Mr Robot: Hello/Bonsoir Recap Ep 2

Hello friend.
Where were we?
“I want you to be where you belong…here with me.” -Tyrell images-2

The back of Elliott’s head is front and center on the screen, as men walk from behind Tyrell and take their seat at the conference table.  The image forebodes revelations that will be made about the way Elliott’s mind works, later in the season.  As, various men appear to be multiplying from one another around him (Matrix anyone?).  From this initial perspective, Elliott is literally the head of the table.  Once, all the men have taken their seat on the round table, there is a cut to a wide shot.  This image shows Elliott on one end of the table and Tyrell on the other.  There is a pillar that cuts the screen in such a way that Elliott’s seat at Tyrell’s table is being blocked.  So, is there space for Elliott at the table, or does an immovable force separate them from one another?

images-5“I think, I am happy where I am.” -Elliott

During this opening Tyrell provides us with a lot of exposition as he offers Elliott a job at E-Corp.  We learn that since Terrance Colby took the fall for an E-Corp hack (performed by fsociety), Tyrell has been named interim CTO. “In a way it’s kinda…what’s the word in English?  Serendipitous?” describes Tyrell.  He also divulges that E-Corp will be soon ending their partnership with AllSafe, Elliott’s employer, which would be detrimental to the small cyber security company. Normally, exposition dumps bore viewers because it feels excessive.  In this case the information is very necessary considering that the pilot episode ended with Elliott being abducted by Tyrell’s men.  Now we know why Elliott was hand delivered to Tyrell and more about the plot.  After Elliott declines Tyrell’s offer, orchestra music plays as Tyrell turns and walks away.  In the midst of rejection, Tyrell takesimgres a god like position and retreats back to the conference room’s windows.  He looks down at the New York City streets, some thirty, or so floors separating him from the people below.  Meanwhile, Elliott retreats back through the darken hallway from which he came.   

“Didn’t I say if you walked away you were no longer apart of this?” -Mr Robot 

In the second episode, Elliott not only walks away from Tyrell, but he turns his back on fsociety too.  Elliott learns that Mr Robot’s big plans involve killing a lot of innocent people, which crosses a moral line for Elliott. During the closing sequence, he returns to Coney Island to find Mr Robot sitting alone on the railing of a pier. Elliott makes his way towards Mr Robot, as he walks through a group of skaters. There is no immovable object separating Elliott from Mr Robot as he makes his way to reclaim his spot in fsociety.  He literally jumps up and sits right alongside his friend on the pier’s railing.  Both seated high above the sandy beach below.

images“You didn’t commit to the sacred pact you had formed ” -Mr Robot 

In an effort to make amends, Elliott tells Mr Robot about his father’s death.  How he broke his promise that he would keep his father’s illness a secret from his mother.  Sharing this story is a very vulnerable moment for Elliott, whom usually keeps to himself.  Note, Elliott keeps his hood on during this entire scene, while in the opening he had it off.  Hoods are often used to obscure your face from the public, a defense against being seen by people.  We see just how defenseless he is at the pier, as Mr Robot pushes Elliott off the ledge.  Cut to a wide shot and there is one lone, dark figure sitting on the railing.  Where does Elliott belong?  Are we even by his side anymore?

By Sarah Belmont
Featured Writer
@sjbelmont

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2.31 – Returning shows and technical difficulties

Send comments or questions to SceneNNerd@gmail.com to have them read on the show! On today’s show Pete, Sarah and Matt welcome back Amy and Lauren from The Flash Podcast and Assembly of Geeks and Jon G from Friday Night Fandom. Pete makes HUGE announcement then runs down what’s new in theaters and on Blu ray. Lauren does her best Casey impression for the “Entertainment Whatever” and the gang tackles RETURNING fall shows. It’s crazy, a bit laggy, but still somewhat entertaining. It’s Scene N Nerd!

 

The Affair S1: From Montauk to Neverland

The Affair Season 1 Recapimgres
Warning contains spoilers

 “Guess what my favorite book is?”-Allison
“Anna Karenina…”-Noah
“No Peter Pan…”-Allison
“All children grow up except one”-Noah
Episode one

The Showtime series, The Affair, is set to return for season two on October 4th, 2015. Based on the trailer, we will pick up right where season one ended, with Noah Solloway (Dominic West) being arrested for the murder of Scotty Lockhart (Colin Donnell). While, Noah is being handcuffed, his now wife, Alison Bailey (Ruth Wilson), promises that she will get him out of this.  How did we get here?

images-1Ironically, even those who watched season one don’t know how Noah and Allison made their way back to one another, during the fallout of their own respective marriages. Throughout season one, both Noah and Allison are recalling their summer affair in Montauk while being interrogated by Detective Jeffries in the present. As the season progresses the viewers pick up on small clues that some time has passed between the past affair and the present murder investigation. Still, the amount of time between these two events is never given.  The story is told through flashbacks and each episode has two parts; one tells the events from Noah’s perspective, the other from Allison’s. This employs the Rashomon effect on the plot revolving around a choice two characters make together, it takes two to cheat. Now in preparation for season two lets reflect on Mr. Pan’s (Noah) affair with Mrs. Karenina (Allison).

“Doing one bad thing doesn’t make you a bad person.” –Noah (Episode 4)images

The failed writer turned teacher, Noah Solloway, is contently married to Helen Solloway (Maura Tierney), raising their four children in New York City. The pilot opens with Noah turning down a young woman’s sexual advances at a swimming pool. Excited by the advance he attempts satisfaction with his wife until the youngest child interrupts.  Noah, frustrated, but, faithful he crosses paths with Allison Bailey.  “She was in a very dark place and she came at me very hard,” protests Noah in episode seven.  Noah’s narration reveals his loneliness and frustration with his marriage.  We see that he is nearing a mid-life crisis as he finds himself envious of his children’s youth, You’ll never have this opportunity to read for pleasure again…seize this opportunity” (episode one).  He begins to resent Helen, feeling like he settled for their life, not built a life that he wanted.  As the season progresses, we see Noah deal with his own guilt for having an affair as he comforts his daughter for making a mistake.  By cheating on Helen
he is not only being a bad husband, but a bad father too. Noah Salloway, the boy who married Helen in an attempt to grow up.  He wanted to become a man through the act ofimgres-1 marriage, but his action never fulfilled his desire. Based on season one, Allison awakens a latent desire to be a knight and rescue the damsel in distress. Allison is his opportunity to become the man he wanted to be and now is the time for him to “seize this opportunity.”

“She seemed like the loneliest person in the world.” –Noah (Episode 2)

Alison Bailey is somewhat of an enigma for both Noah Salloway and the viewers. images-2That could be a result of presenting her perspective as part two in the pilot. During Noah’s narration, Alison is portrayed as a small town seductress, who actively pursues him. Then during Allison’s narration, she is depicted more elegantly, unsure, and apprehensive about her attraction to Noah. These contradicting perspectives spark an alarm to go off in the viewer’s mind, as we begin to suspect that one of the two is a liar. Then again employing the Rashomon effect on a story only proves that our memory is an unreliable resource. Two years prior to the series’ events, Alison’s only son died after drowning in the ocean. Without her son she feels alone in her marriage to Cole Lockhart (Joshua Jackson). They drifted apart through their grief. In comparison to the Solloway marriage, Allison’s affair with Noah is a repercussion to a detrimental event that destroyed her marriage to Cole. Noah’s infidelity tears the Solloway household images-3apart. “I don’t know how to fix what broke between us Cole…it’s unfixable,” cries Allison in episode ten.  Allison mentally left Cole the day their son died, she perceived Noah as a way out of her hometown, not her marriage. Throughout the season we witness Allison reclaim her independence with her interactions with Noah. For example in the pilot episode, during her narration, we watch her save Sally Salloway from choking on a marble, at the Lobster Roll diner. During their first encounter, Allison is able to show an act of strength. Meanwhile, she is reduced to a closed-mouth housewife whenever in Cole’s presence. Allison Bailey’s story is a modern day, American version of Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenia; she pursues an affair with a married writer, because her love for her husband has become dormant.

“Well, no one ever really knows what’s going on in someone else’s marriage.” –images-4Noah (episode 10)

The affair takes place in Montauk, a place where people from New York City go to escape their real lives for the summer. Noah Salloway, finds this summer place as his own version of Neverland; a place where he can make a mistake and pursue his boyhood desires. For Allison Bailey, Montauk, her home, is a constant reminder of her son’s death. She discovers her own Neverland later in the season when she leaves Cole, and creates a home for herself in New York City.  Noah Salloway is her ticket to the life she has always wanted. Now as we head into season 2 the question becomes, is Neverland a real place, or a fleeting summer mirage?  Stay tuned.
To watch The Affair season 2 trailer click here

By Sarah Belmont
Featured Writer
@sjbelmont

 

Review: Me, Earl, & the Dying Girl

imgresI don’t know how to review this film…I don’t even know where to start, so let me just jump to the part where I tell you to watch Me, Earl, & the Dying Girl.

Based on Jesse Andrews’ best-selling novel, this film follows Greg (Thomas Mann), his “co-worker” Earl (RJ Cyler), and a dying girl, named Rachel (Olivia Cooke). The film opens with Greg’s voiceover narration about how he has survived high school; a friend to everyone, but a friend to no one. Yes, this is another film about high school seniors, with that introductory high school sequence, that we have all seen before. This is the part in the review where I tell you, you’re wrong. Director Aldonso Gomez-Rejon uses subtle camera tricks in this sequence, instead of the flashy freeze frames paired with snappy sound effects technique, that we have seen in films that came before it.  Throughout this entire movie the camera is an active mind’s eye that brings a sense of urgency to the screen.  Gomez-Rejon is able to project the scene’s emotional action through the camera’s movement, like a cinematic waltz. Me, Earl, & the Dying Girl is a small, independent film, but at times it feels larger than life.

images-1This is the part in the review where I tell you that this is a high school based romantic comedy, where the popular guy falls for the nerdy girl; but this is not that type of film. There is some romantic tension brooding beneath Greg’s “doomed from the beginning friendship,” with Rachel; but it’s more about a genuine connection than romance.  Greg and Rachel form an unlikely, quirky friendship, similar to Andrew and Sam’s connection in the movie Garden State.  During their first encounter, Greg describes to Rachel about how she can pretend to enter a sub-human state, when someone really annoying tries to talk to her.  This is reminiscent to the Garden State scene, where Sam talks about how she invents random noises when she stresses out about life.  Gomez-Rejon is able to tether these teenage character’s innocent wonder about life under the weight of maturity throughout the story. He captures the same authentic, adolescent spirit as John Hughes did in The Breakfast Club.  After watching this film, I can only expect more great films from Gomez-Rejon are in our future.

imagesAgain, this is a coming of age film about Greg grappling with the end of his adolescence during his senior year in high school.  Simultaneously Gomez-Rejon frames a poetic love letter to filmmaking. Greg and Earl spend their time making classic movie parodies, that Rachel watches as she undergoes treatment for leukemia. This is the part in the review where I tell you, that as the story unfolds it was truly “the best of times and worst of times,” for these three friends. Now go watch the winner of the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.

By Sarah Belmont
Featured Writer
@sjbelmont

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.