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Sunday, August 13, 2017

Orphan Black: One Fettered Slave

So it's not just work that's making these reviews late, it's that there's so much to process in each episode, and a part of me doesn't want it to end. It's hard to believe we only get one more episode of Orphan Black before it's over forever.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Orphan Black: Guillotines Decide

Late again, but it's been a busy week! Last week's preview of Orphan Black refused to show anything of this episode, which was a dead giveaway (no pun intended) that one of our regulars was not long for this world. The moment Sarah kissed Siobhan on her cheek and called her mum, I knew it would be Mrs S. C'mon, that's not even a spoiler, they were telegraphing it in neon lights throughout the entire episode!
So although I'm sad, I can't say I was upset. It didn't come as a huge surprise, and as death scenes go, it was a dignified one. Killing off minority characters is always a risk, but for every ten female characters that get fridged to make a male character sad (I've already seen two this year on Versailles and Into the Badlands) there's one that goes out on her own terms, looking fantastic and taking her killer down with her.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Woman of the Month: Dutch

Dutch from Killjoys
If there's one type of characterization I really love, it's a tough exterior hiding a vulnerable gooey centre. Such is the case with Dutch (real name: Yalena Yardeen) from SyFy's Killjoys. In many ways she's a total power fantasy: a bounty hunter with fantastic hair and a smirk to rival Natalie Dormer's who flies from planet to planet collecting warrants for large sums of money ... but of course, there's a dark backstory just waiting to be exposed.
She's deeply reminiscent of Firefly's River and Dark Angel's Max (who were also trained as living weapons), but where River was psychologically damaged and Max emotionally stunted, Dutch has set up very strict moral limitations on herself, striving to keep her abilities in check so that she can better distance herself from her past.
But she's not a grim, stoic killing-machine, which is a trap plenty of writers fall into when they're told to write a "badass female character". Across the episodes Dutch is allowed to be playful, tearful, distraught and afraid – even if those emotions don't come to her quite as naturally as others.
Her tale is one of self-identity and found family. When we first meet her she's already escaped a long-term abusive relationship with a father figure who was training her to become an assassin, and gone on to form a much healthier platonic bond with her partner in the Reclamation Apprehension Coalition. But if Khlyen and Johnny represent the two sides of her – the broken and the functional halves – then it doesn't come as much of a surprise when Khlyen's return sends her into a tailspin.
Ultimately she's defined by two internal drives: the protection of her crewmates and a need to understand where she came from. Always the question lingers: if it came down to it, which one would she chose? As I've only watched the first season, I don't yet know the answer...

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Reading/Watching Log #19

Though it looks like I got through a lot of material this month, the majority of shows were watched last month and finished up in the first few weeks of July. I only managed one film and a couple of books, but there was plenty of variety here: a couple of period dramas that were either sentimental or goofy, two sci-fi shows (an old one and a new one) and a trip down memory lane thanks to a podcast that focuses on pulpy teen thrillers from the Nineties.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Orphan Black: Gag or Throttle

So far this season has been solid but also a little ho-hum – until now! Suddenly things have been kicked into high gear, and for the first time I felt the writers were paying attention to the story as it unfolded, rather than gathering the pieces together for the show's final act.
This was the long-awaited Rachel-centric episode, and though we've had glimpses of her upbringing before, this delved much deeper into her past, her psyche and her relationship to the show's themes of female autonomy and nature vs nurture.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Orphan Black: Manacled Slim Wrists

I can't believe we're officially over halfway through the final season. I feel I should be more emotional about it, but though this season has certainly improved its suspense and stakes, I'm still not as engrossed as I used to be.

If anything, this season has the slight air of a checklist, with each major (and minor) character being brought on stage, given closure, and shuffled off again. We've had the demise of MK, the return of Adele, an appearance from Krystal, and – oh look! – Gracie is turning up next week. Now this is not necessarily a bad thing, in fact you would expect it for a final season, but there is a deliberate "let's wrap up this loose end" quality to the story that's not entirely organic.
And we've now gone two weeks without Felix!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Links and Updates

I don't think I've ever had two "Links and Updates" posts this close together before, but – wow! It's been one heck of a weekend. Maybe I should wait until Comic Con (which starts in a matter of days) but so much has been thrown at us by Disney and the BBC that I have to post about it now.