Category Archives: Other Review

The Mandalorian Review

Alright, everybody, The Mandalorian has finished its first season and appears well on it’s away to becoming a cultural mainstay. Let’s discuss it.the-mandalorian-announce-featured-b_609ea748

SPOILERS: Some for the early episodes, not too many for the later episodes.

Let’s first begin with Star Wars as a whole. I thought it was very weird to launch a Star Wars show during the hype of Episode 9. Maybe it was smart. I don’t know. The Mandalorian seemed very much intended for die hard fans as well as casuals. There were references to the events of the OG movies, but seeing the movies that predicated the show doesn’t seem like a requirement to enjoy The Mandalorian. Now, this seems smart as Baby Yoda, as dubbed by the community, grappled in plenty of new people who didn’t care about the franchise. You got to remember this was a launch title for Disney Plus. Meaning thousands of people tuned into this show just because they bought the streaming site for Disney originals.

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My favorite Star Wars film is Episode 4 A New Hope. Several of the films that follow it may be more epic, but the cast was perfect for this first go round. The writing was great. This film was set in a very dire time, yet there was still plenty of humor and fun characters. I say all of this to say I feel similarly about The Mandalorian as I do about Star Wars Episode 4. I’m not saying the series is better than the movie, just that this was a very, very strong showing.

Characters: For the characters, we will focus on the main two. The Mandalorian, which is referred to as Mando for most of the show, and the child, referred to as Baby Yoda by the community but I will refer to him as the child from here on out. Depending on who you are, one of these two characters made the show for you.

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For me, that was Mando. He is such an interesting character. He is tasked with recovering the child from another planet. Mando is successful but instead of honoring his mission to return the child, he proceeds to steal the child back from his original client. This seeks off a season long game of hide and seek. To understand why this action on Mando’s part is so strange, you first have to understand Mando. Mando is a bounty hunter who belongs to two creeds. The Mandalorians and the Bounty Hunter Guild. Mando is a very honorable(if I can use such a word to describe a bounty hunter) man due to the fact he swears to uphold both of the two factions rules. He also values money more than most other things, or at least that is how the first episode perceives him. So, for him to forsake the mission, betray the Bounty Hunters Guild, and sacrifice all the money he would have earned, it is just so uncharacteristic of what we are taught to expect of him.
Sadly, I can’t recall the show ever deep diving into why Mando does this. The only explanation I can justify is through flashbacks. Mando, as a small child, is rescued by Mandalorians and raised in their faction. There’s a nice parallel scene of Mando as a child clinging to a Mandalorian as they jetpack off his planet, which is being ravaged by droids and than of Mando as an adult with the child clinging to him as he jetpacks both of them off of their current planet, Nevarro.

The child is the other character most people fell in love with. He is adorable and without ever uttering one word captured the hearts of many. He goes through character development but not in the traditional since which is why it is hard to gauge him. The child can randomly use the Force to aid Mando and himself throughout their adventures. At times, this feels a little Deus ex Machina. Mando’s losing to a Mudhorn. How will he survive, lets have the child Force levitate it in the air buying Mando time. That’s just one example, but it occurs ever so often. What stops it from being annoying is often it doesn’t work and Mando has to outmaneuver varies foes. Short of that though, I didn’t see any discernible growth on behalf of the child. It isn’t so much a flaw or complaint as much as it is an observation. The child is very likable from the get-go and stays that way. They didn’t ruin the character in any way and, as far as I am concerned, they left a lot of interest in what he will ultimately become.

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Plot: I touched base on the main point of the plot in the above sections, so we will not dwell too much here. The Mandalorian is tasked to go retrieve the child. Upon doing so, he double crosses his client and the rest of the series is other characters trying to kill Mando and bring back the child. It is very simple but very good.

The World: Well, it is a Star Wars show, so we actually bounce around about 4 or so planets. The main one is Nevarro. It has a form of civilization hosting a bounty hunters guild and a group of Mandalorians. However, it takes place after Episode 6 so the planet looks like a wasteland at times. None of the other planets get more than one maybe two episodes of screen time. The forest planet of Sorgan stands out as a cool planet, but again it only gets one episode.

Recap: This show is great for first time viewers, casuals, and die hards all alike. If you are invested in Star Wars, you’ll love the references to the old movies and shows. If you are completely new here, the story is not dependent on massive Star Wars lore. It is a great starting point just to get someone introduced to the setting and writing of most Star Wars films.

Action: Plenty. I love how the Storm troopers allow for massive amounts of violent while also keeping it PG.
Romance: I can honestly say it is almost noexistent which is very weird to say. One episode hints at a potential love interest, but Mando’s line of work kills any kind of hope of romance. Though, if you aren’t careful Baby Yoda will steal your girl.
Plot: At times, the episodes feel like typical TV show episodes. There’s nothing wrong with this because they are so darn enjoyable.
Characters: A+. Many of the characters still need more developing in the future, but all were enjoyable and great at their roles.
The World: One of the biggest shames is that we didnt explore more worlds or stay on the ones we did go to longer. It probably would have detracted from the narrative. But I hope Season 2 looks into more of the worlds out there.
Humor: Not it’s strongest suit, the humor was still there for a few good laughs.
The Ending: Near perfection, honestly.

Verdict: I’ll just quote Jessica here. “So, when do you want to rewatch it?”

Score: Against maybe my better judgment I’m going 9 out 10. This score could retroactively go up or down depending on season two, as some stuff is unresolved or underdeveloped. But just judging it against itself it was worth every bit of my watch time. I highly recommend it.

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Scream Queens: Closing Thoughts!

Scream Queens is over and season two is not been confirmed, so lets have a closing thought… for now!

If you can recall all the way back to my first review of this show(Scream Queens First Review), it did not receive favorable words. So has my mind changed? Yes! Well, kind of.

Lets start with spoiler warnings. YES. THERE WILL BE SPOILERS. So, if you have not seen the finale, go watch than come back.

Okay, so we will begin with the Red Devils. Were they good villains? By that, I mean were they memorable? Iconic? Well thought out? Memorable, probably not. Well thought out, yes, surprisingly. I hated on this show for not staying on topic and just jumping all over the place. When, in the end, everything was tied together, I was actually quite surprised. If you remember, I said of the remaining characters alive, Chanel #6 seemed the most likely due to her being the most like Boone. Similar looks, a characteristic that stood out from their brothers and sisters, and seemed to be playing a role. When it was revealed to be her, it came to no surprise. I will say I am bummed it was not Chanel #4. Now, I am college student and do not think highly of fraternities or sororities. I am in no way trying to insult or offend anybody in a fraternity or sorority. I had plenty of friends in my classes and on my hall who were in them and I was never entertained by their stories. This show not only takes those same stories I heard and common stereotypes and brings them to life. So, this show is particularly funny to me. However, this is a satire so obviously they take those stereotypes to the extreme. The funny part to me is by the time it is coming to it’s end, most of the characters at some point seemed to think the Red Devil was doing the world a favor. This was an interesting aspect to me that most of the characters almost seemed to sympathize with them. From Grace to Dean Munch, they all at some point or another said “maybe the Red Devil killer is right”. It is particularly referring to how hazing use to run rampart in the college system resulting in shattered self esteem and sometimes death and suicide. Towards the end the Red Devil is almost painted as a Robin Hood-esque character who was toppling an empire. I think this perspective added some depth to the otherwise boring and formulated mindless murders this show was initially imitating from slashers that came before. I am not a fan of the horror genre. I always felt a well thought out villain you could sympathize with was missing from the genre. Now, albeit, a woman giving birth in a tub at a sorority house while her sisters let her bleed out, is a little out there, but, how the public eye started viewing the sorority house as the more wicked evil is what this show really did right. Murder, of course, is never the answer. At times, though, the show made you believe the the sisters were the real evil here. My big complaint is that the Dickie Dollar Scholars were not bad people, just mindless. I do not exactly see why they were being targeted when you compare them to the Chanels.

The Chanels are a different breed of crazy. They stayed crazy through and through. While I never really liked any of their characters, the asylum scene was one of my favorite scenes in the whole show. It showed maybe what the Red Devil was doing had some legs to it. Chanel #3 was able to accept herself, Chanel #5 mellowed out(albeit, with the help of medicine) and Chanel did not have to try to be superior, though I think weve learned she will always be a tyrant at heart. While this scene is one of my favorites, the ending also makes no sense, but we will get to that later. I do not feel like there is much to say about them more than that. Every time they had a chance to change or apologize for the things they done, they threw them away without a second thought.

Pete and Grace’s relationship and dynamic might have been my favorite aspect of the show. At times it did seem like they were just snooping around and getting nothing done, but the opening scene of the finale was powerful and uncomfortable. I love this scene because any scene that lets me quote one of my favorite movies is a good scene. “You either die the hero, or you live long enough to see yourself turn into the villain”- Harvey Dent. Poor, poor Pete. Pete spun it like it was his and Grace’s mission and he was doing to keep Grace safe, but I think Pete was always kind of crazy. I think he would’ve been all on board if they approached him day 1.  It was clear he always wanted revenge on Chanel but I was quite oblivious to what extent he would take it too. I have not double checked the timeline, but if I am not mistaken, he was content with Dean Munch taking the fall and letting the twins continue their rampage. That does not seem very boy scout like, Pete. The sad part in all of this is Grace. Grace was a genuine saint for most of the series. It was so hypocritical and uncomfortable to watch her berate Pete for working with the Red Devil after A. see tried to kill Dean Munch and B. Said maybe the Red Devil was doing the right thing. It probably was for the best things did not work out. Her and Zayday succeeded in transforming Kappa, which was nice to see.

In the early review, I said Dean Munch was one of the only interesting and in-depth characters. This is still slightly true. The weird part is how her chapter ended. She was left alive. She murdered her husband, got a ghost writer to write her book, and covered up the death of a student on campus. Call me crazy, but she should have been the first character to go.

I know I just said the final scene was one of my favorite scenes of the series, but it was also one of the dumbest. I understand this show is ripping on tropes of the genre, but it gets to a point where it does not have to rip off of them. Which trope am I referring to? The Red Devil appearing at the end. What is the point? Who is this Red Devil? What do we know?

We know Boone and Pete are dead. They were the muscle. We know Hester said she was never going to kill again. So who was in the asylum? Boone did tell Pete there were more killers, so maybe this killer is from another school?  The staff has mentioned if a season two gets picked up it will be a summer camp theme. So how does this tie into the asylum finale? This ending seemed forced and made no sense based what we know at this point in time. I expected the Chanel’s to be plotting their revenge on Hester Gracie and Zayday. Clearly, this is a really simple plot compared to this season’s plot so I doubt it is likely. I do like the idea of summer camp because it gives the writers even more tropes to utterly ruin.

The other thing I did not like is the scene where Hester tells how the Chanels are “guilty”. Everything was so thought out up to this point. The plan was twenty years in the making. Every move was calculated and precise. Every motive was solid and every action meaningful. But this scene just seemed rushed, forced, and intentionally jumbled up and messy. I was following it when she was blaming Chanel #5, but after that it just seemed to drag on without accomplishing much. It would’ve been better if along the way they hinted about Chanel #3 having split personalities or anything like that. With Chanel #5 parents, I thought Gigi set this up 20 years ago and I was actually thinking “dang, that is cold”, but everything was something Hester threw together last minute to help things conveniently go off without a hitch.

Best Episode- Probably Episode 9 Ghost Stories.

Worst Episode- I would not necessarily say to skip any but Episode 7 Before of Young Girls seems borderline filler.

Favorite Character- Chad and Dean Munch are great!

Best line- This show is really quotable. If I were to watch it all over again I probably could find 10 or 20 best lines, but the one freshest on my mind is “You go, Cyclops”- Denise, Episode 13 The Finale. It is my favorite because it sums up the humor of the dialogue and the ignorance of the characters to the magnitude of whats going on around them

Okay here are the positives:
-Dialogue is priceless
-Half the deaths are pretty cool
-The interesting characters are really interesting
-The show overcomes its mind numbing slow start

Here are the cons-
-Characters are super shallow
-The other half of the deaths make you question the budget.
-The dull character are really dull.
-The show crashes under the weight of it’s momentum.

Verdict: My feelings towards the finale are an echoing sentiment of my feelings towards the show as a whole. The last four episodes were building up to such a high. I was fully prepared to apologize for doubting this and give it an 8. However, half of the 2 hour finale felted, rushed, insincere and just an all around waste of time. Having the Red Devil Killer come back was the worst way to end this and had no logical grounds to even occur. The ending was unrewarding and even insulting to the loyal fans who sat by this show despite it’s attempts to see how little it could try. Hester is a walking embodiment of this show. The show makes you think it was all thought out and planned, but it all just felt like they tried so hard on episodes 9-12 that when it got to the finale there was just no gas in the tank to finish. Chad and Zayday were some of the best characters and they were used sparingly towards the end. Do not get me wrong. I do not regret watching. It was quite enjoyable at times. I’d even go as far as to say I am interested in a season 2. All I am saying is you have to reward your audience for sticking to the end of your show, and this series did not.

Score: 5.5 out of 10. It definitely improved since the beginning but it’s legs gave out to early. It does make for a good binge watch.

Scream Queens: Midseason Thoughts

Last time we visited this series Grace and Pete were just starting their adventures in crime fighting and no one else had quite figured out what to make of the Red Devil. Some more information as been given to us and even more dead bodies have piled up. Interested in jumping into the final three episodes? Well it is time to get you caught up as well as lay down some theories and thoughts.

Spoilers: I, in no way, know how this series will end, so spoilers will not ruin the grand finale, but there will be some spoilers if youve missed any episodes(Some will be MAJOR some will be MINOR).

First things first. We know there are two red devils. Heck, we even know who one of them is. The first Red Devil was Nick Jonas’s character, Boone. This was fairly easy to pick out. I knew he was one by the end of episode two(when he supposedly died). This also lead to the very early assumption that this was in fact a group project.

Grace and Pete go on seemingly pointless adventure after seemingly pointless adventure trying to find out who the baby in the bath tub was. Grace believes it is still her. I am pretty sure this theory is seeming more and more less likely which each episode. Their adventures are more mind numbing than Foggy Nelson and Karen’s adventures in the Netflix Daredevil series. There is seriously an entire episode dedicated to introducing a character that cheated on Dean Munch’s Husband. At the end, the girl is arrested for murdering her husband. Which she ultimately did not. Gigi and Dean Munch seem to both set her up. Long story short, Dean Munch wanted this girl gone, and that is what happened. It was a complete waste of an episode and that is a major problem with this show. I, in no way, ever believed Dean Munch had anything to do the Red Devil. I still do not. She is just a wicked human being. We already knew this. Grace and Pete are terrible detectives. We already knew this. We did not need an entire episode dedicated to this. It was enjoyable, but it was a waste.

The Chanels are insane. Very insane. They have plotted to kill each other and several other members of the house for stupid reasons. I was curious about rather Chanel 6 could be one of the devils(Still kind of am). Even though that theory seems shot after the conclusion of last week. I do not particularly enjoy their characters. I still reserve the same opinion that they are all good actors and play their roles respectably enough. Though the one Chanel I am most curious in is Chanel #4. She died off scene in episode one and not much more, if anything, has been said about her. They just dismissed her in passing. I would not put it past this show for her to be the helper. It seems like it can only be a student. This potentially rules out Dean Munch, Grace’s Dad, Denise Hemphill, and any other faculty member that might have been introduced. We also know there were twins in bath tub. Boone was the guy. This potentially rules out any of the other guys, like Chad. I am personally ruling out Chanel #1,  Grace, Zayday, and Chanel #5. So, assuming character’s do not stay dead so they are not inherently ruled out just for dying . My top candidates are Chanel #4, Chanel #6, and Chanel #3. As mentioned, I would not put it past the show to bring back Chanel #4 like they did with Nick Jonas’s character(I would not even put it past bringing back Chanel #2, though this one seems unlikely because we did see her get stabbed a few times). Chanel #6, while being dead, still fits the style of Boone and I could see her being the twin. I do not personally recall The Red Devil ever attacking Chanel #3, so that is why I find it hard to rule her out even though no real signs point to her.

A closing thought is that a lot is being made of Grace, her dad, Chanel, and Chad’s life. It seems as if they are all on some collision course with fate, but I cannot quite put my finger on their converging point. None of them seem guilty as being the Red Devil. Grace’s Dad knew Gigi. So does he know who the second twin is? Has he been trying to get Grace to go home so she would not get caught up in His and Gigi’s revenge scheme? Chad has slept around with most if not all the Chanels and it seemed like they were trying to tie him to the Red Devil. That theory seems completely mute now that Boone is one of the killers. I doubt Chad knows anything larger than himself. What do we make of Chanel? Could she be purposely be bringing a bad name to Kappa because of the event that happened twenty years. I would not think so, but maybe?

All in all, this show has introduced a lot of characters, and thankfully has killed off the uninteresting ones. It gains momentum so fast, and loses it by lollygagging around. The show is more interesting without the Red Devil on scene, though I do rejoice when the Red Devil is on the scene, because that is one less mouth to have to listen to. I do think the show as a whole has been mediocre up to this point, but I am excited for the last three episodes.

Score: 6 out 10 for now. We will revisit this season once it is all said and done.

Check back than for the final score.

Check out the early thoughts Here