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IR TV Review: DOCTOR WHO ("Spyfall – Part I") [BBC America – S12]

The trajectory of “Doctor Who” is reflected on who and what her perceived enemy seems to be. Sometimes this idea is wrapped in what might be stakes. In previous incarnations there was a sense of chemistry or darker mystery. With the Season 12 premiere with “Spyfall – Part I”, the progressions seems a bit sloggy. The enemy is slowly uncovered with a secret spy ring involving aliens being at the center of the culprit. The reality of the scenario is not as enticing since most of it seems to be buried in a notion of absolute evil which is both diabolical but also unassuming. The Doctor and her team are recruited by MI6 which seems a little too normal for a wizard of sorts that can hop around the cosmos. This adventure seems undeniably earthbound most of the time. The metaphor speaks more towards what might be a thematic on an inner journey but as the story moves on, it feels more like an ego balance against the doctor especially in the closing minutes which are action packed but slightly empty. Hopefully the conclusion paints a more interesting and intrinsic picture on par with The Doctor’s previous escapades.

C

By Tim Wassberg

IR TV Review: THE MANDALORIAN – EPISODE 7 ("The Reckoning") [Disney+]

The path of redemption always comes with a price. There cannot be victory without sacrifice. The question becomes what is being fought for. In “The Reckoning,” Episode 7 of “The Mandalorian”, the series has built its house of cards and, at least, for this progression of the narrative, it needs to be reconciled. Mando can only be on the run for so long. What is interesting in this episode, is not so much about sides taken but in the draw of what discerns good and evil and the gray in between. Carl Weathers as Greef, Mando’s would be employer has his own skin to think about. That is why the instinct of The Child is interestingly polarized. His actions bely a darker progression, like all those with the Force. A healing trajectory shows a different possibility.

As a form of the Imperial Guard seems to close in, a greater pressure seems to be building up. Because of actions taken by those who set these events in motion, a larger pressure seems to be building, as if The Child is a certain catalyst either for genetic manipulation or action to be taken. Mando, never one to trust, begins to take a chance on people, whether or not that might place his allies in danger. But no journey is without risks. The question with the series has been the detailing out of information but the key here is establishing a world which sometimes takes standing still. Character, unlike plot, cannot move at the speed of light but there needs to be enough crumbs to make the journey memorable. “The Mandalorian” still, at its heart, is a Western where the gunfight always builds to a pinnacle and the victor lives to fight another day.

B+

By Tim Wassberg

IR TV Review: THE MANDALORIAN – EPISODE 4 ("Sanctuary") [Disney+]

The essence of “The Mandalorian” resides in being able to identify in some way shape or form with the journey he or she is on. Whether it is Neo or Luke Skywalker, a character needs something to fight for, even if it is evil in some way. The structure of this episode: “Sanctuary” takes it into a more intimate setting but gives it a sense more of the familial which might be necessary because of its structure. The episode is also directed by Bryce Dallas Howard, daughter of Ron Howard. The episode in many ways feels like “Willow” in its aspect of romanticism but also sense of protection and defense. The episode is not overly dependent on special effects which might have been on purpose since Bryce has not directed much before per se. But what ends up happening is that the episode feels more in the arc of character structure especially what The Mandalorian has lost and gained but what he is willing to give up. The texture of the final moments plays for this with a certain character becoming almost a MacGuffin for the aspect of hope. Ultimately that aspect of trust or protection is brought into imbalance which causes the need for the plot to move forward. However the underlying texture of what path this bounty hunter/myth may be on continues to be murky as the best journeys are.

B

By Tim Wassberg

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