Recap (#110 of 806)

The Americans Recap Season 5, Episode 3, "The Midges"

Comments Comments (...)

The Americans Recap: Season 5, Episode 3, "The Midges"

Patrick Harbron/FX

The Americans Recap: Season 5, Episode 3, "The Midges"

Last week, I doubted the sincerity with which Philip (Matthew Rhys) reacted to Gabriel contemplating the possibility of the United States government tampering with the Soviet Union's food supply. Though I still think the overall scene was doing much work for the audience's benefit, Philip's seeming incredulousness was instantly reoriented for me by the look he gives Alexei (Alexander Sokovikov) in the opening scene of this week's episode of The Americans, “The Midges.” The Morozovs and the family of spies pretending to be their friends are bowling when Alexei, as is his wont, begins to rail against the oppressiveness of the life he lived in Russia. It is, of course, in Philip and Elizabeth's (Keri Russell) best interests to feign sympathy for whatever Alexei tells them, but the expression on Philip's face is unmistakably sincere, very much rooted in the horror of remembering that which he can't forget.

Homeland Recap Season 6, Episode 9, "Sock Puppets"

Comments Comments (...)

Homeland Recap: Season 6, Episode 9, "Sock Puppets"

JoJo Whilden/Showtime

Homeland Recap: Season 6, Episode 9, "Sock Puppets"

The real world is filled with differing ideas, opinions, and agendas, and to someone who wishes to control that world, this can be frustratingly inconvenient. Just look at how cheerful the usually gloomy Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham) seems in the latest episode of Homeland, “Sock Puppets,” as he's called into a meeting with President-elect Elizabeth Keane (Elizabeth Marvel), a former adversary who seems far more amenable to the man's policy proposals now that she's been fed false intelligence about the Iranians. Dar practically glows as he stops by the hotel room of Majid Javadi (Shaun Toub), the Iranian defector who lied to Keane at Dar's behest, so much so that Javadi even calls him out on it. Dar's downfall—and perhaps Homeland's—is in the way “Sock Puppets” sacrifices character development for the sake of scoring a few more points in that game, insisting on the accuracy of a single viewpoint instead of the ambiguity of differently motivated agents.

The Walking Dead Recap Season 7, Episode 14, "The Other Side"

Comments Comments (...)

The Walking Dead Recap: Season 7, Episode 14, "The Other Side"

Gene Page/AMC

The Walking Dead Recap: Season 7, Episode 14, "The Other Side"

The absence of dialogue in the scenes before the opening credits of this week's episode of The Walking Dead, “The Other Side,” makes Maggie (Lauren Cohan) seem nearly iconic: a legend in the making. Throughout these scenes, she teaches knife-throwing and does that benevolent-leader thing of acknowledging people by placing a reassuring hand on their shoulder. It's good to see her, since she's been absent from the last few episodes, and particularly gratifying to see her looking good, almost as happy and loose as Rick and Michonne did during their extended supply run in “Say Yes.”

The Americans Recap Season 5, Episode 2, "Pests"

Comments Comments (...)

The Americans Recap: Season 5, Episode 2, "Pests"

Patrick Harbron/FX

The Americans Recap: Season 5, Episode 2, "Pests"

“Relax your shoulders, and follow through,” says Elizabeth Jennings (Keri Russell) to her daughter, Paige (Holly Taylor), in tonight's episode of The Americans, as they start their latest self-defense training session. The scene begins and ends with the metronomic sound of Paige's fists taking turns smacking—not too hard but also not too soft—a duct-taped throw pillow. That sound, like the girl's movement, is a canny corollary to Elizabeth's methods as a spy, the perfection with which she must thread needles, and how they're inextricably bound to her methods as a mother. Yes, Paige is frustrated by her parents not wanting her to date Matthew (Danny Flaherty), but when she agrees to continue their training session, one grasps Paige's respect for her mother, for the way she broaches the subject of sex so frankly—which is to say, by pretending that it's something that can actually occur.

The Walking Dead Recap Season 7, Episode 13, "Bury Me Here"

Comments Comments (...)

The Walking Dead Recap: Season 7, Episode 13, "Bury Me Here"

Gene Page/AMC

The Walking Dead Recap: Season 7, Episode 13, "Bury Me Here"

With “Bury Me Here,” The Walking Dead snaps back to its default position for this season, focusing on how Rick's group and their allies are getting motivated and ready to engage the Saviors. The dialogue gets reset too, laden with expository or aphoristic speeches, so Richard's (Karl Makinen) suicide-by-Morgan death galvanizes other key players to commit to the cause—but only after Richard has portentously warned Morgan (Lennie James) that he will live to regret it if he doesn't abandon his dream of pacifism, then spouted one of those geysers of backstory that always signals a character's death.

Homeland Recap Season 6, Episode 8, "Alt.Truth"

Comments Comments (...)

Homeland Recap: Season 6, Episode 8, "Alt.Truth"

Showtime

Homeland Recap: Season 6, Episode 8, "Alt.Truth"

On his third tour overseas, Andrew Keane's (Ryan Shibley) unit was overrun by a barrage of sniper fire and rocket-propelled grenades. This soldier died a hero, a fact that's been inconvenient to Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham) and his cabal of war hawks, because it's given President-elect Elizabeth Keane (Elizabeth Marvel) a righteous, audience-pleasing “gold-star mother” narrative in the media. Tonight's episode of Homeland, “Alt.Truth,” eerily and effectively depicts how such stories can be readily orchestrated and flipped on a dime, and rarely for the better good. It's in Real Truth host Brett O'Keefe (Jake Weber) manipulating the reality of Andrew's demise, running a sort of retcon game for his right-wing audience; in Majid Javadi (Shaun Toub) shamelessly turning on his country, Saul (Mandy Patinkin), and the truth for personal gain; and Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend) again suffering the consequences of taking stock of the wrong truth behind his paranoia.

The Americans Recap Season 5, Episode 1, "Amber Waves"

Comments Comments (...)

The Americans Recap: Season 5, Episode 1, "Amber Waves"

Patrick Harbron/FX

The Americans Recap: Season 5, Episode 1, "Amber Waves"

The season-five premiere of The Americans is an insant reminder that the series is an edifice brilliantly constructed of contrasts. “Amber Waves” begins with the setting up of the pieces of Phillip and Elizabeth Jennings's (Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell) latest spy game, as a young cohort, Tuan (Ivan Mok), pretending to be their adopted son ingratiates himself with a Russian-born teen, Pasha Morozov (Zack Gafin), at school. Blaring on the soundtrack is Devo's “That's Good,” anthemically attesting to the ease with which Tuan exploits his own difference to bait Pasha: “Everybody wants a good thing/Everybody ain't it true that/Everybody's looking for the same thing.”

The Walking Dead Recap Season 7, Episode 12, "Say Yes"

Comments Comments (...)

The Walking Dead Recap: Season 7, Episode 12, "Say Yes"

Gene Page/AMC

The Walking Dead Recap: Season 7, Episode 12, "Say Yes"

A lot happens in “Say Yes,” almost all of it compelling. Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh) insists that Rick and his crew bring her even more guns than the shitload they reclaimed from the soldier walkers. Tara decides to tell Rick about the Oceanside group. (Might the women at Oceanside be willing not only to join the fight, but to hand over some of their guns to the trash dwellers?) And what is with that giant female walker Rosita encounters with the bloated head and neck? Is that just normal decay or it is some new mutation they aren't yet aware of? It's getting a little tiresome, though, to watch Rosita (Christian Serratos) stomp around in an unchanging state of stony-faced rage, telling everyone she wants to be alone. At least she eases up at the end of the episode, recruiting Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) to help her kill Negan, even though that's unlikely to end well.

Homeland Recap Season 6, Episode 7, "Imminent Risk"

Comments Comments (...)

Homeland Recap: Season 6, Episode 7, "Imminent Risk"

Showtime

Homeland Recap: Season 6, Episode 7, "Imminent Risk"

From the moment Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham) first met President-elect Keane (Elizabeth Marvel) in Homeland's season-six premiere episode, “Fair Game,” he's been convinced that she poses a threat to American sovereignty. It's appropriate, then, that when he tunes into Keane's latest interview with ABC reporter Martha Raddatz, she's opening up about her soldier son and their differing opinions on the war that would later claim his life: “He was doing what he believed was right, and I was doing what I believed was right.”

The Walking Dead Recap: Season 7, Episode 11, "Hostiles and Calamities"

Comments Comments (...)

The Walking Dead Recap: Season 7, Episode 11, "Hostiles and Calamities"

Gene Page/AMC

The Walking Dead Recap: Season 7, Episode 11, "Hostiles and Calamities"

The gods must have heard my prayer. Tonight's episode of The Walking Dead, “Hostiles and Calamities,” takes a break from the hatchet-faced military strategizing and obligatory slicing and dicing that's lately dominated the show to look at Negan's (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) Sanctuary, that Dantean dystopia with an Orwellian name. The death count isn't quite zero in this episode, but Dr. Carson's (R. Keith Harris) Holocaust-evoking demise feels anything but titillating or gratuitous. And, for the first time I can remember, not a single walker is whacked, though one does lose its bottom half, along with some gooey innards, as part of its slow slide toward total disintegration.