Silicon Valley Recap Season 4, Episode 2, "Terms of Service"

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Silicon Valley Recap: Season 4, Episode 2, "Terms of Service"

John P. Johnson

Silicon Valley Recap: Season 4, Episode 2, "Terms of Service"

In tonight's episode of Silicon Valley, Dinesh (Kumail Nanjiani) takes about a minute to transition from underdog to overlord as PiperChat's new CEO, getting high on his own hot air. But it only takes him another minute to come back to earth, in a crash landing so humiliating and terrifying it even satisfies the perpetually disgruntled Gilfoyle (Martin Starr), whose rivalry with Dinesh is so deep he'd rather see Dinesh fail than see his own company succeed.

American Gods Recap Season 1, Episode 1, "The Bone Orchard"

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American Gods Recap: Season 1, Episode 1, "The Bone Orchard"

Starz

American Gods Recap: Season 1, Episode 1, "The Bone Orchard"

While reading Neil Gaiman's American Gods, I was often stopped in the street by people who saw it in my hands and wanted to have an impromptu pow-wow about its greatness. I often have a book in my hands, and I've never before encountered such reactions, which I enjoyed more than the novel. Gaiman's narrative is imaginatively conceived, but it's composed of hundreds of pages of exposition preceding a battle that never commences. Gaiman tells a long shaggy-dog joke, in which humankind's various gods across the ages are revealed to be as gullible as their worshipers, subject to the manipulations of a rigged society that distracts us from our subservience with a trumped war between cultural factions that serve the same leader. It's quite resonant politically, but the novel is all theme. There's barely a plot, the characters are ciphers, and Gaiman's prose is lean and studiously workmanlike. The notion of gods as scared and foolish projections of their scared and foolish creators (for we are their gods) is poignant though, and it's this idea that's ostensibly captured readers' imaginations.

Doctor Who Recap Season 10, Episode 3, "Thin Ice"

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Doctor Who Recap: Season 10, Episode 3, "Thin Ice"

BBC America

Doctor Who Recap: Season 10, Episode 3, "Thin Ice"

With “Thin Ice,” writer Sarah Dollard follows up last season's “Face the Raven” with another successful episode whose central focus is the relationship between the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and his companion—in this case, Bill (Pearl Mackie). As we saw at the end of last week's episode, they've arrived at the end of the last London frost fair in 1814. This event had been mentioned in passing in 2011's “A Good Man Goes to War,” where River Song said the Doctor had taken her there as a birthday present. There's no hint of any timestream-crossing plotting here though: This episode sticks to the more straightforward storytelling style that's characterized this season so far.

RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap Season 9, Episode 6, "Snatch Game"

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RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap: Season 9, Episode 6, "Snatch Game"

VH1/Logo

RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap: Season 9, Episode 6, "Snatch Game"

Challenges come and challenges go, but the Snatch Game is eternal for a reason. From season to season of RuPaul's Drag Race, it has the power to confirm frontrunners, establish dark horses, expose one-trick ponies, and torpedo look-dependent queens' hopes. And it's not only a fan favorite, it's every contestant's favorite too. It's the mirror image of the dreaded sewing challenge, in that the ones who know they can't sew dread that challenge's arrival and hope they can fake their way through it. No one dreads the Snatch Game because no one thinks the ability to make RuPaul laugh is a particularly difficult skill. She brings it to you every bump into or out of a commercial break! Like Alfred Hitchcock's bomb theory, the difference between the sewing challenge and Snatch Game is the difference between queens who see the oncoming train wreck and queens who get utterly blindsided.

Katy Perry’s “Bon Appétit” Serves Up Food Porn for the Masses

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Katy Perry’s “Bon Appétit” Serves Up Food Porn for the Masses

Rony Alwin

Katy Perry’s “Bon Appétit” Serves Up Food Porn for the Masses

Katy Perry's “Chained to the Rhythm” sounded like an early candidate for song of the summer, but the singer was ostensibly just warming up. Perhaps in part because “Chained to the Rhythm” burned slower than Perry's past lead singles, “Bon Appétit,” the second release from her upcoming album, is a decided shift away from the “purposeful pop” of its predecessor, and she's traded disco-ball scavenger hunts for pie recipe swapping. No soft political polemics here, just time-tested food-as-sex metaphors that hit like a meat tenderizer: “All that you can have, boy/Got me spread like a buffet…Appetite for seduction, fresh out the oven,” Perry sings over percolating synths.

Tribeca Film Festival Aardvark and The Clapper

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Tribeca Film Festival: Aardvark and The Clapper

Tribeca Film Festival

Tribeca Film Festival: Aardvark and The Clapper

Brian Shoaf's Aardvark opens in the most on-the-nose way imaginable: with a shot of—what else?—an aardvark that young Josh Norman (Jack Lanyo) is watching with particular interest as it burrows its way into its hole at a zoo. Such obviousness marks the film as a whole, right down to the grotesque chili-bowl haircut that the now-grown-up Josh (Zachary Quinto) sports to immediately signal to us that we're watching a mentally disturbed individual.

Tribeca Film Festival Review City of Ghosts

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Tribeca Film Festival Review: City of Ghosts

Tribeca Film Festival

Tribeca Film Festival Review: City of Ghosts

Matthew Heineman's City of Ghosts is a tribute to the bravery of Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently (RBSS), a collective of Syrian citizen journalists who banded together in 2014 to chronicle the atrocities being committed by ISIS in their country. In fact, the documentary begins with footage of members of the group about to accept the International Press Freedom Award in New York, which gives the viewer an indication of the filmmaker's admiring view of the group. But Heineman isn't just interested in hero worship.

The Americans Recap Season 5, Episode 8, "Immersion"

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The Americans Recap: Season 5, Episode 8, "Immersion"

Jeffrey Neira/FX

The Americans Recap: Season 5, Episode 8, "Immersion"

Another week, another episode of The Americans that's notable for its pervasive lack of hurry. Philip (Matthew Rhys) slowly drives home from his meeting with Gabriel, the camera hanging back to give us one of the widest-ever views to date of the exterior of the Jennings home, and fills Elizabeth (Keri Russell) in about their now-former handler's thoughts on Renee and Paige (Holly Taylor). They speak of Gabriel almost as if he's a ghost, and with an understanding that they will one day become every bit as haunted as he was when he walked out of the safe house for what was probably the last time. Unsurprisingly, then, they put up walls when they go to meet Claudia (Margo Martindale) and discuss their latest plan of attack, because to stave off a human connection with their new handler is to stand back from that precipice of moral oblivion they've been inching toward for so long.

Tribeca Film Festival Thirst Street

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Tribeca Film Festival: Thirst Street

Tribeca Film Festival

Tribeca Film Festival: Thirst Street

Nathan Silver tackles melodrama in Thirst Street, fusing its emotional bigness with his unique form of quotidian portraiture without one cancelling the other out. Silver takes one of the most politically disreputable of subgenres—the film in which a female stalks a male, embodying each person's respective, stereotypical fears of rejection and obsession—and turns it upside down, stretching it so that we understand the stakes driving all parties. Paradoxically, the film is so empathetic that one doesn't know where to place their empathy, and Silver's mastery of tone recalls other filmmakers who've mixed tragedy and comedy to unmooring, exhilaratingly ambiguous ends, such as Alan Rudolph, Pedro Almodóvar, and Claude Chabrol.

Silicon Valley Recap Season 4, Episode 1, "Success Failure"

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Silicon Valley Recap: Season 4, Episode 1, "Success Failure"

John P. Johnson

Silicon Valley Recap: Season 4, Episode 1, "Success Failure"

Richard (Thomas Middleditch) bumbles his way to an unlikely victory at the start of the season premiere of Silicon Valley, posing as an Uber driver in the latest chapter of Pied Piper's comically inept struggle to survive. The nerdily awkward pitch Richard initiates to the venture capitalist in his back seat, video-conferencing with the rest of the Pied Piper team to show off the unexpectedly popular platform they've created more or less by accident, doubles as a reunion for the show's viewers, bringing the main characters together in all their dysfunctional glory.