Tea & Review: Fargo – The Law of Non-Contradiction

“The Law of Non-Contradiction” is undoubtedly the most atypical episode of Fargo thus far, and that’s saying something for a show basically filled with atypical episodes. In an unexpected move, especially this early on in a season, it takes a break from the Stussy feud that’s shaping up to anchor the season so that Gloria (Carrie Coon) can travel to L.A. and learn a bit of info about her late stepfather that in no way moves the plot forward. Yet despite that seeming pointlessness, or perhaps because of it, it may be one of the most fascinating hours of television I’ve ever watched.

The titular law is a logical theorem which states, more or less, that a thing cannot be both what it is and what it is not. The concept is exemplified in a few ways in the episode: Gloria can’t be both chief and former chief, Ennis couldn’t have “sorta” been her father, and Thaddeus (Thomas Mann) seemingly couldn’t have been two completely different people.

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Tea & Review: Wallander

In this column, I want to provide short descriptions of a particular genre of television series, the foreign detective series available on Netflix. The series I watch are both in English and in English-speaking places, and in foreign languages with subtitles. I watch foreign detective series for the pleasure of seeing a crime solved, the intellectual, emotional, and sometimes, personal toll the process demands of the detective.   But, foreign series offer a glimpse, albeit fictional, into the lives of people in different cultures and geographies, for while the stories are fictional, the locations are, in the main, real.   There are some programs that are set in fictional places, of course, and a few that are set in the past.

Wallander

First of all, there are two Wallander series on Netflix. There is the one called “Wallander” with Kenneth Branagh as a producer, director, and lead character. This is in English and is a BBC production. In the United States, we saw it first on Masterpiece Theatre. The other one is called “Henning Mankell’s Wallander”, and this is in Swedish with subtitles. The two series are based on Henning Manskell’s character Kurt Wallander, a detective in the southern city of Malmö. The portrayals are different, but a great deal is recognizable between the two. The Branagh production tends to portray Sweden as a windswept barren land, but the Swedish production shows a vibrant European country with plenty of the old and new.

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Tea & Review: Harlots – Episode 4

Lucy’s (Eloise Smyth) naiveté lingers in episode 4. Despite a customer leaving her bed agitated and dissatisfied, she still asks Margaret (Samantha Morton) if he is to be her keeper. Shockingly, she believes that to be in the realm of possibility.

Later when she plays cards, Lucy yet again demonstrates her fledgling social skills. Not unlike her time at the Reptons (Tim McInnerny), she attempts to participate in banter and ends up missing the mark. Unfortunately though, to Lord Fallon (Ben Lambert) she sounds enticing. This is, of course, most dangerous given his particular, possibly murderous, sexual preferences.

She becomes increasingly more aware of her weaknesses as a harlot, rather keenly so when she overhears Margaret express concern at the lack of takers. To her credit, Lucy takes some initiative and seeks out Charlotte (Jessica Brown Findlay) for advice. From their conversation though, it’s clear Charlotte didn’t struggle early on to satisfy customers as Lucy has.

It’s hard to tell if Lucy’s bumpy entry into sex work is par for the course or if it veers from the norm. The only other new Harlot whose experiences might provide comparison and insight is Harriet (Pippa Bennett-Warner). Her expert handling of Repton does indeed put Lucy’s amateur fumbling in rather harsh perspective, but we might remember that Harriet is not new to this game. As she says, this is just the first time she’s getting money for it.

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Tea & Review: The Leftovers – Crazy Whitefella Thinking

On The Leftovers, faith and abjection are two sides of the same coin. People like Matt Jameson (Christopher Eccleston) and other followers of pre-existing belief systems have tended to attribute divine explanations to the Sudden Departure, while the more nihilistic among the cast have mocked the idea of meaning in such tragedy. As with all loss, some look for any reason to believe it was meaningful, while others are determined to spit in the face of consolation.

And then there’s Kevin. (No, not that one.)

Kevin Garvey Sr. (Scott Glenn) was, until now, the least developed central character on this show. As the ostensible main character’s father, he was a part of the narrative from the very start, but he had always existed on the sidelines. Now, we not only get to get a glimpse of his Australian adventures; we also get to learn a little bit about his past and what makes him tick.

And here’s the thing—Kevin Sr.’s not a likable character. He refuses to believe he’s anything other than the savior of all mankind, and this leads him to degrade Australian Aboriginal customs, alienate Matt and disregard his son, and accidentally kill one of the few people who was willing to help him. As far as heroes go, he’s firmly of the ineffective variety, and he appears to have done more harm than good…thus far.

Faith has clearly played a big role in Kevin Sr.’s decision-making, though not the sort of faith we’re used to seeing on this show. This episode establishes that he doesn’t necessarily care about any sort of divine power. As far as he is concerned, the voices in his head are commanding him to save the world—whether it’s for or from God is beside the point. The mission is to secure a future for humanity, regardless of what the almighty wants.

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Virago: Part the Eleventh — Answers

First chapter: Fire & Rain

Previous chapter: Expiration

It was eerie being inside a near stranger’s house alone. Kelsey winced as she heard the linoleum squeak beneath her sneaker. She made her way towards the living room and tapped on the walls to bring up Barbara’s wall app. She was stunned when nothing lit up. What sort of archaic shit was this woman into?

Kelsey idly glanced towards the candles. The woman had multitudes of those in here. Candles were thought to summon spirits when used correctly or to honour perished loved ones.

She lit some of the candles nearest to her. They were all in a row. She looked at the window. Luckily, this room only had windows facing the backyard. Nobody should notice from the street. Kelsey closed her eyes and calmed her mind. She wasn’t exactly sure what she was trying to do here. She half-expected the house to somehow give her some guidance, or maybe some part of her would explain what the hell was going on.

The flames leapt towards the ceiling with a whoosh! Kelsey’s eyes flew open, worried that something was going to catch ablaze. She looked around the room, but it was silent and still. Until a shadow appeared in front of her. It didn’t have a face but it had the form of something once human. Kelsey chewed on a hangnail. Who was supposed to speak first in this sort of scenario, anyway?

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Tea & Review: Fargo – The Principle of Restricted Choice

Two episodes in, the third season of Fargo already feels a good deal different from its predecessors. Like Seasons One and Two, this one takes place in the same Midwestern setting and, as I noted last week, contains character archetypes we’ve become familiar with. Yet despite these commonalities, Season Three feels apart somehow. It’s not just that it doesn’t seem to have the obvious plot and character connections the previous installments did; its distance from the original film, both in tone and time, in a way makes it feel more urgent.

Season One was so preoccupied with proving its worth as a successor to the movie that it, in a sense, had to occupy that same 90s temporal realm despite taking place in 2006. Plus, the need for audiences to understand how it was connected to the preceding story added a layer of detachment to the whole affair. Meanwhile, Season Two was a prequel whose outcome was, in the grand scheme, more or less inevitable. In comparison, Season Three comes off as both contemporary and more intimate.

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Tea & Fiction – No Cups Just Plots