Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Fargo Season 1 Finale Episode # 10 "Morton's Fork" - Recap and Review

Billy Bob Thornton as silver haired goatee wearing Lorne Malvo in Fargo Season 1 Finale Episode 10 Morton's Fork

This post discusses the episode in detail. Readers yet to see the episode are recommended to skip the rest of the post, if they wish to avoid spoilers.

After seeing his second wife getting killed by Lorne Malvo (Billy Bob Thornton), Lester Nygaard (Martin Freeman) decides to go to Lou's Coffee Shop.

The local cops soon converge on the crime scene as does Deputy Molly Solverson (Allison Tolman).

Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele as FBI Agents Pepper and Budge in Fargo Season 1 Finale Episode 10 Morton's Fork

Lester pretends to be innocent of the circumstances surrounding his wife's death. Molly and the FBI Agents Pepper (Keegan-Michael Key) and Budge (Jordan Peele) interrogate Lester.

Lester under the pretext of being affected by the death of his spouse, gets away.

Keith Carradine as Lou Solverson with Billy Bob Thornton as Lorne Malvo at Lou's Coffee Shop in Fargo Season 1 Finale Episode 10 Morton's Fork

Lou Solverson (Keith Carradine) informs Molly about Lorne's visit and Lorne's conversation with him about Lester's whereabouts. He personally keeps vigil outside Molly's home to protect Greta Grimly (Joey King).

Gus Grimly (Colin Hanks) also sets out to help Molly and spots the red BMW he saw Lorne driving earlier.

Lorne abducts a car salesman and makes him follow the FBI Agents as they escort Lester to his house. Lorne kills the agents shortly and proceeds in his attempt to kill Lester.

Fargo Martin Freeman Lester Nygaard basement fish poster

Lester has laid a trap used to catch animals and Lorne's leg get struck. He is able to inflict injury on Lester, before escaping to safety.

As Lorne painstakingly performs some home grown techniques to set his injured bones straight, he realizes that he has become the prey to another predator lurking nearby.

Colin Hanks as Gus Grimly in Fargo Season 1 Finale Episode 10 Morton's Fork

Gus informs Lorne that he has figured out his puzzle about shades of green before proceeding to shoot him multiple times, ensuring his death.

The police arrive shortly and Gus shows Molly the tapes maintained by Lorne. Molly listens to the call made by Lester to Lorne on the night he murdered his first wife.

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A couple of weeks later, authorities catch up to Lester Nygaard in Glacier National Park, Montana. He tries to flee and falls to his death as the icecaps break around him.

Molly becomes the Chief of Police, Bemidji and Gus gets a citation for bravery.

This was a exciting finale to one of the best TV shows I have seen in a long time.

Billy Bob Thornton as Pastor Frank Peterson with Colin Hanks as Gus Grimly in Fargo Season 1 Finale Episode 10 Morton's Fork

The acting has been consistently good right from the start and this episode is no different. Billy Bob Thornton continues to lead the ensemble cast in acting honors. Lorne Malvo is one of the most memorable characters and all credit to Billy Bob. His final scene with Gus Grimly was epic. A fitting farewell to a classic character.

Martin Freeman, Allison Tolman and Colin Hanks continue to get lion's share of the screentime. All of them are exceptional actors and are believable in their roles.

In addition to these main players, Keith Carradine as Lou Solverson, and Keegan-Michael Key and Budge Jordan Peele as the hapless yet hilarious agents get their share of the limelight.

Keith has some great character moments with Molly, Gus and especially with Greta. 

Bob Odenkirk as Chief of Police Bill Oswalt in Fargo Season 1 Finale Episode 10 Morton's Fork

Bob Odenkirk as Bill Oswalt has a nice scene where he accepts his inability to perform his job and expresses his intention to recommend Molly for his position.

The cinematography is superb and the music too enhances the gripping quality of the show.

This was a great show and a worthy tribute to the original by the Coen Brothers.

A must watch for fans of the Coen Brothers/Fargo/Thrillers.

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Image Sources: Chris Large, FX Productions, MGM Television, FX Network

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Monday, June 2, 2014

BBC Sherlock Season 3 Episode # 2 "The Sign of Three" - Recap and Review

Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes with Alfie Enoch as Bainbridge, the bloody guardsman in BBC Sherlock Season 1 Episode 2 The Sign of Three

At the end of The Empty Hearse”, Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) and John Watson (Martin Freeman) are back in business at 221 B Baker Street for new cases. A mysterious figure was seen, watching the recorded video of Sherlock rescuing John Watson.

Detective Inspector Greg Lestrade (Rupert Graves) and Sergeant Sally Donovan (Vinette Robinson) have been working hard to solve a series of bank robberies. Just as Lestrade is about to make the arrest, he gets a phone call from Sherlock, asking for his immediate presence at 221 B.

Overriding Sally's objections, Lestrade rushes to Sherlock's apartment with heavy backup, in attendance. Concerned by the urgent nature of Sherlock's request, Lestrade is prepared for almost any contigency.

But to his surprise, Sherlock merely asks for his assistance to draft the Best Man's Speech at the wedding of John and Mary Morstan (Amanda Abbington). This scene sets the tone for the rest of the episode: a fun and light one, featuring a Sherlock as we have never seen before.

Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman and Amanda Abbington as best man Sherlock Holmes, John Watson and Mary Morstan in BBC Sherlock Season 3 Episode 2 The Sign of Three

On the D-day, Sherlock makes a very interesting speech, comprised of recollections of previous cases and their stag night among other details.

Some of these cases include The Poison Giant, The Matchbox, The Mayfly Man, The Bloodied Soldier, The Elephant in the Room, The 3 husbands. The Poison Giant is a reference to The Sign of the Four. The Matchbox alludes to The Thor Bridge, in which Dr Watson mentions in passing about Isadora Persano.

The one involving the Mayfly Man is the most significant one from plot perspective and occupies a significant amount of screentime.

Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as Sherlock Holmes and John Watson in BBC Sherlock Season 3 Episode 2 The Sign of Three

Sherlock and John get heavily drunk during the stag night. Sherlock almost comes to blows with another bar patron. Back at 221 B, Sherlock and John play the game of 20 Questions, with Sherlock being Sherlock Holmes and John being Madonna. This scene has couple of great Canonical References via the questions asked by Sherlock.

A client, Tessa (Alice Lowe) shows up, asking for Sherlock's assistance about a mysterious man she dated. Sherlock passes out at the apartment, where the Mayfly Man dated Tessa. Sherlock and John end up in jail and are bailed out by Lestrade.

Another case is that of the Bloodied Soldier, that Sherlock leaves unsolved.

As Sherlock continues to deliver his Best Man Speech, he hits upon a clue to solve the Mayfly Man case. Sherlock discovers that the Mayfly Man is present at the wedding itself and is about to murder someone.

Martin Freeman and Amanda Abbington as John Watson and Mary Morstan in BBC Sherlock Season 3 Episode 2 The Sign of Three

Sherlock deduces that the intended victim is Major James Sholto (Alistair Petrie), John's former commanding officer. Major Sholto has been living in anonymity following the deaths of several men under his command.

Sherlock captures Sholto's potential killer, Jonathan Small (Jalaal Hartley) the substitute photographer for the wedding.

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Based on the novel, The Sign of the Four (SIGN), this episode has been written by Steve Thompson and directed by Colm McCarthy. Steve has made some significant changes to the original story - In SIGN, Major Sholto was the friend of Mary Morstan's father, Captain Arthur Morstan. In this adaptation, it is John who has served under Sholto. Similarly, Jonathan Small in SIGN, wanted revenge on Major Sholto and Captain Morstan for stealing the treasure that duly belonged to Small and his three Indian friends. Here, Small is hellbent on killing Sholto for the death of his brother. Small cleverly works up his way among Sholto's workforce, by dating the women as the Mayfly Man until he figures out that Major Sholto will be attending John's wedding. Small even practices his modus operandi on Bainbridge (Alfie Enoch) to make sure that his actual murder attempt on Sholto is completed successfully.

This episode is a big step up from the previous one,
The Empty Hearse.

Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes in BBC Sherlock Season 3 Episode 2 The Sign of Three

Benedict Cumberbatch gets to show his versatile acting talents to great success. Sherlock's reaction to Molly's description of her physical intimacy with her current boyfriend, Tom (Ed Birch) is hilarious. Despite taking on the role of the Best Man and delivering the speech against his own wishes, Sherlock does an amazing job.

As John Watson writes in A Scandal in Bohemia: “It was not merely that Holmes changed his costume. His expression, his manner, his very soul seemed to vary with every fresh part that he assumed. The stage lost a fine actor, even as science lost an acute reasoner, when he became a specialist in crime. Full credit to Benedict for bringing life to these immortal lines of Arthur Conan Doyle. 

Benedict's rapidfire delivery of the line: “The who, the what, the when, the why, the where?” in response to Archie's theory about the invisible man was amazing.

Benedict Cumberbatch as best man Sherlock and Yasmine Akram as Janine the bridesmaid in BBC Sherlock Season 3 Episode 2 The Sign of Three

Benedict has a good chemistry with Yasmine Akram as Janine, the bridesmaid. I liked his confession of his love for dancing and the subsequent little “dance routine he performs for her.

I also liked his quick jump over the table. He projects Sherlock's physical vitality effortlessly. As John Watson writes in The Sign of the Four:
He mounted the steps, and, seizing a rafter with either hand, he swung himself up into the garret. Then, lying on his face, he reached down for the lamp and held it while I followed him.

Martin Freeman, Una Stubbs and Amanda Abbington as John Watson, Mrs Hudson and Mary Morstan in BBC Sherlock Season 3 Episode 2 The Sign of Three

The rest of the cast get their own share of the limelight.

Rupert Graves (when he bails out Sherlock and John), Una Stubbs (while explaining her whirlwind romance with Mr Hudson to John), Louise Brealey (during the aforementioned scene with Sherlock).

Alice Lowe makes a great guest star. Hope to see more of her in the upcoming season(s).

Mark Gatiss as Mycroft Holmes in BBC Sherlock Season 3 Episode 2 The Sign of Three

However, it is Mark Gatiss who steals the show as Mycroft Holmes. His scenes with Sherlock, where he mentors him about coincidences and especially, his advice to narrow it down” were simply superb. It is a great choice to expand on Mycroft's screentime and Mark completely justifies this decision.

Click here to read all the Canonical references in the episode. 

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Image Sources: Hartswood Films, BBC Wales, Masterpiece theater

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Canonical Nods in "The Empty Hearse"
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Canonical Nods in "The Sign of Three"
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