Horror / Sci Fi/ Fantasy TV Reviews & Recaps

BREAKING NEWS: "The Man In The High Castle" Provides A Shocking Look At An Alternate WWII Outcome

The Man In The High Castle Episodes 2-5 Reviews: Did You Find What You Were Looking For?

Since the pilot aired on Amazon last year, I have been anxious awaiting "The Man In The High Castle". See my episode 1 review here: Episode 1 "The New World" Review Apparently I'm not the only one. Last week the volume was so high it crashed the servers. I couldnt even access it at 5 AM. Luckily things are better now. 

Episode 2 "Sunrise" began with a bang. Juliana Crane (pretending to be her sister Trudy Walker) makes it to the neutral zone. She has the contraband film and hopes to pass it on to an unknown contact. Meanwhile her boyfriend Frank Fisk is left behind in Japanese controlled San Francisco. The Kempeitai (Japanese police) brutally beat and torture him. Frank's sister and her two small children are also brought in. If he doesnt spill the beans, they will be gassed in a reception room. But Frank really doesnt know anything. Inspector Kido finds someone else who might be the culprit. In a truly heartbreaking scene, Frank is released but it's too late for the others. He is required to identify their bodies in a warehouse. Since they are classified as enemies of the state (and Jews), they are not even get a burial. Frank's brother in law returns from a business trip to find his entire family exterminated.  

Back in the neutral zone, Juliana meets up with Joe Blake. He's driving a truck full of coffee makers. He also has a copy of the banned film "The Grasshopper Lies Beneath". We know there's going to be a love connection between these two since they're both young and attractive. It turns out Joe reports to the Nazis. He says he's secretly working for the Resistance but I'm not so sure. Juliana and Joe are almost killed by a menacing character called the Marshall. He's a bounty hunter. The Marshall hangs the person who sold Juliana a bible and then ties his body to the Canon City sign for everyone to see. Juliana is also almost killed by Origami Man (we dont know his real name). She thinks he is her contact but the guy is really an SS agent. They fight on the road above the dam. She eventually pushes him over. Thank God for Aikido. Joe and Juliana eventually get the film/films back to the Man In The High Castle via diner owner Lem Washington (who was the real contact all along). 

Next is the part where I get confused. Juliana heads back to SF after she calls and talks to Frank's friend Ed (DJ Qualls who is Citizen Z on "Z Nation"). Uh, why would she return when she can be killed for treason? Joe also returns to his home base in New York City. 

When Juliana reunites with Frank, she expects things to be like before she left. Uh, no. Frank is not the same person. And it doesnt seem she even considered what would happen to him after she left. To top it all, he knows deep down inside that she doesnt really love him. I'd be pissed if I was Frank too. He asks her "Did you find what you were looking for?"

There is another plot brewing. Japanese trade minister Tagomi is working with a man named Wegener. They are trying to get atomic bomb plans from the Nazis over to the Japanese (since they believe the Nazis will go for a power grab after Hitler's death). The Japanese prince is making a speech in San Francisco. Frank is there was an old Colt revolver and two antique bullets. Ed already shot him in the arm with the third bullet. Before Frank can act, someone else shoots the prince. Frank flees and drops the locket he made for Juliana. The prince's guards commit hare kare. If Kido doesnt find the shooter, the same will happen to him. All hell is about to break loose in the Pacific States. 

Episode Guide:

Episode 1: "The New World"
Episode 2: "Sunrise"
Episode 3: "The Illustrated Woman"
Episode 4: "Revelations"
Episode 5: "The New Normal" 

Grade: 4 Monsters (out of 5). An excellent start but I'm a little bogged down by some of the later story lines. All in all, I'm still very much enjoying the story though and cant wait to see where it leads. There are 10 episodes total. Besides the main characters, Obergruppenfuhrer John Smith and Inspector Kido are very menacing as baddies on each side. I'm also enjoying Tagomi's quiet plotting. 

Photo Credits:

The World According To GMonster
TV: Heavy On Sci Fi, Horror & Adventure; Light On Reality

November 29, 2015

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How To Get Away With Murder Season 2 Episodes 8-9 Reviews: And The Shooter Is...

The creators of "How To Get Away With Murder" promised Annalise's shooter would be revealed by the midseason finale. I'm happy to report that they delivered and then some. Here's what we knew at the beginning of the year. Annalise lay on the ground with a nasty gunshot wound. DA Sinclair also lay dead on the ground. The Keating Five, Bonnie, Frank and Nate were probably somewhere nearby. It all has something to do with the Hapstall siblings because the crimes take place at their mansion. 

Did anyone predict the specifics regarding the shooting? If you say "yes", I'll be highly suspicious. I seriously double anyone could have guessed this convoluted mess. Not that I'm complaining. It was highly entertaining to watch (just not very probable).

And now for the specifics.  

  • Phillip- the Hapstall cousin born of incest was thrown out as a red herring. He and Catherine appear to have some sort of relationship. She picks him up at the police station. He has one of her paintings in his apartment. He could still be involved in some way but I think he's just meant as a distraction. 
  • Asher- Annalise secretly releases what she knows about the Millstone coverup. Instead of facing public scrutiny over corruption charges, the judge hangs himself. In a heartbreaking scene, Asher's mother asks why he chose Annalise over his own family and then disowns him. Asher then confronts Emily in the parking garage. She says his father was a bad man and people are better off without him. He freaks out and backs over her-- killing her dead. He calls Bonnie for help. On a side note, we still dont know why Sinclair was so obsessed with sticking it to Annalise. That was one major vendetta. 
  • Bonnie- arrives in the garage and confirms Emily is dead. She and Asher put the body in the trunk. She phones Annalise. Bonnie brings the body to the mansion. She and Asher push it off the roof. The rest of the Keating Five dont know what Asher had done until Annalise tells them. Likewise Annalise tells Asher that the rest of the Keating were Sam's actual killers (instead of Bonnie). Previously my money was on Bonnie as the killer due to her bizarro love/hate relationship with Annalise. 
  • Annalise- this is where is gets even crazier than usual. Annalise's plan is to pin EVERYTHING on Catherine. Yep, her parents deaths, her aunt's death, Sinclair's death, and Annalise's shooting. In order to accomplish this, Annalise has Frank kidnap Catherine. He then drugs her, pours alcohol down her throat and leaves her to be discovered. How could this possible work? I have no idea. And just to top it all off, Annalise wants someone to shoot her in the leg. She goes through Connor, Lauren, Michaela and finally Wes. She finally convinces Wes to do the deed by telling him Rebecca has been dead all along. At the last second he decides to shoot her in the stomach instead of the leg. He's about to shoot her again when an injured Annalise says "Christophe" over and over again. Flash back to Annalise and Eve in a police station watching a young Wes being told his mother is dead. We still dont know exactly what her relationship is with Wes but I dont believe Annalise is his mother. Maybe she was responsible for his mother's death as well. The woman certainly does leave a trail of mysterious deaths in her path.   

Grade: 4 1/2 Monsters (out of 5). Yes this scheme is quite improbable but who cares. It's still great fun to watch the screws turn on Annalise and company. I'm more than happy to suspend reality if I'm entertained. On a related note, what kind of hold does Annalise have on all these people to keep getting them to do horrible things over and over again? And where can I get something like that? Just kidding... or not. 

We'll have to wait till February to check back in with "HTGAWM". How is the gang going to top this next year? The stakes keep getting higher and higher. We know that Asher went to the police station (while Bonnie was cleaning up in the rest room). Will he confess and implicate everyone else? Will Caleb spill the beans on the crew in hopes of defending his sister Catherine? If so, he may be the next to die. 

Photo Credits:

World According To GMonster
TV: Heavy On Sci Fi, Horror & Adventure; Light On Reality

November 29, 2015
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The Returned Season 2 Episode 5: Mme Costa

This week we finally learn what happened to the mysterious Mrs Costa. The episode begins 35 in the past. Mrs Costs did not die during the first dam collapse. She arrives at her house on the hill to find Victor drawing. It's a picture of Mrs Costa and her dog Titus. Mr Costa says the children at school are all afraid of Louis/Victor. He shows her more pictures. They are of the dam collapsing but they were drawn BEFORE it happened. Later Titus runs out into the lake barking at something. Mrs Costa goes to retrieve him but falls through the ice and drowns. We then see a flash of Victor's drawing. It is Mrs Costa dead under the water.

In present day, Victor tells Mrs Costa they have to help Julie. He had a vision of her jumping off the dam. They are initially blocked by the horde (please call them "the domain" now) but Victor grabs Mrs Costa's hand and walks calmly through them without incident.  

Meanwhile Julie is at the hospital visiting Victor's father who is in a coma. He apparently used to be one of her patients. A kind nurse gives Julie a place to stay at the hospital. Ophelie tells Julie that all the police offers are dead. She fails to mention that one is missing. Mr Lewanski wakes up.

Simon and Adele take baby Nathan to the church and ask the priest to help them escape. They are hiding from both Lucy and the police. Baby Nathan is baptized. His head doesnt spin around... so I assume he's not the devil. Good to know. 

Audrey appears at Jerome's house and tells him where the other deadies are hiding. He goes to the Helping Hand to talk to Audrey's mother. But stupid Sandrine tells Pierre. Really bad idea lady! They drag poor Audrey back to the center as she begs for her mother.

And in the final scene, a bound Milan opens his eyes at the bottom of the lake. We knew we hadn't seen the last of him. The guy is REALLY hard to kill.  

In other news:
  • Esteban has turned into an emotionless zombie. Is it because his parents committed suicide? He later joins the horde. Camille says they are his family now. 
  • Berg's father is the kindly dead man that helped Claudia back home after the horde beat her
  • There are a series of underground tunnels under the lake. This is how the town keeps flooding. 
  • Camille and Virgil share a kiss. Oh, young dead love. 
  • Lucy visits Alcide. She wants baby Nathan. She says Alcide holds everyone's fate in his hands. 
  • Toni awakes in his cabin to find eight silent women staring at him. Are these all Serge's victims? Giving Serge's reaction, I'm going with "yes".  

Grade: 4 Monsters (out of 5). The answers keep coming at a slow, slow drip.  Will Victor and Madame Costa be able to save Julie in time? Do Victor's drawings CAUSE events to occur or is he just a precog? If Julie dies I'm going to be seriously upset. She continues to be the most lonely sympathetic character (in a show CHOCK FULL of lonely sympathetic characters). I'm seriously rooting for her to have a happy ending with Laure (or Ophelie or someone).

On an unrelated note, I took way too much delight in watching Mme Costa stomp her way through the snow and almost fall on numerous occasions. Get some sensible shoes lady. It's winter time in the French Alps. No need to make a fashion statement. 

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ZNation Season 2 Episode 12 Review: Party With The Zeros

Operation Bitemark heads south of the border in this week's episode entitled "Party With The Zeros". They are surrounded by zombies when up pops EScorpion with an escape plan. He takes them to La Reina de los Muetos. She's the Queen of the Zeros. Yes, that's Gina Gershon from "Bound" and "Show Girls" fame. Hey girl! Looking good! La Reina has Dr Kurian working to find a z vaccine. Remember we last saw him back at the phytozombie greenhouse when he was carted away by the Zeros.  

Reina plans to rebuild civilization. Before people can join her group, they have to prove themselves worthy by fighting off some z's...in a pit... in the dark. Our team kicks ass. As a reward they are all given makeovers. Hilarious scene. Check it again here: https://twitter.com/znation/status/669669420227145728

Vasquez recognized Scorpion as the person who killed his wife and daughter. Vasquez tries to shoot him but it looks like he's trying to assassinate the Queen instead. Warren comes to the rescue. Reina thinks Warren saved her life. Warren should be able to use that to her advantage later. In the meantime, Reina decides Vasquez will "volunteer" to be injected with Kurian's z virus cure. Somehow I'm thinking the dude doesnt have a cure (since he's the one that caused the zombie outbreak in the first place). 

Grade: 4 Monsters (out of 5). We finally learn a little about the Zeros. Anything with Gina Gershon in it gets extra bonus points in my book. There are 3 episodes left to go in season 2. 

Photo Credits:

World According To GMonster
TV: Heavy On Sci Fi, Horror & Adventure; Light On Reality

November 29, 2015

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Jessica Jones Episodes 1-3 Reviews: Finally A Superhero For Adults (Series Premiere)

NetFlix launched it's newest foray into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) last week with "Jessica Jones". This is not your typical superhero show though. First of all, the lead character is a woman. As I've discussed previously, there's a serious lack of female superheros as leads. The two exceptions currently airing are "SuperGirl" (which just began on CBS) and "Agent Carter" (soon to return for a season 2 on ABC). Secondly, the main character does not fly around defending truth, justice and the American away. 

Instead, Jessica (played by Krysten Ritter) is a tortured, antisocial, alcoholic. She works as a private investigator using the name "Alias Investigations". Jessica mostly works cases where spouses are cheating on each other. This definitely doesn't give her much faith in humanity. She lives in a run down building in Hell's Kitchen, NY. Other tenants include a drug addict who breaks in her apartment to eat her peanut butter (Malcolm) and a weirdo brother/sister duo (Robyn and Ruben) who live right above her. 

Jessica's bestie (they have been on the outs for a while) is radio talk show personality Trish Walker (played by Rachael Taylor of "12 Monkeys" fame). Jessica suffers from PTSD due to her time with a guy named Kilgrave (played menacingly by David Tennant). He can control the minds of anyone he comes in contract with. He forces a girl named Hope to kill her parents right in front of Jessica.  

Jessica does a lot of work for lawyer Jeri Hogarth (Carrie Anne Moss). We learn that Jeri is no nonsense and has a wife (and an assistant/lover on the side). Jeri is a very busy woman. I'm hoping we'll see more of her in the future. 

Jessica has a fling with Luke Cage (played by Mike Colter). Like Jessica, he has special powers. He is "indestructible". Jessica gives him the brushoff at the end of episode three. I assume it's because Luke is getting his own show soon. Luke has not learned yet that Jessica was responsible for his wife Reva's death (while she was under the control of Kilgrave).  

Favorite Quotes:

  • "God didnt do this. The Devil did. And I'm going to find him."- Jessica Jones to one of Kilgrave's victims.
  • "A big part of the job is looking for the worst in people... turns out I excel at that."- Jessica. 
  • "I dont give a bag of dicks what kinky shit you're into. Just be into it quietly."- Jessica to her upstairs neighbors. 

Episode Guide (there are 13 episodes total). Each begins with "AKA" since the original title of the show was "AKA Jessica Jones":

  • Episode 1: "AKA Ladies Night"
  • Episode 2: "AKA Crush Syndrome"
  • Episode 3 "AKA It's Called Whiskey"
  • Episode 4: "AKA 99 Friends"
  • Episode 5: "AKA The Sandwich Saved Me"
  • Episode 6: "AKA You're A Winner"
  • Episode 7: "AKA Top Shelf Perverts"
  • Episode 8: "AKA WWJD?"
  • Episode 9: "AKA Sin Bin"
  • Episode 10: "AKA 1,000 Cuts"
  • Episode 11: "AKA I've Got The Blues"
  • Episode 12: "AKA Take A Bloody Number"
  • Episode 13: "AKA Smile"   

Grade: 4 1/2 Monsters (out of 5).  So far I'm really enjoying the show. The lead is tortured and compelling. I'm a sucker for flawed superheroes. The baddie (Kilgrave) is menacing. Given his power, Jessica is not safe anywhere (which greatly ups the stakes). The other main characters also have great chemistry.  After three episodes, I'm going to declare "Jessica Jones" a hit for NetFlix. How do you feel about the show? Please leave your comments in the notes below. 

Photo Credits:

World According To GMonster
TV: Heavy On Sci Fi, Horror & Adventure; Light On Reality

November 27, 2015

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Scream Queens Episode 10 Review: I'm Thankful The Red Devil Hasn't Killed Me Yet

"Thanksgiving" opens with Chanel telling Chad she offed Hester (who wasnt really pregnant by the way). She hid the body in the meat locker. Chad wants to have a three way with Chanel and the recently deceased Hester. Uh, no! They go to see the body but SURPRISE! It's gone. Chanel exclaims "Is this meat locker a portal to an alternate universe?" Indeed it may be. How many missing bodies does that make now? 

The Red Devil spends some quality Thanksgiving time with Gigi. They're cutting finger turkeys out of construction paper. Red Devil is still bummed that she killed Boone. Gigi does not show up for dinner with Wes. Hmmmmm.   

Chanel #3 goes home to her family. They are all eating frozen dinners on TV trays (since that's what the Swenson family fortune was built on). Chanel #3 is chastised by her father for being late. She quickly decides she's had enough and heads back to the sorority house. There she finds Dean Munsch cooking the turkey she pardoned the day before. They are later joined by Wes, Grace, Zayday and Chanel #5. Instead of going around the table and saying what they're thankful for, they each reveal their theory about the killers. 

Munsch think the Devils are Boone and Chanel #5. After all her biological father is Charles Manson. Chanel responds by blaming Cathy instead. Others agree. She hates the Kappas, is playing a long game and is definitely NOT allergic to bologna. Wes points to his own daughter Grace as the killer (and then decides she's not). 

Over at the Radwell family compound, Chanel eats with the family. As expected, Chad's family are pompous asses. They go around the table and say what they're thankful for. Chad is thankful that the Red Devil hasnt killed him yet. Chad's brother Thad is grateful for European pornography. Chad's mom (Julia Duffy) is talks smack to Chanel. Chanel loses it and threatens to strangle her. Just then Hester arrives. She announces she is pregnant. How is she alive? What we heard crack last week was really her neckbrace. The cold temperatures in the meat locker reduced the swelling in her spine and may have healed her. OK then. 

Bunny is not buying any of this. They have a law firm on retainer for just such emergencies. Chad's dad Tad (Alan Thicke) tries to buy off Chanel.    

They play a game of pictionary. Mrs Radwell has of course doctored the cards and changed "horse" to "neckbrace whore". Hester is barraged by insults. In a surprise move, Chanel stands up for her. They both leave and head back to KKT. 

Chad and Pete eventually show up at the sorority house too. The Red Devil discussions continue. Pete says Wes is the killer and he could prove Boone is his biological son. Well, that's interesting. 

It's time to eat. They take the cover off of the turkey-- only to discover Gigi's head. Uh oh, the Red Devil really means business now.  

Favorite Quotes:
  • "Gravity killed Hester. I just gave her a little push."- Chanel to Chad.
  • "Is this meat locker a worm hole to an alternate universe?"- Chanel upon finding Hester's body missing. 
  • Bunny Radwell: "Let's all give a round of tolerant applause to our newcomer-- Chanel Oberlin." Thad: "Welcome Chanel. Chad hasnt mentioned you... ever!"
  • "You said she was not pregnant. She's says she's pregnant. You said she's dead. She's says she's not dead. I'm inclined to believe her."- Chad to Chanel about Hester. 

Grade: 4 Monsters (out of 5). A fun Thanksgiving episode. I personally am thankful I'm not a member of the Radwell family. They may indeed be "the most awful family in America". On a side note, Denise was missing this week. She better not be dead or we will riot.  There are only two episodes to go before the Red Devil is revealed. Place your bets now. I'm going with Hester or Pete (who may have had a sex change). 

Photo Credits:

World According To GMonster
TV: Heavy On Sci Fi, Horror & Adventure; Light On Reality

November 27, 2015

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ZNation Season 2 Episode 11 Review: Stuck In Corporate Retreat Hell

This week Operation Bite Mark happens upon a group of white collar survivors held up in a hotel. They all attended a corporate retreat some four years ago and have been stuck together ever since. Going outside is not a good option. Besides the usual zombie horde, there's a raging fire. This gives the walkers a fun reddish orange glow. 

Not a whole hell of a lot happens in this episode. The business people bicker and have to resolve their differences using a truth stick. Guest star Anthony Michael Hall (yes, that kid from "The Breakfast Club") serves as their leader Gideon. He has an eeiry ability to read people. He pegs our team in about five seconds flat. Yes the dude is irritating but I'm not sure many of these corporate types would survived this long without him. Of course he won't let them leave either... so there's that.    

Murphy is shot and unconscious for half the episode. The zombies are attracted by his dreaming and try to pound their way into the building. Doc does a transfusion between Murph and Greg (making him an improved version of Cassandra). He can actually speak and point. His life is cut short though. The guy that is stealing food (Travis) shoots him dead and quickly becomes a zombie himself. One of the group, Iggy, has been falsely accused and is cast out. He somehow survives and returns to seek his revenge. 

In a surprise move, the writers have Addy almost make a love connection with Dana. They are trapped in a closet together and the woman begs Addy to take her with her. Too bad Dana ends up being in cahoots with the baddie. When the team leaves, Dana tells Addy "I really hope I see your face again". I really hope I so too. While I seriously enjoy all the zombie killing fun of "Z Nation", it would be nice to see a little romance for our main characters. I think they've earned it at this point. 

Grade: 4 Monsters (out of 5). A quieter episode but still bizarre enough to keep me entertained. Bonus points for the intro. The slow mo zombie kills by the crew to an aria was, dare I say, beautiful. This episode also reminded me of how much I hate the corporate world. If I'm on a corporate retreat when the ZA strikes, I'll take my chances with the zombies. 

Photo Credits:

World According To GMonster
TV: Heavy On Sci Fi, Horror & Adventure; Light On Reality

November 24, 2015
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