Author Archives: ArmanM
Season 3, Episode 13 – Casual‘s season finale is here and it’s not very good. Compared to other season finales of this show, this one falters, leaving a lot on the table and throwing a bunch more on that doesn’t really make much sense. The lack of character growth, resolving issues built throughout the course of the season and the overall tone make this episode feel more like a pilot than a season finale.
Season 3, Episode 12 – Casual gives us the weirdest episode yet, focusing on Valerie and Alex’s relationship in 1999. Though lacking plot, this episode serves as an interesting exercise to showing the genesis behind Alex and Val’s relationship. Unfortunately the episode falters after that and begins to further support a controversial taboo theory about this season’s finale.
Season 3, Episode 11 – Casual opens with a major change of pace as two (important) side characters decide to tie the knot. Leah and Leon are getting married, and we notice a sudden shift in Casual‘s narrative, from a story about hookups to a story about love. Alex and Judy are growing while Valerie and Jack are falling and Laura is abandoning her life for a dream in Sacramento.
Season 3, Episode 10 – Casual deals with a host of problems this week that all stand on emotionally shaky ground. There is a lot in this week’s episode of Casual that left me wishing things were handled differently. But hey, at least this week’s episode made me laugh.
Season 3, Episode 9 – Casual forces you to take a look at relationships. There are some stumbles along the way, but the meat of the episode, comparing Alex’s growth to Valerie’s regression, is proudly on display. Even Laura’s parts have some strong points, particularly when she asks Alex if they are “poisoned in their blood,” a strange phrase that requires quite a bit of unpacking.
Season 3, Episode 8 – Casual delivers its best episode of the season, giving an insight into each character’s motivations and personal flaws. Extremely different than last week’s episode, this week allows the characters to explore their own personal space in the world and pushes both plot and character growth forward.
Season 3, Episode 7 – This week’s episode is true “bottle episode” focusing itself on one location. Most shows have trouble with these episodes or try for something completely different, but it all came natural. Emotions played a very strong role as they always do, and the plot for this season was moved forward quite a bit, with a focus on the relationship between Valerie and Alex taking center stage.
Season 3, Episode 6 – In Casual, the moral complexities of the characters have reached a point where nothing makes sense. Valerie is selfish beyond belief and justified with every ridiculous decision she makes. Even Alex, usually a beacon of rationality is forced to contend with his new employees that report him to HR for talking to them about Hawaii.
Season 3, Episode 5 – Casual focuses on each character’s relationship pursuits and growth and it’s definitely for the better. This week allows Valerie, Alex and Laura to pursue what they want most, and have it blow up in their face as they all end up finding themselves knee deep in something else.
Season 3, Episode 4 – Casual dives deeper into the lives of their characters, but this choice leaves little in terms of plot development. Valerie, Alex and Laura are all dealing with their usual problems: Valerie is in a midlife crisis, Alex doesn’t prioritize his problems, and Laura is self-destructive. We follow them through this journey, but are left wondering why there isn’t more for us to sink our teeth into.
Season 3, Episode 18 – Empire‘s season finale is here, and unfortunately it’s my least favorite episode of the season. Though we get endings to most plotlines this season, what’s particularly frustrating are the logical leaps we are forced to make in order to get there. From Charlotte to Guisi to the DuBois family, we are left with many unsatisfactory endings that do not do justice to many episodes this season.
Season 3, Episode 1-3 – Casual introduces a trio of episodes that manages to meander throughout its own construct without ever really honing in on any one thing. You can’t help but feel like this show needs to comment more on the change in our daily lives that it does.
Wizard of Lies gives us a look into the lives of the Madoff family, leading up to, during, and after the revelation of the greatest ponzi scheme in history. The film tries to portray Madoff, not necessarily as a sympathetic character, but one whose own successes are not too far off from his fault. Regardless of what you think, Wizard of Lies paints an interesting picture that is worth a look.
Season 3, Episode 17- Empire‘s finale has begun and boy is it a mess. But that doesn’t mean it’s not thoroughly entertaining. Alliances and destroyed, while some are made. Cookie tries to make her moves against Guisi, Lucious allies himself with his brother Tariq, Hakeem pulls himself from everything, and Andre finds himself in a bit of a relationship with Charlotte.
Season 3, Episode 16 – Empire introduces it’s penultimate episode until it’s two-part season finale. We begin to answer the question as to who took Bella, while also pushing a number of season-long plots forward. Andre seems to have a mental breakdown, Jamal reconciles with his father, Hakeem tries to be a good father and Cookie attempts to hold it all together.
Season 3, Episode 15 – Empire picks up from where it left off last episode, with the DuBois family posing as the main threat to the Lyons. Lucious and Cookie are forced to navigate through the DuBois’ “revenge” tactics, and might have to rely on the help of their sons to get through this. Andre decides to enact his plan with Shyne and Hakeem feels that it’s finally time he becomes the father to his daughter that he always should’ve been.
Season 3, Episode 14 – Empire decides to hit the reset button this episode and change course for the season. Major plotlines will unceremoniously end as old allies become dangerous villains. Lucious finds himself juggling a number of different major life changes as the business is making the moves towards Vegas and Cookie is making her moves towards Angelo. But not everything is as it seems.
Season 3, Episode 13 – Empire delivers one of the best scenes I can remember in TV. And although we need to have Lucious become a bedridden insane person in order to get there, I think it’s worth it. After a couple of duds, this episode shows that the wheels really seem to be turning at Empire as plots are being pushed forward and decisions are beginning to be made.
Season 3, Episode 12 – Empire has it’s first miss of the season, deciding to focus on Hakeem’s birthday and Jamal’s lovelife over the growing legal problems and Anika’s disappearance. The one breakout of the episode has been Nia Long as Giusa, a character who seems to be of an old Mafioso era giving Andre Lyon a real run for his money.
Season 3, Episode 11 – Empire hits this week’s episode with a shotgun spray’s worth of plot. Everything is covered this week and it’s hard to follow with what feels like major details. Not only does it seem like Anika is about to bring Empire down, but we’re also introduced to a guy named Danger. Any other show, Danger would’ve received the A Plot, this week, I’m not even sure if Danger is in the alphabet.
Season 3, Episode 10 – Empire is back after it’s midseason hiatus and it’s ready to continue right where it left off. It’s hard to see how any reconciliation between the two groups will go down, especially after Cookie brings the fight to Lucious in a way we have yet to see.
Season 1, Episode 12 – The season finale makes a strong case for Jahil being the actual protagonist of the series and Star, Simone and Alex being nothing more than a means to his story. Also a lot of death and arrests in this episode. Really, a lot.
Season 1, Episode 11 – Star delivers its penultimate episode and although it lacks overall themes, it does a good job focusing on individual plots and characters. We do so plenty of the same trappings though, and it’s hard to say if Star will ever fully resolve a conflict or simply continue replacing it with a different conflict.
Season 1, Episode 10 – This week’s episode of Star is all about the misdirection. Since the pilot I’ve been begging for an episode about the music, and when I finally thought we were getting it – I was thrown off by the craziest last act to date. There are a lot of changes in this week’s episode, but it’s hard to say if any of it is meaningful or if we’re just on a road to nowhere.
Season 1, Episode 9 – Star delivers an episode better than most, but still falls into the same trappings. Instead of having an episode that deals with the fallout between Star and new group member Eva, we instead focus on police, homicide detectives and CPS storming the salon and holding Carlotta and Simone for the murder of Otis.
Season 1, Episode 8 – Star delivers it’s best episode yet and it’s worst transition/musical number of yet as well. In a frustrating mix, Star managed to both realize its mistakes, call them out, and then commit all new sins. What you can expect from this episode is a very interesting mix of plot, theme, character development and appropriate tone.
Season 1, Episode 7 – Star delivers it’s worst episode yet, believing itself to be equipped to talk about BLM. The problem with this show is that it doesn’t allow itself to ever address the original conceit and it often takes on topics that are not in its tone. This is not a show about a girl group. This is a show about nothing with singing. Star should apologize to Black Lives Matter for this one.
Season 1, Episode 6 – Star delivers one of its more interesting episodes of the season yet. If this episode was a sandwich, it would have horrible bread. Because the middle of the episode delivered, and for the first time since the pilot we were able to focus on the dynamics within the girl group and each character as an individual. Unfortunately, the plot takes this goodwill to a dark place.
Season 1, Episode 5 – Star delivers ones of its worst episodes yet, that also manages to sum it the entire season to this point. There is a complete lack of reality between the real world and the world of Star and it’s causing some serious problems. When Simone finds a VHS tape of their mother singing, Miss Carlotta flips out for no apparent reason. Meanwhile Alex thinks they should use the song and play it off as one of their own, while Star is against this idea, but for the wrong reasons.
Season 1, Episode 4 – Star thinks it’s Enough in this week’s episode, but it honestly hasn’t earned that level. Otis, Simone’s foster father has come back unexpectedly early, and he’s ready to cause problems. No one’s sure how he gets there or how’s he’s so good at tracking foster kid’s down, but here he is. Star, Simone, Miss Carlotta, Cotton and Jahil, all agree that Otis must die. Hopefully he doesn’t come back a third time.