BEYOND Review: “Last Action Hero”

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Last week was a tough act to follow, and I’m a little disappointed to report that this week’s episode of brought us a small stutter step. Though still entertaining, and certainly containing some big reveals, the episode was a little too cute at times, and some things just flat out didn’t make sense from a character perspective. Let’s dive into it, shall we?

Last episode we left off with Arthur sitting up awake in his bed after being in a coma for an indeterminate amount of time. This is huge, as he’s been in that bed with his eyes closed since the series began (we did see him awake in some flashbacks, and some visions of Holden’s, but otherwise he’s been asleep). All his vitals have spiked and he’s alive and well. Willa immediately shows up, hugging her grandfather tightly. “Holden woke me up,” he tells her. “I need to see him. Where is he?”

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That’s gonna be a problem, Arty. Holden is where we last left him: bleeding profusely in the back seat of Jeff’s car, bullet deep in his chest. He needs medical attention, but now that Jeff saw what he could do and who is after him, he knows a hospital is not safe. Cut to new character Lydia: a pharmacist watching action movies on the . When Jeff comes in asking for medical supplies, she sees the blood on his pants, and grabs her own gun from beneath the counter. “Pop quiz, hot shot…” she starts, reciting the famous lines from “Speed” kicking off a trend of movie quoting/referencing that lasts the full hour, not just from Lydia but by other characters as well. They lay it on pretty thick and it’s what, in my opinion, brings the episode down a bit. At any rate, Jeff wins her over and convinces her to help him take the bullet out of Holden. “If you turn into Dennis Hopper on me I will shoot you,” she tells him. “I promise you, I’m Keanu Reeves.” Cue me rolling my eyes for the next forty-five minutes.

As you may have guessed, Yellow Jacket is still on the trail of Holden. Talking with Tess on the phone, he narrows the places that Holden could be by deductive reasoning. He checks all the hospitals within 100 miles, no Holden Matthews and no John Does. Which means they’re going to attempt to take the bullet out of Holden themselves. Which means they need supplies. There are only two farm towns within spitting distance of where Holden was shot. Yellow Jacket sends people to both. When he asks about Charlie, who also escaped, Tess tells her not to worry about her. She has a good idea where she’s headed. (I actually have no idea, and I’m not sure if I missed something or we’re not supposed to yet–either way, she doesn’t appear for the remainder of the episode).

While Lydia and Jeff perform surgery, an unconscious Holden is reliving some time he spent in the Realm. He and Willa have traveled far in the hopes of returning Holden to Fort Reed (as if people traveling in a fantasy land in the hopes of returning to Kansas wasn’t an obvious enough Wizard of Oz reference, Willa lays it on with some dialogue, referring to a “wizard” that can get him home). They get to one of those safe haven temples we previously saw them in. “What’s so special about this one?” Holden asks. They go inside, and this is where Holden and Arthur meet for the very first time. “I’ve been waiting for you, Holden,” Arthur says, because of course he would.

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It is here that we get a glimpse into the training Holden received while in the Realm. First, Arthur has Holden manipulate the elements. A large flame burning before him, he tells Holden to reach into the flames, open his mind, allow himself to surrender, and he won’t feel a thing. Of course when Holden does do it, it burns the sh*t outta him. We see that this has an effect in the real world where Jeff and Lydia are operating on him, having finally pulled the bullet out–the building shakes and lights flicker. They continue to do this the entire time he’s unconscious. Back in the Realm, Arthur tells Holden to try again and this time, the flames bend around his hand. Pretty cool. But surviving in the Realm means more than manipulating the elements.

Arthur then takes Holden out of the temple, ditches him, and forces him to face off against a wolf who turns into a crazy hooded faceless guy. It’s actually pretty terrifying. Well done, Freeform, well done. Holden escapes and when he gets back to the temple, he confronts Arthur angrily. “I could have been killed!” he yells. “That would have just proven you were not the one,” Arthur explains calmly, enraging Holden further. When Holden grabs him, we see flashes of Arthur, looking quite evil surrounded by fire, telling him to “do it, Holden. Let the fire inside you rage.” But Holden puts him down. Arthur explains that Holden wanted to lose control but he stopped it. That’s a sign of strength. This was yet another test.

Arthur explains that his mission, and what he needs Holden’s help with, is preventing humankind from reaching too far. From crossing a bridge that should never be crossed. I’m glad Holden points out that it seems like Arthur himself is already overreaching. Back in Real Life, Arthur tells Willa that Frost is very close to sending people into the Realm. Holden has to go back. Willa stops him and finally confronts him about Frost being his old partner. She also tells him she knows who her mother was, and that Frost is her real father. Arthur insists he withheld this information from her to protect her. But goes on to say that he didn’t have to keep Frost from her–he never once asked to see her. This blow looks like it lands hard with Willa, and I truly feel bad for her.

This week’s C plot sees Luke taking a gig at Helping Hands from Pastor Ian, who offers to pay him. When he’s at the charity sorting donated clothes, he meets a pretty girl who tells him about “group.” Basically it’s support group for people who have lost loved ones, and it’s called Hollow Sky. She gives him a pin with a familiar looking logo; he saw it last week among Holden’s drawings. This is pretty heavy stuff, so Luke heads to get a coffee. But there’s no avoiding trouble it seems, as Tess, the Hollow Sky CFO is behind him in line, noticing the familiar pin. She asks about it, buys him a coffee, and eventually offers to help get him work–she leaves him her number. I have a bad feeling about this.

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Yellow Jacket has narrowed it down to the right pharmacy. When he knocks on the door and sees the lights flickering, combined with the blood on Lydia’s coat, he knows Holden is there. He and his lackey begin to infiltrate the place, throwing smoke grenades in. Jeff tries to get to them before they find Holden in the back room, but ends up getting caught by Yellow Jacket’s lackey. But what do you know, our fearless pharmacist Lydia takes a cue from her action movie heroes and gets her gun to the lackey’s head just in time. She actually pistol whips him, which to me made her character just a tad more bearable.

During this show down, Holden is in the Realm, ready to face off with the faceless hooded guy again. This time he picks him up, throws him into a wall, and the guy explodes into a bunch of crows that fly away. Thanks for the nightmares, Freeform! This wakes Holden up on the operating table, having been stitched up. To escape the smoke, he staggers out of the building, only to get a tranquilizer in the leg. He struggles to remain awake (a problem that’s proving pretty difficult for him, does he spend like half this series asleep or what?) and eventually passes out as Yellow Jacket advances saying “At last.” This is where we end.

Holden now in the hands of Yellow Jacket and Hollow Sky, Willa and Arthur clueless as to where Holden is, Luke possibly being set up, and Charlie on the run. It’s not looking good for our heroes with two episodes left of this season. Let’s hope they are a little more like last week’s “The Hour of the Wolf” and a bit less like this installment.

TB-TV-Grade-B+Season 1, Episode 8 (S01E08)
Beyond airs Mondays at 9PM on Freeform

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Paul just awoke from a twelve-year coma to discover he possesses the mystical ability to watch an insane amount of TV and write incredible reviews for all.
Follow Paul on Twitter: @paulgulyas
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