4-5 weeks, 51 weeks, WHATEVER. Technically, what happened was that I came back just about 8 days late, sort of caught up, fell behind again before I could write about the few I'd seen, and continued that pattern before finally giving up for good somewhere in March. But a steady semi-rewatch marathon over the past 4 nights has gotten me to within two episodes of the finale, so it's time to put letter keys to screen.
These three will kind of always hold a special place in my heart because I watched them 2 or 3 times apiece, a few months apart, in my quest to refresh my memory so I could write about what happened/remember what the hell was going on before I watched the next episode. They really weren't that good, compared to others, but...I'm attached now. Not enough to tell the three apart well -- I know that 10 involved Aaron's flight/the main departure to Mexico, 11 was the break-in to the camp and the break-out from Mexico, and 12 involved the reunited gang aggressively demanding a cure, but I'm fuzzy on the timeline of the other two storylines -- but enough to spill some feelings on them as a whole.
-Me on 12/3/14: "YOU CAN'T JUST LEAVE ME HANGING ON MILES HAVING A PRACTICALLY-BLACK-FROM-INFECTION ARM." Apparently I can leave myself, though. Anyway, glad to see that rapidly resolved with the help of Gene + His Trusty Blood-Lettin' Knife, and Rachel hovering nearby. That said, I also quite liked Monroe's badgering, petulant "I helped you, got Aaron, even threw in old man traitor, now where is my goddamn son." (not an exact quote)
-Aaron's wandering and random reunion with Priscilla may be the closest storyline to the original premise of this show, but that does not stop it being hella boring. Plus I hate everything about their whole sad and awful personal history and dislike being reminded of it. The brief sighting of Grace was the most interesting part -- I hate the vagueness of the nanotech like people hate Katrina on Sleepy Hollow.
-On Connor: remember that time where Monroe asked "Is this not the whitest Mexican you've ever seen?" Because the answer to that is either "lol no" or "what are you talking about Willis," because I remembered this line, but as I got ready to watch the episode again, I found myself struggling to remember who the mother of Monroe's son was -- and when I did, I thought I must be wrong because the woman who died was a super pale redhead and his son was clearly Hispanic.
-I also haven't decided if I like him or not, or if I like him more or less than his father. I like him vaguely better than Jason, but he's not that interesting to me on his own. I do know I would have liked this whole Mexico side plot a heck of a lot less if Rachel hadn't come along, though. She saved it.
-I did like Monroe's sarcasm about the hellhole Mexico has become, greeeeeat place to bring a kid, thanks buddy, and Miles' weak-ass attempts to defend it as being prosperous the last time he checked in
-The public lashing of Prisoner Monroe was really hard to watch*. I appreciated that even Rachel, with all her vengeance fantasies and her cold "I have to help you find your son after you killed mine," had to turn away.
*while recognizing its usefulness to include in my Cache of Scenarios, including the aftermath with Miles cleaning him up in the cell
-Other favorite line so far: "I'm with you, Rachel's a boatload of crazy, but for some reason Miles really loves her." OUTSIDER CONFIRMATION SQUEE.
-and remember that time on the way back from Mexico when there was a fleeting but wonderful shot of Miles sleeping with his arm around Rachel?
-In Plaguetown, there's an identical pair of really pretty pale yellow buckskin horses pulling one of the supply wagons, and every time I saw them I had to catch my breath. That's worth a mention, right?
-I really enjoyed everything about Plaguetown, from Rachel's discovery that it's both man-made and designed as a cull, to the wicked cool abduction of a Patriot leader to foster the acquisition of vaccines. (or...antidotes. I don't think vaccines work after you're already sick.)
-Most of all, I was FASCINATED by the whole Neville Family Spy Dynamic in Washington. I almost liked those scenes more than action!Miles and Rachel, because it was like being transported to a mini movie. It moved like an intricate dance, all the secret devlish pieces of murder, intrigue and betrayal moving in tandem. I loved watching Julia exploit her role as a seductress and handles her lame new husband with expert skill. (mostly)
-Was delighted by that one scene where she chastises Tom for not being ambitious/bold enough, he gets super scary and threatening upon grabbing her with a warning not to forget who she's talking to, and they both could not look more turned on by the combination of power and potential violence if they tried. It's skeevy and exhilarating all at once. Like Mr. & Mrs. Smith to the power of a hundred.
-I also liked watching her get less and less cautious as her fear for her son takes over, but even so I was not expecting that standoff in the house with a gun to her head. Wow. Masterfully done.
-Another thing I really liked: those flashbacks in the woods to the moment the Nevilles became the deadly black adders they are today. I thought it really showed not only what would drive a seemingly ordinary person to total ruthlessness, but also how that small but significant glimpse of success could plant a seed in their brains that would exponentially grow. Gave me the shivers watching her walk out of that tent, blood spattered and slightly stiff but 90% calm and focused.
-I liked Charlie going along with the Monroes to New Vegas, supported by Miles' point that those two gossipy hens can't be trusted to go off alone. I also liked Charlie smirking that her mother and uncle should have no reason to protest being left alone.
Monroe: Who said you're coming along?
Charlie: Who says you have a choice?
-One of my favorite things this show has done lately has been people on guitar singing old classics. I love that they're being kept alive.
-Most impressed by Charlie's ability to subvert forced prostitution by handily strangling her first customer with her chain.
-The plan to steal the diamonds was pretty epic. I liked the decoy run and dumping the real box in the garbage, even if it didn't pan out. I also really like(d) Warlord Lady Duncan, and LOVED her assigning men under Charlie's command. "They don't answer to you. They answer to her." Charlie's brief disbelief followed by smug satisifaction was a delight.
-I mostly just laughed in disblief at trying to take the dopey pothead boyfriend from Til Death seriously as a shark-like and conniving bookie. I did enjoy Duncan shooting Gould point blank, though. Teach YOU to take out the awesome warlady.
-That picture of a beaten Julia haunted me for weeks. Did not expect Tom to be sent on a Texas mission with her life as incentive to not screw up. Actually, her life would be one thing, but I do not like these threats to mutilate her slowly detracting from my desire to have Miles take his #1 nemesis down.
-Back home, while the trio flees New Vegas, Miles' attempt at Date Night was also very cute. And then...
Rachel: "I think 20 years is enough foreplay, don't you?" HOLLA!
Other favorite lines:
- Monroe: Charlotte, try not to get yourself killed...at least until you're on Miles' watch.
- Charlie: "I just saved your life, bitch. You owe me."
- Miles: "You know, in Mexico, they just call this a standoff" + Tom's not-inaccurate "Now this is just silly."
- Everyone and their mother mocking the Bass/Miles bromance, specifically Tom Neville: "Are you that blinded by your man-love for that son of a bitch?"
-Also that time Charlie and Connor hooked up, only to be awakened by Monroe's "WHAT THE DAMN HELL" and a dress-down lecture to his son of 15 minutes about thinking with the wrong head. Laced with a lot of "MILES IS GOING TO KILL YOU AND POSSIBLY ME. YOU HAD ONE JOB..." (actually techically he might have had...no, not going there).
-But before that, the scene where she talks about how she's sure they'll all be dead in a year, there's no way they can win this war, so you gotta grab what you can while you can...
I've said this before, but the series has really shifted away from Charlie at the center to focusing on the other adults. And Charlie herself has gone from the girl trying to keep the remnants of her family together, occasionally in need of rescue, to a jaded product of war. She almost seems less human to me than a simple killing machine. Breaks my heart a little bit, but in a way I think is very realistic, and more than that, very well done on the part of this show to make that happen, so gradually you almsot don't even notice. Just trying to compare Charlie now vs. the girl tied to a chair with a booby-trapped arrow poised to launch at her -- I can hardly picture it.
2x15, Dreamworld: Boring mess of an alt-2014 reality inside Aaron's head. This is the only one I refused to finish rewatching after I realized I'd already seen it. I guess it was necessary for exposition, but not something you need to see twice.
2x16-17, Exposition Boulevard/Why We Fight: Oh man, I did NOT remember getting this far last spring, but apparenty I did?
2x16: A fave quote from Meta Miles: "Seems like all I do lately is lay up here -- rocks in my junk -- spying on these fools."
I was hooked on the Boot Camp of Evil, the uneasy tension of the Willoughby Coalition vs. Weasel Tom, and the flashbacks to Truman in Cuba, an explanation for how he got so entangled in the Patriot mess. Actually, I love everything about Neville trying to side with him to take out Doyle, neither of them trusting the other half an inch, with good cause, but willing to team up under the "enemy of my enemy is my friend" clause of combat.
Less pleased by the close-ups on people's EYELID TATTOOS OMG NO WHY WOULD YOU SHOW ME THAT GROSS. Lots of exciting action with the shoot-out between Willoughby Coalition and Patriots, though. I didn't get as connected to the cadets as I thought I would, and I'm sorry, but I side with Miles. They're walking bombs and they need to be taken out, or they will kill innocent people, it's just a matter of time.
More snarky bonding:
Monroe: "First things first"? What's more important than killing someone who wants me dead?!
Miles: Come on, I'll show you.
Monroe: Miles, I've just been walking for 4 days, can I sit on my ass for a minute?
Also really loved the ending face-off between Miles and Monroe: what is Miles going to do if the war ends? Retire? "Play house with your two girls?" Well, why not? It doesn't have to be practical if that's literally what is working toward, consciously or not. I am very happy with this image.
2x17: And then it got even better. First of all, I have been missing documenting Miles' unending snark, so here's today's favorite line --
Miles: Yeah, I'm really sorry that I made it harder for you and your kid to get your discount empire back. (off Connor's look) Oh, you didn't think we knew. We do.
And I just really liked both plots in this episode, starting with the memorable "hiding in the basement trying to convince the only woman left in town who might trust you." Oh, Marian. She's plucky, I like her.
As for the A plot: I loved seeing Charlie's men meet up with their old buddies. Those guys are like traveling with a pack of burly guard dogs -- loyal to their pack leader, but more eager to meet others of their kind. , And I enjoyed their babyfaced leader pledging immediate and blind fealty to the Glory Of General Monroe.
Then there's Rachel, standing helpless as the lone dissenting voice against a ramshackle army -- own daughter included -- hell-bent on destroying brainwashed cadets. (I got a chill when Charlie defiantly said if her guys were going, she was too). That camp raid was awful, but also awesome. And I really like that they have Rachel address what we've been seeing about the change in Charlie: "I'm sorry. You've been watching me and Miles, the way we act. The awful things that we do. How could you be any different? We did this to you, we made you into this weapon -- this soldier. You are 22 years old, you can still have a future. ... What are you fighting for, if you don't have any hope?" A good question, Rachel. And what are you fighting for? "You. I'm fighting so you won't be me."
Last but not least, there's Neville, not only getting in a last taunt right before certain death, but improbably pulling off the most epic murder this show has ever seen. Everything about how the ultimate beatdown & strangling of Doyle went down was SO well done.
P.S. Oh yes, the aftermath of the raid: Monroe beaming at Miles' return, while the latter greets him with a friendly punch to the face and Rachel Watches Sternly from an approving distance. "Who the hell told you to hit that camp?" / "I saw an opportunity and I took it. What happened, Miles, you went back into town and those hicks wouldn't help?" / "You didn't give 'em much incentive. You shot their children."
Up next: episodes I've only see once.