Tuesday, January 5, 2016

I Saw This !! What I Have Been Watching (Pt. 2)

Doctor Who. Season 9.  Well, season 9 of the resurrected series.

I so much wanted to like Peter Capaldi, the post-War Doctor, the older, more sobre doctor with some of the weight of who he has become on his face. Unfortunately I never warmed to him. Capaldi is great, don't get me wrong, but I don't like his Doctor. I don't like the grumpy old man, the haunted man, the angry man. But that's alright, I still have Clara.

And then episode 10.  Fuck.

There is no Big Bad this season, more a loose exploration of The Doctor and his consequences. We have been touching on that the last few seasons but this one wants to take us where his anger, his revenge, his selfishness has taken him and all the worlds he has touched. Sure, the Time Wars and the destruction of the Daleks and Galifrey -- genocide and all that unsavoury stuff, but really it's about his impact in the grand scheme of things.

Kind of. The season really just felt disjointed and confused. We deal with the deal he made with the Zygons back in "The Day of the Doctor". We introduce a new immortal when The Doctor breaks his own rule and saves a dying / dead girl in "The Girl Who Died", which then comes back to bite him in the ass. It seems no matter which side of the coin he chooses, there are always consequences. Point taken.

And for Clara as well. I also have to admit, I loved her in her intro season and while I will always get lost in those big brown eyes, she was not a very interesting companion of late. They have her bouncing between the happy go lucky companion and the one who wants to constantly guilt him. I tired of her as I thought she may have been tiring of him. The closure of her story was satisfactory if shocking.

The season ends on a big note, bringing back Galifrey from the dead (as well as some others) and introducing what I think could be the best side launch of a new series, but one that will never happen. Teasers.

Speaking of big brown eyes whom I completely crush on, I am probably only watching Quantico for Priyanka Chopra. Oh my oh my, those eyes, that mouth. Oh that deep husky voice.

*ahem*

Sorry.

It's a decent premise for lighter side American crime fighting TV. We are simultaneously dealing with a new terrorist bombing in New York while jumping back in time to visit a widely varied cast of FBI recruits in Quantico. Someone in the class committed the bombing, and they are trying to pin the act on Alex Parrish, played my Chopra. She is trying to prove herself innocent while on the run.

And we, the viewers, get constant flashbacks so we will always have a new possible suspect and never ever get enough details to guess who it might be.

It could have been played interestingly enough, but no, we have to visit each and every single fucking classmate and have a reason to suspect them and a reason to clear them. Every. Single. Fucking. One. Well, except for the guy who blows his own head off in episode one. Maybe they will completely plot fuck us and bring him back as the Bad Guy.  I wouldn't put it past them.

The thing that annoys me most about this show, and it's not the poor man's Lost-ian attempt at never ending secrets, but the fact they are all such terrible FBI agents. I know it's a trope these days in episode scripting, to constantly introduce suspects only to immediately disprove their guilt, but for each and every single one, Alex is so utterly convinced they are the suspect, until she isn't. Doesn't she see the parallel of what is happening to her, where everyone is so convinced she is the Bad Guy that they never look anywhere else? Alex never considers anyone an ally until the end of the episode and then she moves onto the next suspect. Plot formulas aside, the only way she could be that dumb is that the kids never really had a chance to go through the entire training course -- is Quantico training really only 8 months long?

We will ignore the fact she also spends every episode in some crying jag or another. I hate the trope where female main characters have to be tough but also prove they are still feminine, by crying. Le sigh.

Why can't they all be like Jessica Jones? She doesn't cry over her broken past and how life is getting her down -- she just drinks heavily and throws people through glass doors. Much less healthy but much less annoying.

I loved Jessica Jones, though I knew I would. I only slightly worried it would not have the same production values as Daredevil and even less worries the story would be lacking. But as Kent said, like Daredevil, you can see that they had a story X episodes long, but were forced to make Y episodes. Leaving that to the side, this was an incredible run. Again I broke my binge rule and watched it all over a weekend.

Jessica is a private dick, not that she does much detecting in the series, but for a show opener which reveals her tragic past. You see, she used to be the plaything of a very evil super-villain. Kilgrave, the not-purple man in a purple suit, has the ability to make people do whatever he tells them. And that is how he lives his life, playing the debonaire, dashing rich man with beautiful women hanging off his arm. Everyone is forced to give it to him. Jessica was one of his playthings until he pushed her too far, and she walked away. And he got hit by a bus.

But he's back?

The series focuses on the PTSD Jessica has to deal with because of him, and then the remorse and guilt she feels at his return. And Kilgrave has become obsessed with her, the one person who was able to walk away from him. So, does Jessica run away or does she confront him?

Sounds more Law & Order than Marvel, but there is one more thing --- Jessica was a superhero, briefly. She has super strength, fast healing and can leap tall buildings in a single bound. Well, no, not actually but she can jump pretty high. The who powered being stuff is behind her, but that doesn't stop her from tossing bad guys around when she needs to. The show takes place not far from where Daredevil is beating up bad guys and a local pub is owned and run by Luke Cage, an invulnerable and also super strong guy whom Jessica has an unsavoury connection to. She makes it more unsavoury by sleeping with him.

The crux of this story is Jessica vs Kilgrave. If she gets too close, he might control her again. If she does nothing, he will run rampant around the city, ruining lives again. The story is really really well told, touching even on the ideas of Kilgrave being sociopathic and a touch delusional, not really understanding that his affections are basically rape, if the parties are unwilling. Consent is not in his vocabulary. He's creepy as fuck. Kristen Ritter as Jessica is spectacular, covering broken & vulnerable as well as strong & valiant incredibly well. The supporting cast, like her drugged out neighbour and her adoptive sister / best-friend are wonderful.

Please include this in your next Netflix binge session!