AMERICAN HORROR STORY: COVEN 3.4: “Fearful Pranks Ensue”

ahscoven3041Nothing like an episode with a tense cliff-hanger, and AMERICAN HORROR STORY: COVEN delivered an ending that left me wanting to know what will happen? What kind of powers do the witches have to fend off the undead?

A helluva lot happened in this episode, and we’re only four weeks into the season. I have a feeling the real storyline has barely begun, because there’s so far to go. There seems to be plenty of time for Madison and the minotaur to come back.
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THE WALKING DEAD 4.3: “Isolation”

TWD4033Another episode of THE WALKING DEAD, another cliff-hanger that leaves us begging for more. Can Daryl, Michonne, Bob and Tyreese outrun thousands of walkers? Will the disease claim more lives? Will Carol kill again? Will Tyreese kill Carol in revenge?

There was a palpable sense of fatalism from almost everyone in the camp, whether Carol warning Rick that they may not see another sunrise to Glenn complaining that all he’s doing lately is digging graves. Everyone seems to sense the Grim Reaper just outside the gates. And why not, with the disease inside the fence? And, as far as anyone knows, a mad killer on the loose?
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AMERICAN HORROR STORY: COVEN 3.3: “The Replacements”

AHSC1It must be difficult for Jessica Lange to choose two shows for her Emmy reel each year because she has so many terrific performances from AMERICAN HORROR STORY to consider, but I think her work this year just got 50 percent easier: This episode absolutely has to be submitted, because we got to see sweet-and-sour Fiona at her finest.

Who are the eponymous Replacements? Take your pick: Madison is Fiona’s replacement; Queenie is Delphine’s replacement; the patchwork Kyle is his own replacement; Alicia thinks Kyle is a replacement for her husband; and Cordelia is unable to create her own replacement.
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AGENTS OF SHIELD 1.5: “Girl in the Flower Dress”

BRETT DALTON, MING-NA WENOne of the things I find most interesting about MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. is the way episodes hinge on decisions that Agent Coulson has to make, as opposed to a shoot-out or some other action set piece. Whether it’s choosing to let Skye tag along with his team from the pilot or a life-or-death decision about the person his team was chasing. And he makes these choices on the spot, and rather coldly and without sentiment. I like that he takes his job seriously and is willing to make the tough calls.

Those of you keeping score at home know Coulson sometimes gives the prey the benefit of the doubt — Skye and Akela   — but sometimes doesn’t — just ask Dr. Franklin. I find that the most interesting aspect of this show, which isn’t always all that interesting. After all the action and chases and hand-to-hand combat, Coulson usually has a split-second to weigh the life of a bad or dangerous person against the lives of his team (or the safety of the world), and he doesn’t let sentimentality get in the way. (Or would Akela disagree, even though she benefitted from it?)
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THE WALKING DEAD 4.2: “Infected”

TWD40203Not even a week after I expressed my disdain for “contagion” storylines (while discussing SLEEPY HOLLOW) what does THE WALKING DEAD do? It plays the contagion card. And worse, it looks like this will be a major plot thread for the foreseeable future.

I just don’t buy into the inevitable course of infections in these storylines — the path of the disease is clearly dictated by storytelling needs. Somebody once said that we are much more forgiving of amazing coincidences in real life than we are in fiction, so it’s best to not put any coincidences in your story, but if you must, keep it to just one. And it’s always the most dramatically interesting people who get infected in these stories. It happens too often to be coincidence.
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AMERICAN HORROR STORY: COVEN 3.2: “Boy Parts”

AHSC1The Pretty Little Witches take a page out of Mary Shelley by way of The Rocky Horror Picture Show; Delphine LaLaurie is set loose in the modern, integrated Big Easy; and Fiona gets the most sinister haircut since Keri Russell chopped off her locks and got FELICITY canceled — and it’s all in a week’s work for AMERICAN HORROR STORY: COVEN.

The story features three different kinds of immortality: Delphine and Marie Laveau living agelessly, Kyle being revived after death by a mixture of science and magic, and Misty Day resurrecting herself. How ironic that practically everyone around Fiona is immortal when she’s searching for the key to eternal life.
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AGENTS OF SHIELD 1.4: “Eye Spy”

shield1The fourth bombastic episode of MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. saw our heroes pitted against a… diamond thief? Er, um… a really good diamond thief. One who stole a whole bunch of diamonds. From guys wearing red masks. On a subway. In Stockholm. Yeah, the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division took on a jewel thief.

I know the show has a few mandates and guidelines to follow in order to air at 8 p.m. on ABC (curbs on violence, etc.), but I think the show’s producers are aiming a little too low. For a while it was hinted that the thief might have super powers, but no, she just had a camera (and a bomb) installed in her eye.
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