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IR TV Review: HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER – EPISODE 15 (“Stay”) [ABC-S6]

The trajectory of a series finale has to bring the idea of redemption, sacrifice and simple comeuppance into the idea of what ultimately a series is trying to say. This is of course predicated not just on the cast but the woman who is leading the charge does, which in this case is Viola Davis as Annalise. Last time this reviewer watched the show, she was laid bare almost in bordello below the border trying to run away before she is captured. Stripping a character and actor down to that basis is key for the trajectory of this episode. While most of the series finale leads towards why people are motivated to do certain things whether it be in their best interests or their ability to protect others, the simple moral line of which they are traversing is really the pendulum of drama.

At two points in this episode which directly correlate to each other, it is Viola Davis’ character coming to terms with both the hurt she caused but also the selflessness or perhaps mistakes of others that causes her to act the way she does. Granted humanity is always going to act a certain way as a result of its actions and giving away any point here which might interrelate to the conclusion in many different aspects would take away from the impact of those scenes. This series at the end is about identity and responsibility despite the path they might take. Time is the true healer of certain impact situations but the pain has a way of giving perspective. “How To Get Away With Murder” understood that and even with the title of its final episode “Stay”, the irony and perception is in full view with a degree of both humility but acceptance in a way.

A-

By Tim Wassberg

IR TV Review: PENNY DREADFUL – CITY OF ANGELS – EPISODE 2 (“Dead People Lie Down”) [Showtime]

The essence of “Penny Dreadful: City Of Angels” is showing the tension and the strife that lurks beneath the texture of every day lives. Though mythology doesn’t figure in as heavily (though it is lurking in plain sight), the essence of darkness pulling the strings underneath sees to move quietly. The aspect of “Dead People Lie Down” is more referring to the idea or mythos behind what people are and even if they perish, their acts live on. At one point, even in its dark context, there is almost a feeling of “Raiders Of The Lost Ark” more within the tone and not the actions. There is underhanded dealings in these ways that point to corruption. Writer John Logan has always been good at putting these ideas together, even with stories like “RKO281”. He loves Hollywood lore but also is in a unique position to posit everything from class to racial to economic struggle and place them on an interweaving play on film. The aspect of light and darkness is still there but it is reflective more or less in the perception of the characters.

Detective Vega can see aspects clearly but he is torn. Nathan Lane’s detective has the same mask but from a different perception so the balance can show through. The most intriguing and yet most traditional part of the episode is Vega’s dealings with a Sister Molly who has a connection to a person of interest. There is a light reflection but it is about understanding the tenets of religious philosophy but also the tells that Logan puts in other characters. There is undeniably a texture of masks here. However these scenes and the ideals they portray are very interesting in the overall texture as is unknown forces are moving the chess pieces but without the payers actually seeing them. Episode 2 is a build episode for pay-offs at a later point but continues to build the world, step by step.

B

By Tim Wassberg

IR TV Review: STAR WARS – THE CLONE WARS – FINAL SEASON – EPISODE 11 (“Shattered”) [Lucasfilm/Disney+]

The texture of the end of “The Clone Wars”  is extremely menacing and it should be in the essence of what it shows. This essence and, as an addendum, makes what happens in “Revenge Of The Sith” even more tragic. Filoni, his directors and even composer Kevin Kiner understands this. These last few episodes are darker and more textured than anything that came before it. The original series was one of strategy and journey. These episodes are about loss and choice. Ahsoka Tano is the focus of it. Without giving too much away in this episode, it starts to bring together the strands that led to later perceptions. The use of one line from “Rogue One” at a certain point means so much in the context of everything. However it makes what is shown undeniable. As much as “The Rise Of Skywalker” wanted to be that moment, there has to be a loss which is felt and stakes where something is primarily so encompassing that it cannot be fixed.

The actions that happen at the end of “Revenge Of The Sith” are just that. But like the previous episode [Ep 10], seeing it from another perspective, specifically the person closer to Anakin than anyone, maybe save for Padme, is undeniable but also heartbreaking. There are crucial points in this episode where small choices are made, specifically by Tano, that are seen as necessary but have repercussions but couldn’t have been done any other way. This comes back in balance to the will of The Force. Tano’s training and Anakin’s teachings have allowed her to be this way, problem solve and think outside of the box. However, and it is not her possibility but ego gets in the way. The revelation is that you see how this affects Maul but it doesn’t take away from his base nature as it doesn’t take away from Tano’s. One progression of the scenes is so filled with dread because of the tone and specifically the music that it takes on a whole different connotation in the Star Wars Universe, a darker one we rarely see. The music is so undeniably changed. The reality is that this doesn’t end well not overly playing the melodrama, Filoni and his team keep it tight and add in Easter Eggs that are both relevant to fans but effective in general as a story. There are odes to “Rebels” but also visions of what is to come without actually showing it which is always tricky in animation. These episodes are getting more and more crucial and the vision is razor sharp. The wrap up episode comes next and sets the next interlocking puzzle piece of what is to come.

A

By Tim Wassberg

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