“So you’ve been just…totally fucking inconvenient”

TV Show: Black Mirror
Episode Title: San Junipero
Original Air Date: October 21, 2016
Episode Number: 3×04

Episode Description

California, 1987: San Junipero is a fun-loving beach town synonymous with sun, surf, and sex. And for recent arrivals Yorkie and Kelly, it’s going to be a life-changer.

My Review

This was the first Black Mirror episode I’ve ever watched a few months ago and the only reasons I watched it are: 1) Gugu Mbatha-Raw; 2) Mackenzie Davis; and 3) it’s a gay love story with a happy ending and is therefore required gay viewing.

Upon second viewing, this definitely holds up and I cried as much as the first time I watched it. It was also great watching it knowing the ending and I noticed that the episode made a couple of references to Yorkie’s car accident – first at the arcade when we first see her and then second when Kelly ran the car off the road and we saw Yorkie’s terrified face.

I cried when Kelly visited Yorkie and saw for the first time that Yorkie was on life support. The love on Kelly’s face broke my heart. I cried again when Kelly decided to marry Yorkie. Then I cried again at the ending when they were reunited and will be together for all of eternity. Oddly enough, I didn’t cry when Kelly was telling Yorkie about her life with her husband and how they lost their daughter. I felt for her, sure, but the emotional impact wasn’t as big as the other scenes I mentioned before.

Really love the chemistry between Gugu and Mackenzie and I kinda want to see them in more things together. I think their first meeting is a fantastic “meet-cute”, if you will. The fact that Yorkie just played along with Kelly when Wes was bugging Kelly was great. And of course, the whole “I’m…regarding you” – there’s just something so romantic and perfect about this. I’m totally stealing that line. 😄

I just love this episode and I’m so glad we got a happy ending for a change. This was probably the only episode of this show that had a happy ending, I’m assuming? There are still two more episodes for this season so I don’t know how accurate this statement is.

I’ll end this review with a few of my favorite lines:

“Do I have to tug your leash?”

“You’re authentically you.”

“I don’t know how to do this. Can you just make this easy for me?”

“Let me come visit. I want to say hi.”

“Wanna marry me instead?”

“You can have me or Walter Bishop”

TV Show: Fringe
Episode Title: Grey Matters
Original Air Date: December 10, 2009
Episode Number: 2×10

Episode Description

A patient at a mental hospital undergoes impromptu surgery that leaves his brain exposed. William Bell resurfaces during the investigation of the strange circumstances and Olivia finds reason that the leader of the shape-shifters may have something to do with it.

My Review

Great episode for Walter and Peter and also in advancing the alternate universe story and also for Olivia. Okay, it was a great episode overall, lol. Lots of backstory and emotional beats especially with the Bishops.

Of course Bell was involved back in the day when Walter had pieces of his brain matter removed in order to keep the secret of how to open the door to the other side. The question is, did Bell force Walter to do this? It looked like Walter was okay with it, but he seemed unsure if this was a good solution.

Having said that, I’m going to agree with Olivia’s sentiment earlier in the episode that perhaps Walter going “crazy” made him a better person and a better father. The shift when Walter’s brain reconnected with his brain matter was so dramatically different and I could sense the menace in his voice and how egotistical he is (kudos to John Noble) especially when he said of course he remembers this place since it’s his house. So I guess we have Bell to thank for this better version of Walter because watching a sane Walter on this show would not have been as enjoyable as watching not so sane Walter.

How fucked up is it that Bell endangered and practically stole a decade and a half of those three people’s lives just so he can keep this secret intact? If he really wanted this information to never get out, then why didn’t he just destroy those three pieces of Walter’s brain matter? And how exactly did Newton find out about these three patients? Did someone torture Bell on the other side to get this information out of him?

The opening scene of the episode was so gross, though. We see the guy’s scalp all pulled back and part of his brain is exposed. Only on this show would something like that be normal fare.

Poor Peter being worried for Walter throughout the episode. I felt for him and how helpless he must have felt not knowing where Walter is. I may or may not have teared up when Walter got the cure and said one of his Walter-isms.

And now on to Olivia. She was mostly in the background in this episode, but I felt her concern about not understanding something that she’s supposed to fight against? She was designated by Bell to be the guardian between the two universes and she, like Peter, feels helpless because she doesn’t have much to go on.

Her letting Newton go to save Walter was definitely the rational decision and not an emotional one (glad Broyles vocalized this to her, otherwise she probably would have blamed herself non-stop for Newton walking away forever) and it was also the right thing to do. There is only one Walter Bishop and they are definitely going to need him. I wanted to hug Broyles during this scene for just reassuring Olivia: “Don’t be so hard on yourself. We’re going to be needing you too.”

Newton messing with Olivia and saying “Now I know how weak you are” was him playing mind games and Olivia should not even listen to him. She’s a smart woman and she shouldn’t let this affect her. I believe in you, Olivia.

Lastly, how awesome was it seeing Olivia shoot the driver right in the head while the van is speeding away and she’s about 30 feet away? Such impeccable aim, damn! And she shot the other guy straight in the head, too. That’s my girl.

“There’s no cure for the Internet”

TV Show: Black Mirror
Episode Title: Shut Up and Dance
Original Air Date: October 21, 2016
Episode Number: 3×03

Episode Description

When withdrawn 19-year-old Kenny stumbles headlong into an online trap, he is quickly forced into an uneasy alliance with shifty Hector – both of them at the mercy of persons unknown.

My Review

I swear to God, this show just keeps on getting more and more disturbing as the seasons go on and this one is no exception. To think that Kenny was just masturbating, something that everyone does, I thought that he didn’t deserve this absurd version of cyber bullying. Then we find out he was looking at child pornography in the end? People are fucking sick. Not really feeling sorry for him in the end there.

Maybe he and those other pedophiles deserved what they got after all. I’m assuming the guy Kenny killed and the black guy were also pedophiles. The female CEO was racist while Hector was cheating on his wife. Although both of them are not good people, their acts are hardly criminal so I’m left to wonder what the bullies’ criteria are when it comes to meting out punishments and who exactly are they that they are left to being judge, jury, and executioner?

In any case, this episode confirmed for me that we should all cover our laptop cameras because someone is always watching. You can never be too safe in this day and age.

Random tidbits:

– I was excited to hear Stereophonics’ Have A Nice Day playing at the gas station store. Love those boys.

– It cracked me up that Hector was played by the same guy who plays Bronn on Game of Thrones and his speech to Kenny in the car was very reminiscent of Bronn’s rousing speeches to Tyrion.

– That smiling meme pic that was sent to all of the victims was the perfect way to end the bullies fucking with their preys.

“I think Mother Nature’s a real bitch”

TV Show: Fringe
Episode Title: Snakehead
Original Air Date: December 3, 2009
Episode Number: 2×09

Episode Description

After a cargo ship runs aground, the shoreline becomes littered with bodies hosting a giant squid-like creature. The Fringe team descends upon the scene to examine the bodies and discovers that the mysterious organisms are actually giant parasites. As the investigation unfolds, Walter heads back to the lab while Olivia, Peter, and Broyles race against time when they realize the case has ties to a threatening organization.

My Review

This is one of those perfect standalone Fringe episodes. Good case of the week, gross mysterious creatures, fantastic character moments, and great teamwork from everyone.

Without a doubt the moment between Walter and Astrid in the end is the best scene in the episode. It was so touching when Walter couldn’t stop asking Peter about Astrid after finding out she was followed back to the lab. I couldn’t help but tear up when Walter saw her back in the lab and he looked so heartbroken. 😪 Astrid trying to downplay it made it even more heartbreaking! And then they hugged and then the tears would not stop. My emotions. They have formed a beautiful friendship and it really is one of the show’s most underrated relationships, in my opinion. I do love that Walter called Astrid by her correct name several times throughout this episode.

Peter going into the store alone to do his own investigating was definitely stupid and probably the only nitpick I have of this episode. He couldn’t have waited five more minutes for Olivia and the rest of the FBI to get there? Having said that, I do appreciate that it was Olivia this time around who saved him by shooting the doctor dead. Gotta love that Olivia is such a great shot. 👍

Those parasitic worms (as Walter kept on insisting they be called) were so gross especially during that opening shot of the doctor pulling one out of that poor man’s mouth. So gross. It’s pretty ridiculous the lengths people will go to to save their loved ones. That mom paying half a million to bankroll this smuggling was insane. Did she even know how the doctor was getting these treatments for her son or is this a case of the less she knows the better? I would like to think that if she knew how the treatments were acquired, she wouldn’t have been that willing to fork over her money because it risked the lives of hundreds of people.

Another gross thing from this episode was the scene where that gangster slit his throat in the interrogation room and of course since this is Fringe, we see the severed neck and the blood almost gushing out of it. 😧 Never change, show.

Walter trying to be a little more independent was admirable, but also a bit foolish of him. He wasn’t ready and if he only did this step by step, it would have worked out so much better for him. Good thing that Chinese woman was kind enough to bring Walter to his apartment and Peter was able to pick him up from there. Of course, in true Walter fashion, he made himself at home by borrowing the woman’s kimono, lol.

It was quite touching when Peter was about to get mad at Walter and then upon seeing Walter’s sad and probably embarrassed face, he stopped himself and instead asked if Walter was okay. And then in the last scene, Walter implants a tracking device on his neck so that if something like this happens again, Peter would be able to track him. Oh, Walter.

We didn’t get much of Olivia in this episode, but can I just say that I really love that she’s almost always the lone woman every time they go on raids and that she’s almost always there in the thick of things and leading them? I just love that about her, her gung-ho attitude and her fearlessness. I also loved her reaction when Peter told her about Walter’s self-actualization and how amused she seemed by this.

“I haven’t killed anyone yet”

TV Show: Black Mirror
Episode Title: Playtest
Original Air Date: October 21, 2016
Episode Number: 3×02

Episode Description

A thrill-seeking globetrotter visits Britain, hooks up with a woman and tests the latest in video game technology – “a device as mind-bendingly sophisticated as it is terrifying.”

My Review

Holy shit. This is the first Black Mirror episode that really got me all fucked up. Hell, my heart was beating so fast and I can still feel it beating hard even after the episode ten minutes ago. How am I supposed to go to bed now after watching this? Impossible. I need to watch the rest of the episodes during the day for my own peace of mind.

Seriously, though, how fucking awesome and fucked up was this episode? I think it might be my favorite one so far because of the never-ending twists and turns and all the fucking mind games during the last five minutes. Those last few minutes left me breathless, wow.

The fact that the company was using human subjects for their experiments which could lead to death is all kinds of wrong. I think the reason Katie got up that one time to get the second page for Cooper to sign the NDA was because there’s a different NDA outside where it clearly states that there’s a possibility that Cooper could die. Then again, maybe I’m just being paranoid and that the previous subjects are all okay and Cooper was the only one who died by accident.

Everything that happened in that house was just amazing. It got even better when Sonja showed up and stabbed Cooper with the knife. Their fight scene was BRUTAL. Kudos to both actors. The part where Cooper is in the bedroom and then things start to deteriorate and he loses his memories just like his dad? Even though it wasn’t real, it was still heartbreaking to see.

And then we cut to Shou’s office where they unplug Cooper and then we think it’s all a happy ending and he gets to go home to see his mom only to find out that she’s lost her memory and then he gets pulled back into reality and we’re back to the white room. This is reality now and within the span of 0.04 seconds, the experiment is over because Cooper’s mom called inadvertently killing him thanks to interference with the chip implanted into Cooper. So fucked up.

Gotta love how the episode ended with Katie typing in “Called ‘Mom'” into the case notes for Cooper. He did end up “calling” his mother after all.

Nice to see Hannah John-Kamen come back for a second time on the show, this time as a different character from her Fifteen Million Merits character.

This episode is going to stay with me for a while, I think.

I’m going to end this on an upbeat note by listing a few of the funnier lines that were said during the first half of the episode:

“The Singularity? It’s when computers learn to outsmart man like women did years ago.”

“Welcome to the 19th century. No TV, no Internet, no wi-fi.”
“Yeah, no wonder people were seeing shit. Probably were just bored out of their gourds.”

“He’s gonna be right behind this door when I close this, right? This is how it works.” (I especially loved this one because Cooper said exactly what I was thinking in this instance and I couldn’t stop laughing.)

“You made her important”

TV Show: Fringe
Episode Title: August
Original Air Date: November 19, 2009
Episode Number: 2×08

Episode Description

A peculiar abduction occurs in Boston, leading the Fringe team to uncover details of the mysterious man known as The Observer. While the bizarre case takes center stage, Walter, Peter, and Astrid hit the lab to analyze unusual evidence and deal with Walter’s insatiable appetite for milkshakes.

My Review

I have forgotten what an absolutely beautiful and yet devastating episode August is. It’s definitely one of the best episodes of Fringe and it almost seemed like a love letter to the fans, at least to me. Sit down, guys, because this is going to be a long one.

The fact that we start off the episode and see another Observer is huge so regular viewers were probably atwitter when they first watched this (I sure as hell was). And then to make it even better, we got an Observer meeting at a restaurant which probably ran out of hot sauce at that hour (LOL) and we see three more Observers including the one that we’ve been seeing throughout the show. They’re talking about what August did and that he did something he shouldn’t have done because they don’t see anything special or important about the person he saved.

I find it amusing that they have an assassin for hire and now I kinda want to know if he’s from the future (he has to be, right?) and how exactly he got this job and for how long he’s been their assassin. By the way, I was thrilled when we saw the green-green-green-red pattern again when the assassin opened his briefcase to get out his gun. Continuity is the best.

I was also thrilled to see Brandon again, Massive Dynamic’s scientist, and that he got a pretty meaty scene explaining what he has found out so far about the Observers. He showed Olivia and Peter that the Observers have been spotted throughout history’s biggest and most important moments which is cool as hell. He also explained that for the Observers, time is not linear, that for them, it exists in one plane and they can observe time all at once. They see everything.

August meeting with Walter and asking for his help was so unexpected. Heck, even Walter thought that he was there to take Peter back. “Please don’t take my son. Your friend and I had a deal. We had an arrangement.” Of course, this statement just opened up a can of worms and further confirms or hints that Peter is not from this world. 😱

The last ten minutes of this episode were this show’s finest moments. August telling September why Christine is important practically broke my heart. “She crossed my mind somehow. She never left it…. I think I love her.” And September reassures him just before he dies that Christine is safe now because he made her important. “You made her important. She is responsible for the death of one of us.”

You guys, August sacrificed himself in order to save Christine because this is the only way that he could think of to make her important. I’m not crying, it’s just RAINING ON MY FACE. 😭

And then we see a single tear roll down August’s cheek as he lays there dying. This was all so beautiful and I cannot praise the August actor (Peter Woodward) enough for such an exceptional performance throughout the episode. He perfectly portrayed August’s love for this one person and he also portrayed his utter confusion at what he’s feeling and why he feels this way about her.

I probably would have rolled my eyes at this whole thing boiling down to August having feelings for Christine, but as cynical as I am, this didn’t even cross my mind and it’s because the whole story didn’t feel forced and it was beautifully written and acted. That’s how you elevate a trope-y and predictable “love story” into something so much more meaningful and beautiful. I can’t seem to stop using that word to describe this episode because it really is an embodiment of beauty (not to get cheesy).

I needed a moment after this so I’m glad that we got the scene with Walter, Peter, and Christine next. Walter gave Christine the teddy bear that Christine’s father won for her before he and Christine’s mom died and it was the one that Christine was holding during that accident on the bridge. August kept it all this time and was holding on to it because he wanted to give it to Christine one of these days. So beautiful.

As for the continuing mythology of the show, we got a few more tidbits here and there. In addition to Walter’s conversation with August, we also got:

– Peter firing the gun that August gave him to kill the assassin. Broyles tells Olivia that the gun has malfunctioned since then because the FBI has been unable to make it work. Either that or Peter fired off the last round. I have another theory: that only someone from the other universe can use the gun.

– September and the other Observer watching Olivia enjoying her time with Ella. “Look how happy she is. It’s a shame things are about to get so hard for her.” Now we can’t be too sure who they’re talking about, but it’s most likely Olivia (with a slight change that it’s Ella) and this statement just piqued my interest even more. What do they know is going to happen with Olivia? Ugh, this show, man!

Other random observations:

– Olivia saying she’s scared of rollercoasters is endearing because I hate them, too. Kudos to her for getting on one and not letting her fear take over and stopping her from sharing this moment with Ella. I did crack up at the shots of Anna Torv closing her eyes for almost all of the rollercoaster scenes, lol.

– The story Olivia told Peter about her mom was so sweet. It was about her first time going to the movies and how she clapped after the curtain was pulled and said “This is the best movie ever” without understanding that the movie hasn’t even started yet.

– I cracked up at Brandon telling Peter “You don’t look FBI” when they first met.

To sum up, upon rewatch, this has become one of my favorite Fringe episodes. Definitely right up there with Bad Dreams, There’s More Than One of Everything, and Momentum Deferred (my list of favorite episodes upon this rewatch).

“Who even are you?”

TV Show: Black Mirror
Episode Title: Nosedive
Original Air Date: October 21, 2016
Episode Number: 3×01

Episode Description

Insecure office worker Lacie lives in a happy, smiley, status-obsessed nightmare world. Her old friend Naomi is one of society’s elites, and Lacie may have found a way to join her…

My Review

I just love how this show messes with your mind in a good (sometimes) and in such a thought-provoking way (always). This episode definitely came close to our reality with our obsessive need of being liked online whenever we post or tweet something because we all need that validation. Of course this does not apply to everyone, but it sure does apply to the majority of people especially in this day and age where we are always plugged in and on our phones.

There was a lot of secondhand embarrassment when Lacie showed up at the reception and I could not stop cringing. It was like watching a trainwreck and I could not stop watching the inevitable wreckage. That was so painful, but at least now she’s free from being trapped in that world and obsessing over her rating. Must have felt so liberating when her phone and her eye-thingy were taken away from her.

The most shocking thing, to me, was Lacie almost refusing a ride from the truck driver just because she’s a 1.4. Here she is alone and desperate and she STILL hesitated in getting help from someone because her rating was a 1.4. How fucking ridiculous is that?! She really should have listened to Susan and said fuck it to Naomi’s fake ass and the wedding. Her decision to put in the deposit even before she got the ratings she needed was a bad move (obviously) and this is a lesson to everyone not to count their chickens before they hatch.

The most ridiculous and honest scenes in this episode were the ones of Lacie and that woman in the elevator. We have all been there. Making small talk in elevators or in confined places in public and it’s the worst. We always have to grapple for things to talk about and at least in this world, they could just look up the other person’s feed and pick a topic from their life. What do we have? Just the weather, lol.

Kudos to Bryce Dallas Howard for her performance and to Rashida Jones and Mike Schur for the teleplay.