Big Little Lies ‘Somebody’s Dead’ review

Big Little Lies premiered last night on HBO, telling the story of three first graders and their mothers as the perfect lives they’ve built for themselves slowly begin to unravel.

An all star cast, Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman and Shailene Woodley take the starring roles providing enough cache to elevate Big Little Lies from a Desperate Housewives knock-off into something else. Big Little Lies is a dark comedy-drama playing between a flash forward to a future murder and the first day of school.

But it’s not the murder which makes this episode so intriguing. The different perspectives of motherhood and the space which it occupies hasn’t necessarily been seen in a prestige HBO drama before. Shailene Woodley as Jane Chapman, the young and thoughtful new mother to the small town accompanied by her son Ziggy holds her own surrounded by strong personalities. Nicole Kidman’s character Celeste Wright probably had the least to say this episode but provided the most nuance, giving up her career and the seeds of a violent relationship being sown there are definitely layers to this woman not yet told.

The real standout of this episode is Reese Witherspoon in her role of Madeline Martha Mackenzie. While she could have been very one note (there are smatterings of the Tracy Flick and Elle Woods) there is an underbelly of darkness to the character of Madeline, a vindictiveness, and a sadness as she wrestles with her own identity.

The setting, a beautiful affluent town somewhere in California allows the stakes of this drama to be played out with precision. As Ziggy is accused of choking Reneta Klein (Laura Dern) child were told how this starts off a chain of events ultimately leading to murder.

The murder element of the show is admittedly pulpy done by shows such as Revenge and How to Get Away with Murder but undeniable it raises the stakes and keeps you watching. But with Laura Dern as the antagonist for our group of moms we see a woman wrestling with being a mother and being shamed for having a career.

No one in this show is wholly likeable (maybe Kidman’s character has the edge) but overall I think that’s the point. Big Little Lies is a dark and twisty world under the veneer of sunshine and maryjanes watching the layers get peeled off is going to be half the fun.

 

Five things we want to know after the Westworld finale

After THAT season finale we were left reeling as the credits began to roll.

Who was that? Is that really the maze? What time are we in? Am I host?

But it looks like we won’t know anything until season 2 which comes back in 2018, until then, here are some questions we need answering…

How big is Westworld? 

And is actually called Westworld? We saw some vaguely Samurai looking guys as Maeve and her team moved towards the exit so does this mean that we’re going to be getting a Roman World and a Medieval World like in the movies? Also are they new? Does Ford bounce between all the different Worlds or is there another evil genius waiting in the wings.

Where is Elsie? 

Elsie was a main character in the first couple of episodes as an inquisitive behaviour programmer. But as things began too unravel it looked like her fate was sealed in the basement as someone grabbed her. Then her tracker pinged within the Park and Stubbs went looking for her only too be greeted with members of the ghost nation. Although there are some theories confirming that she is alive and others saying she was never alive, we still have not definitive answer on what happened too her. Maybe it was all part of Ford’s plan too keep them both safe until the main storyline was finished.

Was Maeve’s story just a storyline?

As we watched Maeve turn from jaded bar Madam, too fierce and intelligent robot hero we found ourselves rooting for her too get out of the park. And just as she was about too she went back in to go look for her daughter. As we’ve seen Ford use children as character motivations before it’s possible that Maeve’s whole striving towards freedom was just a distraction technique for Ford too get all of the other hosts into the Park without suspicion  .

Do we really know anything about Arnold? 

The season came and went with some amazing twists and turns. And there were a hella amount of Arnold plot twists, as Jeffery Wright played the original park founder and his host counterpart. All narrative surrounding Arnold’s story was told through Ford’s perspective meaning that it could have just been part of his bigger plan. Also why are the reveries and malfunctions just showing themselves now? Maybe someone out that there wanted too finish Arnold’s plan?

How is the board going to explain this? 

Time jump? The world’s best paid clean-up team? As the hosts went on a killing spree of investors it looks like things might just be over for the human race. But somehow I think that the board of directors will find a way too reopen the park and continue to use it too make money. Maybe next season will be about Westworld truths///

 

Westworld Season One finale review

These violent details have violent ends and so does the final episode of season one of Westworld.

With twist after twist moving through the hour and a half finale we’re left with a million questions and are agonisingly waiting for season 2 (which is in 2018)

The build up too the Man in Black and William reveal was enticing, even though many fans had theorised that these two characters were the same person in different timelines it was amazing too watch it all play out and as William slowly accepted his dark side and let go of Dolores.

Maeve’s story was definitely the action intense of the finale as she and her band of psychopaths moved through Westworld behind the scenes. At points I did suspect that Maeve’s story was written by Sizemore as a way of getting the information the board needed out of the park. But she returns, the bond too her daughter is too strong to override simple logic, although will she be returning to the park she once knew?

The biggest reveal was that redemption of Ford, played by the wonderfully brilliant Anthony Hopkins (if he doesn’t get an emmy then I will riot)

Locked in within his new storyline he presents too the board,Dolores and Teddy on the beach as she’s about too die. We’ve seen Dolores deal with what she knows to be the maze and finally once again killed by the Man in Black. Dialogue amped up too a million the two recite lines more at home in a lifetime movie than HBO the scene pulls back and we see the board of directors, their emotions just entertainment.

A part of you wonders if the whole show is just watching a bigger storyline play out as Ford remains the smartest man in the room and Dolores realises her part in all of it.

Although Arnold thought he’d mastered the consciousness of the hosts and sending Dolores on a killing spree Ford realised it would take more time than that for them too truly be sentient beings.

The rising of the forgotten host army is haunting as they move through the trees and the Man in Black seems almost happy that this is the way he dies, maybe it’s what he’d been hoping for all along. The final shocking moments see Dolores put a bullet through the back of Ford’s head, however from a show like this what would be the bigger plot twist, that it was a robot version of Ford? Or that Ford’s actually dead?

That show itself has room to grow and change as it’s season two premiere won’t be till 2018 and they’ve also introduced the other worlds that we saw in the Westworld movies. I expect a big time jump for season two but I hope not more of the same, there are hundreds of different storylines to take with Westworld let’s just hope that don’t blow through them all.

 

How is Game of Thrones going to end?

All good things must come to an end and that includes Game of Thrones. With the show ending in season 8 things are still up in the air with plot twist after plot twist coming out of the woodwork. Surpassing the books and spoiler photos leaking the finale might already be in the works, so here are our  7 theories on how the epic fantasy will end…

The Mad Queen Cersei vs the World

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 Cersei Lannister might just be the final boss the heroes have to take on in order to achieve peace in the seven kingdoms. The show started with the last effects of Mad King Aerys on Westeros so it’s possible the show might end with a revolt against the mad Queen Cersei and I am sure that she’ll be taking more than a few people down with her when she goes.

Jon Snow + Daenerys

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Fans have been guessing that the fates of Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen are going to be intertwined since the first book. Although the two haven’t met (yet) they represent the two tail ends of the Song of Ice and Fire that the story main symbolism . And with the Starks and the Targaryen army together they could take on pretty much anyone.

The Iron Throne will be no more

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Much of the series has been centered around who will be sat on the Iron Throne and what people will do to get on it. But it’s possible that this will all be for nothing. With wars being fought left and right and with none of the families really being worth it, the concept of royalty in Westeros could resolve into nothingness

Or the Throne is the key…

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Daenerys’ trip into the House of the Undying and the things she saw in there proved to be incredibly important as the series goes along. As she found her way into a snow filled Throne room many have thought that it could mean Jon Snow is destined to sit on the Iron Throne. But it could have more to do with the temperature challenged White Walkers and the dragon-fire fused Valyrian steel the Throne is made out of, with a bit of magic and Valerian see can be turned into DragonGlass that kills White Walkers and could bring an end to the oncoming war.

The White Walkers take Westeros 

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And it’s for the best! Human’s haven’t exactly been making the best with the Seven Kingdoms so maybe it’s time for someone else to have a go. The White Walkers winning would provide a perfectly bittersweet ending to the series and it would also mirror the destruction of Old Valyria that happened years before the books began. Maybe the White Walkers were the heroes after all.

Arya becomes Lady Stoneheart 

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It looks like Catelyn Stark’s revenge as the bloodthirsty zombie is dead in the pan. But Arya Stark and her kill list are finally coming to fruition, as she makes her way back to Winterfell it looks like she’s going to be getting the Stark revenge. With her faceless man training and all the horrors she’s seen in the past few years Arya is a one woman army and she might not fit in with the stringent rules that high society life comes with.

Everyone dies.

White walkers, Starks, the Dragons, if you think this has a happy ending then,

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This is George R.R.Martin after all.

 

By Katie Beech

Westworld Episode five review/recap

After last weeks episode Westworld has moved beyond it’s world building motif into a story.

Logan and William dive further into the world, Logan tries to entice a war “There are no heroes or villains, it’s just one giant circle jerk” although the William is the Man in Black hasn’t been confirmed as of yet, we  get the impression that William’s story isn’t going to be complete once his holiday is over. Laurence, the poor soul who’s become MiB noose wearing sidekick makes an appearance in William’s story, suggesting this may be the first meeting of the two.

Dolores accompanies the two on their mission but is having a crisis of her own as she begins to unravel with memories of a world she doesn’t meet. The two team up, Dolores can shoot a gun now and a voice inside her head is telling her what to do…could it be Arnold?

Speaking of which Arnold may be dead but his presence is felt. The programmer finds a satellite in the host that tries to kill her, whether that suggests corporate espionage or something more sinister we’ll have to wait and see. Although it would be amazing if it was all brought down by something as mundane as the money.

In the highlight of the opposite Ford and the Man in Black come face to face in a backwards pub on the outskirts of tone. The two talk quietly, you wonder if this is the first time they’ve met and does Ford understand the Man in Black more than he admits…

“I always figured this place was missing a real villain.”

Teddy doesn’t quite realise he’s having a conversation with his creator, but protects Ford nonetheless.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Hopkins is solidly the scariest person in the whole show.

The episode ends with one of the “butchers”finally programming a bird to fly and Maeve waking up in the room seemingly more content than she was the last time she woke up in a dream. Maeve seems to understand the Westworld a little better than the other hosts, she could be the dark horse that fucks up their entire world.

Five episodes left and I don’t think we’re going to get a conclusive ending but like the guests in Westworld I’m just enjoying the journey.

5 Questions we’ve got for Westworld

Westworld is three episodes in and has managed too become our latest obsession as the fantastically rich futuristic drama has us scratching our heads after each episode but now we have a couple of questions that we’re going to need Anthony Hopkins to explain to us…

You can’t get shot but how else can you die?

In the rough Wild West world that the guests are thrown into we’re wondering what else can kill them? I mean no one is wearing helmets as they ride horses and I suppose you could accidentally get caught in the crosshairs of a bar fight.

How many people work at the Park? 

This is a 24 hour job with park upkeep and extracting ‘dead’ hosts, there has to be so many people working within the park to make sure it all goes off without a hitch. As well as that there has to be a least a couple of dozen people watching the park at any one time just to cover the incidents.

How do they get you out of the park?

So you get to the park via a fancy train but I’m assuming that you loose track of time between the bar fights and the brothels. So what happens if you miss the train or just decide you don’t want to leave like the Man in Black?

Can the robots be hacked?

Listen if the 15 year from Ireland can hack the world’s banks then logically a 15 year old in this universe can mess with the robot. I feel like if everyone was aware of the hyper-realistic robots existed then there would be a team of nerdy troublemakers would want to fuck shit up.

How long are you allowed too stay?

Logan makes a reference to it being 40k a day to attend Westworld but that’s chump change to some billionaires so they could easily holiday there for years and depending on how long a person is there how long are each of the individual hosts cycles.

 

 

Four of the craziest Westworld theories

Westworld has easily become our new obsession while we wait for Game of Thrones to come back. The many layers and juxtaposition between the sleek modern word and the rough western theme park allows for a multitude of stories to go on at the same time which is why fans have already started forming theories here’s a couple of the best…

William and the Man in Black are the same person 

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As William tentatively arrives in the Park for the first time donning a white hat and falling for Dolores, he seems like the antithesis to the raping and murdering Man in Black but fans have noticed that there are several differences between the park when The Man is and when William meaning possibly we are viewing two different timelines at once. And after The Man in Black references the fact he’s been coming here for thirty years and since some incident we know the Man’s life has been marked by Westworld.

However this theory has been quashed as Dolores runs into William after she shoots someone while having flashbacks to the Man in Black. But we don’t know how time works with a robot who isn’t truly memorising something, can Dolores see into the future?

The staff are robots 

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Whether just some or all of them, the idea that they’d just have these fully functional for the guests just seems shortsighted use of manpower from the mysterious board of directors. Instead  using them to work 24/7 on robot maintenance in order to maximise  profits, besides you haven’t seen them eat yet…

With Bernard’s tragic backstory off in some distant location just as Teddy’s is being written the motivation for a person staying in the sterile Westworld environment might need to be written as well.

Arnold is alive

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And he’s somewhere in the park. People are theorising it’s maybe the Man in Black, Bernard or even a version of Ford. But the idea that the code is malfunctioning right now might mean that Arnold is alive and hacking into his creations to finally give them what he truly wanted… sentient

The idea that there is some unfinished business with who Arnold is, definitely a great finale reveal if he is alive.

The maze is the escape 

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As the Man in Black desperately hunts for the maze and the next level of the game he hasn’t stopped to think about what could be at the centre of it. But when creepy child robot tells him that “The maze isn’t meant for you” then maybe it’s meant for the hosts instead.

Dolores is growing more aware of herself by the day, maybe the maze is the only way for the robots to escape the cycles.

 

 

Westworld gives HBO it’s 3rd highest debut

HBO is back with it’s sci-fi futuristic hit WestWorld. For a while it looked like HBO was dwindling with the ending of some of it’s stellar shows and sub-par debuts from what were supposed to be monster hits like Vinyl.

With over 3.3 million viewers across it’s first two airings and streaming systems. Westworld manages to tick off all of the boxes for successful drama, top draw cast including Anthony Hopkins, an established background and J.J Abrams attached to it.

With Broadwalk Empire and True Detective taking the top two spots it looks like HBO is finally on top form. With it’s top-notch pedigree and story telling potential Westworld might very well be HBO’s next Game of Thrones.

Westworld episode one review

Westworld lives somewhere in our future and our past. A theme park where visitors pay good money to have their every whim played out by animatronic host.

Westworld is a sequel to the 1970s film of the same name, I say this because of the several references to the incidents that happened thirty years ago.

The park is overseen by a hunger-games looking building where robots are kept and updated. We arrive in time for their latest update and Dr. Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) keeps trying to make things a little more realistic.

We follow Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) a peaceful girl who lives with her mother and father who enjoys painting and Teddy (James Marsden) a quiet cowboy who meets her on a chance encounter, the two spend a magical day together only for Dolores’ parents to be brutally murdered by bandits. Ed Harris character shows us, murders Teddy and rapes Dolores.

Known as “The Man in Black” and described by the show runner as a ‘Grand Theft Auto” character the change in the way the guests are portrayed as ugly interlopers on the robots rich inner lives. From the way that they were portrayed in the original movie we don’t find ourselves rooting for the guests, possibly as a reflection of the way video games have developed into something slightly more gruesome then their 70s counterparts.

We see the mundanities of running a robot theme-park as robots begin to malfunction the storylines have to be changed and we see the tentative balance the world lives in. Revealing a malfunctioning gang of robots. Dolores father discovers a discarded picture from one of the guests and begins to question his entire existence and begins to remember pieces from his previous incarnation.

Episode one of Westworld was solid, a beautifully shot wonder with a couple of story issues and a stellar cast. How it will go into a seven season show remains to be seen as they exhaust the malfunctioning robot storyline but we’re looking forward to it.

Issa Rae in Insecure

Issa Rae is a loveable American comedian who has been producing web based comedy since 2012. Her stringent observations on life have won her legions of fans, a successful web series and a book deal.

It was only a matter of time before she was snapped up by one of the major networks and Issa was smart to go with HBO.

Insecure “Follows the awkward experiences and racy tribulations of a modern-day African-American woman.”

Listen.

I’m an awkward person and within the first scene I was cringing as Issa deals with a bunch of obnoxious high school kids, smiling, long silences and over sharing is something I have done in far too many situations.

Not only following Issa, Insecure also features Molly, Issa’s best friend whom on the surface seems to have her life together but keeps on getting into ‘not really’ relationships.

Insecure is a cute comedy at it’s heart with an honesty to it that you don’t find with the likes of Broad City or New Girl sort of a comedy for people who’ve felt shortchanged by their TV for the last couple of years. I’m really looking forward to seeing where this goes…