Revisiting Utopia – Series 1, Episode 6

revisiting utopia banner

Utopia Series 1, Episode 6 (2013)
Written by Dennis Kelly
Directed by Marc Munden
utopia pearson finale

“Who We Are, Who We Become” is my unofficial title for this final episode of Utopia’s first season. Jessica Hyde has brought the manuscript to the runaways, and now it feels like all the pieces are coming together. But throughout this episode, we see characters either confirming they are who we always thought they were or revealing a turn and surprising us with their actual role. It’s the sort of surprise overload you would expect for a series finale of this sort of program. The paranoia is amped up, and bonds are either shredded entirely or strengthened through trust being revealed as earned.

Continue reading “Revisiting Utopia – Series 1, Episode 6”

Advertisements

Revisiting Utopia – Series 1, Episode 5

revisiting utopia banner

Utopia Series 1, Episode 5 (2013)
Written by Dennis Kelly
Directed by Marc Munden

utopia jessica arby

An easy unofficial title for this one: “Deals.” And this is a title that works on multiple levels. The easiest is that much of this episode addresses the fictional Deal’s disease that has been spoken about during the series. Becky’s father died from it, and now she fears she inherited it from him. Each character is also making deals with people they probably shouldn’t but are forced to as an act of survival. As we push into the finale, we see alliances crumbling, new ones forming, and everyone being pushed further to the brink.

Continue reading “Revisiting Utopia – Series 1, Episode 5”

Revisiting Utopia – Series 1, Episode 4

revisiting utopia banner

Utopia – Series 1, Episode 4 (2013)
Written by Dennis Kelly
Directed by Marc Munden

becky utopia

As I have come up with unofficial titles to these episodes so far, I feel compelled to do so with this one. It’s a toughie to pinpoint the exact theme on this chapter, but I think I would go with “We Become What We Hate,” as the episode features many characters crossing that line and playing The Network’s game. People become killers, they engage in manipulation, and they find themselves struggling to survive. Relationships definitely begin to fray, and we see that our group on the run may not be able to hold together for much longer.

Continue reading “Revisiting Utopia – Series 1, Episode 4”

Revisiting Utopia – Series 1, Episode 3

Utopia – Series 1, Episode 3 (2013)
Written by Dennis Kelly
Directed by Marc Munden

utopia series 1 episode 3

The unofficial title for this episode? “Loss of Innocence,” as the episode opens and ends on children directly in the line of brutal cold violence. In fact, the opening scene of this episode received over 50 complaints and was aired just a month or so after the shootings in Sandy Hook, Connecticut. I would never argue that this start is meant to be light or easy to get through. The creators most definitely intended to unsettle the audience. And this is a weird wrinkle I have noticed in audience’s perceptions of media as of late. If the film or television show or other form presents an uncomfortable or unsettling situation, then it is immediately perceived as if the creator is explicitly endorsing a destructive action. This mindset is highly corrosive to understanding and appreciating art. The creator is not always reflected in the creation, most of the time not at all. If anything, the cold open of Episode 3 is the creator making an undeniable statement about the horrors of such events, particularly when we look at the turn for Arby in this scene, when he stumbles upon the child cowering in the gym.

Continue reading “Revisiting Utopia – Series 1, Episode 3”

Revisiting Utopia – Season 1, Episode 2

revisiting utopia banner

Utopia Series 1, Episode 2 (2013)
Written by Dennis Kelly
Directed by Marc Munden

utopia jessica hyde

Episode Two comes out of the gate ready to lay the first real building blocks of the series mythos. We are introduced to The Network, a Cold War-era response by the West to Soviet Bloc countries building up arsenals of chemical weapons. The obvious question after learning about their existence would be, why are they still around then? That answer is not laid out in any sort of clear way this chapter, but their new agenda is hinted at. Outside of the core “gang on the run” cast, we have the background story of the Ministry of Health’s purchase of Russian flu vaccine coming under scrutiny and then a very convenient outbreak in the Shetland Islands. This helps flip the script on the government incompetence story and turn the Ministry into forward-thinking heroes.

Continue reading “Revisiting Utopia – Season 1, Episode 2”

Revisiting Utopia – Season 1, Episode 1

revisiting utopia banner

Utopia Series 1, Episode 1 (2013)
Written by Dennis Kelly
Directed by Marc Munden

A067_C004_0719KG

The first time I watched Utopia I knew I was going to have to binge watch the whole thing. It is rare that a television series in this polished, this sure of itself, and this damn good. Utopia gets dark, incredibly dark and it lets you know that from its opening scene (more on that in a minute). And it is a profoundly relevant show still five years out, talking about big ideas that are continuing to cast doubt on the future of humanity. Instead of framing this concept huge from the outset, the creators keep things small and intimate. The characters are where the story of Utopia starts and stays throughout its all too short run. And when you get to the end, you won’t forget those characters.

Continue reading “Revisiting Utopia – Season 1, Episode 1”

Movie Review – Enemy

a24 visions

Enemy (2013)
Written by Javier Gullón
Directed by Denis Villeneuve

enemy

Adam Bell is a college history professor that live a very routine and mundane existence. He teaches in the day, comes home to his dingy apartment, where he has sex with a non-committal lover, and sleeps. The monotony is broken when a colleague suggests he rent a movie he had seen, “Where There’s A Will, There’s A Way.” Adam watches the film but that night has a dream about one of the scenes and there, in the background, playing a hotel bellhop is a man who looks exactly like him. He watches the film again, and yes, that wasn’t a dream, it was a memory. Through internet sleuthing, he discovers the actor’s name, Daniel St. Claire and begins searching out his home and learning about his life. As Adam descends down this path of madness, he comes to a point where everything he thought he knew about his reality begins to crumble.

Continue reading “Movie Review – Enemy”