Friday, August 28, 2015

In Which I Review Under the Dome (3x11)

Using Pat Benatar to further your own silly drivel is not okay with me, Under the Dome. Love is a Battlefield is a classic and iconic song that we've all rocked out to before, so how about you back off the 1980 anthem and focus on your nonsensical plot and random expositional wanderings. In this week's episode, horrifyingly entitled "Love is a Battlefield," we get something that might resemble answers. Or, at least, we got some exposition that is clearly going to set up season 4 and clarification--ha--that the Bugs are not the true enemy. You see the Bugs are just killing time before the writers could figure out how to extend the show past three seasons so pretty much everything that mattered or was said and done in the first three seasons means nothing because "they" are coming. I love when characters play the pronoun game and don't use specific words to elucidate what they mean, causing us to constantly yell "Who is coming? What are you talking about!?" over and over. Or maybe that's just me. Grab one-seventh of a broken amethyst and let's go! Remember, kids....we only have two to go. 

There are really only two things to talk about this week: the appearance of Baby! Queen going alongside the new looming threat and some sappy emotional crap that really doesn't mean much because it comes from either random nobodies that we don't care about or it comes from some truly horrible people that, again, I don't care about. I'm going to be somewhat fair to Under the Dome for a change. For reasons other than another season, having a new bigger and badder alien monster coming to destroy everyone makes sense. There has to be a reason why the Bugs decided to flee their home world, with so few of their species in tow, and are obsessed with the idea of survival and with reproduction. That particular thread has existed--shockingly enough--since the start of this season and thus makes narrative sense is if there is something much worse on the horizon. Where the failure comes in is in the execution of the bigger and badder alien menace. There has been little to no foreshadowing or real hints of what we have now been told is coming. Queen Bee has a been a figure on this show from the start of the third season with ample time to give a variety of expositions on the Dome, the magical cocoons, the oxytocin, not to mention her icky sexcapades with Little Crazypants. But instead of having her speak about this looming threat that is the real danger to planet Earth, she's been doing everything but showing any real measure of fear about this threat. It looks forced and pulled out of thin air now with her sudden plot bomb to Joe as she's forcing him to stare at a calcified Dome and order him to split the amethysts seven ways (apparently that's the key to bringing down the Dome? That's the utter gibberish for the week). Honestly, I don't care what the new threat is and why should I? Yes, Queen Bee has been a bit of a menace in a cold, calculating, smother you with a pillow sort of way, but given that the show has done nothing to flesh her or her kind out in any meaningful and non-threatening way, I find that I can't be even the tiniest bit intrigued about the new big bad and the circumstances for why the Bugs fled their own world. They are just a place filler until next season and, ultimately, Queen Bee will die before the season is out and the Bugs will be forgotten as the Borg Collective of Chester's Mill return to "normal." If they wanted me to care about the mass extinction of this race--these bugs--then the writers needed to build some sympathy from the start, to make them more nuanced than just Queen Bee running around having sex with teenagers, killing random people, and sounding off weird gibberish about purple goop. Because the writers made the Bugs so uninteresting and unimportant, I neither fear nor care about this new alien that is apparently out there in space. C'est la vie, eh?

The other thread this week actually carried across multiple parties and characters, not something Under the Dome is known for. Namely, we had some parent-to-child conversation or introspective naval gazing. Up first we have Big Jim and Little Crazypants. Did Jim mean anything he said? Possibly, but I don't know how he got from a few episodes ago thinking it's okay to kill Junior to suddenly loving him and wanting to mend their very torn relationship. There has been no emotional upheaval, no change of heart, no moment of understanding for Jim. In this week alone, Big Jim is still all gung-ho about killing the Borg Collective of Chester's Mill. If I'm expected to believe that he's looking at his son lying on a cot and suddenly feels really bad about the way he's treated Junior, then the show failed (shock) because his emotional state has remained unaltered whenever he's come up against Junior before. Again, this whole "we could be the Rennie boys!" malarkey comes out of left field and feels like a time killer and only inserted to add to the "shock" of Jim agreeing with Benton in the end. The only resolution to the Rennie boys is obvious: Junior is playing Big Jim and in the end Big Jim says "ok" to Benton killing everyone inside the Dome to prevent the Bugs from escaping. Any emotional development on Big Jim's part just died before it even really began. In other parent/child news, Eva had a crappy childhood and I don't care. I really don't. Why should I? I don't know Eva; we haven't been given any kind of indication about who she was before the Dome (except that she was an anthropologist doing things no anthropologist would ever do...). Her sad (very remedial and cliche) backstory falls emotionally flat and on deaf ears as does her death at the hands of Queen Bee. Harsh, Queenie, harsh. And then there's little Baby! Queen who sucked the Kinship out of her mother's breast (yes, I really just wrote that) before her mother reverted back to normal only to be smothered by a pillow and a poorly sung lullaby. So much for the power of the Kinship, eh? What does Queen Bee really want? Is she truly ready to give up her time on the proverbial throne? Has she accepted, truly, the passing of the torch and is she ready to die because her cycle has come to an end? I don't know and again it's because the writers have failed at making Queen Bee a character that we can understand. I have no idea who the parasite pixel thing is. I know she's some sort of alien but I'm given no indication what sort of soul she is (to use the term soul rather loosely) and chances are, with the season drawing to a close, I never will. Ah well. C'est la vie, eh?

Miscellaneous Notes on Love is a Battlefield

--Julia found a single strand of Queen Bee's hair in a barn full of hay. Because she's the plucky young reporter, guys!

--I honestly don't care about Uhura learning her father is a pixel bug and that her pseduo-father Benton has been lying to her. Why should I care about these people at all?

--If the super drug with Queen Bee's DNA causes brain damage in Junior, I'd think that was a plus not a con.

--Barbie is going to save the Eva he "used to know." What? You never knew Eva. The Eva you "knew" was in a fake dream world fueled by purple cocoon goop! What an absurd line. 

--"I'm helping to deliver your baby with another woman."

--RIP Random Military Man. RIP Eva.

Friday, August 21, 2015

In Which I Review Under the Dome (3x10)

Eva is the flying purple people eater. Okay, she's not flying yet, but give Under the Dome time and I'm sure Eva will sprout wings and flutter away. Butterfly style. Once again, this week's episode, "Legacy," was a wheel-spinning, long drawn out exercise in which we learned the same information all over again (eggs are dangerous; they infect people and then these people go crazy; the Dome is calcifying) and a lot of Gibberish was both said and done (Barbie and Julia want to be parents and, seriously, Eva glowed purple). At this point, we are just slogging through to the finish line; plots are going left and right but never forward; characters wander around like zombies, even if they aren't part of the Borg Collective of Chester's Mill, being asked to spew quasi-emotional nonsense that falls incredibly flat. There are only so many ways I can say that this show is utterly ridiculous and dreck, but I've probably said it all already. There are no deep themes, simply the repetition of very basic themes over and over without any sort of serious resolution. Grab a glowing pregnant woman, kill a virgin, and let's go. 

It's so hard to review an episode like this because really nothing happened. Plot happened, yes. Gibberish happened, yes. But nothing thematically significant or even interesting happened. Benton magically popped in to Chester's Mill. You remember Benton? No. Why would you? He appeared for five whole seconds in the season premiere and while his real name is Hektor, I'll be calling him Benton for obvious "ER"-nostalgic reasons. If there is a theme to this week's episode--and to be frank, if it's a theme it's not developed and I'm trying to catch the wind with this one--it's about establishing a legacy for yourself and generations to come. Benton has an obsession with the egg and with the power it can generate. Ever since Alaska, Benton has wanted to harness the clean, unlimited energy the egg provides. Why? Well, not out of the goodness of his heart, that's for sure. He's a greedy corporate man who can't see past the several billions of dollars this would generate for him. Shocking, right? Yet another self-centered charcter who knows more about the Dome than anyone and who has a hidden ulterior motive beyond rescuing the inhabitants of Chester's Mill. Benton knows exactly what kind of legacy he is bringing to the Giant Goldfish Bowl--he watched his best friend turn into digital, sparkly bug-thing after Patrick (the friend) came into contact with the egg (it wants me to touch it!). This is a huge problem Under the Dome has (one of the problems for there are many). Every time it introduces a character, the show makes them devilish, diabolical, egotistical, ruthless, or an alien Queen who wants to turn everyone into her own little doll collection. There are close to zero redeemable characters on this show; Norrie is the only one I maybe sort of care about. It's not that I even hate the characters; hatred is still a strong emotion to elicit from a TV viewer and any emotion is good when it comes to a piece of art. I just find everyone--new, old, and in between--to be truly terrible but also ultimately boring. They are all the same, even without being part of the Borg Collective of Chester's Mill. Why should I care if any of them get out from the Goldfish Bowl? I don't. Which is why their weekly crisis of "oh no! We're going to die for some reason or other" means absolutely nothing to me. It's the writers job to make me care. I should want these people to get out, to have a life again. Or I should want them to suffer for their crimes, but I feel neither. I am just bored and don't care if they live, if they die, if they sit around playing Go Fish. It would result in the same feelings from me.

 The other legacy in this show is of the literal kind: a baby. Who apparently needs virginal sacrifices? See! I told you guys those women were there to be sacrificed. What I did not expect (or, god knows, even want) was for Eva to glow purple as she sucked the life force out of those women. Or maybe the Baby Queen did the sucking. Either way, there was a glowing purple light and then many dead virgins and then miraculously a significantly more pregnant Eva. It's utter gibberish but it's also that we've only got 3 episodes to go (huzzah!) and so the writers must get the baby born because as Dead Alien Science Guy tells us, "AFTER THE QUEEN IS BORN THE WAR BEINGS."  Thanks for the newsflash, Sherlock. Cause I hadn't figured out that some sort of war would likely begin after the Evil Alien Baby was born. I've watched movies and TV, dude. I know how this game goes.

Miscellaneous Notes on Legacy

"You back-stabbing ass!" Joe, Sam killed your sister! Less than a week ago! Why would you ever trust him to begin with? Honestly, this is your own fault.

 --Whistling causes the amethyst to glow. Still doesn't explain why the Borg Collective of Chester's Mill has been whistling all this time.

--Hunter and Uhrua got their flirt on.

--There are still 2,000 under the Dome? Are we sure about that? Because I don't think that's right at all. 

--The opening monologue now states that the Dome fell 4 weeks ago. Man, hell of a month, eh?

--Apparently TLK didn't work all the way because Barbie and his infection are in a dormant phase. So TLK is not a catch all, cure all? OMG, quick! Someone tell OUAT before I have to suffer through Season 5!

--RIP White Clothed Virgins; RIP Midwife Lady.

Friday, August 14, 2015

In Which I Review Under the Dome (3x9)

Let's get sexual! Or, at the very least, let's kiss until we can kiss no more in the hopes that our alien lover returns to their once fine human form. Yes, that's right; in this week's episode, "Plan B" Under the Dome went all Once Upon a Time (Once Under the Dome? Once Upon A Dome?) and true love's kiss appears to have broken the evil spell of Queen Bee; in other words, Barlie once again are having themselves some good old fashioned BBQ. And in other news, Queen Bee has discovered that screwing teenage boys is a surefire way to heal stab wounds and prevent yourself from dying, with the added bonus that the Giant Goldfish Bowl will stop calcifying. You all know what comes next, right? Gibberish. Absolute gibberish. I'll say this--this week's episode was better than last week's, but that's not exactly a strong compliment. It only means that instead of being thoroughly angry at the end of the episode, I was only mildly nauseous and rolling my eyes a lot. We only have four episodes to go and I'm pretty sure this entire season has been an exercise in futility. But then again, isn't every season of Under the Dome? Pucker up, kids. We're almost there. 

What exactly was Plan B? Was it to sit in an empty funeral home and rehash some information, also known as killing time, which is what all final three episodes of Under the Dome does every single season (you think I'm kidding? Season 1, episode 9 is when Max No-Last-Name showed up!) Information, the first: Carolyn is dead and everyone is sad; this emotion rings as hollow since everyone (Norrie included) pretty much forgot that Carolyn was a person until she suddenly appeared in the plot again, just in time to die. Information, the second: there is a weird schematic that has something to do with hertz and sound waves and the Dome and Amethysts and, let's face it, I can't be bothered with that drivel. And apparently neither can the writers because Joey was at his Wunderkind best, simply doling out information after reading a few stolen library books on the nature of sound. That's all Joey needs in order to come up with a working hypothesis about how one can bring down the Giant Goldfish Bowl. Never mind the fact that Science Teacher Pine had no idea how to do that; Joey is all you need, thus making Science Teacher Pine even more useless! Information, the third: Julie really loves Barbie. I mean, she really loves him. If she could, Julia would write Julia + Barbie 4Eva on her notebooks in school. So much of this week's episode was given over to Julia holding Barbie hostage in a shack (same shack where Barbie killed Peter, Julia's husband. Ah, memories) and torturing him to make him feel her love...or something. There are two kinds of drivel on Under the Dome. The first is Dome-Drivel; the kind that involves amethysts, cocoons, oxytocin, and sexual assaults on teenage boys in order to heal an invaded body. The second is character-emotional drivel; this kind is a bit more complex because it isn't science-fiction mumbo jumbo but, instead, is a series of speeches or lines that are meant to show how well the characters understand themselves and those around them, but comes off as really pretentious. For example, Julia yelling (in an over the top, first year drama student sort of way) that while Ava is Barbie's past, she is his future, or that Barbie is the kind of man who owns his mistakes and doesn't hide in the dark is character-emotional drivel. I have no idea what the first sentiment even means because I don't know how Ava is representative of Barbie's past, but the second doesn't even remotely resemble the Barbie I've seen on screen for three seasons now. Doesn't hide in the dark? You mean like his introduction as a shadow mercenary and later as a hired killer who neglected to tell the woman he was sleeping with all about his past as a shadowy mercenary and hired killer (who murdered her husband?) Yeah, no. Not like Barbie at all. See, it's overly pretentious; the writers think they are about to stick some sort of impactful landing and really drive home character development and understanding, but it comes across as forced and silly.

Speaking of forced and silly: Ava is pregnant and several beautiful women of the Borg Collective of Chester's Mill have been chosen for ritual sacrifice. Or, at least, I assume it's ritual sacrifice. You don't put pretty ladies in white dresses with candles and have them stand in a circle with insipid smiles unless you are about to kill them. Or they are joining a sorority. It's an either or thing, really. Since Ava is not about to pledge her life and existence to the Sisterhood, I can only assume that the lovely ladies are there to offer up their blood for her little Baby-Q to bathe in. Or the baby will eat them. Again, it's an either or situation, really. God, how silly and stupid is this? Eva just slept with Barbie "yesterday" but she's already pregnant because "alien" and this pregnancy is not like other ones? But shouldn't it be? Ava's true form--the scary bug thing--is inhabiting Eva's body but Eva's body is human. Shouldn't a human body + another human body (albeit an infected one with scary bug thing) be a somewhat normal human gestation? It's still just human biology--hence why oxytocin from human biological sex can cure Queen Bee. Am I thinking too hard about the plot mechanics of Under the Dome? Yes, yes I am. I'll stop now. But the long story short is that Eva is carrying a Baby-Q who will be the next Queen and take Queen Bee's place as head of the Borg Collective of Chester's Mill. Also known as Season Four of Under the Dome. May God have mercy on our souls.

Miscellaneous Notes on Plan B

--"George and Ringo just torched the Aktion house." Big Jim is now being used only for snappy one-liners. I think I'm okay with that.

--Who needs a pregnancy test when you have a glowing rock!

--"Kinship phone home." Norrie, don't ever change.

--"I thought you were my mate." Junior continues to be Little Crazypants and think that woman who sleep with him want to be his life partner. Look out, Queen Bee! He could lock you in a bomb shelter like he did with Angie.

--True. Love's. Kiss. (I vomit profusely)

--"Who hooks up with the guy who killed her husband?" OMG THANK YOU BARBIE.

Friday, August 7, 2015

In Which I Review Under the Dome (3x8)

I had a choice tonight. I could choose to watch the Republican debate on Fox or I could watch this weeks episode of Under the Dome, "Breaking Point." I chose to watch Under the Dome because I am committed to blogging this series from start to finish. After a solid hour of nonsense, gibberish, and utter tomfoolery, I realized that I made the wrong decision because while the Republican debate would be equally nonsensical, gibberish and tomfoolery filled, at least it would be entertaining. There was no point to this episode. At all. It backtracked every single thing that happened last week; it killed minor characters that we all but totally forgot existed, and it continued to force a love triangle between three terrible, dull, and moronic people, only one of whom is an alien inside a human costume, but all of whom are metaphorical pod people. The apocalypse of last week did not happen; it was just an illusion designed to bring the Borg Collective of Chester's Mill closer together. So the one sort of exciting, somewhat interesting plot to happen on the show in forever was nothing more than a "dream" reality. I give up. The Republicans are better than this show! (And now I need to go liquify my brain). Grab a giant amethyst and hunker down for dear life. We still have 5 episodes to go. 

This will be a very short review, not only because of the total lack of plot advancement but also because I don't think I have it in me to care about snarking at Under the Dome this week. Apologies in advance but really, nothing happened. The last few episodes have been somewhat thought provoking, at least enough to allow me to do more than mumble pure snark at you all, but this episode was just gibberish and nonsense coupled with characters standing around talking about things we already knew. Do you care that Barbie and Eva had sex? No? Me either. Good, moving on. Do you care that Eva and Julia had a standoff with guns over who gets to BBQ with Dale Barbara? No? Me either. Good, moving on. Do you care that Big Jim Rennie failed to make an emotional connection with Little Crazypants and that Little Crazypants continues to think with what is inside his crazy pants instead of with his brain? No? Good, moving on. Do you care that Sam was tied to a bed in a fallout shelter and forced to believe that he was being given Queen Bee's blood in order to tie him back to the Borg Collective of Chester's Mill? No? Good, moving on. Do you care that the Apocalypse was really just an illusion that Queen Bee pushed into people's minds while she was incubating in a cocoon until she hatched? No? Good, moving on. Do you care that the Borg Collective of Chester's Mill only managed to save one amethyst? No? Good, moving on. Do you care that Carolyn died in a mine explosion but remembered her love of Norrie? Yes? Ok, so did I a bit. That was a small heartfelt moment in the absolute cesspool of stupidity that was this episode. See, I just gave you an almost bullet point by bullet point plot hash (which I almost never do in my reviews) but did not give any depth to the plot because there is no depth, at all. Everything about this episode, except the death of Carolyn and Norrie's reaction, had no heart and no emotion. This show wants me to care about these people, the plot, and the drama between those two elements but they have yet to make 99.9% of these characters compelling enough--either good or bad--for me to be compelled by. The Dome is still standing. Julia is in love with Barbie. Eva is trying to keep Barbie between her legs because Queen Bee demands it. Junior is his own man. Jorrie are true love and will probably bring down the Dome with their constant sexing. And there is some new girl who is talking to Hunter and I'm sure she's important but to heck if I know why. In fact, I don't even know her name. Is it Lucy? Is it Lily? I'm going to call her Uhrua since she's some sort of communications expert. Do you get my frustrating right now? I don't expect life altering TV from Under the Dome. But I expect more than mindless drivel that does absolutely nothing but backtrack on the previous weeks advancements while simultaneously offering nothing in any kind of development this week. Try again Under the Dome. Try again.

Miscellaneous Notes on Breaking Point

--There is something ironic about this weeks title given my own breaking point with this show.

--Eva is going to end up pregnant, isn't she?

--"We have to go!"
"Where?! We are under a dome!" This is why Norrie is still the only good character.

--So no Apocalypse at all? Not even a little bit?

--The Dome is going to calcify. Queen Bee used up all the energy in the crystals and Oxytocin to heal herself. Gibberish. Absolute gibberish.

--"We need to kill them all." Finally, Queen Bee and I agree on something. 

--"A cripple, two horny teenagers and a plucky newspaper girl?" OMG. Big Jim, have you been reading my blog?