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Orphan Black's uneven finale offers a game-changing cliffhanger [S2E10]

Caroline Siede reviews the season two finale of BBC America’s clone drama

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Helena grows up and everyone pairs off on Orphan Black [S2E6]

Caroleine Siede reviews the latest episode of the BBC’s clone drama

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Hannibal sets the table for the season finale [s2e12]

A classic moment from the Lecter legendarium hits the small screen. Theresa deLucci reviews the latest episode.

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The nature vs. nurture question looms in Orphan Black [s2e5]

Caroline Siede on the latest episode of the BBC’s clone drama

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'Orphan Black': Mingling Its Own Nature With It [TV recap, S2E3]

Goodbye Big Dick Paul, hello hopefully equally well-endowed Cal! Orphan Black introduces a new character this week and he adds a jolt of energy to an episode that otherwise slows things way down and examines what makes its characters tick.

Until the last five minutes of this episode (more on those later) very little actually happens in “Mingling Its Own Nature With It.” Sarah, Felix, and Kira break into a cabin and Sarah reunites with the aforementioned Cal; Kira intuits that Cal is her father; Alison hits a new low at the opening of her musical; Cosima learns a tad more about her illness; and Helena eats some food with the Proletheans. After two action-packed weeks, Orphan Black eases up on the plot and switches into character-drama mode instead. The result is deeply satisfying, even if the episode feels a bit uneven at times.

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Hannibal's not-so-lovely bones: "Shiizakana" [TV recap S2E9]

Hannibal - Season 2

Analogy: it’s what’s for dinner. While last week’s episode of Hannibal saw Dr. Lecter and Will Graham reflected in a pair of men with a similarly corrupted power dynamic, “Shiizakana” compares Will’s inner animal with another hungry beast borne of Hannibal’s unique therapy. The hour moved quickly, but wasn’t quite my favorite outing of the season. It felt a bit like more set-up (or wheel-spinning if you want to be rude) as we see the finale shimmering on the horizon. Or maybe I’m just impatient because I want to see exactly how Will and Jack land their prize trout.

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Ulterior motives lurk in Orphan Black (Season 2, Episode 2 Recap)

oprhblack

Nothing is what it seems to be in the world of Orphan Black. Public and private goals are seldom the same, and behind every welcoming smile lurks an ulterior motive. The clones spent the first season learning that the hard way—especially with the reveal of their monitors—and yet in a world filled with so much danger, it’s natural to yearn for safety. After going through hell wouldn’t it be nice to have someone to trust? Several times tonight our heroes find a sanctuary, only to have the rug pulled out from under them once more. “Governed by Sound Reason and True Religion” peels away at various pristine exteriors to expose what’s lurking underneath. And what’s there ain’t too pretty.

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TV recap: Game Of Thrones 'The Lion And The Rose' [season 4, episode 2]

Spoilers. Spoilers spoilers spoilers. Are we good now? All right, let’s dig into “The Lion And The Rose,” which isn’t a particularly thrilling episode of Game Of Thrones, but does feature one giant event that most fans of the show have been waiting for since the very beginning.

I’m convinced that most of the people who profess publicly that they haven’t read the Song Of Ice And Fire books actually know most of what’s going to happen on the show. (I haven’t read the books. I know what’s going to happen. I’m not scared of spoilers. It is what it is.) There’s not much else to explain this piece, which stakes an early claim on “predicting” Joffrey’s death this season. And in true Game Of Thrones fashion, there’s no delay getting to that event. It’s shockingly cathartic for the object of most fans’ ire to sputter and expire in the second installment of a 10-episode season. King Joffrey is dead. Long live the equally illegitimate King Tommen.

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Justified circles back to old friends and enemies to close out its fifth season [TV Recap: season 5, episode 13]

It was never really about the Crowes, or Ava going to prison, or the trip south of the border, or the gangsters in Detroit. This season of Justified, and by extension the entire series, has all been one long road to a final showdown between Raylan Givens and Boyd Crowder.

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Hannibal's design takes shape in 'Yakimono' [TV Recap, Season 2, Episode 7]


Hugh Dancy as Will Graham in “Hannibal” Season 2 Episode 7, “Yakimono”

Characters are dropping like… well, like characters on a televised serial killer drama, I suppose.

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Community is here to let you know everything will keep going when the show ends [TV Recap: season 5, episode 12]

At some point, it all has to end. NBC's Community will close up shop, whether it’s later this spring when NBC announces its fall schedule, after six seasons and a movie, or after it somehow incomprehensibly surpasses The Simpsons for longest-running sitcom and everyone complains even louder how the show isn’t as funny as its earlier golden years. But Community isn’t like other shows. It staved off cancellation due to low ratings thanks to a fervent fan base; it survived the departure of creator Dan Harmon and a creatively tepid fourth season; and now it sits a half hour away from yet another uncertain future after Harmon’s return. Community wants everyone to know that no matter how many stays of execution it earns, the end of a show is ultimately inevitable.

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The unthinkable blooms on Hannibal "Futomono" [s2,e6]

For those keeping track, futomono is the course in a Japanese kaiseki meal that consists of a lidded dish. Keeping the lid on Miriam Lass until the last minute of an episode that was already a feast of sadistic twists, morbid whimsy, and incredible food porn was a real treat.

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Silicon Valley is Mike Judge’s incisive, hilarious return-to-form [TV Recap: season 1, episode 1]

Nearly everyone who sees the Game Of Thrones title sequence praises it for its sheer stylistic audacity, introducing the epic scope of the show with a booming theme song and sweeping summary of the world’s geography. Silicon Valley, Mike Judge’s return to television, accomplishes the same feat with a 10-second title sequence. The camera pans across a SimCity-esque landscape of Silicon Valley, dotted by corporate headquarters for Twitter, HP, and Oracle. Napster pops up as a hot air balloon, and then quickly descends out of sight. AOL topples off a building that becomes Facebook. It’s the proliferation of the tech companies throughout the south peninsula and Santa Clara Valley in microcosm, representing the present moment in the corporate climate where companies pop up and disappear, with major projects existing in a digital realm.

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Game Of Thrones picks up as the Lannisters cope with apparent victory [TV Recap: season 4, episode 1]

The end of Game Of Thrones’ third season offered the bloodiest dramatic high point of the series so far. The Red Wedding capped off the darkest year of the show, and effectively offed the family that in any other classical version of this fantasy arc, would end up victorious. (And that’s essentially why George R.R. Martin got rid of them—to completely buck that trend.) So the big question at the outset of season four, which will depict roughly the other half of events from A Storm Of Swords, is what the Lannisters at King’s Landing will do now that they’ve wiped out the last fully formed threat to their dynasty.

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'Community' knows Jeff Winger’s real age, and knowing is half the battle [TV recap: season 5, episode 11]

Many of the episodes in Community’s fifth season have been modified sequels to previous fan-favorite from previous seasons. “Cooperative Polygraphy” echoes bottle episode “Cooperative Calligraphy.” “Bondage And Beta Male Sexuality” has strains of “Mixology Certification.” “Repilot” and “Advanced Dungeons And Dragons” have easily identifiable equivalents. “G.I. Jeff” is this season’s attempt at a storyline similar to “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas,” the second-season standout that takes place entirely inside Abed’s rattled mind as he grapples with his mother’s absence.

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Community revisited one of its best episodes and avoided the sequel curse [Recap: season 5, episode 10]

“Advanced Dungeons & Dragons” stands as one of Community’s all-time greatest episodes, both stylistically impressive and narratively heartfelt. It’s an immensely satisfying episode of television that forms the peak of the show’s run in the heart of its second season. For the show to tackle that style again flies in the face of how the show has normally operated. The paintball sequel was a chance to make a stylistic adventure cap the emotional narrative struggle within the study group. But this is much riskier. And Abed blatantly states the meta-joke that everyone will ascribe to Dan Harmon, as the group makes the plan for a second role-playing game intervention: “A satisfying sequel is difficult to pull off. Many geniuses have defeated themselves through hubris, making this a chance to prove I’m better than all of them. I’M IN.”

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TV review: 'Community' Season 5 Episode 3, 'Basic Intergluteal Numismatics'

Kevin McFarland reviews the latest episode of Dan Harmon’s beloved television series.

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Dan Harmon is back, and so is the soul of Community! (season 5, eps. 1-2 recap)

“Repilot” and “Introduction To Teaching”

I’m at a loss on how to properly describe something like the fifth season of Community. It shouldn’t exist. It makes no sense that it exists, especially with original creator Dan Harmon, a singularly gifted showrunner who is at the same time cursed to be a hellish guy to work with despite frighteningly astute comedic instincts.

When Chuck Klosterman reviewed Guns N’ Roses’ mythic Chinese Democracy, he said that writing about the long-in-progress album was “not like reviewing music. It’s more like reviewing a unicorn.” That’s how I feel about the episodes NBC sent out to critics for this fifth season. And not just about the fact that I have now seen three new episodes with my eyes—but the fact that Dan Harmon’s epic odyssey of getting fired by NBC following the show’s third season, then taking his podcast Harmontown on a barnstorming national tour while a listless fourth season aired, has ended in his miraculous and unprecedented return to the helm. Community is an improbably beautiful, lovable cockroach—like Wall-E’s little friend on Earth—that just refuses to die. And we’re better for it, because having Dan Harmon back means Community has regained its soul.

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'The Walking Dead' Season 4, Episode 7, 'Dead Weight': Review

Kevin McFarland reviews the latest episode of AMC’s lumbering, flesh-chomping, zombie-infested near future. More episode recaps are in Boing Boing’s “The Walking Dead” archives.

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'The Walking Dead' Season 4, Episode 6, 'Live Bait': Review

Kevin McFarland reviews the latest episode of AMC’s lumbering, flesh-chomping, zombie-infested near future. More episode recaps are in Boing Boing’s “The Walking Dead” archives.

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The Walking Dead, Season 4, Episode 5, 'Internment': review

Kevin McFarland reviews the latest episode of AMC’s lumbering, flesh-chomping, zombie-infested near future. More episode recaps are in Boing Boing’s “The Walking Dead” archives.

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The Walking Dead, Season 4, Episode 3, 'Isolation': review

Kevin McFarland reviews the latest episode of AMC’s lumbering, flesh-chomping, zombie-infested near future. More episode recaps in Boing Boing’s “The Walking Dead” archives.

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The Walking Dead, Season 4, episode 2, 'Infected': Review

Kevin McFarland reviews the latest episode of AMC’s lumbering, flesh-chomping, zombie-infested near future. More episode recaps in Boing Boing’s “The Walking Dead” archives.

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The Walking Dead return in “30 Days Without An Accident” (s4e1)

In one of Jerry Seinfeld’s greatest bits from his Seinfeld-capping standup special I’m Telling You For The Last Time, he describes scuba diving as a “great activity where your main goal is to not die.” I couldn’t help thinking of that blissful state of passive survival—and his sing-song description of being underwater, “Don’t die, don’t die, don’t die. There’s a fish. There’s a rock. Who cares? Don’t die. I don’t want to die. Don’t let me die.”—as more and more confident positivity swept over the fourth season premiere of The Walking Dead. There are enough moments of a calm, happy, functioning society that you’d be forgiven for thinking it was all a dream, since there’s no way life could possibly be this happy

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Priorities and privilege reign in Game of Thrones S3E3

I’ve heard a lot of bewilderment across social media when it comes to keeping up with the ever-climbing number of characters in this show. Even fans of the books are having a bit of a tough time, since the written chronology is odd -- each character’s arc is written separately, so you might read in an entirely unpredictable order about events that are presumed to be happening simultaneously.

The show’s doing an incredible job of streamlining the chronology and making sure stories unfolding at different corners of the world keep reasonable pace with each other, and at uniting disparate arcs under a common theme. It’s titled “Walk of Punishment”, and it’s about the privileges each individual has (or has not), and what those things cost them.

Sigh. Trigger warning for discussion of rape.

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Game of Thrones returns with critical mass of politicking

Funny thing about recaps: Some of the early feedback I got on the handful I did last season suggested people wanted less blow-by-blow, more macroanalysis.

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Game of Thrones: Valar Morghulis

We’ve had a couple weeks to let the Game of Thrones finale breathe, so now we can talk about it, and we can reflect on season 2 as a whole. If you don’t like spoilers, you may not want to read an article about an episode you haven’t seen that concerns a point in the story you haven’t reached.

Have you heard the joke about how Game of Thrones is like Twitter? There are 140 characters, and terrible things are always happening. I didn’t make that up; I wish I knew who did. From reading Twitter (and Facebook, and occasionally actually talking to people), I gather a lot of people found the season 2 finale to be a little disappointing.

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