Saturday, January 7, 2017

The OA: Empire of Light

Hello Dwellers and Welcome to the Basement...

Yes I was planning to watch episode 7 of 'The OA' tomorrow, but... with how short episode 6 was, I'm changing my plans, and this is my review 'Empire of Light'!


And we’re back today with episode seven of the OA, titled ‘Empire of Light’ and while the previous episode ‘Forking Paths’ focused on HAP and stuff in the path, this episode was set entirely in the present and everything coming to ahead… particularly for Steve.

Back when I watched the first episode, it was clear Steve would go through some character growth and he has, in this episode we see that he has certainly changed. He ‘gets with’ the girl in the Alternate learning class, it’s revealed he’s the only helping the others learn the movements, since he wants to be a personal trainer its clear he has insight in how to help others when they can’t do something right, he’s openly friendly with the rest of the group, even given Buck a headlock hug when she gives him part of protein bar she got from French. When the stuff of the kid he punched in the throat comes to light, he wants to own up to it… and when he’s taken to Asheville, we see him frighten and scared. The good fortune of Mrs. BBA with her 50,000 comes into play as she uses it to buy Steve’s freedom, and in his totally understandable fragile state, he snaps at Prairie, he’s totally terrified… he even stabs her with a pencil, but she just hugs and holds him, lets him break down, being something he hasn’t had someone to let him just be get it out. This was really well handled in this episode, cause prior to meeting Prairie, there is no way Steve would just break down the way he did.

Speaking of breaking, while Able Johnson seems to be more than keen with Prairie’s progress, Nancy seems a little to eager to want to medicate her again and her all fears and delusions when they go out for a family dinner come bursting out, when a random girl takes a selfie with Prairie, and implying she was ‘beaten and raped’ repeatedly. Prairie does try to tell Nancy what really happened and what the scars are… but gets slapped for it! But we did learn that OA stands for Original Angel.

French plays a big part in this episode, since he works at the restaurant where the Johnsons and Prairie went to, he gets Prairie out of her and points out some facts, that she has told them all these things about her childhood, her ordeal and the other angels… but she didn’t really tell them about Nancy and Able. Prairie does have a bit of resentment towards them because they medicated her, but French figures that they are part of why she is there, because she could’ve gone to be with Khatun and her Father.

Doubling back a bit to Ms. BBA, her seeing Steve being taken and deciding to act to rescue him, trying to come up with an over the top plan for him to say the Asheville goons are ‘doing bad things to him’ was unintentional funny, but under the circumstances, one could say that prior to meeting Prairie, Ms. BBA wouldn’t have tried to help Steve out.

That said Buck and Jesse are very underdeveloped as characters which is a shame.

Without question the stand out performance in this episode goes to Patrick Gibson as Steve, the gauntlet of character development and scenes he had to deal with extremely well performed.

The OA: Forking Paths

Hello Dwellers and Welcome to the Basement...

We're up to part six of my watch and review of the Netflix Original series 'The OA' with 'Forking Paths', which was a surprisingly short episode! But we're talking Dr. Hap, Buck, and Multi-World Theories based on what I just watched! 


We’re up to episode six of the OA with ‘Forking Paths’ and there is no other way to say it, this was surprisingly short at little over 30 minutes, and this episode really felt more ‘transitional’ as if to get certain elements in place for the final two episodes of the season.

The big thing here is that HAP went to his mentor who is pursuing the exact same work he is, proof of an Afterlife, and he’s even more further gone than HAP, willing to kill him to learn what HAP has discovered, and HAP has to kill him out of self-defense, but this encounter rattles him to where he wants to just take Prairie and go somewhere and make money with what is already discovered. If this was designed to have the viewer sympathize with HAP, it certainly failed in a huge way cause he’s still an unlikeable douche for what we’ve seen him do prior to his episode. Still in sending Prairie though the machine, HAP learns that she ended up around the ring of Saturn based on background sounds that he’s been recording… which leads to HAP being so engrossed with this discovery, he leaves his door unlocked as he dozes listening to the ‘song’ of Saturn’s rings as the Sheriff from the last episode walks in and sees HAP’s computer screens, drawing his gun and aiming it at the back of his head… this can only end in good.

This episode also sees Prairie consider just looking for an easy way out, tempted a bit by HAP’s offer to just ‘go’, she has a conversation with Homer about failure and trying again until things turn out right, which reenforces her beliefs that everything will happen in due time. She does challenge HAP to get into his own damn machine if he wants things to progress ‘faster’. As far as the movements go, the group has four, with Renata getting the fourth, but Rachel hasn’t received hers yet… and I wonder if maybe the fifth movement is ‘vocal’ and not ‘physical’, cause Rachel can sing and its’ established that Buck is a hell of a singer as well.

Which brings us to Buck him / herself, we finally get glimpse of his home life and hear his parents arguing about him and his transgendered status. It’s not much to really go on, but we see him practicing the movements in a nice bit of solo screen time. A nice quite moment for this short episode that saw Buck running a bit late when meeting with Prairie, Steve, Jesse, French & Mrs. BA.

On to the ‘many-worlds’ theory that was introduced in this episode and with the title ‘Forking Paths’, this is something we see a lot in comics as well as TV shows. I think was best described as such, with every decision one makes, a reality where the opposite choice also occurs… some realities are different in subtle ways, others in massive, depending on the scale of the choice, but each reality is slightly out of phase with the other… and jumping between the realities is quite difficult.

Standout performance in this episode will go to Michael Cumpstry who played Dr. Leon Citro, HAP’s mentor. Until it was revealed his character was doing the same research as HAP, I’d assume he was giving him advice on just lab rats, but when the revelation is made and he turns on HAP to kill him, the twist was really well told. Makes you wonder what if Cumpstry’s character bumped off HAP and gone to his place… of if he’d be able to find it out right, how the story would be different.

Because this episode was only 30 minutes, I’ll be back later with my thoughts on episode 7 later tonight!

Extreme Ghostbusters: Darkness at Noon Part 1

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Extreme Ghostbusters turns 20 years old this year... and today I look back at the first episode 'Darkness at Noon, part 1'


First a little history: Back in early 1997, in an issue of Disney Adventures, I read that one of the upcoming shows for the Fall was Extreme Ghostbusters… and that got me super-stoked, because then home for Real Ghostbusters cartoon, the USA Network’s Cartoon Express, were no longer showing them, and we were still a year away from the launch of Fox Family where the RGB would be staple of the early years of that channel. So on Monday September 1, 1997, the day before I entered High School, I opened the TV Guide and saw on WGTW, Channel 48, at 4 PM ‘Extreme Ghostbusters’ was listed and I tuned in to watch it… and instantly fell back into being the Ghosthead I was 10 years prior with the Real Ghostbusters. It was a continuation of the Real Ghostbusters, time has moved on and they openly acknowledge it, it wasn’t a reboot and certain elements of it tied into what happened between the fist two movies, which I’ll talk about in a bit.

Now this morning I re-watched the first episode, ‘Darkness at Noon, part 1’ and let me say the animation still holds up. Sure the designs weren’t exactly how they were for RGB in regards to Slimer, Egon, Janine or the Ecto-1, but everything still looks sharp and crisp in my view, but lets the story.

The Mayor of the New York wants a new Subway tunnel built, and the subway workers accidently unseal something (similar to Knock Knock), and what they unleash is Achira, a class six demon who can spread a disease via touch with also possession abilities. Achira’s design is pretty damn cool, looking fairly human normal but has a truly hellish ghoul form, with her hands that turn into appendage creatures. Her presence, sets off all the PKE and paranomal scanning equipment at the firehouse, which has been fairly dormant since the 1980s. And this is where I double back to talk about the first two movies and where people have a problem with ‘Everyone forgot there were Ghosts’, the fact is, something that’s a ‘craze’ for a period of time can be easily forgotten, just look at various pop culture elements where once it starts to fade away from public view, it’s totally forgotten about, plus the events in the first and second Ghostbuster film revolved around major paranormal events happening which lead to the rise in Ghost activity. So when it’s said by Egon in this episode that the Ghostubsters shut themselves down it was because there were no more ghosts at that time, and thus people forgot about the Ghostbusters and what they did.

That said, this episode does play into the passage of time quite a lot, as Egon has gotten older, the Ghostbusters equipment is not up to snuff and the Ecto-1 needs a serious wash. Still he is teaching and has a class at the local community college, where he has four new students, Eduardo, Roland, Kylie and Garrett whose personalities are firmly established. Eduardo is the skeptic / slacker, Roland is a tech head but open to possibilities, Kylie is a believer in the spiritual sense and Garrett… is the macho-mouth dude in the wheelchair who wants to hear about Egon’s glory days. This is certainly a unique bunch that play to the original four Ghostbusters without copying it outright, because these are four college teens in the mid-90s as opposed to four grown men in the heart of the 80s

The obvious stand out is Kylie whose goth look and the fact she is coping with the lost of her great-grandma Rose leads to her taking a ‘Ghost Beacon’ from the firehouse to ‘contact the other side’ and her becoming possessed by Achira, in a scene that I’m surprised never got the Rule 34 treatment in fan fic or fan art form considering the amount of screaming involved. There is one problem, if Kylie wasn’t shown in the opening sequence of the show, one could easily have written her off as a one-and-done character, so we know she ends up getting saved even when she gets into trouble.

That said this episode does have some great quotes, when Eduardo makes a quip about people believing in Ghosts have half a brain, and then he sees Kylie’s books, Garrett’s remark of ‘Smooth move, open mouth insert foot’ always gets a chuckle… then there’s the line from Kylie ‘Ghosts walk among us’ followed by Eduardo’s line of ‘And So Do Weird Chicks’ is awesome, and plays into some of the various character interaction. Of course there is the stuff with Egon and Janine, who likes to think their relationship was something more than her being the Ghostbusters receptionist… of course, she handled the bookkeeping and collections! (Egon’s words not mine), but you can tell she’s still pining for him and Egon is a bit dense on the subject, but that came into play in the episode the Crawler, which I talked about a while back.

Next Time (in two weeks) in the Ghostbusters Containment Unit, we’re going back to the Real Ghostbusters with Look Homeward Ray!

11/13/2019 Grandia Highlights

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