Pop Culture Round-Up 21/05–27/05

Sunday

The leftovers

Well, that was depressing. By far one of the saddest episodes of television I have watched. But great writing, great directing, and great acting.

Nora not giving any fucks was awesome. Her carelessness of offending anyone and her rivalry with Laurie was fun to watch.

You know, for someone certifiably insane, Kevin Sr. makes a very sound argument about assaulting “Officer Koala Fart”.

But let’s talk about Laurie…

Laurie was one of the most complex characters of the show. She was so messed up by the grief of losing a child in utero, heartbreaking. And in an effort to cope with that seemingly unexplainable global tragedy, she leaves her family and joy a cult.

That porch scene with her and Kevin is up there as one of the best scenes in the series. It was so beautiful how they’re weaving this story tighter and tighter. Such a good, compelling storytelling.

That phone call on any other TV show would make her change her mind. Not on The Leftovers, though. I guess it did the exact opposite, reassured her that they were fine and had each other.

I thought this was an excellent wrap to one of the shows most complicated and roundly developed characters. Amy Brenneman killed it playing the character. She will be remembered for this role for years to come

Kevin might just die, and that’s it. Nothing happens. But maybe some people will believe him dying was what saved the world. I feel like we will never know whether Kevin is truly crazy or this was all real. I like that, but I also hate it at the same time.

I miss this show already and it isn’t even over yet.

American Gods

Fantastic episode. I was feeling all the emotions on the best episode so far in my opinion. It kept me entertained, invested, and just happy at all this character development. It left me satisfied and wanting more, just plain excellence.

At the beginning of the episode I was so disinterested in Laura, but by the end, the complete opposite. I really enjoyed the strong characterization of her, clear cut and unapologetic and it makes me love to hate her.

This episode also gave us a chance to see Shadow’s relationship with Laura. She’s the main reason of Shadow’s attitude post-prison because her death changes him. It was good to see him from a different perspective. He’s the main character, and now we understand the world as he understands it.

Dane Cook was an excellent casting for Robbie. You know fuckery is about the second he’s on the screen

I loved the adventures of Laura and her arm.

Laura and her arm

The Laura and Audrey reunion was fucking awesome and hilarious, too.
That whole bathroom scene was brilliant. “Get out of my house you Zombie whore!” I had to pause it there because I was laughing so hard. I didn’t expect that line nor finding it so funny. I would totally watch a Laura and Audrey road trip show.

I have to say, this show does place setting very well. We haven’t moved past the end scene last week but we have learned so much.

Monday

Better Call Saul

A slight step down from last week’s great episode. But still another strong one

I think tonight is the first time in the series I’ve seen Jimmy done something I fully believe is shitty and he can’t really justify it.

The transition from Jimmy to Saul is feeling a bit abrupt since his latests disapoitment with Chuck. I guess you could say that Chuck broke whatever interest he had in a moral compass. Pretty interesting how Saul might be born out of Chuck’s literal death or hospitalization.

I totally bought Jimmy’s crocodile tears at first. I thought he was just trying to gain sympathy for a partial refund. I thought it was weird that he was just unloading on this random lady… Until I saw where he was going with it. I don’t think he walked in there with that idea in mind, but he was like “fuck it, I’m not going to leave empty handed.” His life is crap, so he wants to make his brother’s life crap,too.

The return of Pryce was fun, I also liked Anita and the actress playing her. Mike/Nacho scene was decent, as well. He knows this job is about Nacho killing Hector and he wants to make sure that Nacho makes it out alive.

In general I think we’re poised for a pretty killer ending to the season once the show comes back from its brief hiatus.

Thuesdays

The Americans

I really enjoyed this episode, probably my favorite one of the season.

Brutal and ice, ice cold moment when Elizabeth got the crucifix necklace from the trash and gave it back to Paige saying she had to keep her cover.

I was just so stoked to see Mischa happy, even if I have the feeling it won’t last long. I first thought it was Gabriel himself who wanted to see him at the factory. Well, I was wrong. But I’m almost certainly it was Gabriel who arranged for Mischa to meet his uncle, out of guilt for not letting him see his father. The only thing left for Gabriel to do now is to set up Oleg and Martha on a blind date. Poor Martha!

Talking about Oleg…the scene with him being interrogated was really well done. The whole thing just seemed very tense and realistic. I was stressing out the whole time waiting for Oleg to slip up, But he kept it together. I wonder if the KGB people already have the tape… I also keep expecting Oleg to stroll into the US Embassy on one of his walks.

The scenes with Sofia are always delightful. She is so likable. I’m sure something bad will happen to her that will make Stan even more disillusioned.

Stan and Dennis getting punked by perhaps, the dumbest Russian dude ever, was awesome! — “Hey whats up FBI?! I seduced your asset, found out everything about your operation. Here’s a picture of me playing hockey, and by the way we’re getting a raise.”

And the way Stan and Dennis had to stand there and take it, was hilarious. This may have been my favorite humorous moment in the whole series.

I would think at this point Philip and Elizabeth are being played by Claudia and The Center. And frankly, I don’t think they’ll ever trust Claudia as a handler as much as they did her predecessor, nor should they.

Repatriating the Jennings is not the priority. Paige is the real prize for the KGB. They need to keep her happy. There’s no way Paige would join the cause if anything happened her parents. So they’re probably not going anywhere.

As for Henry staying behind, they really should just leave him in the U.S. Stan could “adopt” him. Henry could be used an asset, especially now that he already showed some interest in the FBI.

Tuan is ruthless. I hope he dies next week. His plan was reckless and I’m worried he’s going to get Philip and Elizabeth exposed as they try to stop it. Calling to say don’t do it was one thing but now, they’re going to the front door of the Morozov’s house at the last minute and their fucking house is under surveillance. They will be taking a massive chance. Thanks, Tuan.

That cliffhanger was brutal. I’m gonna take this week to mentally prepare myself for the season finale.

Wednesday

Fargo

This was a gut-wrenching episode. Things tend to pick up massively during the 6th episode of a Fargo season. So, I should be expecting something like that to happened. But I wasn’t.

The petty feud over the stamp literally killed Ray. An absolutely unexpected turn of events that is definitely going to be a game changer for the rest of the season. I figured it would be near the end of the series, possibly the finale but hey, I’m not complaining. I’m just surprised it happened so soon.

I think Nikki will be ok. Ray paid for the motel room, and he drove Nikki’s car over to his place himself. So it is likely that she will have a stronger alibi than Varga expects. But it will all depend on how good her lawyer will be. She has this subtle smarts that makes me think she might actually make it out OK in the end.

Varga is just so unsettling. He hardly seems human. He looks like a mutant sewer monster. It is upsetting like, he thinks he rules the world and just does what he wants all the time. You can’t say no to him. Also, the teeth close ups get progressively more and more disgusting. Varga seems like he would skin you alive in his basement. But he has made a lot of mistakes, though — tipping off the IRS, pissing off talented police officers, etc. I look forward to him meeting his downfall.

Varga disgusting teeth

Gloria is the perfect match for Varga. She doesn’t know shit about technology and literally all of Varga power, leverage and information comes from the internet. She’s the best person for the job since her life isn’t on the web. Love the theme of technology vs anti-technology.

Next week is poised to be insane. Gloria will hopefully get some much needed confirmation of her suspicions. I loved that smile on her face at the end — It is “gloves off” time!

Thursday
Raw

Whoa! This was definitely a good watch.

The movie is about a strict vegetarian girl who goes off to the veterinary school, goes through hazing (they force her to eat raw meat) and finds out she has a taste for human flesh.

The trailers of this movie do not give you an idea of the real tone of it or how weird it really gets. And trust me, It gets really weird.

I heard all the stories about people vomiting and fainting in theaters while watching this film. So I thought it was just going to be absurdly violent and gory. But nah, it actually really tried to send a message and tell a good story.

Raw do not shy away from trying to make you nauseous. Like I said, there isn’t a heavy amount of gore. But some scenes are discomforting. But honestly, I feel like I was made more uncomfortable by the scenes that portrayed the college hazing in France. I would not put up with that bullshit.

Raw is definitely a memorable film and I cant wait to see what the director does next.

Friday

Berlin Syndrome

The film storyline is fairly simple; an Australian tourist falls in Love with a charming local in Berlin, staying with him for a couple of days before realizing that she isn’t allowed to leave.

Cate Shortland’s directing turned what I thought was a kinda dull script into a very entertaining film.

Berlin Syndrome is a type of thriller that keeps you feeling pretty uneasy and guessing what is going to happen next. Also, I love watching smart people trying to get themselves out of impossible situations

The performances were pretty good. Teresa Palmer is a pleasure to watch. Her expressive eyes and stunning range of reactions, filled with rage, were great. I really hope she gets a lot more work.

I do feel the film is a little bit too long and at least 20 minutes could’ve been cut off to make this thriller even more effective.

The ending was OK but I was hoping for a little bit more to happen. Like, what the hell happened to Max Riemelt’s character? Was him arrested?

Overall, it’s a very intense thriller and fans of the genre will definitely enjoy it.

Saturday

The Keepers

The Keepers is a Netflix’ seven-part true crime documentary. It focuses on the investigations of Abbie Schaub and Gemma Hoskins into the 1969 murder of Sister Cathy Cesnik, a young English teacher at a Catholic high school in Baltimore.

I’m three episodes in and I’m already angry, so if that was the goal they got me there quick.I had never heard about this case before and I’m finding it pretty intriguing/horrifying.

Episode 1 just sets the stage. Episode 2, is when you get hooked. By episode 3, it will make you feel incredibly uncomfortable and nervous.

The abuse is the meat of this story. And it’s important that the truth about these things come out. But when we’re talking about something so surreal and so evil, it is really hard to watch it.

The truth is: These are brave women who bravely pursue the truth and come face to face with resistance, arrogance, and incompetence.

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