Category Archives: Reviews

Review: The Woods #5

Woods_005_coverJames Tynion IV has grown a lot as a writer, from the former student of Scott Snyder who wrote backups on Batman to a distinguished individual writing solid, original comics. The Woods from BOOM! Studios has been a lovely fantasy/teen-drama ever since it debuted back in May. In the fifth issue, Tynion continues his warm exploration of adolescence within the aesthetically-wild, fantastical woodland setting he’s crafted with his great artist Michael Dialynas. The Woods #5 takes advantage of effective flashback to display the importance of the relationship among characters Maria, Karen, and Sanami, delivering another compelling chunk of this tale.

The pages of The Woods have been filled with scary, otherworldly critters, vistas and violence, so it’s refreshing to see things how they used to be for parts of this issue. Readers are treated to a glimpse at a time when one of the characters, Sanami, went missing, offering thematic connection to the present, in which that same character is lost. The flashback reveals the troubled relationship this lost teen has with her parents, and the contrastively strong, loving relationship she has with her best friend, Karen. It’s more complicated than that, though, because a third party, Maria, butts heads with Karen but adores Sanami, leading to deep envy for the relationship they have. The pain and comfort that comes along with all of this feels palpable and easily relatable. Tynion’s expertise blatantly seems to be writing youthful characters, making his book The Woods perfectly suited for him.

The art of Dialynas, conveniently enough, fits this book wonderfully as well. He is simultaneously able to make both cute, highly-emotive human figures and grotesque monsters while still maintaining a consistent, light-hearted look that isn’t without bite. Colors are varied, while still maintaining a creepy, light-horror atmosphere. One character, a large, most-likely closeted black teen, is a constant delight in this series, this issue being no exception. Other issues have delved into his ongoing dilemma of convincing peers and adults that he doesn’t want to play football, but in this issue, he’s just seen timidly asking for two play tickets, one apparently for his “girlfriend,” and then later sheepishly telling someone he isn’t a very capable runner. The characterization is perfect, but it’s not just the writing that sells it, but also the great art. His drawn mannerisms and expressions work effortlessly. The imposing creatures and antagonistic brutes, like this issue’s vikings-like fellows, look visually interesting in an obvious, visceral fashion, but the more regular characters can often be more impressive.

This isn’t the most entertaining issue of The Woods so far, considering the mute, slow pace. Sure, this switch in gears away from the quick, eventfulness of past issues is perhaps necessary for the overall story and works well, but it does come across as less enjoyable. With that noted, The Woods #5 is a great issue that continues to cement this as a special, note-worthy comic book series.

Story: James Tynion IV Art: Michael Dialynas
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

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BOOM! Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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Review: Sally of the Wasteland #2

sally02Sally of the Wasteland is a relatively new series from Titan Comics, so far only on its second issue. The story follows Sally and a group of survivors of some unknown apocalypse as they try to enter New Orleans to re-establish some kind of civilization by way of a quasi-magical device. Titan advertises this a grindhouse genre, while also claiming that it is “Tarantino meet Mad Max!” Before giving my thoughts on the story though, it is maybe interesting to look into some of the meanings of those claims.

Grindhouse is a relatively new concept in terms of being a specific sub-genre. Though it is based on the sex, violence and gore fueled B-movies of the 1970s, most of which have never been seen since, there is no better personification of the genre than Quentin Tarantino. Strangely though, it is not because Tarantino has really ever created a grindhouse movie, aside from a singular homage to the genre which he released with Robert Rodriguez in 2007.  Even in terms of the actual genre, this was not really grindhouse exactly, more like a campy version of it, as it was relatively well-budgeted with recognizable actors. Grindhouse isn’t really a specific genre, as there is too much leeway allowed in what qualifies. There has to be a lot of sex, or a lot of violent action, or a lot of gory horror, but not necessarily more than one of those three.  In those respects, grindhouse really resembles a lot of movies, even modern ones. The realm of comics never really escaped from grindhouse either, at least not completely, as some degree of sex, violence and gore has always been available (though maybe not under the Comics Code).

The connection of Tarantino to the genre of grindhouse is a little tenuous, and so too is the claim that this book is “Tarantino meets Mad Max!” Tarantino is not exactly a style unto himself, except in some of the subject matter which he chooses for his stories. His stories are often undoubtedly violent, but this violence almost always serves a purpose of some kind. It is not there solely for gratuity, but moves either the story along or develops a character. To be honest, I am not even a particularly big fan of Tarantino, but I have seen both an episode of ER and an episode of CSI that he has directed, and they were both more exciting than the typical episodes of those shows.  When he is outside of his own favorite genres, there is still something evident about him in his own work, which film critics label as being an auteur. The problem with being an auteur is that it is rare that someone can replicate the work of that individual, and even sometimes the individual themselves have a hard time grasping what it is that makes audiences love them so much.

Thus outside of the somewhat generic post-apocalyptic landscape this story doesn’t really have much to tie itself to – a hard-to-define genre and a hard-to-copy auteur. That having been said, even within the somewhat generic setting there is still ample ground to profit here. I have discussed with other writers of creative fiction that a story needs either an interesting premise or interesting characters. Though ideally a story has both, it can survive with only one of these, and this is where the writer here could make the characters something grab onto.  Unfortunately they are not that either. They are mostly shallow typecasts that speak under their breaths in parody-like commentary which is meant to be funny but mostly falls flat. There is also an alarming amount of references to rape (including anal rape) in this title, which are likely to turn off some people as well. On the whole, I can see where the creative team might have gone here, but that they lost their way early on and didn’t find their way back. It is a shame too, because the covers for both the first and second issue are actually really enticing, it would be nice in this case if I could judge a book by its cover, but I cannot.

Story: Victor Gischler Art: Tazio Bettin
Story: 4.0 Art: 5.0 (bonus marks for the cover) Overall: 4.5  Recommendation: Pass

 Titan Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for revewi

Review: Inhumans # 3

Inhuman 3I must admit, I have a soft spot for Marvel’s minority communities. I think they serve as an interesting metaphor for real world minority issues, and both their stories and complex histories offer an interesting juxtaposition between  the real and fictional where oppression and integration is concerned.  The new inhumans volume puts that community in centre stage following the ground breaking aftermath of the recent Infinity mega event.

Inhumans #3 follows the current  exploits of earth’s inhuman population, which has  grown considerably following Black Bolt’s decision to release Terrigen into the global atmosphere.  The lynchpin of this current volume, the revelation of the existence of multiple Inhuman tribes  (previously hidden among earths human population) offers a fresh and interesting status quo for the inhuman community,  one that was previously  monolithic , scarce, and reclusive.

This new tribal nuance to the inhuman state of affairs has already begun to reflect multiple and completing ideologies. Lash of Orollan appears to take a merit based view towards terrigenesis, holding to the view that only those who are “worthy”  should be allowed to enjoy the benefits of terrigenesis.  On the other hand, New Attilan currently ruled by Queen Medusa, holds to a more egalitarian ethos, where the free dispensing of terrigenesis has been a staple of their culture for centuries.

This is an interesting point to ponder, as it seems that the affordances of culture are directly tied to  abundance of  given resources (or the lack thereof).  In issue 3 we learn that Orollan only possessed 3 terrigen crystals. We know from past volumes that Attilan has always had an abundance of Terrigen.  I have always wondered if Wakanda would have been as xenophobic and isolationist as it is if it didn’t enjoy all the economic and geopolitic clout that its  vibranium  deposits had blessed it with.  We see here how history and circumstance  indelibly marks certain cultures in the Marvel U,  Attilan and its emerging sister tribes appear to be no exception

Orrollan and Attilan’s forces come to a violent conflict in this issue,  a conflict  quickly  calmed by revelations of the former King Black Bolt’s overarching plan. This reveal  has implications for every Inhuman on the globe and could potentially unite them all as a result.

This has been interesting series so far that as placed the inhumans on a bold new footing. It will be very interesting to see how all the inhumans resolve their issues and their place amongst each other as well as the greater Marvel U. It will also be interesting to see where the power of balance falls between the various inhuman tribes There is a lot of dust to settle that should make for a very engaging series.

 

Story: Charles Soule Art: Joe Madureira
Story: 8.0 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.5  Recommendation: Read

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

The infinity event mentioned six locales/tribes where hidden inhumans reside, it would be interesting to see if more show up later on.

Medusa’s statement to the rest of the world and the new emerging inhumans was very reminiscent of Cyclops’ during the founding of Utopia in Dark Avengers 8.

The multi-tribal status of the inhumans is very similar to thepost schism state of the X-men

The notion of “inhuman sovereignty” will be a tricky one to unpackage, given the now global reach of the inhuman population and the multitude of tribes available for them to identify with.

I just have to say Medusa is so badass….I love her especially when Black Bolt is not in the picture, she really takes to the throne well, and shines.

Memorable Quotes

“Not Everyone with potential deserves it” – Lash (Inhumans #1)

“There are other tribes..You have a choice ” – Lash (Inhumans#1)

“They’re scared & they’re a powerbase, people will try to use that power “- Captain America (Inhumans #2)

“My Enemies all have one thing in common Lash….they fall ” – Medusa  (Inhumans #3)

TV Review: The Strain S1E8 Creatures of the Night

the-strain-logo1The Strain‘s eighth episode kicks off right where the last one left off, the team in the subway figuring out they can’t easily defeat their enemy with bullets. They’ll need to take them on by simulating sun light some how. To get what they need though they need to break into a building where they meet the exterminator, Visily, who also has been having some vampire issues in his work.

Again, the series ramps up the scares, as the supply mission leads to a gas station where they’re quickly surrounded by vampires, forcing the team to do some battle. It’s a solid sequence, and I’ve noticed the series has been slowly increasing the threats as the vampire disease spreads. It feels natural and there’s not suddenly 100s of vampires attacking.

Not only has all of this brought our key players together, we also get to see the female hacker from the earlier episodes, and I totally forgot about her. But, as far as new connections, the most interesting is Visily and Abraham who quickly bond. Visily believing what’s going on, a believer, to Eph’s disbeliever. Visily brings an interesting perspective, as he is not only a believer, but he also looks at them like vermin.

There is some toe-curling moments, such as when a member is infected, and some impromptu surgery has to take place.

The episode is really the one that ramps everything up. There’s a choice of life and death with everyone forced to make some hard decisions about who and what they kill. There’s even a major death. Overall, the series is getting better with each episode.

Overall Score: 8.5

TV Review: Doctor Who S8E2 Into the Dalek

doctor who capaldiDoctor Who returned last week with the first full episode to feature the new Doctor Peter Capaldi. He quickly established himself, and what we can expect for his interpretation of the iconic character.

In the second episode the Doctor is in, and he has a new patient, a captured Dalek. The Timelord faces his greatest enemy with Clara by his side, but as he is forced to examine his own conscience, he will truly find out the answer to the question: Am I a good man?

But the big event of the episode is the debut of Samuel Anderson, whose Danny Pink is not just a new companion for the Doctor, but also a potential love interest for Jenna Coleman‘s Clara Oswald. The chemistry is there, and dialogue really solid. What really excites me about Anderson’s Mr. Pink is his likely experience as a soldier. Taking a solider, and mixing it with the Doctor who doesn’t know if he’s a good guy (and clearly is willing to get his hands dirtier based on the first episode) should lead to some fascinating moments. It’s also clear Clara’s role will be that of the conscience of the two. There’s lots of potential with the trio.

But the majority of the episode focuses on the Doctor and a team attempting to help a Dalek. The Doctor throughout is clearly conflicted about his actions, and what he should do with a Dalek who needs help, and is good in the beginning. It all is a debate about the nature of the Daleks, and thus the nature of the Doctor. Are Dalek’s inherently evil? Does that make the Doctor as well? It’s all pretty clear what the writers were getting at, and it keeps the theme of this season rolling, the nature of the Doctor.

But beyond themes, there’s also this mystery of Missy and “Heaven” that was presented in the first episode. We see it again after the Doctor gets someone killed. We have a theme for the season, as well as a pretty big mystery.

Overall, the second episode is solid, moving the season’s themes along and giving us an intriguing mystery. And there’s Capaldi’s Doctor which mixes some of the best characteristics we’ve seen of what’s come before.

Overall Score: 8.25

Review: Bob’s Burgers #1

D.E. Comic Page Template.epsBob’s Burgers is the animated television show that could, growing into a cult show, and one of the best family sitcoms on television. Courtesy of Dynamite, you can now you can read about the Belcher family (parents Bob and Linda, and their children Tina, Gene and Louise) in brand-new in-canon stories created by the TV show’s producers, writers and animators creating all original stories appearing exclusively in this comics series. Each comic includes hilarious installments of: “Louise’s Unsolved Mysteries,” “Tina’s Erotic Friend Fiction,” “A Gene Belcher Original Musical,” “Letters Written by Linda” and “Bob’s Burgers of the Day.”

I went into reading the first issue wondering how well the television s how would translate into a comic. The humor for the show is quick, and fast, with some off the wall moments that you don’t see coming. The comic takes those crazier moments, and plays them out in short stories which helps speed up the comedy with hits that just keep coming. The jokes that rely on delivery aren’t there, but the same crazy thought process is completely present and transfers well.

The comic overall is solid when it comes to the laughs with absurd moments and vignettes that take some of the crazier things thrown out on the show and puts them on the comic page. It’s all appreciated, and for long time fans there’s more than inside stuff here to please. For those unfamiliar with the source material, there’s also more than enough to just get you to laugh.

The art style is a match for the show, so you’re either going to be a fan of the style or you won’t. I’m a long time fan of the show, and appreciate the design overall. Nothing new is broken for the comic medium, this is just what’s on the television screen translated to the printed page.

The comic is a must for fans of the television show, and if you’ve only heard about it and want to check what it’s all about, this isn’t a bad place to start.

Story: Rachel Hastings, Mike Olsen, Justin Hook, Jeff Drake Art: Frank Forte, Brad Rader, Bernard Derriman, Tony Gennaro, Liza Epps, Tyler Garrison, Kimball Shirley, Anthony Aguinaldo, Hector Reynoso
Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Dynamite provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Tart #4

tart02With the death of another Toxic Fruit soldier, the organization is at a breaking point. Lose any more agents and they might not be able to hold the line against the demonic threat. Tart and two of her colleagues are pulled from the front lines and sent on a survival training mission, while their boss travels to the outskirts of Hell to barter with a Devil.

Definitely one of the major developments of the expansion of the internet is the manner in which information is passed, including in how creative work is published. As opposed to the olden days (if you can call days before the internet as “olden” already) when creators trying to get into the market had to have the right combination of skill and luck, now there is a wide array of ways in which new creators can get their material to the general public. In the case of comiXology, they provide access to their distribution network to not only the big companies but also to start-ups and the self-published. In so doing the creative efforts of the next wave are being given a chance to compete for the attention of the general public, with the weeding out process being met with different forces than before. Instead of editors turning away the aspiring talents, now they can be weeded by either selling or not.

Strangely enough a lot of these stories have some commonalities, and some of these are seen in Tart. It would seem as though new comic creators have a strong affinity for female characters who are demon hunters. Even when as high-profile as a new creator as Jenna Jameson got into comics (though she did not really have much to do other than the concept) this was a core idea. Tart is the same to do some degree as it deals with similar imagery both from a writing and artistic perspective.

tart01As a kind of proving grounds for new comic talent, it is kind of interesting to see some of the work put into this series, having reached #4 already. The writer relies on a lot of simple plot points and the characters are not really fully fleshed out. In a previous issue, the characters dealt with their sexuality, and this too seems to be a hallmark of a new writer, especially it would seem of a male writer handling female characters. Equally the artist here embarks on the same journey, with a certain amount of gratuitous nudity that doesn’t really serve any point. Despite the rookie mistakes here though, it is interesting to read in a sense, kind of like why people will go to a minor league baseball game. They are not likely to see anything new or even very exciting, but still get a reliable form of entertainment, and might just see a future star, all for a fraction of the cost.

In the case of Tart, this might be the case, it is evident that the writer and the artist still have a long way to go, but it also seems like the talent is there.  For someone with a bit of extra change to throw at comics in any given week, this might not be a bad choice. The entire collection of four issues thus far costs less than some monthly comics, and it is promising at times although at other times it is frustrating. The end result is obviously not the same as would be expected from a mainstream publisher, but the reader shouldn’t be looking for this either. On the whole, I would give this a miss, but others might see past some of the shortcomings and find a gem here, or in other comiXology series offering new creators similar opportunities, although this one seems to have some potential hidden within.

Story: Kevin Joseph Art: Ludovic Salle
Story: 5.0 Art: 4.8 Overall: 5.0 Recommendation: Pass

Comixology and Kechal Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: POP #1

pop 1 coverWhat if the world’s pop stars and celebrities were literally products, grown by the world’s wealthiest (and most depraved) minds—and one of them escaped?

Written by Curt Pires with art by Jason Copland, POP #1 is the beginning of what looks like an interesting satirical take on pop culture and it’s impact on society. Though much of the issue is just set up, what’s shown, and “said” focuses on how celebrities and products now drive our life, almost giving us meaning for existence. We get the basics, that celebrities are grown and controlled by someone group, and that one of them has escaped.

The main story focuses on Coop and Elle (Elle’s the escaped individual). The take by the series is very apparent with Coop literally being saved, and finding purpose in Elle. His life is turned around due to “celebrity” and a “product.” That seems to be the general take of the series, at leas that’s what I took away from the first issue.

There’s also some jabs at current celebrities, including a knock-off Justin Bieber who’s injured in a satisfying way. The satire isn’t subtle at all, and we’ve seen similar ideas in other stories, but so far the issue is entertaining enough and I’m interested in seeing what the greater take away is.

Copland provides solid art that reminds me of British comics from the 80s. That might be due to some of the use of color, but overall, there’s a familiar style to it all that matches the subject matter. POP, has a look of pop about it.

POP bills itself as a “white-knuckled thrill ride through the marketing-mastered, technologically tethered tragicomedy we call life.” To really succeed the series really needs to have something interesting (and preferably new) to say about the top it’s taking on, pop stars and celebrity. The first issue is definitely a solid start, but this ride in the end will hopefully have something to say about our culture, instead of just being shallow like what it attempts to satirize.

Story: Curt Pires Art: Jason Copland
Story: 7.25 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.25 Recommendation: Read

Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Shinobi Ninja Princess #1

shinobiIn Shinobi by Martheus Wade and published by Action Lab, 14 year-old ninja princess Shianndrea Toshigawa and her strike team have a new mission: spy on their rivals, the Azumi Ninja Clan, and discover what secret dealings they have with the evil Emperor of Japan. But when the plan goes awry and fellow ninja Hamasuke is captured, can Shianndrea overcome her lack of confidence and save him before it’s too late?

Although the image of ninjas which we know is one which was made up for Japanese theater, it is nonetheless one which stays with us. They were not shrouded in all-black and many other aspects of what we think that we know of them in modern culture is also somewhat incorrect. It is fairly common in comics that ninjas have the same general appearance, if it is the Hand or the Foot Clan. Shinobi: Ninja Princess is not even particularly new in terms of its inaccuracies. Despite no evidence of such a role ever existing, there is not really such a thing as a ninja princess, but the idea of ninja princess is evident in many instances in the genre.

shinobiIn terms of what the creative team has put together here though all of this is irrelevant. Lacking an original story, the writer has put his own spin on the sub-genre here, writing some characters that are a bit more engaging than the average ninja. The reason is that the focus here is not on stealthy assassination, but almost a coming-of-age story.  There is a younger focus to this story, not necessarily in the demographic readership, but the story is full of playfulness. This is mostly between the characters, but it is written in a way which allows the reader to partake in the fun as well.  At the same time the art is a perfect complement to the story as it focuses on a fun and almost sassy style for the lead heroine Shinobi.

The end result is a decent read. It is not going to compete with some of the heavy hitters in the medium, in either concept or characterization, but it is not trying to either.  It seems as though the creative team is just trying to tell a fun story, and they have mostly succeeded. This story might be one that parents might want to invest in for their kids. The story would be fun enough for parent and child alike, achieving that uncommon bridge between generations.

Story and Art: Martheus Wade
Story: 7.3 Art: 8.0 Overall: 7.8 Recommendation: Read

Action Lab provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

The Leftovers – “The Garveys At Their Best” – Review

Leftovers“Once upon a lonely
The sky was black and stormy
I was on my way to King Marie
This day of disaster
My heart was beating faster
I ran all the way to King Marie”
– “The Girl From King Marie” – Jody Reynolds

The departured were all regretted at one point. Laurie regretted…oops, let me start my Review at the beginning, much like that incredible episode did on Sunday night. All the way at the beginning. Then I can explain that first sentence and continue my thought. It’s a good theory, I think, and I will need all of your help to see if it is somewhat true or close.

The Leftovers aired their penultimate episode, The episode immediately before the finale, on Sunday night and it was exactly what we have been wanting and waiting for since the pilot. In a series that predicates itself on the events of October 14th, all we wanted to know was what happen on October 13th or, more precisely, what happened immediately prior to the moment of departurism (note: departurism is a word I just invented…I can do that…I think…but we all know what it means). The seconds, minutes, and hours before the Sudden Departure. And we got it in a brilliant flashback that Damon Lindelof has become a master at portraying.

So, let’s start at the beginning. A theory I had stated before is that the dogs are symbols of the Guilty Remnant. The episode this past Sunday has given us a load of answers to our burning questions and provided some twists and turns in the process. One twist is that the dogs are not the Guilty Remnant…hear me out. I think the dogs represent Laurie. Kevin is represented by the deer. I’ll give some interesting supporting evidence throughout my Review so keep an eye out for it and we can discuss in the comments below. More on this later.

We see Kevin right away in his beautiful home, with his beautiful family, as we are transported back in time three years (4 years?), just days before the SD. Much like there was a scar, or flaw, on the island of The Lord of The Flies, there is also a crack, or scar or flaw, in the foundation of the Garvey home (remember: Kevin sees above the painting the crack in the wall like a lightning bolt). The writers do a wonderful job at setting up our characters lives prior to the universal ‘tic-toc’ leading up to the SD. We see Nora Durst and her happy family at a time when she is ignorant to the fact that her husband is cheating on her. We also learn that Patti was a patient of Laurie’s long before Laurie had taken the white.

Not everyone was happy. That is not what the writers were trying to show us. People were not happy, then out of nowhere the SD occurs and people spiral into despair. Kevin was lying to his wife. Nora wanted out of the “juice-box” cycle of life. Patti was kicked out of her home by her ex-husband. We finally learn why Patti puts some crap in a bag and wrote “Neil” on it and left it on his porch. Laurie, her psychologist, told her to get rid of her bad emotions from her relationship by doing this.

One of the big revelations of life before the SD is that of Jill. Jill was, uncharacteristically so, very happy. Very very happy. I did not see a scene without her smiling ear to ear or singing. she loved her dad and thought her mom was the greatest. We know Jill as the melancholy school girl who is sad and angry at the world for destroying her family.

Getting back to my theory that Kevin is represented by the deer and Laurie by the dogs. When Kevin Sr. is telling his officers about the deer in town, he instructs them to put it down because it is dangerous and unstable. Kevin wants to save it, bring it back to the woods, and let it go. Much like he did with Patti. He took her to the woods, and let her go. Kevin is just trying to save himself from becoming unstable and from going crazy. At the surprise party, Kevin tells Laurie the deer is just ‘confused’ much like he has been for the entire series thus far. To top it off, Nora’s daughter tells her that “maybe the deer is just looking for it’s family?”. Kevin’s dream sequence a few episodes ago also alludes to this theory. Kevin hears rumbling from a nearby mailbox. Remember this is where Kevin hides his cigarettes from Laurie. When he gets closer, after seeing a deceased Laurie in the back of a truck, a dog pops out and barks viciously at him. Which brings me to Laurie being represented by the dogs. Laurie is the one that wanted to get a puppy and we see her coddling one with, none other than, Gladys (who seemed happy, but we know she lost someone in the SD). Laurie tells Kevin (finally happy they found the deer) “It’s trapped, better go save it”. Notice how Kevin was happy about the deer and upset about the prospect of the dog. Kevin, as the deer (he even sees his reflection in its eye), is trying to not get chewed up and eaten by the dogs as we saw in the first episode of the season.

And finally, what I noticed about the people who were departured; the common thread amongst them. I noticed that they were all regretted by one of The Leftovers. Kevin regretted having the affair. Nora regretted her family, if only for an instant. Sam (the baby that departured in the pilot) was regretted by his mother who threw her hands up to Laurie in the car. I wonder if we will be able to point to this in the future as we learn of more people who lost someone on the SD.

This was definitely my favorite episode of the season. The writing was perfect and the flashback was orchestrated very well. It was great getting a lot of answers to our questions and seeing the SD before it happened and how it affected our main cast. The Leftovers, week to week, is a bleak look into the lives of the citizens of Mapleton and this past Sunday we were given a break form the morose souls and shattered bits of humanity. It was nice, even if it was for only a little bit of time, to see our characters in a different light and somewhat happy frame of mind. But, of course, this is Mapleton, and no one stays happy for long.

Thoughts and Discussion

- The music in the episode:
“Shotgun” – Junior Walker & The All-Stars
“Punching In a Dream” – The Naked and Famous
“Young Blood” – The Naked and Famous
“Without You” – Usher
“November” – Max Richter – This is actually the piano music you hear in nearly every episode when things are becoming clear or at the end of an episode when revelations occur.

- Did you notice…The Sudden Departure occurred at 2:23:48 PM. ’23’, ‘4’, and ‘8’ are LOST numbers. Other LOST references include the numbers 4, 8, and 42 on Laurie’s prenatal monitor in the doctor’s office.

- Did you notice…Jill’s Science Fair experiment dealt with Entropy.

- Did you notice…Laurie’s calendar quote reads – “The foot feels the foot when it feels the ground”. It is a small insight into life I believe. Nobody feels the world around them; they create their own world as they go. Maybe? What do you think this means?

- I like the little foreboding nods to the eventual SD. Like when Kevin Sr. stated “You have no greater purpose”, or Nora saying, “For the next four weeks, I have no family”. Kevin also saying to Tom, “Sometimes, you have to pretend”.

- Did you notice…Last week Patti told Kevin that Laurie counseled her. Now we know she meant it literally.

- Patti predicted the day of the SD. I suppose it could be chalked up to “A broken clock is right twice a day” type of thing, but still.

- Does everyone remember The Pattersons? The deer goes into their house where Kevin goes upstairs to corner it. These are the people that Nora interviewed for their SD check a few episodes back when they lost their boy with Down-Syndrome that we saw in this flashback episode counting coins and directing Kevin to the location of the deer.

- The deer could also represent feelings of being trapped. It affected certain peoples lives on the show. Just like the deer wanted to be free so did Kevin. The woman who hits the deer took a different route. The deer affected the woman Nora’s husband was having an affair with. And the old couple taking care of the boy with Down-Syndrome who tells Kevin that leaving the house “is not going to happen”. Kevin felt extra trapped which was foreshadowed by the dear having the balloon of “It’s a Girl” covered in blood on it. I love the symbolism in this series (The metronome on the floor of the school that Kevin stares at was perfectly placed).

- “A man says to the Universe…Sir, I exist” This was a great speech by Kevin and appropriate. The Universe responds, “The fact has not created in me a sense of obligation”.

- My favorite part of the episode was when the car full of women pulls up to Kevin sitting on the curb. They ask, “Are you ready?”. Did they think he was part of the Guilty Remnant? They could not have formed yet formally, but what if they knew beforehand? Kevin WAS wearing white. Maybe they thought he was a member? Maybe they were from wherever Dean came from or whoever speaks to Kevin Sr.? The situation could not have become any more mysterious as the manhole cover rattles and explodes in a fury of fire and heat. Did Kevin even think about this moment when he learned of the SD event all over the world?

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