IR TV Review: PENNY DREADFUL – CITY OF ANGELS – EPISODE 5 (“Children Of The Royal Sun”) [Showtime]

The aspect of identity and loyalty progression is a cornerstone within the aspect of “Penny Dreadful: City Of Angels”. With Episode 5, “Children Of The Royal Sun”, it just depends what angle or space you run with. The disconnect with our lead character is his true paradox. He is caught between thoughts of different worlds and what rules they are governed by. That same critical thinking is in place with his partner Lewis (as played by Nathan Lane). The question becomes how far is a character willing to go for his beliefs and what is right before it becomes selfish and utterly self destructive. And what does selfish look like in that time period versus now. It becomes the balance of one’s own gratification versus the betterment of the community. Tiago (played by Daniel Zuvatto) is very aware of this and yet, his instinct plays him to the right point but his gut gets the better of him. This should be the truth of his relationship with Sister Molly but biology seems to take over there while secrets still abound between them (which should be questioned by someone supposedly as focused as he is).

The question becomes which one is more important considering his sister has met with Molly secretly and yet blissfully unaware. The greater danger is in the the Goddess of Darkness who continues to stir up trouble. Finally one starts to see her in the guise of the office of the city council as the woman of change which was not as apparent before. Natalie Dormer continues to shine in this way. She pushes as in the case of the German housewife until she control the incandescent moral grounds through almost silent manipulation. Some are willing to go all the way but what is interesting is watching Nathan Lane’s Lewis and his response when life or death becomes a choice. There is an inherent human nature of characters that is pushed by temptation more than others. The darkest point maybe is Mateo but again even with his quest and need, it is pushed by temptation. And again the goddess of darkness knows what buttons to push to get him there to the final path. The question becomes what is Darkness playing to versus the eye of Sante Muerte. She has tagged Tiago in a way as the Chosen One but it depends what ruin his path leads to.

B-

By Tim Wassberg

IR TV Review: THE MANDALORIAN (“Episode 1”) [Disney+]

The tricky aspect about exploring a universe and living within it is a sense of expectation. In making the huge Star Wars films, sometimes the texture of the smaller character work like what “A New Hope” gets lost since that was essentially an independent film. Unfortunately as much as creativity can be a spark point among writers creating a bigger structure with such as large company such as Disney can be formidable. What “The Mandalorian” understands in its first episode is that everything doesn’t need to be rushed. While the series boasts more high end effects than most series, it gets what it needs to be. In a way that “The Gunslinger” should be done, it establishes The Mandalorian as a gun toting bounty hunter of old. The setting is basically for crime: The Wild West after the fall of the Empire which while essential has eliminated a certain order, however dictatorial to the Republic.

The first episode sets up a quest without seemingly like a quest. What director David Filoni and, by extension, show runner Jon Favreau has realized is by creating smaller scenes, even if it leads into a bigger showdown it makes the points more specialized. The Mandalorian does that two times after he sets down on planet. The humor is undeniable created in a gunfight of sorts that brings to mind “Way Of The Gun” as an influence…and if Chris McQuarrie ever finds his way into the Star Wars universe… But that said the first episode works because it tempers expectations while also give you enough tidbits of the original IP to engage which is what made “Rogue One” the best Star Wars movie of the new generation but also “Clone Wars” which helped show small character based episodes while balancing with the space opera which people expect.

B+

By TIm Wassberg