SDCC 2016 ‘Colony’: Resisting the Walls

by Agent Alicia Glass (a.k.a. Pandora the Punctuation Horror)

We all know why we’re here, right? Some time ago, freaking aliens actually descended upon Earth and everything went to hell. Some resisted, some collaborated, and now, the thin veneer of civility under the yoke of the Raps (that’s short for ‘Raptors’, in case you didn’t know) and their human police force is being torn by the Bowman family and their various allies, enemies, and surprise visitors!

The SDCC panel for the USA Network hit Colony featured Josh Holloway (Will Bowman), Sarah Wayne Callies (Katie Bowman), Peter Jacobson (Proxy Snyder), Amanda Righetti (Maddie Kenner), Tory Kittles (Broussard), Adrian Pasdar (Nolan Burgess), and Executive Producers Ryan Condal and Carlton Cuse!

Cuse proudly talked about how they wanted to model the show after the French Nazi occupation, an “Orwellian surveillance state,” that the Raps and their humans have turned the Earth into. “We wanted to make an alien invasions show that wasn’t really about alien invasion, so we had to prove it on the page first.”

Cuse also graciously accepted compliments from the audience about the production and design of the walls on the show, announcing that, “A visual effects company in Denmark of all places called Ghost did the walls and all the visual effects and we couldn’t be more pleased with them.” Continuing with the walls theme, Cuse announced that in season two of Colony, we’d find out why the walls were put up in the first place, and why everywhere seems to be divided into bloc sections and separate colonies. For season two, the show moved filming to the Universal Studios lots, for in this new season there will be stories in Santa Monica, Los Angeles, and even a story outside the walls entirely!

Tory Kittles, who plays ex-military Resistance freedom fighter, Broussard, talked about how his character came home from the previous wars with ideas for what his life would be like, and the war of the Raps and the Occupation changed all that, “So he’s going down a much darker path now.” Despite Broussard’s reluctance, especially with the death of Resistance leader Quayle in the first season, he was forced to discover that, “Part of the journey along the way, was realizing he had a significant leader part to play.”

Sarah Wayne Callies is no stranger to playing a strong female character in the most dire of situations, and she laughed when a fan commented on the kickass women she’s already played. “I was looking to play a new character that would incite controversy, I just didn’t think it would be quite this much!” Callies went on to talk about Kate’s dangerous position in Colony season two: “She’s more vulnerable and more alone than she’s ever been.”

The fans at San Diego Comic-Con were treated to a spoof trailer for the second season of Colony, in which their son Charlie supposedly returned from Santa Monica bloc a very changed person. Starring Silicon Valley lead Kumail Nanjiani, the trailer effectively speaks very bluntly, at least in the little sisters words, for itself.

Colony returns to break down the walls of oppression on USA in 2017!

https://youtu.be/katChLS-aRI

SDCC 2016 ‘Lucifer’: The Devil has a Mother

by Agent Alicia Glass (a.k.a. Pandora the Punctuation Horror)

It just wouldn’t be a complete Comic-Con without a visit to Hell! Or rather, a re-visit with the Devil on vacation and his pals, both human and divine, as we dive into the panel for FOX’s Lucifer!

The panel included Tom Ellis (Lucifer), D.B. Woodside (Amenadiel), Tricia Helfer (Mom), Lesley-Ann Brandt (Maze), Aimee Garcia (Ella Lopez), and Executive Producers Joe Henderson and Ildy Modrovich.

For those of you who may not recall, season one of Lucifer ended with some feuding angelic brothers teaming up to take on some bad humans, a potential death and return from Hell, and, oh hey, the news that, someone escaped from Hell and Luci’s been tasked to go get them. Who escaped, you ask? The one person/entity/whatever that Lucifer, Amenadiel, even God himself apparently, is afraid of – Mom.

We all wondered, because at the end of season one, Henderson didn’t have an actress to play her: Someone who would end up with the previously unheard-of role of Mother of the Devil. Wonder no more, Comic-Con fans, for famed sci-fi maven, Tricia Helfer joined the cast of Lucifer on stage in role as Mom!

Helfer was gleeful and playful about her role, pointing out, “The ‘Mom’ chapter was left out of the Bible,” so the show had tons of wiggle-room to write that chapter themselves.

Lesley-Ann Brandt was eager to explain that her character, Maze, would have her own version of emancipation in season two, being forced to remain on Earth  with Lucifer more or less as she is now. And of course, there is no love lost between Maze and Mom, who know each other pretty well, since, “Mom was in Hell and Maze was a prime torturer there, so their meeting again up on Earth is … tense.”

Aimee Garcia plays a new character on the show, forensic scientist Ella Lopez, who inevitably gets involved with Lucifer and Decker’s crime fighting. Garcia related an amusing little story where she surprise-hugged Tom Ellis in their first real scene together on the show. “I’m a hugger in real life and, apparently, so is Lopez; I just gave Tom a big hug and he was like, ‘Hey, go with it!’”

The audience was assured that Lucifer is still in therapy in season two, which is great because his therapy sessions are arguably some of the best scenes on the show. Woodside, who plays Amenadiel, Lucifer’s brother on the show, related that it was important to continue that aspect of Lucifer’s journey, “It’s always interesting to see a character be fragile, especially this character.”

Henderson happily explained that season one of Lucifer had most of the characters establishing their own roles on the show, so season two will have a lot more of the characters playing off each other and being much more together. He also gleefully explained to curious fans that the very reason Chloe Decker affects Lucifer in that way, will be explained in season two as well.

Lucifer will be back to set our everything a-boiling September 19, 2016 on FOX @9:00 p.m./8:00 p.m., Central!

https://youtu.be/urBQ1a00xbE

SDCC 2016 ‘The 100’: The Earth Strikes Back!

by Agent Alicia Glass (a.k.a. Pandora the Punctuation Horror)

Welcome back to what is arguably the most popular and controversial CW show, all at the same time! War with the Grounders and potentially the Ice Nation, internal strife with Pike, the AI Ally trying to take over what’s left of the world and the destruction of the City of Light, plus let’s not forget burgeoning gay romances and a whole lot of death; all make for a compelling show we just can’t seem to stop watching and commenting on!

The San Diego Comic-Con panel for The 100 featured Eliza Taylor (Clarke), Henry Ian Cusick (Kane), Lindsay Morgan (Raven), Marie Avgeropolous (Octavia), Chris Larkin (Monty), Richard Harmon (Murphy), and Executive Producer Jason Rothenburg.

The panel started off with a ton of applause for the stars and then went right in to the sizzle reel for the previous season, with a surprise twist at the end – the Earth literally strikes back in season four, with what appears to be floods and other major destruction. And that is the theme for the next season, the natural disasters to try and survive, while Clarke and others wonder, with all they’ve done to survive, do they now deserve to?

Eliza Taylor sports a charming Australian accent, and is always gracious to her fans, especially the ones who come to the mike to ask fan questions dressed as Clarke, or even Lexa. She stated softly that Finn’s death was the hardest scene she had to film thus far, and of course Lexa’s death too. She also charmingly stated that it was a good thing the filming crew were so good at their jobs, because for the climactic love scene between Clarke and Lexa, she and Alycia Debnam-Carey couldn’t help but keep giggling with each-other while in bed.

Marie Avgeropolous is right proud of the strength of her character Octavia, and promises her warrior has gone even darker this upcoming season, due to the loss of Lincoln and all. She doesn’t preen when fans compliment her on such a strong female character, saying rather, “Women have always been strong, and I’m so grateful to be on a show that values that – examples of empowerment should become the norm.”

Avgeropolous went on to laughingly tell a favorite story of a difficult, though amusing, time on set. During the scene in season three where Octavia is attempting to convince Lincoln to go get Luna, Avgeropolous was supposed to be cleaning the hoof of the horse her character was riding. And well, the horse was, how can we put it, “at attention,” we’ll say, so they had to keep changing camera angles because it looked like Avgeropolous had taken a sudden interest in beastiality. The horse trainer, who was nearby, eventually told her to flick the horsey intruder with a stick, gently, because that would make the “at-attention” go away. And the Comic-Con crowd had absolute hysterics!

Richard Harmon is forever an amused prankster, and took a few moments to himself to admire the large happy audience, before plunking down to deliver glib, grinning one-liners, like how, “Murphy is everyone’s favorite cockroach.” He gleefully displayed chipped, dark nail polish to the cheering crowd after being accused of enjoying makeup on set, drawling about he had originally auditioned for the role of Bellamy and how different that would have been.

Chris Larkin was much more lively than his character Monty on the show, trading off happy one-liners with Harmon, whom he sat next to on the panel. His scariest moment on the show thus far was learning to drive stick, as he grinned, “There’s nothing scarier than driving at night, in fog, with a huge camera mounted 2 feet away from your face on the rover, being driven by someone who’s only driven stick for an hour!”

Rothenburg dropped several surprises on the happy crowd, such as the fact that Roan and Indra are both indeed alive in the new season, and that Roan (Zack McGowan) will be joining the show as a cast regular. Rothenburg also promised that the very first episode of the new season addresses the power vacuum left in the Skycrew camp. He even stated that originally in the season three finale, Jasper was going to kill himself at the end, but that that ending, even though the crew did indeed film the whole thing, was too dark even for Rothenburg himself. And don’t think we’re not all grateful for it; The 100 is plenty lovingly dark already.

The 100 will flood its way back to us adoring fans in 2017!

‘American Gothic’ Premiere: For Whom the Silver Bells Toll

by Agent Alicia Glass (a.k.a. Pandora the Punctuation Horror)

Meet the Hawthornes of Boston. They live a typical American dream of a large family, founded on an empire of hard work: In this case, concrete and construction by the Hawthorne patriarch, Mitch. The matriarch, Madeline (Virginia Madsen), is smooth and forever in control, doing whatever she deems necessary with grace and efficiency. The kids are all grown, some with kids of their own, some still trying for that. Allison (Juliet Rylance) has her pretty husband and observant twins girls, but she also has designs on pushing out the current Mayor of Boston and becoming the next one. Tessa (Megan Ketch) seems to be the only real sweet one of the family, which usually indicates a person with some of the darkest skeletons in the closet of all of them. How Tessa kept anything from her police detective husband Brady (Elliot Knight), though, remains to be seen. Cameron (Justin Chatwin) is the recovering drug addict and artist — there’s one in every family like this, of course — whose comics are now syndicated in more than 80 newspapers nationwide. Cam has a son, Jack (Gabriel Bateman), who at the ripe old age of not-yet-hit-puberty, blithely states he wants to become a Medical Examiner when he grows up. And then, there’s the missing one, Garret (Antony Starr), who took a powder fourteen years ago after stating he’d never, ever return to the Hawthornes.

So why are the Hawthornes coming back together? Originally, it was to plan for Allison’s mayoral campaign with her charming and seductive assistant Naomi (Maureen Sebastian). But then, there was an accident involving the collapse of a freeway underpass and, amid the wreckage, evidence of the Silver Bells killer has been discovered. Who is that, we ask? A fine question, and one that seems to be the centerpoint of at least the first season of this new show: Is a member of the Hawthorne family really the Silver Bells murderer? The Patriarch had a freaking heart attack while mayoral incumbent Allison was reassuring the people that the hunt for the Silver Bells killer will continue. While looking for a fix, Cam and Tessa stumbled upon a box that could ruin the lives of all the Hawthornes. The newly returned and very raw Garrett seems suspicious, because his disappearance fourteen years ago coincided with the cessation of all Silver Bells killer activities.

The only reason Cam’s son Jack isn’t immediately in the running for the Silver Bells murderer is that, well, he simply isn’t old enough for that. His natural curiosity and nasty “experiments” don’t have to brand him a serial killer at all of before-puberty, but the show seems to be indicating that the Hawthorne blood will out him at some point, and there might not be anything poor Jack can do about it. One would think his creative father would be better suited to aiding his Norman-Bates-like child, but no, after finding that box Cam dove back into the oblivion of drugs with his wayward wife Sophie (Stephanie Leonidas).

Garrett seems to delight in acting strange, shaving with a hunting knife and sleeping on the floor, as he does. He’s been gone these fourteen years, having sworn to his folks he would never return, but, of course, they don’t say why. The mystery of Garrett, how much he actually knows about the Hawthornes’ buried secrets, and what kind of monsters he has in his own closets, should be an interesting watch.

Virginia Madsen is no stranger to dark entertainment, famous as she is for the likes of Candyman and Witches of East End. To see her playing a character so much like a combination of Madeline Matheson and Pamela Vorhees, especially at the end of the first episode, is a real treat.

The first episode was a slow-ish burn, considering how much information on the Hawthornes’ introduction they had to pack in there, plus attempting to indicate just how long the Silver Bells murders went on and how badly they affected the citizenry. I rather like the idea that this family, who’ve achieved the American Dream though hard work and long hours, who could be any one of us out there watching this show right now, are also potentially full of treacherous lies and murderous secrets. And, like the determined final acts of Madeline Hawthorne, how far would you go, what unthinkable acts would you commit, if it meant saving your family? So many of us harbor the most devastating secrets: John Wayne Gacy was a clown for children’s parties, and Dennis Rader was the Deacon of his local church. You just never know, until it’s far, far too late.

Dig up the Hawthornes’ skeletons Wednesdays on CBS at 10:00 p.m./9:00 p.m., Central!

‘Ajin Demi-Human’: Just Die, Already

by Agent Alicia Glass (a.k.a. Pandora the Punctuation Horror)

Welcome to the not-too-distant future, where immortal beings known as Ajin are real, and the whole world knows about them. See, some time ago there was a conflagration between two warring nations and one lone guy was sent in; he proceeded to take out every last child soldier, soak up a ton of damage, and still absolutely refused to lie down and just die already. This was, somehow, the world’s introduction to Ajin, and, though the guy was scooped up by some black-ops military group, we just know had to come from America, the proverbial cat is now out of the bag and the world now treats Ajin collectively about as well as they do mutants from the X-Men world.

None of that really matters much to Kei Nagai, he has his own concerns about getting into medical school and studies and such. The knowledge of Ajin is now part of the school curriculum, as are wanted posters encouraging anyone knowing the whereabouts of Ajin to turn them in, but hey, Kei never thought it would happen to him. He and school pals are joshing with each other after school, not paying attention, and next thing you know, Kei’s been run over by a freaking truck. And I mean run over, complete with the bloody streak all the way across the intersection, the mangled body, and the horrified driver. The poor driver, Kei’s friends, and all bystanders get to be even more horrified when that dead body begins to twitch, then rises, complete with the gut-wrenching sounds of bones snapping back into place; and everyone realizes: Oh shit, Kei’s an Ajin.

Why is Kei on the run from virtually everyone? The government prides itself on rounding up Ajin, purportedly for their own safety, but none of the mundanes really know what happens to Ajin after they go to the facilities. How much damage can an Ajin take? Can they actually be killed? Do they have extra powers? The shadowy men behind the scenes who do eventually capture Kei seem to take sadistic delight in attempting to answer these questions using poor Kei’s disbelieving person. These scenes in particular, as the black hat government doctors (if you can still call them that after watching this) attempt to see just how much pain Kei can endure before he dies and rises yet again, are particularly brutal and worth a blanch or three.

The man in the hat, also known as Sato, claims he wants to help Kei but of course has his own agenda, once it’s readily revealed that Sato is an Ajin too. Sato seems to have gone quite insane from his own torture at the hands of the same government men who experiment on Kei, but he’s also learned a great deal from it, and uses such tricks to take out scores of bad guys against him all on his lonesome. Sato is determined, with some help, to be the leader of the Ajin revolution against all those who would try and stop him, and indeed, his methods of unexpected strategy are worthy of Light Yagami in Death Note. Of course, him being completely bugshit nuts in the bargain helps make it fun, like riding the very top of a skyscraper as it crashes onto another building, laughing hysterically.

The style of animation is very different, so much more realistic than you find in many anime these days. The subject matter, dealing with torture and repeated death as it does, is far from meant for the kidlings, I don’t recommend ages 12 or under watch Ajin. The plot is somewhat similar to the popular anime Tokyo Ghoul, even down to the torture, but character reactions and far-reaching plots are rather different and take some unexpected twists. For a Netflix-exclusive anime, the show is still subtitled rather than dubbed, and this made me happy. Rumor says Ajin Demi-Human will get a season two in October 2016!

You can watch Kei and Sato die over and over in Ajin Demi-Human on Netflix right now!

XXX

https://youtu.be/y0k65jIq7bU

‘Powers’ Season Two Premiere: Who Really Killed Retro Girl?

by Agent Alicia Glass (a.k.a. Pandora the Punctuation Horror)

Welcome back to the continuation of the finale from the previous season, the hunt for the killer of Retro Girl, already in progress. Powers is the show about people with extraordinary powers, their long-reaching consequences, and the ordinary folk trying to live with, and occasionally police, the powers among them!

Walker (Sharlto Copley) is still keeping very much himself, despite having just defeated the psychotic murderer, Wolf, and coming off seeing the throat-slit corpse of Retro Girl laid out in a glaring statement of hate – he curses, he rages, and he absolutely fucking refuses to sit still. The Captain, of course, wants Christian off the Retro Girl case right now, considering the FBI just walked in to breathe down his neck and Walker is far too close to her death. Walker’s partner, Pilgrim got assigned to the case with Kutter, which makes no one happy, but at least someone familiar is on it in some kind of official capacity.

Did I mention the FBI? Yeah. In walks Agents Lange (Tricia Helfer) and Schlag (Timothy Douglas Perez), a dynamic duo that are giant pain in the asses as far as Captain Cross is concerned. Schlag is very obviously some kind of Power, he looks like a walking piece of granite and never speaks. And Lange, well, she has the Helfer magic to give her that give-zero-fucks attitude, which, since she’s a season two regular apparently, is just going to piss everyone at Powers Division off.

Actually, how long the Powers Division will last in the wake of the death of Retro Girl, is debatable. I still don’t get how shutting down the PD is going to help catch the murderer, but when has logic ever held sway in this grand country of ours? Zora is still laid up in the hospital after her bout with Wolf, but when she gets wind of Retro Girl’s demise, she takes off determinedly out a window. Good thing she’d been practicing her powers quietly before trying that. Speaking of practicing, our dear little wannabe, Calista, is all grown up, mostly sorta kinda, and practicing her newborn powers out there in the desert. Where, presumably, she won’t kill anyone or flatten anything of importance, as she tries so very hard to fly like Iron Man and bench press a truck.

Everyone is trying to use the aftermath of RG’s death to push forward some kind of platform or statement. Even, amazingly, the former Cobalt Knight of the UNITY trio that Retro Girl formed to fight crime way back when; he’s now Senator Bailey Brown and is trying to put forth a bill that will make the use of any and all powers illegal and prosecutable. The last member of UNITY, SuperShock (Michael Madsen), just has to show up while Christian is taking a last walk of RG’s digs and declare for vengeance.

The re-emergence of SuperShock, or Patrick, as Christian sometimes calls him, out of a self-imposed 40-year retirement, is one of season two’s main plots and so far quite intriguing. We’re led to believe that something, or perhaps a series of somethings, horrific, led to Patrick’s ultimate retirement and swearing off the regulated cape and uniform, and indeed, as he speaks with Walker about the death of Retro Girl, even now he seems a broken man. I look forward to much rampant destruction as Madsen’s battered hero glomps his way towards the truth of her death.

Unfortunately for him, right now the only real suspect at the moment is Krispin Stockley (Max Fowler), given his known association with Khaotic Chic and general dislike for Powers folk, plus that whole wrong-place-wrong-time deal. Despite the real-seeming possibility that Krispin, his little wannabe-anarchist girlfriend, and their anti-powers radicals, I think it’s highly unlikely that all of them could pull such a thing off. If they did it, they’d have to have dubious help, and other suspects are already cropping up. Don’t miss Walker and Pilgrim and all their powers and human friends and enemies, battling them and each-other for supremacy and Retro Girl’s legacy in Powers Season Two!

Powers is being shown exclusively on the Playstation Network, but for everyone else who doesn’t have such a thing, you can catch new episodes on their website here!

XXX

‘Houdini and Doyle’ Premiere: A Magician Never Reveals his Failings

by Agent Alicia Glass (a.k.a. Pandora the Punctuation Horror)

Set in (where else?) London of 1901, the latest Fox supernatural drama opus features a jaded Harry Houdini and a bedazzled Arthur Conan Doyle, teamed up to investigate Scotland yard murder mysteries with a mystical bent. So let’s get into this!

We all know who the title characters are, or we should at any rate. Harry Houdini (Michael Weston) is well-known as being, perhaps, the world’s greatest escape artist, magician, master illusionist, et al. And, of course, Doyle (Stephen Mangan) wrote the memorable Sherlock Holmes book mysteries, which are still in circulation, even today. But, as we meet these two men in this new show, both are having issues with the very things that made them famous and allowed them to become freelance investigators when the Yard comes up with a supernatural-laden murder mystery in a nunnery.

Houdini, at this point, does his escape-from-straight-jacket-watery-death bit every night of the week and twice on Sundays, allowing him to hobnob with the likes of Churchill and other (in)famous names, but it’s left him very jaded on the life of the glitterati.

Doyle on the other hand is almost infamous for his Holmes mysteries, mobbed by fans who, of course, want more mind-blowing mysteries solved, reviled by the police whose procedures his stories have mocked, when all he wants is to promote his newest book that has crap-all to do with Holmes.

So, Houdini doesn’t believe in anything supernatural. Being an illusionist as he is, he will not believe unless he can see it for himself. Harry will often gleefully wager large sums (for 1901) of money as to whether or not some phenomenon is real, to which Doyle, exasperatedly, occasionally gives in. Doyle, on the other hand — oddly despite his scientific leanings in his Holmes mysteries — is a believer who, for very personal reasons, desperately wants the supernatural and all its wonders to be real.

Upon hearing about a death in a nunnery where the girls are swearing it was a vengeful ghost, Houdini and Doyle present themselves as eager-beaver detective-types to the Yard and get the reluctant go-ahead, only to be saddled with an unwanted police presence. Neither man wants a constable on the job with them, never mind a female one, as Adelaide Stratton (Rebecca Liddiard) immediately finds out, much to her chagrin. Scotland Yard is slowly limping into this century, apparently, but putting a lady constable on the Houdini and Doyle case is just an insult and she’s just a glorified nanny, as the police chief roundly informs her when Stratton tries to gush her gratefulness at him.

Similar to Agent Carter, the struggle for any woman in a highly male-dominated society, especially a place like Scotland Yard in London 1901 — the concept isn’t completely far-fetched out of this world, but it’s only just inside the lines of credibility. Like Fox’s other attempt at “I suppose it’s possible,” on Sleepy Hollow, the show is attempting to cater to us women with a female presence supposedly in authority of sorts, struggling to show she can do much more than make and serve tea to these uppity men. Stratton’s presence on the show may do the series more harm than good — no offense to Liddiard’s performance — but the real challenge comes in writing an inoffensive, bumbling, but lovable female constable character for her to play.

This opening gambit case of murder in the washing nunnery seemed to be deliberately lacking details and wasn’t explained very well during the wrapup of the last few minutes of show. Once again, we have an instance of “It’s possible,” but I think the whole thing seemed rather like a knock-off of The Illusionist film. The show’s writers have all sorts of leeway to bring in many characters, both real and imaginary (imagine the ghost of Jack the Ripper or a real-life Dr. Jekyll, just for openers) for the murder mysteries and make them as far-fetched or believable as they want. But, trying to give the BBC folks a run for their money in this fashion seems about as likely as getting eel pie to catch on in America. The backgrounds, sets, costumes and inevitable CGI settings are all more or less fine, and they work for setting the stage, but the writing needs stepping up a few notches in order to ensure a return appearance for our newest odd couple detective pair of Houdini and Doyle!

Catch the magic and mystery of Houdini and Doyle on Fox, Mondays @9:00 p.m./8:00 p.m, Central!

https://youtu.be/4pSa3biSpbA

‘Lucifer’ Finale: You’re Smarming, Darling

by Agent Alicia Glass (a.k.a. Pandora the Punctuation Horror)

Lucifer Morningstar (Tom Ellis), the fallen angel from Biblical old testament times himself, thought, “Screw this noise,” and popped off from Hell for a vacation here on earth. He just had to get involved with the one woman he simply can’t charm and coerce, who happens to be a police officer, Chloe Decker (Lauren German), and now, somehow, the Devil incarnate is the equivalent of a police-attache CI. Of course, there’s various dramas with the people around Chloe to contend with, too – mainly her ex, Dan Espinoza (Kevin Alejandro); also a cop and the father of her child Trixie; and the brought-back-from-the-dead fellow officer, Malcolm (Kevin Rankin), who turns out to be a psycho pawn to be used against Lucifer. Our Devil there runs his bar with the help of Mazikeen (Lesley-Ann Brandt), “call me Maze for short”: A sexy demon, deadly with her knives that he brought out of Hell with him. Luci (don’t look at me — that’s what his brother calls him) also has to contend with Amenadiel (D.B. Woodside), a brother Angel here on earth, determined to stop at nothing to send our weary Devil back to Hell where he belongs, damn it.

I think I may have figured out at least one of the secrets to Lucifer’s appeal, despite his many many failings – somehow, a lot like Jack Sparrow, if one thinks about it, he manages to be both smarmy and charming at the same time. Thu,s I give you the newly coined, just for FOX’s version of Lucifer, description: smarming. Lucifer’s flippant accent and attitude just adds another layer of smarming, because we all know Brits make the best bad guys. But that’s just it – in this adaptation of the ultimate Fallen One, Lucifer Morningstar is an under-the-radar nightclub owner who thinks he can use bad to do good, coaxing the truth under all those desires from evil-doers and only really resorting to the bedroom red-eyed cloven-hoofed monstrosity on those who really deserve it. There are a few moments when he goes Beast Leviathan 666 monster on people who really did deserve it, and the fact that it happens so rarely is somehow all part of his infernally charming package. This is a much more humane version of Lucifer and when he realizes it, the Devil does something very human – he gets a therapist.

Lucifer Morningstar’s therapy sessions with Linda Martin are some of the very high points of the show, whether the sessions are between the sheets or on a couch in her office. Because of course Lucifer sleeps with his therapist, at least for a while, in the beginning, and he’s obviously smarming enough outside the boudoir to let Martin deal professionally with his insistent metaphors about Angels and God and whatnot. Owed in no small part to the wonderful performance from Rachael Harris as Dr. Martin, we watch and are delighted by Lucifer’s therapy, the way Linda deals with his idiosyncrasies make us all wish we could have a therapist like that.

Lord Lucifer is all kinds of used to reading the minds of us humans, with our darkest desires easily brought to the surface and all, and smarming his way into the pants of every single woman he meets, just about. So, when he meets Officer Chloe Decker and is simply unable to convince her to sleep with him or float her darkest desires to the top, he is, of course, simply fascinated, darling, and determined to stick to her like tar to find out why. Lucifer discovers, to his chagrin, that Decker’s presence seems to humanize him instead, making him both literally and figuratively vulnerable to the frailties of being human. One would think that discovering hanging out around a human woman, a cop no less, makes Lucifer susceptible to things like bullet wounds, would deter him from her presence forever, but no. This version of the Devil delights in squiggly naughty things and thumbing his nose in Dad’s general direction without ever actually committing what we would consider true soul-crushing evil. In fact, Lucifer discovers he enjoys punishing bad guys so much, he tells Amenadiel to stuff it when his brother comes a-calling, demanding Lucifer return to his rightful place in Hell.

So what’s an Angelic brother to do? Amenadiel has been shadowing Lucifer throughout this entire season, watching our Devil fumble with his humanity versus his accursed divinity, and patience apparently isn’t his strong suit. So Amenadiel brought Malcolm back from the dead (I didn’t know Angels could do that), out of Hell and into his service, with one clear goal in mind – frame and then kill Lucifer Morningstar. What Amenadiel didn’t count on is the sheer surprises in life, including learning to actually care about Maze after he sleeps with her. She is after all a demon. And he didn’t expect Malcolm to go bugshit nuts trying to keep his butt from being sent back to the Hot Place. It’s all come down to this finale episode, where Lucifer has been successfully framed for murder, Decker’s trying to arrest him, Amenadiel has finally come round to start helping Lucifer, and we just know there will be all sorts of confrontations involved, including one completely unexpected.

The bad guys doing a couple of bare-knuckle rounds with a pair of pissed-off Seraphim amazed me – if you believe the hype as far as the highest Choir of Angels goes, you could strap a backpack nuke to a Seraph and he/it probably wouldn’t even sneeze, nevermind attempting straight fisticuffs. (But perhaps I watched a little too much Dominion and Legion.) We got treated to an adorable double therapy session when both Luci and Amenadiel went to see Dr. Martin, and now everyone’s on the hunt for Malcolm! But we can’t forget that Decker’s presence makes Lucifer vulnerable, so when he takes some gunshots, we fear this could be the end of at least Lucifer’s human body. Not so, Ellis fans, for Lucifer Morningstar rises to save the day most improbably and drops something even more surprising later, when he and Amenadiel are celebrating coming through this mess – Dad, that Divine parental absentee landlord that Lucifer’s been ranting at this entire time, not only spoke to Lucifer at the moment of his proposed death, He sent Luci back to earth with a mission. Find the one important person who escaped Hell’s clutches and send them back to the Pit. And who is the one person that could actually terrify Amenadiel, Lucifer, and even Dad? Well. Lucifer calls her, “Mum.”

It also bears noting that the soundtrack for the show is really great and worth looking into, not just yet more repetitions of “Sympathy for the Devil.” The finale out-tro confirmed that Lucifer has been renewed for a season two on Fox, so let the mother of the Devil speculation begin!

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‘Sleepy Hollow’ Season 3 Finale: The Hidden One Should’ve Stayed Hidden

by Agent Alicia Glass (a.k.a. Pandora the Punctuation Horror)

Spoilers in the shadows!

Okay, hold up a minute here. You mean to tell me that Fox took a uniquely premised show with an established fanbase, and gambled on it? Did someone threaten to not renew the show for another season, and the Fox folk went, “Then we’ll go out swingin’!”? I’m leaning towards the second option, personally – it seems like the finale was deliberately made to generate fan response, for good or ill, perhaps to prove that Sleepy Hollow still has quite a fanbase to the people holding the axe. And I don’t mean the Headless Horseman from the show, though he does make a remarkable appearance in the finale.

So, it can be summed up fairly easily, if you’ve been paying attention – our Witnesses and their teammates, for they are several now, have to band together with freaking Pandora (Shannyn Sossamon) and her box, to take out her godly husband the Hidden One (Peter Mensah), the guy who’s been this season’s big bad. The wraparound story that is the whole Hidden One thing is a bit flimsy and mildly desperate. But these offshoot storylines you get from the wraparound, especially the ones involving National Treasure-like hunts led by Ichabod freaking Crane (Tom Mison) and his fearless sidekick Lieutenant Abby Mills, are what make the show unique and special, and I daresay still popular with the Fox viewing public. So nyah, nay-sayers.

We learned to care about Jennie Mills (Lyndie Greenwood) and Corbin’s son Joe (Zach Appelman), we saw Ichabod grow into a layer of skin here in the modern world, we even saw a rather fine bit of acting from Nicole Beharie as Abby Mills, when now-Agent Mills is sent to the catacombs of the underworld and lost for nearly a year. Denied food or rest, Mills made us believe we were there with her, even for a second, and that sold her PTSD when Crane and pals brought her back.

Far too often now, it’s Pandora just showing up — poof — whenever she feels like it, to make demands or commands, depending on the whim, usually concerning her infernal box. She unleashed the Hidden One on the world and now she’s waffling as to whether or not that really was the best idea. Pandora flits between reluctantly helping her demanding husband to meeting with the Witnesses in secret to plead for aid and back again. It gets mildly tedious after a while. The Hidden One can’t do his Armageddon on the world until he’s at full strength and that has something to do with an hourglass that accumulates power and yadda yadda. Neither Pandora nor the Hidden One compare to the mini storylines that show Betsy Ross (Nikki Reed) weaving her finest American flag ever, that has a hidden route in it to get to the underworld, or Joe fighting as the Wendigo, or even the startling return of the Mills sisters’ father, Ezra (James McDaniel).

So after all this funnery of trying to get the pieces of Pandora’s box finally back together, more of General Washington’s machinations against the supernatural that reach from the past into the fighting present and the threat of yet another evil god taking out the world with Sleepy Hollow as a base, Abbie Mills, the practical half of the Witnesses souls, chooses to offer her own life to stop the Hidden One. This actually happens, her voluntary real death that is, in the first half of the season three final episode, like in the first fifteen minutes, even.

A good deal of the rest of the episode is spent insisting that Abbie’s soul can be brought back, to somehow force Pandora into letting her out of that infernal box, and all will be set right with the world. Or will it? We’ve far-too-easily defeated the Hidden One and, of course, now have to deal with Pandora having far too much power to be left to run unchecked. This end scene where Pandora bites it is one of the few high spots of the episode, because Crane brilliantly brings in his old nemesis, the Headless Horseman, to do battle with Pandora, and it works.

After that, the rest of the episode is pathetically spent trying to accept the deaths of Joe Corbin and Abbie Mills, while their spirits hang out in the equivalent of a purgatory diner, so they both can get a last talk in with Corbin Sr. before moving on to whatever. *le sigh* The very end finds Ezra Mills giving Crane a new assignment in the graveyard, because of course General Washington was actually making a supernatural agency and intended Crane to run it, and of course Ezra Mills and Corbin Sr. were all part of it. Crane gets reassured that there will always be two Witnesses and that some offshoot of Abbie’s bloodline will inherit the Witness part of her soul, to be reborn again. And, right about then, some shady folk claiming to be the FBI show up and insist Crane come with them, to the closing strains of – what else? – “Sympathy for the Devil.”

There was an almost immediate fan displeasure reaction when the season finale came out and Sleepy Hollow still hasn’t been picked up for a fourth season, as yet. Nicole Beharie in particular received an outpouring of love for her portrayal of an incredibly strong black female character in a very different supernatural series. Everyone wants to know who the new Witness will be, if there will be one at all, and yes about Crane’s exciting new job as the head of the Sleepy Hollow Supernatural Agency, but to do it without Abbie? You may have just drowned your own shark. The people at Fox will have to come up with something extra special and unique for an already standalone show, for me to continue watching. We’ll miss you Abbie!

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‘Damien’ Premiere: The Road to the Beast

by Agent Alicia Glass (a.k.a. Pandora the Punctuation Horror)

Most of us remember the Omen films from the ’80s, the remakes and other attempts at telling a similar, now familiar story: A boy is born to the world, destined to become the Antichrist, the Devil’s only begotten son, to bring about the End of Days. In the Omen films, he is adopted and named Damien Thorne, and everyone either tries to worship him in the worst ways possible, or tries to kill him while he’s still in the single-digit age range. This new show from the channel that graced us with the creepy likes of Bates Motel, presents us with a devilish offering of Damien, about what’s now happening to that little boy now that he’s all grown up!

So, Damien Thorne is a war photographer journalist, which seems a little odd until you start paying attention to the story. Refugees and insurgents are still having issues in Damascus, and this is where we find Damien and some of his fellow shutterbug friends, taking pictures of the war-torn country and people as they flee on the road. Suddenly, Damien is accosted by an old woman who, inevitably, does the white-eye vision stance and starts quoting Latin and bad childhood memories at him. Completely unsurprisingly after that, the journalists all get forcibly deported and Damien can’t find the old woman again, so he has to reach out to friends and get those researching balls rolling.

We are treated to a delightfully creepy meeting between Damien and Anne Rutledge, a woman who claims to have known Damien’s father and the boy himself, and she hints that she’s been continuing to watch as he grew. Barbara Hershey, who plays Rutledge, is no stranger to insidious roles, having been in Once Upon a Time as Mother Cora, Black Swan, and both Insidious films, to name only a few. Her performance, while brief, promises to take the cabal of Antichrist worshippers angle to a whole new dark level.

Right. So, where were we? The show carefully spells it out for us, that Damien was effectively baptized in blood, on his thirtieth birthday, using the same words purportedly said at Christ’s baptism, while on the road to Damascus and Israel. Not a thing about that is coincidental anymore, and Damien seems to realize it, because he tells his pretty little former flame Kelly to get away from him.  While struggling to hold in his true feelings, because he’s beginning to remember how his “dark cloud” ripple-affected people when he was little. Her nasty, inevitable, if not entirely impossible, death actually leads Damien to a church, to demand of a crucified Christ statue why.

It looks as though the show is trying to make an interesting combination of the nature vs. nurture child question, and a religious-oriented murder mystery Da Vinci Code-like job. There are plenty of dark cabals, religious and political and potentially even worse, who’d love nothing more than to use the Antichrist for their own purposes, and we get to watch and see if Damien chooses to avoid or embrace these possibilities. Bradley James as Damien Thorne is an interesting choice, as we’ve already seen him struggling with the forces of Good and Evil on things like Merlin. I’m forced to ponder, and hope the show approaches the question, that if your powers come from the Devil as your father, are they still evil, regardless of what you’re doing with them?

Watch Damien grapple on the A&E channel, Mondays @ 10/9c!

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