SERIES 1 SPOILERS AHEAD
When it was announced that Broadchurch were making another series, it seemed insane. The entire set up of the first series was that there was a gruesome murder in a quaint town that had never witnessed anything similar before. Nearly every character had a dark secret which made them suspicious in the murder and every one of these secrets was revealed by series 1's seven episodes leading to the answer of “Who killed Danny Latimer?”
It was fantastic but there was little else to go by the end of it. What could they do next? "Guess what guys, Broadchurch has just just had it's second murder ever and everyone appears to have new secrets which may make them culpable for this murder!"
It was such a relief to see Broadchurch start their second series by ditching the whodunit format.
The opened with the hearing of Joe Miller for Danny's murder. This brought the majority of the cast together. Having spent the first series with these characters, it was great to see how they each reacted to Series 2's first shock: Joe's is pleading 'not guilty'.
From the look of the first episode, it appears as though series 2 will largely focus on Joe Miller's trial. As he's the only person Joe confessed to, it appears as though DC Hardy's name will be redragged through the mud.
This likely to tie into Hardy's subplot. Since moving to Broadchurch, Hardy's been housing the wife of the man he believes is guilty of the often mentioned Sandbrooke murders as a 'sort of witness protection'.
While it is a different set up, it's nice to see that the characters still have their secrets. Alongside Hardy's fugitive, Mark Latimer's is sneaking out and playing Tom Miller at FIFA (probably not the best idea after being caught having an affair by your wife). There was also a weird offhand comment from Ellie's sister that may reveal another factor in Danny's death.
The episode had a fascinating plot, great dialogue, brilliant performances and gripping music. It wasn't all fantastic, though. The lawyer who is procecuting Joe was completely cliché. "You have to help them." Maggie Radcliffe pleads to her. "No," the lawyer says, staring into the distance "I gave that shit up." I am paraphrasing here but it was embarrassing.
It was a tantalising opener which leaves us chomping at the bit for the rest of the series. While there is no central mystery like the first series, there are a lot of storylines that look a joy to watch unravel. Broadchurch is arguably the best British show on television just now and It's great to have it back.
Before you dive into the Just For Culture writers' top film picks of 2014, we feel like we should tell you a little about the process behind our selections.
We've decided to make any film that released in the United Kingdom after January 1 eligible for selection on our little list. That means films like The Wolf of Wall Street, American Hustle and Dallas Buyers Club are up for selection, despite the fact that they were nominated for Oscars in 2013.
It makes sense to do this. We live in Britain, so we only got access to these films this year. So, we're going to need you to stop hyperventilating, get comfy in your swivelly laptop chair, and have a wee read of what we reckon were the best cinema releases offered up in the past year in Britain.
Without further ado...
Stuart Kenny's Picks
5. Guardians of the Galaxy
Before I went to see Guardians of the Galaxy, a bunch of over-zealous companions had described it as the ‘best Marvel film released yet’. This meant my expectations were sky-high and subsequently a little disappointed, but that doesn’t mean the film is not a wonderful watch. It certainly is.
The movie is well balanced between action and comedy, Chris Pratt is spot on in the lead role, the soundtrack is absolutely terrific, and the fact that Vin Diesel was hired just to say ‘I am Groot’ a bunch of times is a wonderful talking point.
A great film, but there’s better from Marvel in my personal view...
4. Gone Girl
Wow. Now this is one seriously f*cked up film. The opening thirty seconds of Gone Girl set up the rollercoaster plot amazingly, and perfect performances from Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike make sure the intensity and obscurity of the drama remains full force throughout.
The intricate plot does drag at times, but excitement far outweighs endurance in the grand scheme for the watcher. The final result is one of the creepiest, most uncomfortable films of the year, and it features the most powerful yet delicate ending that I’ve seen in some time.
David Fincher at his creepiest, Rosamund Pike at her best, and modern day cinema at its most unnerving.
3. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I
I will brand anyone a liar who claims to have watched the latest in the Hunger Games series without having raised three fingers in the air and whistled the mockingjay song in the days that followed. And that sums up this film well – it’s a gripping form of escapism.
Obviously Jennifer Lawrence is epic as Katniss Everdeen. The film is stylishly made, it features a whole lot of drama and it’s pretty freakin’ forceful at times too. Like any decent franchise film, it drags you into the world and leaves you drooling for the final instalment. A good job by Lawrence and the Hunger Games team!
2. X-Men: Days of Future Past
Earlier I mentioned that I don’t believe Guardians of the Galaxy was the best Marvel film yet, and actually, I don’t even think it was the best Marvel release of the year. That accolade has to go to X-Men: Days of Future Past.
The sequel was based around mutant-murdering sentinel robots in an apocalyptic future. A bit Matrix-y? Maybe. But also a great launch pad for a badass trip back to the 1970s, where James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender are exceptional as Charles Xavier and Magneto respectively.
Original, packed with amazing action and also featuring a great performance from Jennifer Lawrence. Which is always a bonus.
1. The Wolf of Wall Street
Right from the release of the trailer for this Hollywood powerhouse it was clear that The Wolf of Wall Street was going to be epic.
It feels almost cheating to include it in a list of the best films of 2014, but the Jan 17 release date in the UK makes it eligible. And we can hardly just ignore it if it fits the bill...
Leonardo Di Caprio was a joy to behold in the lead, Jonah Hill was amazing as support, and the film provided more memorable one-liners than a Muhammad Ali Show reel all in all.
Absolutely hilarious, absolutely hypnotic and absolutely worthy of being at the top of this list.
Honourable mentions: Interstellar, The Hobbit, The Imitation Game, Nightcrawler, Fury, American Hustle and 22 Jump Street (which may have even made it into the top five had it not been for all of this ‘My name’s Jeff’ nonsense on social media).
Robbie Ambrose's Picks
5. American Hustle
An all star cast of Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Louis C.K and of course the lovely Jennifer Lawrence come together to create a funny, energetic film that was thrilling to watch.
You could fault it for not sticking to one genre but if you just take it as it comes (and listen to the great soundtrack) you’re bound to be entertained. Besides, the world can’t get enough Jennifer Lawrence at the moment.
4. Starred Up
We’re used to seeing a vast variety of US prison dramas, many of which have become true legends - so when I heard that Jack O’Connell was going to be starring in one I knew it would be good.
Hard hitting, clever and a little bit sickening at points, this is truly a great drama, well directed and showcasing some fantastic actors.
3. X-Men: Days of Future Past
X-Men films have been going for years and with Hugh Jackman raking in the dough playing Wolverine, I’m certain we’ll see more of his stand alone films in the future.
But enough of that, the latest film and sequel to First Class really does stand out as a fantastic film. Easily beating the previous incarnation of the X-Men franchise, the reboot stays on course with its sequel and delivers fast paced action with solid acting performances. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender have done a great job of classing up the acting in the film and the writers have removed just enough of the clichés to make the film thoroughly enjoyable.
2. Gone Girl
This is probably my favourite Ben Affleck role to date, which is saying something looking at the man’s filmography. A missing persons thriller that really disturbed me, I actually questioned the plot line continuously as it unfolded because I couldn’t believe it would be as messed up as it is.
Fantastic twists and even the smaller roles from Neil Patrick Harris and Tyler Perry are brilliantly written as well as portrayed. This is a definite must see.
1. The Wolf of Wall Street
Well where to start with this. The masterful Scorsese returns to tell the truly fascinating and unbelievable story of Jordan Belfort.
Sexy, funny and extravagant, it is fantastic from start to finish - although with a runtime of three hours it can feel pretty intense.
Another (although slightly less) star studded cast featuring Leonardo DiCaprio as the lead and the unlikely Jonah Hill supporting brilliantly. Rumour has it Jonah accepted just $60,000 for the role as he was desperate to work with Scorsese and I think you can see he gave it his all.
Fraser Bonar's Picks
5. American Hustle
This film ties the record for the most Oscar nominations without a single victory. Not a record you want to hold, but to be honest, twelve nominations was perhaps a little generous.
The film is bold, charismatic and ambitious, but does seem to fall a little short at times. The story simply isn't as brilliantly complex as it seems it will be, and no amount of great acting and visually stunning filming can quite make up for that. The acting really is brilliant though, and this film is just another example of Christian Bale's dedication.
4. The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies
This is surely the last instalment of Middle-Earth based fantasy from Peter Jackson. The last instalment of true cinematic glory, and it is a sad moment. The six films have certainly earned a place among the greatest of movie series, and yet I have to admit that the final film would not reach the hall of fame on its own.
Whilst it is a great film, and certainly deserves a place on this list by its own merits - cinematography and music in particular - it is the series, and the whole narrative which makes it moving and fantastic. The film should really be viewed as one section of a six part (18+ hour) epic.
3. Monuments Men
An old-school war film in many ways - an all-star cast, great score, and a basis in historical fact - this film is stirring, funny and well worth a watch.
It depicts an attempt to salvage some of the art that was stolen from Nazi occupied territory throughout the 1930s and early 1940s.
Not only is this a cause close to our hearts at JFC, this film tells the story of a mission which was vital to much of Europe's culture. Even if you don't care about art, you'll have a laugh, and choke back tears if you're anything like me.
2. Gone Girl
Tense, taught and thrilling. This film changes direction beautifully, with Ben Affleck's character first seeming the victim, then criminal, with his arrest for murder seeming to be an imminent threat throughout.
Admittedly, I've always thought he looks a little suspicious anyway, and he does deserve some punishment for his role as Daredevil. He's thoroughly convincing here though, as is Neil Patrick Harris in an unusually serious role - he's creepy, and brilliant in equal measures. In addition, this film has the best non-horror sociopath since 'Seven'.
1. The Wolf of Wall Street
This Scorsese epic glorifies the crime, immorality and hedonism of 1990s Wall Street, and does it in style! Together with a DiCaprio performance to remember, this feeling makes this film a modern classic already.
Yes, it does force you to feel uncomfortably sympathetic towards a criminal, but it captures the swagger of the era and drags you along in its rip-roaring wake. We assume that the Illuminati must have something against DiCaprio, since even this role didn't earn him that golden statue, and challenge anyone to watch this film and not feel for his character, despite everything he does.
1. The Team Tenacity Project Manager Logic
Team Tenacity were a blast in the early stages of this episode. Katie Bulmer-Cooke was nominated to take control of the perfume and candle manufacturing task because she’s ‘obsessive about how things in her house smell’.
So she likes things that smell nice, which makes her ideal to sell candles. Obviously. On that basis, we like the way beer tastes, so maybe we should start a brewery...
2. Sarah Dales Is The Most Annoying Person Ever
One thing that’s been a constant throughout the Apprentice so far is that 32 year old Londoner Sarah Dales is the most irritating person to ever grace the television.
She fights over every single decision being made, usually from a preposterous position and without a leg to stand on. Her finest low moment this week? Having a breakdown in front of the public when asked to make up the candles behind the scene.
In a buys London corner she plagued us with a series of cringe-worthy shouts annoying enough to make us almost attach the television ourselves. She must go soon Lord Sugar, or we may just stop watching.
3. The Team's Fragrance Names Were Hilariously Bad
This point was just all too easy. Let’s start with ‘British Breeze’. The scent name sounds like some sort of BNP-endorsed aftershave, and just to make things worse, the majority of the ingredients for the thing weren’t even made from British products. Lemongrass, for example. Deary me.
Beach Dreams meanwhile is the sort of shit you can imagine actually being endorsed by a scantily-clad D-List celebrity on a sun-set background. It also sounds like one of those ‘my first perfume’ type things you would give to an eight year old, which actually only has water inside it and is made of plastic. Fail on both parts.
4. You Shouldn't Make Candles That Look Like Piss
“I’m not entirely convinced about the colour,” said Lindsey, a member of Team Tenacity, when their stunning new candles turned up at the door. And we can’t exactly blame her for the proclamation either.
These things were coloured in a special brand of yellow that’s normally only seen in the inside of the toilet. Urine-scented candles anyone?
If that was me, I’d be wondering what the hell must be wrong with these things that this crazy lot are so happy to get rid of them...
5. Get Your Labels Straight Or Die Trying
When you’re attempting to sell any product to an exclusive gentleman’s lounge in London, you’re going to have to make the product pretty damn special.
We’re not exactly sure what a gentleman’s lounge is or what antics they get up to their, but they certainly look swanky as hell. When they were presented with a hand wash with a squint label on it then, they were less than impressed.
“Yes, it does appear to be squint,” replied the desperate Apprentice candidates. Because that’ll reassure the customers, right enough.
6. Apprentice Sales Must Be Really Awkward For Candidates
In a wonderfully comical reaction to a sales ‘success’, Team Summit decided to come out a small shop jumping up and down and hugging one another after selling out of candles.
Imagine how weird that must’ve been for the person who just bought their product. If that was me, I’d be wondering what the hell must be wrong with these things that this crazy lot are so happy about getting rid of them... Very professional, to say the least.
7. Even Victors Aren't Always Good At Their Jobs
Arguably the finest moment of this episode, when Team Tenacity were told that they had actually won the task, despite not selling out their products, team manager Katie couldn’t help but give out a gasp of disbelief and squeal “We Won?!”
If there was ever a surefire sign that someone has done a sub-standard job, it’s surely that they’re shocked to the point of screaming when they’re told that they’ve come out on top. Again with the professionalism.
8. Lindsey Booth Provided The Ultimate Apprentice Drama
In a moment of pure Apprentice drama, Lindsey Booth put her own head in the guillotine and effectively helped Lord Sugar up with his arm when she admitted she had been pretty damn poor in the opening weeks.
The swimming teacher (always a good stepping stone from which to go into the business world) even broke down in tears and brought the BBC to set the scene to a version of The Apprentice theme tune performed on violin. Overkill? Surely not.
9. James Hill Think He's Lord Sugar's Son
In a bid to save himself from the axe, James Hill took on a new tactic never seen before in the boardroom, an attempt to woo Lord Sugar through becoming his long-lost prodigy.
“I’m just like you Lord Sugar,” he continued to claim. “I just did exactly what you would have done in my situation.” Needless to say, big Alan got pretty tired of all this pretty quickly, yelling at the kid to shut the hell up. An entertaining effort by James, and, ultimately, a successful one... For now.
10. Nurin Ahmed Just Isn't Cut Out For It
When she reached the boardroom this time around, Nurin Ahmed simply had to go. Roisin had done a good job as PM, James was winning the heart and soul of Lord Sugar and effectively asking for adoption, and Nurin continued to beat about the bush when asked what she’s actually good at.
Whenever presented with any task, she would continually just claim that ‘this wasn’t her department’, even when dealing with clothing – despite the fact she actually does run a clothing store. We were tired of her moaning so good work Alan. Bring on next week!
After a cracker of a first episode of The Apprentice, round two followed in swift succession and did not disappoint.
Round one gave us hot dogs, dickheads and Shoreditch-filled madness. Round two gave us an equal amount of pleasure – both from despising the contestants and laughing at their madness. Have a look below to see the 10 things that we took away from the second instalment of The Apprentice:
1. Robert Bottled It And Dug His Own Grave
When Lord Sugar tells you to be the project manager, you listen. Or you absolutely bottle it and secure your exit from the show if you're Robert Goodwin. What a tool!
His excuse? "Based on it being a high-street product, it's not the market that I'm aiming to go for," said Robert. He then said he would only be project manager if the product cost £5k and they marketed it to the horribly rich.
Oh Robert. We dislike you more and more. When Lord Sugar called you a "fast-minded Shoreditch-lover" at the start of the episode, I think he meant poncey hipster dickhead.
In the end, he got his just reward. Lord Sugar directing his harsh, fate-deciding glare and stating: "Robert I don't like people who bottle out. You're fired."
YES. That sorts that out then. Away off back to your 'Luxury £250,000 yacht in Cannes." You twat.
2. The Women's Team Lying To Get Out Of Being Manager
Robert denied his place as project manager quickly. In the women's group though, everyone seemed to rule themselves out in a matter of seconds.
Nunun eventually took it on, but still said in the boardroom: "I actually was forced into taking this role. I just make scarves for the Asian niche market." Fair enough. Pretty specific.
Bianca was the alternative, but was scared away, basically just saying "I am right for this role but I don't want to take the flack so you can do it instead." She bottled it. Lord Sugar doesn't like that.
3. 'The Selfie Sweatshirt'. Really?
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Why on earth would you ever want something that films everywhere you go? Although saying that, most tourists do that anyway these days...
Mark Wright nailed it on the head when he hit the post-loss coffee shop: "We got it wrong from the start. We had a jumper with a camera in it." That certainly was the main problem.
When light leggings are said to be a better idea than whatever the hell you've come up with, you've got to think twice about the idea. And take a long look in the mirror for that matter.
4. The Most Complicated Design Of All Time
Solving the British weather, charging your phone and lighting you up to stand out from the crowd? This sounds like a novelty Christmas tree, not a jumper
"Why didn't you just stick to the charging function?" ask Firebox. Even that would've been slightly ridiculous. Why the hell they ordered 250 of the things we'll never know.
5. Scott McCulloch Going Angry Scotsman
Scott was fired now, and rumour has it Lord Sugar has had various bodyguards ever since. Because Scott was probably the angriest man in the world.
When his teammates turned on him, he turned on them. Big style. "Can't yous work as a team? Do yous need to be managed?! Do yous need to have your hand held by a project manager?", he screamed.
He looked like he was about to nut any one of his teammates at any given time. This guy definitely has been through a few punch ups, and Lord Sugar was a braver man than us when he fired him. We think we would've just let him win so we could keep our lives.
Oh, and he said "I put my balls on the line" a bit too much for our liking. We were scared.
Scott McCulloch has looked like he was about to nut any one of his teammates at any given time. This guy definitely has been through a few punch ups
6. Sales Talk. We Love Sales Talk
Sales talk is magnificent and we're so glad that it's back in our life. Scott was first at it, saying "I'm a selling machine" in his strangely aggressive tone that made us wonder if he was joking or he was actually a machine.
Robert meanwhile chipped in with this gem - "Our motto is - privacy is history." A strong argument in this privacy-centred modern day. Oh dear Rob.
7. The Worst Sales Line Of All Time
Daniel meanwhile chipped in with - by far - the worst sales pitch of all time. We was pitching a jumper and he literally said: "I personally wouldn't wear the product in a public place. You wouldn't go out and about in it."
He then continued to agree with criticisms that the product looked a bit Christmassy, it attracted too much attention to the chest area and that it was pretty much shit all-round.
When asked about his efforts later, he said: "The Pitch Went Absolutely Outstanding." Was he high?! Personally, the JFC crew have no idea how this guy is still in the competition.
8. The Cringeworthy Pitch From Nunun
Project manager Nunun was selling the girl's awful solar-panel top. Not only did she call a jacket a 'jock', she was ridiculously slow and stumbled in her pitch. At one point she stopped and said 'oh dear'. Not what you want to here when you're considering buying a product.
9. No Orders. No Orders. No Orders.
This was as awkward a moment as a boardroom gets. These people are meant to be some of the best business men and women in Britain, and only one department store out of six placed an order between both of them put together.
Would you have worn either of those products to be fair? I'd be surprised to see one going for a quid in a charity shop. That'd mean that someone would've had to buy and donate it first.
10. Karen Turning On The Scare
Karen Brady showed that she's got a fierce bite behind her clever wit in the latest boardroom clash.
When Scott was deciding who to bring back, she roared: "If you spent less time covering your own arse and actually thought about the task then at some point you might get some names for Lord Sugar."
We shuddered, and even the great aggressor that is Scott had a small flinch. Be wary all.
1. Daniel Is Quite A Dickhead
You would think that our first point on the new Apprentice would be about the new numbers involved, or a comment about the excitement involved in the return of Lord Sugar.
That probably would've been the case had Daniel Lassman not proclaimed after 10 seconds: “I
make women do what I want in the business world, and come to think of it – most men too.”
What a tool! He went on to say “There’s no I in team, but there is two in brilliance.” There's also one 'I' in 'dickhead' Daniel - and it's probably you.
2. The New Format Should Make Things Exciting
So back on to the probably new stuff! There’s a new format, with 10 men and 10 women now involved and multiple firings expected to occur at any given moment in time.
We, for one, are particularly excited about this. There's nothing worse than when some moronic sales fail gets off the hook because he or she is next to someone worse. Get rid of the lot of them and let us watch with popcorn!
3. Steven Is Annoying But He's Comedy Gold
Steven Ugoalah, pictured below, is one of the strangest candidates to turn up on The Apprentice. Everything he says sounds sarcastic - I think it's the accent - but no matter what garbage he speaks, his face remains completely unchanged.
A prime example was when he was trying to sell potatoes and proclaimed: “These potatoes glow in the shining sun, and when your customers eat them it won’t be a potato, it will be an experience.”
We're pretty sure it'll still be a potato Steve.
It was also comical when Alan Sugar made a joke about him counselling penguins in the Arctic. Come on Alan. Penguins don't live in the Arctic.
4. Decadence Was The Worst Team Name Ever
The dictionary - or Google at least - describes Decadence as "moral or cultural decline as characterized by excessive indulgence in pleasure or luxury."
So this team is planning to get so into the rich lifestyle that they completely fail to do their
jobs. Or so the name would suggest at least. Luckily Nick picked up on the connotations of this - which include failure, decline, general douchebaggery - and got them to change it for next week.
“I’m not 100 percent sure on the definition,” was the defence of the girls. We presume they'll come up with something equally as hilarious for the next episode.
5. Scott McCulloch Is A Bit Of A Tool
“I see myself as a mix between Ghandi and the Wolf of Wall Stree,” write Scott on his CV. "You’re more like the 'Poodle of Petticoat Lane'," replies Lord Sugar, in what is surely the quote of episode one.
If he comes up with that mix of Ghandi & Leo Di Caprio's main man - which we can only imagine which be some kind of peaceful business man who takes cocaine but also starves himself - then we can't wait to hear what else is in the head of Mr. McCulloch.
6. Felipe May Be Foolish But He's A Likeable Guy
Felipe Alviar-Baquero speaks in third person. Felipe describes Felipe by saying: “Felipe is a dreamer who believes anything is possible.”
Felipe gets quite annoying, but he's a soft soul at heart and he's hard to dislike. We hope he stays around for a while because apart from the third person nonsense, he seems like he's genuinely not a dickhead. Something rare for The Apprentice.
7. Women's Project Manager Sarah Was Such A Tool
Women project manager Sarah Dales is an absolute moron. She refuses to make coffee and she still engages in the sexist beliefs of 1920s business. How did she make it on to this show?
"People buy more from women because women are attractive,” she says. To be fair, it may be true from time to time but telling the girls to get their short skirts and heels out seems a bit off the mark.
Also, trying to sell a few gloves and buckets to a zoo for £250? Give us a break! When she checked the inside of the gloves to see if they were environmentally friendly, it was the most cringeworthy moment of the episode.
We can't wait to see Robert's shit haircut and white blazer with blue trim fired back to Shoreditch. Then it'll be back to the overpriced pop up malls and overly hipster beers he so desperately craves all day...
8. Robert Is So Shoreditch, And We Really Don't Like Him
Shoreditch is the most hipster place on the planet – organic food and selling outside food markets, and Robert Goodwin looks like just the kind of dick that thrives on all of that.
"We went to Shoreditch, which is very edgy and we needed an edgy product. These hot dogs were very Shoreditch."
That sentence is everything that is wrong with the world, and London in particular. We can't wait to see your shit haircut and white blazer with blue trim fired Robert, then you can get back to Shoreditch to eat more unnecessarily organic food, overpriced beer that is no better than your average lager and pop up malls that sell street market tops for double the price.
9. The Majority Of Them Are Bell-Ends
Irish contender Roisin Hogan confirmed this when she said: “I don’t mean to get the boot in but...” and then proceeded to stick the boot into project manager Sarah so far that it came out her mouth.
This is a short point, but we'd just like to express our confirmation that we have nothing against all the candidates being dicks. It's The Apprentice way.
10. You Can't Come Up With A Decent T-Shirt Design In 30 Seconds
Finally, a moment of comedy gold from the boy's campaign. You can’t come up with a decent t-shirt design in 30 seconds, despite what the now-fired Chiles believed.
“Let’s make this decision in 30 seconds then go with it,” he said. They all like to sound decisive, but it doesn't look like any of them will be getting into the creative market any time soon... A t-shirt that says 'by this t-shirt'? Awful.
Thankfully, even though it wasn't the design, it was the t-shirts that got him fired in the end.
There was something rather fitting about the fact that the latest Doctor Who episode – “Mummy On The Orient Express“ – was based on the similarly named novel by Agatha Christie.
The novel is a classic, and this particular episode stuck to a classic formula as well. Much like the Hercule Poirot story, the Doctor was faced with a seemingly straight forward murder mystery that turned out to have far more levels than initially seemed.
We’re not actually talking about the 'Foretold' mummy that leaves you with sixty six seconds to live, either.
No, what we’re talking about is the dark tones of the Doctor that come out in this episode, continuing the uncomfortable feeling around the protagonist’s morality under Peter Capaldi.
The grandeur of the actual space-train, ‘The Orient Express’, was captured perfectly by the Whovian production team, with wonderful costuming and a great swing cover of Queen’s ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ from chart star Foxes. The light comedy and gags were also on offer throughout to maintain the balance of severity and light-heartedness that defines Doctor Who.
The principles and decision making from the Doctor, however, were not nearly so convincing.
Faced with the choice of saving individuals or attempting to stop the Foretold from killing more, the character seemed completely unfazed at sacrificing innocent lives in order to ultimately stop the monster – and he only seemed to want to stop the mummy for the thrill of the chase rather than any caring touch.
"The storyline brought out the worst in the Doctor whilst keeping the audience on side. He saved a majority and sacrificed a minority. It would almost seem logical had he not been so callous."
Indeed, the Doctor doesn't hide his lack of interest in humanity that has been shining throughthis season. At the climax of the episode – spoiler alert – he tells Clara that he managed to teleport every remaining person on the train back to safety before the train exploded, but she was awake for none of the saving action.
When Clara asks about the others, the Doctor jokes that he left those remaining on the train to die and transported only her back to safety. It seems this may not have been a joke after all, with the decision to not show the escape inviting on questions.
The storyline was a clever one in order to bring out the worst in the Doctor whilst keeping the audience on side. He had a time limit in which to save a majority and sacrificed a minority to do so. It would almost seem reasonable had he not been so callous about it. But it has certainly left us keen to see more.
In amongst these underlying messages lie further concerns about Clara as well. She was supposed to leave at the end of the episode after an emotional climax in the previous segment, but rather she remains glued to the Doctor’s side in an unsurprising and possibly foreshadowing move.
The primary school teacher senses the Doctor is not a truthful man, but she too seems addicted to the thrill of his lifestyle and destined to fall to an unhappy demise – think ‘this was my last day on the job’ type of shit. Once the mysterious sidekick, Clara is now the time-junkie who almost got away with it, but it seems unlikely that she will now be allowed to leave in one piece.
There was no sign of Missy meanwhile, but the riddle of Gus, the unknown controller of the Foretold experiment, is undoubtedly linked to her, and the link between the demise of the Foretold – openly branded ‘a soldier’ by the Doctor – and a certain Mr. Pink seems hard to ignore as well.
"Oh, and there was a terrible performance from Frank Skinner in there too. Seriously, it was like his character’s role was written for a ten year old"
Perhaps Pink will unravel to the point of disappearance as well, and if he does, it's easy to imagine that he'll take Clara with him. If he's allowed.
Lots of questions then and lots of interesting plot points to make sure we keep an eye on. A good episode that ticked all the usual boxes and left the audience even more confused about the nature of the Doctor under Peter Capaldi... Quirky but heartless. Friendly but ruthless.
Oh, and there was a terrible performance from Frank Skinner in there too. Seriously, it was like his character’s role was written for a ten year old, and when no under-ager would take it they were forced to give it to him.
But don’t let that most cringe worthy of performances dampen an otherwise decent show.
With Brooklyn Nine-Nine's season finale this week, last week's penultimate episode continued to tease how the season would wrap up. The episode started with a great cold open where Holt tells Peralta that he injured his hand in a hula hooping class simply for the reason that no one would ever believe Jake. “You sick son of a bitch!” Jake snarls.
After he breaks the precinct record, Jake is given the weekend off by Holt. However, after hearing that Amy is going on a romantic getaway with Teddy, her new boyfriend, Jake decides to team up with Terry to crack Case 52ABX-32QJ. “We have to find a way to abbreviate this thing.” Jake says after Case 52ABX-32QJ's full name is repeated four and a half times in the space of fifteen seconds. 52ABX-32QJ is a case from eight years ago, deemed unsolvable, where a victim was murdered in a boat explosion with no witnesses and only a charred finger and a melted torso as evidence. After several weeks of training camps, wedding planning, apartment searching and birthday parties, it was nice to see members of the Nine-Nine return to solving cases. As well as an interesting plot, it also reintroduced the way in which Peralta interacts with criminals and suspects, for example, his deadpan analysis on a prisoner who had apparently shivved himself three times in a row accidentally. While recent episodes have left out police cases to focus on character development, Unsolvable manages to do both. After Peralta solves the case by working out that the 'victim' had in fact murdered the suspect and cut off his own finger as evidence (a supercool twist), he is still sad. The episode ends with with a nice scene where Jake lets Terry know the reason why breaking the precinct record and solving Case 52ABX-32QJ hasn't made him happy: Amy.
Amy's storyline this week had it's moments but came off as contrived in a very sitcomy way. Amy had forgotten she had offered to help with a community outreach meeting and made plans to go a weekend away with her new boyfriend, Teddy. Instead of telling Holt the truth, she panics and lies about a dental appointment. The whole thing escalates and ends up with Holt sitting next to Amy in a dentist chair while a dentist shows them X-Rays of Amy's mouth. The entire storyline could have been saved if it had turned out that Holt was simply fucking with her. Otherwise, it just comes across as unrealistic. Holt's sadistic “I feel like you deserve this.” when Amy is told she has seven cavities and Amy's failed attempt at drinking after did bring a smile to my face.
As said in every Brooklyn Nine-Nine review we've written, there is a great unbalance between the characters. While Peralta and Holt kill it week in, week out, the other character only generate the laughs of these characters sporadically. Three character's who rarely generate as many laughs as other characters are Charles, Rosa and Gina. Unsolvable has a story that featured all three of these characters as well as Scully and Hitchcock. Unsurprisingly, this storyline was met with incredibly low expectations. It appears that Vivian still wants to move to Canada. Due to the continuation of this plot, it seems as though this will be the reason Charles won't go through with next week's wedding. The storyline starts and ends incredibly quickly with Charles immediately telling Hitchcock and Scully about the secret bathroom Gina and Rosa tell him about. Gina supplied a good few laughs with her insistence that she knows 'the Papa John' and her love of her wolf decorated blanket, Wolfy and Rosa plays the straight man very well but like most non-Peralta or non-Holt stories, it was only okay.
Like a lot of modern sitcoms, for example, New Girl and How I Met Your Mother, Brooklyn Nine-Nine makes use of flashbacks. This episode displayed the good and the bad. Amy immediately volunteering and a flashback of eight years ago where Peralta briefs his colleagues with the exact same words but wearing louder outfits did provide some contextual hilarity. However, a section where Gina says that Charles can't keep a secret followed by a clip of Charles telling her that people are throwing her a surprise birthday party almost seems as though the writers forgot to write a joke.
After weeks of teasing, it will be very exciting to finally see how they round up the season. My prediction is that Charles will not go through with the wedding and Jake and Amy will have a moment but will more that welcome a surprise ending.
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