Anatoly (David Nykl), easily the only redeeming element of this show at the moment, understands that Oliver is kidding himself thinking that he can keep the “monster” isolated under a green hoodie.

And Drago Konstantin Kovar (Dolph Lundgren) still hasn’t said, “I will break you.”

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DREAMS DIE FIRST? Not On BATES MOTEL

Season 5, Episode 5 “Dreams Die First”
Written by Erica Lipez & Kerry Ehrin
Directed by Nestor Carbonell

[Images courtesy A&E/Cate Cameron/Sergei Bachlakov]

 

“Dreams Die First” dives deep into two narratives. Even as he experiences flashes of his life as “Mother” in White Pine Bay, Norman (Freddie Highmore) refuses offers of help and chooses the comforts of home. And we finally meet Marion Crane (Rihanna), watching her pursue a reckless course that lands her right back at Bates Motel. Safe in Seattle, Dylan and Emma (Max Theirot and Olivia Cooke) face a crisis in their marriage. Former Sheriff Romero is nowhere to be seen, possibly because Nestor Carbonell is directing this episode.

 

 

Emma and Dylan

Emma, searching for stamps in a junk drawer, finds instead a lone earring saved in an envelope. Could it be Norma’s? Spurred by this discovery, Emma presses Dylan to discuss Norma and consider visiting her. Norma may be a “nut,” but deserves to know about her grandchild. Dylan shoots down the idea abruptly.

He later confesses the truth to Emma. His doubts about Norman and the trail of suspicious deaths that follow him. “Norman is sick. Things happen around him … bad things.” From Norman’s father, Sam Bates, to the trail of bodies in White Pine Bay. From Norman’s teacher Blair Watson, that’s a list that may include the owner of that lone earring — Emma’s mother.

Emma can barely control her anger. She tells Dylan to literally take a hike for a while so she doesn’t start screaming. Searching “Wikifinders” on Dylan’s Puget Sound Hops and Granary laptop that night, Emma learns her own secret — about Norma’s “suicide”. Will she tell Dylan?

Norman Bates, small business owner and master of he surveys – for now.

Norman

Norman wakes and reaches for Mother — her space on the bed is empty.  He is red-eyed, has scratches on his back, and races to the bathroom to vomit. Somebody had a late night? But was it Norman or Mother? Norman searches the house and motel; Mother is nowhere to be found. But Sheriff Greene (Brooke Smith) would like to speak to him at the station. Since Mother’s car is also MIA, he presumably walks to town.

Detective Arbogast Sheriff Greene politely, deliberately questions Norman about Alex Romero while he nervously drinks from a glass of water. Throughout this episode, we see Norman as a very poor liar and not nearly as clever as he thinks he is. In his version of Life With Romero, the former sheriff was “a lonely, very unhappy man” who “latched onto my mother so completely and didn’t want anyone else in her life.” Projecting much, Norman?

Back home, Norman again searches for Mother and finds only a book of matches from The White Horse Bar. He calls and asks if anyone has seen Norma. She isn’t there – but her car’s in the parking lot and about to get towed.

Madeline (Isabelle McNally) calls right after to apologize for the whole “cake and chill” fiasco of a first date but agrees to take Norman into town. Norman spills the beans about seeing Sam with a woman at the Motel. Madeline shows the first sign of spine this season, furiously demanding Norman “get the hell out of my truck.” Good thing they’re at the bar.

The bartender (Brendan Taylor) appears very concerned for Norman — is he OK? Norman most assuredly is not. Muttering “It’s all good … it’s all going to be good, Norman,” he drives through the rain in a daze, almost running over Dr. Edwards (Damon Gupton), his former therapist at the Pineview Institute.

Norman has a particularly difficult time keeping his mind on the road.

Norman has coffee with Dr. Edwards, who knows Norman isn’t on his medications since no-one has called for a refill in a year and a half. Norman begins acknowledging some truths about himself. He knows he sees his mother when she’s not really there and “sometimes, I become her … but that doesn’t happen anymore.” So thanks for the coffee but goodbye Dr. Edwards! On to the White Horse Bar.

Not a good idea. Norman’s breakdown continues. Everyone seems to know him, asks how he’s been, compliments him on his “new look.” Norman stumbles into the bathroom. A “handsome man” (Michael Doonan) follows him. From the intimacy Handsome Man displays towards Norman, they know each other very well. Norman doesn’t appear to know him, but “remembers” flashes of Norma with this man in a car.

Norman collapses against the wall. Handsome Man switches from hookup mode to genuine concern, asking how he can help. Norman mentions his mother; the man offers to call her. Norman says “You can’t … she’s dead.” He hears Norma asking, “We’re supposed to be together, aren’t we Norman?” and sees himself resting his head on her lap.

Back home, Norman trudges through the rain to the house, and we see Marion Crane, barely able to see the sign through the torrential rain, turn off the road to the Bates Motel.

Marion may not have great judgment in men or overnight accommodations, but her coat looks fabulous.

Marion

Marion Crane’s storyline tracks closely with her path in Psycho; Bates Motel makes Marion’s part of this iconic story both true to the source material AND new in the telling.

Psycho Notes

“Dreams Die First” is chock full of subtle, well-placed callbacks to specific moments in Psycho.

~ Last week, Norman remarked that he sounded “mad” to be offering Madeline his dead mother’s clothes. This week Norman describes Romero during their prison visit. “He just stared … like a madman.” Much like Norman in the last shot of Psycho.

~ Marion’s first scene echoes the first scene in Psychoanother furtive encounter between Sam and Marion. In Psycho, they couldn’t marry because of alimony Sam had to pay. On Bates, he’s too far in debt to commit (as far as he’s told Marion). So far, movie Sam Loomis is Prince Charming compared to his TV counterpart.

~ Marion works at a Seattle real estate company called R.A. Bloch Realty. I see what you did there, Bates Motel!

Marion sees the answers to all her problems in a briefcase full of money – who wouldn’t?

~ The briefcase full of cash has been inflation adjusted from the original $40,000.00 to $400,000.00. Marion is told to deposit it on Bates, not just put in the safe deposit box.

~ Marion asks to be considered for the position recently vacated by Janet. Wonder if Janet’s last name was Leigh?

~ Her boss is still named George Lowery (Raphael Sbarge) although the slimy rich guy is now named Jeff Dunn (Al Sapienza) instead of Tom Cassidy. He’s still a leering jerk. We don’t get to hear him brag that buying a house for his newlywed daughter with all that cash isn’t “buying happiness. That’s just… buying off unhappiness.

~ Fleeing Phoenix with Mr. Cassidy’s cash, Marion has the bad luck to see & be seen by her boss Mr. Lowery, crossing street at a red light.  On Bates, Norman sees Dr. Edwards crossing the street in White Pine Bay.

~ The menacing cop (Mort Mills) wearing mirrored glass in Psycho is now just as menacing but takes his glasses off (and is played by executive producer Carlton Cuse).

~ In Psycho, Mirrorshades Cop sees Marion’s car pulled over on the side of the road. On Bates,  instead of being questioned for sleeping in her car overnight, Marion is pulled over because her rear license plate is obscured by a raincoat she threw in the trunk (over the incriminating Suitcase Of Stolen Cash).

 

Other Wonderings

~ There is a lot of care taken to show the water glasses during Norman’s talk with Sheriff Greene, and a point made of showing Norman drinking from his glass. Maybe Sheriff Greene’s collecting DNA and/or fingerprints?

~ Norman has two chances to accept offers of help — from Dr. Edwards and “Handsome Man” at the White Horse Bar. Both can see his distress and offer to help. Both offers are refused.

~ Serious question. Was Norman suffering a blackout when carrying out the murder-suicide attempt last season? He describes Norma’s suicide as is he wasn’t involved at all. He has to remember something.

 

Bates Motel airs Monday at 8/9c on A&E.

 




A GRIMM Look Into Schrödinger’s Mirror


Episode 6:11 “Where the Wild Things Were”
Written by Brenna Kouf
Directed by Terrence O’Hara 

[recap by Maia Ades]

I’m not sure there’s anything I can say that doesn’t fall under the spoilers category. So let’s just jump right in, shall we?

I got my prediction correct that Eve (Elizabeth Tulloch) would be in trouble when she stepped through the mirror. But, I thought that Diana would follow her and it doesn’t look like she will. In fact, most of the main characters are being uncharacteristically pragmatic. How odd that now, with the last couple of episodes to go, they are finally being sensible.

(Photo by: Allyson Riggs/NBC)

The title of this episode confused me. I didn’t understand why it’s called “Where the Wild Things Were”. Teresa Wickersham had a good theory about why it’s called were and not are. She thinks maybe when they stepped through the mirror they actually went back in time. It’s better than any ideas I had about it. Anyone have a good theory they’d like to share on why the Wesen are always woged in “the other place”? Perhaps they are primitive Wesen and woging at will was an evolutionary aspect of Wesen. The concern for Eve is that she will woge and be stuck in her Hexenbiest form.

(Photo by: Allyson Riggs/NBC)

I thought the parts of the episode that take place in “the other place” were barbaric and rather scary. On the other hand, it also gave us probably the best Eve scene she’s ever had. Her explanation to Nick (David Giuntoli) about who she is, her journey and their current relationship was spot on. I don’t think Elizabeth Tulloch has been given permission to express who Eve is before this. There have been tidbits of lines from her on who Eve is. But this was the biggest and most powerful speech from her.

Unfortunately Nick is still a bland character. It never ceases to dumbfound me how the lead character, the anchor of the show, can have so little character. If you’d asked me if this was possible, I would have argued that it’s not. The audience needs to be able to connect with the character. That we need to have reason to care about and for this main character. Obviously, I’m wrong. Grimm has been successful for five and half seasons. Audiences proved that they will follow a show that has interesting supporting characters even if they get very little from the lead.

My one beef with this episode is the amount of time given to bringing Renard (Sasha Roiz) up to speed. It’s a bunch of expository information that the audience doesn’t need. There just has to be a better way that could have been handled. Maybe someone could have said that they’d fill him in on what he needs to know, say as they head out to a car. We’d assume that they talked about all the stuff that Renard needed to know during the car ride. 43 minutes is precious time that we could have gotten more new information but some of it was spent on stuff we already know.

(Photo by: Allyson Riggs/NBC)

For the first time Renard wasn’t using his daughter in his own game for power. It was a breath of fresh air to see him actually acting like a concerned parent. Although, how he’s going to protect her from this Zertörer, Devil thing I can’t imagine.

Last season I was concerned about the mounting war the Black Claw was bringing on. I argued that war is too heavy, brutal and deadly to fit in this story well. I don’t think that is a concern any longer. We’ve not heard much about Black Claw. In fact the last I recall it being mentioned was when Renard declared he no longer supported their cause. Oh, and of course Trubel (Jacqueline Toboni) was sent on an undisclosed mission by Hadrian’s Wall. I think we’re to presume that she has been battling Black Claw.

With only two episodes left, this one ends in classic Grimm style, “to be continued”. Hang on, this is probably going to be a bumpy ride.

 

Grimm airs Friday nights at 8/7c on NBC.

 




HIDDEN Cars, Homemade Cakes and a Nervous Norman on BATES MOTEL


Season 5, Episode 4 “Hidden”
Written by Torrey Speer
Directed by Max Theriot

[Images courtesy A&E/Cate Cameron]

Dylan Massett is off camera this week, safe and sound in Seattle with Emma and baby Kate. But Max Theriot, the actor who plays Norman’s half-brother, makes his Bates Motel directorial debut with “Hidden.” We also get to see a lot of Madeline Loomis (Isabelle Mcnally) wearing Norma’s old clothes; maybe that’s why she veers dangerously close to “Too Dumb to Live” territory for her own good.

“Hidden” picks up right where “Bad Blood” ended. Mother (Vera Farmiga), Norman (Freddie Highmore), and Chick Hogan (Ryan Hurst) gather around the bloody, lifeless body of Caleb Calhoun (Kenny Johnson) lying on the road.  Chick checks the body and declares Caleb deceased with a gruff “Yup.” He continues his campaign for Permanent Houseguest status by doing as Mother recommends (via Norman) and “taking care of” the Caleb’s corpse.

Chick may be the weirdest resident of White Pine Bay (which is saying a lot), but he seems to have missed his True Calling as a Beatnik Shaman/Viking funeral director. Considering how little Chick did to help Caleb out before accidentally killing him, Chick sends Norma’s brother off with dignity. He assembles a White Pine Bay version of a Viking Funeral Boat at the edge of what looks like the same lake where Norman dumped Jim Blackwell’s corpse a few episodes back.

Chick Hogan revealed another hidden talent this episode – Impromptu Viking Funeral Shaman!

Norman deals with having to subcontract the disposal of yet another body by – getting rid of Norma’s old clothes. When  Mother asks “What got into your pants?” Norman snaps (well, figuratively at least). “Nothing every happens the way I think it should, Mother!” They argue over Chick staying in the house until she snaps back “Well, make up your mind!” If only it were that simple.

An unwelcome visit from the new Sheriff delays Norman’s trip into town. Detective Arbogast Sheriff Greene asks about Jim Blackwell – Norman’s name was found written down among his effects. Turns out Blackwell had just gotten paroled from the same prison Romero just escaped from! What a coincidence!  Throughout this and the other encounters between the Greene and Norman in “Hidden” we learn the Sheriff is quite a sharp, subtle interrogator – and Norman is a terrible, easily flustered liar.

Norman finally makes it to a donation kiosk outside the only church we’ve seen in five seasons of Bates Motel. A few items get tossed in before Norman pauses and looks towards Main Street and Downtown Hardware. Even Madeline Loomis’ professional charm cracks a bit as Norman notes “I must be mad” when he offers her Norma’s old clothes. At least his order of shower curtains is in. “You must go through a lot of these.” Oh if you only knew, Madeline.

Norman regrets spending money for a playground nobody uses.  He needs that money for more shower curtains.

Norman’s golden mood is shattered as he pulls into the motel parking lot. Chick’s unloading his car at the base of the steps. Norman stammeringly tells Chick that having another person in the house with himself and Mother would just be too much. Chick counters,”I’m going to help you with a lot of things, Norman … Help you out with everything.” Amazingly enough, Norman stands his ground. Chick leaves in a huff but leaves the chicken he brought for dinner.

Detective Arbogast Sheriff Greene stops by again for a chat. She’d like to go over the guest register in the motel office. Norman can’t stop eating candy while she looks for a clue regarding Jim Blackwell. Stammering, Norman slips up and mentions the name listed on the dead hit man’s license – Canyon City. Sheriff Greene finds that odd, since she never mentioned where the late Mr. Blackwell was from.

Sheriff Greene, you’re a super smart detective. For your own safety, don’t go near the grand staircase in the Bates house.

Norman is so rattled by the questions about Blackwell, he insists Mother must help him hide Blackwell’s car. Despite all the care Mother took to hide it – removing the plates, erasing the VIN number – Norman insists.

A miserable Dead Mother and Son midnight hike gets even worse after Norman accuses Norma. “Maybe you want us to get caught, Mother.” Mother responds by shrieking at the top of her lungs,”Please catch us! We’re right here!”

Norman lunges at Mother, smothering her cries until her eyes film over – is it possible to kill an imaginary mother? Apparently not, since she pops back to life, scuttles away from Norman while warning him not to do that again.

Norman Bates – always the perfect, if socially awkward, gentleman.

Fortunately, Norman has plans for the evening. First, he tells Mother that he’s having dinner with Madeline Loomis and there’s nothing she can do to stop it. Then a quick stop at the local junkyard/squatter’s camp to ask a still-peeved Chick for help permanently disposing of Blackwells’ car before confessing “It’s not me … it’s her, Mother … I don’t know how to reign her in.”

So when Madeline asked Norman to help her “make a cake” after dinner, she actually meant preparing a cake.

Madeline must’ve gotten over the weirdness of wearing Norma’s old clothes; she appears at the door dressed in a lovely blue dress that fits “like a second skin.” After a lovely dinner of coq au vin, Madeline not-so-innocently asks Norman to help her bake a cake they can eat while watching a movie later. Baking leads to making out in the kitchen before Norman sees Mother’s reflection glaring at him in the window. A bloody vision of Madeline with a slit throat sends Norman fleeing into the night.

He finds nothing at the Bates home but a kitchen table neatly set for breakfast. “Mother?” Our last image of the episode is Norman gazing into the camera with Mother’s gaze.

Romero Patrol

Former Sheriff Alex Romero (Nestor Carbonell) continues his relentless path back to White Pine Bay. Nothing will come between him and his self-appointed task to “take care of” his stepson Norman.

Despite just getting shot, in this episode Romero manages to:

~ Persuade the kid who shot him last week to get a first aid kid (did nobody in the nearby farmhouse hear the very loud gunshot?). Romero staggers to his feet and escapes.

~ Walk all the way back to WHP, spies the only working public phone booth left in America (helpfully labeled PHONE) next to (what looks like) the Kings Motel.

~ Use said phone to call 911 and report a fake emergency, steal medical supplies and cast from a conveniently out-in-the-open wallet, then

~ PERFORM DIY SURGERY ON HIS GUNSHOT WOUND

~ Lurch to the home of a woman named Maggie (Jillian Fargey) who appeared in one episode back in the first season.

Hope he finally gets some sleep. The guy’s had a busy day!

 

Psycho Notes

~ We have our Detective Milton Arbogast! The scene with Norman at the motel was an amazing version of an almost identical scene in Psycho.  Freddie Highmore does an amazing job with the same mannerisms (stammering and nervously eating) that Anthony Hopkins created for Norman in the original film. Let’s hope Sheriff Greene avoids the main staircase in the Bates house – or she may share Det. Arbogast’s fate.

~ Madeline is wearing a dress that looks very much like a shade of “periwinkle blue.” Is Bates Motel (as I noted here) echoing the moment from Psycho when Mrs. Chambers remembers she helped Norman pick out a dress just that shade for Norma’s funeral?

~ In the final second of the teaser for next week’s episode we see Marion Crane pulls into Bates Motel parking lot on a rainy evening.

~ Chick mentions that his suspense novel would “make quite a good little movie.”

~ Again no sign of Emma, Dylan, or baby Kate. Good news if you picked them in your “Bates Motel Survivor Pool.”

 

Bates Motel airs Monday at 10/9Central on A&E.

 




Down Home Horror HARROW COUNTY Wins 2016 Ghastly Awards

[Banner image courtesy Ghastly Awards Facebook page]

 

Harrow County is a small patch of Americana overflowing with witches, haints, gods, and monsters, brought to life since 2015 by writer Cullen Bunn and artist Tyler Crook in the Dark Horse comic of the same name. Harrow County was nominated in 2016 for an Eisner Award in the Best New Series category (losing out to Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang).

 

 

On the eve of the 2016 Eisner Award nominees announcement, Harrow County just won several Ghastly Awards, including Best Ongoing Title, Best Writer (Cullen Bunn) and Best Artist (Tyler Crook). The Ghastly Awards began in 2011 to honor the best in horror comics and are named after famed horror comic artist Graham Ingles. If you’ve ever seen stories from The Vault of Fear, Tales from the Crypt, or The Vault of Horror, you’ve seen the signature Ingles style – full of “swampy surroundings, mutilated cadavers, and vengeance-seeking zombies.”

 

Blood, snakes, and broken glass on the cover of  Harrow County Issue 21 (Image courtesy DarkHorse.Com)

Until Syfy actually makes a series based on Harrow County, the comic (both single issues and four collected editions) are the best introduction to this rural, haunted world. Harrow is one of the comics I make a point of buying in single issues as soon as they hit our Local Comic Store. Bonus content, including extra “Tales of Harrow County” and stories of “true life” hauntings sent in by fellow readers, make this title feel like a group of friends relating tales around a campfire.

The Skinless Boy – Emmy’s loyal friend and protector (image courtesy Harrow County.com).

Emmy Crawford, a young woman protecting both the supernatural and human worlds that co-exist in Harrow County, lives with her Pa in a rural farmhouse. But like everything around her, Emmy is more than she appears. From The Skinless Boy to her beloved Pa, her home is full of terror and wonders. We’ve only begun to learn the mythology of Harrow County, and I can’t wait to see where Bunn and Crook’s Americana horror story goes next.

If you’re intrigued by Harrow County, here are a few resources (in addition to the newest issue at your LCS) –

Harrow County.com– not updated recently, but full of great art and links to the Harrow County soundtracks.

Dark Horse Comics – official site

 




A Little BAD BLOOD and a Lot of Mind Games on BATES MOTEL


Season 5, Episode 3 “Bad Blood”
Written by Tom Szentgyorgyi
Directed by Sarah Boyd

[Images courtesy A&E/Cate Cameron]

 

Last week’s episode of Bates Motel (Convergence of the Twain) set a couple characters on collision courses back to White Pine Bay and their common enemy – Norman Bates. Alex Romero (Nestor Carbonell) received a thorough beat down in prison, then used that to finagle a transfer to a work farm. Caleb Calhoun (Kenny Johnson) actually arrived in town, learned of Norma’s suicide and wept at her grave. His Worst Day Ever ended with Norman as Mother knocking him into Dreamland.

“Bad Blood” sees some delays for Romero on the road home, while Caleb encounters everyone at the Bates place – Norman, Norma Louise, and Chick – before a final hit and run with Destiny. The most interesting part of the episode belongs to creepy off-the-grid bon vivant Chick Hogan, who makes himself at home in the Bates House of Hallucinations.

 

 

Firstly – Caleb. He wakes handcuffed to a pole in the basement of Chez Bates and sees Norma (Vera Farmiga) in a golden halo; she apologizes for hitting him. Caleb relates the happy news about Dylan and Emma’s baby, but as his vision clears Caleb realizes he’s talking to Norman (Freddie Highmore) as Mother. Caleb plays along, telling his “sister,” “You know you can let me go now Norma.” Mother sadly replies that Caleb can’t leave, since he knows Norma is faking her death.

Caleb finds out Norman isn’t the only one seeing Norma Louise.

Norman as Mother goes upstairs and finds Chick (Ryan Hurst)  tapping away on his phone. Mother observes that Chick has been a good friend to Norman, and wonders why. Chick’s disingenuous reply is completely unbelievable to anyone not named Norman Bates – “I like helping people.” Mother asks Chick if she can trust him. Chick answers with another whopper – “You can trust me, Norma.”

By end of this scene Chick talks his way into Permanent Houseguest status; Norma will need him to protect her and Norman if Caleb is in the house (and still alive).

Norman wakes up in his mother’s bed, remembering nothing of the night before. After Mother urges his to get some rest and “stay out of the basement,” Chick appears at the door with breakfast and a matter of fact admission that plays one way to the audience and another to Norman. “I know about her … I’m not here to judge you. We’re all in this sideshow together and then we die.”

Mother likes to wear a snappy business suit when haunting watching over Norman.

Basement-bound Caleb dreams of childhood – huddled and clinging to Norma while their parents raged in another room. Travis Breure and Mira Eden, the young actors playing Norma and Caleb, are wonderful in this snippet of memory. This brief, heartbreaking moment gives us the roots of the Bates family dysfunction and indicates the greatest monsters on this show have never been seen – the maternal grandparents of Norman Bates.

Chick arrives in the basement with some food, which he eats while pressing Caleb for information about Norma and their horrible childhood. Chick declines to interfere in whatever Norman and Mother have planned for their prisoner because “I’m just an observer between you and Norma.”

By the time Caleb’s coughed up enough information for Chick, he’s slamming his head into the pole, weeping that Norma was his “everything.” Yup, Chick certainly loves “helping” people.

“Bad Blood” manages to top last week’s Norma/Norman bar scene with a quietly deranged dinner between Chick, Norman and Mother. Turns out that in addition to being “useful and discreet” Chick is a pretty good cook (curry and naan bread for dinner) AND can pretend to “hear” what Norma says to him; all it takes is manipulating Norman into “repeating” what Norma just said.

Caleb’s imaginary Norma delivers a harsh message with a loving embrace.

Basement Caleb miraculously manages to free himself. He sees Norma in the cold storage room, again lit by that hazy golden glow. She’s so happy to see him – “You can always find me.” As they embrace, her body transforms into a corpse and Caleb awakes still chained to the pole.

Norman watches Caleb, then talks to Caleb as Mother. Caleb attempts to free himself, playing along and talking to “Norma.” “If you unchain me, I promise I’ll help you take care of Norman.”  He wishes it could be like when they were little, “in that pure place … I love you Norma Louise.”

Mother sends Chick into town for shopping. While Chick dawdles over manual typewriters, Mother instructs Norman to kill Caleb with the shotgun she helpfully loads for her son. “Fast and true, right through the brain, right? That’s my boy!”

Norman chooses to free Caleb only for Mother to take over as he flees, chasing him down the stairs to the motel.  Chick is so preoccupied with dictating his true crime novel into his phone, he doesn’t notice Caleb fleeing across the road until Caleb is smashed against the windshield. At least Chick doesn’t flee the scene.

Out of the jail and into the gun stealing and carjacking for Romero.

Former Sheriff Alex Romero makes semi-good on his promise to “take care” of Norman. His escapes from the custody of the two cops (Cameron Forbes and Panta Mosleh) transferring him to the work farm using a convenience store restroom break excuse to steal the male cops gun, then targetes a schmuck named Jason (Joshua Hinkson) for My First Carjacking by Former Sheriff Alex Romero.

Problems set in after Romero ditches Jason (who begs for his life by mentioning his wife, child and mother) several hours walk from the highway. The stolen car develops a flat, forcing Romero to walk himself. Romero attempts to steal a car left out in the open with the doors unlocked and the keys on the inside only to have a pimply-faced farm kid (Malcom Craig) shoot him in the gut.

Psycho Notes

~ Last week Chick was scribbling out a story that paralleled (or maybe created?) the current Bates Motel storyline. In “Bad Blood” we see him dictating text and buying a manual typewriter. The sales clerk asks Chick what he’s writing. “A novel … True Crime.”

~ Chick name drops manual typewriter-using authors Ernest Hemingway, (Raymond) Chandler, and (Dashiel) Hammett. It’s a bit puzzling that he neglects to mention the writer of one of the first and most influential “true crime novels” ever written – In Cold Blood by Truman Capote.

~ Like Petyr “Littlefinger” Beylish of Game of Thrones/Song of Ice and Fire fame, Chick may be in danger of outsmarting himself. While he’s got the upper hand on Norman and Mother now, it remains to be seen if Chick really understands what he’s gotten himself into.

~ While we know a lot of details about Chick – he can cook, fancies himself a writer, likes to wear a kimono. What we don’t know – why is he so intent on insinuating  himself into the Bates family?

~ Madeline Loomis (Isabelle McNally) takes up some time with a useless appearance to bring cookies, complain about Sam, and ask Norman “Can we be friends and hang out, even though I’m married?” I’m sure Mother will be JUST FINE with that idea.

~ No Dylan, Emma or baby Kate this week, thank goodness. The less we see of them, the more hopeful I am about their survival past the last episode.

 

Bates Motel airs Monday night 10/9c on A&E.




Sparkle Motion Lives: DONNIE DARKO Returns to Theaters

 

[All images courtesy Arrow Films]

Fifteen years after its original theatrical release, Donnie Darko returns to theaters this month in a new 4K restoration courtesy Arrow Films and Cartilage Films.

The anniversary re-release begins March 31 in New York, Los Angeles, Denver, Columbus, Pittsburg, Phoenix and San Francisco. Throughout March and April lucky moviegoers in Jacksonville, Austin, Dallas, Honolulu, Lubbock, Baton Rouge, Sioux Falls, Oklahoma City, Tucson, Durham and Stamford should keep an eye out for screenings.

Donnie Darko is often classified as science fiction, or horror, or scifi-horror. I’d place it alongside films like Pi (Darren Aronofsky 1998), Eraserhead (David Lynch 1977) and It Follows (David Robert Mitchell 2014). Like those fever dreams, Darko creates a weird, off kilter world that bears a surface resemblance to ours, but develops in to a new landscape, unique to itself.

“Sometimes I doubt your commitment to Sparkle Motion.”

 

“Donnie is a troubled high school student; in therapy, prone to sleepwalking and in possession of an imaginary friend, a six-foot rabbit named Frank, who tells him the world is going to end in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds. During that time he will navigate teenage life, narrowly avoid death in the form of a falling jet engine, follow Frank’s maladjusted instructions and try to maintain the space-time continuum.”

 

Jake Gyllenhaal, Jenna Malone, and a rabbit named Frank watch a movie.

If you don’t happen to live in a city on the Donnie Darko 15th Anniversary 4K release schedule (sigh), let’s hope the good folks at Arrow have a 4K BluRay release in the works.

 

 




THE BELKO EXPERIMENT Red Band Trailer – Teamwork Makes the Dream Work?

[All images courtesy BH Tilt]

2017 started with a financial and critical bang for horror movie fans and the studios that release them.  January saw two big horror releases. The critic-proof Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (released January 20) has an accumulated gross of $238 million worldwide.  M. Night Shyamalan’s psychological-horror-with-a-twist Split (released January 27) also earned big box office — and some love from the critics. Along with a 76% Fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes, Split has brought in a worldwide gross of $225 million since its January 27th release (off a production budget of nine million dollars US).

February’s entry, Jordan Peele’s directorial debut Get Out, scored even better with the critics; an astounding 99% Fresh rating at RTIn two weeks of domestic distribution, Get Out has earned $75 million box office (with a $4.5 million dollar budget).

Which brings us to the March entry in 2017’s Horror Movie Juggernaut Contest — The Belko Experiment from BH Tilt (aka genre powerhouse studio Blumhouse). If the poster tagline “Office Space meets Battle Royale” doesn’t intrigue you, the talent involved — and the recently released “Red Band” trailer  below — might.

 

The Belko Experiment writer James Gunn on set with director Gary McLean.

Let’s start with the writer. Before a little movie called Guardians of the Galaxy hit theaters in 2014, James Gunn was already known to horror fans as the writer of 2004’s Dawn of the Dead remake and director/writer of the criminally underappreciated 2006 release Slither. With Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 taking up a fair chunk of his time, Gunn and Producer Peter Safran made an inspired choice to direct Belko – Greg McLean.

Who’s Greg McLean? Finish this article, watch the trailer link, then get a copy of Wolf Creek (2005). An Australian R-rated entry in the  survival horror subgenre, Wolf Creek is not for everyone. But those who like their horror visceral, fast-paced, and emotionally wrenching will love it.

Let’s set the scene for The Belko Experiment

 

“In a twisted social experiment, a group of 80 Americans are locked in their high-rise office in Bogota, Columbia, and ordered by an unknown voice … to participate in a deadly game of kill or be killed in order to survive.”

 

This Belko employee is not destroying the hated office copier a la Office Space.

Besides cinematic inspirations Battle Royale, Office Space and other horror movies set in the workplace such as Severance (2006) and Compliance (2012), a notorious psychological study informs Belko’s DNA. In 1961 Stanley Milgram of Yale University conducted a series of social experiments. Test subjects administered varying levels of (fake) electric shocks to others who failed answer questions correctly. Unlike the unlucky student in Battle Royale or the office drones of Belko, the participants in the Milgram study weren’t threatened with death for non-compliance; most obeyed their instructions to administer “Danger: Sever Shock” charges anyway.

Michael Rooker as Belko Corporation’s lead maintenance guy – what could go wrong?

So called “Red Band” trailers are, as noted in this 2010 New York Times article, noted for their NSFW (and not appropriate for all ages) levels of possible “… material deemed inappropriate for children.” Be forewarned before viewing – The Belko Experiment trailer linked below does contain intense violence.

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ROGUES GALLERY #50: Stupid Is as Stupid Does

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[recaps by Jason P Hunt]

It’s our 50th episode! Discussions abound as we analyze the latest episodes of SupergirlThe Flash, and Arrow — stupid pills are being taken by just about … everyone in all three shows. What’s up with the Mon-El story? What’s up with apes in Central City with no panic in the streets? What’s up with that Prometheus reveal?

Plus: Aquaman footage from Zack Snyder, casting news for Black Lightning, and Vertigo’s legacy is now in the hands of IDW.

 

The panel: Ann Laabs, Dustin Adair, Jeff Hackworth, Timothy Harvey, Jason Hunt, and guest Sari Al-Shehbaz

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GOTHAM: Logo.
Returns April 24

 

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Episode 214 “Homecoming”
Written by Caitlin Parrish & Derek Simon
Directed by Larry Teng

Daddy’s home!

And it’s a good thing, right? Well, it is for everyone except Mon-El (Chris Wood), who seems to be the only one questioning the coincidence of Jeremiah Danvers (Dean Cain) being rescued just in time to warn the DEO about the super-nuclear-fusion-bomb thingy that Cadmus is planning to drop on National City. Like National City is the only place on the planet where aliens live? Is National City in a bubble? Like Kandor?…

But wait. How many people took the stupid pills this week?

And that’s not how you destroy a computer server, Jeremiah…

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Episode 314 “Attack on Central City”
Teleplay by Aaron Helbing & David Kob
Story by Andrew Kreisberg
Directed by Dermott Daniel Downs

It’s Planet of the Apes 2! Except it’s not.

This week, the conclusion of Grodd’s (David Sobolov) master plan to use Gypsy (Jessica Camacho) to portal his army to Central City, where how many hundreds of apes in armor go trekking through the streets with nary a whimper from the citizenry, the media, the police, the National Guard, the old lady on the corner, the blind guy selling newspapers… Barry (Grant Gustin) and Team Flash are almost afterthoughts this week, with the main conflict involving a lot of CGI. And Solovar (Keith David).

Meanwhile, Jessie (Violett Beane) and Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale) decide they’re going to be together, and after Harry (Tom Cavanagh) tries to guilt-trip them both, he agrees to let her move to Earth-1, where H.R. (also Tom Cavanagh) is still causing everyone to wonder why he’s still there…

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Returns March 7th

 

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Episode 515 “Fighting Fire With Fire”
Written by Speed Weed & Ben Sokolowski
Directed by Michael Schultz

Oliver (Stephen Amell) throws Green Arrow under the bus this week, admitting that he ordered the cover-up in the case of Billy Malone’s death. This doesn’t go over too well with Prometheus or Vigilante, who are each after Oliver for … reasons. Oliver and Adrian Chase (Josh Segarra) don’t agree that this is the best course of action in the face of impeachment hearings, but it’s Oliver’s play to make. Chase is ready to hand in his resignation and fall on his sword to preserve Oliver’s administration.

Meanwhile, it turns out that Prometheus is actually … Adrian Chase? So who is under the Vigilante mask? Dustin has a theory…

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GRIMM Goes Eco Warrior


Episode 609 “Tree People”
Written by Brenna Kouf
Directed by Jim Kouf

[recap by Maia Ades]

Seems the literary reference was dropped for this week. Unless I missed something by a famous author that I’m unfamiliar with. Which is very possible. If I missed it, please help enlighten me.

Programming note: the episode has gone missing at Podcasts.com, so until we find it (messages sent), we’ve embedded it here. Apologies for any inconvenience.

There are other stories that have walking trees. I thought of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Ents. And of course we’ve recently seen Groot on screen. But this didn’t really remind me of any of those references. There are two different tree things. One that catches people that have sinned against nature and then sacrifices them to a large tree thing that, absorbs them. I think. Our Grimm team tries to stop this ritual killing. I don’t think they were successful. The last shot in that story seems to say the forest protector will live to venge another day.

(Photo by: Allyson Riggs/NBC)

Adalind (Claire Coffee) is back this week. She didn’t have a big role in this week’s story, but she was back. As was most of the gang, the noticeable exception was Trubel (Jacqueline Toboni). Where oh where did HW send her off to? There are only four episodes left. Can we please have her back?

I’m not sure how well the tunnel drawings is working as a major plot point to drive us to the final episodes. It feels like a lot of hand of the writers. It’s my sincere hope that this plays out much better than it looks like at the moment.

Next week should start to give us more of our main storyline. I mean, Grimm is running out of time to tie this up and give audiences a nice wrap up. Let’s hope they use their time wisely.

 

Grimm airs Friday nights at 8/7c on NBC.

 




Norman and Mother Live La Vie en Rose on BATES MOTEL


Season 5, Episode 2 “The Convergence of the Twain”
Written by Alyson Evans and Steve Kornacki
Directed by Sarah Boyd

[Images courtesy A&E/Cate Cameron]

Thomas Hardy’s 1915 poem “The Convergence of the Twain” describes the inevitable meeting of two objects: the great ocean liner Titanic and the North Atlantic iceberg that sank her in 1912. This episode avoids overtly catastrophic collisions; but it does set several characters on an inescapable route back into the orbit of Norman and Mother in White Pine Bay.

Norman (Freddie Highmore) triggers the first return journey when he visits Alex Romero (Nestor Carbonell) in jail. Norman knows how much Alex must hate being confined, since Norman too was cooped up against his will at the Pineview Institute; he believes Romero engineered that confinement to get Norman out of Norma’s life.  Their little chat ends with Romero promising Norman, “I’m coming for you when you least expect it.”

Good News – Romero has a visitor. Bad News – it’s his stepson Norman.

After a fight with another inmate lands Romero in the prison infirmary with a concussion, Alex latches onto the suggestion that someone found out he used to be a policeman and targeted him. His lawyer is confident he can get Romero transferred to a work farm for his own safety. Alex agrees. Now that he’s had time to deal with his wife’s death, Romero realizes he has a “responsibility to take care of the son she left behind.”

Dylan and Emma (Max Theriot and Olivia Cooke) instigate the second return journey of the episode. Emma’s gentle but very straightforward insistence last week that Caleb (Kenny Johnson) could not stay in their home did the trick. Caleb leaves a note for his son/nephew and his wife, then heads for White Pine Bay – and Norma.

Norma’s car is parked by the hotel, but the house and hotel are empty. Norma’s room looks very lived in, while Norman’s bedroom is pristine – save for a copy of The Lost Art of Mummification on his bed.

Caleb hikes back to town to find a room, only to discover from the clerk at a local motel that Norma is dead – a suicide everyone knows about because it made the papers. Stunned with grief, Caleb later breaks down, sobbing at Norma’s tombstone.

Caleb Calhoun can’t believe what his nephew Norman wrote on Norman Louise’s tombstone either.

The suspicions Caleb expressed to Norma about her son are reinforced by a memorial inscription (written by Norman) that’s so over the top it must be quoted in full to appreciate the full batcrap crazy overwrought-ness it expresses.

Lovliest Mother, Sweetest Friend, Most Beautiful Woman, Dearest Heart; Purest Soul, Happiest Playmate. Wife.

This World has lost an Angel. You Will Always Live in My Heart. I Will Never Forget You Dear Mother. There’s a Cord Between Our Hearts, Forever and Ever Until the Sky Comes Down.

Always.

Love.

Norman.

Turns out the hotel and house were empty because Norman stopped for coffee in town after his oh-so-pleasant trip to see his stepfather. It is a  COMPLETE COINCIDENCE  that Norman chooses the coffee shop across the street from Madeline Loomis’ Village Hardware. It is also TOTALLY ACCIDENTAL that he sits next to the door where Madeline (Isabelle McNally) can’t help but see him.

Norman makes his way through some painfully awkward chitchat before Mrs. Loomis says something he’s interested in. Can she set him up on a date? That’s not the part Norman find interesting; rather it’s the arrangement of a double date Madeline’s friend Joanne (Andrea Brooks) with Norman. Madeline’ll be accompanied by her husband Sam (Austin Nichols).

When Sam arrives at the coffee shop — and turns out to be none other than the “Mr. David Davidson” Norman rented a room to recently — how can Norman refuse?

At least Mother got out of the house, even if it’s only to spy on Norman’s double date.

The double date goes about as well as can be expected — which is to say, horribly. The “conversation” lurches from Joanne’s nattering on about her job dissatisfaction to Sam and Norman trading veiled barbs regarding “David Davidson” and Sam’s threat to beat Norman to a pulp if he revealed anything to Madeline. The mention of his mother’s suicide sends Norman over the edge and running to the bathroom.

Where, of course, Mother appears. Not for her a boring evening at home drinking, smoking, and listening to depressing Edith Piaf records. She’s tracked Norman down and confronts him with “when did you start lying to me?” Norman shoos her out the bathroom window and back to the car.

Wandering into a bar after the dinner, Norman as Mother unloads her resentments to a bartender who sees Norman sitting before him. “I hate my job,” Norma complains that she’s stuck as a “caretaker for a mentally ill person.” Norman as Mother then makes it home without a blackout and slips into a robe.

Even as a figment of Norman’s imagination, Mother sports a fabulous cloche hat.

There is a convergence in the final act: grief-stricken Caleb reunites with White Pine Bay’s favorite creepazoid forest dweller/stained glass artist, Chick Hogan (Ryan Hurst) at a local waterfront watering hole. Chick’s been “helping” Norman with odd jobs around the house, sharing fruit he steals from the neighbor’s trees, and finding specimens for Norman to preserve and Chick to sell.

Chick and Caleb were involved in a “business arrangement” last season that ended with Caleb having all of Chick’s money and Chick beaten to a pulp. So this is not a happy reunion.

Caleb warns Chick to leave him alone; in the course of their conversation, Chick realizes Caleb just learned of Norman’s suicide.  Chick backs off, observes Caleb ranting about Norman’s responsibility for Norma’s death, then decides to follow Caleb back to the Bates place. Knowledge is power, and Chick is, in his way, the Littlefinger of White Pine Bay.

Has Caleb fallen victim to that most of fatal TV Tropes – Curiosity Killed the Cast?

In his drunken desire for revenge on Norman, Caleb breaks into the main house and makes his way, eventually, to Norman’s workshop in the basement. He has one horrified moment witnessing his sister’s corpse before a robed and bewigged Norman knocks him out cold.

Chick steps from the shadow, exclaiming “Holy Sh**!” Norman as Mother turns to him. “Well, know you know, Chick. I’m still alive.”

 

Psycho Notes

~ Norman leaves for his double date as Norma listens to “La Vie en Rose” (Life in Rosy Hues) by French chanteuse Edith Piaf (1915-1963).

~ The inevitable, doomed meeting described in “The Convergence of the Twain (Lines on the loss of the Titanic) could refer to many clashing characters on Bates Motel – Norman/Romero, Chick/Caleb, or Dylan/Norman. But I believe it refers to the upcoming fateful encounter between Norman and Marion Crane.
“Alien they seemed to be;
No mortal eye could see
The intimate welding of their history,
Or sign that they were bent
By paths coincident
On being anon twin halves of one august event …”
~ An interview on the February 24, 2017 Variety magazine podcast “Remote Controlled” features a joint interview with Executive Producer Kerry Ehrin and Freddie Highmore and it is worth worth a listen.

~ The local Pine View paper Norman pretends to read while stalking Madeline has a very interesting headline – “Citizen Raise Concerns Over Pineview Institute‘s Security.” Pineview is the mental health institution Norman blames Romero placing him in last season.

~ Madeline Loomis may (or may not be) the Bernice Worden of this season.  As Kerry Ehrin describes it in a TVLine interview , “I always looked at Marion Crane’s situation with Sam [in Psycho] and was like, “What is his issue? Why won’t he just marry her?” I always in the back of my head thought that there has to be some other woman involved. And this was just an opportunity to tell that story.”

But it’s hard for a Bates Motel fan in Wisconsin to meet Madeline Loomis, owner of a hardware store in a small town who strongly resembles Norman’s dead mother — and NOT think of Bernice. So it’s still my Crackpot Bates Motel Theory until proven otherwise!

 

Bates Motel airs Monday night 10/9c on A&E.

 




ROGUES GALLERY #49: Supergirl’s Boyfriend, Emily’s Boyfriend, and a Big Gorilla

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[recaps by Jason P Hunt]

The Rogues are back with another episode discussing the latest episodes of the DC Comics television outings. This week: SupergirlThe FlashLegends of TomorrowArrow, and Powerless. Plus: Black Lightning has a star, The Batman has a new director, and his sidekick is getting a surprise movie of his own?…

The panel: Ann Laabs, Dustin Adair, Dave Margosian, Jeff Hackworth, Jason Hunt

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GOTHAM: Logo.
Returns April 24

 

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Episode 213 “Mr. & Mrs. Mxyzptlk”
Written by Jessica Queller & Sterling Gates
Directed by Stefan Pleszczynski

It’s the Valentine’s Day episode. Yuck.

And with Winn (Jeremy Jordan), we get yet another “forbidden” match. Lesbians with Alex (Chyler Leigh) and Maggie (Floriana Luna). Mortal enemies, first with J’onn (David Harewood) and M’gann, then with Kara (Melissa Benoist) and Mon-El (Chris Wood). And now the human-alien match with Winn and Lyra. And a poor cover of The Police…

The main thrust of the story has the doesn’t-look-like-him-at-all Mxyzptlk (Peter Gadiot) wooing Kara, seeking her hand in marriage because out of all the creatures in the universe, she’s The One. Or something. This has the effect of making Mon-El extremely jealous, and the whole episode turns into something from Dawson’s Creek or something…

And nobody pronounced it right.

https://youtu.be/JHJuEbNB0u8

Easter Eggs:

  • Kara was called brave and bold
  • McGurk was mentioned
  • “Look, up in the sky. It’s a bird. It’s a plane.”
  • Kara quotes Batman: “You want to get nuts? Let’s get nuts.”

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Episode 313 “Attack on Gorilla City”
Teleplay by Aaron Helbing & David Kob
Story by Andrew Kreisberg
Directed by Dermott Daniel Downs

It’s the episode fans have been eagerly anticipating since the very first episode of the very first season, when Grodd was first mentioned: Team Flash goes to Gorilla City!

Grodd has captured Wells (Tom Cavanagh), and Jessie (Violett Beane) has jumped to Earth-1 (how?) to enlist the help of Barry (Grant Gustin) and the rest of the team. And oh, by the way, Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale) now has powers, and that’s cool, right? Except it’s not. Jessie is cool to the hip junior speedster. So while she and Wally mind the store with H.R. (also Tom Cavanagh), Barry takes everyone else to Earth-2.

“Welcome to the jungle.” Where they’re promptly captured. Because…

They wake up in cages. Grodd pontificates and monologues about Solovar’s plan to lead a gorilla army to Earth-1 to attack Central City (just Central City, mind you… I guess the rest of Earth is good, bro?) because humans are terrible, awful, and no good. This is only partially the case, as Grodd manipulates Barry into a very-CGI battle with Solovar in the arena. And with Solovar’s defeat, now Grodd can reveal his true plan — his plan to attack Earth-1, which up to now had been stymied by Solovar…

You wicked, wicked monkey…

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Episode 212 “Camelot/3000”
Written by Anderson Mackenzie
Directed by Antonio Negret

Rip goes to Detroit in the year 3000, where Dr. Mid-Nite of the Justie Society has a piece of the Spear of Destiny. And they figure out the other piece of the spear is in Britannia. King Arthur’s neighborhood.

Turns out King Arthur’s knights are being captured, and Ray (Brandon Routh) tries to sell the idea that the Time Team is a group of warriors on a quest against evil. So Arthur wants them to pass a test given by Merlin … oh, wait… not Merlin. It’s Star Girl! She says the final mission of the JSA (along with a Time Master named Rip Hunter) was an operation to retrieve the spear, which was then broken into four pieces and scattered throughout time. Star Girl took on the persona of Merlin and formed the Knights of the Round Table.

And then Rip shows up with Damien Dhark (Neal McDonough). With a device that lets him control King Arthur.

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Episode 514 “The Sin-Eater”
Written by Barbara Bloom & Jenny Lynn
Directed by Mary Lambert

Escape!

China White (Kelly Hu), Cupid (Amy Gumenick), and former bad cop Liza Warner (Rutina Wesley) escape during a bus ride, stealing the bus and heading for Star City. The gal pals are after the money Tobias Church left behind from the crooked Amertek deal, money he never got to use because he got killed by Prometheus.

In the meantime, Dinah (Juliana Harkavy) gets officially sworn in as an SCPD officer, and Oliver (Stephen Amell) visits Prometheus’ mother to get her help locating the villain, and Prometheus doesn’t care for that too much, so he sends a letter to the Anti-Crime Unit with information that Green Arrow killed Detective Billy Malone.

And Thea (Willa Holland) is a little manipulative minx…

 

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GRIMM Builds a Monster


Episode 608 “The Son Also Rises”

Written by Todd Milliner and Nick Peet
Directed by Peter Werner

[recap by Maia Ades]

This episode didn’t do a lot to further the main characters’ stories. It did give us a rather fun police case, an interesting dream sequence, and a bunch of flashbacks.

Last week the theme was Shakespeare. If you missed it, most of the story was based on A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Our main characters drank spiked sparkling wine and each fell wildly in love with the wrong partner. This week it was Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. I’m not sure I can call it the Wesen of the week since the creature was created by scientists who had no idea the body parts they used came from different types of Wesen. When the poor creature woged he was quite a sight to behold.

(Photo by: Allyson Riggs/NBC)

Short version of the episode, at least six months ago there was a car wreck that killed a scientist’s son. Since that time, Shelley the father of the son, got three of his colleagues to work with him to resurrect his son. Now they’ve created this hodgepodge of a body with various kinds of Wesen parts.

Shelley was supposed to kill their creation but much like the original scientist, Victor Frankenstein, he abandoned the creation. The son is not grateful to be alive. In fact, he’s now seeking revenge on each of the scientists involved in the project. Shelley really does play the part of the creator unwilling to take responsibility for his creation. That was the most frustrating thing for me. He really is responsible for at least two deaths because he allowed this thing he created to wander off.

This case allowed Sgt. Wu (Reggie Lee) for the first time to act as a full fledged detective. He loved every minute of it. If there was a meter for job satisfaction on that week, his would have been pegging on the “Lovin’ Every Minute of it!” side of the meter. That was a lot of fun to watch. As far as I recall, this is the first time that a case has been worked completely without Nick’s (David Giuntoli) help. There was the time he was in the hospital following an attack by an ogre, but he still had a hand in the case. He gave Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell) instructions on where to find the correct gun to take down the ogre. That was also the episode that I repeatedly point to as evidence that Juliette (Elizabeth Tulloch) was not as bland and insipid as many make her out to be. She took on an ogre in their kitchen. How many girlfriends do that?

It’s an ongoing debate that Ann Laabs and I have about Eve vs. Juliette. She is not fond of the Juliette character. I still contend that she brought a lot more to the role of girlfriend than is usually given to that kind of character. I am much more disappointed in how little depth and detail Nick’s character has been given. We are nearing the end of five and half seasons and know very little about what this character is about. If it weren’t for the interesting aspects of the other characters, there’d be little of interest in this series for me. Fortunately for me, there are many other more interesting characters to follow.

(Photo by: Allyson Riggs/NBC)

The only parts that furthered our main character stories were Eve/Juliette’s encounter with a hand mirror from which an actual hand came out. Renard (Sasha Roiz) investigated the drawings that Diana made. And you might be able to make a case that Monroe’s dream shows his concern about becoming a father.

I’m not sure what to call Eve/Juliette. One suggestion that I rather like is Evette. She seems torn trying to find her current identity. This episode was the first time she has successfully woged since her healing by the Splinter of Destiny. That was a mixed blessing. It may have been the only way to save her life at the time but it’s also left her very vulnerable. When Evette first became a Hexenbiest, it was such a jarring change. I immediately realized that having that sort of power meant she wouldn’t have to rely on anyone else for her safety.

Of course, Evette took it to an extreme and made life difficult for everyone. She set up Kelly to be murdered and Diana to be handed over to the Royal family. She wreaked a lot of havoc in a short amount of time. Now, she’s somewhere between the mostly docile Juliette and the formidable Eve. I’m guessing that this new Evette will play into a love triangle with Nick and Adalind (Claire Coffee). I can hear the audience groans from here. If there’s a different story twist to come, I welcome it. But, let’s be honest. That’s what it looks like is coming.

(Photo by: Allyson Riggs/NBC)

I found it curious that everyone is referring to the impending something as a who. I thought the calendar was foretelling an event, not a someone. It happened more than once. Evette said it from her hospital bed. Dasha, Renard’s contact for research on Diana’s drawings seemed to indicate that Diana might be that someone. Or at the very least that Diana will be somehow connected to what, who is coming.

I’m still waiting for my baby Kelly, aka Jack Jack moment. The child has a Hexenbiest mother and a Grimm for a father. Come on. There has to be something in that mix that makes for an interesting child.

Time is ticking down to the final episode. Do you have predictions for these last episodes?

 

Grimm airs Friday nights at 8/7c on NBC.