Jan 29, 2013


I feel like I need to say a couple of words about the season two of AHS before moving on. Firstly, it definitely wasn't as terrifying as the first one (which is not a bad thing). I don't fear the aliens as much as ghosts; even if they do exist, the likelihood of ever meeting them seems negligible. The Devil was extremely fun and full of life, I mourned her when they killed her off. All the other things, like the Holocaust, mutants, maniacs and mental illnesses, though undoubtedly are utterly disturbing, don't really force you sleep with the lights on. So for me Asylum was more dark than scary.

There were a couple of dead ends throughout the season, I believe. For example, we never got to learn what the hell attacked Lana in the first episode. At the time it seemed like it was the same thing that ripped Leo's hand off, but now we know it wasn't. Transformed Shelley was brought to the playground and exposed, but it didn't even get to a local newspaper. Lee Emerson escaped to never reappear. The aliens took Kit who knows why, etc.

In the end the series turned out to be about Lana, her journey, her last stand and her logical triumph over, well, evil. The only truly nice (tough slutty) person was Kit, yet it never really felt like he (along with the whole alien story) really mattered. Sister Jude had to undergo several personality changes, she's been a cold-hearted bitch, projecting her sins to the inmates of the asylum, then a martyr, and finally just one happy grandmother. Hats off to Jessica Lange.

Despite all the flaws American Horror Story was one of the best shows this fall (maybe just a little behind Boss) and I can't wait for more.


I have very mixed feelings about the finale. On the one hand, I loved the dialogues, the acting and how the episode was shot and directed, so from that point of view if it can't qualify for being called a masterpiece, then at least it's gotta be a very fine work of art. I adore Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, all the episodes he's directed are unbelievably great. On the other hand, in terms of story development the ending left me somewhat disappointed, as it lacked some mind-blowing twists, like those in the middle of the season. You know, like it all was "just a dog's dream" sort of thing, only better.

Anyway, in the beginning they decided to go back to the very first episode and show us what the hack cut Leo's hand off. Johnny Morgan enters the abandoned Briarcliff, listening to the voice of his mother reading her book about the place. Leo and Theresa were unlucky enough to check the mad house at the same time. I totally get the maniac - if you're peacefully getting high in the God forsaken ward and you see the hand with an iPhone reaching out from the food hatch, your first instinct is to fucking cut it off! And so he did. ("The impostors" haven't been mentioned, so I guess we have to treat them as a natural disaster of some sort, because their appearance in the show was somewhat meaningless.)

After this small excursus to the recent past, we get to see the glory of Lana-banana, as she's preparing for an interview with one nosy reporter. Lana Winters, a diva in her seventies, lives in the beautifully decorated spacious house with sketches and portraits of herself (by Bono and Andy Warhol) on the wall. She's a famous writer and interviewer, and now it's her turn to tell the truth about her life.

Lana begins her lifetime story with how forty years ago she realized that television was the future (plus she didn't have to invent horrible details, like those in her book, to impress people) and became a TV reporter. Her first serious story, the one that actually made her famous, was about the atrocities taking place in Briarcliff. She sneaked in through the secret passage with her filming crew and made a report about unattended insane people rolling in own feces, which apparently was what her audience needed. Lana says she had a very clear (vulturous) vision of how she wanted this story to end: she planned to "save" Jude on camera. Unfortunately for Lana, her halo didn't get to be that bright, because Jude's been already saved by somebody a little more humane.

So after a small research Lana came to Kit (with the crew) to ask where is Jessica Hyde if Betty Drake, released for his care, was actually Sister Jude. She was. He took her home a couple of months after that chat with Lana at the bookstore. Jude still was quite insane and one day, when she had a huge meltdown, Kit's miracle babies took her to the woods and got her cured. She still died six months later surrounded by Kit's loving family.

Cardinal Timothy Howard also died: he cut his wrists after Lana confronted him with questions about Arden's experiments. Kit married some hippie, but in his forties he got cancer, and the aliens took him shortly after. His children got to be important people. As for Lana's own kid, Johnny, he was sitting in the next room, listening to Lana's confessions and eating eclairs in a very butcherly manner.

She knows he's here; the police have warned her about a maniac on the loose. So she comes clean about the lie she told a long time ago, in her very first book about Bloody Face. Her rape baby didn't really die, he was adopted, and she even went to see him once in the seventies.

When the interview is over, Lana closes the door behind TV people and asks Johnny to come out. It was nothing like he planned: she was prepared. She asks him how he found out who he was. Turned out he felt she was his mother this one time she met him. After that he bought that confession tape on eBay and realized she never loved him.

Johnny puts a gun against Lana's forehead and so it's time for her to do what she's always done best: to manipulate. She tells him he is better than his father, she knew it since the first time she saw him. That was pretty much enough for Johnny to collapse and put the gun down.

"I've hurt people, mom", he says crying.
"It's not your fault, baby", she replies and points a gun at her son. "It's mine", she continues and blows his brains out.

And then the story goes back to the first episode again to reveal a part of conversation between Sister Jude and Lana. Jude predicts Lana of what's ahead of her and warns:

"If you look in the face of Evil, Evil's gonna look right back at you"


This time the creators decided to go with the technique overused in Revenge: they opened with a scary scene, then rolled back a little to show how the story got to that point. I think it's the lamest type of intrigue there is.

Kit, the kids and sister wives live as a nice family. Grace is very much obsessed with her abductee experience, she constantly draws pictures of the creatures and dreams of the moment they'll take her again. Alma however doesn't share her views and tries to forget about what's happened to her (of course she is, the aliens had her killed for a while), plus she's a little concerned that an axe murderer lives in her house now. At first she tries to channel Grace's energy somewhere else by sending Kit to please her. As Alma lies in her bed, listening to the sex noises behind the wall, the light fills the room. She thinks it's the creatures, but it's just Billy and his friends trying to burn their house down.

Long story short, one night Grace tells Kit that she doesn't want to hide anymore and just a moment later Alma kills her with an axe ('cause she disagreed on that), and so it's her turn to go to the Briarcliff, where she dies a year or two later.

Jude, renamed to Betty Drake, plays table game with Pepper and some other lunatics. Timothy interrupts to inform Jude that he's now the Cardinal of New York and that the church is selling the institution to the state. But he promises her he'll get her out of this place. A promise Lana Winters gave her before (and just as valuable).

New patients arrive at the Briarcliff and in one of them Jude recognizes the Angel of Death. Death is being very intimidating (she even stabbs one of the uncooperative patients) and wants to make Jude her bitch. This all lasts till Judy beats the crap out of Death, but then she realizes that the woman she roughed up was someone else. Oopsie.

Jude is taken to her former office to have a talk with the doctor (I loved how she tried to choose the most "normal" answer). From her conversation with the doctor we learn that Timothy Howard left two and a half years ago and hasn't sent for Jude ever since, and that poor Pepper passed. Which means Jude is completely cuckoo.

Lana Winters is at the bookstore to do some reading and sign the copies of her first book Maniac: One Woman's Story of Survival, which's been a bestseller for ten weeks now. She reads an extract from her novel, and it's clear that she embellished her story quite significantly. I guess what's happened to her doesn't seem horrible enough now that she's out.

As she autographs the books and bitches about warm beverage, Kit Walker comes to her desk. They go for a coffee and Lana's acting very vain. When she says her next book will be about Mr. Bad Santa (and the seven nuns he killed), Kit loses his temper and asks why she isn't writing about what happens in Briarcliff. "Things change", she replies. He then tells her about his latest visit to the asylum when he came to pick up Alma's body. He saw Jude, mad, talking about how she flies away one day.

Lana calms her guilty conscience by saying Jude was the one who created the place she's now locked in and goes back to the store. Kit drives away in a rusted truck.

2012. Johnny pays a visit to the book store to pick up the last available autographed copy of Lana's book. The owner declines to sell it, so Johnny convinces her by telling what he's planning to do with that copy: he wants to show it to Lana and tell her he is her son before putting a bullet to her head. The owner hands over the book, but something tells me she didn't survive this unfortunate encounter anyway.


Johnny hires a prostitute to be breastfed by her. It wasn't particularly satisfying, so this didn't end well for the girl.

Dr. Thredson is still missing one particular tape, so he's in need for the leverage. He arranges for Kit to meet his newborn and the mother in the common room. When left alone, Walker asks Grace about the creatures, and she tells how they revived her and put a fetus inside of  her. She claims the child, which she plans on calling Thomas by the way, is special and he's destined to make a difference, when he grows up. Sadly, Alma didn't survive the experiments. Kit is obviously relieved by her passing, since now there's nothing that would stop him from marrying Grace (well, except for the fact that they're a couple of lunatics in a mental institution), so he proposes to her. Unfortunately, the moment is ruined by the Monsignor and company, who came to take little Thomas to the orphanage.

Mother Claudia finds Lana in the kitchen and arranges her escape. Ms. Winters takes the tape and her patient file with her and gives a promise to Jude that she'll come back for her. There was one last obstacle to overcome - Mr. Thredson, who happened to be near the exit. Luckily, he was busy persuading Kit to get the tape in exchange for the baby, he even comes up with a new Bloody Face suspect: missing Dr. Arden. Kit notices Lana and distracts Oliver till she's out of the damned building. Thredson notices her walking out the door and runs after just to see her in the cab with the tape, giving him the finger.

Mr. Bloody Face rushes home to pick up some stuff (not a very smart move, imho), but he's got a guest. After giving the tape to the police Lana decides to pay a visit to the father of her child to find out what that sick bastard's done to Wendy's body. Oh, he's done a lot. In fact, he had some necrophiliac experience with what used to be Wendy (eeew), before cutting her in pieces.

Anyway, as the police siren resounds outside, Thredson goes about how he'll be put to prison, because he's "clearly insane" and thus not fit the for the chair. He then reaches for the gun to make Lana his last victim, but she blows his brains out first, saying: "Prison's too good for you".

Sister Jude in a meanwhile rebelled against the drugs given to the patients, so Timothy had to see her. Judy then is acting like guilty conscience he never had, so to silence her he puts her to the solitary.

Kit is released from the Briarcliff, but he doesn't want to go alone. Luckily, he's learnt from Thredson how to get what he wants, so he trades his silence about the atrocities in the sanitarium in exchange for his son and Grace, who according to the papers is dead anyway.

Kit and his new family go to the house where he and Alma were taken from, he apologizes for the mess the aliens left. Suddenly they hear the noise from one of the rooms. When Kit goes to the sound, he sees Alma feeding a baby (she could have cleaned up!).

Lana comes to the abortionist but doesn't go through with the procedure; she doesn't want any more deaths. She manages to get the court order that allows her to see Jude, but the Monsignor's already advanced Kit's "dead on the paper" idea and so he tells Ms. Winters that Jude hanged herself and gives some fake death certificates as a proof. 

Lana gives birth to Bloody Face's baby and tells the staff she doesn't want to see it ever again. But one inconsiderate nurse still brings the baby to Lana and asks her to breastfeed it. Eventually Lana agrees though it's not a very pleasant experience.

Jan 5, 2013


"The Name Game" was one of the best episodes this season. I loved how Lana's turned to this incredibly strong heroine, who's learned to take care not only of herself but of the weaker others (Kit!). The choice of music was so great (the scene in the forest and the one with Mary Eunice's death gained a lot from the background music).


Kit is resurrected, but he's lied to by Dr. Arden, who claims that this near death experience was in vain: the aliens didn't come. Arden goes back to his lab where he keeps Grace and has a conversation with her guardian, Pepper, who gives him a speech about how people tend to judge by appearance, and how unconventionally looking and mentally challenged people suffer because of that. She also tells him that the aliens make knock-knock jokes about Arden and his experiments, which probably affected some of the later happenings.

Sister Mary Eunice purchased a jukebox for the common room to replace the broken Dominique record. It started playing "I Put a Spell on You" and Mr. Bloody Face himself appeared to deliver great news to Lana and Kit:  the possessed nun offered him a full-time position at Briarcliff, which he kindly accepted. He knows that Lana's abortion didn't bring the result she was hoping for, and he intends to keep her alive for some time.

There was a great deal of confrontation between Jude and Mary Eunice, which resolved quite unfortunately for Ms. Martin - Eunice asked Arden to perform the notorious electroshock therapy on her stubborn patient. Jude lost her memory, motor skills and her sanity. That's when Jude's mind produced a fantasy of her performing a song along with other inmates of the asylum.

Monsignor Timothy didn't die, the Angel of Death came to him to ask him to cast the demon out of Mary Eunice, which he tried and failed to do. Mary Eunice raped him for that and Dr. Arden caught her in action.

He (Arden) goes to the woods, chased by his beloved nun, to finish his experiment. He shoots his test subjects slash mutants and even attempts to put a bullet through his own scull, but chickens out. Mary Eunice says that he's pitiful and leaves him by himself. That was my favorite scene of the episode.

Like any rape victim Timothy feels very unwell. He even thinks about leaving the church, as his vow was kind of broken (he didn't consider that when he killed Shelley with his rosary, did he? I'm sure murder is against the church principles as well). So he turns to his only loyal friend Jude (well, the vegetable version of her) for advice. She listens to his whining and remorse for some time and suggests to kill Mary Eunice.

Dr. Thredson goes to Arden's office looking for some Sodium Pentothal (probably to use it as a "truth serum" on Kit) but finds something much better: Grace who's ready to give a birth to Kit's (or so she says) child. Luckily, the creators of the show spared us the process of labor itself, we just got to see how Oliver trades Grace and already born baby for the whereabouts of the tape with his confession.

He goes to the bathing room only to find out that Lana already hid the tape somewhere else, which was a very wise thing to do. She warns Thredson that if he hurts anyone, she'll give the tape to the police. Take that, motherf**ker!

Sister Eunice/the devil learns that Timothy is planning to kill her and appears on the very moment he is praying for strength to finish her. She tries to seduce him by promising her assistance with his career in Vatican, but he declines. Together they go up the "stairway to heaven" and at some point the soul of real Mary Eunice takes control again. She says to Timothy that she's tired of fighting and that she wants to let go. "Then let go of me, Sister", he replies, and as she does, he throws her off the staircase. She floats like the fallen angel and as she hits the ground, the Angel of Death comes to take her soul and the devil with her.

Mother Claudia comes to check on Judy, since she's been calling her name. Jude gives a crazy speech about how Timothy invited her to Rome and how they are going to be the Pope and get married. At the end she asks Claudia to set Lana free.

Dr. Arden convinces Timothy that the corpse of Mary Eunice shall be cremated, and as he's done with the  preparations, he lays his body over hers and goes to the oven with her. So romantic.

So we've lost two of the villains, and I was so sad to see Mary Eunice go. Lily Rabe was phenomenal this season, I'd actually rate her performance higher than that of Jessica Lange (which was also quite exceptional). There obviously was some poetic justice in the way Arden died - in the oven, like many of the concentration camps' prisoners.

The main bad guys are now Thredson and his supposed son and Mr. Emerson, so let's wait and see how they go.

Jan 2, 2013


I don't really enjoy procedurals, so I didn't expect much from the new BBC series Ripper Street, that's why I wasn't exactly disappointed. The series is surely below the average and it's unlikely to gain many fans, but when there's nothing else on TV, it can pass for a time killer.

The first episode is called "I Need Light", although I'd name it "the dawn of porn", since it's almost fully dedicated to pictures and movies of that sort. The story happens in 1889 in Whitechapel, which seemed to look like a district of Mordor at the time. A bunch of non good-looking middle-aged men investigate a murder of a prostitute, which later turns out to be a violinist, whose fairly successful career in the porn industry has been interrupted by a deadly workplace accident. Her employer obviously tried to hide this, so he cut her body so that she'd look like one of the victims of Jack the Ripper. One third of the episode was dedicated to various people speculating if the Ripper is back, but in the end those who were guilty paid for their crime with their lives.

The characters:

Detective Inspector Edmund Reid (Matthew Macfadyen), one of the leads. He wants to hide the murder from the general public until it's known for a fact if it is committed by Jack the Ripper. But he does warn his wife (?) from going out after nightfall, which must mean she was (or is?) a whore.

Here she is, Emily Reid (Amanda Hale). She was introduced very briefly, so there's not much to say about her at themoment. 

Detective Sergeant Bennet Drake (Jerome Flynn), the only lead character that has no connection with prostitutes (or tarts, as they call them in the series) yet. He's good at beating people up; on the picture below he's working undercover to help arrest the guy who organizes rigged bare fist fights.

Captain Homer Jackson (Adam Rothenberg), a surgeon who seemed to have done something very wrong in America, so he run to England to hide. He's the smartest one.

Long Susan (MyAnna Buring) used to be Jackson's lover and came to London with him, owns a whore house. 

Fred Best (David Dawson) the editor of the newspaper Star, the main antagonist of the series, it seems. He's not very fond of Reid and he just wants to publish sensational stories regardless of how unsettling they could be to the people of Whitechapel.

All in all, Ripper Street is brutal, not pleasant to the eye and there are instances of overacting. Plus the episode felt too long and thus boring, it only got somewhat exciting at the very end. I'm unimpressed.