[For “Ten Thirteen”or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

HBO Summary:
Ten Thirteen Meg suffers a personal loss and heads out on a pilgrimage to Miracle; Tom seeks to reunite with Meg.

We’ve only seen Meg once before in Season Two but it was notably the most memorable scene thus far, which, considering that she only spoke six words in it, speaks volumes about the impact of her character. In that previous episode, Meg mounted tied-up Tom in the back of a van and then nearly set his gasoline-soaked bod ablaze before uttering those six words. In this episode Meg’s a cokehead and she’s always on the move. Seemingly unable to sit still, Meg takes many journeys in “Ten Thirteen” and throughout keeps sharing her mantra about how she’s about to change everything. It’s clear by the end of the episode that all these small journeys add up to one big power trip for coked-up Meg. The coke is only a symbol, of course. And because this is The Leftovers, it resonates through even the music that plays but resounds loudest in Meg’s ginormous ego, the classic cokehead signpost. Of course she’s going to solve all the problems of the world – along with every other coked-up fiend out there.

To kick off her second visit to Season Two we’re introduced to Meg as she snorts coke in a restaurant bathroom out to lunch with her mother on October 13th, the day before the Departure. But when she returns to the table from the bathroom her mother is laid out on the floor as waiters attempt to resuscitate her. Dead.

Then we see Meg with her fiancé on the way to Miracle as tourists two years after her mother’s death… and the Departure. Jarden had only been “Miracle” for a few months at that point, a newfound tourist attraction. Thus we get to see many of the mysteries of Miracle from a tourist perspective, the cracks in the road, manhole covers, Cecilia in her wedding dress, etc. all from the vantage point of a golf cart with talkative know-it-all headphones. Turns out Meg wants to visit the town prophet – the same guy John Murphy visited in Episode One. She wants to know what her mother was about to tell her before she left to go to the bathroom at that fateful lunch. Prophet tells her that no matter what he says she’s gonna be disappointed and then he tells her the anyway because she insists. Meg then lies to her fiancé and says the Prophet wasn’t the real deal. But not only was he real, he was right. Meg she cries later, thinking about it and clearly disappointed. While she cries Evie Murphy walks up to offer her a baby carrot because, “You can’t cry while you eat one. It’s impossible.” They sit side by side on the bench and Meg tells her the same knock knock joke that Evie told her father in Episode One. Before goodbye, Evie tells her she’s sorry Meg didn’t find whatever she was looking for in Miracle, “nobody ever does.”

The scene then shifts to Meg and her Guilty Remnant group stopping a school bus in the street. They drag out the driver and Meg enters the bus to pull the pin out of a grenade and place it on the floor then leaves a hoard of screaming children inside the locked bus. Meg’s next stop is an empty mansion where she sits before a trio of pissy Remnants. They aren’t happy about the school bus incident because of the kids. She says it’s no biggie because the grenade never went off. Meg tells them the Guilty Remnants need to step it up because people are forgetting about the Departure. They retort that they’re hearing rumors she’s planning her own action – a forbidden move. Meg lies and says she won’t. Then they tell her about Tom and say he’s taking away membership. They tell her to take care of him. She shows up at one of Tom’s gatherings and sits down to listen right as he offers healing hugs. Meg watches as he takes away the crowds pain one by one with hugs then approaches and hugs him along with the others. But Meg whispers in his ear that she can “do this for real.” Those Remnants always know when someone’s full of BS – gotta give them that.

Afterward Tom’s shaken and Laurie’s pissed at him for not showing up to their next event where she had to give everyone their money back for the absence of Tom’s healing hugs. He yells at her that they’re stealing people’s money. She says it’s working, people are getting better but Tom replies that it’s not working on him. They fight dirty. He leaves and goes to sleep on a playground with a bottle of whiskey for comfort. The next morning Tom goes to a Guilty Remnant workspace and screams, “Where the fuck is Meg?” After which he gets kicked in the stomach a few times before Meg appears. Tom says he wants her to “do it for real” and take his pain away. She says he’s just looking for a family and he says if he was looking for that he’d go to Miracle, Texas to see his Dad and sister. This delights Meg who then says she just happens to be headed there and in the next scene they drive there together. The Melle Mel 1983 song White Lines, which opens and closes the episode also plays as they drive to Miracle. It’s a true funk classic about cocaine. Originally the song was written about the glories of coke but then certain lyrics were added (including “don’t do it”) so that it blended with the mainstream just-say-no stance of the day. It’s Meg’s theme song. All about the wild ride of ruling over others with her inflated ego and such certainty that she doesn’t even need cocaine to get that rush anymore. Cult Leader/Cokehead – careers with virtually interchangeable benefits packages.

In the car on the way to Miracle Tom says he knows why she poured gasoline on him and said the six words but “why did she fuck him?” Meg pulls the car over without answering him. They stop off for a drink at a honky tonk. At the bar they talk about how they both lost their fathers when they were babies and drink while Tom looks increasingly uncomfortable and Meg stays at ease. He asks her what’s happening and then she kisses him. They dance and it’s clear that Tom’s getting hopeful she might take some of his pain away soon, even if it’s just via a journey to bonertown. But then Meg says she fucked him to get him pregnant and abruptly ends Tom’s his hope for bone privileges. They’re back out on the road soon after.

She drives into a Guilty Remnant cul de sac where some of her followers tell Meg there’s a “situation.” Apparently an interloper saw something but it’s just a biker dude who got off on the wrong path and doesn’t even know what he saw. Meg orders them to stone him anyway. We know from her earlier conversation with the pissy trio that the Guilty Remnants stone people regularly as a form of punishment so this is really happening. They take the interloper outside and stone him off camera. Tom doesn’t help, though Meg suggested it would make him feel useful. Later in the barn he hears yet again that Meg is going to “change everything”, from one of the Remnants – a broken record of a phrase when it comes to Meg. Then we see Meg drive out to the campgrounds outside of Miracle. She walks near the bridge and while Meg’s gazing at it Matt Jameson recognizes her. He’s surprised she’s talking and thus congratulates her on leaving The Guilty Remnant. Meg acts like that’s the case. She says Matt and her came to Miracle for the same reason, to be safe. “People in Miracle aren’t suffering,” she says, “So, they don’t need the Guilty Remnant.” Matt knows she’s lying now and says so. He knows it’s the anniversary of her mother’s death, October 13th. Ironically then, Matt apologizes to Meg for being her living reminder. This is often the declared Guilty Remnant goal – to serve as living reminders for the Departure. Meg gives him a creepy cult smile then and asks him what he’s waiting for… Miracle is right there and he’s not doing anything to get inside. What’s he waiting for? Then she tells Matt she knows. He’s waiting for her. Ominous in its simplicity and her certainty. Matt looks terrified.

The episode ends with a big reveal back at the Guilty Remnant cul de sac/farm. Tom explores in the dark night with just the crickets and snores to keep him company. He breaks open a locked van and inside finds Evie, dressed as a Guilty Remnant, surrounded by other Remnants, and writing on a notepad. Tom asks who she is and Evie writes, “It doesn’t matter,” then shuts the van door in his face. So, with the conclusion of “Ten Thirteen” we know Meg’s deal and Evie’s location. In fact, the other two girls can be seen nearby when Evie opens the van door. Mystery solved on the missing teens …only to be replaced forthwith the mystery of Meg’s plan. We know it involves the bridge into Miracle and it’s likely happening the very next day. We know that the Remnants believe it will Change Everything. The writers have done an incredible job building tension toward this event without giving us so much as a hint for what’s about to happen. Cliffhanger accomplished.

–Katherine Recap

Episode one was very much driven by men. The Fort is a bastion of male hierarchy where male Colts strive to become Clippers for their Baron and be rewarded with women; the Baron can take eight wives; and his first wife has to send out the invitations for his eighth wedding. Episode two starts out with the confident stride of the The Widow, in her thigh high boots atop six inch heels, across the floor of a club the likes of which we have not seen since STREETS OF FIRE (A ROCK & ROLL FABLE) where exotic dancers perform with power tools and the fate of Barons is discussed amidst befeathered escorts.

The Widow is there to meet with an embezzling former regent, Teague, and there is no love lost between them. Teague does not recognize her new title, disdainfully calling her Minerva, and she is upset that he stole from her. Each Baron seems to have a monopoly on some commodity and The Widow is able to maintain her power through her control of the oil fields. Teague does not expect that the other Barons will like being beholden to a woman. She implores him to join forces with her against Quinn who is the most stubbornly chauvinistic, assuring him the other Barons will fall in line after Quinn is gone.

Before the conversation can get very far Teague has his head split open with an ax hurled across the room. There are assassins everywhere but The Widow is a whirling dervish of knives and quite literally slices through all but one of them. She leaves one would-be assassin alive long enough to learn that Ryder hired the nomads to take her out. The Widow finishes him off with a heel through the throat proving her choice in footwear was fashionable and practical.

Meanwhile… M.K. is on the run after escaping The Fort and stumbles onto The Widow’s territory which is marked by her butterfly insignia. He spies Tilda hunting with shurikens shaped into that insignia and when she talks about her mother training her you know she is The Widow’s daughter. When Sunny, Ryder, and a group of clippers approach, Tilda offers M.K. sanctuary and brings him to meet the Widow.

It is a very special Thanksgiving episode of Into the Badlands with a tense family dinner between Quinn, Ryder, Sunny and Lydia with the full menu of resentment, secrets, and lies. They know M.K. escaped into The Widow’s territory but were not able to follow without it being seen as an act of war — not something that concerns Ryder who has already sent assassins her way. Quinn knows that somebody helped the boy escape and is much more concerned with that than the boy himself. Lydia knows that Sunny was the conspirator but is keeping that to herself for the time being. Quinn has heard about the attack on The Widow and obviously suspects that Ryder is behind it but everyone says the right things while working their best telenovela stares at each other.

The Widow walks in on M.K. taking a much needed warm bath and washes him while talking about her conspicuously absent son Percival. She explains that she is looking for a boy around M.K.’s age who was last seen at The Fort. The boy is special and she needs him to accomplish something great. She shows him a piece of paper with the symbol that was on his medallion but he feigns ignorance and assures her there is nothing special about him.

The Widow is looking to augment her forces and with Teague dead and M.K. hiding his light under a bushel she turns to nomads who she promises to give a territory to if they take down Quinn. The nomad leader is intrigued but they are skeptical about fighting alongside the female fighters that The Widow brings to the table. The Widow proposes a deal; if Tilda can defeat one of their nomads in combat they will join forces with her. If Tilda loses they can take her. It is not even remotely close to being a fair fight as Tilda makes short work of the nomad with throat punches, ball kicks, and finally a neck snap. The Widow has forged her alliance.

Quinn takes just Sunny beyond the walls of The Fort, where we get to see it’s curb appeal and hear his story of being a lowly “stunted grunt” whose father was beaten to death for stealing an extra corn cob without even raising a hand to defend himself. Quinn went to his Baron and asked to become a Colt and has not stopped killing since that day.

He takes Sunny on a covert trip to see Doc and his wife who turn out to be Veil’s adopted parents. Quinn gave them the girl when they could not conceive on their own after the doc saved Ryder’s life as an infant. Quinn gets some dire news about his headaches. He has a tumor and will be dead before too long. The doc assures him of discretion but Quinn cannot risk word of his weakness leaking out. He orders Sunny to go back into the house and “clip” the doc and his wife. Sunny refuses to do so but does not raise a hand to stop Quinn as he takes Sunny’s sword and does it himself.

Sunny does some soul searching as her cleans the blood of his girlfriend’s parents off his sword. He goes to talk to Waldo, an older wheelchair-bound clipper played by the great Stephen Lang, about the possibility of walking away from The Baron. He tells Veil that the Baron killed her parents and vows that her family is now him, her and their unborn child and they will be be leaving the Badlands.

The Widow knows that M.K’s powers only emerge when his blood has been spilled and she conscripts Tilda to train with him and cut him to prove that he is lying. As Tilda sits atop him with her blade he begs her not to cut him. He admits that he lied about his parents being dead and weakens her resolve by talking about finding her. They fake a wound and with The Widow watching from the next room it appears M.K. is not the special boy she is looking for.

Ryder falls into a trap when his prostitute shows off a brick of opium and claims she stole it from nomads who are holed up in an abandoned building with a large cache of it that they stole from Quinn. Now that The Widow does not believe M.K. has any special powers she gives him to the Nomads who are heading to execute the plan. Ryder and Sunny head to the warehouse but find only empty cases and rafters full of nomads. Ryder quickly ends up with a chain wrapped around his neck twisting from the ceiling. The nomads are gracious enough to lay out their plans; once Ryder and Sunny are dead, The Widow is going to take the fort and gut Quinn herself.

Sunny whittles the force down a half dozen nomads at a time and eventually cuts Ryder down. While he is paying attention to his Baron’s son he is caught from behind by the leader of the nomads and is in danger of being choked to death. Fortunately M.K. has escaped from the trunk of the car he was being held captive in — thanks to one of Tilda’s shurikens tucked in his pocket — and saves Sunny, killing the nomad from behind. He tells Sunny that he lied to him earlier and knows a way out of the Badlands.

Sunny and M.K. bring Ryder back to the fort and Quinn wants to crush his neck but Sunny asks to train him as his Colt. Sunny has never taken a Colt before and Quinn lets M.K. pledge his loyalty to him. He is going to need all the men he can find after all.

They are going to war against The Widow.

Blink

Lots of Fetchland readers already subscribe to services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu Plus, or even Marvel Unlimited.

… Which begs the question: When you have access to an almost limitless plethora of entertainment options, which ones should you pick?

“What’s Free Wednesday” is a weekly Fetchland feature spotlighting something great to read or watch available on one or more entertainment services. “Free” once you’ve paid for it, if you grok 🙂

“Blink” (Doctor Who)

Free on:

  • Netflix

Netflix Summary:
Blink People are mysteriously vanishing in 2007 England while the Doctor is stranded in 1969, forcing him to send codes to a stranger in order to escape.

Note that I just picked the episode “Blink” (the 11th episode of the third series of the 2005 reboot) and not the entire span of Doctor Who available on Netflix and other formats.

Why?

Because “Blink” is just one episode; it’s just one hour — nay forty-three minutes — of your life. Just the current incarnation of Doctor Who — the re-launch post-2005 — is nine seasons series of commitment already, and that doesn’t count the spin-offs like Torchwood or Sarah Jane Adventures.

But what about those forty-three minutes?

They will be forty-three minutes well-spent.

“Blink” is hands-down the best episode of Doctor Who, and one of the finest single episodes of any television show, ever. It is scary, inventive, constantly surprising, and defies every trope of a long-established television formula.

Doctor Who is a show driven by a very peculiar character with a very specific set of abilities, his travels, and his companions.

That character is barely in the episode.

The Doctor is a time traveler, you see, and, off-camera somehow got stuck in 1969. He is able to communicate with the episode’s protagonist Sally Sparrow in 2007… Because he knows where she is going to be and what is going to happen later thanks to his mastery, and very long view of, time. He leaves her notes to duck because he knows that right after she reads the note a projectile will be flying towards her head. He leaves her Easter Eggs and half-conversations in old video clips because he knows when and where she will end up watching them, and even paces so she can have the other half of the conversation with him.

“People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear / non-subjective viewpoint it’s more like a big ball of wibbley-wobbly timey-wimey… stuff.”
-The Doctor

“Blink”‘s communication strategies encompass some of the most inventive uses of “time travel” in the history of the series, and allow Sally Sparrow — played by the widely celebrated Carey Mulligan — to both draw on the Doctor’s superior knowledge and stumble through the adventure like the neophyte she is… Almost as if writer Stephen Moffat cast the average viewer as one of the Doctor’s companions.

Sally, a seemingly unremarkable girl, is tasked with outmaneuvering the Weeping Angels in their first chronological appearance in the series. The Weeping Angels have since become maybe the most compelling, creepiest, villains on the show; and “Blink” and its elements were instrumental in cementing Moffat as the A-Plus-Number-One writer of the relaunched television program.

As “Blink” is only forty-three minutes I don’t want to give away too much of it, so instead I’ve conscripted Wizards of the Coast R&D member Gavin Verhey to talk about “Blink” (which I first recommended on my Five With Flores back in 2010). Here’s what Gavin had to say:

“‘Blink’ changed my life.

“Years ago, I watched some of the Doctor Who reissue… and it just didn’t stick. I had essentially written the show off.

“Then, after much convincing, my friends convinced me to watch ‘Blink’.

“I was blown away.

“The fun writing! The creative monsters! The clever use of time travel!

“And the most brilliant part: The titular character was barely involved so literally anybody could watch it out of context.

“It singlehandedly got me into the show, which in turn led to many new friends, experiences, and, of course, hours of entertainment then I would have ever had otherwise. If, like drivers ed, you had to take a class to get your permit for watching television, ‘Blink’ would be part of the syllabus. ‘Blink’ is as close as it comes to required-television-watching: you don’t have to watch Doctor Who, but you do need to watch ‘Blink’.

Out there is some universe where Gavin Verhey never watched ‘Blink’ and stayed away from the show — and I’m glad the Doctor showed up with a dose of time travel to correct this timeline… Even if it means I’ll never look at statues the same way again.”

This episode is jam-paked with awesome. If you look away you might miss something.

Don’t blink.

LOVE
MIKE

[For Scream Queens‘ “Thanksgiving” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

FOX Summary:
Thanksgiving Chad takes Chanel home for Thanksgiving, where she meets his family; another person dies.

The “Thanksgiving” episode opens on a bright note when Chanel tells Chad his worries are over. He doesn’t have to marry Hester after all. She’s dead now, thanks to Chanel. He says that’s totally hot and they need to go have sex by the body… a perfectly normal response in the world of Scream Queens where everybody always seems like the potential killer. They go to the meat locker to check out her hot dead bod but then Hester’s not there. Thus big trouble in Chad and Chanel’s tiny brain town begins.

Meanwhile at Gigi’s unrealistically chic apartment she preps for Thanksgiving with the Red Devil at her side. This Red Devil’s the one that had to kill Boone (their own brother) in the last episode. Gigi thanks them yet again for taking Boone out and saving her. Then she give her Red Devil buddy a quail she made them for Thanksgiving before they need to go out and do her bidding to kill again. Gigi says the Red Devil is the closest thing she has to family as she hands the, the electric knife to cut into the tiny quail body. Ominous music and lighting suggests that it’s not just going to be that quail and two million turkeys having a terrible Thanksgiving this year.

Chanel No. 3 goes home for Thanksgiving and it’s disappointing for her right from the start. Her family is the Swanson family, as in Swanson family dinners and that’s what they eat for turkey day… on TV trays in front of the TV. It’s all so appropriately dysfunctional and freakish that it starts to feel like a real Thanksgiving. Chanel No. 3 has a hissy fit because nobody has asked her about how several of her sort-of-friends have been killed back at school. She leaves in a huff. When she arrives back at the Kappa house Chanel No. 3 finds Dean Munsch making a turkey and they decide to celebrate Thanksgiving together with, turkey, the rest of the peeps in Kappa house, and charades.

Wes calls Grace and finds out she ended up not going to Zayday’s for Thanksgiving after all. Instead they’re staying at Kappa with Dean Munsch, No. 3, and whomever else is around. So, now Wes will be joining them as well. While waiting for the turkey to burn they play the fun game of who could the Red Devil be? Right off the bat, Dean Munsch accuses No. 3. Grace says she thinks the babies from the bathtub are the killers and since No. 3 is Charles Manson’s daughter adopted by the Swanson family she can’t possibly also be one of the bathtub babies. No. 3 then retorts that she believes Dean Munsch is the Red Devil killer. Then Chanel No. 5 shows up at the Kappa house just in time to hear No 3’s argument about how Dean Munsch is a murderer. Grace and Zayday seem to agree and both make equitable arguments. This includes the unsurprising fact that Dean Munsch isn’t actually allergic to bologna and thus could very well have killed her ex husband after all. Why the writers chose to waste our time with this fact we already knew, I’m not sure but maybe it was to try to distract from the incredibly unrealistic notion that Wes would accuse Grace of being the killer – especially without at least talking to her privately about it first.

That’s what happens next when Wes offers theory, accusing his own daughter, Grace. This, of course, results in every person exchanging shocked glances across the extravagantly long Kappa Thanksgiving table. Wes actually has some good arguments for Grace being the killer but then he claims he was just spitballing and making sure it wasn’t her. He’s so relieved to hear her “reasons” for the suspicious behavior he mentions. Hey, Wes, in the future maybe ask her about these kinda things without several snarky witnesses watching. Seems like the least you could do for your own daughter. At this point Pete barges inw ith a box of “evidence” and interrupts their killer pow wow to say he actually knows who the killer is and Wes is right, it’s not Grace. It’s Wes! Pete then tells his Wes-is-the-killer story to a spellbound crowd of Kappas… Including DNA evidence that Wes is Boone’s father. Wes is surprised to hear this about Boone but also says hey it could be possible because it was the 90s so nobody was wearing condoms in those days. After this eye-opening and pretty hilarious convo Grace takes Wes aside in private and tells him she believes that he’s not the killer and will stand beside him. Nobody is going to the police with any of the info about anybody, she promises.

Next we see Chanel and Chad at the Radwell Thanksgiving where everyone is thankful for being rich and fancy. Chanel gets a little competitive with them about how special and old money her family is but the Radwell’s are impenetrable in their insistence of superiority. In fact, as they go around the table every member of the Radwell family takes a turn to brag about their amazing lives and thus how incredibly grateful. Until suddenly a surprise guest shows up – Hester! She’s braced to the gills, dressed to impress, and worst of all… alive. But Hester doesn’t fool anybody with her false claim of Chad-related pregnancy and sits down at the table, abashed in EPIC FAIL.

Chad’s father then offers Chanel $50K to disappear and says her ostrich feather dress means she’s trash no matter how much money she claims her family has. Meanwhile Chad shows off his aspic to Hester and then Chanel interrupts to yell at him about his dad’s offer. Chad says maybe Chanel should take it because, after all she said Hester was dead… so obviously she’s some kind of liar… and thus not right for Chad. But Chanel stays and then they all play for the a horrific, humiliating round of Pictionary in which the Radwell’s nitpick Hester with a mocking so cruel even Chanel is offended. She becomes protetctive of her sorority sister and indignant. So, Chanel then rips those Radwell’s all new ones. “No woman in her right mind would want to be part of this family,” she declares. Then she and Hester leave together, united in a sisterhood bond so tight it could only be shared by the exes of the same lame boyfriend. After this the two storylines unite when Chanel and Hester join the Kappa House for Thanksgiving dinner.

When the turkey is about to come out the Dean asks Wes if Gigi will be joining them and he says he has no idea where she is. Then Chad joins them (just cause he wants more turkey) at the long Kappa table. So, they’re all seated together for the big reveal. Chanel pulls the silver dome off the main course tray and they all shriek at once Scream Queens style when instead of a turkey as their entree they’re presented with Gigi’s dead grey head.

After all this hooplah and alleged evidence it’s starting to seem like maybe Pete’s actually the killer. At the Kappa Thanksgiving Killer Accusathon everybody except Zayday and Pete got accused, though Zayday has certainly already held plenty of the blame in previous episodes. Also there’s the issue of his timing. Pete always shows up late to everything but somehow still knows what’s going on. And he could totally be Boone’s bro. If you think back to the early episodes we know that Pete conveniently happens to own the red devil suit – remember? And who has more motivation to buddy up like a puppy dog to Grace, the girl who’s investigating? That way he can stay close to the evidence, adding and editing as he likes to help throw off the scent from his stabby murdering self.

On another note, we really missed Denise in this episode! Please bring back our favorite former security guard. She brings a delightful levity to the show that was absent this week, especially with the nasty battle axe bitches we experienced in Chad’s family gathering this week. Com back, Denise! It’s not the same without you on Scream Queens.

Katherine Recap

[For Fargo “Did You Do This? No, You did it!” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

FX Summary:
Did You Do This? No, You did it! Lou and Hank investigate in Fargo; The King of Breakfast visits Betsy and Molly; Floyd is summoned away; and Bear questions a family member’s loyalty.

Episode seven, “Did You Do This? No, You did it!” forges forth with the war’s battles, repercussions, power shifts and blunt conversations. It feels like a brilliant chess match in which every player underestimates their opponent. Everyone except the lone wolves, Lou Solverson and Mike Milligan. They’re far too smart for that classic mistake.

We open on Kansas City Mob and Gerhardt family members battling in a creative montage of war scenes: window washers with machine guns, a strangler skulks at a bar, and someone drowns via toilet swirly. These murderous portraits intercut with scenes where pine-boxed Rye and Otto are buried in their backyard. Bear didn’t attend this bare-bones-brand Gerhardt funeral but shows up at the end with news of the war for Floyd. It’s about even, he tells her, but Kansas City got South Carolina from them… big time bummer. Simone then mouths off to Floyd and gets slapped when she claims Dodd shits and sleeps like any other man. Floyd doesn’t abide that kinda talk. Then the cops come and take Floyd to the station for questioning. They waited for the funeral to end – all polite like. Lou asks Bear Dodd’s whereabouts and he replies that Dodd found Jesus and joined a monastery. Lou laughs Bear’s answer off… without laughing, of course.

At the police station cops chat behind the double sided mirror while Floyd awaits them in the interrogation room. They say they’ve got APBs out on Ed and Peggy. It’s all a muddle to them. Then they’re questioning her and Hank asks Floyd, “How far does it go?” referring to the tennis match of murder between the KC mob and the Gerhardts – lobbing back and forth, one dead right after the other. She tells him the Gerhardt’s backs are to the wall. Hank asks if there’s anything she can tell him to help him get the Kansas City Crew, weaknesses and such.

Simone does coke and drives to Mike’s hotel. He’s currently on the phone with his boss, Hamish, who’s pissed about the window washers killing three of his people. “Two days and he’s sending The Undertaker,” Hamish threatens. Then Simone enters the room pissed that Mike killed her grandfather rather than her Dad. What’s the diff? Mike replies, but in a much more articulate way – referencing Shakespeare and such. Simone remains unimpressed, “Are we gonna talk or are you gonna keep quoting a thesaurus at me?” Then the real shit hits the fan when Lou comes in with the wimpy Fargo detective just in time to stop the Kitchen Brother from compromising Simone. Lame detective takes Simone out so that it’s just Lou and Mike Milligan alone in the hotel room. Standoff time. Lou and Mike are equally matched in a war of words, fully understanding each other which results in no movement forward or back between them – a draw. Lou leaves after telling Mike he’ll likely shoot first and ask questions later next time they meet.

In the elevator with Lame Detective Simone knees him in the nuts, says she’s done lying down for men and goes out to the parking lot just as Bear drives up. He tells her he’ll give her a ride and the guy in his passenger seat will drive her car back home. So, Simone’s got no choice but to join Bear in his truck. During the drive she’s nervous, then righteous then nervous again – like she’s anticipating, experiencing, and then grieving her own death ahead of time. Bear parks in the middle of nowhere; a field of nothingness, snow, and the cawing of a crow. He walks her far far out between skinny naked trees while Simone pleads her case. He says the only reason the Gerhardt’s are losing the war is because of her – the deaths of her uncle and grandpa are on her. Simone retorts that it’s all Dodd’s fault because he wouldn’t let Floyd negotiate. On her knees she begs him to banish her rather than shoot but Bear says there is no family anymore and to hush now, it’s already done. He points the gun at her and then the camera pans away so we don’t see if he shoots. We hear the song “Oh Danny Boy” rather than any hint to what happened. After Bear returns to his truck he smashes his cast off his arm on the hood and then drives home – stoic. Did she escape? Did he shoot her? Was she banished? We don’t know.

Back at the police station Floyd decides to flip and tell all about the Kansas City mob. She says they gotta promise no repercussions for her kids or grandkids… then tells them all about the Kansas City operation weak spots, where they stash weapons and so on. When she comes out of the station Floyd orders Bear to find Dodd and Hanzee. Watching her leave, Lou tells the wimpy Fargo detective it seems like they just chose a side. Then Hank comes up to them and says he just got word Hanzee shot two cops up in South Dakota while trailing Ed and Peggy. Lame Detective says they’ll likely just have to let those police officer deaths slide since they just struck that Gerhardt deal with Floyd. So, Lou points out to him that he’s a shit cop. Wimpy detective mumbles about how he’s about to get promoted but it’s evident that Lou’s accurate yet again. Bear then drives Floyd home and as they arrive at the Gerhardt estate she says she wants to apologize to Simone – awkward. Then Hanzee’s on the phone saying he found Dodd. So, Bear’s saved by the bell for the moment.

Betsy comes home to find some strange boots at the front door and loads a shotgun before lurking around holding it ready until she eventually finds Karl Weathers making eggs and pancakes with his friend Sonny in her kitchen. Turns out he’s the Breakfast King of Loyola. Lou calls and Betsy reminds him she really doesn’t need looking after. He knows he knows… but he worries is all. Later on Betsy asks Karl to look after Lou and Molly when she’s gone and implies that it’s likely she’ll be gone soon. She insists that Karl tell Lou that if he needs to get married again it’s OK, just not to Rhonda because her eyes are too close together. Make sure Lou feeds Molly more than jerky and also, Karl Weathers, stop drinking, at least not during breakfast anymore. He says Ok and they hug. Then Betsy goes by Hank’s house to feed his cats. She finds a secret room full of mysterious symbols drawn on paper posted everywhere. Some of the symbols have definitions underneath and some are just plain – there are hundreds, so they cover nearly every inch of the room. Betsy just opened a door to Hank’s secret obsession and it appears to be UFO-related because many of the symbols have UFO connotations. What must Betsy be thinking? But more importantly, what the heck’s up with Hank?

Right after Floyd spills the Kansas City beans at the station Mike Milligan gets a phone call that, “The Undertaker’s coming. You’re done.” So then The Undertaker shows up, a fossil of a man in an 1800s style suit with two flunkies at his side. It’s a slow and ominous ride up the elevator for them but what they don’t know is their target’s perfectly prepped for their arrival. Mike’s ready and waiting like a human booby trap in his deep purple blazer and bolero tie. When they enter the suite he blasts them without warning. All three go down in unison, their blood staining the wall in three red splatter balls where each stood for only a millisecond. Mike’s hotel room phone rings then and he answers with a blood-covered hand. It’s Ed Blomquist telling Mike he’s, “Got Todd Gerhardt in the trunk of my car. You want him?”

Episode seven is packed with unexpected wonder, especially the kind that resonates when humans are faced with their own inevitable death. Betsy and Simone are particularly sublime examples of this. Both live on for us at this particular moment in the story of Fargo but we expect to find out they’re dead any minute… just as they do within the narrative. But the most glorious aspect of this episode is how satisfying the ending feels even with all the unanswered questions. That’s likely because of our resolute relief that Mike Milligan remains alive – we would miss him most of all! And then there’s the divine, palm rubbing relish of imagining the macho douchebag, Dodd sweating it out in Ed Blomquist’s trunk. That image has got us whistling all the way to the water cooler.

–Katherine Recap

[For “International Assassin”or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

HBO Summary:
International Assassin Questions and answers emerge in the wake of Kevin’s desperate decision to vanquish Patti.

“International Assassin” takes place in that unconscious state between wakefulness and dreaming where we don’t really know what’s real. But it turns out in this case not to matter if it’s real or not. What matters is that for Kevin’s sake it’s all real and changes everything for him and for Patti. The storyline changes now as a result of Kevin’s unconscious mind in this episode. He works out his unconscious challenges and greatly impacts The Leftovers so that the story shifts gears. Thus, this episode reveals that perhaps the work we do while dreaming can sometimes be our most productive – a shrink’s wet dream.

The Leftover’s writers are kind to us tonight. Not only do they give us answers but they don’t make us wait even a moment and start episode seven right off with Kevin awakening from death as he rises out of a bathtub. He’s not in the trailer anymore, though. This is a hotel room. A sign on the wardrobe says, “Know first who you are, and then adorn yourself accordingly.” There’s a suit inside, a cop uniform, a white Guilty Remnant outfit, and some sort of preacher’s purple robe. Kevin puts the suit on. A delivery guy comes to the door with lilies and gets his name wrong, insisting he’s Mr. Harvey. When Kevin turns his back to get a tip, the guy starts beating him and Kevin punches right back. It’s a vicious fight scene and the guy ends up dead. Kevin bandages his deeply wounded palm and goes to the front desk to ask who sent the flowers. He’s told to ask the concierge and Uh Oh, Virgil is the concierge and writes him a secret note “parking garage 5 min.” On the way there Kevin sees a little girl try to drown herself in the hotel pool and saves her. The girl’s father comes out and screams at her that she doesn’t know how to swim and tells Kevin to mind his effing business. Then in the parking garage Kevin joins Virgil in a car. Virgil’s concerned to see that he’s wet and tells him not to drink the water here. He explains that the hotel and his particular situation are the result of Kevin choosing the clothes of an “International Assassin” out of the wardrobe. We were granted a hint to this effect earlier when he goes to tip the delivery guy and mutters, “All I have is euros.”

Virgil explains the circumstances. Patti will be there in a few hours. She’s a Presidential candidate. He’s now Kevin Harvey an “International Assassin” who made a large contribution to her campaign in order to guarantee a meeting with Patti. There’ll be a gun waiting for him in the bathroom just like in The Godfather. Kevin has to retrieve it and kill her without hesitation or this mission won’t work. Kevin asks how Virgil is here if you have to die first. Virgil replies that he’s atoning. Back upstairs in the hotel Guilty Remnants who refer to Patti as “Senator Levin” question Kevin with a lie detector before he can meet with her. They spray windex in his eyes to get him to admit his name’s Kevin Garvey and not Harvey. They shock him so he’ll admit that he smokes to remember the world ended and not just from nicotine addiction. Then they tell him to go freshen up for the meeting with her. He’s thoroughly vetted.

Kevin goes to his hotel room and flushes out his eyes with water. His Dad starts talking to him through the TV then and says he sent the flowers and that the card doesn’t say “Get Well” as it appears to. The message actually says “Get her to the well.” Kevin’s got to take Patti to the well. Then the TV turns black and there’s a knock on the door. Senator Levin is ready to see him now. He gets patted down and they say he can ask her anything just not about gun control, abortion, North Korea, or her ex husband, Neil. Kevin asks to use the restroom but the security guard is in there right now, so, Kevin’s not armed quite yet.

Patti comes in apologizing for all the security but it’s because someone wants to assassinate her. She explains that people would rather put a bullet in her head than admit her truth. Patti asks what he thinks her truth is and Kevin says she, “wants to destroy families.” Patti agrees that this is exactly her message. Then she tells a story about how on her campaign trail a man handed her his baby and thus abandoned it. That baby will grow up having difficulty connecting with people. It won’t be able to accept and give love. But the baby will be just fine and this is a best thing for it. Attachment and love are extinct now because of October 14th, Patti explains. So, now that baby actually has an advantage because it’s strong. It’s ahead of the game and ready for this new world. Thus we now understand the simple philosophy behind the Guilty Remnant.

She asks Kevin what brought him to her campaign and he says his wife left him for the Guilty Remnant. Patti says that must have been painful and he says no more painful than when Neil left her. She then jokingly tells the security guy to kill Kevin. But it’s a joke. Patti says they all need to lighten up. Shaken, Kevin excuses himself to the bathroom and gets the gun. He shoots the security guard and prepper. Then Patti says she’s not really Patti Levin but a decoy that they found on Facebook, paid, and gave plastic surgery. Her story isn’t wholly unbelievable when she has a completely different voice and mannerisms suddenly… but Kevin shoots her anyway. He was told not to hesitate.

After he shoots decoy Patti he goes back to Virgil the concierge but he’s not Virgil anymore. Kevin asks if he drank the water and he did, “…but I was so thirsty,” so, now Virgil’s gone and Kevin’s on his own. Back in the hall outside his hotel room, the dickhead dad of the drowning girl is locked out with a bottle of whiskey and Kevin’s also locked out of his own room. The guy offers him a drink and they make small talk until Kevin realizes this is Neil, Patti’s ex husband. He breaks Neil’s neck immediately, really taking ownership of his new role “International Assassin.” Now Kevin knows Patti is the little girl he saved and that she’s inside that locked hotel room. He knocks on the door and she opens it then goes with him willingly. They ask the concierge where there’s a well nearby. The concierge sends them to Jarden, Texas with a pamphlet of info about the well. That’s right, it’s a famous historical landmark well and it’s in Miracle, Texas. So, they’re off and on their way to the well. In the car child Patti reads the well pamphlet to Kevin. Historically people have thrown in the well whatever they wanted to unburden themselves from.

On the bridge into Miracle a man drags Kevin out of his car and across the bridge by a long rope and noose. He gives Kevin the choice – cross the bridge or jump and hang himself. Why would he want to die? Kevin asks. “Because you don’t want to kill a child,” the guy replies. Kevin says she’s not a child also this isn’t real and the guy says she is and it’s very real. He’ll be changed by it. Kevin is resolute, though and throws the noose over the side of the bridge then carries child Patti over the bridge to the well without hesitation. She climbs up the side of the stone well and sits on the side of it to ask Kevin if he wants to drop or push her in, “Pushing’s probably easier,” then she asks what’s wrong and he says it’s hard because he feels sorry for her. She asks, “Would it help if I say I deserve it?” Then Patti lists all the cruel things Neil said about her and Kevin begs her to stop. She starts to say, “Would it help if…” again but then he just pushes her in. Afterward Kevin throws up beside the well. Then Patti’s in there – the real Patti, not the kid anymore, and she calls for him to help her. Kevin climbs in, falling a long way down so they’re sitting at the bottom of the well together.

Patti then tells him a story of how during her marriage to Neil she went on Jeopardy with a plan to win $50K. With the winnings she could leave him and start over. That was her plan. Then even though afraid, she’d won on three nights of Jeopardy and brought home a total of $65,300 therefore surpassing her goal of “enough money to leave Neil.” So, she could’ve started over… but she didn’t. She was weak. Patti tells Kevin she’s scared. He comforts her but then (crying all the while) drowns her face down in the water at the bottom of the well. After Patti’s really truly dead there’s a rumble. The well’s stone walls come tumbling down on him and then we shift to Kevin crawling out of the dirt in the woods with no sign of the well anywhere. Kevin’s at a campsite and there’s Michael, surprised to see him alive. Fin.

The scenes between Patti and Kevin arouse intense feelings of remembrance for all those people and things in life we’ve had to let go. Yes, we feel sorry. Yes, there are real reasons for the things we find intolerable about them. But still… they gotta go. Patti was a perfect Guilty Remnant, unable to love or connect because of horrific treatment by Neil (and one presumes her parents as well) and thus she’s holding Kevin down with all of her pain. Patti’s got to go. That’s the thing about pain, people pass it on. It seems Patti tells Kevin the Jeopardy story to give him the strength to take her out. She couldn’t let go, Patti’s saying and he’s going to end up like her if he doesn’t unburden himself of her. Even she knows the right thing for him to do. Thank goodness he does it. Even if the episode “International Assassin” took place entirely inside Kevin’s head it still moves the story forward because it expels Patti from the narrative. The only thing keeping her in The Leftovers was Kevin. Thus we can all sigh with relief now thanks to our “International Assassin” because it’s satisfying to see that toxic bitch, Patti Levin finally shuffle off this mortal coil and go.

–Katherine Recap

The Top 8 – Week Four

Posted by michaelj | Sports

“The Top 8” is an ongoing weekly column focused on the NBA… And more importantly my favorite NBA team, the Cleveland Cavaliers! For any and all installments, click here.

The Cavs ended Week Three with a heartbreaking loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. People whose jaws dropped and heads shook actually watching the game probably blame an errant ref whistle; but those of us looking at the box score just saw the Cavs drop it by three points in double overtime.

Our heroes then opened up Week Four with a swing at another midwest team: The Detroit Pistons.

Game Eleven: Cavs at Pistons 11/17/2015

There was once a stretch where the mighty Pistons were locks for the Eastern Conference Finals, and back in 2007, the Cavs had to get by them for LBJ to make that first NBA Finals appearance, himself.

Times have changed, though, and the Pistons are barely above .500.

HOWEVER — and this is a big “however” — The Pistons have got Andre Drummond.

ESPN Headline: Pistons rally for 104-99 win over Cavs despite James’ 30

This headline doesn’t begin to describe the game. Thirty points… Whatever! LBJ wasn’t even the best Cav. The real headline here should have been either been celebrating Andre Drummond’s monster line (25 points, 18 rebounds) or pointing out how the Cavs were routed 18-29 in the fourth quarter.

Every time I see an Andre Drummond box score I get a little angry. Drummond is not just hands-down the best Center in the NBA (DeAndre Jordan plays Center in the NBA), but he was hands down the best rookie his rookie year (Anthony Davis was Rookie of the Year that year)… And OF COURSE the Cavs could have had him.

Instead… We took Dion Waiters 🙁

Who drafts a rando Shooting Guard fourth? 🙁

Drummond played better than any two Cavs combined this game, and very nearly as well as the top three Cavs put together, as you can see:

Cavaliers 99 Pistons 104

Outcome: Pistons by 5

Game Twelve: Bucks at Cavaliers 11/19/2015

ESPN Headline: James, Love lead Cavaliers past Bucks, 115-100

If there is such a thing as a must-win game for a single regular-season game a dozen games in (there isn’t)… This would be it. Losing this game would put the Cavs on a three-game slide, with two losses to the Bucks.

Luckily, they stomped ’em.

It is in fact the case that James and Love led the Cavs (more or less equally), but the Greek Freak was the best player in a losing effort.

Bucks 100, Cavaliers 115

Outcome: Cavs by 15

Separately: Really nice to see Andy crack a Top 8 🙂

Game Thirteen: Hawks at Cavs 11/21/2015

ESPN Headline: Love, James lead Cavaliers past Hawks, 109-97

Better would be “James, Love, and Thompson lead Cavaliers past Hawks, 109-97″

TT missed a double-double by one point, but LBJ and KLove both notched ’em in this one.

Hawks97, Cavaliers 109

Outcome: Cavs by 12

More gratifying even than the victory was that it was a big win against an excellent opponent; Atlanta was Cleveland’s dance partner in last year’s Eastern Conference Finals.

Side note: Great to see Thabo playing well after his unfortunate off-court injury. I said during the playoffs last year that Thabo was Atlanta’s best player, and without him, they did not have a reliable man defender for LeBron James.

2-1 is a full-on okay week. The Cavs remain at the head of the Eastern Conference at 10-3; not one of these regular seasons games means that much, individually as the Cavs are almost certainly a lock for the playoffs.

Sure fun to watch, though.

Can’t wait for Kyrie and Shump to come back (and now Mo and Mozgov) :/

LOVE
MIKE

[For American Horror Story – Hotel “Flicker” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

FX Summary:
Flicker Will Drake’s renovations uncover one of the hotel’s greatest secrets; John undergoes an evaluation.

Will Drake renovates the Hotel Cortez and, surprise surprise, construction workers unearth some uber old and mighty thirsty vampires in the process. Iris and The Countess then discover the workers’ bodies and it’s the first time Iris has ever seen The Countess scared. “Whomever did this must have been starving,” she says, voice trailing off. Then we’re taken back to Hollywood 1925 and Gaga (in a mousie brunette wig) plays an actress crushing madly on Rudolph Valentino. The feeling is mutual, it seems, and he invites her for dinner where Valentino says he sees greater things for Mousie than acting. But she thinks, “The flickers are the future – a true American art form,” movies are going to make her immortal, she claims. Valentino insists flickers are a phase and real immortality is something else entirely. They dance instead of eating until Valentino’s wife, Natascha, interrupts. Natascha, the cat calls her “Little Mouse” and explains that she’s been invited there because, “Gods have appetites,” and thus the awkward dancing continues as a trio. The three then have sex and Gaga’s happy to be the cheese in their mouse sandwich. In the next scene some time has passed and Mousie is now officially in love with Valentino. She attends the grand opening party for the Hotel Cortez when it’s announced that Valentino is dead. Mousie runs to the window to kill herself immediately but James March stops her from doing so saying, “I may never let you go.”

At Valentino’s crypt three fans gossip about a woman in black who leaves a single red rose on his grave every day. Turns out it’s the Mouse and here she comes, though no longer quite so mousie now that she’s platinum blonde – The Countess. Natascha comes up behind her to say Valentino’s not dead after all, it’s his stunt double in the crypt. And then out of the shadows… there he is. Natasha congratulates The Countess on her marriage to James March. She admits that she doesn’t love him but they have great sex and she likes his darkness – a 1920’s euphemism for murderous rampages. Valentino says he’s sad to see her suffer and she says she never suffers. Then Valentino tells her a story of the German director, F.W. Murnau who made the original 1922 Nosferatu. While researching that movie he’d discovered people with an ancient blood virus that kept them young and beautiful but with an infinite blood thirst. Murnau then turned Valentino into a truly free immortal – giving him the blood virus but also telling him to give up acting. It was all because the talking pictures were coming to “Kill the Gods” of the silent pictures. So, though Valentino the film star is dead, this guy The Countess loves lives after all, just a slightly diseased version. Then Valentino and Natascha say they want to give their virus to their little mouse. So, it’s time for a makeout bloodfest sex party right there beside Valentino’s crypt as they pass along the virus to The Countess. Meanwhile James March listens patiently nearby the whole time.

At the mental ward of an LA hospital John Lowe gets analyzed and admitted, his indigo eyes perfectly matched to his form fitting jeans. Alex offers to get him out but John believe he belongs in there, “I need professional help,” he says with great confidence and clarity. It’s because of a tough case at work, he explains, also his daughter’s lack of trust in him, and his wife leaving. Lowe neglects to mention the Hotel Cortez but keeps reiterating that he’s exactly where he needs to be. Later John’s wandering the mental ward when he eavesdrops on some orderlies talking about a psycho killer who’s kept in a “restricted area.” Being a detective with a self-destructive bent, he immediately steals a security guard’s keys and enters that restricted area. Once inside he finds a little girl named Wren in a british school uniform who won’t eat her dinner. She tells John she’s protecting the ten commandments killer because she doesn’t want him to get caught. Lowe tells her it’s not her fault the killer keeps killing but she insists that it is. Lowe sees her as a version of Scarlet. “But it’s me, not her and it’s him, not you,” he says about the dark behavior of men versus their little girls and Wren seems to understand what he’s driving at. She tells him a story about how in 1986 her father left her in a hot car and The Countess saved her. Lowe doesn’t really hear her when she talks about this part but when Wren says, “Get me out of here and I’ll show you where he lives,” about the Ten Commandments killer, John hears that part. They escape the asylum together and she says they have to go home to the Cortez. Will he kill the serial killer? she asks and then when he says he will she says, “I’d hate to see it end. I liked you,” before running into an oncoming truck and disappearing. John sees this and shrieks, thinking she’s dead. But we know better. When’s Lowe going to take a hint? Somebody needs to spell it out for him that blonde kids in british school uniforms are vampires. Maybe Alex could tell him except she’s a damn vampire too… and also she hates him.

Near the end of the episode we discover the two thirsty beasts that were unleashed in the first scene are Valentino and Natascha. It seems James March locked them away in a bricked up suite for all these years and now, unleashed they’re feeding on every Cortez guest they can find to revive their beauteous selves. One can only expect that their next step will be wreaking vengeance upon March. Then the Countess visits March and tells him she’s going to marry again – Will Drake this time. He recommends that when she kills this husband the Countess should do it off the property so she won’t have to keep dealing with his haunting annoyances for eternity. March then says he knows Valentino was the one love she ever really had and he’s clearly not over the fact that she never loved him, though he was her husband. Some people just can’t let stuff go… Then we see how March locked away Natascha and Valentino in a bricked off suite of the Cortez where they’ve been since 1925 only to be released now and he finally tells The Countess about it. She’s having feelings now just knowing that her beloved is nearby and likely seeking revenge against her haunted house.

This delightful episode brought us into yet another glorious origin story about the Hotel Cortez and its gorgeous, tormented inhabitants. There were many laugh out loud moments in this one and the show steamrolls ahead even as it looks back with reverent nostalgia. The coolest thing about American Horror Story is definitely Lady Gaga. She brings to glamorous life the inherent contradiction that comes with all ghost stories – yes remembrance of youth is glorious and beautiful but when we’re stuck in those memories we have to live with the indelible decay that comes from holding onto the past too tightly.

–Katherine Recap

Blood and Quiescence / Crau a Chwsg

[For The Bastard Executioner‘s “Blood and Quiescence/Crau a Chwsg” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

FX Summary:
Blood and Quiescence / Crau a Chwsg In the first season finale, Wilkin and Milus lead an unlikely band of brothers on a life-threatening rescue mission.

You got that spoiler warning, right? Great! Let’s set the stage then:

Wilkin Brattle was a barley farmer. One night he and his fellow male villagers set out to beat up some tax collectors. Because violence. Because taxes. Because injustice in medieval England Wales; because Braveheart. The local Baron responds to this defiance by killing all the women, children, and elderly (including Wilkin’s preggers wife) in their protection-less village.

Unfortunately for the Baron, Wilkin is secretly one of the greatest living Knights, and has basically been masquerading as a barley farmer on account of being sick of killing folks (plus magic) (maybe). Wilkin and company kill the Baron with the help of Welsh insurgents in the very first episode.

But there are more people to kill! In order to find out about all the folks who could have wronged their village, Wilkin (with bff / sidekick Toran) takes up the identity of a dead executioner — Gawain Maddox — to install himself in the castle and uncover who killed which loved ones (to reap maxiumum vengeance). He is guided by the mysterious Annora. Plus ghosts. He is horrified over and over by the personal violence required of him to keep up his cover.

In the castle Wilkin takes up with…

  • Jessamy Maddox, who, unhinged, seems convinced he is actually her dead husband Gawain. Wilkin basically adopts Lucca Maddox and ends up a better, more beloved, father to him than his own ever was.
  • Milus Corbett (aka Vampire Bill from True Blood) is the conniving chamberlain of the shire, and recognizes Wilkin as the great knight… but facilitates his charade for his own agenda; which — horrendous tactics or no — genuinely seem loyal to…
  • Lady Love Ventris – the Baron’s widow. Love is everything her husband was not, a kind of fictional unicorn: wise, fair, kind, and genuinely good despite being a [hated] noble. Because this is tv she is also super hot. Love is desperately trying to retain control of her little Welsh shire from the crushing grip of English or even French dominance. Love harbors a secret though…
  • The Wolf — leader of the Welsh revolutionaries — is her brother! The Wolf is an all right guy, often aiding Wilkin or Love (and vice versa) on the side; but in 2015 parlance his day job would indeed be the t-word (you know, “freedom fighter”)

Woods witch Annora is married to show creator Kurt Sutter in real life; previously she was Peggy Bundy. On The Bastard Executioner she is the keeper of a great secret and seems to command actual magical powers!

Annora is opposed by the Rosula, a order of Warrior-Priests descended from the Roman soldiers who tortured Christ. They have not gotten any more pleasant in the ensuing thousand years but, connected directly to the Pope, are unbelievably powerful politically.

As we approach “Blood and Quiescence/Crau a Chwsg” Wilkin’s “son” and local parish priest Father Ruskin are in the power of the Rosula, who believe the two know where Annora is. Wilkin and wingman Toran tire of being in charge of torturing, maiming, and / or killing unarmed women as executioners, and just want to finish their vengeance. Wilkin largely blames Annora for putting him and his friends into a series of impossible positions; Annora, for her part, has just revealed she is Wilkin’s mom. Oh, and Lady Love and Wilkin have basically fallen for each other, which is all kinds of complicated.

“Blood and Quiescence/Crau a Chwsg”, the finale of the first season of The Bastard Executioner, begins, as is often the case, with a montage of different characters’ experiences and points of view.

Milus (Vanpire Bill) happens on the Reeve Leon praying in the chapel. It is kind of a weird shot. We all hate Vampire Bill right? Wilkin hates the Reeve the most! Does Milus hate the Reeve? Why is he looking at him like that?

In the caves, captive Father Ruskin, face all busted up, smiles on fellow captive Lucca, reassuring. Man, I hope they don’t get dead we all think in unison.

At Castle Ventris Isabel asks Love if she cares deeply for “the man who pretends to be our punisher” … Unsurprisingly, Love indicates she does. “It seems you have acquired the adventure your spirit longs for.”

Finally Toran mugs the Knight Locke who killed his wife and child. Toran outs himself while the Knight presses his throat against Toran’s blade, asking for no mercy.

“Make haste with your vengeance.

“I follow the orders of my commander but I alone own the blood my blade spills. I’ve earned no mercy.”

Inexplicably Toran hands Locke an axe and offers him the chance at a fair fight!

Which Toran loses!

In a reversal of the previous interaction Toran offers himself up, also asking no mercy.

“This is most fitting that you be the one to deliver me to my loving wife and boy.”

Locke says there may be no mercy in Ventris but there is honor. He spares Toran, declares all debts cleared and makes clear that he and Wilkin — the false punisher — have earned their places in his opinion; Locke will not give them up. Best buds with the guy who killed your family?

Roll opening credits.

Annora (aka mommy dearest) lays it all out for Wilkin.

According to Seraphim tradition, Jesus was just a man… But God spoke through him.

The Seraphim keep their records on their bodies (all tatted up); four of twelve have fallen to the Rosula already. Drum roll: Annora herself is the direct descendant of Christ!

Which — drum roll — essentially makes Wilkin (her son) Jesus Junior!

Macro myths aside, the Rosula have Father Ruskin and Wilkin’s kinda-son captive. Wilkin has to get them back but obviously can’t do it alone. He goes to Love for help.

There is a sweet little scene of Wilkin going to Love’s room, where handmaiden Isabel threatens “your torture devices cannot match the pain I will bring” if he does her wrong (presumably romantically).

This episode is basically Dar Williams’s first album:

the-honesty-room

Whatever secrets! Not-executioners are outing themselves! Wilkin tells Love about Annora, who the Archdeacon really is, and his own place in this amazing story. Love is loathe to oppose the Archdeacon (and Rome), but acknowledges the rightness of rescuing Father Ruskin and Lucca.

Speaking of the Archdeacon, he and pop star Ed Shearen (really) implore Ruskin “priest to priest” to tell them where Annora is. Of course he won’t relent; they threaten Lucca (because holding a knife to a young boy’s throat is so noble). Lucca himself flips! (and consequently keeps breathing)

Love goes to the one man who can get things done in this shire: Vampire Bill for help with the rescue mission.

“Your ability to turn complications into advantages is what makes you such a valuable chamberlain.”

It’s kind of a great scene. Love knows Milus is a monster, but he’s her monster… Something every good ruler probably needs. Milus can get a posse of “Knights and horsemen who will fight for pay” but they will probably still be outnumbered by the Rosula. Love has something — or rather someone — in her back pocket to help (and we can all guess who that is).

Jessamy gets in trouble (again) and tries, jealously, to clock Love (again) and gets thrown in the dungeon. Wilkin goes down to see his “wife” and encounters the Reeve in a scene mirroring Toran’s from the beginning of the episode. He points out that the Reeve is wearing (actual) dead Mrs Brattle’s cross; and the Reeve claims he did not kill her — could not kill a pregnant woman — and wears the cross as a reminder of “God before crown.”

They throw down anyway and Wilkin effortlessly defeats his wife’s presumed murderer. But wait! Ghosts!

Fake-wife Jessamy is replaced temporarily by the angelic ghost of dead-real-wife Petra (who we haven’t seen since her gratuitous-for-basic-cable-full-frontal scene in “Piss Profit/Proffidwyr Troeth”), who instructs Wilkin to spare his life.

So… All buddies / all good?

The Reeve realizes in that moment that Corbett always knew who Wilkin was, and turned him into “his obliging whore.” No hands are clean. No one is happy. All is brutal in medieval Wales.

Both the Reeve and Locke join the raiding posse. And Petra’s cross is returned to The Bastard Executioner.

It’s time for battle! Waiting for the Ventris Knights and mercenaries are the Wolf and a legion of Welsh insurgents. Vampire Bill &c. seem pretty surprised that Wilkin and Toran are already best buddies with the Wolf, but Wilkin points out that without their help, they will be badly outnumbered.

Two legions of Rosula riders meet our heroes (“heroes”?) on the field. The Dark Mute (who hasn’t been mute since the Pilot) declares “we will not defeat them on steeds” and tells the good guys to unhorse. We learn a lot about Kurt Sutter’s character in that moment. HE SETS HIMSELF ON FIRE and runs directly into the scrum of Rosula. Lots of the Rosula are thrown from their spooked steeds, making them easy prey for the assembled Knights and Welsh.

The Rosula are completely routed. Wilkin frees Father Ruskin and Lucca, who take up blades.

The Archdeacon tells Ruskin “If you kill me, Priest, you secure your place in hell.” Ruskin — formerly an assassin — is given pause, but Lucca just murders the Archdeacon from behind! Attaboy!

Ed Shearen, distraught at the death of his master, chases off Lucca, so Wilkin chases after them both. Then Lucca cripples the eff out of Ed Shearen, who is now in no position to fight the approaching Wilkin. Wilkin can obviously kill him but Lucca begs his father to stay and comfort him.

Everyone pats everyone on the head. Ventris lost exactly four men. The Rosula kept maximum one man (Ed Shearen), who according to Wilkin, was probably too injured to survive. The Dark Mute died a “righteous and most fitting death” from flames, not Rosula swords.

And now it’s time to tie a bow on Season One of The Bastard Executioner.

Love only had 2-3 months of masquerade in her. Corbett suggests “the child of Lady Love and Baron Ventris so special” it was “called to heaven before even born.”

A miscarriage might cover up one lie, but doesn’t actually secure the lineage of Love’s shire.

I don’t buy that Ed Shearen is dead. I don’t even buy that The Dark Mute is dead. That he was already burned to all holy heck indicates the self-immolation-to-harangue-horses was not his first rodeo. The Dark Mute was by all indications an invincible fighter — almost supernaturally gifted — so maybe he was also more fireproof than usual.

Of course the season ends with gratuitous butt shots of both Love and Wilkin, who finally smash; long, slow, and accompanied by the full cut of the show’s theme song. One of the macro concerns of The Bastard Executioner has been noble Love pairing with commoner Gawain Maddox; of course Gawain was always at least a great Knight, and now we know Wilkin is of the most noble blood of all! So symmetry.

Though The Bastard Executioner got officially axed today, Sutter made sure to leave us with plenty of mysteries unsolved. What’s up with those mutilated bodies? Can Love retain control of Ventris? Who’s good and who’s not so good? If not the Reeve, who killed Petra*? That said, I think he put a happy enough cap on the show that “Blood and Quiescence/Crau a Chwsg” can make for a satisfying series not just season finale. The good looking people end up together, accounts are largely settled, and even Milus is confirmed to be on the side of the Angels, even if he himself is a devil.

LOVE
MIKE

* In echo of Katherine‘s end-of-recap hot takes on Scream Queens I’ll vote here for Ash. Petra seemed like she knew her attacker back in the Pilot, and there is just something wrong with that kid. We’ll now likely never know.

[For Scream Queens‘ “Ghost Stories” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

FOX Summary:
Ghost Stories Denise tells a terrifying ghost story; a familiar face returns; the killer claims another victim.

Nick Jonas, AKA Boone, is now full blown back on Scream Queens and Chanel No. 3 assumes he’s a ghost. She apologizes for outing his gayness then says she’s sorta gay now too, to which Boone replies, “Boo!” and she’s actually kinda scared. Back at the Kappa house Chanel preps outfits for Thanksgiving dinner with Chad’s parents in the Hamptons while the other Chanel’s fantasize out loud about murdering her. She’s pretty intolerable with the whole “marrying Chad is the only thing that matters” thing, like a ceaseless, brainless parrot.

Denise supervises and advises while Chanel packs for her trip and Chanel No, 3 tells them about how she saw the ghost of dead gay Boone on the quad. This inspires Denise to tell them a terrifying ghost story so they’ll be scared of a fake thing rather than a real one. It’s a brilliant plan, no doubt. She tells them a Japanese ghost story about a ghost called The Kappa. It snatches you by the vagina when you drop trou and go to the bathroom, then it drags you into raw sewage. The end. This is followed by other stories, none of which quite do the trick. The Kappa girls are just flat out more terrified than ever. Then Denise is attacked by the Red Devil in the bathroom but she gets away and heads into Chanel’s room. There she demands that they tell her a scary ghost story so she can move on from this horrifying experience. Hester tells one circa 1950s with bobby socks, saddle shoes, and cool cars along with the meathook killer. Luckily, it does the job on Denise.Then, for some reason, Chanel No. 5 gets feisty, declares that she’s getting off campus before the serial killer gets her, and storms out.

At the frat house Boone visits Chad who also assumes he’s a ghost. Chad asks him why he came back and Boone explains that the phrase “Once you go black you never go back,” means he can be come back from the dead if he has sex with Zayday. Of course, Chad believes this. Meanwhile Zayday is finally kissing her hot boyfriend, Earl Grey. So, then when Earl slips out to get the sensual massage oil to heat things up between them Boone climbs in Zayday’s window. He tells her his shirt is made of boyfriend material and says he’s a ghost here to seduce her. But Zayday tells him the problem with his story is that she doesn’t believe in ghosts. Then Grace rushes in and it turns out she doesn’t believe in them either. When they tell Boone they don’t beleive he’s a ghost he somehow disappears – likely out the window. Then Earl Grey returns with his basket of sensual delights but before he gets inside Kappa house Boone, dressed as the Red Devil, kills him. Meanwhile a different Red Devil rides in the back seat of Chanel No. 5’s car while she drives home for Thanksgiving but a trucker saves her life and ends up sacrificing his own in the process. This inspires No 5 to drive back to campus because now she has a scary story to tell. She’s not the most logical Chanel… and that’s saying a lot.

Hester then shows up at Chad’s with a bedazzled neckbrace. When he’s turned off by it she explains that she has to wear it again because her spinal cord was collapsing. Chad then tells Hester a multitude of reasons why he invited Chanel instead of her to Thanksgiving. His list includes: her breath, a fart, and her neckbrace. Hester is beside herself and returns to the Chanels now bursting with her own brand of horror story. She declares that not only did she sleep with Chad but she’s also now pregnant as a result. Chanel then confronts Chad about it and he admits the truth about sleeping with Hester several times. Then he says, “Guess I have to marry her now and take her home for Thanksgiving. But you can still be my piece on the side.” Shockingly, Chanel doesn’t find this comforting and threatens to kill him. He then has a moment of Chad clarity and asks her if she’s the killer to which Chanel just smirks and says, “I guess we’ll see.”

She then tells the Chanels they all have to get together in Kappa sisterhood and kill Hester. That way she can get Chad back and marry him and happily ever after and blah blah blah. Meanwhile downstairs Detective Chisolm asks Zayday and Grace for a sketch of Boone the ghost even though he already has several pictures of him form when he was alive. It turns out Chisolm believes the reason he hasn’t found the killer is because the killer must be a ghost. Why else would the killer so easily get away with all this relentless killing right under Chisolm’s nose? So, Boone being a ghost AND the killer fits right into this particular theory. The detective even brought a paranormal expert in to help with the investigation. After Detective Chisolm and his expert leave, shunned by the Kappas and Dean Munsch for this ridiculous theory, the Dean tells Zayday and Grace a story. She says there were two babies born in that bathtub and one of them was Boone – she’d recognized that baby’s distinctive smirk on Boone’s frat boy mug right away.

Then we’re at Gigi’s apartment where Boone then tells his sad rejection story about Zayday to a guy in the Red Devil outfit and Gigi. She tells Boone he’s the weakest link and she’s going to off him. Boone replies that he was that baby in the bathtub and he did everything for her, even pretended to be gay and that she was his mother but she’s not thankful to him and she’s certainly not his mother. Then Boone says they’re going to kill her. He looks to his Red-Devil-suited sibling to do the deed and they raise the knife but instead of attacking Gigi, they kill Boone instead. Gigi points out that Boone was the Red Devil’s brother… so, perhaps if’s a girl in the suit after all. It all depends on if indeed Boone was one of the bathtub babies. Our source for that info is the Dean, after all, so not 100% reliable.

Meanwhile back at Kappa house the Chanels corner Hester forcing her to pee on twenty pregnancy sticks before they’ll allow her to leave with Chad for the Hamptons. Rather than submit to all that urination, Hester admits to lying about being pregnant but announces that now she can go spend the weekend with him and have ample opportunities to get pregnant. Then Hester’s about to escape but Chanel pushes her down that extraordinary Kappa house spiral staircase and kills her. She says the best part about this murder is that now she’s created the best ghost story of all. It’s about a girl in a neckbrace who tried to steal a hotter girl’s boyfriend. Those really are the coolest stories a sorority sister can tell, after all.

So, all signs still point to Chanel as the killer. She could certainly be Boone’s long lost sister because maybe after the bathtub incident she was adopted into her rich family. The Scream Queens season was recently shortened from an original fifteen episodes to thirteen so that leaves four remaining and thus far the only characters we know for certain have killed people are Chanel and Dean Munsch, who killed her husband’s mistress, Feather. Chanel, in fact, killed a woman early on in the very first episode for a ridiculous reason and without a bit of remorse. So, the only question is why would Chanel bother with all this dressing up in devil costumes and involving Gigi stuff? If the Red Devil serial killer is indeed Chanel, we need to know what exactly it is she’s avenging to parse all those details. Maybe the next four episodes will surprise us with a different/better suspect or perhaps they’ll further explain this course of Chanel-as-killer reasoning. Not that Scream Queens involves a lot of reasoning but when we find out the killer it should make some sort of sense – as long as it’s not a Chanel explaining it

Katherine Recap