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Orphan Black “To Right the Wrongs of Many” Review (5×10)

13 Aug

“I survived you. We survived you. Me and my sisters, together. This is evolution.”

I don’t have much to say about this finale. It’s not that I don’t want to say anything; it’s simply that there isn’t all that much to unpack. This is a crowd pleaser, a thoroughly satisfying series finale that dispatches of its villains in the first third of the episode so that it can focus on the themes that drove the series. The main one? Sisterhood, the bond that never broke through the trials and tribulations these people faced, the connective tissue that transcended mere biology. You could see it shine through in each and every episode, even if Clone Club wasn’t completely intact.
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The Leftovers “The Book of Nora” Review (3×08)

4 Jun

“I’m here.”

In the end, a simple game of Mad (Matt) Libs might be the perfect encapsulation of what this show is all about. You have a framework, a scenario, something you’re working within the boundaries of even though there are endless possibilities to choose from. The most important part is the choice: what word do you choose? Does it have a special meaning? Do other people choose similarly? Differently? How do you deal with the blanks that pop up in life? This show is not about providing those blanks; it’s about “letting the mystery be”, following people as they go on journeys that might never be logically parsed but still maintaining a sense of empathy and compassion toward them. It’s about exploring how people’s belief systems are crafted in response to a lack of answers, and it does it so goddamn well.

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The Leftovers “The Most Powerful Man in the World (and His Identical Twin Brother)” Review (3×07)

28 May

“It doesn’t make any sense!”

“International Assassin Part 3” opens with Kevin and Nora in a bathtub, back in the good ‘ol days when they could joke about how they wanted to dispose of their bodies post-death. It’s a wonderful little scene, and though the subsequent hour goes on twists and turns of epic proportions–something this show is familiar with–it all comes back to that scene in the end. Of course, it may not be that scene in particular, more so what that scene stands for: the pairing of Kevin and Nora, two people who are perfect for each other precisely because of how messed up both of them are. And thus, by circling back around to the Kevin-Nora relationship at the end of this wild, surreal adventure, The Leftovers once again makes it very clear that this is a character-driven show about grief.

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The Leftovers “Certified” Review (3×06)

21 May

“I want fucking closure.”

At the beginning of “Certified”, Laurie sits in her office talking to a woman who lost her child during The Departure. In fact, this is the same woman we saw in the very first scene of the series, and seeing her again here transports us back to the good ‘ol days of season one. We’re transported back for a very good reason, though: witnessing Laurie’s story come full circle. She hasn’t simply done a 360; she’s grown and changed and regressed and struggled, a process very true to life (and especially true to life under these extraordinary conditions). However, she is at the point of suicide once again.

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The Leftovers “It’s a Matt, Matt, Matt, Matt World” Review (3×05)

14 May

“Ta da. You’re saved.”

The Matt-centric episodes have been some of the best hours this series has produced thus far, and though I’m probably in the minority when I say that this one doesn’t resonate quite as much with me, it still features some top-notch scenes throughout. It’s a fascinating setup: Laurie and Matt going at it, two ways of thinking clashing amidst the strangeness of a lion orgy on a ferry from Tasmania to Melbourne. The episode mines a fair bit of humor from the scenario, and the show once again strikes a nice balance between sheer absurdity and profound character drama.

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The Leftovers “G’Day Melbourne” Review (3×04)

7 May

“Then you should go be with them.”

I feel like I say this every week, but what a gut punch of an episode. This show is simply operating on another level than the rest of television at the moment, and it’s truly a marvel to watch as we approach the end. “G’Day Melbourne” in particular is a masterclass in writing: it’s a brilliantly structured slow collapse, i.e. we see the end coming from a mile away, but there’s absolutely nothing we can do about it. Obviously, there was a reason Nora and Kevin were in love in the first place, but we see that their mindsets are taking them in separate directions. We see it during the sex scene in the airport bathroom, during their actions alone, and even during their more light-hearted interactions. Nora referring to their relationship as a “toxic, co-dependent” one is extremely accurate, even if she says it in a joking manner.

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The Leftovers “Crazy Whitefella Thinking” Review (3×03)

30 Apr

“It’s all just a story I told myself. I’ve got to be crazy, haven’t I?”

This week’s episode takes us through several intertwined storylines that are heartbreaking and frustrating in equal measure. I don’t mean frustrating in the sense of weak writing; rather, they’re frustrating as collections of choices and occurrences, frustrating because their subjects make decisions that seemingly get themselves–and others–in more and more trouble. Primarily, we have Kevin Garvey Sr. stumbling his way through Australia, trying to follow what he deems to be signs. Maybe they are, maybe they aren’t. However, the sheer fact that Garvey Sr. is so hellbent on believing places his storyline smack dab in the middle of the series’s themes.

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