The Breakdown No. 9
Welcome back to The Breakdown. We are a small team, but that doesn’t stop us from giving you our opinions of the hot TV shows out here. This week we breakdown the premieres of The Leftovers, The Flash and iZombie, as well as the finale of Fear the Walking Dead. We have more than that below. So, together, let’s break it down [Insert record scratch].
Addition breakdowns provided by Max Mielecki: the man who saved central city by watching it be saved.
Doctor Who: “Under The Lake”
by Max Mielecki
“Under The Lake” continued the back-to-basics approach of “The Magician’s Apprentice” by putting the Doctor in a research facility filled with what might be ghosts. Peter Capaldi continues to shine as the Doctor here, offering up manic energy and tons of great banter as he works his way through trying to disprove, and then prove, the existence of ghosts. The ensemble does their job well enough, and the fast pace helps to keep things lively. The only issue may be whether or not this story has enough steam to carry through a second half.
The Leftover: “Axis Mundi”
by Montel Allen
“Axis Mundi,” in the vein of The Leftovers as a whole, is just great TV. This damn near reboot of the series is very welcome in my book, as it was a ballsy return for a series that’s been on hiatus for over a year. I loved not immediately catching up where we left off last season, and instead exploring the family that is the Murphys. Each member of the family is genuinely interesting. Teenagers are usually a narrative burden, but when you write them as real, mature characters, so many more layers can be explored, and that’s what was done here with Michael and Evie. There are still tons of questions, but the intrigue is a great alternative to getting concrete answers. I’m equally nervous and wildly excited to see how the Murphys match up with the Garveys, specifically Kevin v. John. Lastly, this premiere wasn’t without its bizarre-to-us/normal-to-them moments. Seriously, there was that bird in the woods that Erika dug up, Evie and her friends running naked through the woods and even that guy butchering a goat in a crowded diner. Whether these moments are metaphors or just a normal way of life for these people post departure, I’m sure they will resurface in some way or another.
Fear the Walking Dead: “The Good Man”
by Montel Allen
“The Good Man” fluctuated all too often between edge of your seat intensity and eye-rolling fatigue. On the positive side of things, the rescue mission on a broad scale was quite the finale I was hoping for. Nick and Victor’s smooth and vengeful escape was well worth the extra heartbeats. With this very brief, six-episode season, it’s a shame we didn’t get more of Victor. I enjoyed having his home be the landing destination for this season’s closing events. All things climaxed when it’s discovered that Liza actually got bit. It’s still early in this apocalypse, so hope is still quite present, albeit diminishing as time goes by. The closing moments after Travis shot his ex-wife was quite the punch to the heart. Travis actually had the most defining moments this episode, moments that makes the world of The Walking Dead great. From beating that soldier to (near) death to killing Liza, we should see a him struggling to keep his humanity next season. Yes, it’s a familiar trope seen on The Walking Dead proper, but it’s no less effective as a narrative device. Moments like the soldiers stealing the car from Chris and Alicia made the finale feel a bit bloated, but that’s easily forgiven when you have Daniel literally walking [the] dead casually into a military base. Now, we wait for Season 2… on a boat?
The Flash: “The Man Who Saved Central City”
by Max Mielecki
“The Man Who Saved Central City” did exactly what a great season premiere should: offering resolution to the previous season while moving the story forward in a meaningful way and creating excitement for the future. The new status quo set by a six-month time jump pushed the core cast into some interesting new directions, and the teases of alternate universes in the final act and a long-awaited appearance by Golden Age Flash Jay Garrick proves that The Flash is not only still great, but it’s just getting started.
iZombie: “Grumpy Old Liv”
by Montel Allen
After a surprisingly impressive first season, iZombie returned with a great start to Season 2. While this is a new season, “Grumpy Old Liv” felt more like a mid-season return rather than a whole new chapter. With that, iZombie keeps intact what we love about the show. As much as I detest it, the case of the week format in network television isn’t going away, but iZombie has always made the best of it with its “Brain of the Week” spin. Part of what makes this show great is Liv’s wonderful personality, which is why it was hilarious to see her take on the personality traits of a grumpy old man. As per usual and thankfully with this show, the cases take a backseat to the serialized narrative. It’s been three months in the show’s time since Season 1’s finale. Liv’s mom and brother can’t stand the sight of her given she didn’t (and couldn’t) give her blood to save Evan’s life. In Blaine’s world, he is now managing a funeral home. Finally, all of the Max Rager drama is still in the fold, with Major now being used as a zombie hunter and Max Rager assistant, Gilda, now Liv’s roommate. Above all, I’m just glad to hear that theme song again.
Scream Queens: “Haunted House”
by Montel Allen
“Haunted House” didn’t do much to eclipse the impact of the premiere, but it still has me watching. We’re constantly being jerked around and introduced to new possible killers. Everyone’s a suspect, with some being more likely than others. We got more flashbacks of what happened that night the Kappa sister died in the tub, further displaying how desperate the Dean is to keep her job. The titular haunted house portion of the episode wasn’t as exciting as I had hoped. There could have been bigger things done here for the plot. However, we did at least get confirmation that all of the bodies that were possibly walking around all Boone-style were very much dead. The mystery of who the baby born on that night is got a bit more clarification. We now know that it was a girl, meaning it could possibly be Grace, Chanel No. 1 or some other left-field surprise. Pete’s McConaughey impression, Zayday being kidnapped and Gigi possibly being the caretaker of the baby born that night made this week’s Scream Queens rather enjoyable to watch.
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