BATES MOTEL SEASON 2, EPISODE 1 RECAP “GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN”

 

Recap starts here:

 

Norma receives an automated call that Ms. Blair Watson has died. Norma asks Norman about Ms. Watson offering to drive him home. He doesn’t remember anything. Later, we see him crying at the funeral. He has her pearl necklace.

Bradley drives to a bridge and jumps into the water.

Skip 4 months later. (HAIM’s music is playing! The song is called “The Wire”)

The motel is very successful and Emma is still working there at the front desk. Meanwhile, Norman spends a lot of time in the basement with a dead beaver that he is preparing to stuff.

Bradley is in a mental hospital and Norman writes to her, but his letters are sent back to him, unopened. Bradley leaves the hospital but she seems angry and possibly medicated.

Norma is teaching Norman how to drive and he gets frustrated when she criticizes his driving. He stops at a cemetery to visit Ms. Watson’s grave and Norma accuses him of being ‘morbid.’ On their way home from the cemetery Norma sees a construction crew starting work on the new bypass. She vows to talk to the city council about it.

Bradley talks to Gil (her father’s boss) about the death of her father, Jerry. She wants to know who did it, and Gil claims he doesn’t know but then he menacingly asks Bradley if she wants to come inside his home and talk about it. She leaves and goes home, and then Norman stops by. He tells Bradley that he will always be around if she needs him, but she doesn’t respond and he leaves.

Norman goes to the cemetery again and sees a stranger looking at Ms. Watson’s grave. Norman takes a picture of the man and runs away from him.

At work, Gil tells Dylan to let him know if Bradley comes around. According to Remo, Gil and Ms. Watson were dating and then Gil found out she was sleeping with Jerry. Also, Ms. Watson was the daughter of the local weed family.

Norman tells Romero about the stranger he saw by Ms. Watson’s grave. He shows a picture of the man to Romero, who appears to know him. Then Romero questions Norman about Ms. Watson and his whereabouts on the night she died. It appears Romero suspects Norman was involved in her death.

Norma goes to her city council meeting and gets shut down by the president when she protests the bypass. She calls him a dick and blasts the town for their illegal activity that keeps it running. Everyone just stares at her and the meeting is adjourned.

Bradley and Dylan meet in secret. He tells her what he found out about Gil, Jerry, and Ms. Watson. He tells her to stop asking questions and move on. Bradley is also upset because Dylan doesn’t respond to her emails, and he tells her that Norman likes her and there are lines that you don’t cross.

Romero tells Norma about his earlier chat with Norman. She storms home and tells Norman that he is obsessed with Ms. Watson’s death and she doesn’t understand why. Norman tells her what really happened that night: He went to Ms. Watson’s home, she seemed attracted to him and she undressed in front of him. Then he blacked out and all he remembers is running home. Norman believes someone broke into the home and killed Ms. Watson while he was unconscious. Norma comforts him.

Bradley goes to Gil’s house and she begins to seduce him while asking questions about Ms. Watson’s relationship with Jerry. Then Bradley pulls a gun from her purse and shoots Gil in the head. Later she sneaks into Norman’s room and begs him to help her.

 

THE END


THE FOLLOWING “REFLECTION” SEASON 2, EPISODE 5 RECAP

Season 2, Episode 5 REVIEW

– – Joe, Lily, Emma – –

The episode opens with Joe Carroll shaving his beard. Looking good! He shares a drink with Lily but they don’t talk about anything important.

Lily introduces Joe to the rest of the people living in her house. He seems surprised to learn about the twins, Luke and Mark. An angry Emma watches from the background, but she finally gets a moment alone with Joe. She asks why he never tried to find her, why did he abandon her and leave her all alone, why didn’t he tell her that he would fake his death? Joe says that he failed her and he is sorry, but Emma quietly walks away.

Once again the FBI works wonders with surveillance cameras, and they see footage of Ryan fighting Giselle, and then Max getting on the train. Now Agent Mendez wants the FBI to call local officials in Connecticut.

FBI learns about Judy in Arkansas, along with the missing pastor and the missing daughter, Mandy.

Joe and Emma meet up again, and he apologizes again. He asks Emma to trust Lily but Emma says ‘They are all crazy.’ Joe says he has a plan for them to start over. Meanwhile, Lily asks Mark to keep Emma busy. She wants to spend some time with Joe without Emma lurking around.

Mark takes Emma to a room where they can paint. Emma starts a portrait of Mark and then he walks over and strokes her face. She gently touches his face but then he freaks out and tells her that she can’t touch him without permission. Emma gets angry and tries to leave but finds that Mark locked them in the room.

Lily has kidnapped and sedated a young college woman, and she presents the woman to Joe as an offering. There are torture tools nearby. Joe is disgusted and walks out of the room.

Joe tells Lily that he will not be controlled. Then he goes to the room where the college girl is being held and he kills her. Afterwards he goes to Lily’s room and has sex with her.

Emma finishes her portrait of Mark, but a close look shows Mark’s body with Joe’s face.

 
– – Max, Ryan, and Gisele – –

Max follows Gisele off the train. Gisele calls Luke and tells him about Ryan and Max trying to detain her. She says she’ll hide out at the factory. He tells her not to worry and he’ll pick her up soon.

Ryan is driving to the station and tells Max to not follow Giselle. Of course Max doesn’t listen.

Ryan and Max corner Giselle and forcibly take her to a motel room. Ryan tells Giselle that she needs to start talking and give up Lily’s location. Giselle spits in Ryan’s face and he chokes her.

Max starts to call her FBI colleagues and then Gisele gives up the location of the factory, claiming that’s where Lily and the twins are. Max wants to be Ryan’s backup but he demands that she stay with Giselle and he’ll go alone to the factory.

Gisele is handcuffed, and she injures her hand as she forces it out of the cuff. She starts heading to the factory.

Luke arrives at the factory with one of the guys from Lily’s house. He engages in a shootout with Ryan. Ryan gets hit by a bullet and he kills Luke’s partner before running away.

Gisele arrives and meets with Luke. They run into the woods to track down Ryan and kill him.

Ryan finds a house where he can quickly nurse his wound but Luke and Gisele show up a little bit later. Gisele taunts Ryan and says she killed Max, and Ryan stabs her to death. Luke shoots after Ryan but he misses, and Ryan is able to escape while Luke mourns for Giselle.

THE END


TV REVIEW: THE FOLLOWING, SEASON 2 EPISODE 4 REVIEW

Hi folks, here’s my review of season 2, episode 4 titled “Family Affair.”


TV RECAP: THE FOLLOWING “RESURRECTION” SEASON 2, EPISODE 1

We finish up the scene from the season 1 finale. Joe’s follower stabs Ryan and Claire, stabs Claire a second time and then Ryan kills her.

Mike Weston visits Ryan at the hospital and tells him that Claire died from her injuries.

– ONE YEAR LATER –

Ryan seems to be in good health. He’s going to AA meetings. We meet his sponsor, Barry, and another AA member, Melissa. He’s also a teacher.

His niece, Max, comes over to keep him company during the 1 year anniversary of Havenport/Joe’s death/Claire’s death. There’s a party with the niece, her boyfriend, Barry, and Melissa.

On a subway train three people in Joe Carroll masks appear and start stabbing and killing the passengers. One person yells, “The resurrection is coming! Joe Carroll lives! Ryan Hardy can’t stop us!”

Mike Weston is at home, far away from New York. He was suspended awhile ago, but Agent Phillips has asked him to come back to New York and investigate the subway killings.

A young woman, Heather, is walking to her apartment door and shares flirtatious glances with a young man hanging around. He strangles her to death and lays in bed with her.

– Flashback to 8 months ago, the last time Ryan and Mike saw each other – Ryan is drunk at the bar. Mike tells him Joey is safe with his grandmother in witness protection. It’s almost time to testify before the grand jury, and Mike begs Ryan to not talk, and just say “I don’t remember” to all of the questions.

Lily Gray survived the subway attack and she talks to the FBI agents, Mike, and Ryan.

Crazy guy cooks food and dances with Heather’s dead body. Wait…there’s two! He has a twin.

Emma is in New Jersey wearing a punk, multi-color hairdo and lip piercings. She’s stunned by the attacks.

At FBI HQ, Mike uses a body scan on the surveillance footage and IDs a guy named Carlos. Agents Phillips and Mendez are trying to get Ryan’s help but he is very resistant and he leaves.

Ryan sits down with Max and goes through his case notes. Looks like these two have been working for awhile to track down Carroll. Ryan finds some information about Carlos. Max locates his most recent home address and Ryan goes to pay a visit. He doesn’t call the FBI.

Carlos says Joe escaped unharmed from the lighthouse. He was going to drive Joe away but the police road blocks caused Joe to flee the car and go off into the darkness.

After a brief scuffle Carlos gets away from Ryan and runs to Giselle’s apartment. Ryan searches Carlos’ apartment and finds a playbill with Heather’s name circled on it. He calls Max and she tells him a young woman was found dead. Emma is following Ryan and she watches him leave the apartment building.

Mike confronts Ryan at the crime scene for secluding himself after the events at the lighthouse. Heather’s body is tied to a bench with a book taped to her hands, and she’s wearing a light white dress and red lips. This is a Claire-like character from Joe’s book.

The crazy twins (Luke with the slicked back hair and Mark with the bangs) visit Carlos at Giselle’s apartment. They are worried that Ryan found some incriminating evidence at his apartment. Turns out the twins are followers of Joe Carroll but they are leaders of a rogue group that has no connection to Emma and her people.

In the last scene we see Joe Carroll walk into a random prostitute’s home. A young girl in the house calls him ‘Darryl’. He lives!

 

THE END


MOVIE REVIEW: PHILOMENA (2013)

Running time: 1 hour, 35 minutes
Cast: Judi Dench, Steve Coogan
Director: Stephen Frears

Happy New Year everyone! Here is my first movie of 2014, Philomena, and it was a great way to kick off my year.

Philomena tells the true story of Philomena Lee, who gave birth to a son during her teenage years in 1950s Ireland. Her family was ashamed and sent the young mother and baby to a convent, and from there the nuns took the baby and sold him into adoption in America. 50 years later Philomena teams up with a journalist to locate her son.

Philomena 2013 poster

The movie poster accurately describes the two main characters as ‘unlikely companions’. Philomena (Dench) is a good-natured woman and she is still deeply religious even after the nuns sold her child during her stay at the convent. Martin Sixsmith (Coogan), a brash, straight-forward journalist, joins Philomena in the search for her son Anthony. It turns out Martin is a very vocal atheist, and he spends a lot of time bashing the Catholic Church. There’s even a couple of scenes where he travels to the convent where Philomena lived and makes some rude comments to the nuns about their religious beliefs regarding fornication, sin, and punishment.

After watching this movie I learned Steve Coogan co-wrote the adapted screenplay. To be fair, I haven’t read the book by the real Martin Sixsmith so I’m not sure how he personally feels about Catholicism, but I felt Coogan inserted his own personal beliefs in this movie and took some of the power away from Philomena’s story. Sometimes I felt this movie was shown in two different viewpoints: Martin’s view of how people should act and treat others, and Philomena’s more tolerant view that people should live in a way that brings them peace.

Despite my gripe with Martin, I enjoyed this movie as a whole. The closeness that developed between Philomena and Martin was very believable, especially after watching them travel from their hometown of London, and then to Ireland where the convent is located, and finally to the U.S. where Anthony was raised.

Judi Dench gives an admirable performance as a woman who is inspiring rather than pitiful and weepy or angry and bitter. She portrays Philomena with multiple layers and a wide variety of emotions, which you would expect from a woman who enjoyed her teenage sexual encounter even though it led to her being an unwed mother. She is still religious even though the convent sold her child. And she still hopes to hug a son that she hasn’t seen in 50 years. Make sure you bring a tissue to use in the second half of the movie.

Did you see Philomena? Let me know what you thought about it!


MOVIE REVIEW: AMERICAN HUSTLE (2013)

Running time: 2 hours, 18 minutes
Cast: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Jeremy Renner
Director: David O. Russell

It’s easy to understand why American Hustle has received so much praise and Oscar buzz: The main cast shares great chemistry and they deliver strong individual performances. The whole movie is a mix of drama, comedy, madness, and horrific hair don’ts, and it’s fun to watch.

When I first heard about Hustle I assumed it would be a strict drama about ABSCAM, the FBI sting operation from the late 1970s and early 1980s that brought down several public officials. After the opening credits we saw this one title card that read:

“Some of this actually happened.”

I saw that as a warning to not take this movie too seriously, and I’m glad I didn’t. Yes, it’s hard to know what is real and what is fictional, but overall this movie is pretty solid and I enjoyed watching the actors ham it up for the camera.

American Hustle 2013 poster

Picture it.

1978. New York. Irving Rosenfeld (Bale) and Sydney Prosser (Adams) are lovers and con artists, and they are eventually caught by an intense FBI agent named Richie DiMasio (Cooper). Richie enlists the duo to help him take down corrupt public officials, and the do-gooder mayor of Camden, NJ, Carmine Polito (Renner), gets caught up in the fray. And I must mention Irving’s young wife Rosalyn (Lawrence) who is drinker and a stay-at-home mom, and probably needs her own adult supervision.

Louis C.K. makes a hilarious appearance as Richie’s boss, and he’s bewildered at the nonsense that is approved to help the sting operation become a success. An uncredited Robert De Niro appears as a mob boss (what else?).

Lawrence or Cooper?

Together Bale and Adams share the most screen time, but there’s talk about Jennifer Lawrence stealing the movie. She is definitely electrifying in all of her scenes, and she does a great job of playing a young wife who is so sure of herself even when she’s dead wrong. Mixed in with the funny moments are some serious scenes where Rosalyn hurts because her husband keeps a mistress and shuts her out of all areas of his life.

Bradley Cooper in American Hustle

Ultimately I’d give the scene-stealer award to Bradley Cooper’s Richie DiMasio character. He’s lively, energetic, crazed, and a little bit wackier than Rosalyn. The funniest part is that Richie doesn’t realize he’s the dumbest person in the room. He’s working with con artists to take down corrupt officials, and it never occurs to him that a con artist or a corrupt official would lie to him or give him false information.

Some of his stand-out scenes are with his boss Stoddard, played perfectly by comedian Louis C.K. Stoddard knows very well that in the blink of an eye Richie can go from an semi-obedient FBI agent to a disgruntled employee swinging a heavy telephone.

Final thoughts

I can easily see Amy Adams scoring an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. She is incredibly smart, seductive, and emotional, and Adams takes us on a wild ride as her Sydney adopts different personalities as needed to help protect herself during the sting. Also, her back, legs, and breasts are frequently on display so she’s nice to look at too.

I enjoyed watching these A-list actors completely transform into their characters and the 2 hour running time seemed to fly by. American Hustle will be a good addition to anyone’s movie collection and I also recommend seeing it at the movie theater before it’s run is over.

Let me know what you thought about American Hustle. Did it live up to the hype?


MOVIE REVIEW: THE GREAT GATSBY (2013)

Running time: 2 hours, 22 minutes
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton
Director: Baz Luhrmann

Ah, The Great Gatsby. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s beloved book about millionaire Jay Gatsby is set in the Roaring Twenties, and this 2013 movie version aims to do it justice. Visually, this movie is stunning. The music had my hips moving.

The sets are beautiful. Colorful. Energetic.

Unfortunately, this energy doesn’t carryover to the storyline. It’s just…good grief, I was bored. It’s lovely to watch but it’s a chore to endure it, and that’s because the dialogue is lazy and the characters are dull and one-dimensional. Leo did his best with the role of Jay Gatsby, and for this reason I think the movie should be renamed as The Great DiCaprio.

The Great Gatsby poster 2013

Nick Carraway (Maguire), his cousin Daisy Buchanan (Mulligan), and her husband Tom (Edgerton) carries us through the beginning scenes of the movie, where Nick moves to West Egg in New York, and Daisy and Tom conveniently live across the bay in East Egg.  Here we set up the one dimensional characters. Tom is an angry bird who snaps at everyone, and he regularly cheats on Daisy. I was disappointed with Daisy because she only existed in terms of the people around her- she’s someone for Tom to cheat on, she’s someone for Gatsby to lust for, and she’s someone that Nick can pity, but she never had her own identity as her own person.

I’m not sure if Tobey Maguire was miscast as Nick, or maybe it was the script and/or director that diminished the importance of this character. Nick is very passive and he slowly fades into the background as more characters are introduced. He narrates the movie and he also shares the most scenes with Gatsby but I did not have a connection with him. It seems Nick was under-developed on purpose to make sure he doesn’t take away from The Great DiCaprio.

So. Let’s talk about Leo, as the flashy millionaire who earns Nick’s admiration and yearns for Daisy’s love. We first meet Gatsby at one of his lavish parties, and let me tell you – his introduction scene is MARVELOUS. I had to rewind and re-watch that scene twice. Love it. The music is thumping, there’s lights everywhere, all of the attendees are beautiful and then Leo flashes his dazzling smile- swoon!

But the more we see of Gatsby, the duller this movie becomes. One person cannot carry a movie, and Leo does his best to charm the audience and keep its attention. The problem is, Gatsby shines while the supporting characters are just sitting around watching him. He is the star while everyone else appears so he has people to talk at (not talk ‘to’) during the movie. I felt a huge disconnect between the in-depth character analysis of Gatsby compared to the predictability of the shallow supporting characters.

Final thoughts:

Read the book instead. I’m serious. It’s a good book.