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Last Week on Syfy - Reviews

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Last Week on Syfy, Z Nation aired its two-part finale, while Van Helsing ramped up the stakes heading into its final episodes. Also, Ghost Wars had a solid character episode, Superstition faltered, and Happy! built upon its solid series premiere with an entertaining second episode.

And by the way, congratulations to Z Nation and Van Helsing fans for the renewals! Both shows deserve it!

Z Nation - 'Mt. Weather' & 'The Black Rainbow'

Z Nation ended its rather uneven season with quite the bang. The two-hour finale (in the U.S. at least) saw Team Bite Mark retrieve the zombified President in his bunker, and then using his thumbprints to stop Zona's cataclysmic Black Rainbow.

'Mt. Weather' felt like it could have been compressed into half an episode. There were parts that felt dragged out for the sake of fulling in the 45 minutes. The episode really did not leave much to talk about and was more of an extended setup for the final episode.

'Black Rainbow,' on the other hand, had more zing, although some of the final threads were a bit convoluted. It was not made clear what Warren was trying to do originally with the canisters. If she wanted to stop Zona from releasing the toxins, then why not just do nothing at all. And why did she believe Dr. Teller wanted to stop the apocalypse, he is part of Zona, after all.

For a show like Z Nation, however, it is sometimes best to ignore the means and enjoy the ends. And what a cliffhanger the show left us at.

There are now many questions to be answered for next season. How will Warren survive being stuck in the drone as it releases its toxins? What does Black Rainbow mean for the world and for Team Bite Mark? What in the blue hell is up with poor Murphy who has turned red? Keith Allen just can't get away from the makeup room. Who is this unseen enemy we saw earlier in the season and where is Red, Addy, and Sun Mei? Also, what is up with the mad Z's?

Murphy and Doc watching Black Rainbow in the concluding scenes, with the latter putting on his cool sunglasses, was a nice shot at the end of the episode. And to add humour, it was funny to see Sarge affectionately jumping at 10K after asking if this is the end of the world. Though it does beg the question of what this means for Red? I still don't understand why they brought her back, only to make her go missing for a full season, again.

Season 4 in Review: A lot of what we saw this season felt like a setup for next year. The unseen enemy, New America, why the zombies are all evolving were threads that were left kind of dangling. In ways, it felt like an incomplete season and one that tried to pack too much in.

The season could have benefited from fleshing out some of the other stories by cutting out some of the stand alone episodes. The season started off strong, but how they built on those first few episodes in the middle of the season was a complete mess. They sort of made up for it these last two mildly entertaining episodes, but in retrospective, the season started off running only to fall flat on its face.

Nevertheless, it is safe to say that Z Nation has officially surpassed The Walking Dead in terms of quality. Just had to say.

Mt. Weather: 5/10
The Black Rainbow: 7/10
Season 4: 7/10

Van Helsing - 'Base Pair' Review

After a couple weeks away from our titular hero, 'Base Pair' reveals what Vanessa had been up to since she got abducted.

'Base Pair' was a rather tame episode as the mystery of who these people are, whether they are good or bad and what their intentions are, were slowly unraveled.

Abigail not being Vanessa's mom was predictable. She was too over the top kind and the reveal was too sudden for her to be who she claimed she was.

The predictability took away from the quality of the episode. Though 'Base Pair' did introduce viewers to some interesting antagonists, the imprisoned vamp included.

It is interesting how this Elder Vamp means so much in different ways to different groups. Dmitri and co worship him, the scientists want his DNA to find a cure, and Van Helsing and her team don't want him to rise up at all.

Season 2 has been a marked improvement over its debut season, thanks in large part to them finally exploring some mythos. 'Base Pair' did a solid job in furthering along that mythos, introducing us to some new intriguing villains, while also leaving Vanessa in quite the predicament. Can she really be dead!? Vanessa just can't seem to catch a break.


Happy - 'What Smiles are For' Review

This show would not work without the gravitas of actor Christopher Meloni as protagonist Nick Sax. Meloni plays the reluctant hero archetype to a tee, and this second episode of Syfy's new show did a great job in digging into Sax' fears as he runs away from the town instead of helping Happy find his daughter.

The humour was hit or miss. The Jerry Springer segments were a bit too much, but some humour that did work was watching Happy turn to a poker addict as he helped Sax win.

Meloni plays well off Patton Oswalt's superficially cheerful Happy. The moment when the imaginary friend confronts Sax about his fears, telling him he is as much imaginary as he is, was a well done scene.

The episode ended on a high with Sax realizing his cowardice and picking up a sad Happy as he heads back into town.

Happy! should not work, and it is definitely not for everyone, but for a dark comedy, this second episode did a solid job on building on its entertaining premiere.


Superstition - 'Echoes of My Mind' Review

'Echoes of my Mind' picked up right where 'Dr. Dredge M.D.' left off with Calvin in the Infernos captivity.

A large chunk of the episode occurred within Calvin's mind as the Dredge manipulated his dreams to get him to activate his ring, with the ultimate goal of bringing more Inferno's into the world.

The plot worked against the episode rather than in favour. Dreams work best when there is some exploration of character and/or a strong emotional theme to attach to.

Unfortunately, most of Calvin's dreams were weird for the sake of being weird and not well written at all, especially in terms of making us feel for the torment that Calvin felt from his mistake(s) in Afghanistan.

The other half of the episode was a bit more tolerable. It was cool to see Papa Hastings teaming up with May to rescue Calvin, and then May breaking off to save the townspeople at the fair.

It was a surprise to see James (Joaquin Montes) show up. The half inferno, half human is a strong supporting character and one who is wasted away in his very brief appearances.

The mayor being an Inferno was predictable. It looks like he will be taking over the main antagonist role from the Dredge, at least temporarily, that of whom has seemed to have met his demise this episode before cornily declaring that we have not seen the last of him.

On a side note, anyone else get Green Lantern vibes from the scene when Calvin used the ring to defeat the Dredge? A powerful ring that emits green light is just way to similar to the popular DC Comics hero. Couldn't the writers have come up with something more original?

This was one of the weaker episodes of the season, in large part due to the fast forward-able time spent in Calvin's head. However, the episode did move the story forward in an intriguing direction now that the show has established the power of the ring, as Green Lantern-ish as it may be, as well as introducing viewers to a new antagonist in the mayor.


Ghost Wars - 'The Pain Connection' Review

'The Pain Connection' refers to the connection that these creatures from the pods share in feeling what each other are feeling.

The episode focused mainly on Reverend Dan as a one man army confronting Sophia, Abigail and Paolo, after unsuccessfully trying to convince the townsfolk of the evil within them.

Vincent D'Onforio has pretty much carried not just this episode, but the entire show. His character has had the deepest exploration from his role in Roman's mothers death to his failed exorcism.

The reverend is a man who is supposed to be a bringer of hope to a town in desperate need of it, but instead he is a man weighed down by a crap ton of guilt and regret. It makes for a very interesting character, if not a bit trope-y.

The reverend's argument with Daphne about religion vs. science, as well as, his demands to burn Paolo's body, shows a man who is desperate to do good, but yet, he just can't seem to catch a break. In this episode we see Reverend Dan pushed to the brink of sanity, and so his death, though was unexpected, was bound to happen.

It was an emotional moment when Roman reads the letter the Reverend leaves for him. It is clear Reverend Dan felt he failed at his job, but yet he hopes the young clairvoyant, Roman, the object of his biggest regret, can be that hope bringer.

'The Pain Connection' was a strong character episode for Reverend Dan and actor D'Onforio. Now, it's time for him to go back filming Daredevil.


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