Narcos: A Colombian Peace & Other Lies

Netflix Narcos Ep. 9&10 Recap

  “The purpose of war…is peace.” –Pablo Escobar (episode 9)images-4

Narcos episode nine, La Catedral, opens with an introduction to Pablo Escobar’s “prison.” Described by Steve Murphy as the “embodiment of the big lie,” Pablo Escobar has built himself a fortress to stay in as his fellow countrymen revel in this new state of peace. Throughout this episode we observe each central character adapt to life under this unsettling truce. Pablo Escobar won his fight against extradition, but not without suffering from his own loses and he is still in a cage like an animal. Steve Murphy finally was able to put Escobar behind bars, but his moral turn at the end of episode nine still haunts him. Early on in this episode we witness Steve Murphy pull a gun on a taxi driver during an argument about a minor fender bender. If Steve Murphy’s war against Pablo Escobar is truly over, then how can he continue to justify the use of violence against civilians? He has crossed a line and he can’t go back. The same can be said for President César Gaviria, who struggles to revel in this peace, as Escobar remains living comfortably in La Catedral. President Gaviria and his wife stroll the quiet Colombian streets, as she tries to convince him that, “heimages-5 did the right thing.” President Gaviria did end this Colombian civil war between the government and Pablo Escobar; he just surrendered the majority of his moral integrity to do so. These three men understand that the law of extradition was a battle, not the war. The war on drugs in Colombia, the war against Pablo Escobar, that is only beginning.

“But no matter how you decorate it, a cage is still a cage.” –Steve Murphy (episode 9)

images-6Narcos episode ten, Despegue (Takeoff), opens with the media speculation about Pablo Escobar killing his partners Monocada and Galeano, while imprisoned at La Catedral. Murphy and Peña leaked the story at the end of the previous episode, as an attempt to put Pablo Escobar behind bars, for real. The finale revolves around Pablo Escobar holding Vice Minister of Justice, Eduardo Sandoval, hostage in Le Catedral. Meanwhile President Gaviria orders the Special Forces to raid the prison and finally take down the Medellín Cartel once and for all. Meanwhile, Murphy has disappeared and Peña tries to track him down. Murphy’s sudden disappearance coincides with the abrupt end of peace in Colombia, as the Special Forces Unit closes in on Pablo Escobar. Now, no finale is complete without a twist, and/or cliffhanger for viewers to cling timages-7o during the hiatus. Peña sold out his partner to Pacho Herrera of the Cal cartel. In the previous episode Murphy confided to Peña about how the shooting in the pilot still haunted him. There are pictures to prove that not only did they kill known associates of Pablo Escobar, but civilians too. Now Pacho Herrera has those photos that he intends to use as blackmail against Murphy. “Don’t worry I won’t ask you, or Javier Peña to cross any line that you haven’t already crossed,” explains Herrera. Later, we see Murphy safely return home to Connie. They embrace and then Connie says, “I just want to go home.” But, “This is our home,” states Murphy. Connie goes back inside, leaving Murphy outside on the Colombian streets. A home is still a home; a soldier is still a soldier; a man is still a man; Colombia is still Colombia,“no matter how you decorate it.”

images-8“Less than an hour after Escobar escaped Le Catedral. Word had spread all over Colombia that war was coming again. But this would be different…This time there would be no surrender, no negotiations, no deals…This time we were going to kill him.” –Steve Murphy (episode 10)

Stay tuned for season two of Narcos, set to be released on Netflix in 2016.

 

By Sarah Belmont
Featured Writer
@sjbelmont

Narcos : A Colombian Circumstance

Netflix Narcos Ep.7 & 8 Recapimgres

 “Lies are necessary…when the truth is too difficult to believe, right?                           -Pablo Escobar (episode 8)

Narcos episode seven, You Will Cry Tears of Blood, begins with the actual news coverage about the assassination attempt that was depicted at the end of the previous episode. Through the fallout over Avianca Flight 203 we observe the Colombian nation assess the damage done to their country. Rewind back to the first half of the season when Pablo Escobar was viewed as a man of the people. He was a charitable, humanitarian in Colombia. Then in the third episode due to American intrusion, on Colombian affairs, the law of extradition was passed. In response the once beloved Pablo Escobar has taken his frustration, with the Colombian political system, out on his own fellow countrymen. One hundred and seven innocent lives were taken during Pablo Escobar’s failed assassination attempt on César Gaviria. The media’s speculation about the mysterious plane bombing points images-1the finger at Pablo Escobar and he is again forced to cut all ties with the bombing by any means necessary. This includes a violent raid on the safe house where Natalie, the plane bomber’s wife, is being kept. Murphy and Peña race towards the end of the episode to protect Natalie from being killed by Pablo Escobar’s men. The footrace between these opposing sides is filled with superb tension. One moment that really stands out is when Javier Peña has cornered one of the bad guys, only to then have a young boy threaten to shot him. On the surface the screen shows the haunting image of a child with a gun. Therefore alluding to Colombia’s societal deterioration during this civil war. In addition, there is an added layer to this scene as Peña finds himself caught in a moral catch twenty-two. He could shot the kid to imgres-1catch his bad guy, but that would cost Peña, his moral high ground that he holds against Pablo Escobar. On the other hand, Peña puts down his gun and allows the bad guy to get away once again. Back in episode three Javier Peña and Steve Murphy made sure that both the American and Colombian government’s focus would remain on the investigation of Pablo Escobar. In a sense, they started wanted this war, but now in the midst of it, how far are they willing to go to win the war?

“If I had made myself into a monster like all of you say, that is the fault of the
people, like your father and those politicians, ‘of always’.”                                              -Pablo Escobar (Episode 8)

imgresNarcos episode eight, Le Gran Mentria, begins with another failed attempt at capturing Pablo Escobar and his men. Throughout both episodes, seven and eight, Pablo Escobar has begun to place pressure on the Colombian government to appeal the law of extradition. The pressure amplifies when Pablo Escobar and his men take hostages, including journalist Diana Turbay, to use as leverage for a fair negotiation with President César Gaviria. During a conversation between Diana Turbay and Pablo Escobar, his character motivations are expounded upon. The most insightful part of this exchange is given through Turbay’s response to Pablo Escobar’s self-justification for his violent means, “You would have done marvelous things and that is the saddest part.” This series chronicles the investigation of Pablo Escobar, but more importantly it illuminates the specific circumstances that made both his rise and fall possible. The “saddest part” is that Diana Turbay becomes just another casualty in this war, as she is killed during another botched raid. This incident allows the Colombian support to ebb back to Pablo Escobar’s favor, as they demand that President Gaviria concede to Pablo Escobar, before more blood is spilt on their Colombian streets.

images-2 “Lies are necessary…when the truth is too difficult to believe, right,” explains Pablo Escobar as he surrenders himself over to the Colombian officials.  Le Gran Mentria in Colombian means the great big lie, which is essentially what Pablo Escobar’s “surrender” is because he still got everything that he wanted.  He will go to a prison that he built; with guards that he pays; most importantly the law of extrication was appealed.  Only in Colombia would a drug lord make a grand return to a grateful country, but that’s where we started, right?  Colombia is the homeland of magical realism.  In the pilot we witness Steve Murphy receive information about the whereabouts of Pablo Escobar’s men.  Then Murphy calls in a police raid led by Javier Peña.  This is a successful mission as Peña and his men kill Escobarimages-3‘s associates, but the also take the lives of innocent civilians.  This same scene is revisited during the end of episode eight.  Again, Narcos proves that this series expounds upon the Colombian circumstances involved during the rise and fall of Pablo Escobar.  The rise and fall spurred by the moral shifts on both sides.

By Sarah Belmont
Featured Writer
@sjbelmont

2.30 – The FALLt in Our TV

Send comments or questions to SceneNNerd@gmail.com to have them read on the show! On today’s episode Pete, Matt, Sarah, and Casey are joined by John of Friday Night Fandom to discuss Zack Snyder’s comments on the Marvel Cinematic Universe. First, Matt redacts our incorrect moments from last week, Pete gives you the new movies coming out in theaters and on DVD this week, then Casey barrel rolls through this week’s entertainment news (Stephen Colbert, Top Gear, Steven Spielberg), while Sarah calmly reminds them she knows best. Then the gang runs down all the new shows coming out this fall to NBC, ABC, The CW, and more. Puns are made, shots are fired, and there’s at least one dick joke, it’s an all new Scene ‘N Nerd! Be sure to check SceneNNerd.com for Sarah Belmont’s latest insights on hot new shows.

Netflix Narcos: Brave Men & Bold Druglords

Netflix Narcos Ep.4-6 Recap

“In America the mafia makes witnesses disappear, so they can’t testify. In imgres-1Colombia Pablo Escobar makes the whole court disappear.” –Steve Murphy (episode 4)

Narcos episode four, A Place in Flames, begins with Colombia passing a law for extradition. This means that in Colombia if you are found guilty for drug trafficking then you will be sentenced to serve your sentence in the American prison system. “Now Pablo had someone to fear…us,” explains Steve Murphy. The only problem is that while America declares their victory they proceed to set their sights on a new enemy, communism. Murphy and Peña find themselves forced to take a step back from their present investigation on Pablo Escobar. Then through the use of real life footage Murphy explains just how absurdly true this story is, “Colombian cocaine coming through a communist country and into America. I couldn’t make that up…it’s too good.” Just like that, Murphy and Peña make the connection that will allow them to continue their investigation on the Medellín cartel. America may have won a battle when the law for extradition passed in Colombia, but for Pablo Escobar it only started a war.

images-1“It’s been said that nothing gives the fearful more courage than another’s fear.” –Steve Murphy (episode 5)

This war on drugs is primarily fought in the Colombian political arena. During the fifth episode’s opening scene, we see Luis Carlos Galán continue to run for president on a pro-extradition campaign platform. Galán never did become a Colombian president, as Pablo Escobar ordered a hit against him. In a well-crafted montage sequence we see just how devastating the assassination of Luis Carlos Galán was to the Colombian public.  In his wake, the tragedy sparked the brave turn of Galán’s own speechwriter, César Gaviria, to pick up his predecessor’s fallen torch against the Medellín cartel.   In a single episode we see a brilliant character arc. During the opening scene Gaviria is shown as the nervous man behind the curtain; in the end, he is the brave man standing at the podium; the new brave face of Pablo Escobar’s political opposition.images

“At the time, the only thing more dangerous than being a Colombian cop was being a Colombian presidential candidate.” –Steve Murphy (episode 6)

Explosivos, episode 6, contains three significant story threads: Colonel Horatio Carrillo’s (Maurice Compte) and Javier Peña’s (Pedro Pascal) manhunt for Pablo Escobar’s affiliate, José Rodriguez “Gacha” (Luis Guzmán); Steve and Connie Murphy’s mission to smuggle former M-19 solider, Elisa out of the country and Pablo Escobar’s assassination attempt on pro-extradition presidential candidate César Gaviria. The manhunt storyline illustrates that there are not only American officials waging war against Pablo Escobar, but local officials too. Murphy’s Colombian allies are shown to be merciless as they gun Gacha down in cold blood. The Murphy mission thread reinforces the idea that Steve Murphy comes from the wrong side of the border. Only, in Colombia would he find himself simgresmuggling a communist out of the country, an American act of treason. Meanwhile, the Pablo Escobar storyline subtly illustrates an all too familiar image of the past reflecting the future. In the final moments a young man aboard an airplane picks up his brief case, while the other passengers casually relax during the flight. He nervously opens up the case to reveal a cassette recorder, Pablo had instructed him to record the conversations of his fellow passengers. Then the young boy hits the record button and the screen dissolves to white, as an explosion cries out. Narcos chronicles the Colombian war on drugs, yet during episode six’s closing sequence it parallels America’s present war on terrorism.

Narcos episodes four, five, and six showcases the tension found in a country on the brink of civil war.  Country allegiances are tested, presidential candidates are sacrificed, and courts are up in flames, but remember, “I couldn’t make that up…it’s too good.”

By Sarah Belmont
Featured Writer
@sjbelmont

New Fall Tv 2015: The Alternates

Quanticoimgres-3

 September 27th, ABC

In the present, Alex Parrish (Priyanka Chopra) along with her fellow new FBI recruits enter the Quantico training base. Flash-forward to the future where a terrorist attack on America has just taken place and Alex Parrish is the primary suspect. The only way to prove her innocence is by finding evidence to prove that the real terrorist mole was someone else from her FBI recruit class. The series will employ a very similar timeline thread to tie a Quantico recruit story with Alex Parrish determining if they are the mole, or not; very similar to the plot device used in How to Get Away with Murder.

Hopefully, Priyanka Chopra can deliver this fall and her character Alex Parrish can join the ABC leading lady character ranks alongside, Annalise Keating (Viola Davis), Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington), and Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo). Earlier this summer Varitey reported that CW alum Rick Cosnet has joineimgres-4d the show as a recurring character. He will play Elias Harper, a defense attorney recruited by Alex Parrish in the future. The first season will air its thirteen-episode run on ABC this fall and the producers promise to reveal the terrorist’s identity in the finale.

To watch the Quantico trailer click here

The Man in the High Castle

imgres-2November 20th, Amazon

Based on Philip K. Dick’s alternate history novel, about America in the 1960s, if the Axis powers had won World War II. We are introduced to Joe Blake (Luke Kleintank), as a twenty-seven year old New Yorker, who wants to join the resistance. He receives instructions from a resistance leader and begins to make his way to the “neutral zone.” In this version of America the Nazis govern over the land east of the Rockies, while the Japanese rule the over the Pacific states. In the pilot episode we are also introduced to Juliana Crain (Aleximages-2a Davalos), who peacefully resides in the Pacific states. Her resolve to remain quietly living in the shadows ends after her sister Trudy gives her a messenger bag and then moments later is killed by Japanese officers. Juliana is so disturbed by the injustice done to her sister that she finds herself on a mission to the man in the high castle. By the end of the episode both Juliana Crain and Joe Blake cross paths on their way to join the resistance, but do they both have the same intentions?

The pilot plays like an extended Twilight Zone episode. The set designers do a great job including disconcerting reminders about the series’ premise, within each set piece. On the surface level it’s a spy thriller set during the 1960s, but the historical imgres-1fiction twist causes a disturbing ripple effect that resonates with the viewer across the screen.

To watch The Man in the High Castle pilot click here

Containmentimgres

January 2016, CW 

Executive Producer Julie Plec, known for mainly the supernatural genre (The Vampire Diaries, The Originals), attempts science fiction with her latest project titled, Containment. The series chronicles a deadly virus outbreak in Atlanta that leads to federal officials setting up a quarantine section of the state.  Families are torn apart as they find themselves on opposite sides of the containment section.   As the virus grows within the Atlanta quarantine section, viewers will observe a decline of society, as these ordinary people become survivalists.

imagesThe series features a predominately young cast with David Gyasi (Interstellar), Chris Wood (The Vampire Diaries), KristenGutoskie (Rookie Blue), Christina Marie Moses (Nikita), and newcomer George Young.  During the first season the show will flash back and forth from the present Atlanta quarantine situation with how the outbreak first started.  In true Julie Plec fashion the emphasis will be placed on who these characters become when placed in this situation of duress.

To watch Containment trailer click here

By Sarah Belmont
Featured Writer
@sjbelmont

2.29 – The Asshole Chronicles (SUPER EXPLICIT)

Wanna be on the show? Send a message to @SceneNNerd on Twitter or SceneNNerd@gmail.com to have your questions and comments read on the show. On today’s episode, the gang welcomes the hilarious KC of The Geeks With Wives Podcast. Casey also meets Sarah for the first time. Pete gives us the movies out in theaters and on DVD this week, Casey straight up backhands the weekly entertainment news, Matt is dearly missed by all, and Sarah tries to keep them all in line. They have a discussion about where the Marvel MCU is heading, they go in depth on the Mr. Robot finale, they create some new nicknames and catch-phrases, learn about Alaska, and just generally yell at each other. A new record for most profanities-per-minute has been set, it’s an all new Scene ‘N Nerd!

Netflix Narcos: Colombians, Americans, Dreams, & Drugs

 This post is a recap of the first three episodes of Narcos season one and contains spoilers.

imgres

“Magical realism is defined as what happens when a highly detailed, realistic setting is invaded by something too strange to believe… There is a reason magical realism was born in Colombia.”

This quote is seen above the Andes Mountains during the opening sequence of Narcos’ first episode. This Netflix original series chronicles Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar’s (Wagner Moura) infamous rise to power during the 70s and 80s. Through the use of a Goodfella’s inspired first person narrative, voiced by DEA agent Steve Murphy (Boyd Hollbrock), viewers feel a sense of familiarity with the story, even though it’s set in a foreign land.  Note that since this series predominately takes place in Colombia each episode contains a large amount of subtitles.  Narcos is an early drug war story, as Steve Murphy explains why both him and his wife head to Colombia at the end of episode one, “This wasimages my war. This was my duty, and I was ready to fight.”

The second episode, The Sword of Simon Bolivar, show both Pablo Escobar and Steve Murphy establishing themselves as the hero in this tale.  For example we see the Colombian law enforcement agency partner Steve Murphy with local officer Javier Pena (Pedro Pascal). Yes, this show has an odd-couple cop pairing that’s a common troupe within the genre.  Javier understands how to obtain information in Colombia, often through bribes, which goes against Steve Murphy’s American rules.  Meanwhile, we are given a history lesson about the Medellín Cartel.  Their first claim to fame came from taking down a libertarian group known as the M-19.  In an attempt to send Pablo Escobar a message, the M-19 capture an Ocha girl, who is works for the cartel.  Escobar understands the politics involved with the game he is playing, as he capitalizes on this local tragedy.  Pablo Escobar is able to have the M-19 leader, Ivan, release the girl unharmed; thus the drug lord becomes a hero. Based on this episode two recap, you can see how this series was written in the same vain as The Wire. Each episode includes both a criminal and DEA arc therefore allowing both sides of the war to be fully realized.

          “There is a reason magical realism was born in Colombia.”images-1

In the third episode, The Men of Always, we understand the ties that bind magical realism to Colombia.  They are the same binds that tie the American dream to the United States.  Throughout the episode we see Pablo Escobar get swept up in a race for congress in Colombia.  At this point he has fully harnessed the idea that money can buy you both power and influence, in a poor country.  Now he wants to buy congress to fulfill his own personal political ambitions. “It’s a country where dreams and reality are conflated.  Where in their heads people can fly as high as Icarus,” explains Steve Murphy.  The reality is that Pablo Escobar is a drug lord, not a congressman, and Colombia cannot afford to become “a state of narcos.”  Meanwhile Steve Murphy and Javier Pena don’t get swept up in their dream of taking down the entire Medellín Cartel, but focus on keeping Pablo Escobar out of congress.  They manage to do so, by obtaining a photo negative of Pablo Escobar’s mugshot from a previous arrest for drug trafficking.  In a superb sequence we see that Pablo Escobar, “flew too close to the sun,” and is thrown out of the Colombian congress.  imgres-1

Both the American dream, that Steve Murphy has to end the war on drugs, and Pablo Escobar’s magical realism ambition, to politically rule over Colombia;  are the simple daydreams of men.  Their reality is that they are on opposites sides of a never ending war on drugs. The melding between fact and fiction continues to be seen as historical footage from this time period is used in each episode. Colombia is a real place, this story is based on real events, these characters are based on real people; yet this tale still retains a sense of wonder amongst the dreams of men.

Netflix has already renewed the show for a second season to be released next year.  Season one trailer click here

By Sarah Belmont
Featured Writer
@sjbelmont

New Fall TV 2015: The Darkhorses

The Bastard Executionerimgres-1

Premieres September 15th, on FX

Wilkin Brattle, played by Lee Jones, is a 14h century English soldier and under the charge of Edward the First. After the horrors of war follow him home and revenge is directed towards his loved ones, Brattle retires from being a warrior. The first season will revolve around Brattle’s forced return to the English court, as he claims the executioner title. He exchanges one blood-splattered sword for another; past burdens of guilt for new ones; and finds himself to be a different type of merciless weapon within this medieval political system.imgres

Beloved Sons of Anarchy show runner Kurt Sutter is the man behind this new period drama. He understands the early comparisons between his newest creation and HBO’s Game of Thrones. The 14th century English court system politics and Brattle’s newfound faith in the catholic religion will root this series in the history books. While characters like Annora of the Alders, played by Katey Sagal, is a mysterious healer who will entangle Brattle’s story with medieval mysticism. Much like it’s predecessor the Bastard Executioner’s first season will consist of ten episodes.

FX’s The Bastard Executioner trailer click here

Flesh & Bone

Premieres November 8th, on Starzimgres-2

An eight-episode miniseries structured as a look inside the lives of ballerinas and written in the vain of the critically acclaimed film Black Swan. The series tells the tortured tale of Claire (Sarah Hay), a talented ballerina who is running from a dark past and finds herself joining a New York City company. The trailer promises that this will be a brutally honest look at both Claire’s and her fellow ballerinas struggle for perfection. Filled with eating disorders, rigorous training schedules that result in self-mutilating practices and the self-esteem shattering competitiveness found in this chosen profession.

The most haunting image from the trailer is of a padlocked bedroom door. We don’timages see the intruder’s face from behind the door, but we hear his voice as he demands that Claire let him inside. This indicates that Claire is potentially running from an abusive childhood and was sexually assaulted by her stepfather (maybe). Therefore, Claire could possibly be suffering from PTSD as she joins this ballet company. Former Breaking Bad executive producer and writer, Moria Walley-Beckett is the series’ creator. Knowing that Walley-Beckett is directing the ship dispels my belief that the series could potentially fall more in step with the film Center Stage, than Black Swan.

Starz Flesh & Bone trailer click here

Into the Badlands

imgres-3Premieres November 15th, on AMC

Welcome to the Badlands. A six-episode series that combines the stylized-western
aesthetic of Django Unchained with, the graceful violence found in Kill Bill. This martial arts series is based on the Chinese tale Journey To The West. A fierce enslaved warrior (known as a clipper in the show) named Sunny, played by executive-producer Daniel Wu, stumbles across a young boy named M.K., played by Aramis Knight. They develop a mentor/protégé relationship as they journey together across the dangerous land run by feudal barons.

The most intriguing aspect of the series stems from the villainess named the Widow, portrayed by Emily Beecham.   We are introduced to her as the one behind images-1the attempted capture of M.K., for unknown reasons.  Throughout the Comic-Con trailer we see her deviously wonder the Badlands, as she seeks to claim power by overthrowing the mighty Badland baron, Quinn. Then in a stunning sequence we watch the petite baroness turn into a lethal weapon, as she takes on a slough of assassins in a western burlesque bar.  Much like how The Walking Dead brought new life to the zombie genre, Into the Badlands shows promise in resurrecting the Kung-Fu martial arts genre.  Plus, this maybe the closest thing we will ever have to a Quentin Tarantino television series.

AMC Into the Badlands trailer click here

By Sarah Belmont
Featured Writer
@sjbelmont

iZombie S1: Liv, Lilywhite, & Avoid

imgres“You’re a zombie well, you’ve been a zombie since that night at the lake.  Instead of telling me the truth you decided that it would be easier to break my heart.” -Major Lilywhite (1×13)

Liv Moore is a zombie.  A former doctor, now a mortician; formally engaged, now terminally single; former foodie, now eats brains drenched in hot sauce; a former healer, now psychic; formally alive, now mostly dead.  Throughout the first season we watch as Liv remains stuck in her former life, with her best friend/roommate, Peyton; pinning for her ex-fiance, Major Lilywhite and navigate a strained relationship with her mother and brother.  Meanwhile her new boss Dr. Ravi Chakrabarti almost immediately discovers Liv’s secret and becomes her confidant.  They form an unlikely partnership with Detective Clive Babineaux and help solve various homicides.    images

“You couldn’t ask that of me, but you turned me into a zombie without my permission.”-Major Lilywhite (1×13)

Blaine DeBeers is also a zombie…the one who turned Liv, along with a bunch of others.  During the first season co-showrunners Diane Ruggiero and Rob Thomas, masterfully retain the relevance of Major Lilywhite’s storyline in the show, while leaving him in the dark about Liv. They carefully allow him to act as the hero in this story as he discovers Blaine’s entire operation, from the “brains” running, to the turing of the city’s most wealthy and influential citizens into zombies.  Too bad Major Lilywhite is no match for Blaine, on his own, and winds up in a freezer for the majority of the finale.  Liv comes to the rescue where she finds herself for the second time, with the opportunity to kill Blaine once and for all.  If she kills him then what happens to all of thimages-5e zombies that he has created?  Yes, Blaine creates the demand for brains, but he is also the supplier too.

“That’s what helps you sleep at night?  What about me?  What’s the greater good for me?” –Major Lilywhite (1×13)

Liv decides to just shot Blaine, not kill him.  Only to the discover Major slowly bleeding out in the freezer, after Blaine shot him just moments before.  In a fit of rage, Liv uses one dose of the cure on Blaine.  Then selfishly scratches Major Lilywhite in an attempt to turn him into a zombie, instead of losing him forever. Ironically in the previous episode the writers began to set up a storyline of having Liv’s little brother work for Blaine.  We see her brother arrive for work the next day, only to have the shop blowup, with him standing right outside the front door.

images-1“It’s not what fate dealt me…You did, the same person who let me check myself into a mental hospital…who let me think I was crazy.” –Major Lilywhite (1×13)

The finale ends with Liv standing outside of the intensive care unit, as she watches her brother go into cardiac arrest.  The screen dissolves to black after Liv says, “No,” in response to her mother’s pleas for Liv to save her brother.  Overall episode thirteen was the best episode in the first season, as the writers ended the Liv versus Blaine storyline.  While allowing Major Lilywhite and Liv to have the first honest conversation about their relationship all season. The same one being quoted throughout this entire post.  This scene echoes the theme of “avoidance” that can be found in most shows dealing with supernatural creatures.  Liv was turned into a zombie, and in turn avoided death.  After someone finds a way around the finality of death, then their first instinct when confronting it again, is to avoid it…or prevent others from experiencing it as well.  Later, in an act of penance Liv gives Major Lilywhite the second dose of the cure.

images-2When you had a chance to play God and decide wether I die, or became this…Did you decide based on what you wanted, or what you thought I wanted?” -Major Lilywhite (1×13)

iZombie season two will premiere on the CW network on October 6th.  Liv, Clive, and Ravi will continue to work together solving various homicides. Viewers will learn through both Major Lilywhite and Blaine about the side effects of the cure.  I am particularly interested in watching how Blaine re-adapts to theimages-3 world without his power as a zombie.  Will Major Lilywhite ever make peace with Liv? Will Peyton not only forgive Liv, but Ravi too from keeping the secret from her? Hopefully the writers creativity will seep down from the over-arching story lines and into the case storyline found in each episode.  If you missed season one do not be dissuaded into just starting with season two…as things are just getting interesting here in this zombie land.

By Sarah Belmont
Featured Writer
@sjbelmont

Mr Robot the Finale & the Fool

Hello friend.

Did you watch the finale?

Here is what I saw.

Mr Robot’s season one finale is aptly titled, zer0-day.avi, a reference to when an undisclosed and uncorrected application threatens a computer system. The vulnerability within the computer’s software can be exploited and adversely affect by additional computers and imgresother networks.

The finale’s opening scene took us back to where we began, with Elliott’s take down of Michael Hansen, I mean Lenny. Krista meets her former beau at a restaurant, where Michael attempts to talk Krista into providing information for him to use against Elliott. “This kid should not be allowed to do what he did,” explains Michael. Their conversation continues and then takes a turn after Michael discloses that all Elliott wanted was for him to leave Krista alone. The nobility behind Elliott’s action, no matter his means, allows him to remain a hero in her eyes. The Mr Robot title sequence appears on screeimages-2n right after Michael has connected Elliott to the global hack currently being covered by all the major news networks.   Now that Elliott has decided to play hero for the rest of the world, is he still a noble knight, or the court jester? The fool…the madman.

“Where am I? Seriously, what do you remember? Wait, I don’t even trust you.”-Elliott

Elliott is a madman, as he wakes up in Tyrell’s abandoned car all alone. He has no memory of how he got there, or how many days he has been “asleep” for, or where Tyrell is at the moment. While Elliott tries to remembeimages-3r, in the background on a wall there is a graffiti mural of a man in a suit completing the heart in a I heart NY logo. The image is very reminiscent of a ringleader at a circus, one who is putting on a glorious show for the audience. Elliott heads to E-Corp, determined to find Tyrell, and he finds their offices in utter chaos, thanks to the fsociety hack.  Circus music begins to play as Elliott wonders around the corridors, as he narrates each step of their master plan. Therefore alluding to the fact that he is the ringleader behind this new world…behind this circus.

image“Come out…I need to know what happened…Come out…I’m here waiting for you.”- Elliott

Elliott’s episode arc through most of the finale, is very similar to his arc in episode six-titled, v1ew-S0urce.flv. In that episode he plays a “zero-sum game” with Vera, and then discovers Shayla’s dead body, in the trunk, at the end.  In retrospect Elliott knew the whole time that both of them were not going to make it out alive. Now in this episode all signs suggest that Elliott killed Tyrell, unfortunately we will have to wait until next season to know for sure. Note, that when Elliott returns to Tyrell’s abandoned car, he checks the trunk first. Elliott is the ringleader, who can’t seem to remember what he did prior to the hack.  In the previous episode Elliott acknowledges that he is Mr Robotimgres-1,  admitting to having dissociative identity disorder. For people with this condition when they can’t remember previous events in their lives, it indicates that a different personality was in control during the time that they have forgotten.  Mr. Robot finally appears just as  Elliott is about to turn himself in to the officials for the hack. He explains to Elliott that they both know where Tyrell is, “So do you… you forget kiddo, I am you.”  Then in an epic scene where the camera breaks from Elliott’s narrative perspective, for a brief moment, it shows him up against a wall, while choking himself, with his own hand. Yes, if this scene is an indication of anything, it’s that to the outside world Elliott is a madman…a fool.

“I am only supposed to be your prophet. You’re supposed to be my God.”-  Mr. Robot

imagesNow rewind back to the pilot, remember the scene after Elliott finds out that, with his help, fsociety has taken down E-Corp CTO Terrence Colby? He runs out into the middle of Time-Square and amongst a sea of people raises his hands in victory. Fast forward to the finale; fsociety has won and we find Elliott being carried by Mr. Robot, amongst a sea of people wearing fsociety masks, in Time Square.  Mr. Robot not only was successful in making fsociety achieve their goal, but allowed Elliott not to be alone in the world anymore. Throughout the episode we see frequent cuts to TV screens, as reporters cover the fsociety hack and it’s worldwide ramifications.  Whileimages-1, Elliott searches for Tyrell he encounters various people wearing the fsociety face mask on the New York City streets. The two argue once again, and Mr. Robot gives a great monologue about the translucent definition of reality in the 21st century.  His angry rant is reminiscent of Elliott’s subconscious, one that is about everything wrong in the world, back in the pilot episode.  By creating Mr. Robot and creating us, Elliott dissociates himself from his actions against fsociety.  Now that in reality society is just as angry as Elliott he finds himself even more unstable then before, “I want to be alone…I nimgreseed to be alone,” states Elliott as he closes his eyes to the outside world.

“Whoever is behind this, they’re just people…like you…and me…except of course, I have the full weight of the world’s biggest conglomerate behind me…you’ll come to realize that when you have that…matters like this…tend to crack.” –Philip Price

The only thing that Elliott cannot separate himself from is Mr. Robot.  Now aware of his own mental state, he allows his prophet to tell him what to do next. Elliott lifts up the hood of his black sweatshirt, symbolic that his alter ego has taken control, and returns home to his humble fortress.  The finale concludes with Elliott opening his door to an unknown person.  During the season finale, Elliott may have tentatively cracked under the pressure of being the ringleader behind fsociety and their global hack; Elliott may be a mad man but he is “no more mad than” Feste, the fool in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.

imgres-1SceneNNerd will continue to discuss Mr. Robot’s season finale during our next podcast episode.  Go to iTunes to rate and subscribe.  Check out our podcast episode called Hanging with Mr Robot for discussion about the season overall. 

Goodbye friend.

See you for season two.  

By Sarah Belmont
Featured Writer
@sjbelmont